Daily Archives: October 3, 2021

October 3 Evening Quotes of The Day

Seeing Jesus’ Humility and Obedience Transforms Us
Matthew 11:29; Ephesians 4:15; Philippians 2:5–11; 1 Thessalonians 1:6

When we see the humility and obedience of Christ, when we look on Christ as God’s chosen servant in all this, and as our surety and head, it transforms us to the like humility and obedience.

RICHARD SIBBES

Ritzema, E., & Vince, E. (Eds.). (2013). 300 Quotations for Preachers from the Puritans. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

“Infant Baptism Is But a Human Invention”
Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 8:12; 18:8

Since we have not a single command in the Scriptures that infants are to be baptized, or that the apostles did practice it; we modestly confess, with a good conscience, that infant baptism is but human invention.

MENNO SIMONS

Ritzema, E. (2013). 300 Quotations for Preachers from the Reformation. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

October 3 Evening Verse of The Day

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5:1 Paul compared our bodily existence to living in an earthly tent, and the resurrection body to a palace or other grand building. The author of the letter to the Hebrews also compared heaven to “the city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God” (Heb 11:10).[1]

5:1 tent. Our physical bodies. If Paul’s sufferings must lead even to physical death, something far greater awaits him.

a house … in the heavens. This probably refers to our resurrection bodies, though some have argued that it signifies the heavenly place that God has prepared for us.[2]

5:1 earthly house, the tent The body, which is susceptible to death and decay (compare 4:7).

destroyed Refers to death.

house not made by hands, eternal Either refers to the resurrected body believers receive when Christ returns (1 Cor 15:50–54), the corporate body of Christ, the new Jerusalem, or the temple in the city (Rev 21:10, 22).[3]

5:1 The tent that is our earthly home refers to present human bodies that will die. Have refers to the future resurrection, and the building from God … eternal in the heavens refers to the resurrection body believers will receive on the last day (cf. 1 Thess. 4:13–18; Rev. 21:1–22:5). The tent analogy was quite apt since Paul made tents while living in Corinth (Acts 18:3), and the Corinthians likely sold tents to sailors or used them for housing visitors attending the Isthmian Games.[4]

5:1 earthly tent … house. Paul’s metaphor for the physical body (cf. 2Pe 1:13, 14). The imagery was quite natural for that time because many people were nomadic tent dwellers, and Paul as a tentmaker (Ac 18:3) knew much about tents’ characteristics. Also, the Jewish tabernacle had symbolized God’s presence among the people as they left Egypt and became a nation. Paul’s point is that like a temporary tent, man’s earthly existence is fragile, insecure, and lowly (cf. 1Pe 2:11). a building from God. Paul’s metaphor for the believer’s resurrected, glorified body (cf. 1Co 15:35–50). “Building” implies solidity, security, certainty, and permanence, as opposed to the frail, temporary, uncertain nature of a tent. Just as the Israelites replaced the tabernacle with the temple, so believers ought to long to exchange their earthly bodies for glorified ones (see notes on 4:16; Ro 8:19–23; 1Co 15:35–50; Php 3:20, 21). a house … in the heavens. A heavenly, eternal body. Paul wanted a new body that would forever perfectly express his transformed nature. not made with hands. A glorified body, by definition, is not of this earthly creation (see notes on Mk 14:58; Heb 9:11; cf. Jn 2:19; Col 2:11).[5]

5:1 Paul explains in more detail what he has just said (4:16–18). The human body, like a demolished house or a dismantled tent, will be destroyed unless death is preceded by the Rapture. The believer’s future house, his resurrected body, is a God-made building, which is eternal.[6]

5:1. The words For we know point back to 4:14–18. He knows that death cannot claim him because of his future bodily resurrection: If our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands. This parallels Jesus’ description of His own resurrected body as a temple “not made with hands” (Mark 14:58). The resurrected body is eternal in the heavens in the sense that it will come from God and will endure forever. Believers do not receive this glorified body immediately after death. They “have” it in the sense that it is something to look forward to. The resurrection of the body awaits the Rapture (1 Thess 4:16–17).[7]

5:1 In verse 1, the apostle speaks of our present mortal body as our earthly house, this tent. A tent is not a permanent dwelling, but a portable one for pilgrims and travelers.

Death is spoken of as the dissolving of this tent. The tent is taken down at the time of death. The body goes into the grave, whereas the spirit and soul of the believer go to be with the Lord.

Paul opens the chapter with the assurance that if his earthly house should be destroyed (as a result of the sufferings mentioned in the preceding chapter) he knows he has a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. Notice the distinction between tent and building. The temporary tent is taken down, but a new, permanent house awaits the believer in the land beyond the skies. This is a building from God, in the sense that God is the One who gives it to us.

Furthermore, it is a house not made with hands. Why should Paul say this? Our present bodies are not made with hands; so why should he emphasize that our future, glorified bodies will not be made with hands? The answer is that the expression not made with hands means “not of this creation.” This is made clear in Hebrews 9:11, where we read, “But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation.” What Paul is saying in 2 Corinthians 5:1 is that whereas our present bodies are suited to life on this earth, our future, glorified bodies will not be of this creation. They will be especially designed for life in heaven.

The believer’s future body is also described as eternal in the heavens. It is a body that will no longer be subject to disease, decay, and death, but one that will endure forever in our heavenly home.

It might sound from this verse as if a believer receives this building from God the moment he dies, but that is not the case. He does not get his glorified body until Christ comes back for His church (1 Thess. 4:13–18). What happens to the believer is this. At the time of death, his spirit and soul go to be with Christ where he is consciously enjoying the glories of heaven. His body is placed in the grave. At the time of the Lord’s return, the dust will be raised from the grave, God will fashion it into a new, glorified body, and it will then be reunited with the spirit and the soul. Between death and Christ’s coming for His saints, the believer might be said to be in a disembodied condition. However, this does not mean that he is not fully conscious of all the joy and bliss of heaven. He is!

Before leaving verse 1 we should mention that there are three principal interpretations of the house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens:

1.    Heaven itself.

2.    An intermediate body between death and resurrection.

3.    The glorified body.

The house can scarcely be heaven itself, because it is said to be eternal in the heavens and “from heaven” (5:2). As far as an intermediate body is concerned, the Scriptures never mention such a body. Moreover, the house not made with hands is described as eternal in the heavens, which would not be true of an intermediate body. The third view—that the house is the resurrection body of glory—seems to be the correct one.[8]

5:1. Few chapter divisions are more unfortunate than this one since what follows (5:1–10) details the thought expressed in 4:16–18. Failure to appreciate this fact unduly complicates these already difficult verses by removing their contextual constraints.

Paul had referred to his mortal “body” (4:10–11) as “wasting away” (4:16). Now he compared his body to a worn-out earthly (epigeios, “on the earth”) tent (skēnous) soon to be destroyed. In Christ’s incarnate body He “lived (eskēnōsen, lit., ‘tabernacled or tented’) among us” (John 1:14). This is why the eternal perspective (2 Cor. 4:17) should be maintained (the second Gr. word in 5:1 is gar [“for”; trans. now in the niv], introducing the reason for what preceded). An earthly body is temporary; a heavenly body is eternal.

The reference to the heavenly body as a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands is reminiscent of Jesus’ description of His own resurrection body as a temple “not made by man” (lit., “not made by hand”; Mark 14:58). Second Corinthians 5:1 briefly summarizes what Paul had earlier written to the Corinthians about the nature of the resurrection body (1 Cor. 15:34–54). The confident assertion, we know, was based on the argument set forth in 1 Corinthians 15.[9]

5:1. The physical difficulties Paul faced in ministry and the ever-increasing possibility of his death did not lead to despair. He knew that in physical death—when the house is torn down—believers would have the certainty of a resurrection body (the future building) that comes from God and lasts forever. Paul reflected on three human states throughout this section: (1) the physical state of present existence illustrated as an earthly tent, (2) the intermediate state between death and the second coming when a believer is present with the Lord without a resurrection body (a state referred to as nakedness), and (3) the resurrection state that begins at the rapture of the Church when believers receive their resurrection body.[10]

5:1. The apostle began with a statement of confidence. We know that certain things are true. Paul had already taught these truths to the Corinthians, and he was confident they had not forgotten them.

Life in the physical body is like living in an earthly tent because this body is being destroyed. All human bodies suffer the processes of aging and death. Yet, Paul, his company, and to some extent all believers experience intensified destruction of their earthly bodies. Suffering on Christ’s behalf aggravates the decay that the Fall brought upon the human race. As Paul put it in the previous chapter, we are only fragile jars made of clay.

Paul was sure that his readers knew another truth as well: all true believers have a building from God that will replace the earthly tent. The present bodies of believers are only temporary homes; we wait for a permanent house. In Paul’s day people used tents while they traveled and while they were building permanent homes. Paul had in mind tents in which people lived as they waited for permanent dwellings to be built. Peter used this same metaphor (2 Pet. 1:13–14), and the Old Testament also speaks of earthly life as a tent (Isa. 38:12).

Paul described the building from God as an eternal house in heaven. His words are difficult to understand, and they have been the subject of controversy. At least two prominent outlooks have been taken. First, some interpreters think Paul spoke of believers receiving permanent heavenly bodies when they die. This understanding agrees with Paul’s personal focus in this discussion. Yet, it seems unlikely because Paul taught that believers’ bodily resurrection would occur at Christ’s return (Phil. 3:20–21; 1 Thess. 4:15–17).

Other interpreters suggest that Paul spoke of the heavenly temple of God providing protective cover for all believers. This view appeals to the expression, not built by human hands, which the writer of Hebrews uses to describe the heavenly temple (Heb. 9:11). This interpretation is possible, but it is questionable.

The third and most likely possibility is that Paul referred to the future resurrected bodies of believers, focusing on the eternal state without differentiating it from the intermediate state. According to this view, Paul did not address our heavenly experience before Christ’s return. Because the intermediate state is not the goal that believers are to keep in mind, it is overshadowed by the permanent state after Christ’s return.

The last verse of this section (5:10) supports this third view. Paul did not direct his attention to the human condition during a long intermediate state. Instead, he focused on the day of judgment. The contrast he set up in 5:10 was between what is done “while in the body” and how we will “receive what is due.” Paul referred to the individual believer’s glorious resurrection body, but had in view the reception of that body on the last day.[11]

5:1 “we know” It is difficult in this book to know the antecedent to Paul’s PLURAL PRONOUNS. Sometimes he refers to (1) himself; (2) his mission team; or (3) all believers. Context alone must determine which is implied. Here I assume it is #3.

© “if” This is a THIRD CLASS CONDITIONAL which means potential action. Paul’s death was certain unless the Second Coming occurred first. He had thought he was going to die in Asia (cf. 1:8–10). His life as an Apostle had not been easy or painless (cf. 4:7–12; 6:3–10; 11:24–28). Paul simply did not know the time or circumstances of his death. He may have thought or hoped he would be alive when Christ returned (cf. 1 Cor. 15:51–52; Phil. 3:20; 1 Thess. 4:15, 17). However, in other passages he expected to be raised from the dead (cf. 1 Cor. 6:14; 2 Cor. 4:14). For a good discussion see F. F. Bruce’s Answers to Questions, pp. 200–201).

© “tent” This is one of several biblical metaphors for the frailty of the human body (grass, pottery). Paul knew his body was wearing out. He had tried to repair many an old tent!

©     
NASB, TEV  “is torn down”  
NKJV, NRSV  “is destroyed”  
NJB  “is folded up”  

This is an AORIST PASSIVE SUBJUNCTIVE. Paul knew that life and death were in the hand of God (PASSIVE VOICE). He knew he would die, but he did not know when or how (SUBJUNCTIVE MOOD).

This term has a wide semantic field. In the OT and the NT kataluma was used for a lodging place and kataluō for a place to live or settle or rest. However, it is also used of the destruction or abrogation of something (which is the metaphorical extension of luō, loose). In Isa. 38:12 it is used of taking down a tent. This seems to be the best parallel of Paul’s usage here.

© “we have a building from God” This is a permanent building (cf. John 14:2–3; Heb. 11:10) compared with a moveable, transient tent (cf. Heb. 11:9). This is a PRESENT tense. Paul is stating a prophetic truth as if it were a current reality.

© “house not made with hands” Our new bodies will be spiritual (cf. 1 Cor. 15:35–49), like Jesus’ (cf. Mark 14:58; 1 John 3:2).

© “eternal in the heavens” This is referring to the dwelling place of God. The term “heaven” is plural because the rabbis debated over how many “heavens” there were. In Gen. 1 the term heaven refers to the atmosphere above the earth. So the rabbis used their knowledge of biblical numerology to assert a third heaven or a seventh heaven as the place where God dwelt.

Heaven is not up or out. It probably is another dimension without time and space. After the resurrection Jesus was able to appear and disappear, as well as move from place to place. Once the size of the physical universe is understood the awesomeness of the spiritual realm is staggering.[12]

1. For we know that if our earthly tent in which we live is taken down, we have a house from God, an eternal house not made with hands, in heaven.

a. “For we know.” Paul introduces this verse with the words for we know (see also 1:7; 4:14; 5:11). In light of the preceding verses (4:16–18) that speak of the outward and the inward person and of looking at that which is unseen, Paul reminds his readers of his former teachings on the resurrection. He can say “we know” to remind the Corinthians of the doctrine he taught them in person and later through his correspondence. His instruction is neither at variance with nor different from that which he taught in 1 Thessalonians 4 and 1 Corinthians 15. Nothing in Paul’s earlier writings conflicts with his present discourse, nor are we able to detect a gradual development of the resurrection doctrine. This chapter provides no evidence that he had to correct or change his initial teaching.

Knowledge of the life hereafter does not originate in our human minds. Through the Holy Spirit, God reveals the assurance of our own immortality to us, so that we meet death cheerfully. But what do we know? Paul confidently answers, “We have a house from God, an eternal house not made with hands, in heaven.” Before we look closely at his answer, we must consider the conditional clause that qualifies it.

b. “That if our earthly tent in which we live is taken down.” Some scholars stress that Paul had to oppose Gnosticism, a religious and philosophical system that taught that matter is evil and the soul good. As such, the soul sheds its outer covering at the time of death and is set free. The question, however, is not whether Paul was opposing incipient Gnosticism and thus used Gnostic terminology to be effective in his dispute. Although Greek philosophy taught that this earthly life is comparable to living in a tent, Paul exhibits an Old Testament background. A tent, as the tentmaker well knew, is a temporary dwelling that is readily taken down. He alludes to Moses’ tent of meeting outside the camp of Israel; in this tent, God spoke to Moses face to face (Exod. 33:7–11). This earthly tent that subsequently became the tabernacle was a reflection of God’s presence among his people as his glory covered the tabernacle. Further, even Aaron’s high-priestly garments reflected God’s holiness and glory. Yet both the tabernacle and the garments revealed transitoriness. The tabernacle was taken down when the Israelites moved to another place, and the garments were removed whenever Aaron’s priestly duties ended.

In the first eight verses, Paul uses a series of three metaphors (tent [vv. 1, 4], clothing [vv. 2–4], and home [vv. 6, 8]). The first illustration that Paul, the tentmaker, uses is that of a tent. He compares our physical body with a temporary dwelling place. And he may have thought of the Feast of Tabernacles, during which the Jews lived in temporary shelters for seven days to celebrate the end of the harvest and to commemorate the forty-year wilderness journey of the Israelites. The metaphor of taking down a tent points to the approaching end of not only our physical body but also our entire earthly existence. Indeed, Peter mentions living “in the tent of this body” that would soon be put aside (2 Peter 1:13–14; compare Isa. 38:12; Wisd. of Sol. 9:15). The word earthly is used as a contrast to heavenly, as a reminder of the first man taken from the dust of the earth (Gen. 2:7; 1 Cor. 15:47), and ethically as a place of sin.

Paul literally writes, “if our earthly house of the tent is taken down.” He describes the house in terms of a tent to stress its transience. The probability that this tent will be destroyed in a single action is real, for death marks the end of a person’s earthly body and life. But Paul does not know when the dismantling will occur. If Jesus should return during his lifetime, Paul would not have to think about death.

Earlier Paul wrote that he had endured a near-death affliction (1:8). This incident reminded him of life’s brevity and the possibility of dying before Christ’s return. But we cannot deduce from this event that in the interval between writing I Corinthians and II Corinthians Paul changed his mind and no longer expected the return of Christ in his lifetime. Paul had survived a number of near-death experiences; the stoning in Lystra (Acts 14:19) serves as an example. And in his list of sufferings, he writes that he had been repeatedly exposed to death (11:23). Knowing firsthand the brevity life, Paul realized that the gospel had to be preached to all nations before the Lord would return. He also knew that his missionary task had just begun and would remain unfinished at his death (compare Rom. 15:20, 24, 28).

c. “We have a house from God, an eternal house not made with hands, in heaven.” The second part of this verse is a source of constant debate, because Paul’s words are enigmatic and at places hard to reconcile with the entire context. If there is a contrast between the earthly tent and the house in heaven, why does Paul write the present tense (“we have”)? The answer is that New Testament writers frequently penned a present tense with a future meaning that is determined by the context. One example is in the Gethsemane narrative, where prior to his arrest Jesus says, “The Son of Man is betrayed in the hands of sinners” (Matt. 26:45). Just as Jesus knew the nearness of his betrayal, so Paul knew with certainty that a heavenly home was waiting for him (see John 14:2–3).

Is a house from God a resurrection body that believers receive at the time of death? If so, we must think in terms of three successive bodies: an earthly, an intermediate, and a resurrected or a transformed body. But why would the dead have to be raised at Jesus’ return if they already have a resurrection body? Scripture speaks only of our physical body that either dies and is raised at Jesus’ coming or that meets the Lord at his return and is transformed (1 Cor. 15:42, 51; Phil. 3:20–21; 1 Thess. 4:15–17). The Bible fails to provide details on our house in heaven.

We admit that Scripture portrays people of the hereafter in terms of the physical form in which they left this earth. Samuel is described as an old man (1 Sam. 28:14); Lazarus in heaven has a finger, and the rich man in hell has eyes and a tongue (Luke 16:23–24); the saints in heaven are dressed in white robes and hold palm branches in their hands (Rev. 6:11; 7:9). But the writers of Scripture use anthropomorphic language. That is, they depict the dead as human beings with flesh and blood, for they know of no other way to portray the departed. Scripture states unequivocally that the departed saints are spirits; their bodies rest in the dust of the ground and their spirits have returned to God (Eccles. 12:7; Heb. 12:23).

