Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Proverbs 30: 24-31 commentary; comparing rulers and parents

24 ¶ There be four things which are little upon the earth, but they are exceeding wise: 25 The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer; 26 The conies are but a feeble folk, yet make they their houses in the rocks; 27 The locusts have no king, yet go they forth all of them by bands; 28 The spider taketh hold with her hands, and is in kings’ palaces.

One of the things about these verses that I like is how the writer calls the ants a people and the conies (some say this is a rabbit, some say it’s a mouse of some type) are a folk. In any event, these four creatures are very small and physically weak in comparison to larger animals but they do amazing things.

They are, in order, wise, industrious, organized, and pervasive.

29 ¶ There be three things which go well, yea, four are comely in going: 30 A lion which is strongest among beasts, and turneth not away for any; 31 A greyhound; an he goat also; and a king, against whom there is no rising up.

In these comparisons are found strength, speed, and agility, with finally the key to these comparisons being found by the mentioning of a king at the very end. All of these traits are then the ideal traits of a human king; wisdom, industriousness, organization, having his agents everywhere, with strength, speed of action, and ability to change direction at a moment’s notice. In Niccolo Machiavelli’s classic work, The Prince, he talks about how a successful ruler must think quickly and be flexible.

A ruler is also called to be a judge and at times in history has had to deliver his people from a great danger. Notice how these positions are all defined and linked in these verses.

Exodus 2:14 And he said, Who made thee a prince and a judge over us? intendest thou to kill me, as thou killedst the Egyptian? And Moses feared, and said, Surely this thing is known.

Notice that a prince is a judge in the way the Bible is laid out for understanding. Now, when the martyr, Stephen, quotes this verse in Acts, ruler is substituted for prince, showing these are synonyms or having similar or like meanings. The concepts are then further explained by simple word substitutions. This happens all through the Bible.

Acts 7:35 This Moses whom they refused, saying, Who made thee a ruler and a judge? the same did God send to be a ruler and a deliverer by the hand of the angel which appeared to him in the bush.

In this verse the parallels; ruler and judge, then ruler and deliverer, are made. Ruler is the hinge on which the self defining qualities of this verse are evident. A ruler is a judge, which explains the Book of Judges’ secondary characters (the main character is Christ, the physical image of God, acting on the Godhead’s behalf). A ruler is also a deliverer, which also helps explain that Book. So, the Judges were rulers and deliverers of their people, which is also evident by reading the book.

In the Law of Moses there were conditions for a king’s rule laid out;

Deuteronomy14 ¶ When thou art come unto the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, and shalt possess it, and shalt dwell therein, and shalt say, I will set a king over me, like as all the nations that are about me; 15 Thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom the LORD thy God shall choose: one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee: thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, which is not thy brother. 16 But he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he should multiply horses: forasmuch as the LORD hath said unto you, Ye shall henceforth return no more that way. 17 Neither shall he multiply wives to himself, that his heart turn not away: neither shall he greatly multiply to himself silver and gold. 18 And it shall be, when he sitteth upon the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write him a copy of this law in a book out of that which is before the priests the Levites: 19 And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them: 20 That his heart be not lifted up above his brethren, and that he turn not aside from the commandment, to the right hand, or to the left: to the end that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he, and his children, in the midst of Israel.

In 2nd Samuel we find a further qualification;

2Samuel 23:3 The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.

Even a casual reading of the Old Testament can show you just how the kings of Israel and Judah failed to live up to those qualifications.
In the Bible we find the three branches of our government; the judicial, the legislative, and the executive;

Isaiah 33:22 For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king; he will save us.

By what criteria do you judge the person you would elect as chief executive of your own country? And is there any way to even judge a modern, secular government office with the theocracy of the Hebrew Kingdom of the Old Testament?

What about you, men and women, as the rulers of your families? Do you share the qualifications for kingship as co-heirs in the grace of life?

1Peter 3:7 Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.
What about your standing with each other?

Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

Or is one of you a petty tyrant (and that can be either male or female?) These character traits of a ruler can easily be applied to Christian parenting, much more easily than they can be applied to a secular elected president. What kind of a leader are you in your home? We tend to try to put off the standards of God to people as far away from us as we can get, to our political leaders or to some person in prophecy, but all I am asking you to do is to apply them to yourselves and see where you stand in the order of things. Consider it, please.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Latest Reading

The Sayings of Confucius, translated by Leonard A. Lyall. This is interesting mainly for the history of China. C-man is a bit of a lightweight philosophically, no match for the Buddha, and not even in the same league as the least of the Bible's prophets. But, interesting nonetheless."All the rivers of righteousness flow into the lake of heaven." I think not, Chuckles.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Proverbs 30:18-23 commentary; some things too amazing to me

18 ¶ There be three things which are too wonderful for me, yea, four which I know not: 19 The way of an eagle in the air; the way of a serpent upon a rock; the way of a ship in the midst of the sea; and the way of a man with a maid.

I have heard and read commentators who take these verses and liken them to Christ versus Satan, Christ and the church, or exactly literally what they say; the wonder of an eagle in flight, the beauty of a serpent on a rock, the majesty of a mighty ship on the sea, and the intimate beauty of a man with a maid. However, there is one problem with those explanations. That problem is the next verse;

20 Such is the way of an adulterous woman; she eateth, and wipeth her mouth, and saith, I have done no wickedness.

“Such” links verse 20 with the previous verses. So, as it is too hard for the writer to understand the path of an eagle in flight or that of a serpent on a rock, and there is no trail with which to follow a ship on the sea, and the deceit and guile a man uses to deceive and despoil a young woman is full of trickery and craft, such is the way of a wicked woman who does wrong and then claims innocence. How can these things be, it is said? How can they be understood?

Wonderful is amazing and difficult to understand. See Deuteronomy 28:59 and Job 42:3. But we go on because the word “for” continues to link the previous verses.

21 For three things the earth is disquieted, and for four which it cannot bear: 22 For a servant when he reigneth; and a fool when he is filled with meat; 23 For an odious woman when she is married; and an handmaid that is heir to her mistress.

This section continues with the out of order. A servant who reigns in place of a king is the world turned upside down, as is a fool who is fat and satisfied, an odious woman is one who is despicable as the children of Ammon had made themselves to King David in 1 Chronicles 19:6, and the handmaid who displaces her mistress’ children to be her heir.

But, what can this mean? In the first cases the actions of the eagle, the serpent, the ship, and the man are impossible to predict by the observer. The inclusion of the adulterous woman who hides the evidence of her shame and proclaims her innocence shows that this is about hypocrisy and hidden, secret actions; behavior designed to mislead and deceive.

The parallels go on to express pride and cruelty metaphorically, including the uplifting of those people who are truly unfit to wield power.

The way of an eagle in the air…” In Mark 4:1-20 Jesus uses the fowls of the air in type to represent Satan snatching the word of God from a person’s heart.

“the way of a serpent upon a rock…” In Genesis 3 we have Satan in the guise of a serpent tricking Eve into being a part of his con job, the shill, so to speak, in his 3 Card Monte game, to try to deceive Adam into disobeying God. But Adam was not deceived and disobeyed willingly. See 1 Timothy 2:14.

“the way of a ship in the midst of the sea…” God threatened to send the Hebrews back to slavery in Egypt by ship to be sold into slavery again if they disobeyed as a metaphor for what did happen, their being captured and carried into many different Gentile nations by force. See Deuteronomy 28:68 and compare that with the methods by which they were scattered abroad. Also, remember that Paul is carried to Rome by two ships of Alexandria, perhaps representing the Christian church being carried to Rome by the two great, false Alexandrian Bible manuscripts, Sinaiticus and Vaticanus. See Acts 27:6 and 28:11.

“the way of a man with a maid…” While Paul wanted to present the church as a chaste virgin to Christ (2 Corinthians 11:2) not being tricked out of the simplicity of the gospel of Christ, Satan, as with Eve (2 Corinthians 11:3), like the young man, tricks and uses guile to win the girl’s, or in this place, the church’s affections.

“the way of an adulterous woman…” The “church” of Rome hides its murders, its oppressions, its wicked adulteries with devils, as the whore and mother as well as inheritor of all false religion on earth throughout history (Revelation 17:1-5). Ishtar aka Ashtoreth (1 Kings 11:5), Diana (Acts 19:35), the mother and image of all the variations of the pagan Goddess who reigns over kingdoms from the one holding the statute at New York called the Goddess Liberty Enlightening the World to Amaterasu, the great ancestor of the Japanese emperors, are all part of the same network of the gods/goddesses, the hermaphrodite as the ancient Sumerian gods were, both male and female at once, his Satanic majesty, Lucifer . Just as the Greek historian, Herodotus, informed the world in his The Histories that Baal was the same god as Bel in Babylon who is the same god as Zeus in Greece, all the pagan gods from Virachocha in Peru to Odin in Germany, are manifestations of Satan and many can be found in the Vatican, whose statues have been altered to signify Catholic saints.

