Sunday, March 29, 2015

John 1:12, 13 comments: receive Christ

12  But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13  Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

This is one of those wonderful groups of verses in the Bible that spells out true doctrine so clearly and powerfully. What does it mean to receive Christ?

We believe who He said He was.

John 14:6  Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me…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.

Acts 16:31  And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

John 3:36  He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

God then gives us faith.

Galatians 3:22  But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.

Ephesians 2:8  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9  Not of works, lest any man should boast.

We then, by His power, become the children of God, the sons of God, perhaps replacing those lost sons of God who kept not their first estate in Genesis 6; 2Peter 2:4; and Jude 1:6 or who follow or followed Satan in his own rebellion as per Revelation, chapter 12.

We are saved as God responds to that belief and that faith.

Romans 10:9  That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Romans 1:16  For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

By believing on His name we receive Him and God gives us power to become the sons of God.

Acts 4:12  Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

This was not done by your will, by your good intentions, by the heartfelt desire to change your life, make amends for wrongdoings, or sorrow for your sins. This was accomplished by the power of God in acknowledgement of your belief and your reception of the faith He immediately gave you. You did not purchase salvation, you did not earn it, and you cannot keep it on your own. It is all a work of God. There is only one work you can do to obtain salvation.

John 6:28 ¶  Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? 29  Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

John 1:10 comments: not known nor received

10  He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. 11  He came unto his own, and his own received him not.

Here are two important points that are not difficult to understand.  When God was walking in the flesh on the earth He created in the world of men that world of men did not recognize Him. The world, in most contexts, is a reference to the people who inhabit the earth.

Revelation 3:10  Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.

So, this world, which we know today as the world systems; education, entertainment, politics, economics, religion, etc. did not know the Christ the Bible reveals then and does not know Him now.

When Jesus later said that you cannot serve mammon and God at the same time…

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.

…He is using a Syriac word for money personified, or the economic system, whether yours be capitalism, socialism, or some hybrid form of the two, or even some type of barter system on a primitive level. If you enslave yourself to that system in your daily practice, your head, or your heart you cannot be a servant of God. You won’t hear too many Wall Street tycoons expressing a total trust in the Lord Jesus Christ and a surrender of their lives to Him and so many pastors and evangelists sound so much like used-car salesmen or carnival barkers you have to wonder if they think that technique actually leads to salvation or a sale.

1Corinthians 1:26  For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: 27  But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; 28  And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: 29  That no flesh should glory in his presence.

With regard to religion He will warn His disciples that religionists are deceived.

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.

In fact, everything that man holds in high regard God regards as an abomination.

Luke 16:15  And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.

Even when His people make long-winded prayers they are expressing not the faith of God but the empty formalism of ritual as they preach a sermon to the people rather than speak thoughtfully to God repeating churchspeak over and over again in an attempt to impress someone with their piety…

Matthew 6:7  But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.

History shows the world rejected God and His standards a long time ago. Just read, for a brief history of the world, Romans, chapter 1, from here;

16 ¶  For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 17  For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith. 18  For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;…

to here;

…32  Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

As we know, His own people, the Jews did not receive Him. As they told the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate;

John 19:15  But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar.

Matthew 27:25  Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.

Even after Christ’s crucifixion the facts were presented to their leadership by Stephen in Acts, chapter 7, one last time as a nation because there was still an opportunity for repentance for rulers and their people who sinned out of ignorance as Leviticus, chapter 4 tells us. But it was not to be. Peter’s command for an act of national repentance in Acts 2:37-39 was a precursor to the chance the leadership had in Acts 7 as he made clear this could have been the end of history in Acts 2:17.

Christ was rejected by the world and by the people through whom He came, who, “knew him not,” and, “received him not.”

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

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

John 1:9 comments: no excuses

9  That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.

Here’s an important verse to consider. This says that the Light of Christ lights every man that comes into the world. In what way does the Bible confirm this verse elsewhere and to what extent is every man enlightened by Christ? Does, “every man,” mean, “all men,” as in every man without exception or does it mean, “all men,” as in every man without distinction. The difference has a staggering importance.

In some verses in the Bible, “every man,” is without exception, meaning every single person with no one left out.

Genesis 17:10  This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised.

And in some it is without distinction, as obviously Ishmael would have been killed early on if he had violently opposed every person he met including members of his brethren.

Genesis 16:12  And he will be a wild man; his hand will be against every man, and every man’s hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his brethren.

We are told by Paul, as he told Titus;

Titus 2:11  For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,

Which, rather than being a statement of Universalism where some believe that even the most sinful person who rejected Christ and did great evil will be reconciled to God sometime in eternity and no one is lost, must be qualified by other statements in the Bible.

Acts 10:34 ¶  Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: 35  But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.

Hebrews 11:6  But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

And in the context of we gentiles being able to enjoy the promises offered only to God’s chosen people, the Jews;

Ephesians 2:12  That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world:

And this statement by Peter makes it very clear how exclusionary salvation is.

