Daily Archives: March 3, 2014

Bible Summary / Survey: Book of 2 Chronicles

 

Author: The Book of 2 Chronicles does not specifically name its author. The tradition is that 1 and 2 Chronicles were written by Ezra.

Date of Writing: The Book of 2 Chronicles was likely written between 450 and 425 B.C.

Purpose of Writing: The Books of 1 & 2 Chronicles cover mostly the same information as 1 & 2 Samuel and 1 & 2 Kings. The Books of 1 & 2 Chronicles focus more on the priestly aspect of the time period. The Book of 2 Chronicles is essentially an evaluation of the nation’s religious history.

Key Verses: 2 Chronicles 2:1, “Solomon gave orders to build a temple for the Name of the LORD and a royal palace for himself.”

2 Chronicles 29:1–3, “Hezekiah was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-nine years. His mother’s name was Abijah daughter of Zechariah. He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, just as his father David had done. In the first month of the first year of his reign, he opened the doors of the temple of the LORD and repaired them.”

2 Chronicles 36:14, “Furthermore, all the leaders of the priests and the people became more and more unfaithful, following all the detestable practices of the nations and defiling the temple of the LORD, which he had consecrated in Jerusalem.”

2 Chronicles 36:23, “This is what Cyrus king of Persia says: ‘The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah. Anyone of his people among you—may the LORD his God be with him, and let him go up.’ ”

Brief Summary: The Book of 2 Chronicles records the history of the Southern Kingdom of Judah, from the reign of Solomon to the conclusion of the Babylonian exile. The decline of Judah is disappointing, but emphasis is given to the spiritual reformers who zealously seek to turn the people back to God. Little is said about the bad kings or of the failures of good kings; only goodness is stressed. Since 2 Chronicles takes a priestly perspective, the Northern Kingdom of Israel is rarely mentioned because of her false worship and refusal to acknowledge the Temple of Jerusalem. Second Chronicles concludes with the final destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple.

Foreshadowings: As with all references to kings and temples in the Old Testament, we see in them a reflection of the true King of Kings—Jesus Christ—and of the temple of the Holy Spirit—His people. Even the best of the kings of Israel had the faults of all sinful men and led the people imperfectly. But when the King of Kings comes to live and reign on the earth in the millennium, he will establish Himself on the throne of all the earth as the rightful heir of David. Only then will we have a perfect King who will reign in righteousness and holiness, something the best of Israel’s kings could only dream of.

Similarly, the great temple built by Solomon was not designed to last forever. Just 150 years later, it was in need of repair from decay and defacing by future generations who turned back to idolatry (2 Kings 12). But the temple of the Holy Spirit—those who belong to Christ—will live forever. We who belong to Jesus are that temple, made not by hands but by the will of God (John 1:12–13). The Spirit who lives within us will never depart from us and will deliver us safely into the hands of God one day (Ephesians 1:13; 4:30). No earthly temple contains that promise.

Practical Application: The reader of the Chronicles is invited to evaluate each generation from the past and discern why each was blessed for their obedience or punished for their wickedness. But we are also to compare the plight of these generations to our own, both corporately and individually. If we or our nation or our church is experiencing hardships, it is to our benefit to compare our beliefs and how we act upon those beliefs with the experiences of the Israelites under the various kings. God hates sin and will not tolerate it. But if the Chronicles teach us anything, it is that God desires to forgive and heal those who will humbly pray and repent (1 John 1:9).

If you could have anything you wished from God, what would you ask for? Fabulous wealth? Perfect health for you and your loved ones? The power over life and death? Amazing to think about it, isn’t it? But more amazing is that God made such an offer to Solomon and he chose none of these things. What he asked for was wisdom and knowledge to complete the task God had assigned to him and to do it well. The lesson for us is that God has given each of us a commission to fulfill and the greatest blessing we can seek from God is the ability to carry out His will for our lives. For that, we need the “wisdom from above” (James 3:17) to discern His will, as well as the understanding and intimate knowledge of Him in order to motivate us to Christlikeness in both deed and attitude (James 3:13).[1]

 


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

Questions about Cults and Religions: What Is Job’s Daughters?

