Daily Archives: December 21, 2017

December 21 The Certainty of Judgment

“If the word spoken through angels proved unalterable, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense, how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation?” (Heb. 2:2–3).

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There is certain judgment for everyone who does not receive Christ as Savior and Lord.

Today the majority believes that God is a God of love and grace but not of justice. One brief look at Hebrews 2:2–3 ought to convince anyone otherwise. The writer’s point is this: Since the Old Testament makes it clear that transgression and disobedience met with severe and just punishment, how much more so will equal or greater punishment be rendered under the New Testament, which was revealed by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself!

Both the Old and New Testaments confirm that angels were instrumental in bringing the law (Deut. 33:2; Acts 7:38). The law the angels spoke, primarily the Ten Commandments, was steadfast. That meant that if someone broke the law, the law would break the lawbreaker. The law was inviolable; punishment for breaking it was certain.

“Every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense” (v. 2). “Transgression” refers to stepping across a line—a willful, purposeful sin. “Disobedience,” however, refers to imperfect hearing—the sin of shutting one’s ears to the commands, warnings, and invitations of God. It is a sin of neglect or omission—doing nothing when something should be done.

Hebrews 2:2 also puts to rest the notion that God is not fair. The writer says every sin received “a just recompense.” God, by His very nature, is just. Every punishment He meted out to those who defied Him was a deterrent to the sin He wanted to stop.

God severely punished the nation of Israel because they knew better. That leads to the important principle that punishment is always related to how much truth one knows but rejects. The person who knows the gospel, who has intellectually understood it and believed it, yet drifts away will experience the severest punishment of all.

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Suggestions for Prayer:  Ask God to give you an even greater appreciation of the punishment He has saved you from in order to motivate you to pursue the lost more vigorously.

For Further Study: Read Matthew 11:20–24, 12:38–42, and Luke 12:47–48 to discover Christ’s attitude toward those who know the truth and yet rebel against it.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1993). Drawing Near—Daily Readings for a Deeper Faith (p. 368). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

December 21, 2017 Truth2Freedom Briefing Report (US•World•Christian)

BLOOMBERG

Republicans want to channel momentum from the GOP’s victory on taxes into a push to overhaul the nation’s welfare programs, though some of President Donald Trump’s advisers prefer a less controversial infrastructure plan at the top of his agenda.

President Donald Trump plans to sign the tax bill on Jan. 3 to ensure automatic spending cuts to Medicare and other programs don’t take effect, according to a House Republican aide familiar with the plans.

Burundi’s government said it expects 60,000 refugees to return next year in a sign the East African nation’s more than two-year political crisis is over, a claim disputed by an opposition leader who described conditions as still too dangerous.

Australian police said there is no evidence of a terrorist link to a car ramming attack Thursday in central Melbourne that left 19 people injured.

South Korean investigators are looking into North Korea’s possible involvement in the hack of a Seoul-based cryptocurrency exchange that collapsed this week, according to a person familiar with the investigation.

A second North Korean soldier in as many months fled across the heavily fortified land border separating the two Koreas, capping a year that has seen the most military defections this century from Kim Jong Un’s regime.

President Donald Trump signed an executive order to reduce dependency of critical minerals used in everything from batteries to phones.

AT&T Inc., the phone carrier locked in a battle with the U.S. government over its Time Warner Inc. acquisition, lauded President Donald Trump and Congress for their tax-cut bill and said 200,000 U.S. workers will get a special $1,000 bonus to celebrate.

South Africa’s ruling party has ratified a proposal for the state rather than private shareholders to own the central bank.

U.S. filings for unemployment benefits jumped to the highest in five weeks, though the level remained low by historical standards, Labor Department figures showed Thursday. Jobless claims increased by 20k to 245k, biggest rise since week ended Sept. 2, which reflected Hurricane Harvey.

Chubb Ltd., best known for catering to wealthy families and corporations, is among at least three insurers facing a jump in costs tied to claims from ransomware attacks. The firms attribute much of that to the surging price of bitcoin, the currency of choice for online extortionists. And that’s bad news for everyone.

AP Top Stories

Life expectancy in the US has declined for the second year in a row as the opioid crisis continues to ravage the nation. It is the first time in half a century that there have been two consecutive years of declining life expectancy. Americans can now expect to live 78.6 years, a decrease of 0.1 years. Drug overdoses killed 63,600 Americans in 2016, an increase of 21% over the previous year.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has upped the ante in his war on Christmas with a new rule that prohibits any “gatherings that involve alcohol and singing.”

According to South Korean intelligence North Korea conducting experiments Kim Jong-un’s regime looking at putting anthrax warheads on missiles North Korea has tested missile which it claims could hit east of the U.S.

The U.S. Education Department on Wednesday canceled the student-loan debts of 12,900 people defrauded by defunct Corinthian Colleges, but its announcement that it will give varying amounts of debt relief in the future set off fierce criticism.

President Trump said the massive tax bill that Republicans passed on Wednesday will effectively repeal the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare.

Congress’ failure to renew a program that provides health care to low-income children by year’s end could cause almost 2 million kids to lose their coverage as soon as next month.

A federal judge on Wednesday declared a mistrial in the criminal case against Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and three others for their role in a 2014 armed standoff with U.S. government agents, and rebuked prosecutors for withholding evidence from the defense.

BBC

A ferry carrying 251 people has capsized in stormy seas off the east coast of the Philippines. Local fisherman and rescue boats saved more than 200 of those on board – but at least four people died and seven are missing.

Apple has confirmed the suspicions of many iPhone owners by revealing it does deliberately slow down some models of the iPhone as they age. Many customers have long suspected that Apple slows down older iPhones to encourage people to upgrade.

The number of suspected cholera cases in Yemen has reached one million. At least 2,226 people are believed to have died of the disease since April, although the number of new cases has declined for 14 consecutive weeks.

Kaci Sullivan, from Missouri, first gave birth five years ago, before beginning to transition and start living as a man. Kaci conceived with partner Steven after a break from taking male hormones.

WND

Liberal political correctness has gone wild at the University of Minnesota and officials at one of the biggest universities in the United States are essentially banning Christmas. Not only that, any colors or themes or “icons” that may possible be associated with Christmas are banned as well. Even jolly ole Santa Claus gets the boot.

In anticipation of new laws, gun owners are stuffing their stockings with ammunition this holiday season. With less than two weeks before the New Year and new ammunition and gun laws on the horizon, ammunition retailers are experiencing an increase in business.


News – 12/21/2017

The International Community and the Liberal Media
US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley glared at her colleagues at the UN Security Council Monday as she cast the lone nay vote against a draft resolution presented by Egypt to nullify US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Haley then berated her UN colleagues for their assault against US sovereignty and for their prolonged efforts to delegitimize Israel and blame the Jewish state for the absence of peace. In her words, “The United States refuses to accept the double standard that says we are not impartial when we stand by the will of the American people by moving our US embassy, but somehow the United Nations is a neutral party when it consistently singles out Israel for condemnation.”

Trump Threatens to Cut Aid Over UN Jerusalem Measure
President Donald Trump threatened to cut off foreign aid to countries that back an upcoming United Nations General Assembly resolution that seeks to annul America’s recent recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. “They take hundreds of millions of dollars and even billions of dollars, and then they vote against us. Well, we’re watching those votes. Let them vote against us. We’ll save a lot. We don’t care,” Trump said at the White House.

Fatah launches virulent attack against Trump over Jerusalem move
The attacks have not been limited to social media, either, and have also been given a stage on Palestinian state media, which is controlled by Abbas and the Palestinian Authority.

Jihadis bank on bitcoin for fresh flow of terror funding
Yaya J. Fanusie, the director of analysis at US think tank the Foundation for Defense of Democracies’ Center on Sanctions and Illicit Finance says that although untraceable cash remains the global terror network’s preferred medium for moving funds, recent online activity shows that jihadist groups are turning to bitcoin digital currency to attract funds from supporters.

Sen. Al Franken to officially resign on Jan. 2
Minnesota Sen. Al Franken plans to resign from Congress in early January, a spokesman for the Democratic Senator said Wednesday. Franken will officially step down on Jan. 2, after he announced his resignation earlier in December as several women made allegations of unwanted sexual advances and more than a dozen other Democratic Senators called for him to step down.

Catalonia election: Voters in bid to solve political crisis
The people of Catalonia are voting in a closely watched regional election, called by Spain following a controversial independence referendum. The snap election pits Catalan pro-independence parties against those who want the region to remain a semi-autonomous part of Spain. All indications are that the result will be very close.