What is the meaning of the word house? This noun is qualified as being from God, eternal, not made by human hands, in heaven. Some scholars interpret the word to signify the corporate body of Christ, that is, the church. They point out that in the Greek, the term oikodomē (house) refers to the church and not to an individual body. To support their interpretation, they rely on a few passages from the Pauline epistles, especially 1 Corinthians 3:9 (God’s building); Ephesians 2:21 (the building or holy temple; by extension, the body of Christ); Ephesians 4:12, 16 (the body of Christ).

However, the context in which an expression is used always determines its meaning. Here the context for the word house differs from that of the passages that speak of the church. Furthermore, whenever Paul refers to the church as the body of Christ, he puts it not in a future context but in a present setting. In verse 2, Paul notes our longing to be clothed with a heavenly tent in the future. This interpretation proves to be incongruous if we already belong to Christ’s body (1 Cor. 12:13; Gal. 3:27).

Other scholars think that the house in heaven is the temple of God that is awaiting the believer at the time of death. When Christians enter this building, they in effect enter God’s presence. Supporting this interpretation is the fact that the concept not made with human hands appears also in the description of the greater and more perfect tabernacle in heaven. That place is the very presence of God (Heb. 9:11). An objection to this interpretation is that the symmetry of verse 1 suffers, because an earthly tent and a heavenly house represent not a physical body and God’s temple but a physical body and a spiritual body.

Perhaps we should think of this heavenly house as a place that supplies a covering in the form of divine glory (4:17; Rom. 8:18), a glory of immeasurable worth. Even though we enter God’s presence, where we are clothed with glory, we eagerly await the redemption of our bodies, namely, the resurrection of our bodies (Rom. 8:23).

The link between the preceding paragraph (4:16–18) and this verse is undeniable. Earlier Paul spoke of the outer and inner person, temporary troubles and lasting glory, the visible and the invisible things. In verse 1, he speaks of an earthly tent, that is, our physical bodies brought into the world through human effort. He contrasts this temporary tent with a permanent house that originates with God and belongs to an entirely different order. The house is God’s very presence that at the portals of heaven envelops the believer with eternal glory. Paul teaches that if he should die before Jesus’ return, then his soul would enter and be in heaven without his body until its resurrection at the consummation.[13]

Ver. 1. For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved.

The certain knowledge of the future:—1. The description which the apostle makes of the present state in which we now are. 2. His description of the future state, in which the faithful shall be hereafter. 3. The certainty of that happy state. The one habitation is certain as the other. But what certainty is there of such things, may some say? May we not abuse ourselves, if we look for that which no man ever saw? Is not this to build castles in the air? The apostle answers to such surmises, here, in my text: “We know that we have a building of God,” &c. We have solid grounds for this persuasion that it amounts to a knowledge.

I. He saith it was a thing known; a matter that was demonstrable by proper arguments. It was not a probable opinion, but an undoubted conclusion. There were sound arguments which led them to this unmovable belief. What were they? 1. For they knew that Jesus their Master, who made discovery of these things to them, had certain knowledge of them himself, and could not deceive them. He was not like to many idle persons, who draw maps of such territories as they never saw. 2. They knew likewise that this person, who could not but speak the truth, had promised to purified souls, that they should see God (Matt. 5:8). How can we behold, then, the glory of God, unless all our powers be mightily widened beyond the highest of our present conceptions. 3. Of this change they saw an instance in our Lord Himself. 4. Accordingly they knew that He did ascend up to heaven forty days after His resurrection (Acts 1:10, 11). 5. For they knew withal that their very bodies should be made like unto His (John 17:24). 6. And this truly they knew, as well as anything else, that He lives for evermore, and can make good His kind intentions and gracious promises (Rev. 1:18). 7. Especially they knew by the change that He had wrought in their souls that He could easily do as much for their bodies. It was no harder for Him to give a luminous body than it was to illuminate their minds; to turn this earthly house into an heavenly than to fill the spirits of common men with the spirit and wisdom of God. 8. To conclude, they knew likewise there had been some alteration already made, upon occasion in the body of some of them, and that others also felt an higher elevation of their soul. As for the body, St. Stephen’s face was seen as it had been the face of an angel (Acts 6 ult.). Let us believe the testimony of men so well assured. For to think that there is no habitation for us in the heavens, because we were never there, is as foolish as if a man that had never stirred beyond the door of his cottage should imagine that all the goodly buildings he hears of at London are but so many clouds in the air, and have no real being. Let us but a little awaken our souls to look beyond this house of clay.

II. It is considerable then that this was a matter generally known; a thing wherein they were all agreed. They had a knowledge and not a mere opinion. And yet an opinion that is not private, but common, carries no small authority with it. We are all very much overawed by that which is universally received. They were all satisfied that this was the very truth of God, there was no dispute or division among them about this doctrine. It was the common faith of God’s elect; the common hope of their heavenly calling, and, in one word, the common salvation (Titus 1:1, 2, 4; Eph. 4:4; Jude 3). It was not the belief of St. Paul alone. This shows that they had no superficial thoughts of the life to come, but that they were exceeding serious in the belief of it.

III. They knew these things so clearly that they made them the aim to which they directed all their desires and endeavours. This particle “for” sends our thoughts back to the words before, and gives us an account of that character which we there find of the Apostles of our Lord, who “looked not at the things which were seen, but at the things which were not seen.” They were so persuaded of this happy state hereafter that it was always in their eye. They slighted and trod upon all other things in compare with this. A great token of the sincerity of their belief; for otherwise they would not have been so foolish and unthrifty as not to have made some present temporal benefit of that great knowledge and power wherewith they were endowed.

IV. But more than this; they were so sure of this building of God in the heavens that they endured all sorts of miseries and pains in this life merely in expectation of it.

V. They were so sure of this that it seemed to them as if they had this house not made with hands in present possession. They speak as men that belong to two countries, and have estates in this and in another kingdom. Such men say, “We have a building.” Though they cannot dwell in both their houses at once, yet they call them both theirs. They had a right and title to it. They had good deeds and evidences to show for it, which proved that it was settled on them by the will and testament of Jesus Christ their Lord and Master, to which they had the witness of the Spirit in their hearts. They might challenge it as their own, and lay hold on eternal life, which words instruct us that we must work in this earthly house wherein we dwell. We are in a place of labour and not of idleness and sport. (Bp. Patrick.)

The nature of assurance and the way to attain it:

I. I am to open to you the beauty and propriety of the several metaphors here used.

II. I am now to show you the force of the apostle’s argument that the assurance of eternal glory is the best support under all temporal calamities. For this reason we faint not, for we know that if this earthly house of our tabernacle were dissolved we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 1. This assures the soul that all the afflictions of this mortal life are but light and transient, and when longest and heaviest, if once compared with that eternal weight of glory which succeeds them are as nothing. 2. During the present short space of suffering this assured hope of a blessed immortality revives and entertains the soul with the most delightful views of it. 3. This assurance contributes further to the support of the afflicted mind as it disposes it to a meek and quiet resignation to the will of God.

III. To make some general observations on the doctrine of assurance, which is founded on the words of the text. 1. I observe that an assurance of heaven is attainable in this life. 2. I would observe that it is not easily nor suddenly to be attained. It requires much labour, self-denial, and vigilance. 3. I would further observe that there is no small danger of mistaking in this matter. Mention some of those sources from which false assurance arises. (1) It is often the effect of wrong notions in religion, such as the Jews had, who must needs think themselves the favourites of heaven, because they were the children of Abraham. (2) A too sanguine and confident temper of mind often betrays men into these false hopes. (3) This false assurance often flows from gross ignorance, even when there is little or no bigotry or superstition in the case. Because, perhaps, they have done nobody any harm, and never committed those open immoralities which they see others to be guilty of. (4) Some suddenly attain good hopes of themselves through mere indolence and aversion to thought. They hope, but they do not know why, and are fully persuaded of they know not what. (5) That even infidelity is sometimes the means of inspiring men with false and confident hopes as to their future state. So that hence it appears that it is an easy thing to be mistaken in this matter. 4. I would observe that though this false assurance be very common it is very dangerous, and if continued in, of irreparable detriment. It is a dreadful thing to go down into the grave with a lie in the right hand. 5. We cannot be too careful in determining a matter which is in its consequences of so vast importance.

IV. To show in what manner we are to proceed in this affair, or how a right assurance of future happiness may be attained. 1. In order to a well-grounded assurance of future happiness there must be a well-informed conscience and a good understanding in the right way to salvation. In order therefore to a well-established hope of heaven there must be a right knowledge of the nature of that happiness which is to be there enjoyed, the proper qualifications for it, and how those qualifications are to be attained. 2. In order to establish our hopes of future bliss there must be a sincere renunciation and departing from all known sins, those that are more secret as well as those which are more open to the eye of the world. 3. To this must be joined the love and practice of universal righteousness, or a sincere and humble obedience to all the precepts of the gospel. 4. To attain unwavering hopes of immortal glory there must be a large and particular experience of the power of religion in the government of our passions and propensions. This goes a great way to establish our hopes. 5. To all this must be joined a lively and active faith. I shall now conclude all with two or three brief reflections. 1. Let it be well remembered that there may be a good and comfortable hope of heaven without a full assurance of it. 2. Let those who are of a more sanguine and confident temper learn hence to guard against a spirit of delusion. 3. Let us all then be persuaded to labour after it in the way now prescribed. (J. Mason, A.M.)

The good man’s present and future house:

I. The good man’s present house. The mind occupies the body. We “dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust.” 1. This house is earthly. (1) From the body returning to the earth, we see that it is composed of the same material. (2) It draws our spirit down to sublunary objects. 2. Movable. A tent can be easily taken down. 3. Decaying. The term “dissolve” means properly to dis-unite the parts of anything. 4. Exposed. It is situated in a locality where it is liable to the ravages of time and rough usage. 5. Inconvenient (ver. 2). How much of our attention it requires in order to ensure its preservation! It needs daily cleansing, repairs, and protection. Often is it giving us extreme anxiety, putting us to considerable expense, or causing us severe pain. 6. Inferior. Paul desired a better, i.e., a suitable habitation. He longed for the period when his vile body should be fashioned like unto Christ’s glorious body.

II. The good man’s future house. The redeemed soul’s final domicile will be the clay tenement in its changed and beautified condition (1 Cor. 15.). This will be—1. Superhuman. “A building of God, a house not made with hands.” Jehovah will be the architect of this future abode. Though built by the Almighty, the Christian’s present house decays as if it had been the work of some poor mortal. The latter, framed thoroughly by the Highest, will be more in harmony with the unchangeableness and excellence of our adorable Maker. 2. Eternal. The body the believer shall ultimately have will never be taken down by death. 3. Unexposed. Its site is to be “in the heavens.” There will be nothing to weaken it or mar its beauty. 4. Attractive. Hence the godly in every age have, like the apostle, longed to depart and be with Christ, which is far better. 5. One for which the saint is prepared (ver. 5). Every one that wishes to possess the building of God, must be meetened for it. 6. Assured (ver. 5). God sends forth the Holy Ghost to witness with the believer’s spirit that he shall finally have the better body. Conclusion, have you such a house in prospect? (Homilist.)

The earthly and the heavenly house:

I. The body is only the house of the soul. Note—1. What kind of a house? (1) It is only a lodging-house. The soul is not sent to dwell in it, but to sojourn in it, while on the way to another world. “We are strangers and sojourners, as all our fathers were.” (2) It is a weak house. The soul in the body is not lodged as in a tower or castle. (3) It is a house that is daily in danger. (a) It is in danger from without. There are storms to blow it down, and a very small blast will sometimes do it. (b) It is in danger from within. There are disorders to undermine the house. The seeds of diseases, when we know not, are digging like moles under the mud walls, and soon destroy the house. (4) It is a dark house. How many dangers come to the house from without which are never perceived by the eyes till they arrive. 2. The peculiarities of this house. (1) It is a curious house of brittle materials. (a) The body is a stupendous piece of workmanship, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” The very outworks of the house are admirable. Observe the wisdom of God in that beauty and majesty that are in the face, in the faculty of speech, &c. How God has put the eyes and the ears in the head as in their watch tower, that they may the better serve for seeing and hearing. Two arms to defend ourselves. These are the guardians of the house. Nay, there is not a hair, nor nail in the body, but has its use. But what is all this to the curiosity within? (b) But the more curious, the more easily marred. The greatest beauty is soonest tarnished. So we are exposed to the greatest danger by a small touch. (2) It is a house that needs reparation daily. Your meanest houses, once right, need nothing for a year. But this earthly house needs reparation daily. Hence eating and drinking are necessary, the house must be patched up with more mud daily. And some are so taken up with repairing the body that all the day they do nothing else. 3. Uses from this doctrine. (1) Prize your souls above your bodies, as you do the inhabitant above the house. (2) Make not your body a war house against heaven. (3) Take care of the house for the sake of its inhabitant. (4) Never ruin the inhabitant for the house. (5) Beware of defiling the house, seeing it has such a noble lodger. (6) Take heed to the door of the house. Let it be duly shut and be discreetly opened. Open your mouth with wisdom. (7) Take heed to the windows of the house. The soul got its death-wound at first by the eyes. (8) Provide in time for a better house. You must depart from this.

II. Man’s body is a tabernacle or tent for his soul. Paul was a tent-maker, and he takes a lesson of his frailty from what was among his hands, teaching us to do the same. It is so-called—1. Because it is easily taken down. Whatever force may be necessary to pull down a house, it is easy to pull down a tent. 2. A tent is a movable house, one that is carried from place to place. So while we are in the body, we are not come to the place of our rest or settled habitation. 3. Tents, though mean without, may be precious within. However mean outwardly the body be, it has a precious soul within, redeemed by the precious blood of Christ, capable of enjoying God for ever. 4. Uses of this doctrine. (1) We need not wonder at sudden death. It has often been seen that a tent has fallen down when not a hand touched it. (2) Let us lay our accounts with hardships while we are in the body. They that dwell in tents do not expect the ease and conveniences which a house affords. The ease is coming in the building of God. (3) Let us live like pilgrims and strangers who are quickly to remove. (4) Let us be preparing for an abiding mansion, and be careful to secure our title to it.

III. The earthly house of the tabernacle of our body well be dissolved by death. 1. In what respects is death a dissolution? (1) Death dissolves the union betwixt soul and body. (2) Death dissolves the body itself. (3) Death dissolves—(a) The vital flame that kept the body in life. (b) The communion betwixt the parts of the body. No more blood flows from the heart. No more spirits from the brain. Then all falls down together. The eyes see no more, and the ears hear no more. (c) The joints and bands with which the body was united. In the grave the strongest arms fall from the shoulder blade, and every bone lies by itself. (d) The most minute particles of the body, and though the bones last longer, yet they also moulder into dust at length. 2. This body shall be dissolved. (1) There is an unalterable statute of death under which men are concluded. “It is appointed unto men once to die.” (2) Daily observation tells us we must die. (3) All men consist of perishing materials. “Dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return.” (4) We have sinful souls, therefore dying bodies. The leprosy is in the wall of the house, therefore it must be pulled down. (5) We are hasting to a dissolution. “Our days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle. They are passed as the swift ships, as the eagle that hasteth to the prey.”

IV. When the tabernacle of the saints’ body is dissolved by death they have a house of glory in heaven ready for them. 1. It is a dwelling house, not a house in which to lodge, but to abide. 2. It is a royal house, a palace. “They shall enter into the king’s palace.” Christ calls His saints to a kingdom, and their house is suitable to their dignity. 3. It is a holy house, a temple. 4. It is a heavenly house. (1) It is situated in the better country, blessed with a perpetual spring, which yieldeth all things for necessity, conveniency, and delight. That land enjoys an everlasting day, “for there shall be no night there.” An eternal sunshine beautifies it. (2) As for the city, this house stands “in that great city, the holy Jerusalem,” a city which shall flourish when all the cities below are in ashes. A city that never changeth its inhabitants. Blessed with perfect peace, nothing from any quarter can ever annoy it. 5. It is a father’s house. 6. It is a spacious house. This clay body is a narrow house, where the soul is caged up for a time. But that house hath many mansions. 7. It is a most convenient house. Every saint shall find his own mansion prepared and furnished with every conveniency for him. O believer, art thou in poverty and straits? There is an incorruptible treasure in that house. Are you groaning under the tyranny of sin? There you shall walk in the glorious liberty of the sons of God. 8. It is a safe house. The gates “are not shut at all by day,” for there is no danger there. No unclean thing can enter it. 9. It is a glorious house. (1) The visible heavens are but the porch of the seat of the blessed. (2) It is the house in which the King’s son is to dwell with the bride for ever. (3) It was purchased at a vast expense, even the blood of the Son of God. (4) The indispensable necessity for washing and purifying, to fit persons for dwelling in the house, shows it to be glorious. 10. It is an everlasting house. It is eternal in the heavens. Conclusion—1. Behold and admire the happiness of the saints. 2. Seek a house now into which you may be received when your earthly house is dissolved. (T. Boston, D.D.)

The tent dissolved and the mansion entered:—My text begins with the word “For.” Paul’s mind was argumentative. If able to defy the present and rejoice in the future, he had a solid reason for so doing. I like an enthusiast who yet in his fervour does not lose his balance. Let the heart be like a fiery, high-mettled steed, curbed and managed by discretion. Consider—

I. The catastrophe which Paul saw to be very possible. “If our earthly house,” &c. He did not fear that he himself would be dissolved. He does not say, “If I were to be destroyed.” The “we” is all unharmed and unmoved. Many people are in a great fright about the future; but Paul regards the worst thing that could happen to him as nothing worse than the pulling down of a tent. 1. The apostle perceived that the body he lived in was frail in itself. Most likely he had a tent or two to repair lying near which suggested the language of the text. A tent is but a frail structure, and Paul felt that no great force would be required to overthrow it; it was like the tent which the Midianite saw in his dream, which only needed to be struck by a barley cake, and, lo! it lay along. A house of solid masonry needs a crowbar and a pick to start its stones. 2. Paul had many signs about him that his body would be dissolved. His many labours were telling upon him, and so were the cold, hunger, nakedness, and sickness he endured, and, besides, his tent might come down any day through the violence of his persecutors. Once he most touchingly spoke of himself as “such an one as Paul the Aged,” and aged men cannot get away from the consciousness that their body is failing. Certain crumbling portions warn the old man that the house is dilapidated; the thatch which has grown thin or blanched tells its tale. 3. Paul knew that so many others whom he had known and loved had already died, and he gathered from this that he would himself die. Our crowded cemeteries supply ten thousand arguments why each of us must expect to die in due time. Now this was all that Paul expected on the sad side, and truly it is not much. Certain Swiss peasants were feeding their flocks when they heard a rumbling up in the lofty Alps, and knew what it meant. In a brief space their fears were realised, for a tremendous mass of snow came rushing from above. What did it destroy? Only their old, crazy châlets. Every man was safe; the event was rather to them a matter which caused a Te Deum to be sung in the village church below than a subject for mourning. So the avalanche of death will fall, but it will only dissolve your earthly house. To-day we are like birds in the egg; death breaks the shell. Does the fledgling lament the dissolution of the shell?

