Daily Archives: June 12, 2017

June 12, 2017 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

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Jun. 12, 2017 |

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North Korea says it has moved closer to test-firing an intercontinental ballistic missile with the potential of hitting the U.S. mainland.

Puerto Rico’s governor is vowing to make the U.S. territory the 51st state after statehood won in a non-binding referendum hit by a boycott and low turnout that raised questions about the vote’s legitimacy.

Production of Lockheed Martin Corp.’s Thaad — the U.S. missile interceptor that’s spawned an international dispute with its deployment in South Korea — was quietly halted for about four months last year because of a quality problem with a part.

Qatar is still waiting for specific demands from the Saudi-led bloc that has severed ties with the tiny Gulf state, and therefore sees no basis yet for a diplomatic solution

Russia and the U.S. are ready to help resolve a diplomatic rift in the Middle East over Qatar’s alleged support for militants and ties to Iran, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Sunday.

Norway’s Conservative-led government proposed a ban on face covering clothing in all public and private schools and kindergartens.

The rout in U.S. technology shares worsened after spreading to Asia and Europe on concern the group had risen too far too quickly. The pound retreated as an embattled Theresa May fought to survive the fallout from the British general election.

In August, Elon Musk’s SpaceX will carry one of the Pentagon’s premiere yet highly classified platforms into orbit. The X-37B spy craft, an unmanned miniature version of the Space Shuttle, logs missions that are well over a year in length. The most recent X-37B sojourn ended in May after more than 700 days circling the Earth.

A deal among oil-producing countries to curb production and balance an oversupplied market will achieve its objective in the first quarter of next year, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said, after prices tumbled on news of a build-up in U.S. inventories.

A coalition of financial firms across the U.S. is finally ready to instantly beam your cash to friends, family and businesses. More than 30 U.S. banks and credit unions are unveiling a unified service to customers this week, called Zelle. It will supplant a patchwork of products the biggest banks have offered their customers for years. This time, the service is faster and so broad, that chances are it already has your money.

AP Top Stories

An Algerian man who attacked a policeman with a hammer outside Notre Dame Cathedral was a loner with a deep interest in Islamic State jihadist propaganda, the Paris prosecutor said Saturday.

American spy planes are helping Filipino troops quell a nearly three-week siege by Muslim militants in a southern city where 13 Philippine marines were killed in the biggest single-day loss for government forces, officials said Saturday.

This year’s Pride parades are more than just a symbol of support for the LGBT community: They are centers of opposition to President Donald Trump. The march drew inspiration from the hugely popular Women’s March, organized in protest of Mr. Trump’s inauguration.

The Navy’s newest combat ship was put into active service following a commissioning ceremony Saturday, named after former Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords who was injured during a 2011 shooting.

Ukrainians were on Sunday celebrating the first day of visa-free access to the European Union, with thousands crossing the border as President Petro Poroshenko proclaimed a dramatic “exit” from Moscow’s grip.

Nationwide, drug costs are expected to rise as much as 11 percent this year, after climbing 11 percent last year. Specialty drugs are expected to increase by 18 percent.

Farmers and fishermen displaced by Boko Haram violence in northeast Nigeria want to return home, saying it will help ease chronic food shortages for the remote region’s starving millions.

Someone is about to be $447.8 million richer. The single winning Powerball ticket matching all six numbers was sold in California, and will be the 10th largest lottery prize in U.S. history. The odds of winning were one in 292.2 million and pays off over 29 years, or to take home the cash prize of $279.1 million.

Delaware has become the first US state since Donald Trump became president to ensure that abortion will remain legal, even if the US leader appoints judges who will rule against abortion rights.

BBC

A strong 6.3 magnitude earthquake has struck off the Aegean coast of western Turkey and the Greek island of Lesbos, with tremors felt in Istanbul and Athens.

A man accused of posting blasphemous content to Facebook has been sentenced to death by a court in Pakistan. The public prosecutor involved said he believed it was the first time the death penalty had been awarded in a case related to social media.

Hundreds of people have been detained at anti-corruption rallies in Moscow and St Petersburg.

US-backed Syrian forces have advanced into the western part of so-called Islamic State’s “capital” of Raqqa, they and a monitor report.

The number of suspected cases of cholera resulting from a severe outbreak in Yemen has passed 100,000, the World Health Organization said. A total of 798 deaths associated with the disease have been recorded in 19 out of 22 provinces since 27 April.

WND

Overdoses are now the leading cause of death of Americans under the age of 50.

President Trump lauded the opening of the nation’s first new coal mine in recent memory. Corsa Coal Company will operate the mine in Somerset County, Pa. – outside of Pittsburgh.


The Briefing 06-12-17

Religious liberals back in the political game? The left’s complicated relationship with religion

Amazing new study shows that unborn babies can recognize faces while still in the womb

Military transgender policy, a pregnant “man,” and the experiment in social self-deception

What new science caused Bill Nye to censor an old show where he connected gender to chromosomes?

The post The Briefing 06-12-17 appeared first on AlbertMohler.com.


Top News – 6/12/2017

Trump’s EPA Chief Backs Approach to Science That Could Upend the Global Warming ‘Consensus’
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt reignited a long simmering debate over a method of scientific inquiry that could upset the supposed “consensus” on man-made global warming.

Former CIA Director, James Woolsey ‘Stunned’ Comey Leaked Private Discussions With President to Press
Former CIA Director under Bill Clinton, James Woolsey, is ‘stunned’ that former FBI Directors, James Comey leaked notes of private conversations with the President of the United States to his friend and then the press. The CNN host, Fareed Zakaria, attempted to advocate on Comey’s behalf, suggesting that since Comey was a ‘private citizen’ he had the right to leak his notes. Woolsey was having none of that horseshit and said it was ‘stunning’ that ‘he would give up the secrecy of a conversation with the President of the United States.’

Israel cedes to PA demand, cuts Gaza electricity by 40%
Israel’s security cabinet agreed late Sunday night to cut the electricity it sends to Gaza by 40 percent, now that the Palestinian Authority has said it intends to only pay 60% of it’s monthly bill, Army Radio reported. The 2 million people in the Hamas controlled Strip will now have only two to three hours of power a day, down from four hours of electricity they have lived on since April.

Israel’s quantum leap: NIS 7.5m. to go into secure communication system
Research at Israel’s leading quantum science center, which has won a tender to build a national quantum communications system, is paving the way for massive improvements in computation speed and secure communication. The goal of this project is to develop homegrown Israeli expertise and technology for a national quantum communications system that will prevent eavesdropping, protect data privacy and secure national infrastructure.

Puerto Rico upholds statehood demand in contentious vote
Puerto Rico’s governor is vowing to make the U.S. territory the 51st state after statehood won in a non-binding referendum hit by a boycott and low turnout that raised questions about the vote’s legitimacy. Gov. Ricardo Rossello told a couple hundred supporters…he will soon create a commission to appoint two senators and five representatives to demand statehood from the U.S. Congress, which has to approve any changes to the island’s political status.

NASA discovers TEN ‘potentially hazardous’ rocks close to Earth
The space agency has been working tirelessly to identify dangers that Earth face from space, and has said that it has found 10 new asteroids of meteors which it believes could harm life on Earth. The discovery was made by NASA’s asteroid detecting mission – Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer or NEOWISE…On top of the 10 “potentially hazardous” objects, Nasa says that they have identified 97 other space rocks and seen an unexplained spike in comet activity.

Arrow missile system to be tested in Alaska
Israel will test the Arrow-3 anti-ballistic missile defense system from Alaska for the first time in 2018. Alaska Aerospace Corporation CEO Craig Campbell said the test was part a 5-6 year, $80.4 million contract between his company and the US Missile Defense Agency, which was signed last summer. The interceptor will be launched from a testing site in the Kodiak Islands.

Syrian army and allies step up bombing of rebels in Deraa city
The Syrian army and Iran-backed militia forces have escalated attacks against a rebel-held part of the southern city of Deraa, a possible prelude to a large-scale campaign to wrest full control of the city, rebels and residents said on Monday. The intensive raids and bombing strikes mainly pounded the southern part of Deraa, strategically located on the border with Jordan and where the uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad erupted six years ago.

U.S.-Backed Afghan Government Funding Taliban Schools, Hospitals
The U.S. taxpayer-backed Afghan government is reportedly funding schools and hospitals operated by the Taliban as the terrorist group attempts to establish itself as a legitimate administration in the large swathes of the country under its control. “They are trying to set up a mini-state – if not the actual state – in Helmand,” Auliya Atrafi, a journalist…who made a film about the deteriorating security conditions there…

Pope Francis Threatens Renegade African Priests, Demanding ‘Total Obedience’
In what is perhaps the most strongly worded address of the Francis pontificate, the Pope blasted a group of Nigerian priests who have rejected the papal appointment of their bishop to the diocese of Ahiara, comparing them to the “murderous tenants” spoken of by Jesus in the gospel…In the letter, he continued, the priests “must clearly manifest total obedience to the Pope,” and “must be willing to accept the Bishop whom the Pope sends and has appointed.”

Al Aqsa Imam: Western Wall Belongs Only to Muslims
In another egregious step towards claiming the whole of Jerusalem for the Muslim world, two Arab leaders said on Friday that the Western Wall, or Kotel, belongs exclusively to the Muslims.

Quake rattles Indonesia’s capital, but no damage apparent
Indonesia’s Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency said the quake was a stronger magnitude-6.3 but had no potential to cause a tsunami.

Comey facing ‘three-pronged legal attack’ after Kasowitz’s detailed investigation
Kasowitz and his legal team are preparing a civil complaint against Comey that charges he violated a number of federal laws involving his private conversations with Trump just before his firing in May. The complaint will likely be filed next week with the Department of Justice’s Inspector General’s office and the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Poll: Impossible for Israel to reach peace deal with PA
Half of Israeli Jews say there is absolutely no chance for a peace deal with the PA in the foreseeable future.

Report: New details revealed on Israel’s part in ISIS hack, Trump intel leaks
Israel months ago hacked a cell of extremists making bombs in Syria. Intelligence gathered from those Israeli breaches reportedly led to the US revelation that ISIS was working to develop explosive devices that resembled laptop computer batteries and easily evaded airport screening methods. The information on ISIS terror operations was said to have in part prompted the Trump administration’s March travel ban on several Muslim-majority countries, and was part of classified intelligence the US president was accused of leaking to Russia last month.

Feinstein: “Congress Should Investigate If Lynch Pressured Comey To Cover For Hillary Clinton”
“I think we need to more about that, and there’s only one way to know about it and that’s to have the Judiciary committee take a look at that.”

Iran Sends 2 Warships To Oman, Flies Food To Qatar
If there was any confusion on which side of the Qatar crisis Iran found itself, it was swept away today after Iran’s Tasnim news, cited by Turkey’s Anadolu Agency, reported that Iran plans to send two warships to Oman on Sunday, while sending four cargo planes of food to Qatar and plans to provide 100 tonnes of fruit and vegetable every day.

Food Review Website Suggests Patrons Avoid Chick-fil-A Due to ‘Unpalatable Baggage
It’s unlikely there are polls that show how many people make their fast-food dining decisions based on politics, but the restaurant review website Eater recommends customers avoid the popular Chick-Fil-A chain because of its “unpalatable baggage” of Christian values, Twitchy reported Sunday.

‘Greatest challenge the church is facing’ swells worldwide
“Islam is presently the greatest challenge the church is facing, and will continue to be so in the days ahead,” he said. “The problem, of course, is not in Islam’s strength so much as it is in the weakness and apathy of the church. While many Muslims are well trained to reach and evangelize Christians, most Christians are not equipped or even willing to evangelize Muslims. This is a travesty in so many ways.

Comey Covered Up Massive Obama Admin Spying Activities on US Public – Including Citizen Trump
As reported in prior posts — A massive amount of data on 47 hard drives obtained from a government whistle blower was turned over to Freedom Watch recently. The information proves prior President Obama and his government spied on anyone they wanted to.

‘This Is War’: Florida Sheriff Urges Citizens To Arm Themselves In Case Of Attack A Florida sheriff’s office posted a message on social media urging citizens to arm themselves in self-defense, and to be prepared to defend themselves in the event of an attack

Catholic Cardinal Declares Mohammed A True Prophet Of G-d
He served as Archbishop of Washington, D.C.(imagine that) from 2001 to 2006, and was elevated to the cardinalate in 2001. In Catholic theology, to be a prophet, to earn that title, one must be divinely inspired. To call Mohammed “The Prophet”, as he does, is to claim that Mohammed is a true prophet, inspired by G-d. This guy couldn’t be more wrong. I strongly suspect he is of the infamous Alinsky wing of the Church.

Atheists demand town remove church welcome signs
A group of perpetually-offended atheists, agnostics and freethinkers are threatening to sue a small Wisconsin town because of two welcome signs. The signs, which were posted some 50 years ago, read, “The Churches of Oconomowoc Welcome You.”


Legendary Investor Jim Rogers Warns That The Worst Stock Market Crash In Your Lifetime Is Coming ‘This Year Or Next’

If Jim Rogers is right, the worst stock market crash that any of us has ever seen is right around the corner.  For the past 15 years, Rogers has been a frequent guest analyst on CNBC, Fox News and elsewhere, and he is immensely respected for the depth of knowledge and experience that he brings to the table.  So the fact that he is warning that we are about to see the worst stock market crash in any of our lifetimes is making a lot of waves in the financial community.  And of course Rogers is far from alone.  Previously, I have written about several other prominent experts that are warning that a new financial crisis is imminent, and I have also discussed how a number of big investors are quietly positioning themselves to make an enormous amount of money when the markets crash.  Could it be possible that all of these incredibly sharp minds could be wrong?  Yes, but I wouldn’t bet on it. (Read More…)


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Goldman: “The Last Time The Market Acted Like This Was At The Tech Bubble Peak”

Yesterday’s dramatic “rotational” divergence between tech stocks and the rest of the market, which as Sentiment Trader pointed out the only time in history when the Dow Jones closed at a new all time high while the Nasdaq dropped 2% was on April 14, 1999, stunned many and prompted Bloomberg to write that “a crack has finally formed in the foundation of the U.S. bull market. Now investors must decide if any structural damage has been done.”

This year’s hottest stocks, companies from Facebook Inc. and Apple Inc. to Netflix Inc. and Nvidia Corp., buckled Friday, spurring losses that sent the Nasdaq 100 to its biggest drop relative to the Dow Jones Industrial Average since 2008.

An alternative explanation is that the purge in tech stocks, responsible for half the market’s gains in 2017…

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If you’re not familiar with the term, ‘confirmation bias’ suggests that once we’ve invested time and emotional energy into developing a worldview, we’ll then seek information to confirm that view.

After writing about the economy for so many years, I’m now so convinced that we can’t print our way to prosperity that I find myself seeing signs confirming this view everywhere, every single day. So that’s the danger to be aware of when listening to me.  I’m going to keep repeating this mantra and Im going to keep finding data that supports this view.

Based on lots of historical inputs, I have concluded that Printing money out of thin air can engineer lots of things, including asset price bubbles and the redistribution of wealth from the masses to the elites.  But it cannot print up real prosperity.


Sanitized Socialism & Communist Goals

By David Fiorazo

A plot to take down the United States? No way. ‘It could never happen in America’ – right?

Enemies of God have done quite a good job convincing us through the years that there was never an agenda against this country. That’s conspiracy theory material, they say, insisting the cultural, economic, and moral deterioration we see of America has been natural and inevitable. But our culture has been compromised, and that they have purposefully achieved their objectives in part through America’s major institutions. In the last 25 years, radicals and yes, communists, have been emboldened by allies in our government.

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Understanding the Trump Derangement Syndrome

By David Kupelian/WND

First, let’s agree on what is indisputably true: The left frequently compares Trump to Hitler, and I’m not talking about just Facebook rants and anti-Trump protest signs. The Washington Post, as I documented last October in a pre-election article titled “5 Washington Post writers liken Trump to Hitler,” spent 2016 explicitly and continually comparing Donald J. Trump to one of history’s most evil and universally reviled genocidal monsters.

Specifically, five different Post writers, one after the other, cited Trump’s “Hitlerian thinking,” claimed his rise was “uncannily reminiscent” of Hitler’s, evoked “Nazi sympathizers,” called Trump a Hitler-like “megalomaniacal demagogue,” and, of course, pegged him as a dangerous “sociopathic liar” in the tradition of Hitler.

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Dodging the Climate Change Bullet – Todd Strandberg

We may have dodged the climate change bullet, but I don’t think we will have a respite from other similar entanglements. The devil will quickly be back with another ploy. The keep coming faster and faster because we are near to the time when Satan will soon have control of all nations. It is my hope that the Rapture is the only reason why America finally bows to the globalist cabal.

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Corruption and Collusion: Obama, Comey, and the Press

What a sleazy bunch they were! Hiding their corruption behind the color of their skin. Criticized for Fast and Furious in 2011, Holder said: “This is a way to get at the president because of the way I can be identified with him, both due to the nature of our relationship and, you know, the fact that we’re both African-American.” What a sleazy bunch.

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Family Research Council Launches Petition for Apology from Bernie Sanders for Religious Attack

During the hearing Sanders didn’t ask Vought about his financial expertise but questioned his belief that salvation is found alone through Jesus Christ, a belief expressed in a column he wrote last year.

Sanders quoted the column and this exchange followed:

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McDonald’s touts LGBT ‘rainbow fries’

From Friday through Sunday, McDonald’s restaurants in Washington, D.C, situated along the “Capital Pride” parade route are offering customers limited-edition “rainbow fry” boxes to celebrate the LGBTQ community and remind Americans that the Golden Arches is a major player and sponsor in promoting homosexual behavior across the nation.

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MELTDOWN: Bernie Sanders Viciously Attacks The Christian Faith Of Trump Nominee Russell Vought

First they came for the wedding planners and the bakers. Then they came for the Catholic farmers and the Baptist high school valedictorians. And now, the secularists are coming after the evangelical public servants.

“Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole. This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” Acts 4:10-12 (KJV)

EDITOR’S NOTE: President Trump’s latest government nominee Russell Vought drew the unmitigated ire and fury of Bernie Sanders because of a statement of faith he signed while in Christian college. Vought stated that he believed that Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation, excluding all other beliefs, ideas and systems to the contrary. This is, of course, is what the King James Bible teaches from cover to cover. Bernie Sanders, on the other hand, declared such thinking to be “anti-American” and called for Vought’s nomination to be blocked. I wonder if Sanders will be equally passionate about his anti-Jesus rant on the day when he stands before Jesus Christ to give an account for his life. 

On Wednesday, Russell Vought, President Trump’s nominee to be deputy director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, was viciously attacked by Sen. Bernie Sanders over his Christian faith.

Sen. Sanders deemed Vought unsuitable for office because he believes that salvation is found alone through Jesus Christ. He said someone with that kind of a religious belief system is “really not someone who this country is supposed to be about.”

Sen. James Lankford warned that Sander’s comments “dangerously close to crossing a clear constitutional line for how we evaluate qualifications for public service.”

Bernie Sanders really, really, really hates Jesus Christ and Christianity:

“The First Amendment is crystal clear that the federal government must protect every American’s right to the peaceful and free exercise of religion,” the Oklahoma Republican said. “We cannot say we have the free exercise of religion and also require people to practice their faith only in a way that government officials prefer.”

The Vermont senator’s comments brought strong condemnation from Christians across the nation – including Family Research Council President Tony Perkins.

“Senator Sanders is taking the Obama era’s religious hostility and putting it on steroids,” Perkins said.

Thousands have signed a Family Research Council petition demanding Sanders apologize for his outburst of religious bigotry.

Robert Jeffress, the pastor of First Baptist Church of Dallas, said that there are only two choices for the senator: “Apologize to the country for his foolhardy attempt to introduce an unconstitutional litmus test that would exclude 41 percent of the country, or resign.”

The controversy stems from an article Vought wrote in 2016 defending his alma mater, Wheaton College. In that article, he described Islam as a “deficient theology.”

“This is a fundamental problem,” he wrote in The Resurgent. “Muslims do not simply have a deficient theology. They do not know God because they have rejected Jesus Christ his Son, and they stand condemned.”

Sanders confronted Vought during the congressional hearing. The following is a transcript provided by FRC:

Sen. Sanders: “‘Muslims do not simply have a deficient theology. They do not know God because they have rejected Jesus Christ, His Son, and they stand condemned.’ Do you believe that that statement is Islamophobic?”

Mr. Vought: “Absolutely not, Senator. I’m a Christian, and I believe in a Christian set of principles based on my faith…

Sanders: “…Forgive me, we just don’t have a lot of time. Do you believe people in the Muslim religion stand condemned? Is that your view?”

Vought: “Again, Senator, I’m a Christian, and I wrote that piece in accordance with the statement of faith at Wheaton College…”

Sanders: “I understand that. I don’t know how many Muslims there are in America. Maybe a couple million. Are you suggesting that these people stand condemned? What about Jews? Do they stand condemned too?”

Vought: “Senator, I’m a Christian…”

Sanders [shouting]: “I understand you are a Christian, but this country [is] made of people who are not just — I understand that Christianity is the majority religion, but there are other people of different religions in this country and around the world. In your judgment, do you think that people who are not Christians are going to be condemned?”

Vought: “Thank you for probing on that question. As a Christian, I believe that all individuals are made in the image of God and are worthy of dignity and respect regardless of their religious beliefs. I believe that as a Christian that’s how I should treat all individuals…”

Sanders: “…Do you think that’s respectful of other religions?… I would simply say, Mr. Chairman that this nominee is really not someone who this country is supposed to be about.”

As Perkins pointed out, salvation through Jesus Christ is a core biblical tenet held by Christians for millennia.

“Yet Senator Sanders is making it clear that he believes the U.S. Senate should disqualify nominees who express this most basic biblical belief,” Perkins said.