Acts 4:12  Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

The Lord Jesus Christ made this very clear;

John 14:6  Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

As we will see soon, we have to receive the Light for it to have the desired effect. It is offered to every person without exception and every person without distinction can receive it, but even though it is God’s will that all men be saved…

1Timothy 2:3  For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; 4  Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

It is clear that most will not.

Hebrews 10:38  Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. 39  But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.

2Thessalonians 1:8  In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:

This verse, like the one in Titus, makes it clear that no one will have any excuse when they stand before God, if they have rejected the Light they have been given.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

The Gospel According to John 1:8 comments; bearing witness of the Light

8  He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.

John the Baptist, in type like any Pastor today, was not to be the object of veneration and adoration but to point toward the Lord Jesus Christ, to bear witness of Him. The Holy Ghost, the third part of God, does similar work.

John 14:16  And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever…26  But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

John 15:26  But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:

There was a heresy that the Bible calls Nicolaitan, composed of two Greek words that mean, ‘victory over the laity’. On a basic level when you elevate the pastor’s office to an almost God-like status and make a pastor someone who cannot be questioned or is not subject to the same commandments and moral principles as God applies to everyone else in the congregation you fall into this heresy. A pastor who allows himself to be venerated and set apart from the congregation in that God’s standards don’t apply to him is guilty of supporting this heresy, which Jesus hates. In certain cultural contexts in American history pastors’ marital infidelities were ignored and moral sins against God committed by pastors were overlooked as if it was the pastors’ privilege to thumb their noses at God’s moral commands for Christians. Recently, it was said by members of a pastor’s congregation, after he had confessed to a crime of abuse, that they were still following him because he was the, “man of God.” Nicolaitanism is one of the primary weaknesses of Christian fundamentalism.

1Peter 5:1 ¶  The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: 2  Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; 3  Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.

The legend that Nicolaitans were followers of Nicolas of Antioch in Acts 6:5 is unsupported by the Biblical text. When a word is not defined in the Bible it would be best practice to determine of what the word is composed and apply that. The words in the following verse 15 of the second chapter of Revelation confirm that these heretics existed in the same church alongside those who committed idolatry and fornication, but it does not say, by the construction of the sentence, that they were one and the same.

Revelation 2:6  But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate…15  So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.

The preacher points to Christ. He is not Christ’s substitute, the vicarious Son of God on earth, with the congregation being mere props in the pastor’s own “Passion Play”. Like all Christians, he is to follow Christ and display Christ to the world. But, as this is something all Christians are called to do this does not elevate the person of the pastor to a point where, as a child was reported to say in wonder and awe when Jack Hyles stopped to tie his shoe, “God just tied my shoe.”

I have read but have not confirmed that Cyprian, a church father, in the third century, first said that to obey the pastor is to obey God. This is perhaps because he took the following verse to an extreme, removing it from the spiritual world and into the physical world where some church-goers among fundamentalists will even ask their pastor if they can take a vacation.

Hebrews 13:17  Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.

The verse, written to the Jewish Christians in the early church and most applicable doctrinally to the  believing Jews in the Tribulation after the Gentile and Jewish church is removed, is a reference to spiritual matters not what color car you can buy or what color you should paint your kitchen.

But, we must remember that in times of political chaos in Europe at the end of the Ancient world and in the beginning of the so-called Medieval period a priest or a pastor was the only consistent human authority in spiritual or physical affairs. So it is today in places like Liberia, which has suffered from two devastating civil wars. The pastor guides and exhorts the congregation to follow Christ in all behavior but the importance of pastoral guidance in the recent Ebola outbreak cannot be overstated. In certain cases, it was pastors whose congregations followed their instructions who kept them from the practices which spread the disease.

Still, every pastor must remember that he, like John the Baptist, is not the congregation’s Messiah, but bears witness of their Messiah, who is the Lord Jesus Christ. If a pastor says something that cannot be supported by scripture then he is under the same restrictions and condemnation, if he persists, as any other heretic.

Acts 17:10 ¶  And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. 11  These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

John the Baptist paved the way for the appearance of God in human flesh.

Friday, March 20, 2015

The Gospel According to John 1:6-7: hypercalvinism refuted

6  There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.

This is a reference to John the Baptist, who paved the way for Christ’s appearance. He fulfilled several Old Testament prophecies such as;

Malachi 3:1 ¶  Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.

Isaiah 40:3 ¶  The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

…which verses are referenced later in this chapter and, similarly in Mark 1:2, 3;

Mark 1:2  As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. 3  The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.

John the Baptist came as a type of Elijah the Old Testament prophet, with his spirit and power, prophesied before his birth;

Luke 1:17  And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.

…and revealed after his death by Christ Himself;

Matthew 17:10  And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come? 11  And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things. 12  But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them. 13  Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist.

Mark 9:11  And they asked him, saying, Why say the scribes that Elias must first come? 12  And he answered and told them, Elias verily cometh first, and restoreth all things; and how it is written of the Son of man, that he must suffer many things, and be set at nought. 13  But I say unto you, That Elias is indeed come, and they have done unto him whatsoever they listed, as it is written of him.