In 1976, Pope Paul VI is supposed to have shocked a papal audience by saying, “The smoke of Satan has entered the very sanctuary of St. Peter's Cathedral." The Pope went on to explain that he had knowledge of a midnight hour, Black Satanic Mass having been conducted at the altar of St. Peter's, on the exact spot where the Pope himself regularly says mass.

Archbishop Milingo, a former exorcist and Ugandan born loyal Roman Catholic who has since been excommunicated, had said,

“Now, the third dimension (of evil) is the most dangerous. It is subtle and the most terrible...I could not believe when I discovered this third dimension of evil. The third dimension is people who follow instructions in satanic sects...

Now with this third dimension, I'm sorry to say, our church belongs to it. I'm very sorry, I could not understand myself, and even now I don't understand. But the only consolation I have is that, well, Judas Iscariot was one. Together with Jesus three years, he never changed. Then I understand that the third dimension of evil existed not only now, but it existed even then. Because nothing could change the heart of Judas Iscariot—nothing.”

He also is reported to have said, “The devil in the Catholic Church is so protected now that he is like an animal protected by the government; put on a game preserve that outlaws anyone, especially hunters, from trying to capture or kill it. The devil within the Church today is actually protected by certain Church authorities from the official devil hunter in the Church—the exorcist. So much so that the exorcist today is forbidden to attack the devil. The devil is so protected that the one who is the hunter, the exorcist, is forbidden to do his job.”

Not wonderful by our modern sense of the word but truly amazing. The woman; Ishtar, Diana, Cybele, Aphrodite, Venus, Isis, the Virgin Mary; Mother of God and Queen of heaven as Ishtar was called in ancient Babylon, mixes the symbol of impurity and hypocrisy, leaven (Luke 12:1), into the Roman Catholic, Protestant, and Eastern Orthodox, represented by three measures of meal and all are corrupted. See Matthew 13:33.

Is it not amazing that the second most important temple in Babylon was called The White House and that Ishtar is the patron goddess of liberty and prostitutes? There are more secrets in these few verses to unlock and those secrets could fill books. I’m sure you can discern more with the help of the Holy Spirit.

As far as the unworthy and unfit reigning, can we even consider electing one of two disciples of the harlot to lead us?

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Proverbs 30:17 commentary: Christian parents, unruly children

17 The eye that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it.

As this was written to Hebrews under the Law of Moses and that an uncorrectable son could be stoned to death this Proverb is quite understandable.

Deuteronomy 21:18 ¶ If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them: 19 Then shall his father and his mother lay hold on him, and bring him out unto the elders of his city, and unto the gate of his place; 20 And they shall say unto the elders of his city, This our son is stubborn and rebellious, he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton, and a drunkard. 21 And all the men of his city shall stone him with stones, that he die: so shalt thou put evil away from among you; and all Israel shall hear, and fear.

Under the dispensation of grace given to the Christian church which is not under the Law of Moses nor justified by it, we would spiritualize this as a rather extreme warning to young people not to disrespect their parents and expect to have anything good come of it. Christian children are told;

Ephesians 6:1 ¶ Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. 2 Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) 3 That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.

Christians are not under a national, theocratic legal system as the Hebrews were supposed to be. God was to be their king and these were the rules, both civil and religious for living. Many so called Christians in history have tried to claim that they were simply replacing the Hebrew theocracy and attempted to set up a church-state monstrosity in order to fulfill that twisted dream of replacing the Jews, only not with God as their head, but a king or a pope or even an emperor acting in God’s place. The Eastern Roman Empire, also called the Byzantine Empire, Russia under the Czars, England, and countries ruled by Roman Catholic kings and emperors all attempted to replace the Hebrew theocracy. Even the Puritans in Massachusetts lived under a combination of church and state as one. This is called Replacement Theology. It is my belief when Jesus talks about the “Synagogue of Satan” that’s what He is talking about. Replacement Theology has the Christian Church as the successor to the Hebrew Theocracy of the age of the kingdom ruled by David, Solomon, and their successors.

Revelation 2:9 I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.

Revelation 3:9 Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.

Christianity is different, though. It is the first religion where their god does not dwell in a temple of wood and stone but in their bodies. There were supposed to be no sacred spaces in Christianity outside of the believer’s heart. God dwells inside each believer. Many commentators have even shown how the tabernacle and the temple could be likened to the human body.

God’s rules are not our civil law. They will not be until He personally sits at the head of government during His millennial reign. In America, we are supposed to be living under a secular government, providing assurances that all religions can be practiced without fear or interference except in cases where individual’s rights to life, liberty, and the enjoyment of their personal rights are harmed by said practice. Many people seem to have forgotten this. Just as President Obama lamented how the liberal left had lost its Christian roots in his 2006 speech, “A Call to Renewal” so has the conservative right forgotten that the Founders of this country, even when they were devoutly religious personally, wanted a government that would ensure that all men could worship freely or not at all.

As Ben Franklin said, it was his wish that conditions were such that the Muslim Mufti of Constantinople could preach a sermon in the middle of Philadelphia if he so chose. James Madison, the often called Father of the Constitution, was even against paid chaplains in the military. He felt that religious organizations should provide their own lest their freedom to speak should be hindered by government controls, and this has happened.
But, back to the Proverb. We are not called to stone our unruly children, no matter how much some of you would appreciate the opportunity. These are some of our commands with regard to how we are to treat our children;

Ephesians 6:4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

Colossians 3:21 Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.

(Note: notice the parallel phrasing of these two verses on the same topic, showing by the use of the words how anger and wrath have similar meanings.)

If you are a Christian and you want to act as a Christian parent then I would suggest you begin by having daily devotions with your family, daily prayers and Bible reading. Take their concerns and prayers to heart and show them by example that a day of praising God and being thankful is a far better day than a day complaining about the boss, traffic, or your neighbors. Spend more time relating to them and in God’s word and less time watching the glass toilet or listening to whatever the latest trash Lady GooGoo is spewing and perhaps you won’t ever have to wish you could haul your son before the elders of the city, picking up a few good size rocks on the way.

Have you prayed with your children today? Have you read the Bible to them or with them?

Friday, February 24, 2012

Proverbs 30:15-16 commentary; bloodsucking freaks

15 ¶ The horseleach hath two daughters, crying, Give, give. There are three things that are never satisfied, yea, four things say not, It is enough: 16 The grave; and the barren womb; the earth that is not filled with water; and the fire that saith not, It is enough.

Some commentators refer to verse 15 as those bloodsuckers who are never satisfied with money.

Ecclesiastes 5:10 He that loveth silver shall not be satisfied with silver; nor he that loveth abundance with increase: this is also vanity.

Greedy people are never happy with what they have. Their one addiction, their one passion is simply; more. The horseleach is a bloodsucking creature with suckers at each end. So, each leech has two suckers which may be the basis of the metaphor, two daughters.

These verses about things and, in type, people who are never satisfied, and particularly, who live off others, as in the movie “Other People’s Money” and the like are very powerful verses. Each of the things here are never satisfied; the grave, a woman who wants to have a baby and can’t, drought parched earth, and a consuming fire.

Christians are warned about hungering for money. Some foolish people even insist that having money is proof of Godliness.

1 Timothy 6: 5 Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself. 6 ¶ But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. 9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

Jesus did not say for nothing;

Luke 18:25 For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

And this about wealth;

Luke 16:13 No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon. (Mammon is a Syriac word meaning wealth and by personsification, the god of riches.)

God forbids the charging of interest on loans (Leviticus 25:36, 37) and yet, our banking industry exists for that purpose. He forbids dishonest weights and measures (Deuteronomy 25:13) and demands one standard for all and yet our system of finance is based on inequality and could not survive without it.

Spiritual bloodsuckers abound as well, people who are never satisfied, but demand your life conform to their own personal standards. For instance, some religious leaders are constantly trying to take your Bible, the one God gave you, out of your hands. Instead of teaching you how to spiritually feed yourself they want to spoon feed you and render the Bible impossible to understand without their help.

Their attitude keeps the Christian helpless, a member of not much more than a political party or a social club. They should focus on empowering the Christian to hear what God has to say to him or her directly, not trying to confuse the believer by making the Bible, the principle way God speaks to His people, a tangled mass of confusion.

