Daily Archives: June 15, 2013

John MacArthur Takes on Charismatic Movement With ‘Strange Fire’ Conference

John MacArthur, influential author, pastor and seminary president, has  organized what has already proven to be a controversial conference, as he and  several other evangelical Christian ministers will gather in October at his Sun  Valley, Calif., church to take a corrective stance against what he describes as  “strange fire” practices in the charismatic movement.

“There is a dramatic account of God’s judgment in Leviticus 9 and 10. The  people had been ready to worship. They now had priests. They had standards by  which they were to come before God and offer Him their worship,” explains  MacArthur in one of many promotional videos highlighting areas the conference  will touch on. “In the ninth chapter, they came according to God’s law, a  sacrifice was offered, and God sent down miraculous fire and consumed the  sacrifice. In chapter 10 (verses 1-3), however, another sacrifice was offered,  and God consumed the offerers because they violated His standard and offered  strange fire.”

MacArthur adds, “But it’s in the context of Leviticus 9 and 10 that I want to  direct your attention toward strange fire that’s being offered to God today, and  it could well bring His judgment.

“What I’m talking about is the charismatic movement that offers to God  unacceptable worship, distorted worship. It blasphemes the Holy Spirit. It  attributes to the Holy Spirit even the work of Satan. People are caught up in  it, deceived, led astray.”

MacArthur, who has long been an outspoken advocate of weighing the claims and  activities of those in the charismatic movement against Scripture, insists in  the promotional video that the Strange Fire conference will focus on “the false  worship” coming from the movement, and is not about worship styles or  preferences.

“This is about honoring the Holy Spirit, rather than blaspheming him,” says  the 73-year-old Calvinist minister, who adds that the message of Leviticus 9 and  10 for today’s Christians is that “worship is a very serious matter. How you  come before a Holy God is the most important thing you will ever do.”

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Watch Pastor John MacArthur discuss the Strange Fire conference in  the video below:

YouTube/Grace to you
Pastor John MacArthur on the Strange Fire  conference

As a Cessationist, MacArthur does not believe that spiritual gifts like  speaking in tongues (or languages), interpretation of tongues or the power to  heal others are made available by the Holy Spirit to Christians today.  Cessationists, as opposed to Continuationists, believe that the Bible and history shows that such  specific gifts were made available only for the mission of the early Christian  Church and ceased with the deaths of Jesus’ first-century apostles.

One of the major emphases of the charismatic movement, traditionally cited as emerging among mainstream Protestant churches  in 1960, is speaking in tongues, which is often phrased as “baptism of the Holy  Spirit” at the moment of conversion. Although charismatic and Pentecostal  Christians hold similar theological views on glossolalia and other spiritual  gifts, the former has become characterized by unusual “manifestations of the  spirit” and decidedly bizarre behavior, such as worshippers barking like dogs or claiming to have miraculously received gold fillings.

Evangelist Benny Hinn, a popular member of the modern charismatic movement,  claims that at large-scale “miracle crusade” gatherings God anoints him with  power to heal people, in some cases administered by Hinn blowing on worshippers,  waving his hands at them or even waving  his suit jacket in the direction of an entire group only to have  everyone fall back to the floor seemingly immobile. Another charismatic  evangelist is Todd Bentley, who attracted attention in 2008 through the Lakeland  Revival meetings in Florida. Bentley, who was banned from the U.K. last year, has testified of  divinely healing people with tumors and cancer by kicking or punching them.

Another noted member of the charismatic movement, Rodney Howard-Browne, a  Tampa, Fla., pastor and evangelist who leads Revival Ministries International  with his wife, has spoken out against MacArthur’s Strange Fire conference  which he characterized as a coming “massive attack on the  Pentecostal/Charismatic movement.”

Howard-Browne, who made  headlines several years ago when his worship meetings became marked by  “holy  laughter” and other “manifestations of the spirit,” suggested in a Facebook post last month that Cessationists like  MacArthur “have no fear of God and are in grave danger of blaspheming the Holy  Ghost.”