“Americans should never be forced to choose between their faith and public service. Nor should the U.S. Senate try to impose a stealth litmus test that says ‘you can be religious as long as you don’t actually believe or talk about what the Bible teaches.'”

After Sanders’ wrapped up his rant, David French wrote a powerful rebuke of Sanders for National Review.  “There is nothing ‘extreme’ about his statements, and they mirror the statements of faith of countless Christian churches and schools across the land,” French wrote. “Are these believers also not fit for public office?”

It’s a fair question and one that I posed to Sen. Sanders’ office. Does he believe Christians are unfit to hold public office?

The senator’s press office did not answer that question directly.

“The question at hand is not about Mr. Vought’s freedom to hold certain religious beliefs,” the senator’s spokesman told me. “The question that concerns Sen. Sanders is whether Mr. Vought will carry out the duties of his office in a way that treats all Americans equally, even those whose beliefs he has criticized.”

It was an ugly moment in American politics, but it was also an instructional moment for American Christians.

Progressives and secularists are waging a brutal assault on people of faith – and it’s only gotten worse since President Trump took office. People of faith must stand together and renounce anti-Christian bigots and bigotry – especially when those bigots walk the halls of Congress. source


L.A. Gay-Pride-Turned-‘#ResistMarch’ Feels the Hate for Trump

Breitbart has the story along with some photos showing disgusting signs held by some marchers, which should surprise no one becuse this is the sort of thing we’ve come to expect from the LGBTQ community:

Unhinged LGBTQ protesters defaced Donald Trump’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Photo credit Gay West Hollywood.

The annual Gay Pride march in Los Angeles was officially renamed the “Resist March,” with a message devoted to attacking President Donald Trump, the Republican Party, and conservatives in general.

Thousands of demonstrators gathered in Hollywood on an overcast Sunday morning, waving rainbow flags, pink-white-and-pastel-blue “trans flags,” and anti-Trump signs — many of them profane.

View article →


Leading liberals develop blueprint to expand ‘deep state’ and undercut Trump

Ryan Lovelace of Washington Examiner reports that a meeting of the far-left American Constitution Society was held to discuss how to encourage the “deep state” to undermine President Donald Trump. He writes:

Forlorn liberals took refuge at the American Constitution Society’s national convention in Washington this week, discussing whether to encourage the growth of the “deep state” resistance inside the government or fight President Trump from outside.

“The election of Donald Trump was an assault on the federal bureaucracy,” William Yeomans said to a room full of students and civil servants, including those recently displaced by Trump’s administration. “His values are simply not consistent with the values of people who are committed to public service and who believe deeply in the importance of public service.”

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We Need Discernment Ministries? Yes Absolutely!

I stumbled upon this gem over at Apprising Ministries that was penned in 2005 by G. Richard Fisher of Personal Freedom Outreach. Ken Silva ran across Fisher’s piece and posted it on AM in 2011. In it Fisher presents his view of why discernment ministries are necessary. For example, discernment ministries like AM and PFO hammer home the fact that the Word of Faith movement is not biblical Christianity — it is a theological cult.  WoF “may superficially speak of Christ,” says Fisher, “but their Christology of a born-again Jesus who suffered in hell, denies the Christ of the Bible and is rank heresy. Using Christian words and defining them in non-Christian ways is the essence of deception and cultism.”

With this background in mind, listen as Richard Fisher argues why online apologetics and discernment ministries are important. He writes:

In a day of pluralism and tolerance, apologetic and discernment ministries are viewed by some as anti­quated, unneeded, and in the way of getting together and getting along.

In a day when unity is put far above truth, counter-cult ministries are seen as passé and even obstructionist.

Televangelists and Word Faith teachers can draw tens of thousands to their meetings while discernment confer­ences struggle to get a hundred. Truth, dear thinking, and biblical precision are definitely not in, and heresies are gaining popularity. Orthodoxy is out and false doctrine is in vogue.

Of course, there are many reasons for this: Men love darkness rather than light. We have an unseen enemy who goes about like a roaring lion. And liberalism has so eroded confidence in Scripture that many are turning to mysticism and experience. Subjectivism is the drug of choice. Many of the religious are addicted to their own adrenaline.

Truth be known, the deception is getting deeper and more subtle. This only underscores the need for organi­zations such as Personal Freedom Outreach. Someone needs to sound the alarm. Without discernment minis­tries, who will do it?

The evangelical Church has tried so hard to be relevant to the world that it is becoming irrelevant. Rather than compromise with the dominant culture, we need to stand more strongly for our distinctives and distinctiveness.

View article →

 Berean Research has an excellent White Paper on Discernment.


‘I Understand You Are a Christian!’: Bernie Sanders Angrily Erupts During Questioning of Nominee Who Believes Christ Is Only Way to God

Christian News reports:

Former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders became agitated and hostile on Wednesday during the questioning of Deputy Budget Director nominee Russell Vought, as he noted a social media post written by Vought that remarked that Muslims “do not know God because they have rejected Jesus Christ his Son, and they stand condemned.”

Sanders began by reading a joint letter from the Arab American Institute, Bend the Arc Jewish Action, and Muslim Advocates, which expressed objection to Vought’s nomination because he had “denigrated Muslims” and therefore has shown “hostility to religious pluralism.”

View article →

Mid-Day Snapshot

June 12, 2017

The Fallout After Comey’s Testimony

Democrats attempt to shift their anti-Trump agenda narrative, while Trump goes on the offensive against Comey.

The Foundation

“To model our political system upon speculations of lasting tranquility, is to calculate on the weaker springs of the human character.” —Alexander Hamilton (1788)


ZeroHedge Frontrunning: June 12

  • Tech selloff spreads to Europe and Asia, politics lifts euro (Read More)
  • GE Names Flannery CEO as Immelt to Step Down After 16 Years (Read More)
  • Trump to Call for Curbs on CFPB (Read More)
  • Sessions Testimony Will Keep Attention on Russia Probe (Read More)
  • France Is on the Verge of an Astonishing Political Transformation (Read More)
  • Fed Finds Foe in Financial Markets (Read More)
  • Britain, U.S. deny that Trump state visit delayed (Read More)
  • Qatar Says It Can Defend Currency and Economy in Gulf Feud (Read More)
  • Aldi fires $3.4 billion shot in U.S. supermarket wars (Read More)
  • Cruz Goes From ‘Lucifer’ to Dealmaker in Health-Care Overhaul (Read More)
  • Former Amazon Warehouse Manager Sues for Overtime Wages (Read More)
  • Foxconn says Apple, Dell join its bid for Toshiba chip business (Read More)
  • China, Singapore Vow Trade Cooperation in Sign of Thaw (Read More)
  • When Activists Enter the Kitchen, the CFOs Feel the Heat (Read More)
  • Russian police detain Putin critic Navalny ahead of Moscow protest (Read More)
  • A Graft Machine’s Collapse Sows Chaos in the Caribbean (Read More)
  • These Cities Have Too Many Stores, and They’re Still Building (Read More)
  • Does Anyone Remember How to Make a Subprime Mortgage? (Read More)
  • Risk and robots: Ripping out a radioactive heart (Read More)
  • Why You Don’t Want to Buy a Sharp TV in the U.S. (Read More)
  • The Other Eric in Trump Tower Reaches Down in New Hotel Push (Read More)
  • How Trump Digs a Deeper Legal Hole When He Tweets (Read More)

Top Headlines – 6/12/2017

1,800 US rabbis call on Israel to end occupation, lay groundwork for peace

UNRWA should be dismantled, Netanyahu told Nikki Haley

An unusual confrontation in front of Ambassador Nikki Haley

Top Israel and UN officers spar in front of Nikki Haley – report

Failed US policies at the heart of Middle East problem

Netanyahu Demanded Settlers Be Allowed to Remain in Palestine After Future Peace Deal, Document Reveals

Lieberman: Israel plans most settlement homes since 1992

Israeli Cabinet Decides to Reduce Gaza Electricity Supply in Agreement With Abbas’

Escalation in Gaza: The writing is already on the wall

Ramallah start-up uses algorithms to predict Mideast conflict allows users to avoid conflict zones

Bomb threats close three LA synagogues over Shabbat

Woman strips naked in front of Western Wall, sparking uproar

Journalist ordered to pay Netanyahu damages for libel

US-backed Syrian fighters seize parts of IS ‘capital’ Raqqa

Jordan shoots dead five approaching its borders from Syria

Russia Says It’s Willing to Help U.S. Mediate Qatar-Saudi Rift

Saudis move to ease humanitarian crisis spawned by Qatar blockade

Qatar blockade: Iran sends five planeloads of food

Iran says two warships heading to Oman

Iran arrests almost 50 after deadly Tehran attacks

Tunisians protest for right not to fast during Ramadan

US airstrike kills 8 Islamic extremists in Somalia

Facebook blasphemy: Pakistani man sentenced to death for insulting Prophet Muhammad

Germany: Facial recognition software will identify terrorists

Convicted terrorist featured in Puerto Rican Day parade

Puerto Rico votes to ask US congress to make it the 51st state

Tens of thousands rally in Barcelona for Catalan independence vote

Mueller adds muscle for Russia investigation

Attorney general to face questions on Comey firing, Russia

Trump attorney signals a firm stance in dealing with special prosecutor

Trump accuses ex-FBI director Comey of cowardice over ‘leaks’

Trump says Comey leaks are the real issue, in Sunday morning Twitter flurry

McCain says American leadership was better under Obama: report

Sanders Calls for Takeover of ‘Absolute Failure’ Democratic Party

Delta, Bank of America drop sponsorship of Shakespeare in the Park over ‘Julius Caesar’ stunt that shows Trump assassination

Hedge funds face a crisis of confidence

Digital rights groups fight back against biometric campaign

Brain-computer interfaces are coming: ‘Consensual telepathy,’ anyone?

NASA video shows asteroids circling Earth after it spots 10 ‘potentially hazardous’ space rocks

5.6 magnitude earthquake hits near Illapel, Chile

5.6 magnitude earthquake hits near Cibungur, Indonesia

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits the Ascension Island region

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Villa Yapacani, Bolivia

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Port-Olry, Vanuatu

Sheveluch volcano on Kamchatka, Russia erupts to 27,000ft

Klyuchevskoy volcano on Kamchatka, Russia erupts to 25,000ft

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 23,000ft

Reventador volcano in Ecuador erupts to 13,000ft

Poas volcano in Costa Rica erupts to 10,000ft

Gulf of Mexico could yield second Atlantic tropical system of 2017 next week

Culls, poultry transport ban as S. Korea fights bird flu outbreak

Prozac Nation Is Now the United States of Xanax

Insurance Companies Increasingly Using Cheap DNA Testing To Deny Coverage

Public Libraries Hosting ‘Drag Queen Story Hour’ for Children

Activists Display a Mixture of Pride and Anger at LGBT Marches Across the U.S.

Washington gay pride parade draws thousands, briefly blocked by protest

L.A. Gay-Pride-Turned-‘#ResistMarch’ Feels the Hate for Trump

Pentagon continues LGBT pride celebration; conservatives say it’s a shame in Trump administration

North Korea Arrests Senior Citizen for Contacting Christians in China

Jackie Alnor interviews David Keesling, the attorney that won the lawsuit against TBN in the Carra Crouch vs. Trinity Broadcasting rape case

Molestation scandal is latest setback to once-mighty Trinity Broadcasting Network

Warning for children’s ministries “Turning Orange” – Is Your Church Usiing Andy Stanley’s “Orange Strategy”?

Insight into the lunacy of Bethel Supernatural School of Ministry

Jim Bakker: Pat Robertson Has The Power To Pray Hurricanes Away

Saddleback and its Meulenberg dilemma

Welcome to Rome!

Southern Baptists Embrace Gender-Inclusive Language in the Bible

Missouri School Superintendent Forced Out After ‘Offending’ Students for Praying at Graduation

Over 200,000 Attend Israel’s Gay Pride Parade

Powerful 6.0 Earthquake Strikes Western Turkey

Posted: 12 Jun 2017 06:14 AM PDT

An earthquake with a magnitude of at least 6.0, at a depth of approximately 10km, has struck off the coast of western Turkey. Effects of…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Georgia family loses everything in a fire, except a Bible

Posted: 12 Jun 2017 05:48 AM PDT

God works in mysterious ways. At least, that’s what one Glynn County family believes after they lost everything in a fire, except a Holy Bible….

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Thousand Gathered in Arizona This Weekend to Praise Jesus

Posted: 12 Jun 2017 05:41 AM PDT

Tens of thousands of Christians flocked to the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, on Sunday night for Harvest America, an event aimed at spreading…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Legendary Investor Jim Rogers Warns That The Worst Stock Market Crash In Your Lifetime Is Coming ‘This Year Or Next’

Posted: 12 Jun 2017 05:36 AM PDT

(Reported By Michael Snyder) If Jim Rogers is right, the worst stock market crash that any of us has ever seen is right around the corner. …

Read more at End Time Headlines.

New York Times Advises Parents How to Raise ‘Feminist Boys’

Posted: 12 Jun 2017 05:32 AM PDT

The New York Times is dispensing parenting advice in its latest identity politics piece all about raising “feminist sons.” “We raise our girls to fight stereotypes and pursue…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

RUMRS OF WAR: Is North Korea Pushing For World War 3?

Posted: 12 Jun 2017 05:28 AM PDT

North Korea’s World War 3 nuclear threat is just one of the reasons for anxiety surrounding the new millennium. Terrorism, economic distress, and countless real…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Watch Out For Those Who Prostitute the Prophetic

Posted: 12 Jun 2017 05:24 AM PDT

(By Jared Laskey) Balaam was once a prophet. The Old Testament Scripture reveals he had known Yahweh, speaking on His behalf. He knew the covenant…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Pence Tells Christians Trump Is ‘Fighting Hard’ for Them

Posted: 11 Jun 2017 07:00 PM PDT

Vice President Mike Pence is reiterating the support of President Donald Trump for the causes dear to Christian conservatives, saying in a speech that the…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

3 Signs You Might be a Lukewarm Christian

Posted: 11 Jun 2017 06:52 PM PDT

(By Christina Patterson) My hair was styled, my church clothes on, and makeup done. I was ready for Sunday morning service. I recently purchased a…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Indiana mom sues principal, teacher after son ‘forced’ to recite Pledge of Allegiance

Posted: 11 Jun 2017 06:26 PM PDT

An Indiana mom filed a lawsuit on Friday against an elementary school teacher and principal for allegedly forcing her son to recite the Pledge of…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

RETAIL APOCALYPSE: 25% of Shopping Malls will be gone in 5 years!

Posted: 11 Jun 2017 06:14 PM PDT

Store closings and even dead malls are nothing new, but things might be about to get a whole lot worse. Between 20% and 25% of…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Wisconsin and Minnesota Struck with Wicked Storms – 80,000 homes without power, 2000 flights delayed

Posted: 11 Jun 2017 06:05 PM PDT

A powerful weather apocalypse with strong thunderstorms, giant hail and strong winds hit Wisconsin and Minnesota on June 11, 2017 leaving at least 80,000 homes…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

There is a mysterious disappearance of UFO researchers taking place

Posted: 11 Jun 2017 05:58 PM PDT

In recent months the deaths of famous UFO hunters Max Spiers and Guarav Tiwari have prompted many to ask if someone is killing off our…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

North Korea Arrests Senior Citizen for Contacting Christians in China

Posted: 11 Jun 2017 12:41 PM PDT

Authorities in North Korea’s Yanggang province tied with rope, assaulted, dragged and arrested a 61-year-old resident days after he returned from China on charges of…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Nearly Half of Iraqi and Syrian Christians Have Fled Middle East Since 2011

Posted: 11 Jun 2017 12:30 PM PDT

An investigative report on displacement and emigration of Christians in Syria and Iraq estimates that at least 50 percent and up to 80 percent of…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Christian Church in China Destroyed and worshippers drug in street and beaten

Posted: 11 Jun 2017 12:26 PM PDT

Chinese police destroyed a church after dragging worshippers out of the building and beating them in the street. Violence broke out in Shanggiu in Henan…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

University Student Sues Over Failing Grade Allegedly Tied to Complaint About Lesbianism, Profanity in Reading List

Posted: 11 Jun 2017 12:13 PM PDT

A 59-year-old University student has sued her teacher at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point for giving her a failing grade, as she believes the F is…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

UK Churches Choose Courage Over Fear

Posted: 11 Jun 2017 12:05 PM PDT

Despite enduring two terror attacks in one month, a group of UK Christians are working hard to spread a message of love. The threat level…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Abbas Drops Settlement Freeze Precondition to “Give Trump a Chance” to Make Peace

Posted: 11 Jun 2017 11:58 AM PDT

Amid the Trump administration’s Mideast peace push, Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas will temporarily shelve his longtime demand that Israel freeze construction in Judea…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Neanderthal Remains Discovered in Israel May Rewrite History

Posted: 11 Jun 2017 11:52 AM PDT

A rare archaeological discovery of 60,000-year-old Neanderthal bones in northern Israel may result in anthropologists rewriting history.  The Neanderthal remains were uncovered in Ein Qashish…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

This Might Be Why You’re Under Constant Demonic Attack

Posted: 11 Jun 2017 11:48 AM PDT

(By Shane Idleman) “When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, it passes through dry places seeking rest, but finds none. Then it says,…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Iran sends warships to Oman amid Gulf tensions

Posted: 11 Jun 2017 11:42 AM PDT

The Iranian Navy has dispatched a flotilla on a mission to Oman, local media report, and will enter international waters.On Sunday, the 47th flotilla, comprised…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Feared removal of Texas hero’s statue prompts armed protest

Posted: 11 Jun 2017 11:38 AM PDT

Hundreds of individuals, some armed, gathered at a Houston park to protest what they believe are efforts to remove a statue of Texas hero Sam…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Pakistan sentences man to death for blasphemy on Facebook

Posted: 11 Jun 2017 11:35 AM PDT

A Pakistani counter-terrorism court has sentenced to death a man who allegedly committed blasphemy on Facebook, a government prosecutor said on Sunday, the first time…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Germany to test face recognition software to target terrorist suspects

Posted: 11 Jun 2017 07:18 AM PDT

Germany will start testing facial recognition software at a Berlin train station this summer to help police track down and identify terrorist suspects, criminal offenders,…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

New study reveals that even moderate drinking could harm the brain

Posted: 11 Jun 2017 07:14 AM PDT

Heavy drinking can lead to a number of serious health problems, including increased risk of cancer, heart disease, and dementia, but consuming even moderate levels…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Quakes near New Madrid fault Continue as magnitude 3.6 rattles part of Arkansas

Posted: 11 Jun 2017 07:05 AM PDT

A 3.6-magnitude earthquake rattled parts of Arkansas and Missouri early Sunday.  The quake, which centered about 5 miles north of Bergman and 18 miles northeast…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

As U.S. Soccer Celebrates Gay Pride, Christian Player Quietly Withdraws from Team

Posted: 10 Jun 2017 06:12 PM PDT

A U.S. soccer player who is outspoken about her Christian faith has withdrawn her name from the team roster after U.S. soccer announced that their…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Nearly 1,000 migrants leave Libya bound for Europe

Posted: 10 Jun 2017 06:08 PM PDT

Mayhem broke out in the Mediterranean on Friday as more than 900 migrants set off from Libya to reach Europe in just 24 hours.  Desperate…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Transgender Sprinter Wins Girls Track Meet

Posted: 10 Jun 2017 06:03 PM PDT

Conservative blogger Matt Walsh is sounding the alarm after a boy who identifies as a girl won the girl’s 100-meter and 200-meter dashes in state…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

RUMORS OF WAR: Gulf crisis could spiral into full blown war!

Posted: 10 Jun 2017 05:53 PM PDT

The recent diplomatic fracture among some of the biggest Arab nations is so “dramatic,” it could spiral into a war, Germany’s foreign minister has warned…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Obesity may soon surpass smoking in death risk…

Posted: 10 Jun 2017 05:46 PM PDT

Obesity and inactivity could someday account for more cancer deaths than smoking if current trends continue, a leading cancer expert says. As the rate of smoking decreases,…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Nationwide Marches Against ‘Sharia Law’

Posted: 10 Jun 2017 05:42 PM PDT

Demonstrations against Islamic law led to arrests, tense confrontations and physical fights in some U.S. cities Saturday amid several rallies sponsored by ACT for America,…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Pat Robertson Raises Many Eyebrows on “Polygamy in the Bible”

Posted: 10 Jun 2017 05:33 PM PDT

Popular televangelist Pat Robertson, who serves as chancellor of Regent University and chairman of the Christian Broadcasting Network, has said he doesn’t know of anything…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Northern Illinois United Methodist Conference Commissions Deacon Who Identifies as Neither Male or Female

Posted: 10 Jun 2017 05:29 PM PDT

The Northern Illinois Conference of the United Methodist Church has commissioned as deacon a woman who identifies as “non-binary,” only uses the letter M for a first…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Florida sheriff urges citizens to arm themselves in case of attack

Posted: 10 Jun 2017 12:32 PM PDT

A Florida sheriff’s office posted a controversial message on social media, urging citizens to arm themselves in self-defense. Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey posted the…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

DEVELOPING: North Korea gearing up to test newest nuclear missile

Posted: 10 Jun 2017 12:27 PM PDT

North Korea may be close to testing its newest intercontinental ballistic missile, state media suggested. In recent months, North Korea has been testing a variety…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Massive Crowd of 14,000 Christians Gather in Times Square for Event Dedicated to Prayer and Scripture

Posted: 10 Jun 2017 12:22 PM PDT

Typically known for its bright lights and costumed characters, Times Square became the meeting place for an inspiring gathering of Christians from all walks of…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Father Sells Infant Son on Social Media to Buy New Phones for Him and His Girlfriend

Posted: 10 Jun 2017 12:18 PM PDT

Yes, you read that headline correctly. No, this is not “fake news.” Horrible, wicked people are selling their own offspring for electronics.  This week, LifeNews.com…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Atheist Group Pushing Schools to Ban Any References to God and Prayer at Graduations

Posted: 10 Jun 2017 12:08 PM PDT

A national atheist organization has sent a letter of complaint to an Alabama school district where a principal’s speech at a high school graduation ceremony…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

Pilotless planes could soon be a reality!