Teaching the believer how the Bible is written; in dispensational order, using parallel phrasing, cross referencing verses, self defining, so that the believer can pick up the Book throughout the week and receive something from God is absolutely essential. Always remember that Satan’s method is to set up two conflicting authorities and then declare himself the final authority. You will see what the Bible says very plainly to you in your time and then the man doing the work of Satan will point out how that conflicts with something written to someone else at a different time and under different circumstances. He’ll then offer the solution himself. The goal is to get you to look at him rather than at God’s word. The priesthood of all believers and indwelling of the Holy Spirit in each and every Christian are essential doctrines.

But, some people are so hungry to devour God’s people and render them helpless they are never satisfied. The spiritual grave for spiritually dead Christians, the barren womb that produces no spiritual fruit, the thirsty Christian who can never slake his or her thirst with the little water from God’s word they are fed by the ministers of Satan, and the fire that burns away the Christian’s joy and zeal for Christ are always at work and never satisfied. The horseleach has two daughters; the Nicolaitan pulpit, the clergy separate from the laity and above, and those who say they are Jews by trying to put you back under the Law with their replacement theology but are, in reality, the Synagogue of Satan, are always at work trying to destroy the church.

Yes, Satan is a real individual, who runs the kingdoms of the world and has the choice seat in every church council, the highest authority in every seminary, and the bully pulpit in every political campaign. Watch him closely. He’s always hungry.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Proverbs 30:11-14 commentary; there is a generation that ......

11 There is a generation that curseth their father, and doth not bless their mother.
12 There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness. 13 There is a generation, O how lofty are their eyes! and their eyelids are lifted up. 14 There is a generation, whose teeth are as swords, and their jaw teeth as knives, to devour the poor from off the earth, and the needy from among men.

A generation consists of a particular line of descent, of people sharing the same ancestry (Genesis 5:1). We also think of a generation as being a specific group of people living at a certain time (Genesis 7:1).

Mankind has, at various times and various locations, been in such a degraded position that he holds no convention, no tradition as sacred. The Ik tribe of Uganda were reported by anthropologist Colin Turnbull to have suffered so much that they no longer cared for their elderly or their children and acted as if it was a blessing when one died or was taken by a wild animal. In the Thirty Years War in Germany in the 1600’s some historians write that as many as 1/6th of the population of the German states was slaughtered. That would be equivalent to 50 million Americans dying in a Civil War of thirty years length.

Some estimates of the massacre of Christians by other so called Christians throughout the Dark Ages to be also around 50 million for refusing to baptize their infants, for wanting a Bible in their own tongue and working toward that goal, and for refusing to accept the Roman Catholic Mass. Millions of Jews, Gypsies, Homosexuals, and people with physical and mental handicaps were murdered by Nazi Germany during the World War Two era. There is a generation of men and women so degraded as to make any brute beast look like a housepet in behavior.

Under God’s standard of righteousness for the ancient Hebrews there was a penalty for dishonoring your parents.

Exodus 21:15 And he that smiteth his father, or his mother, shall be surely put to death.

Exodus 21:17 And he that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death.

Leviticus 20:9 For every one that curseth his father or his mother shall be surely put to death: he hath cursed his father or his mother; his blood shall be upon him.

Previously, in Proverbs this has been mentioned.

Proverbs 20:20 ¶ Whoso curseth his father or his mother, his lamp shall be put out in obscure darkness.

God particularly, in verse 12, calls out those who think of themselves as pure and yet are not. They are self righteous. Other verses that have talked about someone being clean in their own eyes are;

Proverbs 12:15 The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.

Proverbs 16:2 All the ways of a man are clean in his own eyes; but the LORD weigheth the spirits.

Proverbs 21:2 Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD pondereth the hearts.

The world of people is divided several ways. There are people whose lives revolve around dominating others. Their choices in vocation, entertainment, and friends all reflect their hunger to dominate others and their fear of being dominated. All of their relationships hinge on this crucial point. They are found at every level of life and are weak, pathetic little children in the body of adults, but dangerous, in that they are prone to violence, against others, themselves, or both if their false self is threatened.

Another group of people can never be wrong. They have no capacity for critical self examination. Everything they do must be right, because they did it. They stubbornly look for the smallest loophole in a dispute from which they can blame others even if the evidence overwhelmingly points to their error. By this weakness they make small conflicts irreconciliable unless someone yields to them.

There are others but these two examples will suffice. People who are so proud and full of self worship, their eyes lifted up as if they were without sin themselves. They are more spiritual than you, more manly or womanly than you are, more practical, embued with more common sense, wiser, and just all around superior people. Their personal relationships are dominated by their belief in their superiority. Cruel to parents, spouses, and children: hypercritical and overly competitive, they are never satisfied or content and believe the problem always lies in the inadequacy and shortcomings of those around them. Yet, the problem lies within themselves.

When these people manage to obtain positions of power and preeminence; in business, government, or academia they will abuse their power and privilege without fail, even if they manage to skirt the issue of being exposed for it. And they are drawn to positions of power and authority. They will attack the poorest and the most needy and those less powerful than they are, abusing them and showing their contempt for those who are dominated. The submissive in their eyes, which are those over whom they have power, are weak and stupid and the fact that they are poor and needy shows that they are inferior humans.

Their idea is that if you are poor you want to be poor. If you had any gumption you’d lift yourselves up by your own bootstraps and get ahead. Like in their personal relationships they have a desperate need for those people who are weaker than themselves but they also hold them in absolute contempt. If you are poor, one, it is your fault. Two, you must want to be poor and have made your choices with that design in mind.

These people have no true compassion or empathy for others and when they give in the church it is to make themselves look good or to justify themselves, never simply out of a heart to help those less fortunate, elderly, or in bad circumstances. All their humility is false and any opportunity to express their presumed superiority will be taken. If they are not cruel to their parents physically they will verbally abuse them. You don’t have to strike your parents to show them contempt. These people will denigrate all authority above them and yet expect those under their authority to be worshipful and submissive. Then, they will not understand how someone could show them disrespect, not seeing how they have created an atmosphere of disrespect.

Be wary of people who display any sign of cruelty and arrogance in their speech or actions, who mock others who have failed, lost, or are in desperate straits. Be wary of people who are “large and in charge”, who always want to control and dominate every action or activity in which they are involved, with false humility and humble acceptance that “someone’s got to take charge.”

They can be in the church house or the government house, the board room or the classroom. The Bible reveals them and we would do well to follow it closely.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Thomas Paine's Common Sense Would Not Have Impressed Me

Thomas Paine’s Essay, Common Sense:
An Historical Perspective

Frederick Widdowson

As a loyal, law abiding resident of British Colonial America I would not find the arguments of Thomas Paine’s pamphlet entitled Common Sense a sufficient argument from which to justify turning against the duly constituted authorities to which my allegiance and loyalty were directed. First, it is important to review how Paine’s argument was constructed and my likely reaction to it. Secondly, it is important to explain Common Sense in the context of other pamphlets and literature of the time concerning the issues regarding loyalty to the crown or independence. Thirdly, it is necessary to understand the consequences one would face for not being moved to sedition by Paine’s inflammatory writing.