In another promotional video for his Strange Fire conference, MacArthur, who  is president of The Master’s College and Seminary, addresses “faithful  Pentecostals” in an effort to assure them that the October conference plans to  address “the aberrations, the heresies, the terrible, terrible kind of  manipulation and deception that many in the charismatic movement have been able  to pull off on unwitting people.”

While affirming “people in the traditional Pentecostal movement who love  Christ,” the California pastor and seminary president calls on them to “begin to  speak out against these people.” MacArthur’s message of “encouragement to  faithful Pentecostals” is below:

YouTube/Grace to You
Pastor John MacArthur’s encouragement to faithful  Pentecostals

The Strange Fire conference, to be held at MacArthur’s Grace Community Church  in Southern California from Oct. 16-18, features the following speakers: Dr.  R.C. Sproul, Conrad Mbewe, Dr. Steven J. Lawson, Tom Pennington, Phil Johnson,  Nathan Busenitz, Justin Peters, Todd Friel and Joni Eareckson Tada. More  information about the conference can be found at www.tmstrangefire.org. In November, MacArthur will release  his new book, Strange Fire: The Danger of Offending the Holy Spirit with  Counterfeit Worship, copies of which will be made available to conference  attendees.

Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/john-macarthur-takes-on-charismatic-movement-with-strange-fire-conference-97968/

How do you know if a Christian has the Holy Spirit?

Years ago, my wife and I were members of a church affiliated with the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. For those who aren’t aware, Canadian Pentecostal churches tend to be a little less, as one American friend put it, “circusy.” They’re generally a little more conservative in their expression of things like speaking in tongues and open prophesying.

Despite not being terribly showy, there were still certain expectations within the church culture. For those of us who did not speak in tongues, the question was often raised, “Why wouldn’t you want all that God has for you,” as if it was a failing on our part that we didn’t express our faith in such ways. (Never mind that Paul wrote that, “each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another” [1 Cor. 7:7] and “in church I would rather speak five words with my mind in order to instruct others, than ten thousand words in a tongue” [1 Cor. 12:30, 14:9].)

I would leave meetings praying that if it was truly what God wanted for me that I would have the gift, but it never came. In fact, the only thing that came was conviction that this was not a gift that I was to have at all, something that confused the very few leaders I told. Yet the pressure was still there. I was in a worship gathering where two of the pastors both were praying that I would be “baptized in the Spirit” and speak in tongues. And, honestly, it was tempting to start faking just to get people to shut up about it.

Yet that wouldn’t have been honoring to Christ, nor would it have been respectful to them or beneficial to me. Instead, our family eventually decided to leave rather than let our doctrinal convictions on this (and a host of other matters) become a point of conflict.

The concern I have with the line of thinking surrounding whether or not someone “has the Spirit” is it leads to a false dichotomy—that there are some Christians who are on a higher spiritual plane than others. But there’s nothing in Scripture that says there are some believers in Jesus who have the Spirit and others who don’t. Sinclair Ferguson, in speaking of the indwelling nature of the Spirit says, “to have the Spirit is to have Christ… to not have the Spirit of Christ is to lack Christ.” 1

Simply, the difference between having the Holy Spirit and not is the difference between being saved and lost. If you’re in Christ, you have the Holy Spirit in His fullness. If you lack the Holy Spirit, you’re still lost in your sins.

So how do you know if the Holy Spirit is within you? Look at the fruit of your life.