House gives final approval to tax bill
The Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives gave final approval on Wednesday to the biggest overhaul of the U.S. tax code in 30 years, sending a sweeping $1.5 trillion tax bill to President Donald Trump for his signature…The House approved the measure by 224-201…on Wednesday. The Republican-led Senate had passed it 51-48 in the early hours of Wednesday.

Silicon Valley Frankenmeat to Save the World from Global Warming
If Silicon Valley green tech giants have their way, real meat will become an unaffordable carbon taxed luxury item eaten by the very rich. The rest of us will have to eat “meatless meat” – meat flavoured mashed vegetables and lab grown tissue cultures.

Anti-Semitism is still alive in Germany as Jews face ‘disturbing’ discrimination
…Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision in 2015 to open the nation’s arms to 1 million mostly Muslim refugees has created a double threat for Germany’s roughly 120,000 Jews: rising anti-Semitism from the newcomers and a resurgent right-wing nationalist movement spawned by the arrival of so many immigrants. The anti-Semitic sentiment has become more pubic and virulent, said Tanaev, 32. “When I arrived in Germany … I never saw such displays.”

House Republicans quietly investigate perceived corruption at DOJ, FBI
A group of House Republicans has gathered secretly for weeks in the Capitol in an effort to build a case that senior leaders of the Justice Department and FBI improperly — and perhaps criminally — mishandled the contents of a dossier that describes alleged ties between President Donald Trump and Russia, according to four people familiar with their plans.

Trump threatens U.N. nations rejecting Jerusalem declaration
U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley is taking a bold stand for President Trump’s recent recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel – warning that she will be “taking names” of nations that reject the president’s decision in a General Assembly vote scheduled for Thursday. And what will the U.S. do with those names? President Trump is threatening to cut off aid to the countries in Haley’s list of names that call for him to withdraw his recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

IT HAD TO BE SAID: Israel is not the cause of problems in the Middle East says President Trump
U.S. President Trump poised to unveil “America First” national security strategy Monday • Strategy argues the threats from radical terrorists and Iran are proving that Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not the “prime irritant” preventing regional peace.

ISRAEL TO THE RESCUE: Light and Water Flow to Rural Africa Due to Israeli Tech|
Israeli-led NGO applies Israeli solar technologies to bring clean water and electricity to rural African villages. The scene was shocking: Villagers in Akuyam, Uganda, hadn’t eaten in three days when Sivan Ya’ari and her Innovation: Africa staff met them in February 2017 on their way to check on the organization’s solar water-pumping and drip-irrigation projects in six nearby villages.

Trump Makes Space Great Again|
“Foremost,” the NASA administrator described his marching orders from Obama, “he wanted me to find a way to reach out to the Muslim world.” The great new mission of America’s space agency would be to make Muslims “feel good about their historic contribution to science.”

SODOM AND GEMORRAH: Bestiality brothels are ‘spreading through Germany’ warns campaigner as abusers turn to sex with animals as ‘lifestyle choice’
The rather shocking take away from the study is that the virus alters the gene expression of brain cells, literally making people perform more poorly on cognitive tests, visual processing and spatial awareness.

Real science: Almost half the population may be infected with a mysterious virus that makes people stupid
…The rather shocking take away from the study is that the virus alters the gene expression of brain cells, literally making people perform more poorly on cognitive tests, visual processing and spatial awareness.

New Western Wall tunnels synagogue opened
The synagogue is deep inside the complex and is adjacent to the area above which the ancient Jewish temples on the Temple Mount stood, and the inner sanctum of the Holy of Holies in particular.

Parish priest breaks the silence, shares that he is gay
“I will embrace the person that God created me to be,” the gay Catholic priest Father Greiten wrote. “In my priestly life and ministry, I, too, will help you, whether you are gay or straight, bisexual or transgendered, to be your authentic self — to be fully alive living in your image and likeness of God.

Congress Set To Reauthorize Controversial Surveillance Program
The House is poised to reauthorize a controversial warrantless surveillance program allowing government collection of foreign emails on U.S. soil. The authority known as Section 702, established in 2008 as part of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Amendments Act, allows the National Security Agency to collect information and communications of overseas foreign targets from U.S. companies without a warrant.

Snowden hosts Reddit AMA over Congress’ mass surveillance plan
NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and the ACLU held a live Reddit Ask Me Anything session, which included 400 questions on congressional plans to sneak in a bill to expand mass surveillance measures. Of the 440 questions asked Wednesday, about 20 garnered responses from the panelists, which included American Civil Liberties Union attorney Ashley Gorski, ACLU legislative counsel Neema Singh Guliani, and Snowden.

Ex-Planned Parenthood Director Tells All
A former Planned Parenthood manager called the abortion organization “demonic” in a Wednesday interview, explaining why she left the abortion business.

Thanks to Barack Obama the Libyan Slave Trade is Flourishing – And Black Africans Once Again Held as Slaves
Before Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton got involved in Libya it was comparatively stable and no strategic threat to the United States or its allies. But that was before Obama and Hillary toppled the regime and Guddafi’s body was carted through the streets on the hood of a pickup.


Mid-Day Snapshot

Dec. 21, 2017

Trump’s Signature Achievement Is a Win for America

The tax cut bill’s passage has already begun to yield positive returns for American workers.

The Foundation

“There is no part of the administration of government that requires extensive information and a thorough knowledge of the principles of political economy, so much as the business of taxation. The man who understands those principles best will be least likely to resort to oppressive expedients, or sacrifice any particular class of citizens to the procurement of revenue.” —Alexander Hamilton (1788)


The Dumbing Down Of America: ‘The Numbers Speak Volumes’

• dcclothesline.com by Mac Slavo

According to Signs of the Times, there has been a long tradition of anti-intellectualism in America, unlike most other Western countries. Richard Hofstadter, who won a Pulitzer Prize in 1964 for his book, Anti-Intellectualism In American Life, describes how the vast underlying foundations of anti-elite, anti-reason, and anti-science have been infused into America’s political and social fabric. Mark Bauerlein, in his book, The Dumbest Generationreveals how a whole generation of youth is being dumbed down by their aversion to reading anything of substance and their addiction to digital “crap” that is composed on social media.


Headlines – 12/21/2017

176 nations at UN call for Palestinian statehood

The world unites in the siege against Jerusalem

Israel, US team up to try to block UN vote on Jerusalem

Trump threatens to slash aid to countries backing UN Jerusalem vote

Haley’s vow to ‘take names’ upsets diplomatic norms at UN

Trump warns over UN, but he likely can’t stop feeding the hand that bites

Palestinian minister slams US ‘threats’ ahead of UN Jerusalem vote

Hundreds of Palestinians riot in fresh ‘day of rage’ over Jerusalem

Day of rage sweeps West Bank ahead of UN Jerusalem vote

Refusing to ‘bend a knee,’ UN human rights czar, a sharp critic of Trump, says he will not tone down his message to seek re-election

The 10 most insane UN anti-Israel actions of 2017

Palestinian leader in Saudi Arabia amid turmoil

King tells Palestinians Saudi Arabia backs Jerusalem claim

Senior Saudi prince: Trump’s Jerusalem move threatens stability

Commentary: No Peace Possible Without Third Temple in Jerusalem

Shunned by Palestinians, Trump envoy tells Netanyahu he’s still working on peace

Pence’s Christmas Pilgrimage Is Canceled. His Next Mideast Move Is Complicated.