II. The provision of which the apostle most surely knew. He knew that if his tent-dwelling was overthrown he would not be without a home. He did not expect to be in purgatory for the next thousand years, and then to leap from purgatory to Paradise. He had not even the thought of lying unconscious till the resurrection. He says not “we shall have” but “we have.” 1. What did the apostle mean? (1) That the moment his soul left its body it would at once enter into that house of which Jesus spoke in John 14:2. Do you want to know about that house? Read the Book of the Revelation and learn of its gates of pearl, &c. If after that you desire to know more take the advice given by John Bunyan, who bade his friend live a godly life, and go to heaven, and see for himself. (2) That in the fulness of time he would again be clothed upon with a body. At this present in this body we groan being burdened. We are “waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.” 2. How Paul could say he knew this. This enlightened century has produced an order of wise men who glory in their ignorance. How odd that a man should be proud of being an ignoramus, and yet that is the Latin for the Greek “Agnostic.” How different is our apostle! He says, “we know.” Whence came this confidence? (1) Paul knew that he had a Father, for he felt the spirit of sonship; he knew also that his Father had a house, and he was certain that if he lost the tent in which he lived he would be welcomed into his Father’s house above. How do our children know that they can come home to us? Did they learn that at school? No, but by their children’s instinct, just as chickens run under the mother-hen without needing to be trained. (2) He knew that he had an elder brother, and that this brother had gone before to see to the lodging of the younger brethren (John 14:2). (3) He thought of the Holy Ghost, who condescends to dwell in these mortal bodies, and, therefore, when we leave our earthly house He will leave it too, and as He has been our guest, in His turn He will be our host. (4) He knew that when he died there was a Paradise prepared, for he had been there already (chap. 12.). Remember that this is the place to which the Lord Jesus admitted the dying thief, “To-day shalt thou be with Me in Paradise.” (5) He knew that when this earthly tabernacle is dissolved there would be a new body for him, because Christ had risen from the dead. If Jesus be alive and in a place of rest He will never leave His own without house or home. There is such an attachment between Christ and the believer; yea, more, such a vital, indissoluble marriage union that separation is impossible.

III. The value of this knowledge to us. Secularists twit us with taking men’s minds away from the practical present that they may dream over a fancied future. We answer that the best help to live for the present is to live in prospect of the eternal future. Paul’s confident belief—1. Kept him from fainting. 2. Made his present trials seem very light, for he felt like a man who sojourns for a night at a poor inn, but puts up with it gladly because he hopes to be home on the morrow. 3. Transformed death from a demon into an angel; it was but the removal of a tottering tent that he might enter into a permanent palace. 4. Made him always calm and brave. Why should he be afraid of a man that could not do him harm? Even if his persecutor killed him he would do him a service. (C. H. Spurgeon.)

Views of life, death, and the future:

I. We have the views which Christianity teaches us to take of life. 1. The first view which it gives us, suggested by the text, is that life is a pilgrimage. The text speaks of “tabernacles,” tents; we are dwelling in tents. 2. A second view of life, in the text, is, that it is uncertain. 3. The third view which the apostle takes of life is that, even as to believers, it is a life of trouble and affliction. “We in this tabernacle do groan.” 4. But there is a fourth view of life of which the apostle takes, at least in the verses which immediately succeed the text. He teaches us that life is to be subordinated to one great end, so to please God as to have the testimony that we are accepted of Him. The highest heaven of a good man is to be accepted of God. Such are the views which Christianity teaches us to take of life.

II. We have the views which Christianity teaches us to form of death. Meditate on that word, “unclothed!” Death, then, is not the termination of our being. “Unclothed!” Then there is no cessation of consciousness. “Unclothed!” Then, of course, everything in the body which obstructs the operation of the mind must necessarily be removed. “Unclothed!” Then there is a change of place as well as condition. The connection of our spirits with the body renders us inhabitants of the earth. “Unclothed!” Then must we become conscious, by virtue of this unclothing, of the presence of those spirits who have undergone the same process before us, and have been unclothed like ourselves. We are not now at all conscious of the presence of disembodied spirits; they are, for the while, lost to us. “Unclothed!” but the import of this word is not yet exhausted; then must we become conscious at once, in a manner we cannot be on earth, of the presence of God. The body hides God from us, and prevents the immediate recognition of God by the spirit.

III. We have here the views which Christianity teaches us to form of the future permanent state of believers. (J. Walker, D.D.)

The present and future of believers:

I. The believer’s present state. 1. Temporary. To impress this the apostle compares the body to a house, composed of earthly materials, which must soon return again to its original element. The damps of infirmity and waters of affliction soon undermine the frail tenement. The figure of a house, however, is too stable a metaphor. Hence the body is called a mere tabernacle (Neh. 8). 2. Afflictive (ver. 2). Shall we illustrate it by an humble cottage buried in snow, whose inmates groan for deliverance? Or shall we take the fact that the atmosphere presses with a force of fourteen pounds on every square inch of surface? The tabernacle is oppressed, the weight is great, no man can remove it, or make his escape but with the loss of life itself. Though death cannot crush at once, he makes us feel his pressure. Ultimately it must succeed, but as the silver rises in the barometer by the pressure of the air, so the weight of affliction causes the believing soul to rise towards God. 3. A state of earnest longing and ardent hope—“In this we groan, earnestly desiring.” Grief is vocal, and from the heart soon finds its way to the lips. To groan, when oppressed, is natural, to desire heaven is supernatural. Here the believer stands distinguished from the vast masses of the creation which groaneth and travaileth in pain. It is a maxim among moralists that no man can desire evil for its own sake, which is just the sentiment of the apostle. We cannot desire death for its own sake; we cannot wish to be left naked, houseless, by the dissolution of the present tabernacle; but such are the happiness and glory found in the house not made with hands that we desire to exchange habitations. 4. One of certain knowledge, and Divine assurance of future glory (ver. 1). But whence does this knowledge arise? Not by intuition. The mind possesses a capability of knowing it, but nothing more. Not from the senses, for its subject is altogether supersensual. The Divine testimony of revealed truth is the foundation, the Holy Ghost is the great agent, and faith the appointed instrument of this knowledge.

II. His intermediate state. 1. It is a state of simple abstract being. The apostle speaks of no new house, tabernacle, or clothing; but of a complete divestment of all, in being “naked” and “unclothed.” He speaks of the understanding, conscience, memory, imagination, will, and affections being laid naked and open before God, and the whole invisible world, while all the inhabitants thereof are equally laid open to the view of the soul when divested of mortality. 2. It is a state of conscious existence. Is it possible that insensibility can reign in the direct presence of Christ, who is the life and fountain of all knowledge and happiness? Was not Abraham conscious in Paradise when he replied to the rich man? 3. It is a state in which trial and probation are ended. An impassable gulf was fixed between good and bad spirits, according to the testimony of Abraham, as recorded by Luke. 4. It is a state of imperfection in relation to knowledge, the corporeal powers, and the manifestation of future glory.

III. His final and eternal state. What is the house not made with hands? Is it a material covering or vehicle into which the soul enters on its departure from the body? This notion was entertained by Plato and his followers, but stands opposed to our text, which speaks of the soul “being naked and unclothed.” Besides, if a material covering be meant, the apostle says it must be eternal. It would therefore exclude the resurrection of the body. Neither can the house not made with hands mean the ethereal heavens, including sun, moon, and stars, they as well as the earthly house, pass away. The “heavens,” therefore, must mean the abode of God—the glorious city of the New Jerusalem. But mark that the “house” is not said to be the heavens, but a fabric in the heavens—viz., the resurrection body. We are now prepared to observe that the final and eternal state of the believer will be a state of—1. Restitution. If we have lost by the sin and apostasy of the first Adam, we gain more by the death, resurrection, reign, and faithfulness of Jesus, the second Adam. 2. A state of reward. 3. A state of pure unmixed life. “Not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.” (D. McAfee.)

The changeable and the permanent:

I. All things sublunary are changeable. 1. God has condemned this world to dissolution (Heb. 1:10, 11). The individual house or tabernacle must be dissolved. Our fathers, where are they? “It is appointed for man once to die.” Neither wealth, temperance, nor medicine can protect the frail tabernacle from dissolution. 2. All our enjoyments are liable to the same change. They stand on two insecure legs, insufficiency and uncertainty. 3. It never was God’s design that this clay tabernacle should stand for ever. What a mercy it is for Christians that they are mortal (John 17:24).

II. Heavenly things are permanent and eternal. 1. The building itself is eternal; the leprosy of sin has never affected its walls; no curse hangs over the New Jerusalem. Adam was expelled from Paradise, and the Jews were expelled from an earthly Canaan; but the redeemed shall never be expelled from heaven. “I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out.” 2. The perfections of heaven are eternal also, entire exemption from all sin. What does the proud man think of this? Is it a blessing to be humble? What does the covetous man think of this? Is it a blessing to be delivered from the bondage of a greedy disposition? Good men, in proportion to their being good men, love that heaven because there is no pride, envy, malignity, temptation.

III. The Christian duty of earnestly desiring the heavenly state. 1. A calm and settled conviction of its existence. “We know!” 2. A deep sense of our need of it (ver. 2). 3. The exercise of walking in the road that leads to it. Conclusion—1. We must all die, our tents must be struck soon. The man who loves this world will not be pleased at this conclusion, but the Christian man will be delighted at it. 2. The believers’ best days are yet to come. There is an eternal house which the Saviour has gone to prepare. (A. Waugh, D.D.)

Tent and building:

I. So my text mainly sets before us very strikingly the Christian certitude as to the final future. The clear, broad distinction between me and my physical frame. There is no more connection, says Paul, between us and the organisation in which we at present dwell than there is between a man and the house that he inhabits. The foolish senses crown Death and call him Lord; but the Christian’s certitude firmly draws the line, and declares that the man, the whole personality, is undisturbed by anything that befalls his residence; and that he may pass unimpaired from one to another, being in both the self-same person. Then, again, note, as part of the elements of this Christian certitude, the blessed thought that a body is part of the perfection of manhood. No mere dim, ghostly future, where consciousness somehow persists, without environment or tools to act upon an outer world. To dwell naked, as the apostle says in the context, is a thing from which man shudderingly recoils, and it is not to be his final fate. And now, if we turn to the characteristics of the two conditions with which my text deals, we get some familiar yet great and strengthening thoughts. The “earthly house of this tabernacle is dissolved,” or, more correctly, retaining the metaphor of the house, is to be pulled down, and in its place there comes a building of God, “a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” The first outstanding difference which arises before the apostle is the contrast between the fragile dwelling-place, with its thin canvas, its bending poles, its certain removal some day, and the permanence of that which is not a “tent,” but a “building,” which is “eternal.” Involved in that is the thought that all the limitations and weaknesses which are necessarily associated with the perishableness of the present abode are at an end for ever. No more fatigue, no more working beyond the measure of power, no more need for recuperation. And the other contrast is no less glorious and wonderful. “The earthly house of this tent” does not merely define the composition, but also the whole relations and capacities of that to which it refers. The “tent” is “earthly,” not merely because, to use a kindred metaphor, it is a “building of clay,” but because, by all its capacities, it belongs to, corresponds with, and is fit ed only for, this lower order of things, the seen and the perishable. And, on the other hand, the “mansion” is in “the heavens,” even whilst the future tenant is a nomad in his tent. That is so, because the power which can create that future abode is “in the heavens.” It is so in order to express the absolute security in which it is kept for those who shall one day enter upon it. And it is so, further, to express the order of things with which it brings its dwellers into contact. “Flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God; neither does corruption inherit incorruption.” Let no man say that such ideas of a possible future bodily frame are altogether inconsistent with all that we know of the limitations and characteristics of what we call matter. “There is one flesh of beasts and another of birds,” says Paul. Do you know so fully all the possibilities of creation as that you are warranted in asserting that such a thing as a body which is the fit organ of the spirit, and is incorruptible, like the heavens in which it dwells, is an impossibility? The teaching of my text and its context casts great light on what the resurrection of the dead means. We have heard grand platitudes about “the scattered dust being gathered from the four winds of heaven,” and so on; but the teaching of my text is that resurrection does not mean the assuming again of the body that is left behind and done with, but the reinvestiture of the man with another body. It is a house “in the heavens.” We leave “the tent”; we enter the “building.” There is nothing here of some germ of immortality being somehow extricated from the ruins, and fostered into glorious growth. Or, to take another metaphor of the context, we strip off the garment and are naked, and then we are clothed with another garment and are not found naked. The resurrection of the dead is the clothing of the spirit with the house which is from heaven. And there is as much difference between the two habitations as there is between the grim, solid architecture of northern peoples, amidst snow and ice—needed to resist the blasts, and to keep the life within in an ungenial climate—and the light, graceful dwellings of those who walk in an atmosphere of perpetual sunshine in the tropics. Therefore let us, whilst we grope in the dark here, and live in a narrow hovel in a back street, look forward to the time when we shall dwell on the sunny heights in the great pavilion which God prepares for them that love Him.

II. And now note again how we come to this certitude. My text is very significantly followed by a “for,” which gives the reason of the knowledge in a very remarkable manner. “We know … for in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house, which is from heaven.” Now that singular collocation of ideas may be set forth thus—whatever longing there is in a Christian, God-inspired soul, that longing is a prophecy of its own fulfilment. We know that there is a house, because of the yearning, which is deepest and strongest when we are nearest God. “Delight thyself in the Lord, and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” Of course such longing, such aspiration and revulsion are no proofs of a fact except there be some fact which changes them from mere vague desires, and makes these solid certainties. And such a fact we have in that which is the only proof that the world has received, of the persistence of life through death, and the continuance of personal identity unchanged by the grave, and that is the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. And let no man take exception to the apostle’s word here, “we know,” or tell us that “Knowledge is of the things we see.” That is true and not true. It is true in regard of what arrogates to itself the name of science. If it is meant to assert that we are less sure of the love of God, of immortality than we are of the existence of this piece of wood, or that flame of gas; then I humbly venture to say that there is another region of facts than those which are appreciable by sense; that the evidence upon which we rest our certitude of immortal blessedness is quite as valid as anything that can be produced, in the nature of evidence, for the things around us.

III. Lastly, note what this certitude does. The apostle tells us, by the “for” which lies at the beginning of my text, and makes it a reason for something that has preceded. And what has preceded is this, “We look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen.” That is to say, such a joyous, calm certitude draws men’s thoughts away from this shabby and transitory present, and fixes them on the solemn majesties of that eternal future. Yes! and nothing else will. And we shall not let our thoughts willingly go out thither unless our own personal well-being there is very sure to us. And such a certitude will also make a man willing to accept the else unwelcome necessity of leaving the tent, and for awhile doing without the mansion. (A. Maclaren, D.D.)

Heaven anticipated:—Note—

I. The appropriate description given us of the human body—“the earthly house of this tabernacle.” Notice 1. Its material origin. It is “earthly.” How mysterious and complicated soever may be the machinery of the human frame, it is, after all, a composition of earthly materials. 2. Its use. It is a “house.” Every house is built by some man, but He that built this house is God. 3. Its temporary existence. 4. Its ultimate dissolution.

II. The assurance the apostle indulged. 1. It is a building of God. (1) God the Father is the efficient cause or architect of this building. Abraham “looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” (2) The procuring and meritorious cause of this building is Jesus the Mediator. “I go to prepare a place for you.” (3) It is a building worthy of God. 2. It is permanent, “eternal in the heavens.” All other buildings are weak and precarious. “In Thy presence is fulness of joy, at Thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” 3. Where this building is situated. “In the heavens.” The inspired writers invariably speak of it as a place of ineffable blessedness and unspeakable glory. If permitted to arrive there, we shall be ready to exclaim, as the Queen of Sheba did when she beheld Solomon’s wisdom and prosperity, “Behold the half was not told me.”

III. The grounds on which this assurance rested. 1. The testimony of God’s word (chap. 4:13). 2. The consciousness which he himself had of being the subject of Divine grace (ver. 5). Conclusion—Let us learn from this subject—1. To be habitually entertaining thoughts about death and another world. 2. The unspeakable value of the gospel. “Life and immortality are brought to light by the gospel.” (Essex Congregational Remembrancer.)

Dissolution no injury:—Cicero tells of a prisoner who had always lived in prison; he had never once seen the outer world. And so when he had become an old man, and they began for some reason or other to pull down the walls of his prison, he broke into bitter lamentings because they would destroy the little window through whose bars he had got the only bit of light that had ever gladdened his eyes. He did not understand that the falling of the walls would let him into a broad, bright world, would open to him the wide glories of sun and sky and summer. And so when we see the body sinking in ruinous decay it seems as if we were about to lose everything, forgetting that the senses are but the dim windows of the soul, and that when the body of our humiliation is gone the walls of our prison-house are gone, and a new world of infinite light and beauty and liberty bursts upon us. (W. L. Watkinson.)

A larger house:—Passing by a house a short time since I noticed the intimation, “This House to Let.” “How is this? Is the former tenant dead?” I asked. “Oh, no, sir,” said the caretaker; “he has removed to a larger house in a better situation.” Even thus, as we look upon the clay tenement in which some loved Christian friend has dwelt, we answer, “No, he is not dead, but removed into the enduring house in ‘the better country,’ where the ‘better resurrection’ is, and where eternal life is.” (Henry Varley.)

Christian knowledge concerning the future body of the good:—The Christian knows that:—

I. It will be better than the present. 1. It will be directly Divine. “A building of God.” The present body is from God, but it comes from Him through secondary instrumentalities. The future body will come direct, it will not be transmitted from sire to son. 2. It will be fitted for a higher sphere—“In the heavens.” The present body is fitted for the earthly sphere. 3. It will be more enduring, “eternal.” 4. It will be more enjoyable.