  • Do you want to obey Jesus—and do you strive to do so? (Matt. 7:15-18)
  • Do you love others—especially those who are unlovely? (Matt 5:43-48)
  • Are you seeing increased evidence of the fruit of the Spirit in your life? (Gal. 5:22-23)
  • Do you have a growing hatred of evil and love for what is good? (Rom. 12:9)
  • Are you increasingly generous with your time, talents and treasure? (Matt 6:19-24)
  • Are you increasingly aware of your own sinfulness and need of God’s grace? (1 Tim. 1:15-16)

What we all need to recognize is that apart from the Spirit’s work within us, the answer to all of these questions is going to be a resounding “no.” It’s impossible to do any of them without the Spirit at work, bringing life into what was dead. So perhaps we ought not to worry so much about whether or not we lack the Spirit. Instead, let’s examine the fruit of our lives and see what is revealed.

  1. Sinclair Ferguson, The Holy Spirit, 54

Source: http://www.bloggingtheologically.com/2013/06/13/how-do-you-know-if-a-christian-has-the-holy-spirit/

I Do Not Want to Honor My Father

It happened again. My dad really hurt me. He knows he really hurt me. But of course he didn’t say he was sorry. And of course my mother did what she has done my whole life—excuse his behavior by saying, “That’s your daddy.” I’ve spent a lifetime struggling to forgive and keep forgiving my dad. I don’t think I felt …

June 13   Thursday –  http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2013/06/14/i-do-not-want-to-honor-my-father/

The Shifting Global Church [Infographic]

The Church has always been one to flourish in areas where our eyes are deeply drawn to God and the 20th century church is no different. We have all heard of the stats about Europe being a religious wasteland and America close on its heels. Even with that knowledge, this infographic is both saddening and disturbing.

Personally, I would love for us to understand that missions is not something that we do overseas, but the ability to bring the Gospel to a group of people that we simply do not understand yet. Unfortunately, American Christians probably can say that their own backyard is a missions field, because we have not been doing a good job of bringing the Gospel to our neighbors.

  • 4,300 people were leaving the church in Europe and North America while 16,500 people were coming in in Africa.
  • In a hundred years’ time, Africa has grown by 36x while Europe has only doubled.
  • China is currently the fastest region of growth at 16,500 new Christians a day, despite strong governmental resistance.

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How can we further the Gospel, even in places like America and Europe?

Source: http://churchm.ag/the-global-church/

Got news? Is a global ‘war on Christianity’ newsworthy?

Would it be newsworthy if a U.S. Senator claimed in a public address that American taxpayer dollars are being used in a war against Christian believers in — to pick one key region — the Holy Land?

Apparently not, since Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) made that claim yesterday at the Faith and Freedom Conference and the media has all but ignored it. As James Hohmann of Politico reports:

“There is a war on Christianity, not just from liberal elites here at home, but worldwide,” he said. “And your government, or more correctly, you, the taxpayer, are funding it.”

Although it was noticed by a handful of the D.C.-based, politically oriented sites, few mainstream outlets picked up on the story (a mention by CBS News and the AP are the only ones I could find).

Why the silence?

Imagine if a senator — a potential candidate for president, in fact — had claimed we were funding a war on Islam, or Hinduism, or Judaism. Would that not be a front-page story? Why then the difference when it comes to Christianity?

Part of the reason, I suspect, is because few journalists understood what Sen. Paul is even talking about. The socially conservative Christians at the conference knew what he meant, but that is because they read alternative media sources. Religious media outlets mention persecution of Christians around the globe nearly every week, though such stories rarely find their way into mainstream news stories. Even when, earlier this month, the Vatican claimed that 100,000 Christians are killed annually because of their faith, no major media seemed interested enough to do a follow-up on the assertion.

Perhaps some journalists thought that by reporting on Sen. Paul’s statement they would be required to explain the context. But they needn’t have worried about that. Here, for example, is the entire mention by the Associated Press in their 900+ word article titled, “GOP leader says ‘a war on Christianity’ is funded by taxpayers”:

 

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul told the group that there is a “war on Christianity, not just from liberal elites here at home, but worldwide.” He argued that American should not send foreign aid to countries across the Middle East that persecute Christians.

Am I missing something? Is Sen. Paul’s statement so uncontroversial that it’s not really newsworthy? Is the “war on Christianity” such a well-understood phenomenon that it doesn’t need elaboration?