Hamas leader: We will no longer rule in Gaza

South Africa ruling party ANC decides to downgrade ties with Israel

Austrian Chancellor Kurz says will fight anti-Semitism after Israel voices concern

Two in Kosovo plead guilty to plotting attack on Israeli soccer match

Record breaking 20% increase in Christmas pilgrims to Israel expected

Iron Dome Goes Naval to Defend Gas Rigs

Deputy Syrian Foreign Minister promises ‘Israel will pay price’ for agression

UN decries violence in Iraqi Kurdistan protests, urges calm

Egyptian forces clash with militants near Sinai airport

Turkish prosecutor wants NBA player jailed over Erdogan comments

Haley: New UN resolution punishing Iran could be in the works

Yemen war: Iran denies supplying rebel missile fired at Riyadh

Saudi Arabia agrees to re-open key Yemen port of Hodeidah

US military captures Iranian watercraft in Houthi-controlled Hodeidah

Saudi Arabia Freezes More Bank Accounts in Crackdown

Trump Expresses Solidarity With Saudis Following Iranian-backed Missile Attack

Germany says it shares Saudi concerns on Iran and Hezbollah

Saudi Arabia hopes to start nuclear pact talks with U.S. in weeks

Wars getting longer, more complex, UN chief warns

US commandos train to capture North Korean nukes

North Korean Soldiers Chase Defecting Comrade Across DMZ – South Korean guards fired warning shots

Russia working on defensive measures to counter possible new US sanctions

Putin: Russian spy agencies prevented 60 terror attacks

Up to 19 Wounded After Car Rams Into Crowd Outside Main Melbourne Train Station

UK Christmas markets feature armed police and bollards to counter terror threat

EU says Brexit transition to end by 31 December 2020

Walmart is planning a store without cashiers

Where Will NASA Go Next? Saturn’s Moon Titan, or Maybe a Comet

Dec. 21 will be the worst day of 2017, astrologers say

Japan warns of ‘impending’ mega-quake as large as one that caused Fukushima meltdown

5.7 magnitude earthquake hits near Chichi-shima, Japan

5.5 magnitude earthquake hits near Nishinoomote, Japan

Earthquake of Magnitude 5.2 Strikes Near Iran’s Capital

5.2 magnitude earthquake hits near Chichi-shima, Japan

5.1 magnitude earthquake hits near Nishinoomote, Japan

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near Chichi-shima, Japan

5.0 magnitude earthquake hits near San Pedro Jicayan, Mexico

Sabancaya volcano in Peru erupts to 25,000ft

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

Klyuchevskoy volcano on Kamchatka, Russia erupts to 24,000ft

Popocateptl volcano in Mexico erupts to 20,000ft

Fuego volcano in Guatemala erupts to 19,000ft

Agung volcano in Indonesia erupts to to 28,000ft

Thomas Fire to become largest wildfire in California history as winds intensify

Thick smog keeps schools closed for fourth day in Iran

Scientists Use Gene Editing To Prevent A Form Of Deafness in Mice

Florida has reported more mumps cases in 2017 than the last five years combined

Fueled by drug crisis, U.S. life expectancy declines for a second straight year

Already crowded, Egypt struggles with ‘catastrophic’ population growth – government tries to sell two-child policy to a skeptical public

Indonesia’s Crackdown on Gay Men: ‘It Doesn’t Get Better, Does It’

Ralph Stair arrest follows multiple victims coming forward with sex abuse accusations

Local Pastor Displays the Hireling Purpose Driven Mindset to Congregant

R.Scott Clark – Of Ananias, Sapphira, And Private Property

‘Firefighter Prophet’ Mark Taylor Claims Trump Will Release Cures for Cancer and Alzheimer’s in His Second Term

‘You Can’t Do Good and Be Poor at the Same Time,’ Pastor Convicted of Defrauding Flock Tells Court

“The Angels Talk: The Message Board that Connects You to Your Angels,”

It’s Christmas! “Harry Potter” Visits “The Shack”

Rare ‘ghost snow tsunami’ wave caught on camera

Posted: 20 Dec 2017 12:29 PM PST

Rare ‘ghost snow tsunami’ wave caught on cameraA photographer has captured a rare weather phenomenon that she’s described as a ‘ghost snow tsunami’.  The mirage happens when snow crystals, light and wind are perfectly aligned on the horizon.  Ariel McGlothin was hoping to capture some local wildlife in action when she went out to take some pictures in Kelly, Wyoming, but inadvertently witnessed an incredibly rare spectacle. Standing before a

huge wall of icy powder, a strange mirage began to form as the sun – aligned perfectly with the direction of the wind – began to highlight snow crystals moving in the cold wind, resembling a series of ghostly waves crashing against a shoreline. The display lasted for a few moments as the virtually translucent ‘waves’ continue to appear to flow forward, leaving 30-year-old Ariel with a conflicted feeling that she ‘needed to flee’ the seeming tsunami.  READ MORE

 

 

Former US Ambassador John Bolton warns “Trump must take action before Kim unleashes nuclear attack on US”

Posted: 20 Dec 2017 12:19 PM PST

Former US Ambassador John Bolton warns “Trump must take action before Kim unleashes nuclear attack on US”North Korea will soon be able to get “deliverable nuclear weapons” unless the United States ends its diplomatic approach, former US Ambassador John Bolton warned.  North Korea has been ramping up its aggressive rhetoric against the United States after leader Kim Jong-un kickstarted a war of words with Donald Trump. Former US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton said: “North Korea will get deliverable nuclear weapons.

That’s the point we are at. This is coming very soon unless we take action. “I think the fact that Secretary Tillerson is still talking about the possibility of negotiation with North Korea undermines the signal of strength that we are trying to show.” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the US was “open” to holding diplomatic talks with Pyongyang to defuse the tension fueling fears of World War 3. READ MORE

Dead Boy Returns From Afterlife to Tell His Mom About Heaven

Posted: 20 Dec 2017 11:54 AM PST

Dead Boy Returns From Afterlife to Tell His Mom About Heaven“I didn’t see what he was yelling at. I didn’t see the ambulance coming, but I remember him yelling. That was the last thing I heard from him,” says Julie.  On a Sunday morning in 1997, Julie Kemp; her husband, Andy; and their 8-year-old son, Landon, were driving home from church when an ambulance returning to its station broadsided their car in an intersection. Andy died instantly. Rescuers stabilized Julie but did not initially realize there was a third passenger in the car.

Julie says, “They couldn’t see his body because of the damage that was done to the driver’s side of the car and Landon was sitting behind his dad. And when they saw Landon’s shoe, it took a deeper search for his body. When they pulled Landon out from the back of the car, he was not breathing. And they all started working on him right away to bring him back.” Landon was resuscitated and life-flighted to Carolina’s Medical Center. He died two more times that day, and both times, he was brought back to life. Doctors didn’t give Julie much hope for his survival. READ MORE

Japan Building Missile Bases to Confront Rising Threat From China

Posted: 20 Dec 2017 11:46 AM PST

Japan Building Missile Bases to Confront Rising Threat From ChinaJapan is building missile bases on islands off the coast of China in a bid to counter the rising threat from its communist neighbor.  The country’s military – which has long been restricted by its post-Second World War pacifist constitution – has been constructing anti-aircraft and anti-ship weapons on Ishigaki, 200 miles from eastern China and just off the coast of Taiwan. It is one of many islands in the Yaeyama archipelago to be garrisoned by the Japanese, with soldiers bringing new weapons and radar technology to the area.

The Japanese army – or Ground Self-Defense Force – told the Wall Street Journal it plans to deploy between 500 and 600 soldiers to Ishigaki to operate a missile system there. It comes after the country announced its intention to buy offensive air-to-surface missiles to counter North Korea’s rising military threat. Defence secretary Itsunori Onodera said the ministry intends to request a special budget for the fiscal year starting April 2018 to purchase long-range cruise missiles to be deployed on fighter jets. READ MORE

 

 

“Possessed” airline passenger causes mid-air emergency on Air China flight

Posted: 20 Dec 2017 07:27 AM PST

“Possessed” airline passenger causes mid-air emergency on Air China flightAn airline passenger who claimed she was “possessed” caused an Air China plane to turn around after take-off.  The female traveller, in her 50s, sparked a mid-air emergency when she fainted shortly after flight CA 4102 from Beijing to Chengdu departed today. Passengers reportedly noticed the woman had passed out about 20 minutes after taking off and alerted cabin crew. The captain decided to return to

Beijing to land so that the woman could receive medical attention. One passenger told Pear Video : “Her pulse was also very weak, so they gave her an oxygen mask. Then she woke up shortly.”   The woman is said to have appeared unstable when she woke up and is alleged to have shouted: ‘No! Don’t touch me! Don’t pull me!’ to flight attendants. Video captured on board the plane shows the woman being spoken to for about six people, including medical staff, during attempts to calm her. READ MORE

6 False Teachings Bringing Deceptive Darkness Into the Church

Posted: 20 Dec 2017 07:06 AM PST

6 False Teachings Bringing Deceptive Darkness Into the Church(By Leading the Way) Since that very moment in the Garden of Eden when a single bite shattered the harmony of the world, man has tried to make his own way, be his own master, and set up his own kingdom. It’s nothing new. Nevertheless, if we want to be faithful followers of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in this day and age, we must be alert and ready to boldly stand against the spirit of the age that seeks to modify the message

of Christ, undermine His power to set us free from sin, repaint Christ’s picture to make Him more acceptable to a wayward generation and rewrite the gospel to remove the offense of the cross. For the last 2,000 years, the church has been plagued with heresy after heresy seeking to tame the gospel, and today is no different. Here are just a few of the popular beliefs in our current culture that threaten to infiltrate the church: CONTINUE