II. He is now being divinely fitted for the better body of the future (ver. 5). (D. Thomas, D.D.)

Not made with hands:—Is there anything “not made with hands”? Then there is something apart from manufactures. Some of you live in what you call the manufacturing districts. Now what do your manufactures amount to? But we have been proud of our hand-making. Within given limits that is perfectly proper. The prosperity of the world is due in no small measure to the work of the hands. And yet we are now face to face with something—is it home, church, mankind, temple, heaven?—something that hands have never touched. I must therefore get you to live elsewhere as well as in the manufacturing districts. Why, you do that in part already. I would press your logic to further issues. You do not live in the factory. Oh, you say, we live a mile or two out. Why? That we may have some little whiff of nature, some fresh air, some tolerable breathing space. Now that is not all. I want you to get a little further out under larger skies, to breathe fresher air, to see fairer downs. After all, what have the hands made? They have made nothing worth speaking about. Did the hands build the temple? No, except in a very narrow and literal sense of the term. Who built the temple? The man who thought it, the man who drew it, the man who saw it in aërial lines before he put pen or pencil to paper. He made the temple. The hands, they were mere hired servants. They would have pulled the temple down quite as easily and quite as readily. There is another very remarkable expression in Mark 9:3: “As no fuller on earth can white them.” Then there is something above art as certainly as there is something above manufactures? Now ask the fuller to look at his work, and at this work on Tabor. Fuller, didst thou wash this robe on Tabor? No, no. Why not? Why, it was washed with lightning, it was cleansed in heaven, it was dipped in the fountains of eternity. No fuller on earth can white like that. So be it. “Not made with hands.” Manufactures? No. “No fuller on earth can white them.” The arts? No. What is left then? Nature. Is that so? Be careful. Admissions will be turned against us presently. So this brings us to a third remarkable expression (Acts 26:13), “Above the brightness of the sun.” Then nature goes. What radiance is this? We thought the sun was bright. We used to say of that old glory, “He puts the fire out.” He blinds our little lamps. 1. Now this is exactly so with regard, for example, to character, saintly, holy, beauteous, inspired character. It is of a whiteness such as no fuller on earth can make it. Why, there be many fullers who are trying to whiten the world; rare fullers, costly fullers, energetic, fussy, busy fullers, but they get no further on. They are moralists, they lecture upon moral philosophy. There be many whitening fullers, persons who say that on such and such conditions they will renovate you. They will make new men of you if you will sign a vow, undergo a discipline, subject yourselves to certain scheduled operations, each coming in its own proper time, then at the end all will be well. Oh, poor fuller! What doth this great Christ do? He washes us in blood, and when we stand up from that catharism, the Fuller says, “No fuller on earth can white it like that.” If you despise a saint, you have never seen one. A saint is holy. Why, He would not have any fuller on earth touch our souls. He only who made the soul can touch it, redeem it and work that wondrous miracle of washing white by cleansing with blood. Your character is not what it is on the outside. Your character is the quality of your soul, your motive, your purpose, your innermost self, and no fuller on earth can put that through any process of cleansing. “This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvellous in our eyes.” 2. It is the same with inspiration. It is not made with hands. What have I seen you do again and again? Have I not seen you searching for inspiration as if it were in black ink and in printer’s letters? Yes, I have. We must get away if we can from these people to whom everything is valuable in proportion as it is handmade. Why, the literalist never read the Bible. It was only when he left his literalism and began to touch the higherisms that want names, found in heaven, rightly to express their intent, that he came upon revelation. He said, “This book told me all that ever I did, then it must be inspired.” It is not made with hands. 3. And so with Divine hope. It is a light above the brightness of the sun. It is Christ’s hope. He did not stop at the Cross. He endured the Cross, despising the shame. Why? Because onward, far away on the horizon line there lay a light that meant immortality and glory inevitable. And what is the practical application of this? It needs but few words to express it. We must go from the things made with hands to the things hands cannot touch. Here are the lilies, Christ says. “We have seen the lilies, we have touched the lilies.” “Have you?” “Yes.” Then consider them. “Why?” Because your Father in heaven clothed them and made Solomon ashamed of himself in all his pomp, and if He clothed the lilies He will not leave you naked. And we must live the supernatural life. That is the hard part of it. “Not made with hands.” “No fuller on earth can white like this.” Sun, there is a light above thee. Until we get to these conceptions and exactions we shall be living a very poor life. I am tired of houses made with hands. I have seen it all. Yes, I am tired of this fuller’s work. It becomes dingy and poor in my eyes. And I get tired of nature. There is no monotony like the monotony of sunshine. (J. Parker, D.D.)[14]

Image 1: a new, permanent dwelling (5:1)

It is not necessary to think, as some scholars do, that Paul now believed he would die before the Lord’s coming. We note that the Christian’s death is here stated conditionally (if) not absolutely (‘when’). In the apostle’s mind the return of the Lord may well precede his death. The emphasis of the verse is, rather, to contrast the inferior, impermanent, present mode of existence (literally ‘our earthly tent-house’) with the superior, permanent mode of our coming existence (a building from God, an eternal house in heaven).

The likening of death to the dismantling of a tent is understandable, given that the apostle was an itinerant leather-worker who, among other things, made and repaired tents. Human life is indeed like a ‘tent’, being both temporary and vulnerable. The new dwelling, however, is eternal and from God (verse 1). That it is not built by human hands suggests that we are to think of it as a temple. Jesus used these words to describe the temple of his risen body. Significantly, when one house is pulled down we have another, though different, house; death does not mean homelessness. The tent-house will be succeeded by the heavenly house. There will be continuity between this mode of life and the next. Harris suggests that the force of we have (present tense) means immediacy of possession of the new once the old is finished. The loss of the one is followed directly by the ownership of the other, superior, dwelling.

To our minds this present existence is solid and real, whereas our coming existence seems shadowy and insubstantial. Paul teaches us that the reverse is true. The life which is to come is strong, permanent and real; the present life is lived among the shadows.[15]

1. In many ways this verse is the interpretive crux for the whole passage. How one interprets it determines to a large extent how one understands the verses that follow. In seeking to understand this verse, it is important to recognize that the word for (gar) indicates that what follows is closely related to what precedes (i.e. the light and momentary troubles which are achieving for us an eternal weight of glory).

For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed. Paul does not use here the usual word for tent (skēnē) which is found extensively in the lxx (366 times) and twenty times in the New Testament. Rather, he uses an unusual word, skēnos, which is found only once in the lxx (Wis 9:15) where it is used figuratively to refer to the human body, and it is also used in this manner in the papyri. Skēnos is found only twice in the New Testament (here and in v. 4), and its use in the lxx and the papyri strongly suggests that it should be understood here also to refer to the human body. This is confirmed by the overall context of 4:16–5:10, where Paul is concerned with the effects of persecution and suffering. We may conclude that in the first part of the verse, then, he is referring to the final outcome of such a process, that is, the destruction of the body in death.

While the earthly tent may be destroyed, Paul is certain that when this happens we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands. While most scholars agree that the destruction of the earthly tent refers to the death of the body, there is no agreement about the meaning of a building from God … not built by human hands. Some have suggested it is temple imagery and recalls the accusations made at Jesus’ trial: ‘We heard him say, “I will destroy this temple made with human hands and in three days will build another, not made with hands” ’ (Mark 14:58). Thereupon it is argued that it refers to a heavenly temple, understood either as the church in heaven, or heaven itself as the dwelling-place of God in which Christians find their eternal habitation. However, such suggestions fail to take account of the fact that Jesus’ accusers misunderstood the thrust of his statement, for, as the fourth Gospel points out, ‘the temple he had spoken of was his body’ (John 2:21). The building made without hands was in this case the resurrected body of Jesus himself.

Others interpret the building from God … not built by human hands as a reference to Jesus’ resurrection body understood corporately, so that those who believe in him share in it now. But while it is true that we have is in the present tense, it must be remembered that it is part of a conditional sentence (if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have …) which puts the ‘having’ of the building from God into future time in relation to the destruction of the earthly tent. So it is not the resurrected body of Christ presently in heaven nor believers’ sharing in it now that Paul had in mind.

An important factor in determining Paul’s meaning is the parallelism existing in this verse. What is earthly and threatened with destruction in verse 1a is to be replaced by something corresponding to it which is heavenly and eternal in verse 1b. If the tent which forms our earthly dwelling denotes the physical body of the believer, it is reasonable to regard the building from God as a reference to another body, the resurrection body of the believer. By referring to the resurrection body as a building, Paul may be emphasizing its permanence, as compared with the impermanence of the present body he refers to as a tent.

There is a parallel passage in Romans, a letter written shortly after 2 Corinthians, which lends support to this view. Romans 8:18–24 also deals with the subject of the suffering experienced by believers, comparing it with the glory to be revealed to them. In that passage what the believer looks forward to at the revelation of this glory is the redemption of the body (v. 23), clearly a reference to the resurrection body of the believer. Seeing that this passage in Romans treats a similar subject to that dealt with in 2 Corinthians 4:16–5:10, and seeing that Romans was written just a short time after 2 Corinthians, it is reasonable to interpret verse 1b in the light of Romans 8:23 and so conclude that the building from God … not built by human hands refers to the resurrection body promised to the believer.

One important matter this verse raises is the implication of Paul’s statement that if the earthly tent is destroyed, we have a building from God in the heavens: that is, is he emphasizing the permanency and the immediacy of having a resurrection body should we die? He is certainly stressing its permanency (an eternal house), but it is questionable whether he is implying it will be immediate (i.e. that at death we will immediately receive the resurrection body), for this would imply that the universal resurrection which has not yet arrived is somehow already being experienced by deceased believers. The matter of the intermediate state of those who die before the parousia is left open at this stage.[16]

Ver. 1.—For. A further explanation of the hope expressed in ch. 4:17. We know. This accent of certainty is found only in the Christian writers. Our earthly house. Not the “house of clay” (Job 4:19), but the house which serves us as the home of our souls on earth; as in 1 Cor. 15:40. Of this tabernacle; literally, the house of the tent; i.e. the tent of our mortality, the mortal body. In 2 Pet. 1:13, 14 it is called skenoma, and the expression, “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us,” is literally, “he tabernacled among us”—he wore “a tent like ours and of the same material.” The figure would be specially natural to one whose occupation was that of a tentmaker. Compare—

“Here in the body pent,

Afar from him I roam,

But nightly pitch my wandering tent

A day’s march nearer home.”

A very similar expression occurs in Wisd. 9:15, “The earthly tabernacle (γεῶδες σκῆνος) weigheth down the mind.” Be dissolved; rather, be taken to pieces. A building. Something more substantial than that moving tenement. Of God; literally, from God; namely, not one of the “many mansions” spoken of in John 14:2, but the resurrection-body furnished to us by him. We have this building from God, for it exists now, and shall be ours at the same time that our tent-home is done away with. Not made with hands. Not like those tent-dwellings at which St. Paul was daily toiling with the hands which ministered to his own necessities. In the heavens. To be joined with “we have.” Heaven is our general home and country (Heb. 11:16), but the present allusion is to the glorified bodies in which our souls shall live in heaven (comp. 1 Cor. 15:42–49).[17]

5:1 For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God. Paul’s thought transitions naturally from hardships in ministry (4:7–15) to the inevitable ebbing of physical strength (4:16–18) to the final demise of physical life (5:1–5). Verses 1–5 amplify the temporaryversus-eternal theme of 4:18, while also augmenting the rationale for not losing heart of 4:16: even if our suffering leads to death, we have an enduring and transformed physical existence promised by God. If the clay jar image of 4:7 emphasized the fragility and low value of the container compared to its precious content, the image of a tent in this verse depicts our present physicality as temporary and easily dismantled compared to the eternal building that awaits (cf. Isa. 38:12; 2 Pet. 1:13–14). The present tense, “we have a building,” should be interpreted not as indicating the immediacy of a renewed physicality upon death but as emphasizing the certainty of this transformed existence. Paul has already told the Corinthians that this coming transformation will occur at Christ’s return (1 Cor. 15:50–54), and he is not retracting that teaching here.[18]

5:1 / Paul commences the first section (vv. 1–5) with a statement that substantiates the idea in 4:17–18, that the expected heavenly glory far outweighs the momentary troubles on earth. At first, the first person plural (we) seems to refer not just to Paul but to believers in general, thus introducing a generally accepted, traditional Christian conviction (we know); however, the previous context always uses “we know” of the apostle’s personal knowledge, albeit a knowledge that has implications for the Corinthians (cf. 1:7; 4:13b–14). Therefore, if 4:7ff. has already been using the first person plural to refer exclusively to Paul, it seems reasonable to assume continuance here, although the apostle’s experience and hope are here, as often elsewhere, prototypical for all believers.

Yet how does Paul “know” that he has an eternal house in heaven? Is the source of his knowledge exclusively Jewish and/or Christian tradition? Or, has he received a special revelation? In answering these questions, it is well to remember that in 2 Corinthians Paul claims to have personal experience with the heavenly realm. As we have seen, the apostle refers to his Moses-like encounter with the throne-chariot of God (2:14) and his speech in the presence of God (2:17). He has seen the glory of God in the face of Christ (4:6), and he has been caught up to the third heaven or paradise (12:2–4). Yet, as we would expect, his own personal experience is often expressed in terms of traditional expectations.

The contrast here is between a transient tent and a permanent house, just as the tabernacle was to the temple (cf. 2 Sam. 7:2, 5–7). Paul knows that if his earthly tent (i.e., his mortal body) is destroyed, he has an eternal house in heaven. The present tense we have suggests that Paul already has the heavenly house in some sense, but that he occupies it sometime after death. This corresponds to the idea in verse 5 of the Spirit as a “deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” In other words, just as Paul already has possession of the guarantee that promises full payment at a specific time in the future, so also he already has the eternal house prepared for him in heaven (cf. John 14:2; 2 Bar. 48:6; 5Q15). This thinking is typical of Paul’s notion of the “already” and the “not yet.” It is likely, therefore, that the “eternal house” is not referring to a continued bodily existence in heaven but rather to a kind of heavenly dwelling that is different from the individual’s resurrection body. According to 1 Corinthians 15:23, 52, the spiritual body is received at the Parousia—unless, of course, Paul’s thinking has undergone significant development since the writing of that passage (so M. Thrall). Furthermore, 2 Corinthians 5:8 contrasts being away from the earthly body with being “at home with the Lord,” rather than with receiving a new body.

The expression that Paul uses for his mortal body is not just the earthly tent (niv) but rather “our earthly house of the tent.” The language is drawn from 1 Chronicles 9:23 lxx, which refers to the tabernacle as “the house of the tent” (cf. also 1 Chron. 6:17 lxx). Just as the tabernacle was the temporary dwelling of God from the time of the wilderness wanderings and until the building of a permanent temple in Jerusalem, so also Paul’s mortal body is merely temporary. In 1 Corinthians 6:19 Paul refers to the body as “the temple of the Holy Spirit within you.” It may also be significant for Paul’s metaphor that the glory of God filled the tabernacle (Exod. 40:34–35), for Paul is arguing in context for internal criteria for evaluating his apostleship.

The eternal house in heaven is not built by human hands. This term occurs elsewhere in connection with the temple (cf. Mark 14:58). The contrast here is between what humans make and what God makes (cf. Acts 7:48; 17:24). In Jewish tradition, the eschatological temple will be built either by God himself (Jub. 1:17; cf. 1:27; 11QTemple 29.8–10; Sib. Or. 5:420–425) or by his Messiah (Tg.Isa. 53:5). The Qumran community evidently understood itself as a sort of interim, spiritual temple, a “sanctuary of men,” until the eschatological temple could be built (cf. 4QFlor 1.2–7). Very likely, Mark 14:58 reflects a similar idea of a spiritual temple composed of Jesus and his followers. According to Matthew 12:6, Jesus says, possibly referring to himself, “Something greater than the temple is here” (cf. 12:41–42; Luke 11:31–32; John 2:19–21). Hence, when Paul refers to a house not made with hands, he evidently looks beyond believers as the present temple of the living God (2 Cor. 6:16) to the corresponding heavenly reality (cf. Gal. 4:26–27). The word oikos, house, is frequently used of the temple of God (cf. 1 Kgs. 7:31; Matt. 21:13; Mark 11:17; Luke 19:46; John 2:16; Acts 7:47, 49). Moreover, eternal house (oikos aiōnios; Heb. bēth ʿôlāmîm) is a common name for the (Solomonic!) temple in Jerusalem (e.g., Josephus, Ant. 8.107; Gen. Rab. 54:4; 99:1; Num. Rab. 9:26, 32, 42; 10:24; b. Yoma 44a, 53a, 67b; b. Sukka 5b; b. Soṭa 16a; b. Mak. 12a).

Paul evidently knows the heavenly temple through his prior merkabah experience (cf. T. Levi 3:4: the Great Glory dwells in the holy of holies in the third heaven). The fact that he holds open the possibility of an out-of-body experience during his ascent to the third heaven (cf. 2 Cor. 12:2–4) shows how he may have conceived of a bodiless existence in heaven before the resurrection at the Parousia.[19]

1 The initial “For” points to the explanation this verse will provide for the implications of the previous two verses, with which it is closely connected. In those verses Paul had referred to the eschatological dualism between this age and the coming age, hinged on the general resurrection (4:14). Paul concluded these contrasts by the antitheses “what is seen [is] temporary” and “what is not seen [is] permanent.” This dualism is now picked up in the antithesis “our earthly tent-house” (corresponding with “what is seen … temporary”) and “a dwelling from God, a house made without hands, eternal in the heavens” (corresponding with “what is not seen … eternal”).

The strong confidence of hope characterizing the entire passage (4:16–5:10) may be seen in the firmly expressed resumptive, “for we know that …,” which echoes, “therefore we do not lose heart” (4:16), and anticipates, “therefore we are always confident” (v. 6).

This is a conditional sentence (“If our earthly9 tent-house is pulled down”11), whose fulfillment, however, is certain (“we have building from God …”). The conditional element applies to whether or not the believer will die before the general resurrection (4:14), not to the possession of “a house … eternal in the heavens,” which is assured.

This condition dictates a two-part structure to the sentence, each part giving expression to an aspect of the controlling antithesis. The contrasts are between (1) a “house” that is “earthly … tent”like and a “building from God” that is “eternal in the heavens,” and between (2) the former, which is “pulled down,” and the latter, which “we have.”

What did Paul mean by “a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens”? The contrast with the “earthly house” in the first part of the verse indicates that it must be a heavenly “house.” When read alongside the nearby 4:14, it appears that it is a resurrected “house.” The “clothed upon” and “swallowed up by life” imagery (vv. 2–4), when read alongside 1 Cor 15:53–54, leaves little doubt that this “house” is the individual’s resurrection body.

When the tent-house is pulled down in death, we—each of us—will have from God a “house not made with hands,” that is, a new body. This, certainly, was Paul’s understanding, as he expresses it elsewhere, “the Lord Jesus Christ … will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorified body” (Phil 3:21).