Paine begins his argument with a description by attempting to differentiate between society and government with society being a preferable result of our own wants and desires. Government is at its best state a necessary evil. Before he goes any further he has a problem with regard to appealing to me. As a Colonial American, in my case a Bible believing Baptist, I know that government is not a necessary evil but a gift from God to ensure the general safety and happiness of people. Paine’s error is the same as some of the so called “Tea Party” enthusiasts of today’s politics, the belief that man is somehow intrinsically good and in no need of close supervision, rules, regulation, or structure and that some mythological free market or natural desire of people to do right will prevail in a truly free, read that anarchic, condition.
The Bible says very clearly that mankind is inherently evil. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” and “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” and again, “....we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.... There is no fear of God before their eyes.”
Paine ignorantly doesn’t understand mankind’s need for a Saviour (the KJV spelling) to deliver him from the consequences of his sinful nature. He makes this statement, “For were the impulses of conscience clear, uniform, and irresistibly obeyed, man would need no other lawgiver.” This flies in the face of the Bible’s clear statements. This Bible, mind you, would probably have been the vehicle by which I learned to read and through which I viewed the world, read every day with the goal of reading it from cover to cover, again and again, as my ancestors did, rather than just as a reference book. This Bible laments on more than one occasion the apostasy of Israel, “every man did that which was right in his own eyes,” and the state of the so called Christian’s conscience in the latter days, “Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron.”
So, from the beginning, Paine is arguing from a false point. Government, even pagan, tyrannical government, for there were no Christian nations when the New Testament was first penned, is instituted at God’s discretion and under His authority. The contents of Romans, chapter 13, would suffice to show that Thomas Paine is not merely at enmity with the King of England, he is at enmity with the King of the universe. Much of the next several pages are minor points to buttress his contention that the English government is, at least, inadequate to govern America and, at most, to govern England. Referring to the “constitutional errors in the English form of government” is the tactic to which I am speaking, ignoring his prostitute reference entirely as being unworthy of mention.”
Paine then has the audacity, after his vulgar reference, to bring in an analogy of Israel’s error in going against God by demanding a king like the nations around them. What he fails to point out in his highly effective use of the Old Testament is that the Christian is constantly reminded of his duty to obey duly constituted legal authority except when that authority violates his duty towards God and that the argument of whether or not Israel should have had a king is backwards from the argument whether or not we should remain loyal to our own. Israel had no king but wanted one. We had a king but Paine was trying to convince us that he was unworthy of our loyalty. Thomas Hobbes said “And therefore, they that are subjects to a monarch cannot without his leave cast off monarchy and return to the confusion of a disunited multitude; nor transfer their person from him that beareth it to another man, other assembly of men...it is injustice.” The Bible itself declares rebellion to be the same as the sin of witchcraft so advocating rebellion is a serious matter.
Paine’s brief review of the recent history of the British monarchy and its preponderance of corrupt monarchs begs a question for common people like me. Loyalists, those who had not chosen the path of rebellion against the king, were rather troubled at the hypocrisy of all of this call for freedom from Great Britain. After all, due to the existing regulations in the state government of Maryland, where my family lived in the Eastern Shore’s Somerset County, only the wealthiest of the gentry could vote so most of us would not be able to participate in the new government begun in 1775. Nearly half of our free, white male population could not vote or hold office so what has been made different by a pursuit of freedom? This is hardly a compelling argument for me to willingly rebel against my king. This revolution appears to be an upper-class revolt and the benefit goes to them. At this point I have no part in it. So, the question for me at this point in Paine’s writing is why should I go against my religious beliefs and my own personal self interest to support his call to action. His call for representative government to replace kingly authority leaves me cold. Why trade one set of tyrants for another? In any event, as a man of modest means I had little power before the revolution but certainly counted on my right to petition the governor for redress of grievances. What I have now is confiscation of property and position because I am not convinced of the necessity or good of this rebellion.
Paine makes this unreasonable statement; “As Britain hath not manifested the least inclination towards a compromise, we may be assured that no terms can be obtained worthy the acceptance of the continent, or any ways equal to the expense of blood and treasure we have been already put to.” On March 5, 1770 Parliament repealed the Townsend duties except the tax on tea. On the same day a bunch of street thugs initiated the so called “Boston Massacre”. For three years America, thanks to the efforts of smugglers, paid virtually no imperial taxes. Agitators like Samuel Adams denied that Parliament had any right to legislate on any matters concerning the American colonies. My point in mentioning these things this way is that no effort on the part of Parliament to compromise would have changed the path on which the lawless, hotheads fired up for release from lawful authority were on. They would have accepted no compromise other than surrender of the American colonies to the wealthy men of position who demanded that freedom.
That the Parliament has the right to tax the colonies in order to defray the cost of their defense should go without argument to any reasonable person. To deny the right of the king to rule, the Parliament to legislate, or the validity of British Constitutional tradition to is a very dangerous path to take that could very well lead not only to civil war but to anarchy, a sad state of affairs for citizens of the greatest empire in the history of the world. Paine comments that a “government of our own is our natural right.” This is to deny that our interests have any representation in the British government. The fact is that nine tenths of British subjects do not choose their own representatives but are represented, if not actually, at least virtually as “”every Member sits in the House not as representative of his own constituents but as one of that august assembly by which all the commons of Great Britain are represented.” As we are colonies of Great Britain, our interests are served by the interests of Great Britain.
Finally, while his talk of building a navy and the paper tiger aspect of Britain’s Navy sounds interesting as does his brief mention of freedom of religion, at this point I wouldn’t trust him and would think him but talking through his hat. Britain’s Navy keeps us safe from foreign invasion taking place, which at the time of Paine’s writing does not appear on the horizon either. As I said, and as my opinion is the object of this paper, Thomas Paine’s arguments would not have influenced me to participate in a rebellion against the King’s or Parliament’s authority.

Before Paine’s pamphlet the most influential spokesman for the colonial position had been another pamphleteer, John Dickinson, whose Letters of a Pennsylvania Farmer were the best selling and most widely read pamphlets in American history until Common Sense. Dickinson’s arguments were more conciliatory than Paine’s, appealing to British law, constitution, and custom in opposition to Paine’s trashing of the same. He says, “Let us behave like dutiful children who have received unmerited blows from a beloved parent. Let us complain to our parent: but let our complaints speak at the same time the language of affection and veneration.”
Previously to this, with regard to writings of some significance, was Silas Downer’s Discourse Delivered in Providence. In it, he says “government is necessary.” Perhaps, I suspect, Thomas Paine was parodying that line when he gave his statement on the evil of government I referenced earlier in the paper. Downer is more concerned with ceasing all trade with Great Britain than being completely discharged from duty to it and includes in his “Sons of Liberty” people in other possessions of Great Britain and in Britain itself. It does not appear to be a truly revolutionary manuscript such as Common Sense.
Speaking from the other side is Jonathan Boucher who points out how part of the reason for the revolt was the immense debt owed to the merchants of Great Britain by the “great men” of the colonies. This need to preserve wealth will become a factor later in the construction of the Constitution, in the opinion of at least one prominent historian, Charles Beard. Boucher’s On Civil Liberty, Passive Obedience, and Nonresistance, written and preached in 1775, opposed the inexorable move toward declaring independence.

Finally, the consequences of my decision not to be influenced by the writings of Thomas Paine to the effect of rebelling against my king are clear. I can be forced into exile like Jonathan Boucher or into service in a Loyalist regiment like Somerset County Sheriff Caleb Jones, which, eventually resulted in the same exile at the end of the war.
If I did not go along with the powerful crowd who wished to revolt from Great Britain and was not swept up in the frenzy created by Common Sense, and the majority of Americans were not, then I would face exile, imprisonment, confiscation of property, and possibly death. As history has revealed to us nearly 100,000 Americans had to flee the country, most never to return, in America’s first Civil War.
Postscript: Although this has been a mental exercise in order to honestly answer the questions posed, most notably, would I have been convinced by Paine’s Common Sense, I just want to clear the record that my family did not come to America until 1810 and did not settle in Somerset County until 1903. I, in reality, would have missed the revolution. In hindsight, knowing what I know now, I would have supported the revolution due to the hideous atrocities of the British Empire and the mess it left the world under its control in after the dissolution of its power. But, those are subjects for another paper in another class I suppose. I honestly don’t believe, at that time, that Paine would have influenced me to join the rebellion.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Latest Reading

King James IV of Scotland: I of England by Lady Antonia Fraser. This is a very well written and interesting account of the life and reign of King James I of England. It is worth the effort to read if you are interested in the subject.

Proverbs 30:10 commentary; don't judge other Christian's convictions

10 ¶ Accuse not a servant unto his master, lest he curse thee, and thou be found guilty.

Good advice to a busybody Hebrew but what does it say to a modern Christian? The accusation, by context, is a false one, as the accuser is the one who faces the curse.

Paul, in talking to Christians about not judging each other’s convictions, says this;

Romans 14:4 Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.

And again he tells us in the same context;

Romans 14:13 Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.

(On a side note, “rather” is used to say “more importantly” as in the following;

2Corinthians 5:8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.)

It is Satan who is the great accuser of the brethren.

Revelation 12:10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.

When it is a matter of convictions and not of a violation of God’s clear standards and open sin, then the Christian is not to accuse another of God’s servants before that servant’s only master; God. Standing at the Judgment Seat of Christ (Romans 14:10; 2 Corinthians 5:10) we do not want to have Christ point out that we spent a great deal of time as a busybody sticking our nose into other Christian’s convictions and attacking them, accusing them falsely of disobedience to God when it was a matter of our liberty in Christ.

Christians, particularly those who claim to be Bible believers, tend to judge other Christians by their political beliefs, manner of dress, and personal convictions more than they do by their love for Christ through His words in His Book. When it is a matter of heresy or sin as defined in the Bible that is one matter but when it is a matter of a Christian’s personal beliefs and convictions that is another.