Elias, or Elijah, did not perish like other men but was taken to heaven without dying.

2Kings 2:11  And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.

However, coming in the spirit and power of Elijah, based on the definitions of power and spirit in the Bible, does not necessarily include John being possessed by Elijah and certainly doesn’t refer to reincarnation as Elijah didn’t die but was carried up bodily into heaven in a type of the rapture of the believing Jews in Revelation 11.

The definition of spirit can be an attitude, a demeanor, and character as Caleb having, “another spirit.”

Numbers 14:24  But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully, him will I bring into the land whereinto he went; and his seed shall possess it.

Power can be ability as in Acts 1:8, speaking in authority as in Acts 4:33, and being filled with faith as in Acts 6:8, among other things.

John the Baptist did not have the spirit and power to call down fire on those who wanted him dead as in 2Kings, chapter 1, nor was he called to confront pagan prophets and have them killed as in 1Kings 18. He came to pave the way for Christ, to rebuke the hypocrites, and call the people to repentance and he did it forcefully and in opposition to not only religious authority but secular authority.

7  The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.

John the Baptist, like the Holy Ghost through the Spirit, pointed toward Christ that all men should believe in Christ and be saved. It is not God’s directive will that any man or woman should perish and go to Hell.

Matthew 18:10  Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven. 11  For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost. 12  How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray? 13  And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray. 14  Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.

1Timothy 2:1 ¶  I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; 2  For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. 3  For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; 4  Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

2Peter 3:9  The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

So, Calvinists are wrong, in the assumption that God created certain people for the sole purpose of destroying them in eternity. But, those opposed to Calvinism often take free will to an extreme degree. You have the choice of whom you will follow and you make that choice, even as a believer, a dozen times a day with each decision of moral weight. But, you have no control over the outcome of your decision, only God does. If you follow your flesh sin will take you, as preachers say, farther than you want to go, make you stay longer than you want to stay, and make you pay more than you want to pay.

If you choose to follow God you may find yourself being led, like Moses, to things you never even imagined. Just measure all things that you think God has laid on your heart against the clear words of the Bible, “rightly dividing,” the word.

But, back to the verse, John the Baptist came to preach Christ, and he did.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Gospel According to John 1:5 comments; the darkness

5 ¶  And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

Whether or not this refers to spiritual darkness as Paul did later;

Ephesians 6:12  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Galatians 1:4  Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:

…the first reference to darkness comes in the first few verses of the Bible. While that is a literal reference to literal darkness as in distinguished from light a spiritual application can be that there is a spiritual darkness in the universe and Christ, the Word, was that light that was separate from it.

1John 1:5  This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

In the Bible comprehend means to understand.

Job 37:5  God thundereth marvellously with his voice; great things doeth he, which we cannot comprehend.

Spiritual darkness is ignorant. It neither understands our need for Christ nor does it understand God’s love for us. It cannot. The natural man is blanketed in spiritual darkness and cannot comprehend the things of God.

1Corinthians 2:14  But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

Just so, the carnal Christian does not realize that he or she has cut themselves off  from understanding.

1John 2:11  But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.

The light of Christ is a beacon in a world of shadows and darkness. Unfortunately, for many conservative Christians, fundamentalists, the light is very dim in their fear of man, bigotry, hatred, paranoia, and elevating culture and politics to the level of Bible doctrine.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Gospel According to John 1:4 comments; Christ, the light of humankind

4  In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

Human beings, like all living things, are plagued by physical death and the uncertainty that accompanies the thought of it. It is God that gave life, gives life, and sustains life by His words and the Word.

Genesis1:20 ¶  And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.

Acts 17:25  Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;

But mankind’s rebellion against God’s authority brought physical death into the world.

Romans 5:12  Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

This rebellion, this sin against the Creator, led to physical death over which the Devil, aka Satan, or Lucifer has the power to cause. Fear of physical death is a bondage under which humankind lives.

Hebrews 2:14  Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; 15  And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage.

But, God, in coming to earth and living as one of us has given us the opportunity to live forever with Him.

Romans 6:23  For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

The Lord Jesus Christ, who is God in the flesh, is that light that shines in the darkness of what could be an eternal night.

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. 17  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18  He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19  And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20  For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 21  But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

Christ, who is God, is the only light in this dark world. He is the light of men. Without Him there is no hope, no chance, no life. He gave and gives biological life, the breath of life, and He gives eternal life, which will include a resurrected and perfected body…

Romans 8:23  And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.

1Corinthians 15:51 ¶  Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52  In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53  For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54  So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 55  O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 56  The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. 57  But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

…to all those who put their trust in Him.

John 10:28  And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.

Romans 10:9  That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

We believe that, like us, Christ lived in a body of flesh, and like us, His flesh died, and the promise is that, like Him, we shall be physically resurrected.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

The Gospel According to John 1:3 comments: God the Creator or atheistic evolution?