Does this “we have” (present tense) point to (1) the fact of having, (2) the permanency of having, or (3) the immediacy of having in the event that death should occur prior to the Parousia. In our view Paul is thinking of the fact and the permanency of having,19 rather than the immediacy of the having. To be sure, immediacy of “having” may be implied by his “for … longing to be clothed upon” in the following verse. Nonetheless, immediacy would raise the whole matter of the body (“the intermediate state”) between death and the general resurrection, which he does not discuss here.

Since the general resurrection has not yet come, it follows that Paul’s “we have” is the language of hope. It is certain hope, yet it remains hope; it is yet to be fulfilled (v. 6; cf. 3:12; 4:14). We walk by faith, not by sight (see on v. 7).

It seems unlikely that the personal, death-related eschatology, as set out in this verse, would have been new to the Corinthians, who had been taught about the believers’ resurrection at the return of Christ (1 Cor 15:12–57). It is equally unlikely that Paul is here developing a new eschatology. Despite some opinion to the contrary, there are several reasons for affirming this point of view. First, the words “we know that” imply that the apostle is rehearsing a doctrine that had been taught, with which his readers would have been familiar, rather than something new.22 Second, Paul has already—a few verses earlier—acknowledged his belief in the general resurrection (4:14; cf. 1:9–10). Third, the tension between the now-deceased believer and the as yet unarrived universal resurrection is not new to this verse, but is faced in the Thessalonian letters (1 Thess 4:13; 2 Thess 2:1ff.). Fourth, 1 and 2 Corinthians have a number of keywords in common. In both passages we find the word “unclothed,” “earthly” as opposed to “heavenly” existence, and the mortality and death of the present age being, respectively, “clothed” and “swallowed up.” The recurrent use of such words, carrying similar meanings in the two letters, is evidence that Paul’s teaching on the character of the Christian hope is fundamentally unchanged.

Death, the grim reaper, leaves none unharvested (except, of course, those who are alive at the Parousia). Everyone—believers included and with no exceptions—faces his inexorable scythe. But, thanks be to God, the believer, confident of the certainty of Christ’s resurrection as founded on the apostolic word, “knows” that beyond death lies the sure prospect of “a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens,” which “we have.” The God who raised his Son from the dead will raise us also (4:14).[20]

1 Apparently for the first time in his apostolic career Paul reckons seriously with the possibility—now a probability—of his death before the return of Christ. Previously, to judge by 1 Thessalonians 4:15, 17 and 1 Corinthians 15:51, he had expected to be among those Christians living when Christ returned. But now, as a result of his recent devastating encounter with death in Asia (2 Co 1:8–11), he realized that he was likely to die before the Parousia, though he always entertained the hope of survival until the advent (see Php 3:20–21).

As a leatherworker (skēnopoios, GK 5010) whose trade included the making and repairing of tents (Ac 18:3), Paul naturally likened his present body to an “earthly tent” (cf. vv. 2, 4) that might at any moment be dismantled or destroyed. This would simply mark the termination of the process of weakness and decay already at work in his body (4:16). But this possibility did not daunt him, for he was the assured recipient of a permanent heavenly house—the spiritual body provided by God (see Notes).[21]

The Next Body Is the Best

For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. (5:1)

The “eternal weight of glory” Paul described in 4:17 includes a new body. That truth was of great comfort to the apostle, whose physical body had been so mercilessly battered by the effects of the Fall, personal sin, hardships, illness, the rigors of life, and persecution that he longed for his incorruptible, immortal resurrection body.

Paul’s confident assertion for we know indicates that believers’ glorified bodies are not a remote possibility or a vague wish. They are a fixed reality, a settled fact based on the promise of God (Rom. 8:18, 23; 1 Cor. 15:35–49; Phil. 3:21), not philosophical speculation or mystical fantasy.

Paul wrote if instead of “when” because, though he was ready to die, he did not see his death as inevitable. He viewed the return of Jesus Christ as imminent and believed it was possible for him to live until the Lord returned. That was his deepest desire, as his use of the plural pronoun “we”in passages describing the Rapture indicates. In 1 Corinthians 15:51 he wrote, “Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed.” To the Thessalonians he wrote,

For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. (1 Thess. 4:15–17)

If he could not live until the Rapture, Paul preferred “to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord” (2 Cor. 5:8). He expressed that same truth to the Philippians when he wrote of his “desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better” (Phil. 1:23). Remaining on in the flesh was only his third choice.

The phrase if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down refers metaphorically to death (cf. Isa. 38:12). As a tentmaker himself (Acts 18:3), Paul chose to use the analogy of an earthly tent (the physical body) to describe the soul’s temporary house in this world (cf. 2 Peter 1:13–14). Speaking of the incarnation of Christ, the apostle John used the verb skēnoō, (lit., “to live in a tent”) to depict the eternal God coming into the world and taking a human body (John 1:14). A tent is an apt metaphor for the human body, which is a temporary home for the eternal souls of those whose real home is in heaven (Phil. 3:20) and who are aliens and strangers in this world (Gen. 47:9; 1 Chron. 29:15; Ps. 119:19; Heb. 11:13; 1 Peter 1:1, 17; 2:11). Just as the tabernacle of Israel’s wanderings in the wilderness was replaced with a permanent building when Israel entered the Promised Land, so the temporary tent in which believers now dwell will be replaced one day in heaven with an eternal, imperishable body (1 Cor. 15:42, 53–54).

After death dismantles believers’ earthly tent, they have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. A building suggests something on a solid foundation that is fixed, secure, and permanent. Since it replaced his earthly tent (his physical body), the building from God Paul referred to must be his glorified body, which he would receive after “He who raised the Lord Jesus … raise[d him] also with Jesus” (2 Cor. 4:14).

In Romans, written shortly after 2 Corinthians, Paul expressed the same longing for his glorified resurrection body:

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? (Rom. 8:18–24)

The entire created universe, subjected to futility by the Fall, will one day “be set free from its slavery to corruption” (v. 21). In that glorious and longed-for day, writes Paul, believers will experience “the redemption of our body” (v. 23).

Paul longed for his glorified body not primarily because it would be free of physical weakness, blemishes, and defects, but because it would be free of sin. The tent of the body is sin’s home, causing Paul to lament, “I am of flesh, sold into bondage to sin” (Rom. 7:14); “sin … dwells in me” (Rom. 7:17, 20); “evil is present in me” (Rom. 7:21); and “Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?” (Rom. 7:24). The apostle longed to serve, worship, and praise God in absolute purity, freed from the restrictions of his fallen, sinful flesh. That is the best feature of resurrection reality.

Paul further described the glorified, resurrection body as a house not made with hands. It is not a procreated, physical body. Referring to Jesus’ words in John 2:19, the false witnesses at His trial said, “We heard Him say, ‘I will destroy this temple made with hands, and in three days I will build another made without hands’ ” (Mark 14:58). They misconstrued those words as a reference to Herod’s temple, but in reality Jesus “was speaking of the temple of His body” (John 2:21)—that is, His resurrection body. Paul used the same phrase in Colossians 2:11 when he wrote, “you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ.” But perhaps the most definitive use of the phrase not made with hands is in Hebrews 9:11: “But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation.” That verse equates not made with hands with “not of this creation.” It therefore refers to what is spiritual, transcendent, and eternal, not to what is earthly, physical, and temporal.

Paul gave the most detailed description of believers’ resurrection body in 1 Corinthians 15:36–49. He wrote that section of his epistle in reply to those who asked, “How are the dead raised? And with what kind of body do they come?” (v. 35). Paul answered that question in four ways.

First, he gave an illustration from nature in verses 36–38:

You fool! That which you sow does not come to life unless it dies; and that which you sow, you do not sow the body which is to be, but a bare grain, perhaps of wheat or of something else. But God gives it a body just as He wished, and to each of the seeds a body of its own.

There is no way to extrapolate from the plain, simple, ugly appearance of a seed the magnificent glory of the flower, tree, or plant that will grow out of its death. So also the glory of believers’ immortal, resurrection bodies cannot be imagined from our perishing, physical bodies.

Second, Paul gave a series of comparisons in verses 39–42a:

All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one flesh of men, and another flesh of beasts, and another flesh of birds, and another of fish. There are also heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is one, and the glory of the earthly is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory. So also is the resurrection of the dead.

Just as the bodies of men, beasts, birds, fish, heavenly bodies, and earthly bodies differ from each other, so also will the resurrection body differ radically from the physical body.

Third, Paul listed a series of contrasts in verses 42b–44:

It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.

The physical body is perishable, sinful, and weak. In contrast, the resurrection body is imperishable, free of sin, and powerful.

Finally, Paul gave the prototype of believers’ resurrection bodies in verses 45–49:

So also it is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living soul.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual. The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven. As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly. Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly.

Just as they have physical bodies like Adam’s, so believers will one day have glorified bodies like Christ’s. To the Philippians Paul wrote, “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory, by the exertion of the power that He has even to subject all things to Himself” (Phil. 3:20–21). The apostle John wrote, “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is” (1 John 3:2).[22]


[1] Easley, K. H. (2017). 2 Corinthians. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1844). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

[2] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2005). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (p. 1678). Orlando, FL; Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries.

[3] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (2 Co 5:1). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[4] Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 2229). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

[5] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (2 Co 5:1). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[6] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 1500). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

[7] Hunt, D. L. (2010). The Second Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians. In R. N. Wilkin (Ed.), The Grace New Testament Commentary (pp. 784–785). Denton, TX: Grace Evangelical Society.

[8] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (pp. 1837–1838). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[9] Lowery, D. K. (1985). 2 Corinthians. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2, p. 565). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

[10] Woodall, D. L. (2014). 2 Corinthians. In M. A. Rydelnik & M. Vanlaningham (Eds.), The moody bible commentary (p. 1814). Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.

[11] Pratt, R. L., Jr. (2000). I & II Corinthians (Vol. 7, pp. 352–353). Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

[12] Utley, R. J. (2002). Paul’s Letters to a Troubled Church: I and II Corinthians (Vol. Volume 6, pp. 236–237). Marshall, TX: Bible Lessons International.

[13] Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Second Epistle to the Corinthians (Vol. 19, pp. 166–170). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.

[14] Exell, J. S. (n.d.). The Biblical Illustrator: Second Corinthians (pp. 212–222). New York; Chicago; Toronto: Fleming H. Revell Company.

[15] Barnett, P. (1988). The message of 2 Corinthians: power in weakness (p. 98). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[16] Kruse, C. G. (2015). 2 Corinthians: An Introduction and Commentary. (E. J. Schnabel, Ed.) (Second edition, Vol. 8, pp. 154–156). Nottingham, England: Inter-Varsity Press.

[17] Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1909). 2 Corinthians (p. 119). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.

[18] Hubbard, M. V. (2017). 2 Corinthians. (M. L. Strauss, Ed.) (p. 76). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books: A Division of Baker Publishing Group.

[19] Scott, J. M. (2011). 2 Corinthians (pp. 109–111). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[20] Barnett, P. (1997). The Second Epistle to the Corinthians (pp. 256–260). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

[21] Harris, M. J. (2008). 2 Corinthians. In T. Longman III &. Garland, David E. (Ed.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Romans–Galatians (Revised Edition) (Vol. 11, pp. 473–474). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[22] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2003). 2 Corinthians (pp. 161–165). Chicago: Moody Publishers.

Knowledge and Wisdom — Daily Devotionals by Thoughts about God

But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure and full of quiet gentleness. Then it is peace-loving and courteous. It allows discussion and is willing to yield to others; it is full of mercy and good deeds. It is wholehearted and straightforward and sincere” James 3:17

Donkeys laden with books,” a phrase in rabbinical literature, is descriptive of those who know much but still remain fools.

Another expression says that “knowledge is power.” True, but how is the knowledge used – beneficially or malevolently? That is a vitally important question. We have more knowledge than ever before, but a few would claim that we have more wisdom.

Going faster and faster, we may be still going astray. Just as grapes are not picked from a bramble bush, neither can the good life be harvested from sowing wild oats.

For a nation of people, many of whom are “educated beyond their intelligence,” as an anonymous wit once observed, America sorely lacks a sufficiency of men with real wisdom – that which is given by the Lord Himself.

In our modern education, we seem to be preoccupied with the accumulation of knowledge, to the neglect of that wisdom which alone can save us from the misuse of knowledge.

William Lyon Phelps, famous English professor at Yale University and a godly statesman, once said, “If I could choose between a knowledge of the Bible and a college education, I would readily choose the knowledge of the Bible.

If we lack wisdom, God’s wisdom, we need only ask of Him and He will grant it when we ask in faith, according to His promise in James 1:5.

Bible Reading: James 3:13-18

In order to live a supernatural life I’ll look for divine wisdom from the proper source – God, His Word, and His indwelling Holy Spirit.

By Dr. Bill Bright
Used by Permission


Further Reading

•  Wisdom and Knowledge of God
•  Get Wise
•  Salvation Explained

Knowledge and Wisdom — Daily Devotionals by Thoughts about God

Wisdom from God — Daily Devotionals by Thoughts about God

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him” James 1:5

Are you currently facing a decision? Unsure of what to do? Have you garnered advice from others only to be confused by the conflicting accounts? Do you feel like you’ll never know what to do and will have to make a choice without counsel? Perhaps you’re even afraid you’ll make the wrong decision and suffer the consequences of it.

We can be certain that although humans may not have all the answers – our Heavenly Father speaks to us, his children, to guide us in his will.

In fact, James tells us that God will give us wisdom if we ask — he does not say maybe or hopefully God will give it to us. Perhaps he will hear. No, it’s a request that will be granted.

We don’t have to worry or wonder if God will respond or not. God has promised that he will grant us wisdom — and God cannot break a promise. Isn’t that exciting? We don’t have to spend our days worrying about whether or not we will know what decision to make. God imparts wisdom to us when we ask, and he will let us know what decision we should make based upon his perfect wisdom. He will guide us as we bring our decision to him in faith.

So if you’re sitting at your table, on your bed, or at your desk at work feeling burdened with worry and fear of the future, pause. Know this: God will guide you. You need only to ask him for wisdom. Be determined to obey, then trust and wait.

Dear Lord, help me trust in your promise and wait for the wisdom you have promised to give to me. Deliver me from worry and anxiety as I wait.

Spend time in prayer concerning the issue you are facing. Ask friends, family, and church members to pray for this decision as well

By Ashlea Massie
Used by Permission


Further Reading

•  A Little Self-Control Goes A Long Way
•  Life’s Lessons can Come from Unexpected Places
•  Salvation Explained

Wisdom from God — Daily Devotionals by Thoughts about God

October 3 Afternoon Quotes of The Day

Hardly Sure of Anything except the Bible
Psalm 119:160; Matthew 24:35; John 17:17

After having sought for truth, with some diligence, for half a century, I am, at this day, hardly sure of anything but what I learn from the Bible.

JOHN WESLEY*

Ritzema, E. (Ed.). (2012). 300 Quotations for Preachers. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

Relaxation Consists in Playful Words and Deeds
Exodus 23:12; Leviticus 23:3; Deuteronomy 5:14; Hebrews 4:9–10

Relaxation of the mind from work consists in playful words or deeds. Therefore it becomes a wise and virtuous man to have recourse to such things at times.

THOMAS AQUINAS*

Ritzema, E., & Brant, R. (Eds.). (2013). 300 quotations for preachers from the Medieval church. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

Why Is a Biblically Sound View of Eternity So Essential? | Jonathan Brentner

In his devotional, New Morning Mercies, Paul David wrote this,

“You see, a sound biblical doctrine of the future is the only way to arrive at a sound biblical understanding of the present. If there is a final glorious destination for all God’s children, then this time is not a destination, but a preparation for a final destination.”

In other words, we need a true Bible-based perspective of our future beyond this life in order to understand our journey through it. Without such a Scripture-based forward look to the paradise that awaits us, we often err by making this life our destination and eternity but an afterthought.

In his book Desire, author John Eldredge quoted physicist Blaise Pascal as saying, “Our imagination so powerfully magnifies time, by continual reflections upon it, and so diminishes eternity…for want of reflection…we make a nothing of eternity and an eternity of nothing.”[i]

We all struggle with this at times, do we not? It’s so easy to value what we see above our future destination, that of imperishable bodies, reigning with Jesus, and a spectacular eternal state. When we lose sight of these things, we also lose a biblical understanding of our lives this side of eternity.

So, why is a biblically sound doctrine of eternity so essential for our everyday lives?

  1. It Focuses Our Hope Exclusively on Jesus’ Appearing

The Rapture has become a source of much mocking today, and unfortunately, such ridicule often comes from those within the church. However, the New Testament teaches that Jesus is coming for His church before the Second Coming and before the start of the Tribulation period.

As such, Jesus’ appearing is our imminent expectation as it was for the early believers. Paul summed up this eager anticipation in Philippians 3:20-21, “But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.” The word for “await” depicts a heightened eagerness and attentiveness for a future event.

Our hope rests totally in Jesus’ appearing to take us to the place He’s preparing for us (John 14:1-3; Colossians 3:4). We live in biblical times; this is the season of His return for us.

Yet, the most popular teachings of our day deny this biblically sound understanding of our imminent hope in one of two ways. First, many pastors tell us that life will return to normal; the world has seen times like this before in its history and recovered. “Today is no different than previous periods of chaos and evil,” they say.

A second popular misconception unduly exalts the church, making it the shelter for the current storm rather than the Lord Jesus. Most in this camp make the unbiblical claim that the church itself will bring in the millennium with Jesus returning at its conclusion.

Some teach a more subtle form of dominion theology, yet equally errant, by directing the hopes of believers to eventual triumph of the church before the eternal state. The church thus triumphs even though there is not a millennium.

Please know that in such a time as this, our hope must rest in Christ alone. All the teachings that deny the imminent appearing of Jesus for His church exalt what we can see above what’s invisible, and in so doing, take our focus away from Jesus.

  1. It Assures Us that the Lord Will Punish the Wickedness We See

Perhaps the biggest frustration of our day is that evil, vile people appear to enjoy much success while those who hope in the Savior face increasing persecution and opposition. Those who kill Christians, or those that enable them to do so, seem to have all the power at the moment.

The Bible tells us not to fret over the success of wicked people because, in the end, God will judge them (Psalm 37:7-15). The Old Testament depicts the horrors of the day of the Lord in which the entire earth will feel the impact of God’s wrath (Isaiah 13:9-13; Zephaniah 1:14-19). The book of Revelation adds details to this coming time of judgment upon the earth in chapters 6-18.