Here is an example for us Fundamentalists. Many of us know the exact day we believed, even the hour. Others know that they realized the truth about Christ during a summer Bible study or through a series of evangelistic meetings. The former think they can pinpoint the hour and minute they were saved and the latter simply know that before they were unbelievers but afterwards they were saved. The former often attacks the latter in a petty manner insisting if you don’t know the time and the hour you could not have been saved. This can drive people from the church assembly. It is unfair and unreasonable to assume that everyone knows the minute they believed. It’s not always that way. I do remember one Wednesday night in March, the 19th to be sure, in 1986, when Beth prayed with me for my salvation confirming what I already had come to believe by a process of the Holy Spirit’s working in my life. Was I saved at that point or was that a confirmation of my salvation at an earlier time when my soul believed who the Christ of the Bible was and that He died and rose from the dead for me?
What if someone said, I can’t tell you the date or day but during the Bible study with Pastor so and so I came to realize that I needed to believe and trust in Christ and that I did? Does that make them a faker because they can’t give me the time or day? I don’t think so. The question for both of us is do we believe? Salvation is predicated upon belief in Christ only. Read Acts 16:31 and Romans 10:9-10. There is no mention of “and can relate the day and the hour it happened.”

Another peculiar notion is the one where our salvation experience is based on, in someone else’s imagination, if our life changed completely at the point we believed. Some had a tremendous change in their lives at that moment. Sins fell away like rotten clothing and they were completely changed. Others, like myself, struggled with sin and it took God’s words speaking to me over many years through His Book to relieve me of many of the burdens of sin under which I suffered. The first person might say, well you weren’t saved, if you didn’t immediately achieve perfection. They’ll point out 2 Corinthians 5:17 as if they no longer struggle with sin. And yet, Paul, whom they will say is the greatest Christian who ever lived, in Romans 7:14-25, still struggled with sin in his flesh. Since it is spiritually and intellectually dishonest to interpret one passage in the part of the Bible that is doctrinally applicable to your dispensational era in contradiction to another we aren’t warranted in saying that the person who doesn’t stop sinning when they are saved isn’t really saved. Some will say that once you are saved sin doesn’t have dominion over you but you still struggle with the wicked demands of the flesh, with victory only being possible in Christ, through prayer and through the Holy Spirit speaking to your spiritual heart through God’s words.

So, be careful in judging other Christians. It’s best not to do it at all. Judge heresy, sin, apathy toward the calling of God, and corrupting His word, but not conviction. The proof of the pudding is in the eating. People watch our lives, as they are the only Bible many people will ever read. Judge a righteous judgment and remember, as the oft abused passage in Matthew 7 teaches (and does not contradict anything in the books written directly to Christians), you may be judged by the same standard in which you use. In all things, remember this passage in James, a letter written to Jewish believers in the earliest days of the church after Christ’s ascension and applying also to the tribulation era to come but without any contradiction in our doctrine;

James 2:13 For he shall have judgment without mercy, that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Proverbs 30:7 commentary; neither rich nor poor

7 ¶ Two things have I required of thee; deny me them not before I die: 8 Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: 9 Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is the LORD? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the name of my God in vain.

In keeping with this prayer there are several verses worth reading. Would that our spiritual and political leaders would pray this prayer. Would that Christian parents would instill this ideal in their children.

Isaiah 59:4 None calleth for justice, nor any pleadeth for truth: they trust in vanity, and speak lies; they conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity.

Jeremiah 16:19 O LORD, my strength, and my fortress, and my refuge in the day of affliction, the Gentiles shall come unto thee from the ends of the earth, and shall say, Surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there is no profit.

Ezekiel 13:8 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Because ye have spoken vanity, and seen lies, therefore, behold, I am against you, saith the Lord GOD. 9 And mine hand shall be upon the prophets that see vanity, and that divine lies: they shall not be in the assembly of my people, neither shall they be written in the writing of the house of Israel, neither shall they enter into the land of Israel; and ye shall know that I am the Lord GOD.

Ezekiel 22:28 And her prophets have daubed them with untempered morter, seeing vanity, and divining lies unto them, saying, Thus saith the Lord GOD, when the LORD hath not spoken.

The good, old fashioned American dream of being rich and living a life of leisure is not in keeping with God’s plans for Christians.

Proverbs 23:4 Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom.

Luke 16:13 No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

1Timothy 6:17 Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;

Poverty, as some of us know firsthand, is terribly inconvenient. There are many verses regarding the need to help someone who is poor and it is so well understood that being poor is not a desirable thing in our culture that I need not post verses regarding it only to say that Christ became poor so that He might make us rich in all spiritual things.

2Corinthians 8:9 For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.

Christians are told;

1Timothy 6:8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.

We can apply these verses literally to us in that we seek neither to be rich or poor in a worldly sense. In order for Christians to achieve this they are told to work with their own hands and mind their own business and give generously to those in true need.

1 Thessalonians 4:11 And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; 12 That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.

Ephesians 4:28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.

These verses in Proverbs show us how wealth can produce apathy toward God and the things of God and how poverty can influence one’s actions to bring shame on the cause of Christ. This reminds me of the famous film noir, Scarlet Street, where a friend of Edward G. Robinson’s character says that he doesn’t like Sundays. He doesn’t know what to do with himself. This apathy, this nonchalance in a culture that lifted up Sunday as a day to worship the Lord is typical of the person who says in his heart, “I have a home. I have a job. What do I need with Christ?”

It is good to have enough. It is not good to have too little. It is rarely good to have too much. In all things we should seek what God would have us to have and enjoy in this life giving liberally to others in need. Remembering;

1 Corinthians 3:21 ¶ Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are yours; 22 Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; 23 And ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Proverbs 30:6 commentary; don't add to God's words, Pharisee

6 Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.

Deuteronomy 4:2 Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.

You can easily look at this in many ways. The first and most literal sense is to not add to God’s commandments or take away from them. The Pharisee did this and still does.

Mark 7:7 Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. 8 For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. 9 And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.

What often happens today is that men and women in the church will mistake their own convictions, obsessions, or fears for God’s commandments and try to impose those convictions on others as a sign that the others are indeed saved. Often, the modern day Pharisee will change the Biblical meaning of words and phrases like breeches, perfect, sodomite, and house of God to suit their own desire to control others in the congregation and to justify themselves, thereby attacking the very foundation of their convictions, the Bible.

We have added many things to our worship over the centuries and these things aren’t necessarily bad. Although there were some laws in the Massachusetts Bay Colony as early as 1641 for teaching children the Bible and in Berks and Montgomery counties and Ephrata, Pennsylvania in the early 1700’s the modern Sunday School movement was begun in England in the late 1700’s by a man named Robert Raikes, concerned about the education of factory working children who had no time to learn reading, writing, and arithmetic at other times than Sunday. It eventually became a standard in American churches and, as education increased across the country it became what it is today, instruction in the Bible. Sunday School is a good thing as long as we don’t beat someone over the head with it because they can’t attend due to work, sickness, or other unavoidable circumstances.

Another example is that Christians in the New Testament met in people’s homes. There were not buildings set aside for church meetings solely until late in the second century. The Emperor Constantine set the Christianity he promoted off on a massive building spree in keeping with his Roman values. Is a church building bad? Of course, not, as long as we don’t limit our service to God as only being possible when connected to that building. I, for one, am thankful to have a nice building in which to worship but as one famous Christian said, and I paraphrase John Newton, let him who worships under a steeple not condemn him that worships under a chimney.

So, we have added things to our worship. Speaking of steeples, architect Christopher Wren invented the modern steeple after London was destroyed by fire in 1662. They’re often beautiful, are they not, and identifiers that you are approaching a building where a church meets.

We added the pulpit over time from the Latin word pulpitum for a raised platform. That started around 250AD as the chairs set aside for the visiting apostles were replaced. They were called cathedra or thrones as in the pope of the Roman Catholics speaking ex cathedra or from the throne. The pews were added in the Middle Ages and the railing between the preacher and the people a couple of hundred years ago.

The frontier Methodists gave us the “old fashioned revival” meetings with the altar in front of the pulpit as those wanting to be saved walked the old sawdust trail, as the aisle was called, up front to pray in front of the rest of the people. The modern revival meeting isn’t very old. John Wesley popularized the Wednesday night prayer service when the advent of gaslights made that more feasible. Good things, yes. Something to be added to our opinion of the legitimacy of someone’s salvation experience, no.
Finally, as is clear by 1 Corinthians 14 the early church was participatory with everyone having a part to play but now it’s often a one man show unless you want to add the choir or singers. And in fundamentalist churches at least, Philip the evangelist and his preaching daughters would not be welcome (Acts 21:8,9). But, in the early church everyone played a part. It was Rome who elevated the bishop to being the only one doing any exhortation and preaching or prophesying and Martin Luther who helped make the sermon the central focus of the service rather than the Roman mass and it was the Puritan’s who insisted that the weekly sermon was the principle way that God spoke to His people. A potentially chaotic and divisive worship was given order and consistency over time.