Posted: 10 Jun 2017 12:04 PM PDT

If you have a fear of flying, this probably isn’t going to do you any favors. Boeing has revealed plans to develop planes that fly…

Read more at End Time Headlines.

What is The Gospel?


Who Do You Think That I Am?

Selected Scriptures

Code: A335

With that brief question Jesus Christ confronted His followers with the most important issue they would ever face. He had spent much time with them and made some bold claims about His identity and authority. Now the time had come for them either to believe or deny His teachings.

Who do you say Jesus is? Your response to Him will determine not only your values and lifestyle, but your eternal destiny as well.

Consider what the Bible says about Him:

JESUS IS GOD

While Jesus was on earth there was much confusion about who He was. Some thought He was a wise man or a great prophet. Others thought He was a madman. Still others couldn’t decide or didn’t care. But Jesus said, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). That means He claimed to be nothing less than God in human flesh.

Many people today don’t understand that Jesus claimed to be God. They’re content to think of Him as little more than a great moral teacher. But even His enemies understood His claims to deity. That’s why they tried to stone Him to death (John 5:18; 10:33) and eventually had Him crucified (John 19:7).

C.S. Lewis observed, “You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come up with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to” (Mere Christianity [Macmillan, 1952], pp. 40-41).

If the biblical claims of Jesus are true, He is God!

JESUS IS HOLY

God is absolutely and perfectly holy (Isaiah 6:3), therefore He cannot commit or approve of evil (James 1:13).

As God, Jesus embodied every element of God’s character. Colossians 2:9 says, “In Him all the fulness of Deity dwells in bodily form.” He was perfectly holy (Hebrews 4:15). Even His enemies couldn’t prove any accusation against Him (John 8:46)

God requires holiness of us as well. First Peter 1:16 says, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

JESUS IS THE SAVIOR

Our failure to obey God—to be holy—places us in danger of eternal punishment (2 Thessalonians 1:9). The truth is, we cannot obey Him because we have neither the desire nor the ability to do so. We are by nature rebellious toward God (Ephesians 2:1-3). The Bible calls our rebellion “sin.” According to Scripture, everyone is guilty of sin: “There is no man who does not sin” (1 Kings 8:46). “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). And we are incapable of changing our sinful condition. Jeremiah 13:23 says, “Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? Neither can you do good who are accustomed to doing evil.”

That doesn’t mean we’re incapable of performing acts of human kindness. We might even be involved in various religious or humanitarian activities. But we’re utterly incapable of understanding, loving, or pleasing God on our own. The Bible says, “There is none righteous, not even one; there is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God; all have turned aside, together they have become useless; there is none who does good, there is not even one” (Romans 3:10-12).

God’s holiness and justice demand that all sin be punished by death: “The soul who sins will die” (Ezekiel 18:4). That’s hard for us to understand because we tend to evaluate sin on a relative scale, assuming some sins are less serious than others. However, the Bible teaches that all acts of sin are the result of sinful thinking and evil desires. That’s why simply changing our patterns of behavior can’t solve our sin problem or eliminate its consequences. We need to be changed inwardly so our thinking and desires are holy

Jesus is the only one who can forgive and transform us, thereby delivering us from the power and penalty of sin: “There is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

Even though God’s justice demands death for sin, His love has provided a Savior, who paid the penalty and died for sinners: “Christ … died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, in order that He might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18). Christ’s death satisfied the demands of God’s justice, thereby enabling Him to forgive and save those who place their faith in Him (Romans 3:26). John 3:16 says, “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” He alone is “our great God and Savior” (Titus 2:13).

JESUS IS THE ONLY ACCEPTABLE OBJECT OF SAVING FAITH

Some people think it doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you’re sincere. But without a valid object your faith is useless

If you take poison—thinking it’s medicine—all the faith in the world won’t restore your life. Similarly, if Jesus is the only source of salvation, and you’re trusting in anyone or anything else for your salvation, your faith is useless.

Many people assume there are many paths to God and that each religion represents an aspect of truth. But Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me” (John 14:6). He didn’t claim to be one of many equally legitimate paths to God, or the way to God for His day only. He claimed to be the only way to God—then and forever.

JESUS IS LORD

Contemporary thinking says man is the product of evolution. But the Bible says we were created by a personal God to love, serve, and enjoy endless fellowship with Him

The New Testament reveals it was Jesus Himself who created everything (John 1:3; Colossians 1:16). Therefore He also owns and rules everything (Psalm 103:19). That means He has authority over our lives and we owe Him absolute allegiance, obedience, and worship.

Romans 10:9 says, “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.” Confessing Jesus as Lord means humbly submitting to His authority (Philippians 2:10-11). Believing that God has raised Him from the dead involves trusting in the historical fact of His resurrection—the pinnacle of Christian faith and the way the Father affirmed the deity and authority of the Son (Romans 1:4; Acts 17:30-31).

True faith is always accompanied by repentance from sin. Repentance is more than simply being sorry for sin. It is agreeing with God that you are sinful, confessing your sins to Him, and making a conscious choice to turn from sin and pursue holiness (Isaiah 55:7). Jesus said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (John 14:15); and “If you abide in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine” (John 8:31).

It isn’t enough to believe certain facts about Christ. Even Satan and his demons believe in the true God (James 2:19), but they don’t love and obey Him. Their faith is not genuine. True saving faith always responds in obedience (Ephesians 2:10).

Jesus is the sovereign Lord. When you obey Him you are acknowledging His lordship and submitting to His authority. That doesn’t mean your obedience will always be perfect, but that is your goal. There is no area of your life that you withhold from Him.

JESUS IS THE JUDGE

All who reject Jesus as their Lord and Savior will one day face Him as their Judge: “God is now declaring to men that all everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead” (Acts 17:30-31).

Second Thessalonians 1:7-9 says, “The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. And these will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power.”

HOW WILL YOU RESPOND?

Who does the Bible say Jesus is? The living God, the Holy One, the Savior, the only valid object of saving faith, the sovereign Lord, and the righteous Judge.

Who do you say Jesus is? That is the inescapable question. He alone can redeem you—free you from the power and penalty of sin. He alone can transform you, restore you to fellowship with God, and give your life eternal purpose. Will you repent and believe in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?


Available online at: https://www.gty.org/library/articles/A335
COPYRIGHT ©2017 Grace to YouYou may reproduce this Grace to You content for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Grace to You’s Copyright Policy (http://www.gty.org/connect/copyright).


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Are Mental impressions Divine Revelation?

Code: B170612

You have undoubtedly heard people say things like, “God is calling me to the mission field,” or “God led me to attend this college,” or “We feel God wants us to get married.” Perhaps you have even said such things yourself.

Christians who use expressions like those often mean they have had an impression or a strong feeling that they interpret as a disclosure of the divine will. Even people who believe prophecy and divine revelation have ceased sometimes fall into the trap of thinking God speaks directly to us through subjective means.

Normally people who make such claims have no intention of equating their mental impressions with divine revelation. They regard the subjective “leading of the Lord” as something far less than prophetic. Yet they believe God somehow communicates His will personally to individuals through inner promptings, signs, feelings of peace or uneasiness, strong impressions on the mind, or other similar means.

For reasons we shall examine, it is not wise to seek divine guidance through subjective impressions like these. Nowhere does Scripture encourage us to attempt to discern God’s will through such means. As we shall see, that sort of decision making can lead to confusion, disappointment, and sometimes spiritual tragedy.

And the truth is that treating subjective impressions as messages from the Holy Spirit is not really much different from claiming to receive divine revelation. Though most Christians who follow subjective impressions would not dream of listening to extrabiblical “prophecies,” in effect they are doing the same thing.

In fact, some advocates of modern prophetic revelation want to erase any distinction between subjective impressions and the gift of prophecy mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12–14. Professor Wayne Grudem, for example, who has produced the most thorough theological defense of the modern prophecy movement, believes God is giving revelation today chiefly through mental impressions. He even defines revelation as “something God brings to mind.” [1] He suggests that when God providentially brings a thought to a believer’s mind, that is the New Testament gift of prophecy in operation. Thus he has elevated mental impressions to the level of prophetic revelation.

Grudem’s work has had widespread influence. And it is in many respects a fine study. He shows biblically why important distinctions must be made between Old Testament prophecy, apostolic prophecy, and the New Testament gift of prophecy. In places (but not everywhere) his exegesis of the pertinent texts is very helpful. He includes a crucial appendix on the sufficiency of Scripture which, if heeded by his friends in the modern prophecy movement, would provide a remedy against the serious abuses that have so plagued the movement. And he offers another important appendix showing that the canon of Scripture is closed.

But it is at this very point that Grudem’s position seems most inconsistent. If the canon of Scripture is really closed; if (as Grudem rightly suggests) “it is in Scripture alone that we are to search for God’s words to us”; [2] and if, in his words, “the Bible is sufficient to equip us for living the Christian life” [3] —then what point is there in seeking additional “revelations” like the prophetic messages Grudem advocates? It is unfortunate that Grudem relegated his thoughts on the canon of Scripture and the sufficiency of Scripture to the book’s final appendixes. If this had been the starting point for his study of prophecy, perhaps he would have reached very different conclusions.

Grudem’s defense of prophetic revelation has opened the door to a host of bizarre and misleading “prophecies” that have plagued evangelical Christianity over the past several years. Scores of churches worldwide have implemented Grudem’s theology and are encouraging people to share mere mental impressions as if they were prophetic messages from God. Ironically, Grudem’s work is frequently summoned to defend even the most outlandish aspects of a movement that has utterly ignored his many clear warnings against abuse of the prophetic gifts.

To his credit, Grudem appeals for a view of prophecy that “would still include a strong affirmation of the closing of the New Testament canon (so that no new words of equal authority are given today), of the sufficiency of Scripture, and of the supremacy and unique authority of the Bible in guidance.”[4] He writes, “I am asking that charismatics . . . stop calling [prophecy] ‘a word from the Lord’—simply because that label makes it sound exactly like the Bible in authority.” [5] Elsewhere he writes, “Remember that what is spoken in any prophecy today is not the word of God, but is simply a human being reporting in merely human words something which God has brought to mind.” [6] He also warns that modern prophecy

should not be thought of as “God’s very words,” nor should the speaker preface his or her remarks with words which would give that impression, such as, “Thus says the Lord,” or, “Hear the words of God,” etc.—those statements should be reserved for Scripture alone. Something like, “I think the Lord is showing me that . . .” or, “I think the Lord is indicating that . . .” or, “It seems that the Lord is putting on my heart a concern that . . .” would all be much more appropriate, and far less misleading. [7]

If those warnings were consistently heeded, charismatic “prophets” could save their churches much grief and confusion.

But even in the denomination Grudem himself once identified with—the Association of Vineyard Churches—his words of caution are frequently ignored in the prophets’ actual practice.

James Ryle is himself a Vineyard pastor [Ryle passed away in 2015, Ed.]. He does give lip service to Grudem’s caution. He writes,

How often have you heard someone say casually, “The Lord spoke to me,” or “The Lord told me” to do this or that?

. . . Many within the church use these terms to justify their own desires and opinions. Possibly they feel that this puts what they are saying beyond challenge. After all, how does one argue with a “word from the Lord”?

In light of this problem I have found it a good policy to avoid such expressions and simply say, “It occurred to me” when I am sharing some insight which I’ve received in prayer or devotions. This removes unnecessary stumbling blocks and allows more people to hear the message without being distracted with the way the word is being presented. [8]

But note the significant difference between Grudem’s position and Ryle’s. Grudem believes prophecy is merely “something God brought to mind”—not “God’s very words.” He seems eager to avoid confusion on this point. Ryle’s perspective is markedly different. He says he employs terminology like “It occurred to me” to avoid “unnecessary stumbling blocks.” But he clearly does think of prophecy as God’s very words. After analyzing the dangers of saying things like “God spoke to me,” he states, “Nonetheless, the Lord does speak to us today.” In practice he cannot avoid placing modern words of prophecy on the same level with the written Word of God.

Ryle does this perhaps without even realizing it. He repeatedly cites Matthew 4:4 in defense of modern prophecy: “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God[9]—taking a verse that clearly speaks of Scripture and applying it to modern words of prophecy.

Furthermore, despite his stated preference for expressions like, “It occurred to me,” Ryle never once uses that expression or any like it in his book. Instead, the book is filled with statements like, “I heard the voice of the Lord,” “The voice of the Lord spoke to me,” “God was speaking to me again,” “The Lord Himself was standing before me . . . speaking directly to me,” “Again I heard the voice of the Lord. . . . The Lord continued [speaking]. . . . The Lord seemed to pause. . . . Then He delivered the knockout blow,” “The Lord was saying to me,” “The Lord spoke to him, telling him to call [me],” “He speaks to me,” “I received a word from the Lord,” “I sensed the Holy Spirit say to me,” “I treasure these words from the Lord, holding them in my heart with the deepest regard,” “These were the exact words I was given,” “The prophetic word from the heart of the Lord was spoken,” “This is what the Holy Spirit showed me,” and similar expressions. [10] All Ryle’s interpretations of his own dreams and visions are stated with dogmatic conviction.

Ryle continually uses terminology that suggests he has canonized modern prophecy—at least in his own mind. “The Holy Spirit inspires us to speak through any number of means,” he says, referring to his prophecies as “inspired utterance.” [11]] At the end of the book, Ryle suggests that when the hippo of modern prophecy comes into the garden of mainstream evangelicalism, “the church will be found in the midst of the world, speaking forth the words of God to a crooked and perverse generation, among whom we will shine as light, holding forth the word of life.” [12]

So in practice, Ryle finds it impossible not to equate his own prophecies with the words of Scripture, even though he appears to be trying to avoid this error. (In one place, Ryle says, “We must stop putting our own words in the Lord’s mouth. . . . Scripture alone is our sure foundation.” [13] To that I add a hearty amen.)

He is not alone in this failing. Anyone who is truly convinced that God is speaking fresh words of revelation will inevitably view the later prophecies as somehow more relevant and more personal than the message of Scripture, which is more than two thousand years old. Inevitably, wherever personal prophecy has been stressed, Scripture has been deemphasized. Two thousand years of church history confirms that this is true.

(Adapted from Reckless Faith.)

 


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Predestination and Election: The New Testament Data

The biblical and theological issues of predestination and election are a stumbling block to some folks. I have had various Christians, including not a few Catholics, say that they just cannot believe in these things. Sadly, this is normally because they do not understand what Scripture actually teaches on these matters.

Indeed, if they are Catholics, they likely know little about Protestantism in general, or Calvinism in particular. They may just have a knee-jerk reaction whenever they hear the “P” or “E” words, and move on from there without any careful reflection and biblical interaction.

This is a pity since this is indeed fully biblical teaching. The truth is, predestination and election are taught throughout Scripture, so those who claim they cannot or will not accept this are effectively saying they refuse to believe God and his Word at this point.

That predestination is a fully biblical truth cannot be denied, but of course how we are to understand it is the next matter. Indeed, how we put together concepts like divine sovereignty and his electing purposes, divine foreknowledge, and the doctrine of human accountability and moral responsibility is a major theological toughie.

predestination 2There are plenty of verses dealing with a sovereign God who is in charge and chooses and elects things and people, while there are plenty of verses dealing with our moral accountability and the need to make right choices for which we are responsible.

How these two seemingly incompatible truth sets go together has been the stuff of theological discussion and debate for the last two millennia. One thing we know for sure is it will not be fully solved and reconciled on my site any time soon! My take on it is partially this: Let God be God and he can deal with the sovereignty bit, and let men be men and we can deal with the personal responsibility bit.

So what then is the biblical evidence for predestination and election? I realise that simply listing every instance of the words as they appear in Scripture is not the best way to deal with this, but it is a start. So let me share some of these passages, and only those found in the New Testament.

I will then need to pen some more articles to seek to make some sense of these texts, and to make some broader theological points in the debate. Here then is what the New Testament has to say – at least in part – on the issue of God’s choice, election, and predestination:

Matthew 12:18 Here is my servant whom I have chosen, the one I love, in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will proclaim justice to the nations.

Matthew 22:14 For many are called, but few are chosen.

Matthew 24:31 And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

Mark 13:20-22 “If the Lord had not cut short those days, no one would survive. But for the sake of the elect, whom he has chosen, he has shortened them. At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘Look, there he is!’ do not believe it. For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.”

Luke 2:34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against

Luke 18:7 Now, will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry to Him day and night, and will He delay long over them?

John 6:37-39 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day.

John 6:44-45 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. It is written in the Prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me.

John 13:18 I am not speaking of all of you; I know whom I have chosen. But the Scripture will be fulfilled, ‘He who ate my bread has lifted his heel against me.’

John 15:16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.

John 15:19 If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

John 17:2 Since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him.

John 17:6 I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word.

Acts 2:23 This Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.

Acts 2:39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.

Acts 4:28 To do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place.

Acts 13:48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed.

Acts 15:17-18 ‘So that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord, And all the Gentiles who are called by My name,’ Says the Lord, who makes these things known from long ago.

Acts 17:26 And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place.

Acts 22:13-14 He stood beside me and said, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight!’ And at that very moment I was able to see him. Then he said: ‘The God of our ancestors has chosen you to know his will and to see the Righteous One and to hear words from his mouth.

Romans 1:6 Including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ,

Romans 8:28-30 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.

Romans 8:33 Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.

Romans 9:6-33 (too lengthy to post here, but let me offer a few parts of it below)

Romans 9:10-13 Not only that, but Rebekah’s children were conceived at the same time by our father Isaac. Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God’s purpose in election might stand: not by works but by him who calls—she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” Just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”

Romans 9:15-16 For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.

Romans 11:1-36 (too lengthy to post here, but let me offer a few parts of it below)

Romans 11:1-8 I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means! For I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew. Do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he appeals to God against Israel? “Lord, they have killed your prophets, they have demolished your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life.” But what is God’s reply to him? “I have kept for myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace. What then? What the people of Israel sought so earnestly they did not obtain. The elect among them did, but the others were hardened, as it is written:
“God gave them a spirit of stupor,
eyes that could not see
and ears that could not hear,
to this very day.”

1 Corinthians 1:24-26 But to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth.

1 Corinthians 2:7 But we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory;

Galatians 1:15 But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace.

Ephesians 1:1-23 (too lengthy to post here, but let me offer a few parts of it below)

Ephesians 1:1-6 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To God’s holy people in Ephesus, the faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.

Ephesians 1:9-12 Making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.

Ephesians 2:8-10 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Colossians1:27 To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

Colossians 3:12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience,

1 Thessalonians 1:4 For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you.

1 Thessalonians 3:2-4 We sent Timothy, who is our brother and co-worker in God’s service in spreading the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith, so that no one would be unsettled by these trials. For you know quite well that we are destined for them.

2 Thessalonians 2:13 But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.

2 Timothy 1:9 Who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began,

Titus 1:1 Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness,

James 1:18 Of his own will he brought us forth by the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

1 Peter 1:2 According to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure.

1 Peter 1:20 He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you.

1 Peter 2:6-8 For in Scripture it says:
“See, I lay a stone in Zion,
a chosen and precious cornerstone,
and the one who trusts in him
will never be put to shame.”
Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe,
“The stone the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone,”
and,
“A stone that causes people to stumble
and a rock that makes them fall.”
They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for.

2 Peter 1:10 Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.

2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.

2 John 1:1 The elder, To the lady chosen by God and to her children, whom I love in the truth—and not I only, but also all who know the truth—

2 John 1:13 The children of your sister, who is chosen by God, send their greetings.

Jude 1:4 For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

Revelation 13:8 And all who dwell on earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written before the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who was slain.

Revelation 17:14 They will wage war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will triumph over them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings—and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers.

This is not an exhaustive list, but a fairly representative one. And as mentioned, it is one thing just to list a bunch of these passages. It is another thing to try to get a proper understanding of them. That will have to be the stuff of another article or two. So stay tuned.

[2640 words]

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Todd Friel on Bernie Sanders’ explosion on a Christian who believes Jesus is the only way

The Domain for Truth

Bernie is a Liberal Fascist.

I shudder to think Bernie Sanders was a Presidential Candidate.

Todd Friel of Wretched Radio takes on Bernie Sanders’ rant biblically and logically below:

Senator Bernie need to hear about the ultimate Judge whom he would sit in the dock one day and face and what He has to say about Jesus:

View original post 262 more words

June 12, 2017: Verse of the day

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Benediction

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. (13:14)

To pronounce a benediction is to solemnly invoke a blessing, and Paul frequently did so in his epistles (e.g., Rom. 1:7; 16:20; 1 Cor. 1:3; 16:23; Gal. 1:3–4; 6:18; Eph. 1:2; 6:23–24; Phil. 1:2; 4:23; Col. 1:2; 1 Thess. 1:1; 5:28; 2 Thess. 1:2; 3:18; Philem. 3). No New Testament benediction, however, is as theologically rich and profound as this one. It is the only one that mentions all three persons of the Trinity. Two important features of this magnificent benediction call for closer examination.

First, as noted above, it is a Trinitarian benediction, reflecting a truth that is central to the Christian faith. Paul does not give here a formal, systematic exposition of the doctrine of the Trinity; this Trinitarian statement just flowed in natural and uninhibited fashion from him, as every blessing in the Christian life flows from the triune God.