In politics we often hear about “dog whistles” and “code words” — political messaging that uses language that appears to mean one thing to the general population but has a different or more specific resonance for a targeted subgroup. Most of the time the claims about code words are products of some opposing pundit’s imagination. In this case, though, Paul really is using dog whistle language to a convey a message.

Those who only read mainstream media will not be able to understand since they likely never hear about the global “war on Christianity,” even when the topic is discussed in major government reports, in Vatican statements and in documents from human rights groups.

First Discussion: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an

Post image for First Discussion: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an

Advertise here with Beacon Ads I recently invited everyone to a read along in Let’s Read About the Qur’an Together! The plan is to read What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Qur’an by James R. White together. This post is the first installment covering the “Introduction: Why Study the Qur’an?” Under the subtitle of the chapter White quotes …

June 14   Friday –  http://hereiblog.com/first-discussion-what-every-christian-needs-know-quran/

“Of the Seven Deadly Sins, Anger Is Possibly the Most Fun”

Frederick Buechner: Of the Seven Deadly Sins, anger is possibly the most fun. To lick your wounds, to smack your lips over grievances long past, to roll over your tongue the prospect of bitter confrontations still to come, to savor to the last toothsome morsel both the pain you are given and the pain you are giving back–in many ways …

June 14   Friday –  http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/justintaylor/2013/06/14/of-the-seven-deadly-sins-anger-is-possibly-the-most-fun/

Should Churches Surrender Tax-Exempt Status?

Mike Huckabee says so: In a surprising move, Christian conservative and Republican leader Mike Huckabee is encouraging churches to give up their tax exempt status. Huckabee issued the following call for churches to unilaterally give up their tax-exempt status via Twitter on June 11. “It’s time for churches to reject tax exempt status completely; freedom is more important than …

June 14   Friday –  http://www.patheos.com/blogs/jesuscreed/2013/06/14/should-churches-surrender-tax-exempt-status/

The Masculine Mandate (Free Father’s Day E-book)

A Twisted Crown of Thorns ®

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Guess what….

With Father’s Day just around the corner, Reformation Trust is giving away the eBook edition of Richard Phillips’ The Masculine Mandate: God’s Calling to Men. This book issues a call to reformation in the evangelical church’s attitude toward the role of men in the family, the church, and society.

Free Kindle Here.
Free EPub Here.
(Offer is for a limited time)

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Mid-June 2013 Presuppositional apologetics Round Up!

Thousands Of Companies Have Been Handing Over Your Personal Data To The NSA

It isn’t just Internet and phone companies that are giving your personal information to the U.S. government. According to an astounding report by Bloomberg, “four people familiar with the process” say that “makers of hardware and software, banks, Internet security providers, satellite telecommunications companies” and a whole host of other sources are handing over your personal data to federal agencies. The truth is that there is so much more to this NSA snooping scandal than the American people know so far. When U.S. Representative Loretta Sanchez said that what Edward Snowden had revealed was “just the tip of the iceberg”, she wasn’t kidding. The U.S. government is trying to collect as much information about everyone on the planet as it possibly can. And this incredibly powerful intelligence machine is not going to go away just because a few activists get upset about it. The United States government spends more than 80 billion dollars a year on intelligence programs. Those that have spent their careers constructing this monolithic intelligence apparatus are doing to defend it to the bitter end, as will the corporate partners in the private sector that rake in enormous profits thanks to big fat government contracts. But if the American people don’t stand up and demand change now, it is going to be a signal to those doing the snooping that they can push the envelope even more because nobody is going to stop them. (Read More….)