 

The International Order of Job’s Daughters was founded in Omaha, Nebraska in 1920 by Mrs. Ethel T. Wead Mick. Mrs. Mick along with the assistance of her husband, Dr. William H. Mick, and other workers founded the Order in honor and memory of her mother. After gaining consent from J. B. Fradenburg, Freemasonry’s “Most Worshipful Grand Master” of the Grand Lodge of Nebraska and Mrs. Anna J. Davis, the Grand Matron of the Order of the Eastern Star of Nebraska, and with the motto “Virtue is a quality which highly adorns woman,” Job’s daughters was officially under way. It has grown to an international organization of young women with members in the United States, Canada, Australia, the Philippines and Brazil.

Job’s Daughters is open to girls ages 10 to 20 who have a Masonic “heritage” and is the only international organization for girls that requires all of its members to be related to a Master Mason, and while they claim to have no affiliation to the Freemasons, this pre-requisite ties it closely to the Masonic Order. Because every Job’s Daughter is related to a Master Mason, a strong tie exists between Freemasonry and Job’s Daughters. This tie is made evident by the fact that all Job’s Daughters promise that they will be guided by the same principles of “The Golden Rule” that all Freemasons believe in.

Job’s daughters was founded to bring together young girls with Masonic ties for the purpose of character building through moral and spiritual development, and to teach loyalty to the flag and the country for which it stands, as well as respect for parents and Guardians, a term they use for their leaders.

Using Job 42:15 as the foundation of their craft, Job’s Daughters claim the Book of Job teaches a “Masonic optimistic lesson”—“Not to fall in despair; it shows that Masonic ideas are imperishable.” The book of Job is divided into three parts and paraphrased to be used as lectures in their rituals. All rituals and ceremonies are preformed in a “Bethel,” a gathering of members for the purpose of performing rituals. In most cases, this occurs in a Masonic Lodge, At first glance there appears to nothing misleading about the teachings of Job’s Daughters. However, as Christians, we must rely on the teachings of the entire Bible as a guide for life, not just one book of the Bible. Many false prophets have used a single passage or section of the Bible as the foundation for their religious group, claiming that they know the “true” meaning of life, eternal life, and other spiritual matters. This belief in the singular nature of their particular teachings is one distinguishing characteristic of most cults and false religions.

The second stumbling block of Job’s Daughters is their close association with Freemasonry, even though most of its members will argue this point. Freemasonry teaches that ALL religions are praying to the same god, but are simply approaching by a different path. They also teach that ONLY Freemasonry knows the true name of god and has the best teaching for gaining eternal life. The “Associate Bethel Guardian” is an adult that is involved with all of the rituals and meetings; he is a Freemason. All of the rituals and meetings are set up very similar to the meetings and rituals of Freemasonry.

We only need to look at the International Order of Job’s Daughters opening ceremony to see that there are things being taught that are not in line with the Word of God. When looking at the duties of a few of the officers as quoted by each, we get a glimpse into the unbiblical nature of Job’s Daughters’ teachings.

The Fourth Messenger when speaking of her duties says “It signifies that righteous service will lead to life eternal.” Jesus Christ said that He is the only way to gain eternal life (John 14:6). And as Isaiah 64:6 teaches, our righteous acts do not lead to life eternal. “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away” (Isaiah 64:6).

The Recorder says that while performing her duties “It signifies that my every act should be as the Recording Angel would have it in her Book of Life.” There is only one book of life, and it does not belong to a “Recording Angel.” It is the Lamb’s Book of Life, the Lamb being Jesus Christ. “Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life” (Revelation 21:27). One’s name is written in the Book of Life by the grace of God through faith in Christ (Ephesians 2:8–9).

The Chaplain presiding at their altar during the ritual tells us that “It signifies that piety, religion and reverence for sacred things are the beacon lights of life.” There is only one beacon of Light and that is Jesus: “When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life’ ” (John 8:12). If we have not this Light, we are in spiritual darkness.

Job’s Daughters also say this about their rituals; “The ritual work of the Order is based on the Triangle—the Three Daughters of Job, the Open Book, Education—and combines the emblematic representation of Latin and ancient Greek ages.” Intermingling geometry, Scripture, and science with symbols of ancient religions and philosophy is a teaching that compromises everything a follower of Christ believes. The Bible is very clear about not doing such things. “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?” “Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you” (2 Corinthians 6:14–15, 17).

The third stumbling block of Job’s Daughters is that it is clothed in secrecy and done under the guise of the intriguing nature of the mysterious. However, everything Jesus did was done in the open for all to see and we are told that all things done in secret will be exposed and we should avoid such things (Ephesians 5:8–11).