Obviously, the doctrine of the Trinity is essential to the Christian faith. Those who deny it commit idolatry by worshiping a nonexistent false god, and thereby forfeit the possibility of salvation. While it does not contain a formal, precise theological declaration of the doctrine of the Trinity in one statement, Scripture nonetheless clearly and unmistakably teaches that the one true God has eternally existed in three co-equal and co-eternal persons. The biblical proof for the doctrine of the Trinity can be summarized in a simple syllogism: The Bible teaches there is only one God. Yet it calls three persons God. Therefore, the three persons are the one God.

That there is only one God is the undeniable teaching of Scripture. God Himself declared in Deuteronomy 32:39, “See now that I, I am He, and there is no god besides Me.” “You alone are God,” exclaimed David (Ps. 86:10). Through the prophet Isaiah, God made it clear that there is not now, never was, and never will be any other god: “ ‘You are My witnesses,’ declares the Lord, ‘and My servant whom I have chosen, in order that you may know and believe Me and understand that I am He. Before Me there was no God formed, and there will be none after Me’ ” (Isa. 43:10). To the Corinthians, surrounded by pagan idolatry, Paul wrote, “Therefore concerning the eating of things sacrificed to idols, we know that there is no such thing as an idol in the world, and that there is no God but one” (1 Cor. 8:4). (See also Deut. 4:35, 39; 6:4; 1 Sam. 2:2; 2 Sam. 7:22; 22:32; 1 Kings 8:23, 60; 2 Kings 19:15, 19; 2 Chron. 6:14; Neh. 9:6; Ps. 18:31; Isa. 37:16, 20; 44:6, 8; 45:5–6, 21; 46:9; Joel 2:27).

The Bible calls God the Father in such passages as 1 Corinthians 15:24; Galatians 1:1, 3; Ephesians 6:23; Philippians 1:2; and Jude 1, as few would dispute.

But despite the teachings of various demonic cults to the contrary, the Son is also called God. John opened his gospel with a powerful affirmation of Christ’s deity: “In the beginning was the Word [Jesus Christ; v. 14], and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). The former skeptic Thomas (John 20:25) cried out when he saw the resurrected Christ, “My Lord and my God!” (v. 28). Romans 9:5 describes Jesus as “God blessed forever,” while Titus 2:13 and 2 Peter 1:1 refer to Him as “our God and Savior.” God the Father calls the Son God in Hebrews 1:8, saying to Him, “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, and the righteous scepter is the scepter of His kingdom.”

The Holy Spirit is also called God. In Acts 5:3 Peter asked Ananias, “Why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit?” But in the next verse he told him, “You have not lied to men but to God.” Second Corinthians 3:18 refers to the Holy Spirit as “the Lord, the Spirit.”

Thus, Scripture plainly teaches the profound, incomprehensible reality of the triune God (cf. Isa. 48:16; Matt. 28:19; Luke 3:21–22; 1 Cor. 12:4–6).

But this benediction is not only Trinitarian but also redemptive. It is in salvation that the Trinity is most clearly seen. The love of God the Father caused Him to plan redemption and choose those who would be saved (John 3:16; Rom. 5:8–10). It was through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ in dying as a sacrifice for sins that salvation was effected for the redeemed (Rom. 5:6; 1 Cor. 15:3; 1 Peter 3:18; 1 John 2:2). As a result of salvation, believers are ushered into the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, as He indwells them (Rom. 8:9, 11; 1 Cor. 6:19; Gal. 4:6) and places them into the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:13).

Paul’s benediction forms a fitting conclusion to this epistle, which despite all its stern rebuke of the Corinthians’ folly and sin ends on a note of blessing. It was the apostle’s desire that the Corinthians put themselves in a position to experience all the blessings that salvation brings. It was with that goal in mind that he defended his commission and his message, and that he rebuked, encouraged, and prayed for them. There can be no higher goal for any faithful pastor than that his people would know the full riches God grants them through redemption.[1]


14 Paul’s concluding benediction (“may … be the constant portion of you all,” my translation) sums up all the divine resources (cf. v. 11b) that would equip the Corinthians to fulfill his concluding exhortations (v. 11a). His wish is that they would always be fortified by the grace Christ imparts, by the love God the Father supplies, and by their common participation in the life, power, and gifts of the Holy Spirit (see Notes). Such grace, love, and participation in the Spirit would enable them to rejoice in the Lord, work at their restoration, respond to exhortation, be united in attitude, and maintain harmony.

This embryonic Trinitarian formulation is noteworthy for the unusual “economic” order of Son—Father—Spirit. It is through the grace shown by Christ (8:9) in living and dying for the benefit of humans that God demonstrates his love (Ro 5:8) and believers come to share in the Spirit’s life and so form the community of the new age (1 Co 12:7, 13–14; Php 2:1). This order also reflects Christian experience: we come to Christ and so encounter God and then receive his Spirit.[2]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2003). 2 Corinthians (pp. 487–489). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

[2] Harris, M. J. (2008). 2 Corinthians. In T. Longman III &. Garland, David E. (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Romans–Galatians (Revised Edition) (Vol. 11, p. 544). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

June 12 – Persevering in the Word

“One who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man shall be blessed in what he does” (James 1:25).

✧✧✧

Doers of the Word are persevering learners.

The phrase “and abides by it” in James 1:25 demands our close attention. “Abide” translates a Greek word that means “to stay beside,” “to remain,” or “to continue.” The idea is that a doer of the Word continually and habitually gazes into God’s perfect law. In other words, he is a persevering learner.

When you have that level of commitment to the Word, you will be an effectual doer—one who is in union with God’s will and seeks to obey it above all else. As you do that, God will bless you. That doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be successful in the eyes of the world, but your priorities and perspectives will be right, and the Lord will honor what you do.

This verse is a call to carefully examine yourself in light of God’s standards. That’s not a popular thing in our society because many people have an aversion to serious spiritual thought and self-examination. I believe that’s why Christian television, music, and other forms of entertainment are so popular. Escaping reality through entertainment is far more appealing to most people than gazing into the mirror of God’s Word and having their spiritual flaws and blemishes exposed. But if you desire to be like Christ, you must see yourself for what you are and make any needed corrections. To do that, you must continually examine your life in the light of Scripture.

Can you imagine what the church would be like if every Christian did that? Can you imagine the changes in your own life if you did it more consistently? Only the Holy Spirit can enable you to be a doer of the Word. So, yield to His leading through prayer and confession as you continue to study and apply God’s Word.

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer:  Whenever you study Scripture, ask the Spirit to illuminate your mind and heart and to use the Word to transform you more and more into the image of Christ.

For Further Study: Read Colossians 3:16–17, noting what Paul says about responding to the Word.[1]


1:25 In contrast is the man who looks into the word of God and who habitually reduces it to practice. His contemplative, meditative gazing has practical results in his life. To him the Bible is the perfect law of liberty. Its precepts are not burdensome. They tell him to do exactly what his new nature loves to do. As he obeys, he finds true freedom from human traditions and carnal reasonings. The truth makes him free. This is the man who benefits from the Bible. He does not forget what he has read. Rather he seeks to live it out in daily practice. His simple childlike obedience brings incalculable blessing to his soul. This one will be blessed in what he does.[2]


25. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does.

  • A ready response

Look at the contrast. The person whose ears and heart are open to what God has to say literally bends over to look into the law of God, much the same as he does when he looks into the mirror that is placed horizontally on a table. However, the difference is that while he studies the perfect law of God he does not walk away from it, as does the person who casts a fleeting glance into a mirror. He continues to look intently into the Word. He meditates on it and obediently puts it into practice.

James resorts to using a synonym for the Word of God. He calls it the “perfect law” and causes the reader to recollect the content of Psalm 19. There David sings,

The law of the Lord is perfect,

reviving the soul.

The statutes of the Lord are trustworthy,

making wise the simple.…

By them is your servant warned;

in keeping them there is great reward. [vv. 7, 11]

The descriptive adjective perfect has an absolute, not a relative meaning. For instance, when Jesus says, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matt. 5:48), he uses the adjective first in a relative sense (for man) and then in an absolute sense (for our heavenly Father).

Laws made and enacted by man are temporary and conditioned by culture, language, and location. By contrast, God’s law is permanent and unchangeable. It applies to everyone at any time and in any situation. It is perfect.

Why is the law perfect? Because God’s perfect law gives freedom and it alone sets man really free. That is, the law of God through Jesus Christ sets man free from the bondage of sin and selfishness. Says Jesus, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36; also consult Rom. 8:2, 15; Gal. 5:13). Within the boundaries of the law of God man is free, for there he lives in the environment God designated for him. When he crosses the boundary, he becomes a slave to sin. As long as he keeps the law, he is free.

And last, the man who continues to look into the perfect law and keeps it will be blessed. Why is that man happy? He knows that “the precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart” and “the commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes” (Ps. 19:8; compare Ps. 119:1–3). He finds joy in his work, joy in his family, and joy in his Lord. He knows that God is blessing him in all that he does (John 13:17).[3]


25 Now the contrast. The “doer” “looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this.” In contrast with the man who looks in a mirror briefly and then walks away, the person who is actively engaged in applying the word to life stays focused on the perfect law. The term translated “looks intently” can be rendered “look into,” or “bend down to look,” and has the figurative meaning of investigation. Thus it is more than a mere glance, and both the NASB and NIV capture the note of effort by adding the word “intently.” The “perfect law of liberty” is a key concept for the book, governing the structure of the body with reference to it at 2:8 as “the royal law” and at 2:12–13 and 4:11–12. This law of liberty is the OT Scriptures epitomized in Leviticus 19:18, “love your neighbor as yourself” (2:8), which was emphasized to James through the teaching of Jesus (Moo, 94; Davids, 99–100). It is a law of liberty because it brings freedom to the one who lives by it.

The “doer” not only has this practice of investigating God’s law but stays with it. In other words, the law becomes a frame of reference for living. With the law ever before the eyes of the heart, this person lives out the law instead of forgetting it. This is the path of blessing. One thinks of passages such as Psalm 1:1–3: The person is blessed whose delight in the Lord’s law is manifested by a constant meditation on it. Such a person is like a tree planted by streams of water.[4]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 176). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

[2] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 2224). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[3] Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of James and the Epistles of John (Vol. 14, pp. 61–62). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[4] Guthrie, G. H. (2006). James. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews–Revelation (Revised Edition) (Vol. 13, p. 227). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

JUNE 12 – FAITH UNDERSTANDS: GOD FRAMED THE WORLDS

Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.

HEBREWS 11:3

The human mind requires an answer to the question concerning the origin and nature of all things. The world as we find it must be accounted for in some way. Philosophers and scientists have sought to account for it, the one by speculation, the other by observation, but they have not found the final Truth. Here TRUTH should be spelled indeed with a capital T, for it is nothing less than the Son of God, the Second Person of the blessed Godhead!

Those who believe the Christian revelation know that the universe is a creation. It is not eternal, since it had a beginning, and it is not the result of a succession of happy coincidences whereby an all but infinite number of matching parts accidentally found each other, fell into place and began to hum!

So to believe would require a degree of credulity few persons possess.

Those who have faith are not thrown back upon speculation for the secret of the universe. Faith is an organ of knowledge, and “through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.”

All things came out of the Word, which in the New Testament means the thought and will of God in active expression and is identified with our Lord Jesus Christ![1]


11:3 Faith provides us with the only factual account of creation. God is the only One who was there; He tells us how it happened. We believe His word and thus we know. McCue states: “The conception of God pre-existent to matter and by His fiat calling it into being is beyond the domain of reason or demonstration. It is simply accepted by an act of faith.”

By faith we understand. The world says, “Seeing is believing.” God says, “Believing is seeing.” Jesus said to Martha, “Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see …” (John 11:40). The Apostle John wrote, “These things I have written to you who believe … that you may know” (1 Jn. 5:13). In spiritual matters faith precedes understanding.

The worlds were framed by the word of God. God spoke and matter came into being. This agrees perfectly with man’s discovery that matter is essentially energy. When God spoke, there was a flow of energy in the form of sound waves. These were transformed into matter, and the world sprang into being.

The things which are seen were not made out of things which are visible. Energy is invisible; so are atoms, and molecules, and gases to the naked eye, yet in combination they become visible.

The fact of creation as set forth here in Hebrews 11:3 is unimpeachable. It has never been improved on and never will.[2]


3. By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.

At first sight we are inclined to read verse 3 with verse 1 and consider verse 2 the logical heading of the list of the men of faith. But we have no justification for rearranging the author’s design. He begins his illustrations of demonstrating faith with a comment about creation. No one was present at creation to observe the formation of the world. “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?” God asks Job (38:4). By using the plural we understand, the author includes himself and all his readers in the confession that God created the world.

The first declaration in the long list of the verses beginning with “by faith” is so rich in meaning that we do well to discuss this verse phrase by phrase. Before we enter upon a full discussion, however, we should note that verse 3b is translated in two ways. That is, the negative adverb not is placed either before the verb to make or before the word appear—apart from variations in translating this verse. The verse can he translated either “so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible” or “so that what is seen was made out of things which do not appear.”11 Translators are about equally divided on this particular issue. We shall discuss the matter as it presents itself in the sequence of the verse.

  1. “By faith.” This is the first occurrence in a series of twenty-one uses of the phrase by faith. After these the author tells the readers that he lacks the time to write about additional Old testament saints who also showed their faith (11:32–38). “These were all commended for their faith” (11:39).
  2. “We understand.” The author and his readers are able to understand God’s creation by faith. Although we are unable to observe that which is invisible, in our minds we recognize the power of God. Understanding creation—even in a limited sense—means that we reflect in faith on the relationship of Creator to creation. In Romans 1:20 Paul provides a striking parallel that even in translation is close.
Romans 1:20

 

Hebrews 11:3

 

For since

 

By faith we understand

 

the Creation of the world

 

that the universe was formed

 

God’s invisible qualities …

 

at God’s command,

 

have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made

 

so that what is seen, was not made out of what was visible

 

  1. “The universe was formed.” Translations vary from “world” or “worlds” to “universe” (see Heb. 1:2). The concept includes “the whole scheme of time and space” (Phillips). Moreover, God gave form, shape, and order to the universe. According to the creation account in Genesis, “God created the heavens and the earth” (1:1) and then proceeded to give structure and variety to a formless and empty earth.
  2. “At God’s command.” We are immediately reminded of the six commands God spoke at the time of creation (Gen. 1:3, 6, 9, 14, 20, 24). “By the word of the Lord were the heavens made,” says the psalmist (Ps. 33:6). Purposely God created the world in such a manner that man can understand its origin only by faith. God made the world by his command. “For he spoke, and it came to be; he commanded, and it stood firm” (Ps. 33:9).
  3. “So that what is seen.” The author of Hebrews refers to that which visibly exists in God’s creation—that is, light, sky, stars, earth, and countless other things. Man is able to see all these entities with his physical eyes. These things, however, have not been made of what can be observed.
  4. “Was not made out of what was visible.” Because no one was present at the time of creation, eyewitness reports do not exist. Man must rely on what God has revealed to him about the creation of the universe and the formation of the world. And by faith man ascertains that creation originates with God.

How should verse 3 be translated? I have adopted the translation that negates the verb to make, for this translation appears to favor the flow of the argument. The word visible implies that at one time this creation did not exist and therefore is not eternal. Creation has a beginning. Moreover, prior to creation, the invisible prevailed. We would have been happy to receive more revelation concerning this point, but the author of Hebrews provides no further information where God’s revelation is silent. We do well not to speculate (Deut. 29:29).[3]


The Illustration of Faith

By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible. (11:3)

The writer is saying to the Jews who had not yet trusted Christ, “You already have a certain faith in God. You believe that He created the universe and everything in it.” They believed this without any doubt, even though they were not there when God created. They could not see His act of creating, but they could see His creation and they believed in the Creator. They had a start of faith. They knew and accepted this truth by faith, not by sight. Their own Scriptures taught it and they believed it.

God did not just create the world, but the worlds (aiōn), which designates the physical universe itself and also its operation, its administration. He created everything simply by His word (rhēma), His divine utterance. He created from nothing, at least not from anything physical, or visible. The writer makes an absolutely stupendous claim in this short verse. The greatest claim, and the one hardest for an unbeliever to accept, is that understanding of creation comes entirely by faith.

The origin of the universe has been a long-standing problem for philosophers and scientists. Centuries of investigation, speculation, and comparing of notes and theories have brought them no closer to a solution. Every time a consensus seems to be developing about a particular theory, someone comes up with evidence that disproves it or makes it less plausible.

Bertrand Russell spent most of his 90 years as a philosopher. His most certain conviction was that Christianity was the greatest enemy of mankind, because it taught of a tyrannical God who stifled man’s rightful freedom. He admitted at the end of his life that philosophy “was a wash-out,” that it held no answers for anything. He had written that “we must conquer the world by intelligence,” and yet all of his own great intellect and all of the other intellects who looked to themselves for answers never found an answer. Russell’s greatest faith was in the idea that there is no God. He rejected the only source of answers, meaning, and hope.

Most philosophy is mere doodling with words, as many people do with a pencil. Without revelation, a source of basic truth, the best it can do is make verbal squiggles. Some are more impressive than others, but none can lay claim to the truth or to ultimate meaning. Paul warned the Colossians, “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men” (Col. 2:8).

Science has done no better than philosophy in offering answers to the origin of the universe. Even though science, by definition, is limited to the observable, measurable, and repeatable, some scientists persist in speculating about the origin of the earth and of the entire universe—trying to reconstruct the process from what can be observed today. They, like the philosophers, have assumed a burden far beyond their competence and resources.

For some 100 years the nebula theory was the dominant scientific explanation of the origin of the universe. It was eventually replaced by the tidal theory, which was soon replaced by the steady-state theory, the super dense (big bang) theory, and so on. None of these theories gained universal acceptance among scientists. Today, theories are still multiplying and none yet is universally accepted, much less proved. The same is true of theories of evolution. Even some nonreligious scientists are calling for science to reconsider the very notion of evolution. Discovery of origins is far outside man’s scope of knowledge and investigation. His attempts to discover where the universe came from, or where man himself came from, cannot possibly end in anything but futility. He is doomed to go from one unprovable theory to another.

Physics professor T. L. Moore of the University of Cincinnati has said, “To talk of the evolution of thought from sea slime to amoeba, from amoeba to a self-conscious thinking man, means nothing. It is the easy solution of a thoughtless brain.”

Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the Word of God, a truth the world’s most brilliant thinkers have not discovered and cannot discover on their own. It is beyond the realm of scientific investigation, but it is not beyond knowing—if we are willing to be taught by the Word of God. The Christian has no reason to be proud of his knowledge. It is a gift from God, like every other blessing of faith. By his own resources, he could no more discover the truth about origins than could the rankest atheist.

The Christian insists that all truth is God’s truth. Some of it—the natural world—is discoverable with our eyes, ears, touch, and intellect. A great deal more of it, however, is not. It is apprehended only by faith, for which the Christian should make no apology. The very attempt to explain the universe, or our own being and nature, apart from God is a fool’s effort. These things we understand only by faith in the revealed Word of Scripture. Faith comprehends that which the mind of man, no matter how brilliant, cannot fathom. “Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, and which have not entered the heart of man, all that God has prepared for those who love Him. For to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God” (1 Cor. 2:9–10).

An evangelist of many years ago told the beautiful story of two little boys he once visited in a London hospital.

The cots were side-by-side. One boy had a dangerous fever, the other had been struck by a truck and his body was badly mangled. The second one said to the first, “Say, Willie, I was down to the mission Sunday school and they told me about Jesus. I believe that if you ask Jesus, He will help you. They said that if we believe in Him and pray to God, then when we die He’ll come and take us with Him to heaven.” Willie replied, “But what if I’m asleep when He comes and I can’t ask Him?” His friend said, “Just hold up your hand; that’s what we did in Sunday school. I guess Jesus sees it.” Since Willie was too weak to hold up his arm, the other boy propped it up for him with a pillow. During that night, Willie died, but when the nurse found him the next morning, his arm was still propped up.

We can be sure that the Lord saw his arm, because the Lord sees faith and the Lord accepts faith. By faith Willie saw the way to heaven. By faith he saw what the learned will never discover on their own. God’s greatest truths are discovered by simple faith. It is not the world’s way to truth, but a thousand years from now—if the Lord tarries that long—the world will still be devising and rejecting its theories. The person of faith knows the truth now. Faith is the only way to God.[4]


3 “Faith” cannot be found in the normal way in the creation story, since there were no human beings there to exercise it (except Adam and Eve, who are conspicuously and understandably not included in the list!). The opening “by faith” cannot therefore have here the biographical focus it has throughout the rest of the chapter. It might then seem an unnecessary and inconvenient decision to include Genesis 1–2 in the catalogue at all: did the author really have to start at the very beginning? But in fact, different as this example must be, it contributes something important to the chapter, a telling example of “being certain of what we do not see.” People can look at the created universe and see it as a self-contained reality—many scientists and ordinary people do so today, as they always have. It is only “by faith” that we, guided by the scriptural account, are able to see behind the scenes, to find in the visible world a testimony to “what we do not see,” the God who made it. The point is important. When all the philosophical arguments have been rehearsed and refined, it remains in the end a matter of faith. There will always be those who cannot see beyond the surface level, and argument alone will not persuade them. This is the realm of faith.

“What is seen was not made out of what was visible” (or “was made out of what was not visible”—the Greek allows either rendering) makes the point emphatically. Behind the sequence of matter begetting matter there lies a beginning, when the material world was made not out of preexisting matter but by the creative word of the invisible God. “What was visible” translates the Greek word phainomena—phenomenology is not the whole story! For “the universe,” see note on 1:2.[5]


[1] Tozer, A. W., & Smith, G. B. (2015). Evenings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[2] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 2195). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[3] Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of Hebrews (Vol. 15, pp. 312–314). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[4] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1983). Hebrews (pp. 292–294). Chicago: Moody Press.