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

From the understanding of a great truth, one that denies atheism and the eternal existence of the universe we know now;

Genesis 1:1  In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

We come to the focus the Word as the actual Creator and Sustainer of the universe. In opposition to the theory of dark matter providing the “glue” to keep the universe together it is the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ by whom, “all things consist.”

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

Verse 3 says there was no created thing that He did not create. Imagine when Jesus walked the earth being one of His disciples and spending time with the Creator of the universe by a fire cooking a meal of fish or walking along a road and talking.

These verses deny atheistic evolution as it is understood commonly. The entire theory of atheistic evolution beginning with abiogenesis or life from inanimate matter all the way to pigs and chimps mating randomly to create human beings or dinosaurs becoming birds is made up of a series of purely gratuitous assumptions, destitute alike of proof and probability, and that, as a mere effort of the imagination, it is entitled to no manner of consideration or respect by any Christian or, for that matter, by anyone with a thinking brain. That being said, we have to deal with the fact that evolution is being taught as fact in our public schools and universities and the facts of micro-evolution or variation in species are presented as proof of macro-evolution or reptiles eventually becoming brain surgeons. (1)

The Bible denies it all.

(1) Eugene McCarthy, “Human Origins: Are We Hybrids?” Do You Know Your Origins, (accessed 3.14.2015).

Friday, March 13, 2015

The Gospel According to John, 1:1,2: Who is the Lord Jesus Christ?

First, to say something about the word, gospel. Gospel is defined in the Bible as good tidings or good news. Compare the word substitution between the following New Testament and Old Testament verses.

First, from the New Testament with Jesus speaking and quoting Isaiah, chapter 61;

Luke 4:18a  The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor…

Then, from the Old Testament with Isaiah writing;

Isaiah 61:1a ¶  The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek…

This is the gospel or good news about Jesus Christ and the salvation of mankind from the eternal suffering which is his due after physical death as we are genetically, socially, culturally, mentally, and in every other way in rebellion to God from the moment we are born and are held accountable for it when and if we have the capacity to make a choice between God’s way or our own.

Cross referencing like words, phrases, and verses that are either quoted or alluded to or paraphrased between the Old and New Testaments is a fundamental way of getting meaning from the Bible. You cannot trust commentaries necessarily to provide you all of the cross references and all lexicons are notoriously known by lexicographers for being unreliable. Therefore Strong, Danker, Thayer, etc. etc. will probably not give you an accurate idea of what a word passage means. You must learn them yourself by reading and re-reading the Bible from cover to cover and making notes.

1 ¶  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2  The same was in the beginning with God.

In the beginning is a reference to time. The Word preexisted time and was in the beginning of time. The Holy Spirit uses Greek and Hebrew in often unique ways, creating a Biblical language through the writers that rises above every day speech. Here, John, uses the word, Logos, which is translated into Word, uppercase W.

Some philosophies of the Greek world used the word, Logos, to describe the creative force of the universe. John here makes it clear that the Logos is not an impersonal force but a person, an entity. A knowledgeable Greek or Roman, who had heard Sophist preachers speak on this would have understood what John was saying, even if they did not agree.

So, the Word was here in the beginning of time. It was with God, coexisting. In fact, it was that very God, here in the beginning with Him. How could this be you ask? The Bible, rather than traditional theology, which talks of three persons in one that sounds vaguely polytheistic, makes this clear. These three parts acted in unison.

Genesis 1:26  And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

Genesis 3:22  And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:

Genesis 11:7  Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.

A self-conscious, aware being is composed of three parts; a spirit, which is how it knows things unseen such as a spiritual world, a soul, which is the seat of its will, emotions, reasoning ability, and identity, and a body, which is how it interacts and knows the physical world around it.

Man is composed of these three parts.

1Thessalonians 5:23  And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Proverbs 20:27  The spirit of man is the candle of the LORD, searching all the inward parts of the belly.

Job 19:2  How long will ye vex my soul, and break me in pieces with words?

The higher animals, those capable of self-consciousness and recognizing their individual identity apart from others, are composed of these three parts.

Numbers 31:28  And levy a tribute unto the LORD of the men of war which went out to battle: one soul of five hundred, both of the persons, and of the beeves, and of the asses, and of the sheep:

Job 12:10  In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind.

Ecclesiastes 3:21  Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?

God, as well, is composed of these three parts.

Matthew 28:19  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

2Corinthians 13:14  The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.

1John 5:7  For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.

God the Father, as He is referred to specifically in verses like Matthew 11:27 and Romans 6:4 and implied in verses like Acts 3:13 and Galatians 4:4, is the soul of God, the seat of will and self-identity.

Psalm 11:5  The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth.

God has a Spirit which knows and interacts with His creation.

Genesis 1:2  And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

The Bible calls Him the Holy Ghost and the active agency by which He operates inside of each believer and in the world, Spirit, is referred to by the neutral pronoun.

John 14:26  But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

Romans 8:16  The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God..