Anyone involved in Job’s Daughters (or any other Masonic craft) should consider carefully the consequences and pray for wisdom (James 1:5), asking God to reveal the truth about the false teaching of Freemasonry and Job’s Daughters.[1]

 


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

Dances with Wolves – John MacArthur

 

Any literal shepherd tasked with feeding and leading a flock of lambs would be thought deranged if he regarded wolves as potential pets to be domesticated and amalgamated into the fold. Suppose he actively sought and tried to befriend young wolves, presuming he could teach them to mingle with his sheep—insisting against all wise counsel that his experiment might succeed, and if it does, that the wolves will acquire the sheep’s gentleness and the sheep will learn beneficial things from the wolves. Such a shepherd would be worse than useless; he himself would pose an extreme danger to the flock.

Nearly as bad would be a shepherd whose vision is myopic. He has never seen a wolf clearly with his own eyes. He therefore believes the threat of wolves is grossly exaggerated. Even though his sheep keep disappearing or getting torn to shreds by something, he refuses to believe that wolves are the ones harming his flock. He declares he is tired of hearing shrill wolf warnings from others. Finally concluding that people’s “negativity” toward wolves poses a greater danger to his flock than the wolves themselves, he takes out his reed and plays a gentle tune to lull the lambs to sleep.

Then, of course, there is the “hireling, he who is not the shepherd, one who does not own the sheep” (John 10:12). He “sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees; and the wolf catches the sheep and scatters them. The hireling flees because he is a hireling and does not care about the sheep” (John 10:12–13, NKJV).

Self-seeking hirelings, myopic shepherds, and wannabe wolf tamers are all too prevalent in the church today. So are wolves in sheep’s clothing. Frankly, some of the postmodern lamb’s-wool costumes aren’t even the least bit convincing. But some pastors seem to have no hesitancy about unleashing these eager, disguised wolves among their flocks. Many are like the near sighted shepherd in my parable—convinced that warnings about the threat of wolves are potentially more dangerous than actual wolves.

That attitude exposes a cavalier disregard for the repeated warnings of Christ (Matthew 7:15-20) and His apostles (Acts 20:29-31; 2 Timothy 3:1-9; 2 Peter 2:1-3:7; 1 John 2:18-19; 4:1-3). By ignoring Jude’s exhortation to “contend earnestly for the faith” (Jude 3), many negligent shepherds have opened wide the door of the church to the dangerous influence of false teachers.

In fact Jude’s entire letter is devoted to warning his readers about the presence of apostate false teachers and the severe spiritual danger they represent. He wanted his readers to stand strong against the spiritual deceptions that threatened to wreak havoc in their fellowship. And he also wanted all who propagated such errors in the church to be exposed and expelled.

Like any true shepherd, Jude had a deep love for his readers—meaning that he was dedicated to their spiritual well-being. His appeal stressed the need to defend the truth continually and vigorously.

“The faith” Jude urges his readers to defend is not some nebulous body of religious doctrines. Rather, it constitutes the Christian faith, the faith of the gospel, God’s objective truth—basically everything that relates to “our common salvation” (Jude 3). It is what Luke wrote about in Acts 2:42, noting that the early believers “were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching” (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:1-4). In the same way, Paul admonished Timothy to protect the faith.

Retain the standard of sound words which you have heard from me, in the faith and love which are in Christ Jesus. Guard, through the Holy Spirit who dwells in us, the treasure which has been entrusted to you. (2 Timothy 1:13-14)

In life and in ministry, God’s truth is paramount (cf. Psalm 25:10; 119:160; John 8:32; 2 Corinthians 13:8; 2 Timothy 2:15). To manipulate and distort that truth, or to mix it with error, is to invite God’s eternal wrath. That’s why Paul told the Galatians, “If any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!” (Galatians 1:9). And the apostle John told his readers:

Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds. (2 John 9-11)

Far from engaging or accommodating false teachers, the clear duty of every church leader is to guard the truth from the deadly, corrupting influence of heretics, liars, and charlatans. A godly shepherd faithfully protects the sheep; he doesn’t dance with the wolves.

 

(Adapted from The Jesus You Can’t Ignore and The MacArthur New Testament Commentary: 2 Peter & Jude.)


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