Former Chinese general warns that war could break out with North Korea anytime between now and March

Posted: 20 Dec 2017 06:58 AM PST

Former Chinese general warns that war could break out with North Korea anytime between now and MarchWar could break out in the Korean peninsula at “any time” within the next three months, a retired Chinese army general has warned. Lieutenant General Wang Hongguang urged his country to mobilize defenses in anticipation of conflict in the region, amid continued tensions over North Korea‘s nuclear weapons programme. “The war on the Korean Peninsula might break out anytime between now and March next year,”

Lt-Gen Wang told an annual forum hosted by the Chinese Global Times newspaper. He added: “China should be psychologically prepared for a potential Korean war, and the north-east China regions should be mobilized for that.  “Such mobilization is not to launch a war, but for defensive purposes.” Song Zhongping, a Chinese military expert, told the newspaper defensive mobilization would include deploying anti-missile weapons to border areas that could be affected by nearby battles. Humanitarian aid would also be prepared for North Korean refugees, he added.  READ MORE

Kim Jong-un testing new warheads loaded with Anthrax…

Posted: 20 Dec 2017 06:48 AM PST

Kim Jong-un testing new warheads loaded with Anthrax…North Korea is conducting biological weapons experiments to test the possibility of loading anthrax-laden warheads on its intercontinental ballistic missiles, it has been reported.  Japan’s Asahi newspaper reported on Wednesday, citing an unidentified person connected to South Korean intelligence, that North Korea was conducting biological weapons experiments to test the possibility of loading anthrax-laden warheads on its intercontinental ballistic missiles.

The Asahi report said the U.S. government was aware of the tests, which were meant to ascertain whether the anthrax bacteria could survive the high temperatures that occur during warheads re-entry from space. The news that North Korea may have been testing anthrax-laden warheads comes as South Korean President Moon Jae-in is seeking to soothe relations with China and the North before the Winter Olympics in South Korea in February. READ MORE

 

 

Jewish Woman Comes Face to Face with an Angel, Gives Life to Christ

Posted: 20 Dec 2017 06:38 AM PST

Jewish Woman Comes Face to Face with an Angel, Gives Life to ChristAlyce Merritt grew up as a devout Jew who loved the Torah and wanted little to do with the Christian faith.  “All I knew was that Jesus was the false God of the gentiles because that’s kind of what was beaten into our heads since we were very young,” Merritt told CBN News. “I thought actually that he was Catholic or Italian because of everything I’d been told and seen on T.V.”  “It wasn’t until college did I have a supernatural encounter,” she continued.  After graduating from high school, Merritt moved out of her childhood home, went to college, and began working at a frozen yogurt shop.

That’s when she met a customer who would change her life forever. “A man who was literally about seven feet tall with piercing blue eyes one day came in. He had a white Bible that was huge. It was about the size of a family Bible and he started telling me the gospel from this Bible and that Jesus was actually Jewish,” Merritt said. “For the first time in my life I was told that Jesus was a Jewish savior and that he was my Messiah.”  READ MORE

New Facebook facial recognition spots you even if you’re not tagged

Posted: 20 Dec 2017 06:28 AM PST

New Facebook facial recognition spots you even if you’re not taggedThe world’s largest social network has just rolled out a new feature of its facial recognition technology that will notify users when someone has uploaded a photo of them even if they haven’t been tagged in it on Facebook.  The new feature sprang into action Tuesday. Facebook says it will “help people better manage their identity” on the platform “using face recognition.” Though not all of the network’s over 2 billion users will be able to avail of the new feature as those in the European Union and Canada are

excluded due to privacy laws which prohibit Facebook’s use of facial recognition. Under EU law, personal data can only be gathered legally under strict conditions, for a legitimate purpose. Furthermore, “persons or organizations which collect and manage your personal information must protect it from misuse and must respect certain rights of the data owners which are guaranteed by EU law.” Once Facebook identifies an image it thinks your face is in, it will send a notification to a new Photo Review feature, much like the Timeline Review feature when someone tags you in a post. READ MORE

9-Year-Old Boy Has a Vision of an Asteroid Hitting the Atlantic and a Nuclear War Involving the United States

Posted: 20 Dec 2017 06:21 AM PST

9-Year-Old Boy Has a Vision of an Asteroid Hitting the Atlantic and a Nuclear War Involving the United StatesATTENTION: The following article was originally published on April 2017

(By Michael Snyder) Did God give a 9-year-old boy a vision of the future of America? Recently, my wife pulled me aside and strongly urged me to watch part of an amazing video that she had found on YouTube. I was quite tired at the time, but I agreed to watch it because I could tell from my wife’s expression that she had found something special.  And without a doubt, what I am about to share with you does appear to be extraordinary. A grandmother known as “A Daughter of The Highest King” on YouTube came across a dry erase board that her 9-year-old grandson had been drawing on, and the things that he had been

drawing were so unusual that she decided to ask him about them. Well, it turns out that this little boy had been trying to draw a picture of things that were shown to him in a vision. When he received this vision, he was in bed, but he was not asleep at the time. He told his grandmother that in his vision he was standing in space and looking down at the earth, and it appears that he may have been shown things that are coming in the future. If you would like to watch the entire video, you can find it on YouTube here.  When I started watching this little boy describe his vision, one thing immediately jumped out at me. READ MORE

Scientists create an AI that can detect deception in the courtroom

Posted: 20 Dec 2017 06:14 AM PST

Scientists create an AI that can detect deception in the courtroomFrom a raise of an eyebrow to a tilt of the head, we use several micro-movements when we’re lying without even knowing it. Now, scientists have developed an artificial intelligence system that can detect these micro-expressions and detect if you’re lying – and it’s already ‘significantly better’ than humans. The researchers hope their system could soon be used in courtrooms to tell if people on the stand are telling the truth.

The AI system, called Deception Analysis and Reasoning Engine (DARE), has been developed by researchers from the University of Maryland and Dartmouth College. To develop DARE, the researchers trained the system using videos of people in the courtroom. In their study, published in arXiv, the researchers, led by Dr. Zhe Wu, said: ‘On the vision side, our system uses classifiers trained on low-level video features which predict human micro-expressions.’  READ MORE

 

 

US is ready to “take names” of its critics, America’s ambassador to the UN has warned

Posted: 19 Dec 2017 07:08 PM PST

US is ready to “take names” of its critics, America’s ambassador to the UN has warnedThe US is ready to “take names” of its critics, America’s ambassador to the UN has warned, ahead of a GA session to debate Washington’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital and move its embassy there. The US is ratcheting up its rhetoric and its threats in defending the December 6 decision to move its Israeli embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem from global indignation. Even staunch American

allies, including the UK and France, have condemned the new American approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which, for five decades, has focused on a potential two-state solution with Jerusalem as a shared capital. On Monday, the US used its veto power to block a United Nations Security Council resolution that called on all states to refrain from establishing diplomatic missions in Jerusalem.  READ MORE

New Reason To Fear Google and Facebook And It’s Not From Who You May Think

Posted: 19 Dec 2017 06:58 PM PST

New Reason To Fear Google and Facebook And It’s Not From Who You May ThinkThe threats to freedom of thought aren’t coming from the government these days, but from corporate America, says a columnist in the Wall Street Journal.  Kind of a groupthink, which Psychology Today speaks of as the result of members of a group valuing “harmony and coherence over accurate analysis and critical evaluation.” “It causes individual members of the group to unquestioningly follow the word of the leader and it strongly discourages any disagreement with the consensus,” the group explains. It’s

Mark Epstein who is noting Google and Facebook account for 84 percent of all digital advertising outside China. This, he claims, gives the companies enormous leverage to censor content. Indeed, websites which are reliant on Google’s ad revenue have even removed articles after receiving warnings from the company, according to the Journal.  The dependence on Google ad revenue is also creating perverse incentives for “clickbait” and draining traditional news producers of the revenue needed to invest in serious reporting at news sites. READ MORE

 

Did Trump’s Jerusalem declaration fulfill Ben-Gurion ‘prophecy’?

Posted: 19 Dec 2017 06:46 PM PST

Did Trump’s Jerusalem declaration fulfill Ben-Gurion ‘prophecy’?Donald Trump’s declaration of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital came on the exact same date on the Hebrew calendar that Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, 48 years earlier, just a year after Israel’s founding, announced that it would be so. Rabbi Benjamin Blech, professor of Talmud at Yeshiva University and an internationally recognized educator, religious leader and lecturer, did the calculation and found that both announcements were made on the Hebrew calendar date of Kislev 19 – Ben-Gurion’s in 1949 and Trump’s earlier this month.