“If hell is real, and it is,” one might ask, “why is it necessary for the Lord to deal with sinners in this life? Why is the seven-year Tribulation a necessity if God will surely deal with sinners at the White Throne judgment?”

I believe the Lord will display His wrath in such a way for the following reasons:

First, the Tribulation will give God an opportunity to display His glory. After He destroys the powers in the Gog-Magog alliance, He will declare, “And I will set my glory among the nations, and all the nations shall see my judgment that I have executed, and my hand that I have laid on them” (Ezekiel 39:21). Those now seeking to destroy our way of life will see a full demonstration of His power and sovereignty ahead of their ultimate destruction. They will witness the Lord’s glory firsthand.

Second, His judgments during this time will give sinners one last chance to call upon the Lord (Revelation 9:20-21). Though most people will continue in their rejection of the Savior, the Bible tells us that a great multitude will turn to Him and find eternal life (Revelation 6:9-11; 7:9-17).

Third, the wrath of the day of the Lord will give the world a visual representation of His justice. The Lord’s direct and unmistakable intervention in human history during the Tribulation will demonstrate His intent to judge all those who reject the Savior and His provision of eternal life.

  1. It Adds Context to Our Lives Via Reign with Jesus

For those of us securely in Christ, our future millennial reign with Him provides a context into which we can place personal tragedies and other experiences during our short-lived journey this side of eternity.

Much like it might have been for Joseph, bound in chains and headed for a life of slavery in Egypt, it’s difficult to see beyond the trials and many disappointments in our lives. However, just as the Lord used hardship and injustice to prepare Joseph for his rule alongside Pharaoh and preserve His chosen people, so the Lord blends together our struggles, talents, gifts, hardships, and experiences to prepare us to reign with Him during the thousand-year period we refer to as the Millennium.

Yes, trials come to test us, enable spiritual growth, and provide us with opportunities to serve others in the body of Christ. However, I believe the Lord is also preparing us for our future role in His glorious kingdom.

At this point, you might also ask, “Why is the millennium necessary? Could He not accomplish the exact same purposes in the eternal state?” These are good questions; however, I believe the Millennium is a biblical necessity because:

  1. It will vindicate the holiness of God before all the nations of the world (Ezekiel 36:22-23; 39:25-29; Zephaniah 3:14-20).
  2. It will demonstrate that the Lord is a covenant and promise keeper. At the start of the Millennium, He will restore the fortunes of Israel just as promised throughout the Old Testament.
  3. It will further glorify Jesus as the Father exalts the Son to rule over the earth, the very place of His rejection and great suffering (Psalm 2; Daniel 7:13-14).
  4. It will prove the innate sinfulness of humanity. After one thousand years of perfect conditions on the earth and the rule of a righteous Sovereign, a multitude will rise up against Jesus (Revelation 20:7-10). This will decisively remove the excuse that it’s the environment that causes people to reject the Savior.

Together, the Tribulation and Millennial rule of Jesus will leave sinners with absolutely no justification for their rejection of the Lord.

  1. It Tells of Our Glorious Destination in Eternity

Jesus’ reign will continue for all eternity. Revelation 21 and 22 add the final touches to our ultimate hope, that of dwelling forever in the New Jerusalem and newly reformed earth and heavens. At this time, the words of Revelation 21:4 will apply for us and for everyone God brings with us to this brighter shore:

“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

Paradise is a real, physical place. Life in eternity will be exponentially better than even our best and most favorable experiences in this life.

The New Jerusalem will exceed even the grandest of expectations or the most fanciful images of our imagination. Do not let anyone deceive you into thinking that the New Jerusalem merely represents a future symbol of God’s presence on earth, as some teach today. Such false teaching rips the heart of all biblical expectations of eternity for both Old and New Testament saints (see Hebrews 11:13-16; 12:22-24).

Jesus is preparing a dwelling place for us in His Father’s house (John 14:2-3). The words Jesus chose for this promise depict a physical “place” in which we will dwell in our glorified bodies.

Jesus is Our Hope

Jesus is the sum total of our hope in today’s lawless and wicked world.

Some say things in the world will return to normal. However, apart from God’s direct intervention, it will be impossible to stop the momentum of the globalists that control many governments (including the U.S. President) as well as all avenues of communication and justice. The Lord will utterly destroy their kingdom, but that will not happen until the end of the Tribulation.

Those who deny the reality of the Rapture and Jesus’ future reign on the earth often direct our attention to the church as our hope. But how can we have confidence in an institution that’s so awash today in false teaching, errant views of the Gospel, and all-out compromise with the wickedness of this world?

The New Testament points us to Jesus as our hope (read 1 John 3:1-3).

The Bible gives a picture of eternity that breathes hope into our lives and brings peace amid the turmoil of this life. As the collision of this world with the seven-year Tribulation looms ever so close, it’s essential that we focus on Jesus’ imminent appearing.

Normal is not coming back; Jesus is!

Jonathan Brentner

Website: Our Journey Home

Please consider signing up for my newsletter on my website. Thanks!

E-mail: Jonathanbrentner@yahoo.com

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[i] John Eldredge, Desire (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2007), p.110.

Source: Why Is a Biblically Sound View of Eternity So Essential?

3 Oct 2021 News Briefing

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“Panic Buying” – A Rush To Hoard
This is a potential game-changer for energy markets and is likely to kick off a panic buying spree such as we saw in toilet paper and other household items in the early days of the pandemic and even more recently in the UK’s ongoing supply chain crisis.

Nigerian pastor murdered in machete attack was known for Christian charity, working to foster peace with Muslims
A Muslim mob in northern Nigeria’s Kano state hacked to death a church leader and burned down his home, church and a Christian school to avenge the murder of a woman allegedly committed by a young man falsely believed to be a Christian convert, according to reports.

Tropical Cyclone “Shaheen-Gulab” heading toward landfall in Oman
Tropical Cyclone “Shaheen-Gulab” is expected to make landfall in northern Oman late October 3 or early October 4, 2021 (UTC), with maximum sustained winds near 130 km/h (80 mph). The cyclone formed from the remnants of Tropical Cyclone “Gulab” at 21:00 on September 30.

Deep M7.3 earthquake hits Vanuatu – Fiji region
A very strong earthquake registered by the USGS as M7.3 hit the Vanuatu – Fiji region at 06:29 UTC on October 2, 2021, at a depth of 536 km (333 miles). EMSC is reporting M7.2 at a depth of 531 km (329 miles).

Report: Mask Mandates Correlate With GREATER COVID Spread/Death
Perhaps a clue is that the politicians who insist on instituting mask mandates are shown, repeatedly, to not be too fond of actually wearing masks themselves. But whether they know better or just believe they are better, here’s reality: At best, mask mandates do nothing to reduce society-level coronavirus spread. At worst, they lead to greater COVID-19 transmission and death.

UK To Deploy Reserve Tanker Fleet And Military To Ease Energy Crisis
Gas stations in English metro areas are running dry after six days of buying panic worsened shortages caused by insufficient truck drivers. For days, the UK government has contemplated the use of military truck drivers to replenish gas stations. Now there’s word the government’s reserve tanker fleet will be operational on Wednesday afternoon, and military truck drivers will be coming online in days.

EVIDENCE: Covid plandemic was being schemed at least as far back as 9/11
At first glance, it would appear as though the Wuhan coronavirus (Covid-19) first appeared in late 2019, right around the time when billionaire eugenicist Bill Gates held his Event 201 plandemic exercise. The reality, though, is that the saga dates back to the time of 9/11 when George W. Bush was still in the White House.

Israel doubles down on Covid booster shots as breakthrough cases rise
Israeli lawmakers are keen to avoid another lockdown after overseeing one of the world’s fastest vaccination drives. New daily coronavirus infections, however, have just climbed to record levels.

Hospitals Are Murdering People 
I couldn’t think of a more proper title for this post than “hospitals are murdering people”, because, many believe they are.

Afghan rescue workers say there are 10 times more Americans trapped than Biden claims
According to volunteers working to evacuate Americans from Afghanistan, there are roughly ten times more people trapped than the Biden administration is leading on.

BEAST RISING: California Passes Vaccine Mandates For School Kids As Perfect Match For Their ‘Daily Pass’ Portal Installed By Microsoft Back In March
I grew up across the river from New York City, and would eventually attend school there, and I used to loved to walk the streets and people watch. Among my favorites to observe were the out of town tourists who attempted in vain to beat the hucksters at the ‘shell game’. I never did see someone able to outwit the con artists who were the absolute master of the ‘now you see it, now you don’t’ bait and switch.

Dutch Greenhouses Go Dark As Energy Crisis Worsens; Food Inflation Fears Mount For Europe 
Soaring European gas and electricity prices are getting worse by the day, forcing a vast network of Dutch glasshouses, the largest on the continent, to limit output or go entirely dark, according to Bloomberg. This could have a devastating impact on food supplies and boost prices ahead of the holiday season.

Russia Becomes First Country To Ban Scientology As A “Threat To National Security”
Follows Russia’s decades-long war against the group, which Moscow has dubbed a “business masquerading as a religion”…

Source: https://www.raptureready.com/2021/10/03/3-oct-2021/

(VIDEO) Whoopi Goldberg rips LeBron James: Promote the vaccine or shut up about everything else you preachPosted: 03 Oct 2021 06:27 AM PDT(OPINION) Whoopi Goldberg took a swipe at NBA superstar LeBron James during Thursday’s broadcast of “The View,” demanding that he speak up in support for COVID-19 vaccines — or stop pushing his own agenda in the future.James, who is vaccinated, has said that he believes getting vaccinated is a person’s individual choice and should not be influenced by anything else. In a recent interview, James said, “Everyone has their own choice to do what they feel is right for themselves and their family and things of that nature.Continue reading (VIDEO) Whoopi Goldberg rips LeBron James: Promote the vaccine or shut up about everything else you preach at End Time Headlines.
China has sent 77 warplanes into Taiwan defense zone over the past 48 hoursPosted: 03 Oct 2021 06:11 AM PDTTaiwan has reported a record number of incursions by Chinese warplanes into its air defense identification zone (ADIZ) for the second day in a row, Taiwan’s Ministry of National Defense said on Saturday night.According to CNN, The self-governing island said a total of 39 Chinese military aircraft entered the ADIZ on Saturday, one more than the 38 planes it spotted on Friday. The 38 and 39 planes respectively are the highest number of incursions Taiwan has reported in a day since it began publicly reporting such activities last year.Continue reading China has sent 77 warplanes into Taiwan defense zone over the past 48 hours at End Time Headlines.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman warns that “War with Israel already started”Posted: 03 Oct 2021 05:55 AM PDT“The war with Israel has already started,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh told Maariv. “Israel has carried out attacks that were intended to destroy our nuclear program for peaceful purposes.According to a report from the Jerusalem Post, It murdered nuclear scientists and harmed the Iranian people. Iran is accused of terrorism, but there is no good or bad terrorist. The whole crisis in the region is Israel’s fault.” Khatibzadeh later claimed that Israel had “done everything” to thwart the nuclear talks in Vienna and to cause conflict between Iran and the world powers.Continue reading Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman warns that “War with Israel already started” at End Time Headlines.
Supply chain crisis could blow world economy off course; creating the ‘Perfect storm’…Posted: 03 Oct 2021 05:49 AM PDTIt was all going so well. Successful vaccination programs were driving the post-pandemic recovery of the global economy, stock markets were back at record highs, and prices were rising just enough to make deflation fears a thing of the past.But a supply crunch that initially put a question mark over the availability of luxury cars or whether there would be enough PlayStations under our Christmas trees is instead morphing into a full-blown crisis featuring a shortage of energy, labor, and transport from Liverpool to Los Angeles, and from Qingdao to Queensland.Continue reading Supply chain crisis could blow world economy off course; creating the ‘Perfect storm’… at End Time Headlines.
PROPHECY WATCH: Erdogan says Turkey is looking at further defence steps with RussiaPosted: 02 Oct 2021 01:31 PM PDTTurkey is considering more joint defense industry steps with Russia including for fighter jets and submarines, President Tayyip Erdogan said after talks with President Vladimir Putin, despite a U.S. warning of further sanctions.On the return flight to Turkey from the talks, Erdogan told reporters he also proposed working with Russia on construction of two more nuclear power plants, and Putin suggested developing platforms for space rocket launches, broadcaster NTV reported.NATO member Turkey’s 2019 purchase of Russian S-400 missile defense batteries prompted Washington to cancel the sale of U.S.Continue reading PROPHECY WATCH: Erdogan says Turkey is looking at further defence steps with Russia at End Time Headlines.
DEVELOPING: Volcano alert level in Italy raised to Yellow, last eruption took place in 1890Posted: 02 Oct 2021 01:22 PM PDTSignificant changes in various monitored parameters at Vulcano volcano in Italy over the past several weeks prompted the country’s Civil Protection Department to raise the Volcano Alert Level to Yellow on October 1, 2021.The last eruption of this volcano took place in 1890 (VEI 3). During the summer of 2021, and particularly from September, the Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV) monitoring systems highlighted changes in geophysical and geochemical signals recorded at Vulcano, in particular those linked to the activity of the hydrothermal system that feeds the fumaroles of the Fossa crater.Continue reading DEVELOPING: Volcano alert level in Italy raised to Yellow, last eruption took place in 1890 at End Time Headlines.

The Six Corporations that Own (Almost) ALL Media | | Web FX

In modern America, it feels like you have an unlimited variety of entertainment and media options right at your fingertips.

Television, film, and video game companies seem to come out of the woodwork in today’s startup-centric economy. Who knows what they’ll do next? But while it may seem like you have limitless options, most of the media you consume is owned by one of six companies. These six media companies are known as The Big 6.

While independent media outlets still exist (and there are a lot of them), the major outlets are almost all owned by these six conglomerates. To be clear, “media” in this context does not refer just to news outlets — it refers to any medium that controls the distribution of information. So here, “media” includes 24-hour news stations, newspapers, publishing houses, Internet utilities, and even video game developers.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at each of The Big 6, who control them, and what they own.

Media Conglomerate #1: National Amusements

Unless you’re directly involved in business and / or entertainment, you’ve probably never heard of National Amusements before.

The company owns movie theaters throughout the world — about 950 total — but it owns much more than just movie theaters.

NA’s huge collection of properties is staggering. Whether they own a company entirely, possess majority shares, or even own minority voting shares, the scope of NA’s reach is enormous for a company that’s known less than its subsidiaries.

To start our look at NA, let’s check out one of the biggest names in modern business — Sumner Redstone.

Head: Sumner Redstone

Sumner Redstone is the current owner of National Amusements and all of its properties. While his daughter Shari has the title of President, Sumner Redstone retains most of the control over the company.

NA was first founded by Sumner Redstone’s father Michael Redstone, making National Amusements one of the most powerful and successful corporate dynasties in the United States.

None of the Redstones publish their salaries. After all, National Amusements is a private company.

However, finance experts can guess at Sumner Redstone’s overall net worth.

His net worth refers to the total financial value of what Sumner Redstone owns, minus any outstanding debts.

As he nears his 94th birthday in 2017, Sumner Redstone (and his estate) is worth an estimated $4.6 billion, according to Forbes.While a decent amount of that value comes from his stake in National Amusements, much more of it comes from the companies that he owns.

TV and Film Assets

The most famous assets of National Amusements are almost all Viacom and CBS properties.

Combined, they make up the lion’s share of NA’s television and film acquisitions.Still, that’s only a portion of what NA owns.

Print Assets

National Amusements has a modest collection of print publishers, but they’re pretty well-known.

The most well-known is Simon and Schuster, which National Amusements acquired when it purchased Viacom in 1999.

Video Game Assets

Along with other entertainment assets, National Amusements controls CBS Games.

Since its acquisition, CBS Games has rebranded to CBS Interactive, which now controls well-known gaming websites that we’ll look at next.

Internet Assets

With CBS Interactive, National Amusements controls giant chunks of the video game news and sports news industries.

These brands include GameSpot, Metacritic, c|net, and 247-Sports.

Media Conglomerate #2: Disney

Disney is probably the most well-known media name on this list.

The company has a hand in just about every medium in the world from children’s cinema to sports.

When it comes to television and film, there’s a good chance you’re watching something owned by the Disney company — even if it doesn’t have Disney’s name.

Why?

They own so, so much.

Let’s start with the company’s leader.

Head: Bob Iger

Disney announced Bob Iger as CEO on March 13, 2005, following the departure of Michael Eisner.

Since then, Iger has run a campaign of mergers and acquisitions to expand Disney into an even greater media powerhouse, especially with the acquisition of Marvel ($4 billion) and Lucasfilm ($4 billion).

His published salary is $44.9 million. That breaks down to:

  • $1.73 million per paycheck
  • $172,692.32 per day
  • $21,586.54 per hour

Why does Iger make so much money?

He (technically) oversees all of the following companies.

TV and Film Assets

First, let’s look at the bread and butter of Disney — television, and film.

Considering they have theme parks built to their entertainment assets, it’s clear that Disney is best known for its TV and film properties.

There are so many different companies that you really just have to see it for yourself.

Print Assets

Disney’s print assets are a mix of proprietary publishers, Lucasfilm acquisitions, and Marvel properties.

The mix gives Disney a controlling interest in massive publishing niches, especially comic books, and science fiction novels.

Disney also owns ESPN, which has its own publishing arm for all things sports.

Video Game Assets

Finally, Disney owns a few video game assets.

They’re not huge, but they’re enough to keep Disney mildly competitive and up-to-date in the video game industry (especially mobile gaming).

GameStar, a subsidiary of Disney Interactive Studios, is one of the best-known video game developers bought by Disney.

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Media Conglomerate #3: TimeWarner

At the time of publication (11/7/16), it’s possible that ATandT will soon buy TimeWarner for around $80 billion.

If that happens, ATandT will acquire everything below and more.

In the meantime, let’s take a more in-depth look at TimeWarner and what it owns.

Head: Jeff Bewkes

Jeff Bewkes is the CEO of TimeWarner. He makes $32.5 million per year.

That works out to:

  • $1.25 million per paycheck
  • $125,000 per workday
  • $15,625 per hour

So why does one American earn the make as much money as Micronesia in a year?

As the head of TimeWarner, he’s responsible for all of the following companies.

TV and Film Assets

TimeWarner owns an incredible amount of television and film properties.

The most famous is probably Warner Brothers Animation Studios, which owns properties like Looney Tunes.

Along with that, TimeWarner has joint ventures in The CW and Hulu, along with ultra-niche TV programming for medical waiting rooms.

TimeWarner has also played a big role in comic book adaptations into movies, most notably with Batman.