So, we’ve added a lot of things to our worship. We could go on about D.L. Moody’s bus, I mean, wagon ministry and other things. Those things aren’t in and of themselves bad. But when we start adding rules and using our order of worship as an example of what is proper and holy and then condemn others who don’t follow our ways we start adding to God’s word. Once again, you are not justified by the Law and you are not justified in using either it or your personal convictions or manmade traditions into bashing other people in the head. Mankind has a big enough sin problem without you making it worse.

And again, those who diminish or take away from God’s word are practicing the same error: church bodies that downgrade sin to the level of an error or a mistake or not even a sin at all. People whose lifestyles are actively supporting sin are even put into the ranks of leadership. All of this is wickedness. But, this Proverb is only talking about adding to God’s words so we’ll save the rant on diminishing His word for later.

We have enough to be concerned with in letting God change our wicked hearts through His words in His Bible without adding layer upon layer of rules and regulations to God’s perfect and complete standard of righteousness. You have no right to put more burdens on people’s backs after Christ has relieved them of their burdens. Remember how Jesus handled the self righteous religious folk of His day.

If what God has said isn’t enough for you, Pharisee, and if you are more concerned with pleasing your own flesh rather than worshipping God in a way that’s pleasing to Him and you just can’t be satisfied with the spirituality and holiness of the person in the pew next to you but feel they need to be more like yourself to be closer to God then this verse will come back to bite you one day when you stand before the judgment seat of Christ and find that you have strained at a gnat and swallowed a camel.(Matthew 23:23,24)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Proverbs 30:5 commentary; every word of God

5 Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.

I believe in two fundamental doctrines regarding the Bible. The first is that the Bible, in its entirety, was given by inspiration of God. This means that God gave original writers, later translators, copyists, and even the church the wisdom and understanding to put down on paper what God wanted us to have, discarding that which was not given by inspiration. The translators of the Authorized Version had been given that inspiration as the power of that Book in the lives of those who actually submit to it rather than to a celebrity preacher attest. No other Bible has the cross referencing, parallel phrasing, key words, or replacement wording that the KJB has for self definition and understanding. This is not “God breathed” or dictated word for word as Jeremiah 36 shows but given by inspiration.

Job 32:8 But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.

2Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

(Anyone can understand that Timothy, being raised with scripture, could not have had the original writings of Moses and the prophets. Therefore, the all scripture refers to all scripture, including copies and translations.)

2Peter 3:15 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;

Secondly, I believe in the doctrine of preservation. God preserved the Bible He gave by inspiration. If He was not capable of that how do you know He is capable of saving you?

Psalm 12:6 The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. 7 Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.

Psalm 119:89 LAMED. For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.

The power of the King James Bible, the Authorized Version, to save and sanctify those who read it seeking to gain something from it, believing, is only one proof of it being the preserved word of God, given by inspiration.
God is a shield to those who put their trust in Him through His pure word. I depend on God’s word to keep me from sin. I have only been disappointed when I willfully have chosen sin but that isn’t a failing in the word but in me. There are things I have, in times past, enjoyed partaking in that I no longer can even stomach, those things repel me. The Bible has given me a deeper love for my family, more tolerance for those around me, a desire to glorify Christ, and to hear and read the word every day to as much an extent as possible.

I am not perfect and complete and will not ever be so in this life. In many ways you reading this are probably far superior to me in spirituality and character. However, I am completely dependent on God’s word to set me apart, to sanctify me, for any use, no matter how small or unimportant to you, that God may have for me.

When you are dependent on God’s word you can’t get puffed up. You didn’t do anything to become prideful for, as everything you have you received, and did not get on your own and do not possess on your own.

1Corinthians 4:7 For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?

I know my weaknesses and my faults and, although I have stumbled in the past, I know what situations not to permit myself to step into, lest I fall down. But, the Bible has, from the inside, done a work in me. My feelings and desires about everything from alcohol to horror movies has been changed through the word. I don’t crave, desire, enjoy or even like certain things I used to and there are things I enjoy immensely, like hearing and reading God’s word, that I didn’t enjoy beforetime.

If you simply read God’s word every day, for instance, as Bishop Becke of the 16th century referring to a precursor to the King James Bible or Dean John Burgon in the 19th century said, a half hour a day without interruption you will voluntarily without any act of willpower or hope of self improvement give up a great many things of the world and add a great many things of God.

I suspect most Christians will not read the Bible like that from cover to cover simply because they are afraid of what might happen. Will they be turned from their favorite sport? A favorite vice, like gambling? What about their idolatry? Foul language? Worship of self? Bigotry and hatred? I challenge you to read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation through twice each year apart from any Bible study or sermon preparation. Read it consistently, at the same time each day. And don’t forget to pray over it and about it, asking the Holy Spirit for help and guidance, as prayer is essential to understanding the word of God.

Ephesians 6:17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: 18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

Faith in God is a shield to all them who put their trust in Him through His word. Note our Proverb and this;

Ephesians 6:15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

Read or hear God’s word every day for at least a half an hour. Pray. Expect something to happen. It will. No more will you have to be frustrated at your failure. Let God do the work.

As Dr. Ruckman has said, “either this Book will keep you from your sins, or your sins will keep you from this Book.”

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Proverbs 30:4 commentary; Christ and God the Father

4 Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? who hath gathered the wind in his fists? who hath bound the waters in a garment? who hath established all the ends of the earth? what is his name, and what is his son’s name, if thou canst tell?

This is a clear reference to God with metaphorical imagery regarding the power and immensity of His divine nature. The answer to the three questions here; about the ability to move between heaven and earth at will, to control the elements, and to create and make sure every part of the earth, is definitely only one entity, the God of the Bible.

The Jew might say that the reference to God’s Son is a reference to Israel because of Exodus 4:22.

Exodus 4:22 And thou shalt say unto Pharaoh, Thus saith the LORD, Israel is my son, even my firstborn:

However, within the context of creating, sustaining, and controlling the prophetic answer is the Lord Jesus Christ.

John 1:18 No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

It is Christ by whom all things were made and by whom all things are sustained and held together.

John 1:3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.

Colossians 1:16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: 17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

As man is composed of three distinct parts (1Thessalonians 5:23) God consists of God the Father which is the soul of the Godhead, directing His will and His sovereignty while the Holy Spirit is the active Spirit of God throughout existence. Christ is the body of the Godhead, so to speak, the visible image of God, or God the Son.

Colossians 1:15 Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:

Hebrews 1:3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person,

And yet, is God himself, as well.

John 14:9 Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Shew us the Father?

John 10:30 I and my Father are one.

John 5:18 Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God.

Philippians 2:6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

He has ascended into heaven and descended to earth.

John 3:13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Proverbs 30:1-3 commentary; Agur's prophecy begins

1 ¶ The words of Agur the son of Jakeh, even the prophecy: the man spake unto Ithiel, even unto Ithiel and Ucal, 2 Surely I am more brutish than any man, and have not the understanding of a man. 3 I neither learned wisdom, nor have the knowledge of the holy.

What follows is prophecy. What is prophecy? It is foretelling as in revealing what God has revealed to the prophet and it is “forthtelling” or preaching God’s word.

Prophets preach. They are preachers.

Nehemiah 6:7 And thou hast also appointed prophets to preach of thee at Jerusalem, saying, There is a king in Judah: and now shall it be reported to the king according to these words. Come now therefore, and let us take counsel together.

When a modern day preacher exhorts to holiness, to obey the commands given by the Holy Spirit through Paul in the letters which are doctrine for the Christian, he is doing the work of a prophet.

Acts 15:32 And Judas and Silas, being prophets also themselves, exhorted the brethren with many words, and confirmed them.

Notice here how the word “even” links “the prophecy” as being “The words of Agur the son of Jakeh.” In this context these two things are the same as each other. The words that follow are then prophecy. This method of understanding easiest seen first in Genesis 6:17;

Genesis 6:17 And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die.

…goes on to show us who the Angel of the Lord and the Angel of God were throughout the Old Testament.

Galatians 4:14 And my temptation which was in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected; but received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus.

Judges 2:1 And an angel of the LORD came up from Gilgal to Bochim, and said, I made you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you unto the land which I sware unto your fathers; and I said, I will never break my covenant with you.

For those who balk at this, who have been confused by the Persian definition of a winged angel as a distinct creature, brought into Christianity by the Roman church, let me point out that an angel is an appearance of someone, a representative, who is for all practical purposes that person, nation, or church. There are no angels with wings in the Bible.

Isaiah 63:9 In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old.

But back to the Proverb.

God knows what is going to happen and occasionally, for His own purposes, He reveals them.

Isaiah 42:9 Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them.