“[W]hen I looked at the Hebrew calendar, I realized something far more profound than a political statement,” Blech wrote in Aish.com. “Rabbinic scholars long ago taught us that with the end of prophecy, after the close of the Bible, God has another way in which to communicate with mankind. It is by way of the secret of time – the linkage of events occurring on exactly the same date that makes clear we are meant to understand divine messages. Coincidence, it’s been famously said, is God’s way of choosing to remain anonymous. In other words, it’s God’s way of testing our ability to concede the Almighty’s role in directing the remarkable twists and turns of history.” READ MORE


What is The Gospel?


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?


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DECEMBER 21 GOD KNOWS HOW MUCH PRESSURE WE CAN TAKE

Looking unto Jesus…who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame….

HEBREWS 12:2

Those who have gone through some “long night of the soul” realize that there is a limit to man’s ability to live without joy!

Even Christ could endure the cross only because of the joy set before Him.

The strongest steel breaks if kept too long under unrelieved tension. Believe it that God knows exactly how much pressure each one of us can take! He knows how long we can endure the night, so He gives the soul relief, first by welcome glimpses of the morning star and then by the fuller light that harbingers the morning.

Slowly you will discover God’s love in your suffering. Your heart will begin to approve the whole thing. You will learn from yourself what all the schools in the world could not teach you—the healing action of faith without supporting pleasure!

You will feel and understand the ministry of the night; its power to purify, to detach, to humble, to destroy the fear of death, and what is more important to you at the moment, the fear of life. And you will learn that sometimes pain can do what even joy cannot, such as exposing the vanity of earth’s trifles and filling your heart with longing for the peace of heaven!

What I write here is in no way original. This has been discovered anew by each generation of Christian seekers and is almost a cliché of the deeper life. A few will understand—and they will constitute the hard core of practicing saints so badly needed at this serious hour if New Testament Christianity is to survive to the next generation![1]


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

Must Christians Believe in the Virgin Birth?

With December 25 fast approaching, the secular media are sure to turn their interest once again to the virgin birth. Every Christmas, weekly news magazines and various editorialists engage in a collective gasp that so many Americans could believe such an unscientific, supernatural doctrine. For some, the belief that Jesus Christ was born of a virgin is nothing less than evidence of intellectual dimness. One writer for the New York Times put the lament plainly: “The faith in the Virgin Birth reflects the way American Christianity is becoming less intellectual and more mystical over time.”

Does belief in the virgin birth make Christians “less intellectual?” Are we saddled with an untenable doctrine? Can a true Christian deny the virgin birth, or is the doctrine an essential component of the Gospel revealed to us in Scripture?

The doctrine of the virgin birth was among the first to be questioned and then rejected after the rise of historical criticism and the undermining of biblical authority that inevitably followed. Critics claimed that since the doctrine is taught in “only” two of the four Gospels, it must be optional. The apostle Paul, they argued, did not mention it in his sermons in Acts, so he must not have believed it. Besides, the critics argued, the doctrine is just so supernatural. Modern heretics like retired Episcopal bishop John Shelby Spong argue the doctrine was just evidence of the early church’s over-claiming of Christ’s deity. It is, Spong tells us, the “entrance myth” to go with the resurrection, the “exit myth.” If only Spong were a myth.

Now, even some revisionist evangelicals claim that belief in the virgin birth is unnecessary. The meaning of the miracle is enduring, they argue, but the historical truth of the doctrine is not important.

Must one believe in the virgin birth to be a Christian? It is conceivable that someone might come to Christ and trust Christ as Savior without yet learning the Bible teaches that Jesus was born of a virgin. A new believer is not yet aware of the full structure of Christian truth. The real question is this: Can a Christian, once aware of the Bible’s teaching, reject the virgin birth? The answer must be no.

Matthew tells us that before Mary and Joseph “came together,” Mary “was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit” (Matt. 1:18). This, Matthew explains, fulfilled what Isaiah promised: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a Son, and they shall call His name ‘Immanuel,’ which translated means ‘God with Us'” (Matt. 1:23, Isaiah 9:6-7).

Luke provides even greater detail, revealing Mary was visited by an angel who explained that she, though a virgin, would bear the divine child: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy child shall be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35).

Even if the virgin birth was taught by only one biblical passage, that would be sufficient to obligate all Christians to the belief. We have no right to weigh the truthfulness of biblical teachings by their repetition in Scripture. We cannot claim to believe the Bible is the Word of God and then turn around and cast suspicion on its teaching.

Millard Erickson states this well: “If we do not hold to the virgin birth despite the fact that the Bible asserts it, then we have compromised the authority of the Bible and there is in principle no reason why we should hold to its other teachings. Thus, rejecting the virgin birth has implications reaching far beyond the doctrine itself.”

Implications, indeed. If Jesus was not born of a virgin, who was His father? There is no answer that will leave the Gospel intact. The virgin birth explains how Christ could be both God and man, how He was without sin, and that the entire work of salvation is God’s gracious act. If Jesus was not born of a virgin, He had a human father. If Jesus was not born of a virgin, the Bible teaches a lie.

Carl F. H. Henry, the dean of evangelical theologians, argues that the virgin birth is the “essential, historical indication of the Incarnation, bearing not only an analogy to the divine and human natures of the Incarnate, but also bringing out the nature, purpose, and bearing of this work of God to salvation.” Well said, and well believed.

The secularist editors of the nation’s news magazines and newspapers may find belief in the virgin birth to be evidence of intellectual backwardness among American Christians. But this is the faith of the church, established in God’s perfect Word, and cherished by the true church throughout the ages. Those who deny the virgin birth affirm other doctrines only by force of whim, for they have already surrendered the authority of Scripture. They have undermined Christ’s nature and nullified the incarnation.

Christians must face the fact that a denial of the virgin birth is a denial of Jesus as the Christ. The Savior who died for our sins was none other than the baby who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, and born of a virgin. The virgin birth does not stand alone as a biblical doctrine, it is an irreducible part of the biblical revelation about the person and work of Jesus Christ. With it, the Gospel stands or falls.

This much we know: All those who find salvation will be saved by the atoning work of Jesus the Christ, the virgin-born Savior. Anything less than this is just not Christianity, whatever it may call itself. A Christian will not deny the virgin birth.

This post was originally published in Tabletalk magazine.

Source:

Should Christians expect to know God’s will by means of feelings and intuitions?

WINTERY KNIGHT

I have a key that will unlock a puzzling mystery I have a key that will unlock a puzzling mystery

There are two views on the topic of decision making and the will of God. The view you learn in the church is called “the traditional view”. I call this view the feelings/intuition view. This view that elevates feelings / intuitions to the level of divine communications from God. The more practical view is called “the wisdom view”. I call this view the battlefield commander view. I am a proponent of the wisdom / commander view.

Let’s learn about the two different views:

[The traditional view is] that God has a plan for our lives and that we receive guidance through methods such as “open and closed doors”, “feeling led” and “the still, small, voice”.

[The wisdom view] holds that God does not have an “individual will” for our lives, but rather that all of God’s will can be…

View original post 1,439 more words

December 21, 2017: Afternoon Verse Of The Day

The Certainty of Apostasy

some will fall away from the faith, (4:1c)

The key to unlock this passage is the phrase in verse 1, some will fall away from the faith. There will be those, like Judas, Demas, and the false disciples of John 6:66, and those often warned in Hebrews, who abandon the faith. Fall away is from aphistēmi, which means “to depart from,” or “to remove oneself from the position originally occupied to another place.” It is a stronger term than either the word translated “straying” in 1:6, or the one translated “suffered shipwreck” in 1:19, and refers to a purposeful, deliberate departure from a former position. This term can refer to a simple geographical leaving (cf. Luke 2:37; 4:13; Acts 5:37; 12:10). But in the spiritual sense, it refers to those who come very close to the truth that saves, only to leave. Jesus used this verb when He described some who hear the gospel as being like seed falling on soil that has rockbed below the surface: “Those on the rocky soil are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no firm root; they believe for a while, and in time of temptation fall away (aphistemi)” (Luke 8:13). Here it is used to describe apostasy, to identify the tragic reality that some will act like Judas and turn their face from eternal joy to choose hell.