We are often unable to distinguish the fine difference between the Holy Ghost and the Holy Spirit (used only once in Luke 11:13 with Holy capitalized as well as Spirit) because of the Roman Catholic church’s use of the Latin word, Spiritus, for both words, while English has the subtle variation of language to provide us with two words, ghost and spirit, translated from the same Greek word but with a slightly different meaning based on context and usage.

In another subtle and on the surface difficult-to-understand manner the Bible uses, spirit, with a lowercase s to refer to God’s will and attitude which proceeds from God the Father, not a reference to the separate and distinct Spirit of God, uppercase S.

Job 26:13  By his spirit he hath garnished the heavens; his hand hath formed the crooked serpent.

1Samuel 10:10  And when they came thither to the hill, behold, a company of prophets met him; and the Spirit of God came upon him, and he prophesied among them.

The Lord Jesus Christ is the physical incarnation of God on earth.

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?

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 upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;

These three parts of God are one individual capable, unlike us or the higher animals as we physically die when one of our component parts separates from the others, of operating independently of each other but with one intent, one will, and one purpose.

Deuteronomy 6:4  Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD…

John 10:30  I and my Father are one.

With Jesus Christ as the, “Son of God,” with a capital S, you have God in the flesh coming with the same authority as God the Father.

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 2:5  Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6  Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7  But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8  And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 9  Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10  That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11  And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Finally, it is Jesus Christ by whom all things were created, as the Bible will say clearly in the next verse.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Ecclesiastes, chapter 12, comments: the whole duty of mankind

1 ¶  Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them; 2  While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars, be not darkened, nor the clouds return after the rain: 3  In the day when the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong men shall bow themselves, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those that look out of the windows be darkened, 4  And the doors shall be shut in the streets, when the sound of the grinding is low, and he shall rise up at the voice of the bird, and all the daughters of musick shall be brought low; 5  Also when they shall be afraid of that which is high, and fears shall be in the way, and the almond tree shall flourish, and the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail: because man goeth to his long home, and the mourners go about the streets: 6  Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern. 7  Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.

Solomon concludes as he continues with a discussion of old age. He implores the young reader to think about God in their youth before the, “evil,” days come and life loses so much of its pleasure. Before the glories of the heavens grow dim and the light of the intellect grows dark, that is the time to think on your Creator. Before every trouble that comes upon you is followed by another as quickly as the first ends, think on God. As in his Proverbs, Solomon constantly tries to alert the young person to his need for God and the emptiness of the things of this earth that he or she is taught to hold in high esteem.

Luke 16:15  And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.

The young person needs to always remember;

1John 2:15  Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16  For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17  And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

In poetic language Solomon describes the issues of growing old with arms and legs weakening, losing teeth, eyesight dimming, loss of hearing, being forced to arise early in the morning, not able to enjoy music as we once did, fear of heights, gray hair, loss of strength and sexual desire, all because man or woman is preparing to go to their grave, their, “long home.”

Then, we shall be broken like a piece of pottery, like piece of machinery, or even a valuable treasure that cannot be repaired. To the dust our bodies return and God recalls the spirit that He gave us.

Genesis 2:7  And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

Genesis 18:27  And Abraham answered and said, Behold now, I have taken upon me to speak unto the Lord, which am but dust and ashes…

    8 ¶  Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher; all is vanity. 9  And moreover, because the preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge; yea, he gave good heed, and sought out, and set in order many proverbs. 10  The preacher sought to find out acceptable words: and that which was written was upright, even words of truth. 11  The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails fastened by the masters of assemblies, which are given from one shepherd. 12  And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh.

All of this short life passes away very quickly. No matter what you are going through right now, when you are old it will seem like it has been a very short time. There are no do-overs in life, is no rewind button. Solomon desires that a young person live a life knowing what’s important, not a life of regrets and sadness over what is past. He has spent this little book trying to warn people from the very mistakes he made himself. Some of it may not seem to apply to us. We aren’t temporal kings sitting on the throne of a kingdom dedicated to God. But, most of it does apply to us directly because whether we are a king or a pauper, a president or a peasant, life holds the same frustrations and can hold the same emptiness if we do not hold what is of value.

Solomon mentions his Proverbs which you should study. He insists that what he wrote was the truth and had value. Wise words prompt us to do right, words spoken as sure nails driven by Pastors in teaching and exhorting, all drawing from Christ. Solomon points out that, even in 1,000 BC there were many books published, no end to them as in our time, and mostly what they provide is an endless loop of looking for something you cannot find. True knowledge is found only in God and in His word.

    13 ¶  Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. 14  For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.

So, for Solomon there is a conclusion. Fear God. Fear of God is awe (Psalm 33:8), honor (Malachi 1:6), humility (Proverbs 22:4), reverence (Hebrews 12:28), and it can be terror and dread if you reject His sovereignty over your life (Isaiah 8:13). I’m sure you can find other definitions within the pages of the Bible.