Last, TimeWarner’s HBO branch achieved global renown with its runaway fantasy drama Game of Thrones, an adaptation of George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire.

Needless to say, TimeWarner’s television and film branches — including joint ventures like Hulu and CW — are doing pretty well these days.

Print Assets

On top of its incredible TV and movies, TimeWarner also controls several big-name print assets, including TIME (obviously).

Investments

TimeWarner has one of the most diverse investment portfolios of any media company.

Their investments act as controlling interests in lots of companies, some of which aren’t related to media.

But no matter what they are, each investment gives TimeWarner a stronger foothold in media.

Video Game Assets

As the owner of DC Comics, Looney Tunes, and tons of other fictional characters, it makes sense that TimeWarner owns a list of accomplished video game studios.

The most well-known is probably NetherRealm, which owns and publishes the controversial (and popular) Mortal Kombat series.

They also own Rocksteady, which is responsible for many of the latest Batman games.

Music Assets

TimeWarner doesn’t own a lot in music, but they have enough to ensure musical support for their other properties.

WaterTower Music might be the better-known business of the two enterprises, but Warner Music Group is still an essential part of the TimeWarner brand.

Internet Assets

Finally, TimeWarner is the first company on our list that also acts as an Internet service provider.

TimeWarner Cable is a major ISP in the United States, and it regularly competes with Comcast.

While its reputation differs from person to person, TimeWarner Cable is wildly profitable, and it’s become a major pillar of TimeWarner’s success.

Media Conglomerate #4: Comcast

Comcast is one of the few remaining Internet service providers in the United States. They also provide cable television and phone services to residential and business customers.

In 2013, Comcast expanded its reach into entertainment by purchasing NBC and pretty much all of its properties.

While most people know NBC as just a television station, it also has major stakes in media companies around the world.

That makes Comcast a major contender in global media, especially in the United States.

Head: Brian L. Roberts

Brian L. Roberts became President of Comcast in 1990, back when the company only earned $657 million in annual revenue.

That may sound like a ridiculous figure to use with the term “only,” but under Roberts’ leadership, the company now earns $74.5 billion annually.

As a result, Roberts is compensated well. He earns $40.8 million per year, which works out to:

  • $1.57 million per paycheck
  • $156,923.04 per workday
  • $19,615.38 per hour

That salary may be exclusive to Comcast’s utilities subscriptions. But that’s not the only way the ISP megalith earns money.

TV and Film Assets

With the acquisition of NBC, Comcast expanded its repertoire of TV and film assets many times over.

TV programming from NBC, cinema from Universal Pictures, and next-gen publishers like AwesomenessTV are all integral to Comcast’s growth and sustainability over the next few decades.

Even their religious niche branch — Big Idea — plays an important part in Comcast’s continued success and increased competitiveness in the media world.

Internet Assets

Most famously, Comcast is known as an Internet provider.

It’s a direct competitor to TimeWarner Cable, and it’s the primary (or only) ISP in dozens of regions in the United States.

Ventures

Last, Comcast has a laundry list of ventures that it launched (or helped launch).

This gives Comcast an interest in dozens of seemingly-unrelated companies as an investor and potentially a future shareholder for the most successful branches.

Media Conglomerate #5: News Corp

News Corp is the media conglomerate best known for its line of Fox companies.

Those include Fox News, FX, and pretty much every other company with the name “Fox” in it.

The company generated more than $33 billion in 2012, and it controls a huge number of print products compared to other media conglomerates.

To get a better grasp of News Corp, let’s check out their CEO Rupert Murdoch.

Head: Rupert Murdoch

While News Corp underwent a split in 2013, Rupert Murdoch remains the head of most of News Corp’s current assets.

With a hand in television, film, music, and print, Murdoch is perhaps the most successful Australian entrepreneur to build an international empire.

As a result, Murdoch earns something to the tune of $22.3 million per year, which is roughly:

  • $857,692 per paycheck
  • $85,769.20 per workday
  • $10,721.15 per hour

So what do Murdoch and his world-famous News Corp control?

TV and Film Assets

News Corp owns the Fox brand, which means they control a borderline-unreasonable amount of media outlets via television and film.

There’s not much more to say about it — News Corp just owns a lot of outlets.

Music Assets

On top of TV and film, News Corp also owns a handful of music assets.

It’s not News Corps’s biggest branch, but it works for their needs, which is typically supporting the TV and film divisions with music (Fox Music).

Wireless Group PLC, on the other hand, is an Irish radio broadcast corporation — one of the biggest in the country.

Print Assets

News Corps’s foundational asset is print.

The company owns hundreds of national, regional, and local newspapers around the world.

The most famous is probably the Wall Street Journal, which fits the mold of News Corps’s focus on financial information.

News Corp also owns HarperCollins, which owns the Christian-niche Zondervan, making News Corp a major player in retail books as well.

Media Conglomerate #6: Sony

Sony is one of the oldest companies on this list since it was founded in 1946.

It also has one of the most recent CEO changes.

In 2012, Kazuo Hirai became CEO of the entire corporation, which might be the most well-known electronics brand on the planet.

But Sony is so much more than an electronics company. They have interests across almost all media industries, and Hirai has helped keep the company current and competitive.

Head: Kazuo Hirai

“Kaz” Hirai started work at Sony Music Entertainment Japan in 1984, and he’s been with the company ever since.

He climbed Sony’s corporate ladder quickly, eventually culminating with his CEO appointment on April 1, 2012.

Since then, Sony has had some problems, but it’s also had some successes. Most notably, Sony recently posted a 666% increase in profit as it launched a turnaround plan. The announcement came almost exactly four years after Hirai become CEO.

At 55, Hirai is one of the youngest leaders of a global conglomerate. But still, he clearly knows what he’s doing.

For his vision, Hirai earns about $4.9 million every year.

Compared to the other CEOs and presidents on this list, that’s pretty modest. But it’s still life-changing money for 99% of the world.

Hirai’s salary breaks down to:

  • $161,540.80 per paycheck
  • $16,154.08 per work day
  • $2019.23 per hour

Let’s check out the scope of Hirai’s responsibilities.

TV and Film Assets

Sony has a hand in dozens of television and cinema companies. Sony works in production, distribution, and just about every other phase of the television and film processes.

So it makes sense that Sony owns media outlets in lots of different countries, most notably Japan and the United States.

Music Assets

Sony’s music arm is well-known throughout the world.

Their music arms work in both support for their television and film production branches, but they also publish music from artists.

Internet Assets

So-net is Sony’s Internet service branch. It’s only available in Japan, and offers double speeds of Google Fiber for less money.

That makes So-net one of the most generous ISPs in the world in terms of speed.

Non-Media Assets

Sony also owns non-media assets, including a bank, financial holdings, and a creative suite.

These non-media assets don’t publish information, but they certainly play a major role in Sony’s financial success.

Investments

Last, Sony has a portfolio of investments, much like other media companies on this list.

As with our other companies, Sony’s investments give it control over more areas of the media industry without attempting risky projects themselves.

If it fails, Sony only loses a fraction of what they would lose if they had attempted a project themselves.

If it succeeds, Sony has an interest — even a controlling interest — in how the new company develops.

Total Value of Media’s Big 6: $430 Billion

For perspective, if these six companies were a country, they would be the 26th wealthiest country in the world by GDP between Poland ($467 billion) and Nigeria ($415 billion).That’s enough money to give every American $1348.39.

These companies are probably here to stay for the next decades — or even centuries.

The only way they’ll disappear is if they’re bought by another megalithic company or run out of business by a major market shakeup that leaves them no time to adapt.

This phenomenon is called “too big to fail,” and it’s often applied to worldwide banks like Citi or Bank of America.

But it also applies here. These companies are profit engines that keep growing.

And when they can’t grow, they buy the smaller businesses that do.

Update: At the time of publication, AT&T is attempting to acquire TimeWarner for roughly $80 billion. The deal is still in negotiations, and the FCC may block it to prevent monopolization.

Source: The Six Corporations that Own (Almost) ALL Media

‘Pandora Papers’ leak exposes secret offshore accounts of politicians, celebrities

A massive new leak of tax-haven financial records, even bigger than the Panama Papers, show 35 current or former world leaders and more than 300 other public officials around the globe who have held assets in or through tax havens.

Source: ‘Pandora Papers’ leak exposes secret offshore accounts of politicians, celebrities

Dennis Prager: the feminization of America harms the whole world

WINTERY KNIGHT

A while back, I wrote a post that I really enjoyed writing about the movie High Noon. In it, I talked about the conflict between Marshal Will Kane and his new wife. He wanted to stay and protect his home town against outlaws who are coming to kill him and raze the town. His new wife cannot understand why he has to stand and fight, she wants him to run away with her. In the end, she helps him to defeat the outlaws, saving his life.

That post was inspired by something I heard Dennis Prager talking about on his radio show. He was talking about a survey of boys and girls done by the toy company Mattel. Well, I wanted to blog about his comments, so I ended up writing the High Noon post. But then Dina found an article about the Mattel survey on National Review. I…

View original post 718 more words

Facebook confirms what ‘shadow banned’ accounts already knew

And that’s just the part we know. The true extent of Facebook’s content distribution policies remains cloaked in secrecy. However, the platform’s history of suppressing Christian views on sexual orientation and gender identity, abortion, and religious liberty may provide clues.

Source: Facebook confirms what ‘shadow banned’ accounts already knew

Top 3 reasons some believers are vaccine resistant

If you do a funeral of someone who died in a car accident, few in the room walk away fearing that. But you add a layer of concern with COVID because there are unknowns. “Wow, this is really close to home now. Am I safe? I was in the home with this person and I haven’t had it yet. What should I do?”

Source: Top 3 reasons some believers are vaccine resistant

Sunday’s Hymn: Blest Be the Tie That Binds — Rebecca Writes

Blest be the tie that binds
Our hearts in Christian love:
The fellowship of kindred minds
Is like to that above.

Before our Father’s throne
We pour our ardent prayers;
Our fears, our hopes, our aims, are one,
Our comforts and our cares.

We share our mutual woes,
Our mutual burdens bear,
And often for each other flows
The sympathizing tear.

When we asunder part,
It gives us inward pain;
But we shall still be joined in heart,
And hope to meet again.

This glorious hope revives
Our courage by the way,
While each in expectation lives,
And longs to see the day.

From sorrow, toil and pain,
And sin, we shall be free;
And perfect love and friendship reign
Through all eternity.

—John Faw­cett 

Sunday’s Hymn: Blest Be the Tie That Binds — Rebecca Writes

October 3 Morning Quotes of The Day

Worship the Creator Rather Than Created Things
John 4:24; Romans 1:20; 1 Corinthians 15:44

Our God did not begin to be in time: He alone is without beginning, and He Himself is the beginning of all things. God is a Spirit, not pervading matter, but the Maker of material spirits, and of the forms that are in matter; He is invisible, impalpable, being Himself the Father of both sensible and invisible things. Him we know from His creation, and apprehend His invisible power by His works. I refuse to adore that workmanship which He has made for our sakes. The sun and moon were made for us: how, then, can I adore my own servants?

TATIAN

Ritzema, E. (2013). 300 Quotations for Preachers from the Early Church. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

Renouncing One’s Own Merits
John 14:6; 2 Corinthians 3:4–6; Ephesians 2:8–9; James 4:10

None can trust in the merits of Christ till he has utterly renounced his own.

JOHN WESLEY*

Ritzema, E., & Vince, E. (Eds.). (2013). 300 quotations for preachers from the Modern church. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

Sunday Sermon: The Book That Changed the World

By Adrian Rogers

Main Scripture Text: Romans 1:1

“Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God.”

Romans 1:1

Outline

Introduction

I.            The Table of Contents

II.           The Author

A.       He Was Saved

B.       He Was Surrendered

C.       He Was Sent

D.       He Was Separated

III.          The Hero

E.       He Is the Promised One

F.       He Is the Provided One

G.       He Is the Powerful One

H.       He Is the Pure One

IV.         The Theme

A.       The Source of the Gospel

B.       The Subject of the Gospel

C.       The Supply of the Gospel

Conclusion

Introduction

Would you take your Bibles and find, please, the book of Romans? As you know, by The Messenger, we’re beginning a brand new series of messages entitled “Foundations for our Faith: A Solid Word for an Unsure Age.” Now, if in your life the bottom is falling out, you’d better examine the foundation. You need a foundation. We need a sure word, a solid word, for an unsure faith. And today, we’re going to talk about the book that changed the world. I have many books in my library. I believe in books. I love books. Books are important in my life, but books have great influence. Adolf Hitler, with his twisted, and warped, and fevered brain, wrote a book, Mein Kampf. And in that book he espoused his Nazi philosophies. The result of the thoughts in that book was an horrendous world war, the gas ovens, the Holocaust, six million Jews exterminated, multiplied thousands in anguish and blood. A book: Mein Kampf. Hitler got his ideas from reading another book, Nietzsche, Man and Superman. Nietzsche was a perverted atheist. He hated God. He declared blatantly, “God is dead!” Hitler drank from that book, imbibed that book. His mind was warped. Another man wrote a book, Karl Marx; and Karl Marx wrote a book on communism, dialectical materialism, Das Kapital. People read that book, the Russian Revolution was born, the Communist Revolution. Millions of people paid with their life’s blood, others were enslaved, the world rocked and ruined by communism. A book, a powerful book. Charles Darwin wrote a book, The Origin of Species, and there he talked about blind evolutionary force, and that man is not made—created—in the image of God. He is an accident of nature; he has descended from the apes. People read that book, and try to make a monkey of themselves, believe that they are an orphan of the apes. Books have power, but no book has the power that the book that you have open in your hand right now has: the power for good, for God, and power that has changed the world radically, dramatically, and eternally. And the book that will go on through the ages, and it is the book of Romans. It has been called the constitution of Christianity. Let me tell you the power of this book.

There was a Roman Catholic monk; his name was Martin Luther. Martin Luther had tried to get right with God by ritual, by penance, by good deeds, by all of the accoutrements of the church, but his heart was empty. He took a pilgrimage to Rome. In Rome, there were some stairs, purported to have been the stairs that Jesus ascended in Pilate’s judgment hall. They felt that the blood of Jesus had surely dropped on those stairs. Martin Luther went to Rome, got on his knees on the Scala Sancta, “the holy stairs”, and on his knees he began to pray on every step, kissing each step as he went up, asking God to bless him, trying to get closer to God. But he himself said, “I was no closer to God when I got to the top than I was at the bottom.” His heart was hungry, but Martin Luther had been studying the book of Romans. And Romans 1:17 burst alive in his heart and his mind: “The just shall live by faith.” (Romans 1:17) And he saw justification by faith, which is the theme of the book of Romans, and he was saved, converted, born again. The Protestant Reformation began; there was a Great Awakening. It swept Europe; it swept the world. We’ve entered into it today: the power of the book of Romans.

You go down to my home state, Florida. You’ll come to a town called St. Augustine, I understand the oldest city in America. Well, that town St. Augustine gets its name from a man, Augustine. Augustine was a young college professor who lived a wicked, wild, lascivious life, consorted with prostitutes, but he had a burden of sin, and he tried to alleviate himself of that burden of sin. And one time he was out in the garden seeking God, and he heard a little girl singing a song over a garden wall, a little song: take up the Book and read, take up and read. He thought, “What is this about—what is this about?” He opened the book of Romans, and began to read, and there he found a verse that stabbed him in his heart. And he found the Lord Jesus Christ, and became the man the people today call St. Augustine: Augustine, one of the great theologians of the early church.

There was a man named John Wesley. John Wesley was very religious, very well motivated, so motivated that he left England and went to America to be a missionary, to convert the American Indians. He went to the state that we call Georgia. He stayed there; he had a fruitless ministry there. He got on a ship to come back home, discouraged, dispirited, feeling a failure. And he met some Moravian missionaries, and these Moravian missionaries had the life, the beauty, the joy of Jesus, the same thing that old Greg was just singing about: “Oh, Hallelujah, What a Savior!” (Marvin Dalton) He knew they had something he didn’t have. Back in the eighteenth century, he went back to London. There he was at a place called Aldersgate. He went to a little meeting, and there they were studying the book that you have open in your lap, the book of Romans. This man said, “I went to America to convert the Indians, but who will convert me?” Sat there as he heard this introduction to the book of Romans, this preface to the book of Romans. He said, “I felt my heart strangely warmed, and I had the assurance of my salvation.” Out of that experience, the great Wesleyan Revival began that swept across England, and out of that experience the Methodist church was born. John Wesley, whose hymns we read, and preach, and sing, and enjoy. John Wesley had an experience with the book of Romans.

Coleridge said that the book of Romans is the greatest piece of literature ever written. If I were shipwrecked on an island, and could only choose one book of the Bible to take with me, I wouldn’t have to stutter, stammer, or think about it—oh yes, I would, but anyway, after I’d thought about it a lot—I’d take the book of Romans, to be very honest, because I surely wouldn’t want to take Psalms. I would take the book of Romans. I would, after thought, I would want to take Romans. Oh, but thank God we don’t have to take just one. Hallelujah, thank God we’ve got all sixty-six. Praise God for that. But what a wonderful book—what a wonderful book—a masterpiece, is the book of Romans. Now, we’re going to look at the book of Romans, and we’re going to think about it as the book that changed the world, for indeed it did. And we’re going to look at it like we might look at some other books.

I.         The Table of Contents

For example, we’re going to look at the table of contents. What is in the book of Romans? Well, let me just give you a little outline here. Now, this is just the table of contents. Now, we’re not really even getting in the book yet, but just the table of contents of the book. The first three chapters of the book deal with sin. Okay, chapters one through three, they deal with sin; they tell us what’s wrong with the world. And then, chapters four and five deal with salvation. Thank God, God doesn’t just show us our sin; he shows us a way out. And then, chapters six, seven, and eight deal with sanctification. You found out as I found out, it’s one thing to get saved—isn’t it?—but it’s another thing to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. And sanctification is just a double-jointed word which means becoming more like Jesus—that’s all it means. And so, you go from sin, to salvation, to sanctification. And then, as you continue through the book, when you get into Romans nine, ten, and eleven, that deals with sovereignty. It shows how God is sovereign over the universe, how God from eternity past to eternity future is in charge. What comfort we’re going to find when we get in this passage that deals with the sovereignty of Almighty God. And then, when you go from there, right on, beginning in chapter twelve where we present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God, right on through the end of the book, it deals with service. It shows us how to serve this sovereign God, how to be in a very practical and a very real way the Christian we ought to be. So, we’ve got the preface to the book, that’s the table of contents that tells us what this wonderful book, this constitution of Christianity, is all about.