An apostate is not someone struggling to believe, but one who willfully abandons the biblical faith he had once professed. As already noted, the faith refers to the content of divine revelation that constitutes what Christians believe (cf. Jude 3). This phrase, then, describes an apostate, a rejector of Christ from within the ranks of the church.

In this passage, Paul gives us six features of apostasy: its predictability, its chronology, its supernatural source, its human purveyors, its content, and its error.

The Predictability of Apostasy

But the Spirit explicitly says (4:1a)

Whereas apostasy should sadden and outrage believers, it should neither shock nor surprise them, because the Spirit explicitly says that it will occur. This prediction is part of His ongoing revelation in Scripture on the subject of apostasy. In the Old Testament, He warned of the consequences of apostasy (Deut. 28:15:ff.; Ezek. 20:38), and gave numerous examples of apostates (Ex. 32; 1 Sam. 15:11; Neh. 9:26; Ps. 78). The New Testament also warns of apostasy, particularly at the time of the end just before the Lord’s return. Our Lord warned of false christs who would deceive many (Matt. 24:4–12). Paul wrote to the Thessalonians about the wholesale departure from the faith that will take place during the future time of tribulation (2 Thess. 2:3–12). Peter and Jude warned of mockers, who, in the end time would depart from the faith (2 Peter 3:3; Jude 18). The apostle John cautioned that “it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have arisen; from this we know that it is the last hour” (1 John 2:18; cf. 4:1–6). But apostasy, though escalated in the end time, is not limited to that era. The writer of Hebrews exhorted his readers, “Take care, brethren, lest there should be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart, in falling away from the living God” (Heb. 3:12; cf. 5:11–6:8; 10:26–31).

Paul knew that Ephesus would not be spared efforts to deceive people into abandoning the truth. In his farewell address to the Ephesian elders in Acts 20:29–30 he said, “I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them.”

As the revelation from the Spirit in Scripture shows, apostasy is predictable, and inevitable. There will always be those who make a temporary response to the gospel, but have no genuine faith in God. We should not be surprised when they leave, and should remember the words of John, “They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, in order that it might be shown that they all are not of us” (1 John 2:19).

The Chronology of Apostasy

that in later times (4:1b)

Paul defines the time frame in which apostasy will take place as the later times. The later times include, but are not limited to, the eschatological future. The first coming of Christ ushered in the later or last times, which was the Messianic era. First John 2:18 supports this fact when it says simply, “Children, it is the last hour.” First Peter 1:20 states that Christ “has appeared in these last times for the sake of you.” The writer of Hebrews informs us that God “in these last days has spoken to us in His Son” (Heb. 1:2), and “now once at the consummation of the ages [Christ] has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself” (Heb. 9:26). From the first coming of our Lord to His return, through all this age of the church, apostasy will occur and escalate toward the end when “most people’s love will grow cold” (Matt. 24:12).

The Source of Apostasy

paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons (4:1d)

As already noted, apostasy is generated by demonic beings. Ephesians 6:12 says that the battle for the truth and the kingdom of heaven is a struggle “not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Paying attention to is from prosechō. The verb expresses more than merely listening to something. It means “to assent to,” “to devote oneself to,” or “cling to something.” The present tense of the participle shows that apostates continually cling to demonic teaching. They understand the facts of the gospel intellectually, and outwardly identify with the Christian faith. Since their hearts are not right with God and they do not have the Spirit to teach and protect them (cf. Jude 19), however, they are lured away by deceitful spirits. Planos (deceitful) comes from the root word from which our English word “planet” derives. It carries the idea of wandering, and thus came to mean “seducing,” or “deceiving.” Demons are called deceitful because they cause men to wander from the orbit of the truth. The Holy Spirit leads people into saving truth (cf. John 16:13), while these unholy spirits lead them into damning error.

Apostates are not actually the victims of sophisticated university professors, false religious leaders, or wickedly clever writers or speakers. They are the victims of demonic spirits, purveying lies from the depths of hell through such humans. False teaching is thus something far more than a human aberration, it is nothing less than the doctrines of demons. The subjective genitive indicates this is not teaching about demons, but teaching done by them. Satan and his agents have concocted all manner of lying theologies to confuse and deceive. To sit under false teaching that contradicts the truth of Scripture is to be taught by demons, and to put one’s mind and soul in jeopardy. It is no wonder, then, that the Bible cautions against exposing oneself to false doctrine.

In his second epistle, the apostle John wrote,

Many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist. Watch yourselves, that you might not lose what we have accomplished, but that you may receive a full reward. Anyone who goes too far and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God; the one who abides in the teaching, he has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house, and do not give him a greeting; for the one who gives him a greeting participates in his evil deeds. (vv. 7–11)

We are to rescue those under the influence of false teaching like we would snatch a stick out of the fire, being careful not to get burned ourselves (Jude 23).

Deuteronomy 13:12–18 gives us a very straightforward warning about apostasy:

If you hear in one of your cities, which the Lord your God is giving you to live in, anyone saying that some worthless men have gone out from among you and have seduced the inhabitants of their city, saying, “Let us go and serve other gods” (Whom you have not known), then you shall investigate and search out and inquire thoroughly. And if it is true and the matter established that this abomination has been done among you, you shall surely strike the inhabitants of that city with the edge of the sword, utterly destroying it and all that is in it and its cattle with the edge of the sword. Then you shall gather all its booty into the middle of its open square and burn the city and all its booty with fire as a whole burnt offering to the Lord your God; and it shall be a ruin forever. It shall never be rebuilt. And nothing from that which is put under the ban shall cling to your hand, in order that the Lord may turn from His burning anger and show mercy to you, and have compassion on you and make you increase, just as He has sworn to your fathers, if you will listen to the voice of the Lord your God, keeping all His commandments which I am commanding you today, and doing what is right in the sight of the Lord your God.

That sobering warning shows how seriously God wants us to view apostasy. It was to be cut out of the nation of Israel like cancer from a human body.

The history of demonic seduction dates back to Satan’s successful tempting of Eve in the Garden of Eden. Throughout human history, culminating in the terrible influence of demons in the Tribulation (Rev. 9:2–11; 13:14; 16:14; 18:2, 23; 19:20; 20:2, 3, 8, 10), deceitful spirits will ply doctrines of demons. Through God’s mercy, however, true believers will not succumb (Ps. 44:18; Heb. 6:9; 10:39; Jude 24–25).[1]


1 Discerning the Spirit’s “clear” (rhētōs, GK 4843; only here in the NT; cf. Philo, Leg. 1.60) voice in the present (legei, “says,” is in the present tense), Paul finds that the heretics fulfill end-time prophecy (Mt 24:11 par.; cf. Ac 20:29–30; 2 Th 2:3; 2 Pe 2:1). The preponderance of false teaching is a mark of the “later times” (cf. 2 Ti 3:1: “last days”). Ultimately, the heretics are not acting on their own accord but are “following” (“giving heed to,” prosechō + dative; cf. 1:4; 4:13) deceiving spirits and demonic teachings (cf. 1 Ki 22:21–23; 1 Jn 4:1). In their case, Paul’s desire for the spiritual preservation of those under his charge is frustrated, for they have already “abandoned [aphistēmi, GK 923; cf. Heb 3:12] the faith” (pistis, GK 4411, regularly used in the PE in an objective sense with subjective overtones), being led astray by dark forces (daimoniōn, GK 1228, “demons,” cf. 1 Co 10:21–22; see also 1 Ti 1:20; 3:6–7; 5:15).[2]


1. But the Spirit expressly says that in later seasons some will depart from the faith.

“The Spirit says,” that is, “is now saying.” To whom was the Spirit speaking? Acts 20:29, 30 leads me to think that the apostle meant “to myself” (perhaps also to others). The Spirit, then, is saying that “in later seasons”—eras of this new dispensation, eras definitely marked out in God’s foreknowledge—some will depart or apostatize from the faith (objective sense), the body of redemptive truth, the Christian religion.

The Spirit was saying this expressly (“in stated terms”). There was neither doubt nor vagueness about it. A half dozen years ago Paul, addressing the elders of the churches located in the very region where Timothy was now laboring, had spoken as follows: “I know that after my departure grievous wolves will enter in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them.” A few years after that speech recorded in Acts 20, the apostle, writing to the Colossians from his first Roman imprisonment, had warned them against accepting the error that faith in Christ’s atoning work has to be supplemented by ascetic beliefs and practices (Col. 2). And now, writing to Timothy from Macedonia, he is distinctly informed by the Holy Spirit that the error, already present in its incipient form, will grow and develop in the manner indicated in verse 3.