Keep God’s commandments. For Christ, who is God in the flesh and by whom which are saved, has given us the standards we are to live by, standards which only He can place in our heart;

Galatians 5:22  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23  Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24  And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. 25  If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26  Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.

A Christian should regularly read and reflect on the “Sermon on the Mount” in Matthew, on Paul’s admonitions in Romans 12 and 1 Thessalonians 5, on 1Corinthians 13, and on the entire Bible in context, understanding to whom a particular passage was written, and praying that the Holy Ghost would guide you in how to apply it to yourself.

God is our judge, our lawgiver, and our king, all three branches of government; our judicial, our legislative, and our executive. Salvation is found only in Him.

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

If you are not now a Christian, understand, it is the duty of every man and woman on earth to obey God who walked in the flesh on earth as Jesus, the messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ, by trusting in Him and His righteousness alone for eternal life. You will be judged by that decision.

John 6:28  Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? 

29  Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

John 14:6  Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Ecclesiastes, chapter 11, comments: Solomon's advice to the young

1 ¶  Cast thy bread upon the waters: for thou shalt find it after many days. 2  Give a portion to seven, and also to eight; for thou knowest not what evil shall be upon the earth. 3  If the clouds be full of rain, they empty themselves upon the earth: and if the tree fall toward the south, or toward the north, in the place where the tree falleth, there it shall be. 4  He that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap. 5  As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all. 6  In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand: for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good.

Solomon here says to disperse your bounty generously and give to those in need. You don’t know what the future will hold any more than you are aware of how a particular unborn child is developing. Whatever happens, happens. It is what it is. You may be the one who is hungry when all is said and done. The person who worries unduly about the outcome, who spends too much time observing the wind or regarding the clouds, will neither sow nor reap. Don’t over think life. Work hard and generously help others.

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.

1Thessalonians 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.

    7 ¶  Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun: 8  But if a man live many years, and rejoice in them all; yet let him remember the days of darkness; for they shall be many. All that cometh is vanity. 9  Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment. 10  Therefore remove sorrow from thy heart, and put away evil from thy flesh: for childhood and youth are vanity.

Life is good and we must appreciate it but the pleasures of youth are soon over. All of the things you expect and hope for in the way of material possessions, success, and status are emptiness. Enjoy the strength of youth and the pleasures of a young, strong body but always keep in mind that God will bring everything into judgment. Do right. Do not be sorrowful and put away iniquity from yourself remembering that all of these things will pass away and one day you, if you live, will become old.

Solomon said in another place;

Proverbs 16:31  The hoary [gray or white hair symbolizing age as in Leviticus 19:32] head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness.

A young man has from about 15 years old to about 35 years old to be in his prime and then he begins to slip. They put amateur athletes in the “Masters” division of many sports at 35 because they lack the full powers of youth. That twenty years is a short time. A young woman bears the blossom of youthful beauty but in her upper 30’s and into her 40’s the blush is often off the rose and things change drastically for her. Our bodies stop being so forgiving. We are a very short time in our prime of life. Enjoy it but don’t sin against God. You will have a lot longer to deal with the consequences of your behavior than you will have to enjoy the benefits of a youthful body. The person you will be at 50 or 60 years should not have to resent and be disgusted or ashamed by the memory of the person you were at 20 or 30.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Ecclesiastes, chapter 10: the perils of government

1 ¶  Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour: so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honour. 2  A wise man’s heart is at his right hand; but a fool’s heart at his left. 3  Yea also, when he that is a fool walketh by the way, his wisdom faileth him, and he saith to every one that he is a fool.

Solomon continues to extol the value of wisdom as he points out that it doesn’t take much to ruin something valuable like dead flies do expensive ointment. So, your reputation, as good as you think it is, can easily be brought down by one thoughtless or sinful action.

A wise man carries his heart like a right-handed man uses his right hand. It is practical and useful and wisdom comes natural to him, and is not forced. To a fool wisdom is a difficult thing like a right-handed man trying to wield a tool with his left hand. If you are right-handed try writing a letter with your left hand or driving a nail holding the hammer in your left. You’ll see how awkward and unnatural wisdom is for a fool when he tries to apply it to any situation.

A fool cannot hide his foolishness. In whatever he does it will eventually become clear to everyone of what nature he is. A fool’s behavior announces to everyone that he is a fool.

Solomon spoke about fools a great deal in Proverbs. As a king he had probably met many of them. He certainly fathered one.

    4 ¶  If the spirit of the ruler rise up against thee, leave not thy place; for yielding pacifieth great offences. 5  There is an evil which I have seen under the sun, as an error which proceedeth from the ruler: 6  Folly is set in great dignity, and the rich sit in low place. 7  I have seen servants upon horses, and princes walking as servants upon the earth. 8  He that diggeth a pit shall fall into it; and whoso breaketh an hedge, a serpent shall bite him. 9  Whoso removeth stones shall be hurt therewith; and he that cleaveth wood shall be endangered thereby. 10  If the iron be blunt, and he do not whet the edge, then must he put to more strength: but wisdom is profitable to direct. 11  Surely the serpent will bite without enchantment; and a babbler is no better.