Theology: PRESUPPOSITIONS

To study theology intelligently, we must presuppose that:

 

1. God exists and that He communicated to man His divine truth in the Scriptures.

 

We cannot prove God exists. We cannot prove He, if He exists, tried to call us on the phone. We cannot prove He communicated truth, if He called, and if He exists. Indeed, we cannot prove that God didn’t call when we were out and leave a humorous message on our answering machine. However, We believe God exists. We believe God communicated. We believe God communicated truth. We believe God communicated truth to man. Why do we believe these things? We must, based on the Word, presuppose it is true. We must believe it is true. We must act upon it as truth, by faith.

 

2. We must follow some precise methods to discover what that divine truth is. Laws of methodology are essential, in that if they aren’t followed the result of the study of the theologian will be in error and will be imprecise. These laws of methodology, if they be correct laws, will result in a precise, meaningful drawing out of information which, when assembled, will make up a precise package of truth. This requires much labor. It is a systematic way of doing things and requires an attitude similar to that of a scientist in that each step is precisely completed. This means that no portion is overemphasized or underemphasized. To do either would be to distort the truth.

 

There are basically two methods of dealing with God’s Word — deduction and induction. Deduction is basically drawing out facts and details from the passages, then assembling them into a meaningful message. Induction is drawing together from several Scriptures or sources and making one overall statement which fairly represents all the passages.

 

You must consider the context, grammar, historical setting, author and the recipients. In other words, systematic study. In electronics you can pick up two wires and have an experience. In Bible reading you can flop it open and have an experience. However, a study of the theories of electricity or a systematic study of the Bible will give GOOD knowledge.

 

3. God is an infinite Being, and as a result is communicating infinite things to us. This requires that we have understanding from an infinite source, for we are finite beings. (Infinite means immeasurable or non-ending, while finite means having measurable limits. Illustration: You cannot communicate the Gospel to a newborn child. Their knowledge and understanding are so limited that they cannot comprehend.) We have the help of the Holy Spirit in comprehending God’s message to us. We must give diligence to our study and wait upon the Lord for the understanding that we need. We often label things as something that we cannot understand today, yet we have not really put forth the effort to see what all of Scripture has to say about it. We must study to seek those things which we, at first, do not understand.

 

4. We must understand that what is received in this, or any course of systematic theology, can be roughly equivalent to receiving a hammer and nail and being ask to build a house. We are only skimming the surface of these great doctrines, and you will go forth in your future to study and study and study some more — hopefully to begin to understand properly, all of what God has communicated to us.

 

5. A complete faith in the above is also a presupposition that must be in place. If a person has doubts and fears there will be problems in producing a proper theology. Even before this, faith must bring the person to the point of regeneration at which time the Holy Spirit comes to dwell and illuminate. Without faith there can be no proper theology. That is why we have the theology of hope today. (I hope there was a Jesus — I hope that He died for me.) This theology grew out of a lost man’s desperate attempt to understand Scripture. It is a good idea — except that it is wrong. He had no help from God to understand the message.[1]

 


[1] by Stanley L. Derickson. DERICKSON’S NOTES ON THEOLOGY: A STUDY BOOK IN THEOLOGY.

Questions about Life Decisions: How should Christians respond to global poverty and hunger?

According to the latest statistics, over 840 million people worldwide are chronically undernourished. Every day, 26,000 young children die due to poverty, hunger, and preventable diseases. With so much of the world’s population in such lamentable condition, what’s a Christian to do? How should the Church respond?

Christians should respond to global poverty and hunger with compassion. Having true compassion for the needy, as modeled by Jesus (Mark 8:2), means we are aware of the need, we care about the people involved, and we are ready to act on their behalf. Having compassion on a needy brother is proof of the love of God within us (1 John 3:17). We honor God when we are kind to the needy (Proverbs 14:31).

Christians should respond to global poverty and hunger with action. Of course, prayer for those in need is something every Christian can do. Beyond that, Christians should do all they can to alleviate the suffering caused by global poverty and hunger. Jesus said, “Sell your possessions and give to the poor.… For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Luke 12:33–34). Like Tabitha, we should “always [be] doing good and helping the poor” (Acts 9:36).