[5] France, R. T. (2006). Hebrews. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews–Revelation (Revised Edition) (Vol. 13, p. 150). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

JUNE 12 – CHRIST MADE THE WORLD

God…hath…spoken unto us by his Son…by whom also he made the worlds.

Hebrews 1:1–2

Think about the world into which our Lord Jesus Christ came—it is actually Christ’s world!

Every section of this earth that we buy and sell and kick around and take by force of arms is a part of Christ’s world. He made it all, and He owns it all.

Jesus Christ, the eternal Word, made the world. He made the very atoms of which Mary was made; the atoms of which His own body was made. He made the straw in the manger upon which He was laid as a newborn baby.

Let me digress here. I hear an occasional devotional exercise on the radio, in which the participants ask: “Mary, mother of God, pray for us!” It is only right that we should express our position based on the Word of God, and the truth is that Mary is dead and she is not the “mother of God.”

Mary was the mother of that tiny babe, for God in His loving and wise plan of redemption used the body of the virgin Mary as the matrix to give the eternal Son a human body. We join in giving her proper honor when we refer to her as Mary, mother of Christ.

Lord, help me and my family make the appropriate choices to be excellent stewards of this world that You created for us to enjoy.[1]


1:1 No other NT Epistle comes to the point as quickly as this one. Without benefit of salutation or introduction, the writer plunges into his subject. It seems as if he were constrained by a holy impatience to set forth the superlative glories of the Lord Jesus Christ.

First, he contrasts God’s revelation by the prophets with His revelation in His Son. The prophets were divinely inspired spokesmen for God. They were honored servants of Jehovah. The spiritual wealth of their ministry is preserved in the OT.

Yet their ministry was partial and fragmentary. To each one was committed a certain measure of revelation, but in every case it was incomplete.

Not only was the truth doled out to them in installments; they used various methods in communicating it to the people. It was presented as law, history, poetry, and prophecy. Sometimes it was oral, sometimes written. Sometimes it was by visions, dreams, symbols, or pantomime. But whatever the method used, the point is that God’s former revelations to the Jewish people were preliminary, progressive, and various in the manner of presentation.

1:2 The periodic, partial, and differential prophecies of the OT have now been overshadowed by God’s preeminent and final revelation in the person of His Son. The prophets were only channels through whom the divine word was communicated. The Lord Jesus Christ is Himself the final revelation of God to men. As John said, “No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him” (John 1:18). The Lord Jesus said concerning Himself, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). Christ speaks not only for God but as God.

To emphasize the infinite superiority of God’s Son to the prophets, the writer first presents Him as heir of all things. This means that the universe belongs to Him by divine appointment and He will soon reign over it.

It was through Him that God made the worlds. Jesus Christ was the active Agent in creation. He brought into being the stellar heavens, the atmospheric heavens, the earth, the human race, and the divine plan of the ages. Every created thing, both spiritual and physical, was made by Him.[2]


1. In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways.

In sonorous tones and in a somewhat musical setting, the author begins his epistle with an introductory sentence that is elegant in style, diction, and word choice. Some translators have tried to convey the dignity and alliteration of the original, but most of them have been ineffectual in capturing the exact intonation of the opening sentence of Hebrews.

God spoke to the forefathers in the ages preceding the birth of Jesus and communicated to them his revelation. God is the originator of revelation. He is the source, the basis, the subject. God used the prophets in the Old Testament era to make his Word known to the people. But he was not limited to speaking through the prophets; this first verse states that God brought his revelation to his people at many times and in various ways. The words times and ways have a prominent place in the original Greek: they stand first in the sentence. Among the forefathers who received God’s revelation were Adam, Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and Moses. God spoke to Adam “in the cool of the day” (Gen. 3:8); to Abraham in visions and visits—in fact, Abraham was called God’s friend (James 2:23); to Jacob in a dream; to Moses “face to face” (Exod. 33:11) as a man speaks with a friend.

Through the prophets, from Moses to Malachi, God’s revelation was recorded in written form as history, psalm, proverb, and prophecy. The prophets were all those saints called by God and filled with his Spirit to speak the Word as a progressive revelation that intimates the coming of Christ. In his first epistle, Peter refers to them:

The prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. [1:10–12]

The prophet did not bring his own message, his own formulation of religious truth. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, he spoke the Word of God, which did not have its origin in the will of man (2 Peter 1:21) but came from God (Heb. 3:7).

2a. But in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son.

Although the contrast between the times before the coming of Christ and the appearance of Christ as the completion of God’s revelation is striking in verses 1 and 2, the continuity of this revelation is also significant. Both parts of God’s revelation form one unit because there is but one Author. There is but one God who reveals, and there is but one revelation. The Word spoken by God to the forefathers in the past does not differ basically from the Word spoken to us by his Son.

Yet in many ways the contrast between the first and the second verse is obvious. We may show the contrast graphically:

God has spoken

in the

OLD TESTAMENT ERA

 

NEW TESTAMENT ERA

 

how?

 

at many times

 

and

 

in various ways

 

when?

 

in the past

 

in these last days

 

to whom?

 

to our forefathers

 

to us

 

by whom?

 

through the prophets

 

by his Son

 

The figure appears to be incomplete: the “how” on the Old Testament side does not have a New Testament counterpart. The phrase “at many times and in various ways” lacks a parallel. The writer is pointing out that the fullness of revelation is unique, final, and complete. He is not implying that the piecemeal revelation given through the prophets was inferior and that the revelation provided by the Son was without variation. Not at all. The many-sided revelation of God that came repeatedly to the forefathers in the ages before the birth of Christ was inspired by God. It was a progressive revelation that constantly pointed toward the coming of the Messiah. And when Jesus finally came, he brought the very Word of God because he is the Word of God. Therefore, Jesus brought that Word in all its fullness, richness, and multiplicity. He was the final revelation. As F. F. Bruce aptly remarks, “The story of divine revelation is a story of progression up to Christ, but there is no progression beyond Him.”

Jesus himself did not write a single verse of the New Testament; men designated by him and filled with the Spirit wrote God’s revelation. Jesus, the living Word, speaks to us because no one else possesses equal authority; “for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). By his Son, God addresses all believers. In these last days God has spoken to us by his Son. The phrase in these last days is set over against the phrase in the past and refers to the age in which the fulfillment of the messianic prophecies has taken place. This age waits for the liberation “from its bondage to decay” to be “brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God” (Rom. 8:21).

In the first two verses of Hebrews there is a contrast between the prophets, who were a distinct group of people chosen and appointed by God to convey his revelation, and the Son of God, who surpasses all the prophets because he is Son. In fact, all the emphasis in verse 2 falls on the word Son. There is, strictly speaking, only one Son of God; all others are created sons (angels) and adopted sons (believers). As God has spoken by his Son, so the Son has spoken by the apostles who, inspired by the Holy Spirit, wrote the books of the New Testament. The new revelation that God has given us in his Son is a continuation of the revelation given to the forefathers. God’s revelation, completed in his Son, is a unit, a harmonious totality in which the Old is fulfilled in the New.

2b. Whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.

To express the excellence of the Son of God, the writer of Hebrews describes what God has done.

God appointed his Son heir of all things. An heir rightfully inherits whatever the father has stipulated in his will. As the one and only Son, Jesus thus inherits everything the Father possesses. Incomprehensible! Unfathomable!

The time when God appointed the Son heir of all things cannot be determined. The Son may have been appointed heir in God’s eternal plan. Or Jesus may have been appointed heir when in the fullness of time he entered the world, or when he pronounced the Great Commission: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me” (Matt. 28:18).

The writer of Hebrews immediately clarifies the term all things by saying that God made the universe through his Son. The phrase obviously refers to the creation account in the first chapters of Genesis. Many people think that the New Testament, which speaks about redemption, has nothing to say about creation. However, the New Testament is not entirely silent on this subject; both Paul and the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews teach that Jesus was active in the work of creation. In his discussion about the supremacy of Christ, Paul teaches: “For by him all things were created …; all things were created by him and for him” (Col. 1:16). And John in his Gospel confirms the same truth: “Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made” (1:3).

Through his Son, God made the universe. It is impossible for man to understand the full import of this statement, but complete understanding is not the objective at this point. However, it is important to recognize the majesty of the Son of God, who was present at creation and is the sovereign Lord of all created things. He is God.

The word universe signifies primarily the cosmos, the created world in all its fullness, and secondarily all the stars and planets God has created. But the meaning is much more comprehensive than this, because it involves all the events that have happened since the creation of this world. It concerns the earth and its history throughout the ages. The word has been interpreted as “the sum of the ‘periods of time’ including all that is manifested in and through them.” It refers not to the world as a whole but to the entire created order that continued to develop in the course of time.[3]


The Superiority of Christ

(1:1–2)

God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. (1:1–2)

The writer does not delay in getting to his point. He makes it in the first three verses. These verses are very simple. They tell us Christ is superior to everyone and everything. The three primary features of His superiority are: preparation, presentation, and preeminence. Keep in mind that all through the book Christ is presented as being better than the best of everyone and everything that was before Him—absolutely better than anything the Old Testament, the Old Covenant, provided.

The Preparation for Christ

God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways. (1:1)

Here is an indication of how God wrote the Old Testament. Its purpose was to prepare for the coming of Christ. Whether by prophecy or type or principle or commandment or whatever, it made preparation for Christ.

The senses of man, marvelous as they are, are incapable of reaching beyond the natural world. For us to know anything about God, He must tell us. We could never know God if He did not speak to us. Thus, in the Old Testament, the writer reminds us, “God … spoke.”

Man’s Ways to God

Man lives in a natural “box,” which encloses him within its walls of time and space. Outside of this box is the supernatural, and somewhere deep inside himself man knows it is out there. But in himself he does not know anything certain about it. So someone comes along and says, “We must find out about the supernatural, the world ‘out there.’ ” And a new religion is born. Those who become interested run over to the edge of the box, get out their imaginative mental chisels and start trying to chip a hole in the edge of the box—through which they can crawl, or at least peer, out and discover the secrets of the other world.

That, figuratively, is what always happens. The Buddhist says that when you have worked and thought yourself into Nirvana, all of a sudden you are out of the box. You have transcended the natural and have found your way into the supernatural. The Muslim says basically the same thing, though in different words. So do all the other religions—Zoroastrianism, Hinduism, Confucianism, or whatever it may be. These are all attempts by man to escape from the natural to the supernatural, to get out of the box. But the problem is, he cannot get himself out.

God’s Way to Man

By definition, natural man cannot escape into the supernatural. We cannot go into a religious phone booth and change into a superman. We cannot in ourselves or by ourselves transcend our natural existence. If we are to know anything about God, it will not be by escaping, or climbing, or thinking, or working our way to Him; it will only be by His coming to us, His speaking to us. We cannot, by ourselves, understand God any more than an. insect we may hold in our hand can understand us. Nor can we condescend to its level, or communicate with it if we could. But God can condescend to our level and He can communicate with us. And He has.

God became a man Himself and entered our box to tell us about Himself, more fully and completely than He was able to do even through His prophets. This not only was divine revelation, but personal divine revelation of the most literal and perfect and wonderful sort. All of man’s religions reflect his attempts to make his way out of the box. The message of Christianity, however, is that “the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).

When God burst into the box, He did it in human form, and the name of that human form is Jesus Christ. That is the difference between Christianity and every other religion in the world. That is why it is so foolish for people to say, “It doesn’t make any difference what you believe or what religion you follow.” It makes every difference. Every religion is but man’s attempt to discover God. Christianity is God bursting into man’s world and showing and telling man what He is like. Because man by himself is incapable of identifying, comprehending, or understanding God at all, God had to invade the world of man and speak to him about Himself. Initially, He told us He would be coming.

By the Prophets: Many Ways

This He did through the words of the Old Testament. He used men as instruments, but was Himself behind them, enlightening and energizing them. The deists teach that God started the world going and then went away, leaving it to run by itself. But God is not detached from His creation; He is not uninvolved in our world. The true and living God, unlike the false gods of man’s making, is not dumb or indifferent. The God of Scripture, unlike the impersonal “First Cause” of some philosophers, is not silent. He speaks. He first spoke in the Old Testament, which is not a collection of the wisdom of ancient men but is the voice of God.

Now notice how God spoke: “in many portions and in many ways.” The writer uses a play on words in the original language: “God, polumerōs and polutropōs. …” These two Greek words are interesting. They mean, respectively, “in many portions” (as of books) and “in many different manners.” There are many books in the Old Testament—thirty-nine of them. In all those many portions (polumerōs) and in many ways (polutropōs) God spoke to men. Sometimes it was in a vision, sometimes by a parable, sometimes through a type or a symbol. There were many different ways in which God spoke in the Old Testament. But it is always God speaking. Even the words spoken by men and angels are included because He wants us to know them.

Men were used—their minds were used and their personalities were used—but they were totally controlled by the Spirit of God. Every word they wrote was the word that God decided they should write and delighted in their writing.

Many ways includes many literary ways. Some of the Old Testament is narrative. Some of it is poetry, in beautiful Hebrew meter. The “many ways” also includes many types of content. Some is law; some is prophecy; some is doctrinal; some is ethical and moral; some is warning; some is encouragement; and so on. But it is all God speaking.

Progressive Revelation

True But Incomplete

Yet, beautiful and important and authoritative as it is, the Old Testament is fragmentary and incomplete. It was delivered over the course of some 1500 years by some forty-plus writers—in many different pieces, each with its own truths. It began to build and grow, truth upon truth. It was what we call progressive revelation. Genesis gives some truth, and Exodus gives some more. The truth builds and builds and builds. In the Old Testament God was pleased, for that time, to dispense His gracious truth to the Jews by the mouths of His prophets—in many different ways, developing His revelation progressively from lesser to greater degrees of light. The revelation did not build from error to truth but from incomplete truth to more complete truth. And it remained incomplete until the New Testament was finished.

Divine revelation, then, going from the Old Testament to the New Testament, is progressive revelation. It progressed from promise to fulfillment. The Old Testament is promise; the New Testament is fulfillment. Jesus Christ said, “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets,” that is, the Old Testament, “… but to fulfill” (Matt. 5:17). His revelation progressed from promise to fulfillment. In fact, the Old Testament itself clearly indicates that the men of faith who wrote it were trusting in a promise they had not yet understood. They trusted in a promise that was yet to be fulfilled.

Let me give a few supporting verses. Hebrews 11 speaks about many of the great saints of the Old Testament. “And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised” (v. 39). In other words, they never saw the fulfillment of promise. They foresaw what was going to happen without seeing it fully realized. Peter tells us that the Old Testament prophets did not understand all of what they wrote. ‘As to this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you made careful search and inquiry, seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you” (1 Pet. 1:10–12).

We must, of course, clearly understand that the Old Testament was not in any way erroneous. But there was in it a development, of spiritual light and of moral standards, until God’s truth was refined and finalized in the New Testament. The distinction is not in the validity of the revelation—its rightness or wrongness—but in the completeness of it and the time of it. Just as children are first taught letters, then words, and then sentences, so God gave His revelation. It began with the “picture book” of types and ceremonies and prophecies and progressed to final completion in Jesus Christ and His New Testament.

From God, Through His Messengers

Now the picture is set for us. Long ago God spoke to “the fathers,” the Old Testament people, our spiritual ancestors—also our physical ancestors if we are Jewish. He even spoke to some of our Gentile predecessors. He spoke to them by the prophets, His messengers. A prophet is one who speaks to men for God; a priest is one who speaks to God for men. The priest takes man’s problems to God; the prophet takes God’s message to men. Both, if they are true, are commissioned by God, but their ministries are quite different. The book of Hebrews has a great deal to say about priests, but its opening verse speaks of prophets. The Holy Spirit establishes the divine authorship of the Old Testament, its accuracy and its authority, through the fact that it was given to and delivered by God’s prophets.

Throughout the New Testament this truth is affirmed. Peter, for example, tells us that “no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke flora God” (2 Pet. 1:21). “Prophecy” in that text refers to the Old Testament. No human writer of the Old Testament wrote of his own will, but only as he was directed by the Holy Spirit.

Paul also tells us that “all Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness (2 Tim. 3:16). All Scripture is given by inspiration of God. The American Standard Version reads, “Every scripture inspired of God is also profitable,” implying that not all Scripture is inspired. But all Scripture is fully, not simply in part, inspired by God. God has not hidden His Word within mans words, leaving His creatures to their own devices in deciding which is which. The Old Testament is only a part of God’s truth, but it is not partially His truth. It is not His complete truth, but it is completely His truth. It is God’s revelation, His progressive revelation preparing His people for the coming of His Son, Jesus Christ.

By the Son: One Way

In these last days [God] has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. (1:2)

God’s full, perfect revelation awaited the coming of His Son. God, who used to speak in many different ways through many different people, has finally spoken in one way, through one Person, His Son Jesus Christ.

The whole New Testament is centered around Christ. The gospels tell His story, the epistles comment on it, and the Revelation tells of its culmination. From beginning to end the New Testament is Christ. No prophet had been given God’s whole truth. The Old Testament was given to many men, in bits and pieces and fragments. Jesus not only brought, but was, God’s full and final Revelation.

Coming in These Last Days

There are several ways to interpret the phrase, in these last days. It could refer to the last days of revelation. It could mean that this is the final revelation in Christ, there being nothing else to add to it. Or it could mean that in the last days of revelation it came through God’s Son. But I think the writer is making a messianic reference. The phrase “the last days” was very familiar to the Jews of that day and had a distinctive meaning. Whenever a Jew saw or heard these words he immediately had messianic thoughts, because the scriptural promise was that in the last days Messiah would come (Jer. 33:14–16; Mic. 5:1–4; Zech. 9:9, 16). Since this letter was written first of all to Jews, we will interpret the phrase in that context.

The woman at the well, though a Samaritan, told Jesus, “I know that the Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ); when that One comes, He will declare all things to us” (John 4:25). She knew that when Messiah arrived, He would unfold the full and final revelation of God, as indeed He did.

The writer, then, is saying, “In these promised Last Days Messiah (Christ) has come and has spoken the final revelation of God.” Jesus came in these last days. Unfortunately, Messiah’s own people rejected Him and His revelation, and so the fulfillment of all of the promises of the last days has yet to be fully realized.

True and Complete

The Old Testament had been given in pieces. To Noah was revealed the quarter of the world from which Messiah would come. To Micah, the town where He would be born. To Daniel, the time of His birth. To Malachi, the forerunner who would come before Him. To Jonah, His resurrection was typified. Every one of those pieces of revelation was true and accurate; and each one related to the others in some way or another. And each one in some way or another pointed to the Messiah, the Christ. But only in Jesus Christ Himself was everything brought together and made whole. In Him the revelation was full and complete.

Since the revelation is complete, to add anything to the New Testament is blasphemous. To add to it The Book of Mormon, or Science and Health, or anything else that claims to be revelation from God is blasphemous. “God has in these last days finalized His revelation in His Son.” It was finished. The end of the book of Revelation warns that if we add anything to it, its plagues will be added to us, and that if we take anything away from it, our part in the tree of life and the holy city will be taken away from us (Rev. 22:18–19).

In the first verse and a half of Hebrews, the Holy Spirit establishes the preeminence of Jesus Christ over all the Old Testament, over its message, its methods, and its messengers. It was just what those Jews, believing and nonbelieving, needed to hear.

And so is established the priority of Jesus Christ. He is greater than the prophets. He is greater than any revelation in the Old Testament, for He is the embodiment of all that truth, and more. God has fully expressed Himself in Christ.

The Preeminence of Christ

(1:2–3)

In these last days [God] has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the fight hand of the Majesty on high. (1:2–3)

Someone has said that Jesus Christ came from the bosom of the Father to the bosom of a woman. He put on humanity that we might put on divinity. He became Son of Man that we might become sons of God. He was born contrary to the laws of nature, lived in poverty, was reared in obscurity, and only once crossed the boundary of the land in which He was born—and that in His childhood. He had no wealth or influence and had neither training nor education in the world’s schools. His relatives were inconspicuous and uninfluential. In infancy He startled a king. In boyhood He puzzled the learned doctors. In manhood He ruled the course of nature. He walked upon the billows and hushed the sea to sleep. He healed the multitudes without medicine and made no charge for His services. He never wrote a book and yet all the libraries of the world could not hold the books about Him. He never wrote a song, yet He has furnished the theme for more songs than all songwriters together. He never founded a college, yet all the schools together cannot boast of as many students as He has. He never practiced medicine and yet He has healed more broken hearts than all the doctors have healed broken bodies. This Jesus Christ is the star of astronomy, the rock of geology, the lion and the lamb of zoology, the harmonizer of all discords, and the healer of all diseases. Throughout history great men have come and gone, yet He lives on. Herod could not kill Him. Satan could not seduce Him. Death could not destroy Him and the grave could not hold Him.

Fulfillment of Promises

The Old Testament tells us in at least two places (Jer. 23:18, 22 and Amos 3:7) that the prophets were let in on the secrets of God. Yet at times they wrote those secrets without understanding them (1 Pet. 1:10–11). In Jesus Christ they are both fulfilled and understood. He is God’s final word. “For as many as may be the promises of God, in Him they are yes; wherefore also by Him is our Amen to the glory of God through us” (2 Cor. 1:20). Every promise of God resolves itself in Christ. All the promises become yes—verified and fulfilled. Jesus Christ is the supreme and the final revelation.

In these last days. The last days are days of fulfillment. In the Old Testament the Jew saw the last days as the time when all the promises would be fulfilled. In these days Messiah would come and the Kingdom would come and salvation would come and Israel would no longer be under bondage. In the last days promises would stop and fulfillments begin. That is exactly what Jesus came to do. He came to fulfill the promises. Even though the millennial, earthly aspect of the promised Kingdom is yet future, the age of kingdom fulfillment began when Jesus arrived, and it will not finally be completed until we enter into the eternal heavens. The Old Testament age of promise ended when Jesus arrived.