The Biblical definition of, “spirit,” with a lowercase s, is often, depending on the context, about an attitude, ability, a person’s will, or feelings.

Genesis 6:3  And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.

Exodus 35:21  And they came, every one whose heart stirred him up, and every one whom his spirit made willing, and they brought the LORD’S offering to the work of the tabernacle of the congregation, and for all his service, and for the holy garments.

In verse 4 Solomon talks about submitting to a human authority. Americans don’t have much of a concept of submission to earthly authority, one reason being that in our country we are supposed to be the political authority over the government which is a rather different direction for this verse to take. An American politician would do well to acknowledge his faults and errors to us and this has been shown to be true in history as we are much more likely to forgive a political leader who admits his errors up front than one who fights for his innocence and then finally confesses. One of  the main political parties in this country doesn’t seem to care and the other one shoots its own wounded so this is arguable, I understand.

For us, we acknowledge that God is our ruler and we would do well to confess our sins to Him as He promises forgiveness.

1John 1:9  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

God’s forgiveness and cleansing is precipitated by our confession to Him and acknowledgement. I would recommend that if you still are plagued by the sin you didn’t so much as confess it as you sought a pass for being punished by committing it. There is a difference. Repentance of sin isn’t so much a, “I did this. I’m sorry. Don’t punish me,” as it is a, “I did this. I’m sorry. I never want to do it again. Please remove it from me.”

In 5-7 as presented in context with verse 6 Solomon points out how the ruler who is not wise will promote and take as advisors inferior men while the people he should be listening to are set in a subservient role. Solomon thought it evil that a ruler would set foolishness in dignity and prefer the lower to the better man. Again, reversing that, as in America the people are to be the ruler politically, it is stupid for us to have elevated media stars to positions of power rather than search for the best and noblest to lead the way. We often find ourselves in a position where we have placed a base person in a powerful position merely because of his or her appearance and how favorably the media handles them. We, ostensibly the rulers in this country, are very bad judges of character because we are so shallow ourselves.

Solomon then goes on to lay out a few sayings regarding the consequences of our (or the ruler’s) dumb decisions. We would do well to use wisdom in choosing our temporary leaders and they would do better to use wisdom in determining the direction they lead the country, state, or locality. Solomon goes on, in his way referring to a king in his day, to describe the fools we have elected.

    12 ¶  The words of a wise man’s mouth are gracious; but the lips of a fool will swallow up himself. 13  The beginning of the words of his mouth is foolishness: and the end of his talk is mischievous madness. 14  A fool also is full of words: a man cannot tell what shall be; and what shall be after him, who can tell him? 15  The labour of the foolish wearieth every one of them, because he knoweth not how to go to the city.

The fool who is a ruler will talk and talk and say nothing of value. While a wise man’s words are full of grace the fool starts out sounding like one and ends up seeming to be insane. Who knows what he is talking about? By the time the fool is done talking you don’t know which way is up, or in the idiom of the Bible, don’t even know how to walk into the city with wide gates and avenues. The most obvious thing becomes complicated because of what the fool says. Just listen to the typical political stump speech.

    16 ¶  Woe to thee, O land, when thy king is a child, and thy princes eat in the morning! 17  Blessed art thou, O land, when thy king is the son of nobles, and thy princes eat in due season, for strength, and not for drunkenness! 18  By much slothfulness the building decayeth; and through idleness of the hands the house droppeth through. 19  A feast is made for laughter, and wine maketh merry: but money answereth all things. 20  Curse not the king, no not in thy thought; and curse not the rich in thy bedchamber: for a bird of the air shall carry the voice, and that which hath wings shall tell the matter.

Matthew Henry noted that the, “happiness of a land depends on the character of its rulers.” Of course with the character of the average American so low we cannot expect much from the people we choose among us to lead.

I was told in the Army that the men eat first, their officers last. I was also told that the three priorities should be men, mission, and materiel, in that order. It is a sad day for a country when an immature leader is ruling and the leaders put their needs first above the people and indulge in every depravity. A fortunate country is one where the leaders carry themselves with dignity and are respectable and not prone to such depravity and bad behavior and place the people they are serving first.

Solomon makes a point about how a building needs to be maintained and we can compare that statement, based on his context, to the building of state. Any good government is a balancing act and must with effort be carefully maintained. A bunch of slothful, greedy, and corrupt rulers bribed by gifts and seeking their own ends and not the people’s will bring the house down.

And, as a wise man once said, if something doesn’t make any sense you can be sure there is a dollar in it. If you want to know why things happen that seem to have no logic to them just follow the money. Solomon points the importance of greed out over 3,000 years ago. Using the appearance of gaiety and feasting as a ruse. Solomon says to look at the influence of money.