The believer who selflessly gives to the poor will be blessed by God. “He who is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, / and he will reward him for what he has done” (Proverbs 19:17). These divine blessings may be spiritual rather than material, but a reward is guaranteed—giving to the poor is an investment in eternity.

There are several Christian relief organizations that work not only to combat global poverty and hunger, but also to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. Groups such as Compassion International strive to meet the needs of the total person, both physical and spiritual.

Christians should respond to global poverty and hunger with hope. Believers can act on behalf of the poor with the confidence that they are helping further God’s work in the world: “I know that the LORD secures justice for the poor / and upholds the cause of the needy” (Psalm 140:12). Believers labor with the hope that Jesus will return, and “with righteousness he will judge the needy, / with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth” (Isaiah 11:4).

Until that day of ultimate equity, Jesus said, “The poor you will always have with you” (Matthew 26:11). That being the case, we have unlimited opportunities—and the urgent obligation—to serve the Lord by serving others.[1]

 


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about God: Does God forgive big sins? Will God forgive a murderer?

Many people make the mistake of believing that God forgives “little” sins such as lying, anger, and impure thoughts, but does not forgive “big” sins such as murder and adultery. This is not true. There is no sin too big that God cannot forgive it. When Jesus died on the cross, He died to pay the penalty for all of the sins of the entire world (1 John 2:2). When a person places his faith in Jesus Christ for salvation, all of his sins are forgiven. That includes past, present, and future, big or small. Jesus died to pay the penalty for all of our sins, and once they are forgiven, they are all forgiven (Colossians 1:14; Acts 10:43).

We are all guilty of sin (Romans 3:23) and deserve eternal punishment (Romans 6:23). Jesus died for us, to pay our penalty (Romans 5:8). Anyone who believes in Jesus Christ for salvation is forgiven, no matter what sins he has committed (Romans 6:23; John 3:16). Now, a murderer or adulterer will likely still face serious consequences (legal, relational, etc.) for his evil actions—more so than someone who was “just” a liar. But a murderer’s or adulterer’s sins are completely and permanently forgiven the moment he believes and places his faith in Christ.

It is not the size of the sin that is the determining factor here; it is the size of the atoning sacrifice of Christ. If the shed blood of the sinless Lamb of God is sufficient to cover all the sins of all the millions of people who would ever believe in Him, then there can be no limit to the size or types of sins covered. When He said, “It is finished,” sin was made an end of, full atonement and satisfaction for it were given, complete pardon was obtained, peace was made, and redemption from all sin was achieved. It was sure and certain and complete; nothing needs to be, or could be, added to it. Further, it was done entirely without the help of man, and cannot be undone.[1]

 


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about the Church: If a person wants to be baptized, but is unable to be immersed into water due to being ill, disabled, elderly … etc.—what should be done?

Perhaps the best way to address this question is to start with baptism itself—what it is and what it isn’t. Christian baptism, according to the Bible, is the outward testimony of what has occurred inwardly in a believer’s life. It is a picture of the believer’s identification with the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Romans 6:3–4 describes this act as our old sinful selves being buried with Christ and our newly created selves being resurrected to walk with Him in newness of life.

Baptism is not a requirement for salvation, nor is does it have any power to save. Rather, it is a symbol of the salvation that has already occurred. We are baptized in order to display to others that fact, which is why many baptisms are accompanied by an oral testimony given by the person being baptized. It is the testimony that is the most important part of the rite, not the rite itself.

While the Bible is clear that immersion is the proper mode of baptism, it nowhere addresses what to do in a situation where a person needs to be baptized but cannot be immersed in water. Some propose baptism by sprinkling or pouring. While sprinkling and pouring do not match what baptism signifies—the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ—there are clearly some situations where full immersion is impossible. A person who cannot be baptized by immersion should go before a group of believers and publicly declare faith in Jesus Christ alone for salvation, his commitment to Him, and his identification with Him. That would accomplish what baptism signifies.[1]

 


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about Salvation: What is the Book of Life?