Agur does a few things here. He humbles himself as not even having the wisdom of most men. He claims he’s more brutish than any man, that is, he is the lowest of the low in intelligence (Psalm 92:6). He claims to not have wisdom or personal knowledge of “the holy.” Here is someone who is going to deliver what he has gathered, collected, or heard. It’s not from him. He’s too common and stupid to even understand what he’s going to say. By making these claims he is focusing the reader on the message, not the messenger, as unfortunately many modern day celebrity preachers do.
What follows is nothing short of revolutionary and disturbing in its implications. Stay tuned.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Proverbs 29:27 commentary; the wicked and the just are an abomination to each other

27 ¶ An unjust man is an abomination to the just: and he that is upright in the way is abomination to the wicked.

What is an unjust man? He is deceitful.

Psalm 43:1 Judge me, O God, and plead my cause against an ungodly nation: O deliver me from the deceitful and unjust man.

Notice that usually in the Bible things joined by “and” are synonymous. This is one way that the Bible defines its own terms and lays out doctrines.
The unjust man is wicked as it shows in the following verse just as it shows in the one we’re studying.

Proverbs 11:7 When a wicked man dieth, his expectation shall perish: and the hope of unjust men perisheth.

Notice that usually in the Bible things that the phrase that comes after a colon further defines the intent of the phrase preceding a colon.
Who is upright? This verse in Proverbs reveals that as the unjust man is wicked, the just man is upright. Note how after the colon a similar thought is presented in reverse order helping to reinforce the first thought.
He is pure.

Job 8:6 If thou wert pure and upright; surely now he would awake for thee, and make the habitation of thy righteousness prosperous.

He neither participates in presumptuous sins or great transgressions, and it is God who makes that possible. Note that the prayer is that if God keeps the servant from those sins then he shall be upright.

Psalm 19:13 Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.

If he is truly upright in heart he is constantly rejoicing, is glad in the Lord, and is righteous.

Psalm 32:11 Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart.

The upright can’t take any credit for anything he does that is good or doesn’t do that is evil because his uprightness is a work of God. It is Christ that makes us just and upright. We are saved by what He did not by what we have done.

The wicked, unjust and the saved just and upright can’t stand each other. Nor should they?

2Corinthians 6:15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?

But, don’t assume that there are no wicked, unjust in the church and that this is merely a reference to the unsaved. We are to have compassion for the lost, a concern for their souls, and a love for them that leads us to tell them the Gospel and let God do His work in their hearts. However, there are plenty of people sitting passively in pews across America on Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday even that are as wicked and unjust as any child of Satan. But, as one writer from the 1800’s put it, “men often get out of their faith what they bring to it,” so just as a church can be led by a man seeking God’s own heart it can also be led by a malignant, narcissistic psychopath. Just as a person sitting in a pew, or in the case of a house church, someone’s living room, may be a humble saint of God they might also be a hateful, paranoid, and deceitful infidel.

The wicked can’t stand the just. The very presence of a person saved by the grace of God humbly trying to draw close to God through His word drives the wicked to distraction. But the just should also not be able to stand the presence of the wicked in the assembly. The lack of discernment and the ability to judge the spiritual from the worldly and even the Satanic is one of the failings of the modern church.

Why? Because Christians don’t know the Bible that God gave them, the principle means by which God speaks to His people. They know what they’ve been told from the agendas of people who want to control them but they are usually not willing to sit with God and pray that the Holy Spirit guide and teach them as they read and pray. They have no discernment because they will not have the God whom they say they love so much as speak to their heart through His words in His Book.

Pick up your Bible. Read it from Genesis to Revelation or as the backcountry Christian said, “from Generation to Resolution,” and come to it expecting something, praying to God for guidance and light.

This failure is why most Christians wouldn’t know a wicked man in the assembly if he walked up and handed them a card introducing himself as Mr. Wicked of the firm of Wicked, Deceitful, and Unjust Inc. Sadly, most Christians are so much like the world the wicked can’t possibly be offended by them because they are unrecognizable from the wicked. Think on this verse in Proverbs some, will you?

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Proverbs 29:26; seek favor from God not man

26 ¶ Many seek the ruler’s favour; but every man’s judgment cometh from the LORD.

Literally, to the Hebrew, this would have been a wise piece of keen advice. You may seek the ruler’s commendation, his approval, but when all is said and done anything you receive is from the Lord. We, as finite human beings, truly don’t know and realize all of the reasons that the Lord permits things to happen for us.

We attempt to make the best of our lives, to select a school to go to or a trade to learn, a spouse to marry, a car to drive, a home to live in, and on and on but what we don’t realize is that while we seek a certain conclusion to life’s questions and uncertainties in one direction, the answer comes from the Lord.

God’s will is called directed and permissive. It is directed when He purposely does something to you or for you. It is permissive when He allows something to happen to you. You actually get only one choice in life. Who will you follow? Will you follow the Lord? Worship your Self? The world? People can be divided down into those few who know that everything comes from the hand of God ultimately, those who believe that they are the captains of their own fates and the masters of their own destiny, and those who just want what the world system has to offer and hope for a relatively painless existence. But, although we may seek favor from the world, every single one of us receives good or bad from God.

You may stand before a judge and beg his mercy but if you get it then it is the Lord’s mercy because the judge’s mind will be directed, unknown to him, by the Lord. You will apply for a job, having never once asked God to direct you, following your own will, but it is God who will determine whether the employer will offer you the job. How does He have time to do all of these things for all of these people? He has eternity to answer our finite prayers and to direct our finite lives.

Follow the God of the Bible through Jesus Christ. Seek favor from him alone. That is ultimately the source of all judgment.

Exodus 7:13 And he hardened Pharaoh’s heart, that he hearkened not unto them; as the LORD had said.

For Saul’s disobedience and vanity his heart was troubled by the Lord.

1Samuel 16:14 But the Spirit of the LORD departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the LORD troubled him.

Man does not direct his own steps.

Jeremiah 10:23 O LORD, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.

Why did God permit you to do evil? Because you are evil. Why did God save you in spite of yourself? Because of His mercy, because He is good. Each day all of your choices can be boiled down to one choice you make repeatedly throughout the day. Whom do you follow? Who is your master?

Outside of that you have very little control. You can prepare yourself with a Harvard education, a lifetime fitness plan, a nutritionist, and the best medical care on the planet. Then you can die of an aneurysm at the age of twenty five.

You can seek every good citizen award, be knighted by the Queen, given a medal by the President, and then have someone plant drugs in your car or porn on your computer and go down in flames before the public. The seeds of your greatest failure are often sown in the ecstasy of your greatest success. God is in control, not you.

Now is the time to follow Christ, to believe in Him, and to trust Him for eternal life. Now is the time to acknowledge God’s hand in everything and seek to obey Him but most of all to be thankful. Now is the time to understand that God has a purpose for your life. Life requires too many miracles of inanimate, dead things to be a random accident. No one has ever seen or performed an experiment where biological life was created from inert matter. Life always comes from life. God created you, He controls your destiny, and even directs your will. You seek whom you will follow, obey, trust, and worship.

When you seek favor from a ruler, a boss, a VIP of any stripe, remember, what you receive will be from the Lord based on His will for you. This is one reason we are told to be constantly in a state of prayer, keeping our minds on God.

Romans 12:12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;

1Thessalonians 5:17 Pray without ceasing.

So, today, try this exercise out and let me know what happens. Seek God’s will in everything you do. Do everything for the glory of God. Be thankful for your food committing it to your body and your body to the service of God.

Romans12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

And remember, when you ask someone for something or seek their approval, what you get will come from God. Don’t curse your bad luck or blame the Devil who, as we learn from the book of Job can do nothing to you that God hasn’t permitted him to do. There is a purpose.

Remember that Jesus told Pilate that Pilate could do nothing to Him without God’s permission?

John 19:11 Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.

So, choose this day who you will serve and whose favor you will seek. But know that in the end what happens comes from God.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Proverbs 29:25 commentary: safe in the Lord

25 ¶ The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe.

This is a tough one for Christians. We are not to fear men but to put our trust in the Lord.

Psalm 118:8 It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.

Psalm 118:9 It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes.

But for a thousand years, Christians who refused to baptize their newborns, or as in the command of Charlemagne, up to a month old, were fined, imprisoned, had their land and children taken, and were often murdered. Some historians estimate that the slaughter of Christians by the state churches of Rome and Constantinople as well as even Zurich where the famous “reformer” Zwingli had ordered them tied into sacks and drowned in Lake Zurich, in Germany where they were stripped, beaten, and exiled and if they returned killed to the number of between 5 million and 50 million. Luther hated those Christians who refused to baptize their infants. While the Eastern Roman Empire murdered hundreds of thousands of Paulicians the Church at Rome is estimated to have killed nearly a million dissenting Vaudois Christians whose doctrinal beliefs were established in the valleys of the Alps by missionaries from Antioch, Syria in the second century. Some writers speak of an average of 400 executions per day throughout Europe in that thousand year period with charges of witchcraft being also laid at the dissenters feet and curious, bloodthirsty crowds of tens of thousands enjoying some spectacles. Medieval Catholic and Protestant Europe’s bloodthirsty lust for the blood of Christian martyrs made the Aztecs look wimpy by comparison.