But, be careful what you say about these things openly, particularly now on the internet where we all speak so freely and often carelessly, because someone is listening. Fowls of the air are a reference to Satan’s attack in stealing the word of God from a shallow professor of faith in Mark, chapter 4, and “birds of the air” will infiltrate the highest levels of the organized church, the kingdom of heaven, in Matthew 13.  In the true spiritual kingdom of God uniting all true believers those wicked people as, “fowls of the air,” will shelter themselves in its shadow but, of course, are not part of it, in Mark, chapter 4.

Consider the birds of the air and the fowls of the air and Satan, the prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2), in the fact that there is no longer such a thing as a truly confidential conversation or private thought spoken aloud. Or, perhaps there never was.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Ecclesiastes 9:11-18 comments: the best laid plans often fail

11 ¶  I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all. 12  For man also knoweth not his time: as the fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare; so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falleth suddenly upon them.

Solomon speaks here of what we all have seen, the uncertainty of events, and that in spite of all of our talents and preparations things do not always go as planned. From our point of view, in this life, randomness tends to look like it is in charge of things. However, when we study the book of Job we see clearly that nothing, not even the minutest process of nature, happens without God’s direct intervention. By this, the idea that your will can produce any desired consequence without God’s permission or direction is laughable.

Job 38:38  When the dust groweth into hardness, and the clods cleave fast together? 39  Wilt thou hunt the prey for the lion? or fill the appetite of the young lions, 40  When they couch in their dens, and abide in the covert to lie in wait?

And Isaiah relates to us the very words of God in an advanced understanding of what is. Some people, brainwashed by the popular culture and a dualism from Asia, think that evil is the absence of God. But, they are wrong. In the context of the verse following we have evil or violence and disaster in opposition to peace, as light is in opposition to darkness, but all by the hand of God’s permissive or directive will.

Isaiah 45:7  I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.

Some foolish preachers have even declared that Hell, mankind’s natural destination without Christ, is the absence of God. However;

Psalm 139:8  If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.

According to the Bible, randomness is an illusion. Solomon, looking at things strictly from our perspective, sees randomness in control, although it appears to be part of the overall point he will make at the end.

Man and woman do not know when they will die anymore than an animal knows when it will be caught in a net or a snare. Death and destruction can and often do fall on human beings when they least expect it or had other plans.

Deuteronomy 32:35  To me belongeth vengeance, and recompence; their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste.

Don’t be surprised to learn that the study of history is the study of unintended consequences. Learn that nothing can happen without God’s permission or His direction.

    13 ¶  This wisdom have I seen also under the sun, and it seemed great unto me: 14  There was a little city, and few men within it; and there came a great king against it, and besieged it, and built great bulwarks against it: 15  Now there was found in it a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city; yet no man remembered that same poor man. 16  Then said I, Wisdom is better than strength: nevertheless the poor man’s wisdom is despised, and his words are not heard. 17  The words of wise men are heard in quiet more than the cry of him that ruleth among fools. 18  Wisdom is better than weapons of war: but one sinner destroyeth much good.

Solomon remarks about how the wisdom of a poor man often goes unnoticed. One of the striking things about our system of government is the fable told in school that anyone can be the president. Of course, a factory worker has no chance to be president unless he has made his way through the ranks of politics and become tarnished by a worldly philosophy. If he is not corrupted over time he will be marginalized as a crackpot and a loon. Common sense, justice, and decency are not respected in the political world. Access to powerful backers and an ability to manipulate the media are.

Solomon repeats a much used thought of his that wisdom is better than strength. Here it is better than weapons of war. But, while wisdom is more certain than might it is rarely heard and it only takes one idiot in power to ruin a good work. We have the privilege of knowing what happened with Solomon’s son who, in his stupidity and arrogance, lost a substantial part of the kingdom his father and grandfather had made. As in verses 11 &12 Rehoboam did not realize the consequences of his foolishness. See 1Kings 12 to see how this happened.

We, as human beings, don’t know when our end will be and often, in spite of all of our best preparations, don’t achieve the success we view should be ours. Some people appear very lucky and in spite of equal talent and ability others appear to be losers. You do your best and live right before God and pray for success and that God will use you in some way but the outcome and what He has planned for you or what He will allow to happen to you are beyond your control. When you get to the end of your life you might think what a great person you are and how you’ve been the captain of your fate and the master of your destiny as in the pagan poem, Invictus, by William Ernest Henley. But, God will laugh at your, “unconquerable soul,” in the end. The Bible shows that God, not you, is the master of your fate, and you would do well to consider that.

For every ten thousand ambitious, money-hungry people who were taught and believed that the world was their oyster and they were a pearl of great value there are nine thousand nine hundred and ninety nine who finished their lives in frustration and unrealized dreams. The seemingly, limitless opportunities of youth whether it be in sports, business, entertainment, academia, or politics often become the bitter memories of a life that got away.

The king who authorized the translation of this Bible wrote a pamphlet of advice to the son he thought would reign after him. That son died prematurely and the son who did reign was a fool who eventually was beheaded in a revolt. For all of our best intentions we cannot know what will come after us.