Revelation 20:15 declares, “If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.” The Book of Life is the set of names of those who will live with God forever in heaven. It is the roll of those who are saved. This Book of Life is also mentioned in Revelation 3:5; 20:12; and Philippians 4:3. The same book is also called the Lamb’s Book of Life because it contains the names of those who have been redeemed by the blood of the Lord Jesus (Revelation 13:8; 21:27).

How can you be sure your name is written in the Book of Life? Be sure you’re saved. Repent of sin and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior (Philippians 4:3; Revelation 3:5). Once your name is written in the Book of Life, it is never erased (Revelation 3:5; Romans 8:37–39). No true believer should doubt his eternal security in Christ (John 10:28–30).

The Great White Throne Judgment described in Revelation 20:11–15 is a judgment for unbelievers. That passage makes it clear that no one at that judgment has his name in the Book of Life (Revelation 20:12–14). Since their names are not in the Book of Life, their fate is sealed, their punishment is sure.

Some people point to Revelation 3:5 as “proof” that a person can lose his salvation. However, the promise of Revelation 3:5 is clearly that the Lord will not erase a name: “He who overcomes … I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life.” An overcomer is one who is victorious over the temptations, trials, and evils of this world—in other words, one who is redeemed. The saved are written in God’s registry and have the promise of eternal security.

Another passage over which confusion sometimes arises is Psalm 69:28: “Let them [David’s enemies] be blotted out of the book of the living.” This “book of the living” should not be confused with the Lamb’s Book of Life. David is referring to earthly, physical life, not eternal life in heaven. The same is true of the “book” mentioned in Exodus 32:32–33.

God keeps good records. He knows His own, and He has set the names of His children permanently in His book.[1]

 


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

When and why did the northern kingdom of Israel come to an end?

In 2 Kings 17:6, it says that the “king of Assyria took Samaria and carried Israel away to Assyria.” The capture of Samaria by Sargon II marked the end of the northern kingdom in 722 B.C. According to Assyrian records, the Assyrians deported 27,290 inhabitants of Israel to distant locations. The relocation of populations was characteristic of Assyrian policy during that era. The Israelites were resettled in the upper Tigris-Euphrates Valley and never returned to the Promised Land. “Halah” was a city northeast of Nineveh. The “Habor” River was a northern tributary of the Euphrates. The “cities of the Medes” were northeast of Nineveh. Samaria was resettled with foreigners (v. 24).God did what He said He would do in Deuteronomy 28.The Jews were carried as far east as Susa, where the Book of Esther later took place.

In vv. 7–23, the writer departs from quoting his written sources and gives his own explanation for the captivity of Israel. Judah is included, though her captivity did not occur until 605/604–586 B.C. at the hands of the Babylonians. Her sins were the same. Here is a very full and impressive vindication of God’s action in punishing His privileged but rebellious and apostate people. In v. 7, he begins by stating that the Israelites had sinned against the Lord who had redeemed them from Egypt. Gross perversion of the worship of God and national propensity to idolatry finally exhausted divine patience. The idolatry of Israel is described in vv. 7–12. In response to Israel’s actions, the Lord sent His prophets to Israel and Judah with a message of repentance (v. 13). However, the people failed to respond to the prophets’ messages, because, like their fathers, they did not have faith in the Lord (v. 14). Their lack of faith resulted in disobedience to the Lord’s commands and the further pursuit of idolatry (vv. 15–17). The idolatry of Israel (and Judah) brought forth the anger of the Lord, which resulted in exile (v. 18).The “great sin” of both Israel and Judah was their continual following of the sinful pattern of Jeroboam I, departing from the Lord and practicing idolatry, thus bringing down the judgment of captivity predicted by the prophets (vv. 19–23).

From The MacArthur Daily Bible Copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson Bibles, a division of Thomas Nelson, Inc, Nashville, TN 37214, http://www.thomasnelson.com.