Men will depart from the faith by giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of demons. As the context indicates (and see also 1 John 4:6 where “the spirit of seduction” is contrasted with “the Spirit of truth”), these spirits are not men but demons. Like planets that seem to wander back and forth among the constellations, these spirits wander; moreover, they cause men to wander. They seduce, lead astray. By giving heed to them one is giving heed to doctrines of demons (cf. 2 Cor. 4:4; Rev. 13:11, 14).[3]


4:1 There are two ways in which the Spirit might be thought of as speaking expressly. First of all, what Paul is about to say was certainly given to him by divine revelation. But it might also mean that throughout the Scriptures, and particularly in the NT, it is expressly taught that the latter times will be characterized by departure from the faith.

Latter times means “in later times,” periods of time subsequent to that time when the apostle was writing.

Some will depart from the faith. The word some is characteristic of 1 Timothy. What was a minority in this Epistle seems to have become the majority in 2 Timothy. The fact that these people depart or fall away from the faith does not mean that they were ever saved, but simply that they had professed to be Christians. They knew about the Lord Jesus Christ and had been told that He was the only Savior. They professed for a time to follow Him, but then they apostatized from the faith.

One can scarcely read this section without thinking of the rise of cults in our own day. The way these false systems have spread is accurately described here. A great part of their membership is made up of persons who were formerly in so-called Christian churches. Perhaps at one time these churches had been sound in the faith, but then they drifted toward the social gospel. The cultist teachers came along offering a more positive message, and these professing Christians were ensnared.

They give willing heed or assent to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons. Deceiving spirits is used here in a figurative sense to describe the false teachers, indwelt by evil spirits, who deceive the unwary. Doctrines of demons does not mean teachings about demons, but rather doctrines which are inspired bydemons or have their source in the demon world.[4]


4:1 Paul begins a series of instructions specifically for Timothy. the Spirit expressly says: Paul may be referring to various prophecies inspired by the Holy Spirit concerning defection from God’s truth (Dan. 7:25; 8:23; Matt. 24:4–12), or he might be speaking of a revelation the Spirit had given to him. Depart here means literally “to stand away from.” There will be various seasons in which some people will depart from their faith (1:19, 20). The reference here is not to a loss of salvation but to a failure to walk obediently (John 19:25–27; 1 Cor. 3:1–3; 11:29, 30). The impact of satanic attack and influence is described in vv. 1–3. Doctrines of demons refers to following occult practices.[5]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1995). 1 Timothy (pp. 147–150). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Köstenberger, A. (2006). 1 Timothy. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Ephesians–Philemon (Revised Edition) (Vol. 12, pp. 532–533). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Pastoral Epistles (Vol. 4, pp. 145–146). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[4] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 2091). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[5] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 1602). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

DECEMBER 21 IF JESUS CAME TODAY

We will not have this man to reign over us.

Luke 19:14

People have asked me if our present generation would gladly accept Jesus if He came at this time, instead of 2,000 years ago. I have to believe that history does repeat itself!

In our own day, many who want to follow the Christian traditions still balk and reject a thoroughgoing spiritual housecleaning within their own lives.

When Jesus came, many realized that it would mean probable financial loss for them to step out and follow Christ. Also, many of those men and women who considered the claims of Christ in His day knew that following Him would call for abrupt and drastic changes in their patterns of living. The proud and selfish aspects of their lives would have been disturbed.

Beyond that, there was an almost complete disdain for the inward spiritual life which Jesus taught as a necessity for mankind—that it is the pure in heart who will see God!

I am afraid that humanity’s choice would still be the same today. People are still more in love with money and pride and pleasure than they are with God and His salvation!

Thank You, Lord, for coming to earth at just the right time according to Your eternal plan. You have revealed God’s character to us in a most graphic way. Help us to be faithful to Your “Great Commission” (see Matthew 28:19–20) until You return as You promised.[1]


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

December 21, 2017 Birth Announcement, Part 4

By James Boice on Dec 21, 2017 12:00 am

Now for the fourth section I would like to take you to Micah 5:2. This, too, is a well-known Christmas prophecy because it is quoted in the story of the wise men from Matthew 2. Micah’s prophecy reads: “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”

Read more…

December 21 God’s Kingdom Must Be Personally Appropriated

The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again.—Matt. 13:44a

Jesus’ concise but profound parables of the hidden treasure and the pearl of great value show us that, above all, we must personally appropriate God’s kingdom. People automatically at birth become members of their parents’ family and country, but such natural inheritance doesn’t apply regarding the kingdom.

Everyone is under God’s dominion because they live on the earth, which is under His sovereign control. And if unbelievers associate with believers, they can potentially enjoy many kingdom benefits. But if an unbeliever attends a biblical church, enjoys sound preaching, and gets baptized, he or she is not necessarily a kingdom citizen. More often than not, such are “sons of the kingdom [who] will be cast out into the outer darkness” where “there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matt. 8:12)—in other words, they are not really children of God.

Paul reminds his readers, Jews in particular, “They are not all Israel who are descended from Israel; nor are they all children because they are Abraham’s descendants” (Rom. 9:6–7). Even during the Old Testament era one could be Jewish—fully identified with God’s people racially, nationally, and religiously—and still not be a member of the true spiritual Israel.

Similarly, you can be a member of a family that has had membership in a good church for many generations and yet not be part of Christ’s true church. Being born into a godly family does not make you a believer. Under the Spirit’s guidance, you must personally decide to trust Jesus as Lord and Savior.

ASK YOURSELF

Here toward the end of the year, settle this issue in your heart once and for all. You can live with the full assurance of your salvation by surrendering your life to Christ—repenting of your sins and believing in His sacrifice on your behalf. Don’t live another day unsure.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2008). Daily readings from the life of Christ (p. 364). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

December 21 Christ’s Virgin Birth

After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit.

Matthew 1:18

The virgin birth is an underlying assumption in everything the Bible says about Jesus. To throw out the virgin birth is to reject Christ’s deity, the accuracy and authority of Scripture, and a host of other related doctrines that are the heart of the Christian faith. No issue is more important than the virgin birth to our understanding of who Jesus is. If we deny that Jesus is God, we have denied the very essence of Christianity. Everything else the Bible teaches about Christ hinges on the truth we celebrate at Christmas—that Jesus is God in human flesh. If the story of His birth is merely a fabricated or trumped–up legend, then so is the rest of what Scripture tells us about Him. The virgin birth is as crucial as the resurrection in substantiating His deity. It is not an optional truth. Anyone who rejects Christ’s deity rejects Christ absolutely—even if he pretends otherwise (see 1 John 4:1–3).[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. (2001). Truth for today : a daily touch of God’s grace (p. 382). Nashville, Tenn.: J. Countryman.

December 21, 2017: Morning Verse Of The Day

11 Speech, honest and graceful. Honest and gracious speech will be highly respected. The syntax of this verse is not easy to understand. The text seems to say, “He who loves purity of heart, the grace of his lips the king is his friend.” The simplest interpretation is that someone who is honest and gracious will be welcomed in the courts of the palace (see also 16:13).[1]


22:11 / The mt is hardly translatable. The niv inserts and whose, but the entire saying is not convincing.The njps interprets this as a three-line saying. Modern and ancient versions alike differ widely. See Additional Notes.[2]


22:11 The man who loves purity of heart and whose speech is gracious will enjoy royal friendships. God may be the King referred to here.

A little word in kindness spoken,

A motion, or a tear

Has often healed the heart that’s broken,

And made a friend sincere.

Author unknown[3]


22:11 Even the most powerful are drawn to the wise (cf. Ecc 10:12).[4]


22:11 A person who is marked by purity of speech and heart becomes the confidant of a good king. Compare this proverb with Ps. 15, which describes a person who wants to become a friend of the Lord.[5]


[1] Ross, A. P. (2008). Proverbs. In T. Longman III, Garland David E. (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Proverbs–Isaiah (Revised Edition) (Vol. 6, p. 190). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[2] Murphy, R. E., & Carm, O. (2012). Proverbs. In W. W. Gasque, R. L. Hubbard Jr., & R. K. Johnston (Eds.), Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs (p. 110). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[3] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 848). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[4] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Pr 22:11). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[5] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 770). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

DECEMBER 21 SOMETHING BEYOND SONG

I call to remembrance my song in the night: I commune with mine own heart: and my spirit made diligent search.