Has spoken to us in His Son. Jesus Christ is the revelation of God climaxed. God fully expressed Himself in His Son. That affirms Christ as being more than just human. It makes Him infinitely superior to any created being, for He is God manifest in the flesh. He is the final and last revelation of God, in whom all God’s promises are fulfilled.

We have looked at the preparation for Christ and the presentation of Christ. Now we will look at His preeminence. In this brief but potent section (1:2–3) the Holy Spirit exalts Christ as the full and final expression of godsuperior to and exalted above anyone or anything. In these verses we see Christ as the end of all things (Heir), the beginning of all things (Creator), and the middle of all things (Sustainer and Purifier).

When the question is brought up as to who Jesus Christ really was, some people will say He was a good teacher, some will say He was a religious fanatic, some will say He was a fake, and some will claim He was a criminal, a phantom, or a political revolutionary. Others are likely to believe that He was the highest form of humankind, who had a spark of divinity which He fanned into flame—a spark, they claim, that all of us have but seldom fan. There are countless human explanations as to who Jesus was. In this chapter we are going to look at what God says about who Jesus was, and is. In just half of verse 2 and in verse 3 is a sevenfold presentation of the excellencies of Jesus Christ. In all these excellencies He is clearly much more than a man.

His Heirship

Jesus’ first excellency mentioned here is His heirship: In these last days [God] has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things. If Jesus is the Son of God, then He is the heir of all that God possesses. Everything that exists will find its true meaning only when it comes under the final control of Jesus Christ.

Even the Psalms predicted that He would one day be the heir to all that God possesses. “But as for Me, I have installed My King upon Zion, My holy mountain. I will surely tell of the decree of the Lord: He said to Me, ‘Thou art My Son, today I have begotten Thee’ ” (Ps. 2:6–7). Again we read, “ ‘Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Thine inheritance, and the very ends of the earth as Thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron, Thou shalt shatter them like earthenware’ ” (Ps. 2:8–9). And still again, “ ‘I also shall make him My first-born, the highest of the kings of the earth’ ” (Ps. 89:27). “First-born” does not mean that Christ did not exist before He was born as Jesus in Bethlehem. It is not primarily a chronological term at all, but has to do with legal rights—especially those of inheritance and authority (which will be discussed in more detail in chapter 3). God’s destined kingdom will in the last days be given finally and eternally to Jesus Christ.

Paul explains that all things not only were created by Christ but for Him (Col. 1:16) and that “from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen” (Rom. 11:36). Everything that exists exists for Jesus Christ. What truth better proves His equality with God?

In Revelation 5, God is pictured sitting on a throne, with a scroll in His hand. “And I saw in the right hand of Him who sat on the throne a book written inside and on the back, sealed up with seven seals’ ” (v. 1). The scroll is the title deed to the earth and all that is in it. It is the deed for the Heir, the One who has the right to take the earth. In New Testament times Roman law required that a will had to be sealed seven times, to protect it from tampering. As you rolled it up, you sealed it every turn or so for seven times. The seals were not to be broken until after the person whose will it was had died.

John continues his vision: “And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, ‘Who is worthy to open the book and to break its seals?’ ” (v. 2). Who, the angel wondered, is the rightful heir to the earth? Who has the right to possess it? “And no one in heaven, or on the earth, or under the earth, was able to open the book, or to look into it” (v. 3). Perplexed and saddened, John “began to weep greatly, because no one was found worthy to open the book, or to look into it; and one of the elders said to me, ‘Stop weeping; behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome so as to open the book and its seven seals’ ” (vv. 4–5). As he continued to watch, he “saw between the throne (with the four living creatures) and the elders a Lamb standing, as if slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth” (v. 6). Jesus Christ, the Lamb, came and took the scroll out of the right hand of God. Why? Because He, and He alone, had a right to take it. He is Heir to the earth.

Chapter 6 of Revelation begins the description of the Tribulation, the first step in Christ’s taking back the earth, which is rightfully His. One by one Christ unrolls the seals. As each seal is broken, He takes further possession and control of His inheritance. Finally, “the seventh angel sounded; and there arose loud voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He will reign forever and ever’ ” (11:15). When He unrolls the seventh seal and the seventh trumpet blows, the earth is His.

In his first sermon, at Pentecost, Peter told his Jewish audience, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified” (Acts 2:36). This carpenter who died nailed to a cross is, in fact, the King of kings and Lord of lords. He will rule the world. Satan knew this truth when he approached Jesus in the wilderness and tempted Him to take control of the world in the wrong way, by bowing down to Satan. As the temporary usurper of God’s rule over the earth, Satan continually tries every means of preventing the true Heir from receiving His inheritance.

When Christ first came to earth He became poor for our sakes, that we, through His poverty, might be made rich. He had nothing for Himself. He had “nowhere to lay His head” (Luke 9:58). Even His clothes were taken from Him when He died. He was buried in a grave that belonged to someone else. But when Christ comes to earth again, He will completely and eternally inherit all things. And, wonder of wonders, because we have trusted in Him, we are to be “fellow heirs with Christ” (Rom. 8:16–17). When we enter into His eternal kingdom we will jointly possess all that He possesses. We will not be joint Christs or joint Lords, but we will be joint heirs. His marvelous inheritance will be ours as well.

Some Still Reject Him

Amazingly, though Christ is the Heir of all God possesses, and though He offers to share His inheritance with anyone who will trust in Him, some still reject Him. Many rejected God as He revealed Himself in the Old Testament. Now God has perfectly revealed Himself in the New Testament of His Son, and people continue to reject Him.

Jesus illustrated this tragedy in a parable.

There was a landowner who planted a vineyard and put a wall around it and dug a wine press in it, and built a tower, and rented it out to vine-growers, and went on a journey. And when the harvest time approached, he sent his slaves to the vine-growers to receive his produce. And the vine-growers took his slaves and beat one, and killed another, and stoned a third. Again he sent another group of slaves larger than the first; and they did the same thing to them. But afterward he sent his son to them, saying, “They will respect my son.” But when the vine-growers saw the son, they said among themselves, “This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and seize his inheritance.” And they took him, and threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him. Therefore when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those vine-growers? They said to Him, “He will bring those wretches to a wretched end, and will rent out the vineyard to other vine-growers, who will pay him the proceeds at the proper seasons.” Jesus said to them, “Did you never read in the Scriptures, ‘The stone which the builders rejected, this became the chief corner stone; this came about from the Lord, and it is marvelous in our eyes’? Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you, and be given to a nation producing the fruit of it. And he who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will scatter him like dust.” (Matt. 21:33–44)

That parable needs no explanation.

To willfully reject Jesus Christ brings on the utter damnation and destruction of a vengeful God. To Israel that parable says, “Since what you have done was so blatant, not only rejecting and killing the prophets but rejecting and killing the Son, the promise has been taken away from you and given to a new nation, the church.” Israel was set aside until the time of her restoration.

His Creatorship

The second excellency of Christ mentioned in Hebrews 1 is His creatorship: through whom also He made the world. Christ is the agent through whom God created the world. “All things came into being by Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being” (John 1:3). One of the greatest proofs of Jesus’ divinity is His ability to create. Except for His complete sinlessness, His total righteousness, nothing more sets Him apart from us than His creatorship. Ability to create belongs to God alone and the fact that Jesus creates indicates that He is God. He created everything material and everything spiritual. Though man has stained His work with sin, Christ originally made it good, and the very creation itself longs to be restored to what it was in the beginning (Rom. 8:22).

The common Greek word for world is kosmos, but that is not the word used in Hebrews 1:2. The word here is aiōnas, which does not mean the material world but “the ages,” as it is often translated. Jesus Christ is responsible not only for the physical earth; He is also responsible for creating time, space, energy, and matter. Christ created the whole universe and everything that makes it function, and He did it all without effort.

Sir John C. Eccles, Nobel laureate in neurophysiology, said that the odds against the right combination of circumstances occurring to have evolved intelligent life on earth are highly improbable, but he went on to say he believed that such did occur but could never happen again on any planet or in any other solar system (“Evolution and the Conscious Self,” in The Human Mind: A Discussion at the Nobel Conference, John D. Rolansky, ed. [Amsterdam: North Holland, 1967]). If you do not recognize a Creator you have quite a problem explaining how this marvelous, intricate, immeasurable universe came into being.

Yet thousands upon thousands of men believe that man emerged out of primeval slime. Man just evolved—that wondrous creature whose heart beats 800 million times in a normal lifetime and pumps enough blood to fill a string of tank cars running from Boston to New York; that same man whose tiny cubic half-inch section of brain cells contains all the memories of a lifetime; that same man whose ear transfers sound waves from air to liquid without losing any sound.

A.K. Morrison, another brilliant scientist, tells us that conditions for life on earth demand so many billions of minute interrelated circumstances appearing simultaneously, in the same infinitesimal moment, that such a prospect becomes beyond belief and beyond possibility.

Consider the vastness of our universe. If you could somehow put 1.2 million earths inside the sun, you would have room left for 4.3 million moons. The sun is 865,000 miles in diameter and is 93 million miles from the earth. Our next nearest star, Alpha Centauri, is 5 times larger than our sun. The moon is only 211,463 miles away, and you could walk to it in 27 years. A ray of light travels at 186 thousand miles per second, so a beam of light would reach the moon in only 1 1/2 seconds. If we could travel at that speed, it would take 2 minutes and 18 seconds to reach Venus, 4 1/2 minutes to reach Mercury, 1 hour and 11 seconds to reach Saturn, and so on. To reach Pluto, 2.7 billion miles from earth, would take nearly 4 hours. Having got that far, we would still be well inside our own solar system. The North Star is 400 trillion miles away, but is still nearby in relation even to known space. The star Betelgeuse is 880 quadrillion miles (880 followed by fifteen zeroes) from us. It has a diameter of 250 million miles, which is greater than that of the earth’s orbit.

Where did it all come from? Who conceived it? Who made it? It cannot be an accident. Somebody had to make it, and the Bible tells us the Maker was Jesus Christ.

His Radiance

Third, we see Christ’s radiance, the brightness of the glory of God. And He is the radiance of His glory. Radiance (apaugasma, “to send forth light”) represents Jesus as the manifestation of God. He expresses God to us. No one can see God; no one ever will. The only radiance that reaches us from God is mediated to us from Jesus Christ. Just as the rays of the sun light and warm the earth, so Jesus Christ is the glorious light of God shining into the hearts of men. Just as the sun was never without and cannot be separated from its brightness, so God was never without and cannot be separated from the glory of Christ. Never was God without Him or He without God, and never in any way can He be separated from God. Yet the brightness of the sun is not the sun. Neither is Christ God in that sense. He is fully and absolutely God, yet is a distinct Person.

We would never be able to see or enjoy God’s light if we did not have Jesus to look at. Standing one day before the Temple, Jesus said, “I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12). Jesus Christ is the radiance of God’s glory, and He can transmit that light into your life and my life, so that we, in turn, can radiate the glory of God. We live in a dark world. There is the darkness of injustice, of failure, privation, separation, disease, death, and of much else. There is the moral darkness of men blinded by their godless appetites and passions. Into this dark world God sent His glorious Light. Without the Son of God, there is only darkness.

The great tragedy, of course, is that most men do not want even to see, much less accept and live in, God’s light. Paul explains that “the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Cor. 4:4). God sent His light in the Person of Jesus Christ, that man might behold, accept, and radiate that light. But Satan has moved through this world to blind the minds of men and prevent the light of the glorious gospel from shining on them.

Those, however, who receive His light can say, “For God, who said, ‘Light shall shine out of darkness,’ is the One who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ” (2 Cor. 4:6). That is what happens when God comes into your life.

The hymn writer said, “Come to the light. ‘Tis shining for thee. Sweetly the light has dawned upon me.” What a wonderful thing to realize that Jesus Christ, who is the full expression of God in human history, can come into our lives and give us light to see and to know God. His light, in fact, gives us life itself, spiritual life. And, His light gives us purpose, meaning, happiness, peace, joy, fellowship, everything—for all eternity.

His Being

Christ’s next excellency is His being. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature. Jesus Christ is the express image of God. Christ not only was God manifest, He was God in substance.

Exact representation translates the Greek term used for the impression made by a die or stamp on a seal. The design on the die is reproduced on the wax. Jesus Christ is the reproduction of God. He is the perfect, personal imprint of God in time and space. Colossians 1:15 gives a similar illustration of this incomprehensible truth: “He is the image of the invisible God.” The word “image” here is eikōn, from which we get icon. Eikōn means a precise copy, an exact reproduction, as in a fine sculpture or portrait. To call Christ the Eikōn of God means He is the exact reproduction of God. “For in Him all the fulness of Deity dwells in bodily form” (Col. 2:9).

His Administration

Also in Hebrews 1:3 is given the fifth of Christ’s excellencies, His administration, or sustenance. He upholds all things by the word of His power. Christ not only made all things and will someday inherit all things, but He holds them all together in the meanwhile. The Greek word for upholds means “to support, to maintain,” and it is used here in the present tense, implying continuous action. Everything in the universe is sustained right now by Jesus Christ.

We base our entire lives on the continuance, the constancy, of laws. When something such as an earthquake comes along and disrupts the normal condition or operation of things even a little, the consequences are often disastrous. Can you imagine what would happen if Jesus Christ relinquished His sustaining power over the laws of the universe? We would go out of existence. If He suspended the law of gravity only for a brief moment, we would all perish, in unimaginable ways.

If the physical laws varied, we would have an unbelievable mess. We could not exist. What we ate could turn to poison. We could not stay on the earth; we would drift out into space. We would get flooded by the oceans periodically. Countless other horrible things would happen, many of which we could not even guess.

Consider, for example, what instant destruction would happen if the earth’s rotation slowed down just a little. The sun has a surface temperature of 12,000 degrees Fahrenheit. If it were any closer to us we would burn up; if it were any farther away we would freeze. Our globe is tilted on an exact angle of 23 degrees, providing us with four seasons. If it were not so tilted, vapors from the oceans would move north and south and develop into monstrous continents of ice. If the moon did not retain its exact distance from the earth the ocean tides would inundate the land completely, twice a day. After the first flooding, of course, the others would not matter as far as we would be concerned. If the ocean floors were merely a few feet deeper than they are, the carbon dioxide and oxygen balance of the earth’s atmosphere would be completely upset, and no animal or plant life could exist. If the atmosphere did not remain at its present density, but thinned out even a little, many of the meteors which now harmlessly burn up when they hit the atmosphere would constantly bombard us. We would have to live underground or in meteor-proof buildings.

How does the universe stay in this kind of fantastically delicate balance? Jesus Christ sustains and monitors all its movements and inter-workings. Christ, the preeminent Power, maintains it all.

Things do not happen in our universe by accident. They did not happen that way in the beginning. They are not going to happen that way in the end, and they are not happening that way now. Jesus Christ is sustaining the universe. He is Himself the principle of cohesion. He is not like the deist’s “watchmaker” creator, who made the world, set it in motion, and has not bothered with it since. The universe is a cosmos instead of chaos, an ordered and reliable system instead of an erratic and unpredictable muddle, only because Jesus Christ upholds it.

Scientists who discover great and amazing truths are doing nothing but discovering a few of the laws that.Jesus Christ designed and uses to control the world. No scientist or mathematician, no astronomer or nuclear physicist, could do anything without the upholding power of Jesus Christ. The whole universe hangs on the arm of Jesus. His unsearchable wisdom and boundless power are manifested in governing the universe. And He does it by the word of His power, without effort. The key to the creation story in Genesis is in two words, “God said.” God spoke and it happened.

When I think about Christ’s power to uphold the universe, that truth goes right to my heart. We read in Philippians 1:6 the wonderful promise, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” When Christ begins a work in your heart, He holds onto it and sustains it all the way through. We can imagine Jude’s excitement when he wrote, “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy, to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen” (Jude 24–25). When your life is given to Jesus Christ, He holds it and sustains it and one day will take it into God’s very presence. A life, just as a universe, that is not sustained by Christ is chaos.

His Sacrifice

The sixth excellency of Christ is His sacrifice: When He had made purification of sins. What a tremendous statement!

The Bible says the wages of sin is death. Jesus Christ went to the cross, died our deserved death for us, and thereby took the penalty for our sin on Himself. If we will accept His death and believe that He died for us, He will free us from the penalty of sin and purify us from the stain of sin.

It was a wondrous work when Jesus Christ created the world. It is wondrous that He sustains the world. But a greater work than making and upholding the world is that of purging men of sin. In Hebrews 7:27 we are told that Jesus “does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins, and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself.” In the Old Testament the priests had to make sacrifice after sacrifice, for themselves and for the people. Jesus made but one sacrifice. He not only was the Priest, but also the Sacrifice. And because His sacrifice was pure, He can purify our sins—something that all the Old Testament sacrifices together could not do.

And not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled, sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? … but now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. (Heb. 9:12–14, 26b)

Jesus Christ dealt with the sin problem once and for all. It had to be done. We could not communicate with God or enter into fellowship with Him unless sin was dealt with. So Christ went to the cross and bore the penalty of sin for all who would accept His sacrifice, believe in Him, and receive Him. Sin was purged, wiped out.

This truth must have seemed especially remarkable to those to whom the book of Hebrews was first written. The cross was a stumbling block to Jews, but the writer does not apologize for it. Instead, he shows it to be one of the seven excellent glories of Christ. His words are as straightforward as those of Peter: “[You know] that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ” (1 Pet. 1:18–19).

We are all sinners. And either we pay the penalty for our own sin, which is eternal death, or we accept Jesus Christ’s payment for it in sacrificing Himself, for which we receive eternal life. If the desire of our heart is to receive Him as Savior, to believe in and to accept His sacrifice, our sins are washed away at that point. The Bible says that without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness for sin (Heb. 9:22) and that “the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7). Jesus came as the perfect Sacrifice. The man whose sins are forgiven has them forgiven only because of Jesus Christ. But the blood of Jesus Christ will never be applied to us unless by faith we receive Him into our lives.

Yet again, there are people who reject Him! Hebrews 10:26 warns, “For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins.” If we reject Jesus Christ there is nothing in the universe that can take away our sin, and we will die in it. Jesus said to such persons, “[You] shall die in your sin; where I am going you can never come” (John 8:21).

His Exaltation

The last of Christ’s excellencies mentioned in this passage is His exaltation. He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. The Majesty on high is God. The right hand is the power side. Jesus took His place at the right hand of God. The marvelous thing about this statement is that Jesus, the perfect High Priest, sat down. This is in great contrast to the priestly procedure under the Old Covenant. There were no seats in the Tabernacle or the Temple sanctuaries. The priest had no place to sit because God knew it would never be appropriate for him to sit. His responsibility was to sacrifice, sacrifice, sacrifice, over and over again. So the priests offered sacrifices daily—and never sat down. But Jesus offered one sacrifice, and said, “It is finished.” He then went and sat down with the Father. It was done. What could not be accomplished under the Old Covenant, even after centuries of sacrifices, was accomplished once by Jesus Christ for all time.

Jesus’ sitting down at His Father’s right hand signifies at least four things. They are, briefly:

First, He sat down as a sign of honor, “that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil. 2:11). To be seated at the right hand of the Father is honor indeed.

Second, He sat down as a sign of authority. “[He] is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, after angels and authorities and powers had been subjected to Him” (1 Pet. 3:22). He sat down as a ruler.

Third, He sat down to rest. His work was done. “But He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God” (Heb. 10:12).

Fourth, He sat down to intercede for us. “Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us” (Rom. 8:34). He is seated at the right hand of the Father making intercession for all of us who belong to Him.

Here we have God’s portrait of Jesus Christ. We have seen the preeminent Christ in all His offices. We have seen Him as prophet, the final spokesman for God. We have seen Him as priest, atoning and interceding. We have seen Him as King, controlling, sustaining, and seated on a throne. This is our Lord Jesus Christ.

A man who says that Jesus Christ is anything less than this is a fool and makes God out a liar. God says that His Son is preeminent in all things.

What does this mean to us? It means everything. To reject Him is to be shut out from His presence into an eternal hell. But to receive Jesus Christ is to enter into all that He is and has. There are no other choices.[4]


1–2a One of the chief glories of OT religion was its prophetic tradition. Israel lived not by human insight but by divine revelation as God “spoke through the prophets.” Our author has no wish to belittle this privilege, and he will quote from those same prophets later in the course of his argument. But now God has provided something even better. The prophets were many and varied, and their revelations came to the forefathers sporadically over a considerable period. But now their place has been taken by a single spokesman, whose message has been delivered once-for-all “in these last days” (lit., “at the end of these days,” echoing the OT formula “in the end of the days,” Ge 49:1; Isa 2:2; etc.). The period of preparation is over, and all that the prophets have looked forward to is now fulfilled in the single person of “a Son.” (The lack of article does not indicate one son among many but rather the true nature and status of this new spokesman as against his predecessors the prophets.) This title, which will form the backbone of Hebrews’ presentation of Jesus, is dramatically introduced in contrast with the mere messengers who have gone before and will immediately be filled out with a series of descriptive clauses that totally set him apart from all merely human representatives. Note that the name “Jesus” will not appear until 2:9, when the focus will be on the period of the human incarnation of the Son. In his essential nature he is better designated not by his human name but by a title that directly links him to God.

2b–3a Seven arresting statements now fill out the unique status of “the Son” and make it unmistakably clear he is much more than a passing historical figure like the prophets. The first five statements focus on his relationship to God and to the created universe in such a way as to place him outside the natural order as its originator and sustainer. Two further clauses in v. 3b will then bring his historical work of redemption into focus, but first we are invited to contemplate the eternal glory of the Son since before the world was made.