Tens of millions of Christians weren’t safe physically by trusting in the Lord were they?

As Greek philosophy and pagan religion became mingled with the simplicity of the Christian message in the second century and people began worshipping in “church buildings” rather than in simple homes things began to change. When Christianity was coopted by pagan Rome in the fourth century and the Emperor Constantine made it the state religion the Roman concept of massive and beautiful buildings became the ideal. Along with the heresies introduced with “church buildings” in the second century from Greek and Roman religion was the concept that Baptism, rather than being a type of salvation, as the Bible clearly states in the doctrines to the Christian, was the means by which people were saved, that being ‘born again’ wasn’t as much by simple faith in Christ but by ritual observance, raising Baptism to a level of importance that Circumcision had for the infant Jew. Again, taken straight from pagan mystery religions this heresy became dominant in the Greco-Roman Christianity.

Christians who rejected this notion were tortured. Christians who denied this notion were murdered. Christians who refused this notion were put in prison. Tens of millions of Christians weren’t safe physically by trusting in the Lord were they?

In Pagan Rome religion was the bulwark of the state. To deny the Roman observance of religion; the temples where the god’s dwell, the emperor as a living god of the state where even Augustus signed documents as the “son of god”, the gods and goddesses of the field, of the nursing mother, of the hearth and home, and the thousands upon thousands of gods and goddesses of every facet of human life was to be unpatriotic and a hater of humanity.

The Bible believing Christian, whether it be the Old Latin of the Byzantine textual line, the Syriac Peshitta, the Gothic Bible, or any number of old versions of the Bible, had to face a pagan Christianity that said that God resided in a church building, that you came to church to “meet with God”, that you kneeled at an altar to “do business with God”, and that’s where God met with you and nowhere else, that a Pastor was really a priest like in the Hebrew religion, a “man of God” like a prophet of the Old Testament, and that to obey the Pastor was to obey God. The order of worship of the early Christians, singing psalms, praying for each other, reading from the Scriptures, some with the gift of preaching and prophesying offering their understanding of Scriptures, with people freely and joyfully exercising the gifts of teaching, hospitality, and charity toward each other became instead a structured Greco-Roman ritual. Pulpits, chairs as thrones, choirs, stained glass windows depicting important Bible scenes, and eventually pews were added as fitting for a state religion with order and Roman structure. Christians who dissented, who worshipped apart from the state sanctioned church were punished, many hunted down and killed like criminals.

Even today there are those who say there is no Holy Spirit in the believer, that it resides only in the church organization, just as there are some who say that you can’t serve God outside of the church organization. Those Christians who refused to consent to the edifice of the state church were murdered and imprisoned.

Throughout history Christians went against the prevailing laws and copied and wrote and translated the Bible into their own native tongue, sought out the Holy Spirit and a spirit filled Pastor to teach them, and constantly talked about the power of the words of God, experiencing it in their dailiy lives. And for that they were murdered and imprisoned by the tens of thousands, the hundreds of thousands, and the millions.

Those Christians weren’t safe trusting in the Lord, were they?

But what does it mean to be safe?

Psalm 119:117 Hold thou me up, and I shall be safe: and I will have respect unto thy statutes continually.

Isaiah 26:3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

Were Christians promised a life free from persecution? Were those people who believed the Bible that the temple of God was their body and that He did not reside in dwellings of stone and wood, that the church was the people of God meeting, that the house of God was the family of God, that believers were saved by God’s response to their faith in Christ, that no building, ritual, so called sacrament, or observance had any saving power, who were called atheists and haters of humanity, unpatriotic, and heretics betrayed by a belief in a protecting God? Did those people who believed, as the Bible teaches, that there are no sacred spaces in Christianity outside of the born again heart get fooled by a promise that they would never suffer wrong? As pagan Christianity ruled the western world should these true Chrsitians simply have gone along to get along?

The Bible says that the god of this world keeps men from Christ in 2 Corinthians 4:4. Clearly the god of this world isn’t the God of the Bible. Jesus warned His Jewish followers to expect this from the world.

John 15:18 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.

John 16:2 They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.

Paul warned a young Pastor.

2Timothy 3:12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution

The promise to the Christian was a guarantee of persecution in this world but a promise of Christ’s encouragement, love, support, and of His eventual triumph over the world, and most of all to lay hold onto eternal life through Him which was promised to all believers.

Hebrews 13:5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

1Peter 5:7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

The snare that the fear of man brings is unbelief, a lack of trusting in God. It ruins your faith, destroys your testimony, and denies your joy in the Lord. The Christian doesn’t have experience with God through ritual or public displays of piety but through prayer, Bible reading, and fellowship with other Christians in an attitude of charity and nonexploitive love. Faith is simple and trusting with everyone having an opportunity to participate. To focus on the condemnation of the world will keep you from knocking on someone’s door, or handing them a gospel tract at a gas station, or helping someone whom the world hates to get a meal or a warm place to sleep. The snare of the fear of man will keep you from uniting with other Christians in worship, or of proclaiming your faith at all.
But, trusting in the Lord will keep you safe in the Lord. When you learn not to worry about what Mr. Self Righteous or Ms. Busybody at church care about and learn not to be concerned with the civil penalty for refusing to go along with the world or how you are looked at by other Christians who have turned their back on the “Common Bible” of America’s Christian heritage then you will find peace and safety in Christ.

The early Christians met before dawn on the first day of the week to sing hymns and pray together, to hear the Scriptures read and the understanding given. Sunday wasn’t a day off from work until Constantine made it so. Throughout history they refused to burn incense to a pagan emperor’s so called deity, to baptize infants for which there is no warrant in the Bible, to honor a human “god like priest”, to fail to copy and write and translate the Bible into their own tongue and let the Holy Spirit and spirit filled Pastors teach them, and to honor the state’s authority over their spiritual lives and relationship to Christ. And they were safe in the Lord.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Proverbs 29:24 commentary; a partner in crime

24 ¶ Whoso is partner with a thief hateth his own soul: he heareth cursing, and bewrayeth it not.

2 Corinthians 8:23 defines partner as a fellowhelper, in case any of you didn’t know it was, in this context, a partner in crime. Bewrayeth means to give testimony to something that is trying to be concealed, to give something up, as in Psalm 27:16 or Matthew 27:73. In one case it is having the ointment that is on your hand revealed by its smell or Peter’s guilt exposed due to the dialect he speaks. Betray, on the other hand, carries with it the meaning of willfully turning someone in, of giving someone up to the authorities.

The partner to the thief shares in the thief’s sin and doesn’t give up the deed even when he hears the victim cursing the thief. The point here is that the person who is an accomplice to sin is as bad as the person initiating the sin. You can’t run with people intent on committing sin and not be one of them, and not share in their guilt. In fact, you will even go so far as to help conceal their crime.

An important thing to remember from this Proverb is that you are a partner in sin if you hear about it and yet say nothing to the thief, take no action. The Christian, when they are aware of sin in the congregation or they perceive that there has been a sin committed, must speak up, preferably to the sinner first, and not hold their peace, lest they be an accomplice to the sin.

Doctrinally, this is true as well.

2 John 9 Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. 10 ¶ If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: 11 For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.

The Christian who sees sin in the congregation or who hears heresy must speak up. Some fundamentalist churches have been accused of harboring sex offenders and abusive people, even malignant psychopaths, because when their evil deeds were discovered a Pastor refused to do anything about it or to even acknowledge the sin. This has harmed the faith of a great many former independent Baptists. There are even Facebook groups dedicated to survivors of abuse in fundamental Baptist churches and in their schools. If you see a wrong being done and you do nothing or say nothing then you are a partner to the sinner.

It is your business. You have no excuse not to help a brother or sister you think is heading the wrong way by speaking to them and you certainly have no excuse keeping your mouth shut when you see blatant sin or hear obvious heresy. To say nothing makes you a partner in crime and, like the sinner, you are showing contempt for your own soul. How many people, usually children and young women, have had their faith in Christ destroyed by an evil person in their own congregation and the so called Christians who stood by knowing something wasn’t right but saying nothing, making them accomplices to the awful crime?

So, take from this Proverb that the person who knows the thief and what he did but says nothing about the theft is as guilty of the theft as the first person, especially if that theft includes the faith of an innocent and helpless child.