—Psalm 77:6

Both the Bible and the testimony of a thousand saints show that there is experience beyond song. There are delights which the heart may enjoy in the awesome presence of God which cannot find expression in language; they belong to the unutterable element in Christian experience. Not many enjoy them because not many know that they can. The whole concept of ineffable worship has been lost to this generation of Christians. Our level of life is so low that no one expects to know the deep things of the soul until the Lord returns. So we are content to wait, and while we wait we are wont to cheer our hearts sometimes by breaking into song….

The Bible is a musical book and, next to the Scriptures themselves, the best book to own is a good hymnbook. But still there is something beyond song….

Where the Holy Spirit is permitted to exercise His full sway in a redeemed heart the progression is likely to be as follows: First, voluble praise, in prose speech or prayer or witness; then, when the crescendo rises beyond the ability of studied speech to express, comes song; when song breaks down under the weight of glory, then comes silence where the soul, held in deep fascination, feels itself blessed with an unutterable beatitude. ROR168-169

Lord, as I “commune with mine own heart” (Psalm 77:6), let me in that silence find that something which is beyond song. I worship You now in the stillness. Amen.[1]


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

December 21 Jesus Is Savior and Lord

“God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name … that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.”

Philippians 2:9, 11

✧✧✧

The Jesus who is Savior cannot be separated from the Jesus who is Lord.

Scripture never speaks of any human being’s making Jesus Lord. It is God who made Him Lord (Acts 2:36). Yet we often read statements such as this: “It is imperative to trust Christ as personal Savior and be born again. But that is only the first decision. Trusting Christ as Savior and then making Him Lord are two separate and distinct decisions. The two decisions may be close or distant in time. Salvation must always precede lordship. But it is possible to be saved without ever making Christ Lord of your life.” In effect that is saying Christ isn’t Lord unless we give Him permission—a completely unbiblical assertion. To be saved you must confess Jesus as Lord.

Jesus is called Lord throughout the New Testament. To omit the lordship of Christ from invitations to salvation would result in the elimination of numerous passages of Scripture. Peter’s sermon in Acts 2—“Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Acts 2:21)—would need to be modified. Paul and Silas’ method of presenting the gospel—“Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you shall be saved” (Acts 16:31)—would need to be corrected.

The centrality of the lordship of Christ is clear in the New Testament gospel. The Jesus who is Savior cannot be separated from the Jesus who is Lord. God cannot be separated from His authority, dominion, rulership, and right to command. When we acknowledge that Jesus is God, we mean He is all that God is.

✧✧✧

Suggestions for Prayer: Worship the Lord Jesus Christ, using Psalm 8, a Messianic psalm, as the basis of your prayer.

For Further Study: Jesus is called Lord over 700 times in the New Testament. Use a Bible concordance as a handy way to check some of these many references to Christ as Lord.[1]


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

December 20 Daily Help

IN order to learn how to discharge your duty as a witness for Christ, look at His example. He is always witnessing: by the well of Samaria, or in the Temple of Jerusalem: by the lake of Gennesaret, or on the mountain’s brow. He witnesses so clearly and distinctly that there is no mistake in Him. Christian, make your life a clear testimony. Be you as the brook wherein you may see every stone at the bottom. You need not say, “I am true:” be true. Study your great Exemplar, and be filled with His Spirit. Remember that you need much teaching, much upholding, much grace, and much humility, if your witnessing is to be to your Master’s glory.[1]


[1] Spurgeon, C. H. (1892). Daily Help (p. 358). Baltimore: R. H. Woodward & Company.

December 20, 2017: Evening Verse Of The Day

Unbelief Blinds to the Truth

And they took offense at Him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his home town, and in his own household.” (13:57)

Took offense is from skandalizō, which has the basic idea of causing to stumble or trip up and is the term from which our English scandalize is derived. Jesus’ friends and former neighbors were offended by His claims. They were offended by His ordinary background, by the commonness of His family, the limits of His formal training, His lack of official religious status, and many other irrelevant or secondary issues.

We have no full account of what Jesus taught on either occasion in that Nazareth synagogue; but both times He offended the people by what He said. He unmasked their hypocrisy by exposing their wicked desire to see Him perform miracles for miracles’ sake (Luke 4:23); and He probably talked to them about their sinfulness and need to repent. In any case, they became antagonistic and took offense at Him, because their unbelief blinded them to the truth He taught. “While seeing they [did] not see, and while hearing they [did] not hear, nor [did] they understand” (Matt. 13:13). As Paul declared to the Corinthian believers, Christ is “to Jews a stumbling block, and to Gentiles foolishness” (1 Cor. 1:23).

Until a person is willing to have the hard ground of his heart plowed up by God’s truth and to confess and forsake his sin, he will be offended by the gospel. Until a person faces his sin in penitence, the truth of the gospel is hidden from him, and the blessing of the gospel is lost to him.

Again (see Luke 4:24) Jesus reminded the people of Nazareth of the well-known proverb that a prophet is not without honor except in his home town, and in his own household. It is often difficult for those who have watched a child grow up as a neighborhood kid to later accept him as a community leader, government official, pastor, or such-to say nothing of accepting him as the divine Son of God! Even when the man is personally liked, it is not easy for him to gain the respect that an outsider of the same capabilities would enjoy. Jesus’ brothers eventually came to believe in Him as their Savior (Acts 1:14), but for several years after He began His ministry they did not (John 7:5).[1]


13:57. Because of the puzzle Jesus represented in these people’s minds, they would not believe him. However, they could not honestly dismiss him. In their confusion, they became angry, looking for someone to blame for their uncomfortable mental state (they took offense at him). Familiarity truly does breed contempt. Jesus’ relatives and neighbors proved his statement about his true family in 12:48–50.[2]


57. And they took offense at him. Or: “were repelled by him.” His humble origin was for them a sufficient reason to reject him. But Jesus said to them, A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own family. Other translations, such as that a prophet is always honored except, etc., or never fails to be honored except, etc., or is without honor only in, etc., are not precise. Jesus did not say that a prophet is respected everywhere except in his hometown and family. What he did say was to the effect that wherever it might be that a prophet would be honored, certainly not in his hometown and family. As to this reference to his family, particularly his brothers, it should be interpreted in the light of such other passages as 12:46–50, which, however, is not decisive in indicating the attitude of Jesus’ brothers toward him at this time, and especially in the light of John 7:5, and Acts 1:14. It will then be seen that by God’s grace unbelief was subsequently changed to faith.

Before leaving this passage it should be pointed out that Jesus here definitely implies that he is indeed a prophet, with the right to be honored as such (cf. Deut. 18:15, 18; Matt. 21:11; Luke 24:19; John 9:17; Acts 3:22; 7:37).[3]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (1985). Matthew (Mt 13:55–57). Chicago: Moody Press.

[2] Weber, S. K. (2000). Matthew (Vol. 1, p. 206). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[3] Hendriksen, W., & Kistemaker, S. J. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Gospel According to Matthew (Vol. 9, p. 582). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.


December 20: Looking to God and Others

Jeremiah 37:1–38:28; Romans 9:1–12; Proverbs 23:19–35

We have a natural tendency to be concerned with our own condition. As redeemed people, God is transforming us from being self-centered people—concerned with our own ambitions—to other-centered people who want to see God’s work done in and around us. Sometimes even our spiritual concerns point us inward. But God’s work in us shouldn’t be just about us.

Paul sets a startling example in his concern for those who hadn’t come to know Christ: “I am telling the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience bears witness to me in the Holy Spirit—that my grief is great and there is constant distress in my heart. For I could wish myself to be accursed from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my fellow countrymen according to the flesh” (Rom 9:1–3).

Although he was called especially to be an apostle to the Gentiles, Paul was deeply concerned about the spiritual state of the Jewish people—his own people. The promise of the Messiah was given to them, yet many refused to believe the fulfillment of this promise, the redeeming work of Christ. They weren’t aware of the fulfillment of that promise given especially to them. Paul was so grieved by their rejection of their salvation that he was willing to be accursed for their sakes.

God is at work in us—transforming us for His purpose. We should be keenly aware of His work. But our gaze shouldn’t be fixed inward. We should be looking to God, amazed by His grace and His concern for people like us. As we are changed into His likeness, we should be caught up in caring for the things that deeply concern Him. We should care about the people He wants to be transformed to His likeness. He is molding and shaping us into His likeness so that we can be His instruments, His agents on earth. The people we meet and the situations we encounter are all opportunities to reflect Christ—not because we want to be holy examples, but because we have a task to do.

How is God’s work transforming you to be deeply concerned about the spiritual state of others? Who can you pray for? Who can you reach out to?

Rebecca Van Noord[1]


[1] Barry, J. D., & Kruyswijk, R. (2012). Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.