Three clauses trace the role of the Son in relation to the universe, covering respectively its past, present, and future. It was “through” the Son that God made the universe in the past; in the present that same Son upholds everything “by his powerful word”; and the future destiny of the universe is understood also in relation to him who has been made the “heir of all things” (perhaps echoing Ps 2:8; cf. the quotation of Ps 2:7 that follows in v. 5). This is the same threefold relation to the creation, embracing all eternity, which is succinctly expressed in Paul’s formula in Romans 11:36: “from him and through him and to him are all things”; Paul was speaking there of God, not of Christ, but in Colossians 1:16–17 he says the same of Christ: “all things were created by him and for him …, and in him all things hold together.” The author of Hebrews, like Paul (and John in 1:1–3), has no hesitation in saying of Jesus what in Jewish orthodoxy was reserved for God the Creator.

The double clause that opens v. 3 describes the Son’s relation to God more directly and even more unequivocally, not now in his creative role but in his essential nature: he is “the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being.” He is, in other words, as in John 1:14, 18, God made visible. To see what God is like we must look at the Son. “Radiance” (apaugasma, GK 575) means literally the “outshining” (though it is sometimes also used of a “reflection”) of the glory that is God’s essential character, while “exact representation” translates the vivid Greek metaphor charaktēr, “imprint, stamp” (GK 5917), used, for instance, of the impression made on a coin, which exactly reproduces the design on the die. (The idea is the same as the more familiar phrase “the image of God.”) Again there is a close echo of Colossians 1:15, 19: “He is the image of the invisible God.… God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him.”

3b The glory of the Son consists not only in his eternal nature but also in his role in bringing salvation to human beings. The two clauses that conclude the description of the Son take up this theme and thus introduce two of the most prominent themes of the letter as a whole. First, he has “provided purification for sins.” The theme of the sacrificial work of Christ will come into focus especially in chs. 9–10 as the outworking of his office as our great high priest, where the author will emphasize that this work of purification is now fully complete. While at this point he does not yet spell out the means by which this “purification” has been achieved, his readers would be well aware that it must be through the shedding of blood (9:14, 22, etc.). The way is thus prepared for the paradoxical argument of ch. 2 that it is in his humiliation and death that the superior glory of the Son, as our perfect redeemer, is revealed.

But humiliation is followed by exaltation, and the author’s first allusion to Psalm 110:1 introduces the language of “sitting at the right hand,” which will echo through the letter (cf. 1:13; 8:1; 10:12; 12:2). The Son, his earthly work complete, now occupies in heaven the place of highest authority next to God himself.

Such is the nature of the Son, who has now added to his unique creative work by coming into the world he made in order to bring the final and perfect revelation of God by making the true nature of the invisible God visible on the canvas of a human life, and by his redeeming work has fulfilled God’s purpose of salvation. “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory” (Jn 1:14). Here is a work of God on a different level altogether from what the prophets could offer.[5]


[1] Tozer, A. W. (2015). Mornings with tozer: daily devotional readings. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[2] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 2158). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[3] Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of Hebrews (Vol. 15, pp. 26–29). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[4] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1983). Hebrews (pp. 1–20). Chicago: Moody Press.

[5] France, R. T. (2006). Hebrews. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Hebrews–Revelation (Revised Edition) (Vol. 13, pp. 37–39). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

June 12 – Worry Is Not a Trivial Sin

But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith!—Matt. 6:30

It seems odd, does it not, that we who have freely put our eternal destiny into Christ’s hands would at times refuse to believe that He will provide what we need to eat, drink, and wear. Faith should extend to the ordinary, just as it extends to the extraordinary.

Worry is not a trivial sin because it strikes a blow both at God’s love and integrity. Worry declares our heavenly Father to be untrustworthy in His Word and His promises. To claim belief in the inerrancy of Scripture yet in the next moment express worry is to deny that very belief. Worry reveals that we are mastered by our circumstances and by our own finite perspective and understanding rather than God’s Word. Worry is therefore not only debilitating and destructive but also maligns and impugns God.

When a believer is not fresh in the Word every day so that God is in his mind and heart, then Satan moves into the vacuum and plants worry. And worry pushes the Lord even further from our minds.

Paul counsels us as he did the Ephesians, “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might” (Eph. 1:18–19).

ASK YOURSELF
Have you ever seriously considered the unspoken statement you make when worry defines your reaction to life ’s uncertainties? If you understood the root beliefs that fuel the fires of anxiety, what effect would this knowledge have on your level of fretfulness?[1]

6:28–30 Next the Lord deals with the unreasonableness of worrying that we will not have enough clothing in the future. The lilies of the field (probably wild anemones) neither toil nor spin, yet their beauty surpasses that of Solomon’s royal garments. If God can provide such elegant apparel for wildflowers, which have a brief existence and are then used as fuel in the baking oven, He will certainly care for His people who worship and serve Him.[2]


30. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will he not much more surely clothe you, O men of little faith? There is a double argument here, as follows:

  1. from the less to the greater: If God provides for the short-lived grass, he will surely provide for his children, destined for eternal glory.
  2. from the greater to the less: If God decks the wild flowers with such very beautiful garments, then he will certainly clothe his children with the ordinary garments which they need.

Jesus calls his worrying followers “men of little faith.” The various passages in which he makes use of this description, in their context, are as follows:

Matt. 6:30 and its parallel Luke 12:28 (worry about clothes)

Matt. 8:26 (the disciples’ fear of drowning during a storm at sea)

Matt. 14:31 (Peter’s similar fear)

Matt. 16:8 (the disciples’ failure to remember the lesson they had received in connection with Christ’s miracle-working power).

Based upon these passages, it would seem that the description refers to the fact that those so characterized were not sufficiently taking to heart the comfort they should have derived from the presence, promises, power, and love of Christ.[3]


Worry About Clothing

And why are you anxious about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory did not clothe himself like one of these. But if God so arrays the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more do so for you, O men of little faith? (6:28–30)

The third illustration has to do with clothing, using flowers as a model. Some of the people to whom Jesus spoke perhaps had little clothing, no more than one set of coverings for their bodies. He pointed again to their surroundings, this time to the flowers, to assure them of God’s concern and provision.

The lilies of the field may have been a general term used of the wild flowers that in great variety and beauty grace the fields and hillsides of Galilee.

Those beautiful decorations of nature make no effort to grow and had no part in designing or coloring themselves. They do not toil nor do they spin, Jesus said, stating the obvious; yet I say to you even Solomon in all his glory did not clothe himself like one of these.

Even the naked eye can see much of the amazing detail, shading, and coloring of a flower. Under a microscope it shows itself to be even more marvelous and intricate than ancients could ever have imagined. Yet even Solomon, one of the most resplendent kings the world has ever known, in all his glory did not clothe himself like one of these little flowers which anyone there that day could have picked by the dozen.

It is an indictment of our day that we spend so much time, money, and effort to dress ourselves. Lusting after costly, stylish clothes is sinful, because its only purpose is to feed pride. The number of clothing stores we have today, and the vast amounts of clothes we find in them, is staggering. Many people have made a god out of fashion, and shamelessly waste money on expensive clothes they will wear but a few times.

Our worries today are seldom for necessary clothing. If Jesus told those who had but one simple garment not to worry about their clothing, what would He say to us?

Despite their beauty, however, flowers do not last long. Along with the grass of the field, they are alive today and tomorrow [are] thrown into the furnace.

Klibanos (furnace) is better translated “oven.” Such ovens were made of hardened clay and were used primarily for baking bread. When a woman wanted to hurry the baking process, she would build a fire inside the oven as well as under it. Fuel for the inside heating was usually composed of dried grass and flowers gathered from nearby fields. Once the fiower’s beauty was gone it had little use except to be burned up as fuel for baking. Then it was gone.

But if God bothers to array the grass of the field with beautiful but short-lived flowers, how much more is He concerned to clothe and care for His very own children who are destined for eternal life?

To be anxious even about things which we need to survive, Jesus says, is sinful and shows little faith. A person who worries about those things may have saving faith, but he does not have faith that relies on God to finish what He has begun. It is significant that each of the four other times Jesus used the phrase “O men [or “you”] of little faith,” it was also in relation to worry about food, clothing, or life span (see Matt. 8:26; 14:31; 16:8; Luke 12:28). “You believe that God can redeem you, save you from sin, break the shackles of Satan, take you to heaven where He has prepared a place for you, and keep you for all eternity,” Jesus is saying; “and yet you do not trust Him to supply your daily needs?” We freely put our eternal destiny in His hands, but at times refuse to believe He will provide what we need to eat, drink, and wear.

Worry is not a trivial sin, because it strikes a blow both at God’s love and at God’s integrity. Worry declares our heavenly Father to be untrustworthy in His Word and His promises. To avow belief in the inerrancy of Scripture and in the next moment to express worry is to speak out of both sides of our mouths. Worry shows that we are mastered by our circumstances and by our own finite perspectives and understanding rather than by God’s Word. Worry is therefore not only debilitating and destructive but maligns and impugns God.

When a believer is not fresh in the Word every day, so that God is in His mind and heart, then Satan moves into the vacuum and plants worry. Worry then pushes the Lord even further from our minds.

Paul counsels us as he did the Ephesians: “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might” (Eph. 1:18–19).[4]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 172). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

[2] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 1227). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[3] Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Gospel According to Matthew (Vol. 9, pp. 352–353). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[4] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1985). Matthew (pp. 423–425). Chicago: Moody Press.

JUNE 12 – WE CAN AFFORD TO BE CALM

For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.

—2 Timothy 1:12

For the warmth of his heart the Christian has the love of God which is “shed abroad” by the Holy Ghost, while from his vantage point in the “heavenly places” he is able to look down calmly upon the excited happenings of men. In his flesh he may be a part of the human scene, but in his spirit he is far above it all and is never at any time too much moved by what he sees.

From the Word of God he learns the direction things are going and is thus able in God to see the end from the beginning and call the things that are not as though they were.

The life of the Christian is bound up in the sovereignty of God, i.e…. His full ability to carry out His plans to their triumphant conclusion. Since he is a part of God’s eternal purpose, he knows he must win at last, and he can afford to be calm even when the battle seems to be temporarily going against him.

The world has no such “blissful center” upon which to rest and is therefore constantly shifting about, greatly elated today, terribly cast down tomorrow and wildly excited the next day. TET041-042

Lord, thank You for the assurance that You are in control. In turbulent times, in uncertain days and in difficult circumstances, I will rest in You. Amen. [1]


1:12 It was because of his faithful performance of duty that Paul was suffering imprisonment and loneliness. He had not hesitated to declare the truth of God. No fears for personal safety had sealed his lips. Now that he had been arrested and jailed, he still had no regrets. He was not ashamed, and neither should Timothy be ashamed. Although Paul could not be confident as to his personal safety, he was completely confident as to the One whom he had believed. Though Rome might succeed in putting the apostle to death, men could not touch his Lord. Paul knew that the One whom he had trusted was able. Able to do what? Able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day. Commentators are divided as to what Paul is referring to here. Some think that it is his soul’s salvation. Others understand this to refer to the gospel. In other words, although the Apostle Paul himself might be put to death, yet the gospel could not be hindered. The more men sought to oppose it, the more it would prosper.

Perhaps it is best to take the expression in its broadest sense. Paul was persuaded that his entire case was in the best of hands. Even as he faced death, he had no misgivings. Jesus Christ was his Almighty Lord, and with Him there could be no defeat or failure. There was nothing to worry about. Paul’s salvation was sure, and so was the ultimate success of his service for Christ here on earth.

That Day is a favorite expression of Paul. It refers to the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, and particularly to the Judgment Seat of Christ when service for Him will be brought into review and when the kindness of God will reward the faithfulness of men.[2]


12. Thus the trend of thought has returned to that of verse 8: Paul’s faithfulness to the gospel, as an example for Timothy. Accordingly, the second paragraph of the present section is very personal in character. Says the apostle: For this reason I am also suffering these things.

Because of the fulfilment of my assignment as an apostle of Jesus Christ I suffer here in this terrible Roman prison—a dismal underground dungeon with a hole in the ceiling for light and air—, with the prospect of execution as a criminal! But I am not ashamed. Though. Paul has been subjected to ignominy, he has not disgraced himself. Along with others, such as Joseph, Jeremiah, Daniel, John the Baptist, and Peter, he has joined the ranks of prisoners for the best cause. After all, the place of dishonor may be the place of highest honor. Was not Jesus crucified between two malefactors? and cf. 1 Peter 4:16!

The reason why Paul is not ashamed is stated in these memorable words: For I know him in whom I have placed my trust, and am convinced that he is able to guard with a view to that day that which I have entrusted to him.

Paul has once for all placed his trust in the sovereign God (see verses 8, 9 above). One might also translate with the A.V., “for I know whom I have believed,” i.e., I know God who revealed himself in his precious Son, “our Savior Christ Jesus” (verse 10). The apostle has become abidingly convinced of God’s infinite power, tender love, and absolute faithfulness.

Literally translated, the apostle says, “… and I am convinced that he is able to guard my deposit (τὴν παραθήκην μου) with a view to (or unto: εἰς) that day.” This leads to the question on which commentators are hopelessly divided: Just what is meant by my deposit? Is it “that deposit which he has entrusted to me,” or is it “that deposit which I have entrusted to him”? Or, putting it differently, Is it the gospel or is it myself and my complete salvation?

As I see it, the latter view deserves the preference, for the following reasons:

(1) Clearly, not Paul but God (in Christ) guards this deposit (“he is able to guard”). Hence, the view that it is the deposit which Paul has entrusted to God has probability on its side. In verse 14 (see on that verse) and also in 1 Tim. 6:20 it is not God but Timothy who must do the guarding. Hence, in that case it is the deposit which God has entrusted to (Paul and to) Timothy.

Now if verse 12 has to do with the deposit which Paul has entrusted to God, then the view that the reference is to my soul or my spirit or myself and my complete salvation has logic on its side. Here some commentators favor my soul; others, my salvation. But the difference is not very important: “myself and my complete salvation” includes both.

(2) The immediate context favors this interpretation. Paul has just written, “I know whom I have believed,” meaning, in the light of the clause which follows: “I know that this God in whom I have placed my confidence is dependable, and will certainly keep in perfect safety that which I have entrusted to him for safe-keeping and protection.”

(3) The words of verse 10 also support this view. The apostle has just referred to “life and incorruptibility.” But, as was noted in the explanation of verse 10, the believer does not fully receive this blessing until the day of Christ’s glorious Return. Hence, the idea of verse 12 is that this truly immortal life possessed even now in principle, and deposited with God for safe-keeping, will be returned to Paul more gloriously than ever on “that day,” the day of the great consummation (cf. verse 18 below; also 2 Tim. 4:8; then 2 Thess. 1:10).

(4) The idea of a treasure that is guarded by God is also found elsewhere; sometimes in a slightly different sense (1 Peter 1:4).

(5) Cf. the words of our Lord as he died on the cross (Luke 23:46; cf. Ps. 31:5; 1 Peter 4:19). Christ’s spirit, having been committed to the Father, is on the third day re-united with the body, now gloriously resurrected.

The arguments of those who defend the opposite view are answered in footnote.[3]


Realize Your Duty

for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle and a teacher. For this reason I also suffer these things, (1:11–12a)

To illustrate the next two means for guarding against being ashamed of Christ, Paul draws from his own life and ministry. The first of those two means is realizing one’s duty, about which Paul had the strongest personal conviction. Using the same words (In the Greek text) as he had in his first letter (1 Tim. 2:7), Paul reminded Timothy, I was appointed a preacher and an apostle.

The Greek egō (I) is in the emphatic position, strengthening the meaning to “I myself.” Was appointed refers, of course, to Paul’s divine commission, which he dramatically received on the Damascus Road, after which the Lord informed Ananias, a faithful disciple in Damascus, that Paul “is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel” (Acts 9:15). At least twice, Paul publicly testified to that calling, first on the steps of the Roman army barracks before a large crowd in Jerusalem (Acts 22:3–21) and, some years later, before the Roman governor Festus, King Agrippa, and his wife Bernice in Caesarea (Acts 26:2–23).

Saul, as Paul was known before his conversion, did not plan to become a Christian. When he first encountered Christ, he was the chief persecutor of the infant church (See Acts 8:1–9:2). Nor, after his conversion, was it his own plan, or any other human plan, for him to be a special ambassador for Jesus Christ. On the beach near Miletus, he reminded the elders from Ephesus that he had received his ministry solely “from the Lord Jesus, to testify solemnly of the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24; cf. Col. 1:25). In his first letter to the church at Corinth, he stated that truth in even stronger terms. “For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of,” he said; “for I am under compulsion; for woe is me if I do not preach the gospel” (1 Cor. 9:16).

Paul first mentions his commission as a preacher, as a proclaimer, or herald, who officially and publicly announces a message on behalf of a ruler—in Paul’s case, the Lord Jesus Christ. He also was commissioned as an apostle “of Christ Jesus by the will of God” (2 Tim. 1:1; cf. 1 Tim. 1:1) and a teacher. Preacher emphasizes his function in ministry, apostle emphasizes his authority, and teacher emphasizes his interpreting the message he authoritatively proclaimed.

It was for this reason, that is, his threefold divine calling, that he also [had to] suffer these things, a reference, in general, to his “suffering for the gospel according to the power of God” (v. 8) and, in particular, to his loneliness (1:4) and his “imprisonment as a criminal” (2:7; cf. 1:8). He suffered because he faithfully preached the fullness of the gospel of salvation, because he proclaimed that truth with divine authority, and because he interpreted that Word with divine insight. Very often, the price of devotion to divine duty is affliction by the world.

These things also applied to the long list of afflictions Paul mentions in his second letter to the church at Corinth, in which, “in foolishness,” he boasted “according to the flesh” (2 Cor. 11:17–18). Speaking sarcastically about certain “false apostles, deceitful workers, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ, [who] disguise themselves as servants of righteousness” (vv. 14–15), he asked rhetorically,

Are they servants of Christ? (I speak as if insane) I more so; in far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death. Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. (vv. 23–27; cf. 6:4–10)

Faithful ministry in the Lord’s service is always bittersweet. It brings suffering and joy, disappointment and gratitude. It is like the little book representing judgment that John took “out of the angel’s hand and ate it, and it was in my mouth sweet as honey; and when I had eaten it, my stomach was made bitter” (Rev. 10:10).

But for Paul, as it should be for every believer, suffering was a small price to pay, because his joy always outweighed his suffering, and his satisfaction always outweighed his disappointments. “For to me, to live is Christ,” he rejoiced, “and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21). “Even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith,” he testified later in that letter, “I rejoice and share my joy with you all” (2:17). He gave similar testimony to believers at Colossae, saying, “Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I do my share on behalf of His body (Which is the church) in filling up that which is lacking in Christ’s afflictions” (Col. 1:24). The worst suffering we endure is not comparable to our future glory (Rom. 8:18).

Charles Spurgeon gave a vivid illustration of the overriding satisfaction that comes from selfless, godly service.

A man shall carry a bucket of water on his head and be very tired with the burden; but that same man when he dives into the sea shall have a thousand buckets on his head without perceiving their weight, because he is in the element and it entirely surrounds him. The duties of holiness are very irksome to men who are not in the element of holiness; but when once those men are cast into the element of grace, then they bear ten times more, and feel no weight, but are refreshed thereby with joy unspeakable.

Duty can bring the deepest pain or the highest joy. Spiritual duty unfulfilled brings untold dissatisfaction, regret, and anguish, no matter how easy unfaithfulness may be. On the other hand, spiritual duty fulfilled brings untold satisfaction and happiness, whatever the cost of faithfulness. The Christian who is obedient to his duty under the Lord can say with Peter, “If anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not feel ashamed, but in that name let him glorify God” (1 Peter 4:16).

Trust Your Security

but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day. (1:12b)

Summing up his previous testimony, and again using his own experience, Paul gives a sixth means for guarding against being ashamed of Christ: trusting in spiritual security.

Paul was not ashamed of his Lord, for, he says, I know whom I have believed. Oida (Know) carries the idea of knowing with certainty. It is used frequently in the New Testament of God’s own knowing and of man’s knowing by direct revelation from God or by personal experience. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus used that verb in assuring His hearers, “Your Father knows what you need, before you ask Him” (Matt. 6:8). John repeatedly uses it of Jesus’ knowledge. He records that “He Himself [Jesus] knew what He was intending to do” (John 6:6), and that “Jesus knew from the beginning who they were who did not believe, and who it was that would betray Him” (v. 64; cf. 8:14; 11:42; 13:11).

Whom refers either to God the Father (v. 8) or to Jesus Christ (vv. 9–10). In either case, the basic meaning is the same—Paul had firsthand, intimate, saving knowledge of God.

Pisteuō (I have believed) is in a perfect tense, indicating something that began in the past and has continuing results. As already pointed out, the object of Paul’s certain knowledge was not a thing, or even God’s truth, as important as that is, but rather God Himself. It was not Paul’s divinely revealed theology, but the One who revealed to him that theology, in whom he believed. He was, in John’s words, a spiritual father who had come to know the Eternal One (1 John 2:14).

I am convinced, he testifies, that He [God] is able [dunatos, lit., is powerful enough] to guard what I have entrusted to Him. Phulassō (To guard) was a military term used of a soldier on watch, who was accountable with his own life to protect that which was entrusted to his care. He was convinced not only by divine promises but also by God’s constant faithfulness, already exhibited to him in such measure that he could testify from personal encounters and experience. He asked rhetorically,

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written, “For Thy sake we are being put to death all day long; we were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.” But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom. 8:35–39)

Paul trusted his absolute security in God. He had been through years of relentless temptations, trials and testings, opportunities and hardships. He had seen the power of God at work again and again, both in him and around him. He had seen the Lord save and heal and protect and guide and encourage (cf. 2 Tim. 4:14–18). He had encountered Christ personally on the Damascus Road and had been “caught up into Paradise, and heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak.… And because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to buffet me—to keep me from exalting myself!” (2 Cor. 12:4, 7).

His confidence did not come from a creed or a theological system or a denomination or an ordination. It came solely from a close, unbroken relationship with God, to whom he unreservedly gave his life, going about his divine mission with no concern for his own welfare, safety, or life. Without the least reservation, all of those things were entrusted to Him until that day. His only “ambition, whether at home or absent, [was] to be pleasing to Him” (2 Cor. 5:9).

Later in the letter Paul identifies that day, saying, “In the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Tim. 4:8). It is the day when believers will stand before the bēma, “the judgment seat of God” (Rom. 14:10), where “each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it, because it is to be revealed with fire; and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work” (1 Cor. 3:13), in order “that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Cor. 5:10).

Like Peter, Paul knew with perfect certainty that he was “protected by the power of God through faith for a [completed] salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:5). He had utter confidence in Jesus’ promise regarding His sheep: “I give eternal life to them, and they shall never perish; and no one shall snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand” (John 10:28–29). When our life belongs to Jesus Christ, nothing in this world, not even all the demons in hell or Satan himself, can touch us![4]


12 Paul’s gospel of salvation is worth it, for it is true (Quinn and Wacker, 603, note the recurrence of p sounds in the original: paschō … epaischynomai; pepisteuka kai pepeismai). Paul knows whom he has “believed” (pepisteuka [GK 4409], the perfect tense conveying a settled conviction), and he has full confidence (pepeismai [GK 4275], another perfect; NIV, “am convinced”) that God is “able” (dynatos, GK 1543; cf. Ro 4:21; 11:23) to preserve the deposit (parathēkē, GK 4146; cf. 1 Ti 6:20) he has “entrusted to him” (so both NIV and NASB; lit., “my deposit”; “to him” is not in the original) “for that day” (the final judgment and vindication triggered by Christ’s return; cf. Php 1:10).

That “deposit” is probably Paul’s own life (less likely the gospel; cf. Quinn and Wacker, 604–5). A similar expression of Paul’s confidence is found at 4:18. Thus the apostle’s identity consists in being a “herald [evangelist] and an apostle and a teacher” (v. 11). Paul is setting the example; Timothy must follow in his steps (cf. 3:10–12; see A. D. Clarke, “ ‘Be Imitators of Me’: Paul’s Model of Leadership,” TynBul 49 [1998]: 354–57). In the light of the proliferation of heretics and in the face of desertions, these exhortations take on an even more pressing urgency.[5]


[1] Tozer, A. W., & Eggert, R. (2015). Tozer on the almighty god: a 365-day devotional. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[2] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 2112). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[3] Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Pastoral Epistles (Vol. 4, pp. 234–236). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[4] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1995). 2 Timothy (pp. 22–28). Chicago: Moody Press.

[5] Köstenberger, A. (2006). 2 Timothy. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Ephesians–Philemon (Revised Edition) (Vol. 12, pp. 570–571). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

June 12 – Integrity Worships the True God

“Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, the height of which was sixty cubits and its width six cubits; he set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon. Then Nebuchadnezzar the king sent word to assemble the satraps, the prefects and the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the judges, the magistrates and all the rulers of the provinces to come to the dedication of the image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up. Then the satraps, the prefects and the governors, the counselors, the treasurers, the judges, the magistrates and all the rulers of the provinces were assembled for the dedication of the image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up; and they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up.”

Daniel 3:1–3

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People are incurably religious and will worship either the true God or a false substitute.

Scripture teaches that a double–minded man is “unstable in all his ways” (James 1:8). That certainly was true of King Nebuchadnezzar, who shortly after declaring that Daniel’s God “is a God of gods and a Lord of kings” (Dan. 2:47), erected a huge image of himself and assembled all his leaders for its dedication.

The image was ninety feet tall and was probably constructed of wood overlaid with gold. Because the plain of Dura was flat, the statue would have been visible for a great distance. The gold idol was a magnificent sight as it reflected the bright sunlight of that region.

The king’s plan was to have all his leaders bow down to the image, thereby bringing glory to himself, verifying their loyalty, and unifying the nation under one religion. But he was soon to learn that three young men with spiritual integrity would never abandon worship of the true God, regardless of the consequences.

Worshiping the true God or a false substitute is the choice that everyone must make. Sadly, millions of people who wouldn’t think of bowing to a tangible image nevertheless worship useless gods of their own imaginations. Even Christians can be lured into self–love and covetousness, which are forms of idolatry (Col. 3:5). That’s why you must always guard your heart diligently.

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer: Thank the Lord for the privilege of knowing and worshiping the true God.

For Further Study: According to Romans 1:18–32, what are the spiritual and moral consequences of idolatry?[1]


1–7 No time frame is assigned to this episode, but most likely the event occurs early in Nebuchadnezzar’s reign as a test of loyalty to the new administration (cf. Miller, 107). The date given for the incident in the LXX (the eighteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign) is borrowed from Jeremiah 52:29 as a possible rationale for the unusual royal ceremony (cf. Porteous, 57). The story features Daniel’s three friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, with no mention of Daniel himself. Daniel’s absence at the “Festival of the New Babylon” may be explained by the reference to his role as an adviser in the royal court (2:49). Either Daniel has relinquished his administrative authority for the profit of his friends (so Lacocque, 55), or his duties are of such a highly specialized nature that he is required to remain at the royal palace (so Miller, 108).

At issue in the story is a giant image erected by Nebuchadnezzar (v. 1) and his subsequent decree that all of his royal subjects must bow down and worship the image (vv. 6, 11). The term “image” (Aram. elēm) simply refers to a statue or stela of some sort. The extreme height (ninety feet) and narrow width (nine feet) of the image suggests the form of an obelisk or totem pole (e.g., Porteous, 57; see BBCOT, 734). Commentators debate whether the image represents the king or a deity of the Babylonian pantheon (cf. Goldingay, 70). Wallace, 64, rightly points out that the matter is left intentionally vague. The statue could represent whatever anyone wants it to symbolize, whether the spirit of Babylon, the king himself, one of the traditional deities (e.g., Marduk according to Wiseman, Nebuchadrezzar and Babylon, 109), or even a syncretistic focal point for the various religions of Nebuchadnezzar’s realm. The fact that the statue is overlaid with gold may indicate that Nebuchadnezzar has been influenced by Daniel’s interpretation of the king’s statue-dream identifying him as the “head of gold” (2:28; cf. Young, 84).

The “plain of Dura” (v. 1) may have been a site near the city wall (since the Akk. duru refers to a “walled place”; cf. Wiseman, Nebuchadrezzar and Babylon, 111), but more traditionally the location has been identified with Tulul Dura (“tells of Dura”) some sixteen miles south of Babylon (cf. Miller, 111). Seven classes of state officials are named (vv. 2–3), presumably rank-ordered in terms of importance (cf. Miller, 111; see Notes). These administrators represent the many peoples, nations, and languages of the king’s wide domain. The lesser officials and civil servants are addressed collectively in the umbrella phrase “all the other provincial officials” (v. 2). Goldingay, 70, has noted that “in many cultures, music draws attention to state and religious processions and ceremonials.”

Six types of musical instruments are specifically mentioned as examples of the array of instruments comprising the royal band (v. 5; see Notes). None of the instruments named were used in Hebrew worship, and most are designated by loanwords from other languages. Rhetorically, the repetition of the musical component of the event (vv. 5, 7, 10, 15) attests the grandiose nature and cosmopolitan character of the ceremony (cf. Porteous, 57; Wallace, 64; Miller, 114). Theologically, the repetition of the foreign terms for the musical instruments “imply a double judgment on the alien, pagan nature of the [idolatrous] ceremony Nebuchadnezzar is inaugurating” (Goldingay, 70).

Ceremonies marking the installation of statues or the dedication of buildings are well documented in the ancient world (cf. Montgomery, 197–98). This ceremony probably included the taking of a loyalty oath as Nebuchadnezzar solidified his rule over the vast Babylonian Empire (cf. BBCOT, 735). The word “dedication” (vv. 2–3; Heb. anukkâ; GK 10273) means to inaugurate or put into use for the first time (and implies some ongoing function for the object so dedicated; cf. TDOT, 5:19–23). The same term is used in the OT for the dedication of the altar (Nu 7:10–11), the temple (1 Ki 8:63), and the rebuilt wall of Jerusalem (Ne 12:27; cf. Seow, 53). “Hanukkah” is the name applied to the Feast of Rededication of the temple after its cleansing by Judas Maccabeus (1 Macc 4:56, 59). Later the NT records that Jesus was in the temple during the Feast of Dedication or Hanukkah (Jn 10:22).

The role of the herald (v. 4) as public crier and messenger or courier is known in the biblical world (e.g., Est 3:13; cf. Collins, Daniel, 183); according to Wiseman (Nebuchadrezzar and Babylon, 111), “the use of the herald for public proclamations was a long-standing Babylonian tradition.” The king’s decree is probably announced to the assembly in the Aramaic language, the lingua franca of Nebuchadnezzar’s empire (so Miller, 113). Burning (v. 6) is a well-attested penalty for the punishment of criminals throughout the Babylonian, Persian, and Greek periods (cf. Jer 29:22; see Goldingay, 70; Collins, Daniel, 185–86). Nebuchadnezzar’s “blazing furnace” (v. 6) may have been a beehive-type oven or kiln with an opening at the top (into which the men were thrown) and a door at the side (permitting a view to the inside of the furnace; cf. Hartman and Di Lella, 161), or a tunnel-shaped brick furnace (so Baldwin, 103). While such details lend authenticity to narrative, the story itself has little to do with “the Festival of the New Babylon” (see Wallace, 63–64) and everything to do with idolatry and apostasy—the very cause of the Hebrews’ exile to Babylonia (see Russell, 59–61; cf. Dt 29:25–28).[2]


[1] MacArthur, J. (1997). Strength for today. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

[2] Hill, A. E. (2008). Daniel. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Daniel–Malachi (Revised Edition) (Vol. 8, pp. 75–77). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

June 12 – The Importance of Truth

Therefore, putting away lying, “Let each of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another.

Ephesians 4:25

Why is it so important to tell the truth? Because we are members one of another. When we don’t speak the truth with each other, we harm our fellowship. For example, what would happen if your brain told you that cold was hot and hot was cold? When you took a shower, you’d either freeze to death or scald yourself! If your eye decided to send false signals to your brain, a dangerous curve in the highway might appear straight and you would crash. You depend on the honesty of your nervous system and of every organ in your body.

The Body of Christ can’t function with any less than that. We cannot shade the truth with others and expect the church to function properly. How can we minister to each other, bear each other’s burdens, care for each other, love each other, build up each other, teach each other, and pray for each other if we do not know what is going on in each others’ lives? So be honest, “speaking the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15).[1]


4:25 Paul now moves from the believer’s standing to their state. Because they have put off the old man and have put on the new man through their union with Christ, they should demonstrate this startling reversal in their everyday lives.

They can do this, first, by putting away lying and putting on truthfulness. Lying here includes every form of dishonesty, whether it is shading of the truth, exaggeration, cheating, failure to keep promises, betrayal of confidence, flattery, or fudging on income taxes. The Christian’s word should be absolutely trustworthy. His yes should mean yes, and his no, no. The life of a Christian becomes a libel rather than a Bible when he stoops to any form of tampering with truthfulness.

Truth is a debt we owe to all men. However, when Paul uses the word, neighbor, here, he is thinking particularly of our fellow believers. This is clear from the motive given: for we are members of one another (cf. Rom. 12:5; 1 Cor. 12:12–27). It is as unthinkable for one Christian to lie to another as it would be for a nerve in the body to deliberately send a false message to the brain, or for the eye to deceive the rest of the body when danger is approaching.[2]


25. The apostle now advances from the general to the particular: Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each (of you) with his neighbor. That there is a connection between this admonition and the preceding paragraph is clear from the repetition of the word “putting off” or “laying aside” (same verb in the original; cf. verses 22 and 25) and of the reference to “truth” (cf. verse 25 with verses 15, 20, 24). Based upon this evident connection one might interpret Paul’s thinking at this point as follows: “In view of the fact that ‘in Christ’ you have been taught to put off the old man and to put on the new man, therefore, put off (or: lay aside) falsehood and speak truth.”

One is, however, immediately confronted with a rather incisive difference of opinion among commentators with respect to the translation and meaning of these words. Perhaps the best way to bring out this difference would be to summarize the view of one representative of each of the two opposing theories. The first view is this: What Paul is saying is that since the Ephesians have once for all laid aside falsehood, namely, when they accepted the truth of the gospel, they should now speak truth each with his neighbor. The second is: “There is no need to render ‘having put away,’ which would seem to imply a separation in time between the two actions [that is, between laying aside falsehood and speaking truth].” Grammatically both renderings—“having put away” and “putting away” (or: “laying aside”)—are possible. In favor of the first view it can be argued that the Ephesians had experienced basic conversion. They had, therefore, already decisively repudiated the lie, namely, when they accepted the truth. The meaning of 4:25 could therefore be: “Be consistent. Let your life adorn your confession. Having put away falsehood, now practice the truth.” This line of reasoning would also be entirely in harmony with Paul’s logic as expressed, for example, in 4:1 ff. and elsewhere.

Nevertheless, although the possibility of the correctness of this theory must be granted, it would seem to me that the opposite view has the best of the argument. Why is it that so very many translators and interpreters have adopted it? With minor variations the rendering which I also favor, namely, “Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth each (of you) with his neighbor” is that which one will find in A.V., A.R.V., R.S.V., and in substance also in the versions of those who use two imperatives: “Have done with falsehood; tell the truth to one another” (Bruce; and cf. Phillips, N.E.B., Williams, Beck, etc.). The reasons, no doubt, are as follows: a. it is felt that putting away falsehood and telling the truth are simply two sides of one and the same coin; and b. it is also rather apparent that the apostle, on the basis of his previous paragraph, is now beginning to list particular areas in which Christian conduct must reveal itself, one of them being the practice of truthfulness. To most interpreters these facts must have seemed so obvious that in their comments on this passage they do not even discuss the possibility of the opposite view.

Every missionary who has worked for a while with those still living in darkness can testify that not only thinking false thoughts but also definitely telling lies and spreading false rumors is characteristic of the heathen world. For those who had been converted rather recently it must not have been easy to break away from this evil habit. That could well be the reason why Paul, whether directly or indirectly, refers again and again to the necessity of putting a decisive end to the past manner of behavior in this respect, and of adopting an entirely new set of rules. Some, with an appeal to 4:15, 22, 25; 6:14, have even suggested that in and around Ephesus church-members behaved rather dishonestly (see Grosheide, op. cit., p. 69). However that may have been, falsehood and dishonesty are typical of the Gentile way of life (Rom. 1:29) then as now.

The best way to kill the lie is by telling the truth. That is what Paul is actually saying, as by “Speak truth each (of you) with his neighbor” he is substantially quoting Zech. 8:16. Especially for those in the congregations addressed who were acquainted with the Old Testament, that is, for the Jewish Christians, the fact that this was a quotation from sacred literature must have added strength to the exhortation. In the opinion of Hodge the word “neighbor,” though having the general sense of fellow-man of any creed or nation, here refers to fellow-Christian (op. cit., p. 268); not as if it would be perfectly proper to lie to unbelievers, but because the context demands this interpretation. I believe Hodge is right, the context being: for we are members of one another. This recalls 2:13–22; 3:6, 14, 15; 4:1–6, 16, all of which stress the idea that though believers are many, they are also one, namely, one body with Christ as head. Lying is not only wrong because it makes light of the intrinsic excellence of the truth, but also because it causes trouble, friction, disunity and sadness in the church. The law of love certainly implies truthfulness.[3]


From Lying to Speaking the Truth

Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth, each one of you, with his neighbor, for we are members of one another. (4:25)

This second therefore of the chapter (see v. 17) provides an anticipated response to the general description of the new life in Christ described in verses 20–24 and introduces the first specific command for the new walk.

Liars will not inherit the kingdom of God. “For the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death” (Rev. 21:8; cf. 1 Cor. 6:9). A believer can fall into lying just as he can fall into any sin, but if his life is a habitual flow of lies that proceed from a heart that seeks to deceive, he has no biblical basis for believing he is a Christian. The person who continually lies as a regular part of his daily living shows himself to be a child of Satan not of God (John 8:44). Satan lies about God, Christ, life, death, heaven, hell, Scripture, good, evil, and everything else. Every religious system apart from Christianity is built around various deceptions of Satan. Even the few and limited truths that may be found in human religions are scheming parts of a greater network that seeks to deceive.

Ever since the Fall, lying has been a common characteristic of unregenerate mankind. Our society today is so dependent on lying that if it suddenly turned to telling the truth our way of life would collapse. If world leaders began speaking only the truth, World War III would certainly ensue. So many lies are piled on other lies, and so many organizations, businesses, economies, social orders, governments, and treaties are built on those lies that the world system would disintegrate if lying suddenly ceased. Resentment and animosity would know no bounds, and the confusion would be unimaginable.

Lying includes more than simply telling direct falsehoods. It also includes exaggeration, adding falsehood to that which begins as true. Some years ago a Christian man became widely known for his powerful and moving testimony. But after several years he stopped. When asked why, he replied with some degree of integrity, “Over the years I embellished the story so much that I no longer knew what was true and what was not.”

Cheating in school and on income tax returns is a form of lying. Making foolish promises, betraying a confidence, flattery, and making excuses are all forms of lying.

The Christian should have no part of any kind of lying. He is to be characterized by laying aside falsehood, because falsehood is incompatible with his new nature and unacceptable to his new Lord. Apotithēmi, from which laying aside is derived, has to do with discarding, stripping off, casting away, and the like. It is the word Luke used of the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem who, as they were stoning Stephen, “laid aside their robes at the feet of a young man named Saul” (Acts 7:58). They laid aside their outer garments so they could more freely do their wicked work. The Christian lays aside falsehood so he can be free to do the righteous work of the Lord.

Quoting Zechariah 8:16, Paul goes from the negative prohibition on to the positive command, speak truth, each one of you, with his neighbor. Christ is Himself “the way, and the truth, and the life” (John 14:6); the Holy Spirit is “the Spirit of truth” (v. 17); and God’s Word is truth (17:17). When a person becomes a believer he steps out of the domain of falsehood into the domain of truth, and every form of lying therefore is utterly inconsistent with his new self.

It should be said that telling the truth does not require telling everything we know. Truthfulness is not in conflict with keeping a confidence or other legitimate secrets. Everything we say should be unqualifiedly true, and to purposely withhold information in order to deceive and mislead is a form of lying. But truthfulness does not demand our telling everything we know with no regard for its impact. Nor does it demand that we unburden all our ill feelings, doubts, and hatreds on those whom we dislike—in the kind of pseudo–honesty promoted by Freudian psychology and other such philosophies. Our concern as Christians should be for God to deal with our wrong feelings and remove them, not to wantonly express them in some inept attempt at self–justification or in the misguided expectation that simply expressing them will somehow make them go away or will mend relationships they have caused to be broken. To readily admit as Paul did that we are not perfect or free of sin (Rom. 7:15–25; Phil. 4:12–14; etc.) is one thing; to broadcast detailed accounts of our sin is quite another.

God’s economy is based on truth, and His people—either as individual believers or as the corporate church—cannot be fit instruments for His work unless they live in truthfulness. We are to speak truth, each one of [us], with his neighbor, for we are members of one another. The word neighbor is defined by the phrase members of one another and means fellow Christians. We are to speak truth to everyone and in every situation, but we have a special motive to be truthful with other believers, because we are fellow members of Christ’s Body, the church, and therefore members of one another.

Our physical bodies cannot not function properly or safely if each member does not correctly communicate to the others. If our brain were suddenly to start giving false signals to our feet, we would stumble or walk in front of a moving truck instead of stopping on the curb. If it falsely reported hot and cold, we could freeze to death because we felt too warm or be scalded in a hot shower while feeling chilly. If our eyes decided to send false signals to the brain, a dangerous curve in the highway might appear straight and safe, and we would crash. If the nerves in our hands and feet failed to tell our brain that injury was occurring, our foot could be mangled or our fingers burned without our knowing it. That is precisely the great danger of leprosy—injuries, disease, and other afflictions devastate the body because nerves fail to send danger signals of pain.

The church cannot function properly if its members shade the truth with one another or fail to work together honestly and lovingly. We cannot effectively minister to each other or with each other if we do not speak “the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15), especially among our fellow believers.[4]


25 Paul begins with the strongly inferential conjunction “therefore” (dio). In view of what has preceded, he calls the believers first to put away falsehood and speak truthfully with their neighbors (the final phrase is a quote from Zec 8:16 [LXX], though Paul changes the original preposition “to” [pros] to “with” [meta]). In the body, believers speak “with” each other, for we are members of one another. The participle occurs with an imperatival force here: “you must put off”; Paul uses the aorist tense as though to stress the action he demands. Lying (pseudos, GK 6022) has no place in the Christian community. (“Neighbor” makes clear that Paul speaks of insider relationships.) This internal perspective probably carries throughout the section—Paul seeks to cleanse the body of any worldly elements. He expresses the positive alternative with a present tense: keep on speaking the truth (cf. 4:15; 5:9). He also supplies a reason (hoti) for this appeal: believers are members of one another, an intriguing circumlocution for the body of Christ (5:30; cf. 1 Co 12:12, 27). Dishonesty attacks the very fabric of the body and must be purged. Each person in the church is a member of all the others in Christ and must speak truthfully to them.[5]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 181). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

[2] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (pp. 1938–1939). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[3] Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of Ephesians (Vol. 7, pp. 216–217). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[4] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1986). Ephesians (pp. 182–184). Chicago: Moody Press.

[5] Klein, W. W. (2006). Ephesians. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Ephesians–Philemon (Revised Edition) (Vol. 12, pp. 129–130). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.