II.        The Author

Now we’ve talked about the table of contents and the preface, let’s talk about the author. Who is the author of this book? Well, we know ultimately the Holy Spirit is the author, but who is the human author? Well, let’s begin in chapter 1, verse 1: “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God.” (Romans 1:1) Now, folks, I want to tell you, we could just stay here for a week, just in this one verse. This is the man who authored the book of Romans. Now, let me tell you about him. This man named Paul was a Jew. He was a privileged Jew. He was born in a place called Tarsus. He was a very brilliant young man. He was an honors graduate of the University of Tarsus. He was fluent in many languages. He was a world traveler. He was very strict in his religion, very much a student, and very much aware of world affairs. This man was also, besides being a Jew, he was a Roman citizen. That meant that he had the privileges that Rome had in this day, so he was a free man; he was not subjugated like other Jews. He could come and go, and he could travel as he wished. Beside all of that, he had the privilege of doing graduate work under a professor named Gamaliel. Gamaliel was one of the best teachers, if not the best known teacher, in all of that part of the world. Paul was his prize student. On top of that, Paul was a part of the most strict religious sect in Judaism, the Pharisees. And not only was he a Pharisee, but he said later on he was a Pharisee of the Pharisees, he was the highest of the high, he was at the very top. This man was prized and petted. This man had a pedigree a mile long. He was a blueblood.

A.   He Was Saved

But now I want you to learn some things about him, what happened to him. He met the Lord Jesus, you remember, on the road to Damascus was gloriously, wonderfully saved. And now what do we learn about him? Well, let’s just start with the very first word in the first verse: “Paul”—Paul. Do you know what the name Paul means? It means “little”. You see, his name wasn’t always Paul. At first, his name was what? Saul—his name was Saul. And when the Lord met him on the way to Damascus, he said, “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?” (Acts 22:7) Now, who was Saul? Well, we know that he was later Paul, but who was the original Saul? King Saul of Israel. King Saul of Israel was a big guy. He was head and shoulders above everybody else. He was tall, and handsome, and arrogant, and carnal. He was a man that was the king, strutted around—reminds me of somebody, as a matter of fact, but, about to digress again—King Saul. The very name Saul reeks with pride; it means “big one”, “successful one”—that was his name. That’s the name of the guy who wrote this book. But he doesn’t call himself Saul; he changed his name from big guy to small. Why? Because God cut him down to size. I mean, if there were anybody who’d had a reason to boast, if there were anybody who had a reason to strut, it would’ve been this man Paul. But he did not do that. He introduces himself as Paul. By the way, I like the way that he introduces himself. He starts the letter, “Paul.” Have you ever gotten a long letter, don’t know who’s written it? You read, and read, and read, what are you doing? You go to the end, and say, “Who is this? Who’s writing?” Well, the ancient people didn’t do that; they put their name up front. That’s a good idea. We ought to start doing that, as sort of a caller-ID. You know, look. This is Paul that’s writing to you, and he gives his credentials. You need to know whom the letter is from.

I heard about a preacher who was preaching. There was a man in the congregation who didn’t particularly like him, thought he’d play a little practical joke on him, and so he wrote a note to the preacher, handed it to an usher, and said, “This is for the minister.” The usher thought it was legitimate, brought it to the platform. The preacher unfolded it, and there was just one word on it in big block letters: F-O-O-L—fool. Preacher looked at it, came to the platform, said, “A remarkable thing has happened today.” He said, “Many times I have received a letter from somebody who forgot to sign their name; this is the first time a man ever signed his name and forgot to write the letter.”

Paul signs his name up front. He lets us know who he is: he is a man who has been cut down to size. Let me give you a couple of verses that give an indication of why he changed his name. Ephesians chapter 3 and verse 8—he says, “Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given.” “Unto me, less than the least …” (Ephesians 3:8)—less than the least. I’m talking about this big shot, I’m talking about this towering genius, I’m talking about this blueblood, he calls himself less than the least. And then, he says in 1 Corinthians 15, verse 9: “For I am the least of the apostles.” You know, he saw himself in the sight of God as a nobody. Doesn’t mean he has an inferiority complex, he just knew that he was what he was by the grace of God.

You know, do you know who Reggie White is? Reggie White is a friend of mine. He plays defensive tackle for the Green Bay Packers. Let me tell you about him, ladies. It’d be just as simple to stand in front of a moving locomotive as to stand in front of this guy when he lines up and try and block him out; it takes a couple of men to hold this dude down. He is big and he is strong. But I heard this man, who is a passionate Christian, stand in front of a group of young men, and say this: “I am a nobody, telling everybody about somebody who can save anybody.” I want to tell you: a nobody, a nobody, telling everybody about somebody who can save anybody, and that name is Jesus.

Now, you may be sometimes too big for God to use, but you’ll never be too small for God to use you. So this man just begins with his name: the little guy—the little guy. So right away, it tells me he’s saved—he’s saved: “[For] if any man be in Christ [Jesus], he is a new creature.” (2 Corinthians 5:17) This man even got a new name.

B.   He Was Surrendered

But not only is he saved—continue to read. It says here, “A servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle.” (Romans 1:1) Now, look at the word servant. You see the word servant there? Well, the word servant is not as strong, as perhaps, as it could be, because it’s the Greek word doulos, and that word means “slave”. Now, slaves were called servants in that day, but we may miss it sometimes in our English. The word means slave, and not only does it mean slave, it means a particular kind of slave; it’s a word that means bond slave. Well, who were bond slaves? Well, if a man got himself in debt, and he could not pay the debt, he became the property of the man that he owed money to, in Bible times. He was what they called a bond slave, and he had to work for that individual because he’d indebted himself to that individual. But the Bible in mercy set a law, and it was the law of jubilee, that after seven years, all of the bond slaves had to be set free. Now, there would come a time when sometimes a bond slave, at the moment of his freedom, would say, “Hey, wait a minute, I don’t want to be set free. I’m better off under this man than I was by myself. He feeds me. He clothes me. He cares for me. He loves me. I’m like one of the family. I don’t want to be free. I love my master. I want to stay under him. I want to be his bond slave.” Well, if he made that decision that he wanted to do that, they called the judges of Israel; they said, “This man wants to stay as a bond slave, he wants to be a willing slave, he loves his master.” They would say, “All right, let’s put a mark on him.” And they brought him to the doorpost, would take his earlobe, and would take an awl—A-W-L—and put it through his earlobe. The Bible says, “[Thou hast] opened mine ear” (Isaiah 50:5)—that’s what it’s talking about, right here. And there’d be a hole there; it would be the mark that he was a bond slave. The Apostle Paul said, “I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.” (Galatians 6:17) He became a bond slave, and that means he is a willing slave of the Lord Jesus Christ.

“Well,” you say, “Well then, you count me out, Pastor. I don’t want to be anybody’s slave.” You already are. You already are. Either you’re a slave of Christ, or you’re a slave of sin. Everybody is in bondage somewhere. You see, here’s the thing. The unsaved man said, “I want to be free; I will be free. I am my own man.” He goes down into the worst degradation and bondage there is: the bondage of sin. Satan, and sin, and self are cruel taskmasters. But when a man says, “I will become the bond slave of the Lord Jesus, I love my master,” then the Bible says, “If the Son … shall make you free, [you] [are] free indeed.” (John 8:36) He discovers the most glorious freedom in the Lord Jesus Christ. If I had ten thousand lives, I’d give every one of my lives to the Lord Jesus Christ, because it is Christ through that perfect bondage that sets us free.

You see, what is a bond slave? Now, listen very carefully, or you’re going to miss this. A bond slave is not somebody who says, “All right, since I’m his slave, it’s no longer my will; I’ll do his will.” No, no. That’s good, but that’s not good enough. A bond slave doesn’t say, “His will instead of my will.” He says, “His will is my will.” His will is my will. It is not laying down arms; it is taking up arms for the one that you love. It is saying, “His will.” You see, have you ever thought of the scripture that says, “Delight [yourself] … in the Lord: and he [will] give [you] the desires of [your] heart”? (Psalm 37:4) That’s over in Psalm 37. That sounds like too good a promise for God to make, doesn’t it? You say, “Okay, Lord, I love you. I want a million bucks.” No, because if you say, “Lord, I love you, now give me a million dollars,” what was the desire of your heart? Money—money. You say, “Lord, I love you, give me the desire of my heart: fame and popularity.” No, the desire of your heart is popularity. But when you say, “I delight myself in the Lord,” you can have the desire of your heart because your desires are His desires, and His desires are your desires. And, therefore, you can be a Christian and do whatever you want, be a Christian and do whatever you want!

Let me tell you something. I get drunk every time I want to. And, boy, I hope this doesn’t have just a sound byte out of this message and that’s all. I get drunk every time I want to. I don’t want to—never been drunk, never intend to get drunk, just as soon eat dirt. I don’t want to—don’t want to. You see, people say, “Oh, if I believed in eternal security, man, I’d get saved, and I’d sin all I want to.” Well, I sin all I want to. I sin more than I want to. If you still want to, you need to get your wanter fixed. You need a brand new wanter; you need to be born again. Paul says, “I am no longer big shot; my name is now Paul, not Saul. I am saved; I am surrendered.”

C.   He Was Sent

But let’s continue to read. Look at it again here. We’re going to find something else out about the author. He says, “Called to be an apostle” (Romans 1:1); literally means, “a called apostle.” He didn’t say, “Well, I just believe I’m looking for a profession; I just believe I’ll be an apostle.” No, I believe in the called ministry, and he says, “Thanks to God who counted me worthy of putting me in the ministry.” I believe God put me in the ministry. I’ve sometimes thought about what I might do if I weren’t in the ministry, but I can’t think of anything. Sometimes it’s discouraging, not often. Somebody asked a preacher, said, “Do you take Mondays off?” He said, “No,” said, “I don’t want to feel that bad on my own time.” I really enjoy what I’m doing, but I would never choose it as a profession. I believe God put me in the ministry, I believe that. I believe God, but, you see, this same chapter says we’re all called. You know, not just the Apostle Paul, but we’re all called. Look in verse 6: “Among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ.” (Romans 1:6) God has called every one of us to our own particular sphere. God loves you as much as He loves the Apostle Paul or Jim Whitmire, Bob Sorrell, Adrian Rogers. He loves us all—or Bernie—he loves us all the same way. We’re the called; God has called us and He set us apart. So now, listen. You say, “Why are you telling me all this about Paul?” Because Paul said, “You follow me as I follow Christ.” (1 Corinthians 11:1) He’s an example for you.

D.   He Was Separated

So he was saved—yes he was. And, he was surrendered—yes he was. And he was sent—yes he was. He was called of God; he had a purpose, a mission for his life. And I’ll tell you something else—now, watch it very carefully—he was separated. Now, don’t miss this—don’t miss this. He says here, “Separated unto the gospel of God.” (Romans 1:1) Now, it’s very important. The key word there is not separated; the key word, in my estimation, is unto the gospel of God. Now, Paul had already been separated; he was a Pharisee of the Pharisees. You talk about people who lived a—quote—“separated life”. That is, all of the outward sins of the flesh he abhorred; he walked the straight and narrow. The very name “Pharisee” implies separation. They were so careful that they paid tithe of mint, anis, and cumin. That is, when they were paying tithes, they had a little mint plant, they’d count all ten leaves, take one of them, the tithe, and give it to God—one tenth of every sprig of mint, for example. “Ye pay tithe of mint … anis, and cumin,” (Matthew 23:23) the Lord said to these Pharisees—he was already separated from sin. You see, if that’s all the separation you have, you know what it’s going to make you? A proud, bitter, haughty Pharisee, like the Apostle Paul was when he was persecuting the church, before he met the Lord Jesus, and before he found the grace of God. Nature abhors a vacuum, and so, if you get these things out of your life, but you don’t get Jesus Christ into your life, if you are separated from, but not separated unto, you’re going to become nothing but an old Pharisee—that’s what you’re going to become. And you need to ask yourself, “Is there a little Pharisee in me?” Ask yourself that question, because, you see, we’re to be separated unto the gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Now, what some people have as separation is, “I don’t smoke, and I don’t chew, and I don’t go with girls who do.” Okay, neither does a fence post. If you’ve got no more religion than a fence post—and I’m going to tell you, listen carefully—giving up things will not make you one scintilla of an iota more like Jesus Christ. It’ll make you a Pharisee, but it won’t make you like Jesus Christ. You’ve got to be separated unto the gospel of Jesus Christ, and of course, when you’re separated unto, you’re separated from. But how do you get separated from? By being separated unto. But you don’t get unto by being separated from. I can’t say it again, but it’s true. Now, listen. It is absolutely true. The word separated here, the word separated is the word we get our word horizon from. It’s a Greek word that we get our English word horizon from. And it’s a compound word, and it literally means “separated off from unto”—off horizon. Well, what does that mean? Well, let’s see if I can explain it. You know what a horizon is? If you go off up to a tall building somewhere, and look around 360 degrees as far as you can see, that’s what? The horizon. That’s where the earth just tails off, and that’s your world. Now, do you know how to change your horizon? Change your location; just change your location. Every time you change your location, you change your horizon. So what determines your horizon is your center—what determines your horizon is your center. So, when Jesus Christ is your center, then that horizon is your world, you see. You see it from the center; you see it, his life is the boundary of your life. You are separated unto Him.

•An old boy may be dating some girls, looking for that girlfriend; he’s dating Susie and Melody, and he’s dating Anne, and he’s dating Debbie. Then one day he meets Jane, and she becomes the center of his life, and then she’s the center. And so all these other girls are just kind of out of bounds. They’re out of bounds, they’re off the horizon for him, because his horizon is now—as far as his dating life, his love life—he has found a new center.•

And, friend, when you find the Lord Jesus Christ, you will find a new center. And you’re not going to be talking about what you gave up for Jesus—that’s foolish. You’re going to understand what you have in the Lord Jesus Christ. Who was the author of this book? His name is Paul, and because of the name Paul, we know he’s saved. We know that this man is separated. We know that he has been surrendered. We know he’s been sent. He’s just the author of a book. Thank God for the Apostle Paul, I believe, the greatest Christian who ever lived. One day in heaven I’m going to sit down and let Paul teach me Romans. It’d be wonderful. Won’t that be great?

III.       The Hero

All right now, here’s the third thing. Now, watch. We talked about the table of contents. We’ve talked about the author of the book that changed the world. Now, let’s talk about the hero of the book. Every good book has a hero, and the hero of this book is the Lord Jesus Christ. We can find out what this book is about by reading verses 1 through 4: “Paul,”—watch it—”a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, which he … promised [before] by his prophets in the holy scriptures, concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the spirit of holiness by the resurrection from the dead.” (Romans 1:1–4) I mean, right up at the beginning of the book, he moves it to the front burner. He says, “Folks, I’m the guy who’s writing the book, but let me tell you who I’m writing about: it is concerning God’s Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.” If you don’t know and love the Lord Jesus Christ, you’re not going to understand the book of Romans until God puts the light on in your soul. It is a book about the Lord Jesus Christ, and that’s what Christianity is: Christianity is Christ. Now, let’s see what Paul says about Christ.

E.    He Is the Promised One

He says, first of all, He’s the promised one. You see that: “Which he promised before by his prophets in the holy scriptures” (Romans 1:2)—verse 2. Paul didn’t start a new religion. What we’re talking about was before the foundation of the world, and Paul is just telling us in the book of Romans what he learned in the Holy Scripture, in the Old Testament. The Old Testament is about Jesus. I wish our Jewish friends knew that: that the Old Testament is about the Lord Jesus. Paul was a Jew of the tribe of Benjamin, he was a pedigree, but one day God turned the light on in his soul, and the Scriptures burst aflame. You remember after Paul met the Lord on the Damascus road, he went out into the desert, out into Arabia? He spent a couple of years out there studying. One wise man said he put in his knapsack the writings of Moses: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. He put in his knapsack the words of the prophets—Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel—all of these. He put in his knapsack the Psalms. And he came out of the wilderness with Galatians, and Ephesians, and Romans in his heart and in his mind. Where did he learn all of that? Well, he learned it from the Old Testament. He said, “This is what God has promised.” Jesus told those people of his day, he said, “Search the scriptures … [these] are they which testify of me.” (John 5:39) The Old Testament is not about the Jewish nation; it’s about Jesus, the Messiah of the Jews. The New Testament is about Jesus. All the Bible is about Jesus, and He is the promised one. And one of the ways, precious friend, that we can know the authenticity of the Bible or the authenticity of Jesus, is fulfilled prophecy. Jesus authenticates the Bible, and the Bible authenticates Jesus. He is the promised one.

F.    He Is the Provided One

But not only is He the promised one; He is the provided one. He says there, “He comes, He’s promised, He’s of the seed of David”—do you see that there? “… [He is] of the seed of David …” (Romans 1:3) The Messiah was of the house and lineage of David. He is the royal heir to Israel’s throne. He is Israel’s Messiah, “… According to the flesh” (Romans 1:3), it says—that is, in His humanity. He’s of the seed of David. But then, the next verse says, in verse 4, “[He is] declared to be the Son of God with power … by the resurrection from the dead.” (Romans 1:4) So you see both His humanity and His deity at the same time. He is “of the seed of David according to the flesh” (Romans 1:3), but He’s “the Son of God with power … by the resurrection from the dead”. (Romans 1:4) Now, listen. He is the provided one. God provided a Messiah. Jesus was not a divine man, or He was not a human god. He was the God-Man: perfect humanity and perfect deity. I told you last week it’s as much a heresy to deny His humanity as it is to deny His deity. Of the flesh He is the seed of David—born of a virgin, flesh and blood—but declared to be the Son of God with power. He is the provided one.

G.   He Is the Powerful One

Now, watch it. Jesus Christ, the promised one. Jesus Christ, the provided one. Jesus Christ, the powerful one. Look in verse 4: “… Declared to be the Son of God with power … by the resurrection from the dead.” (Romans 1:4) How do we know He was not just another wild-eyed fanatic? How do we know He was not just another religious teacher, some guru, some person? I’ll tell you how we know: He walked out of that tomb. Well, you say, “How do we know He did that?” It’s a good question. He showed himself alive by many infallible proofs, and people with good minds far better than mine or yours have said that there is inescapable evidence that Jesus Christ came out of that grave, more evidence than that Julius Caesar ever lived. And to say that Jesus Christ did not rise from the dead is to fly in the face of sheer reason, apart from revelation. Yes, He showed himself alive by many infallible proofs. He is “declared to be the Son of God with power … by the resurrection of the dead”. (Romans 1:4) We serve a mighty Savior. He has conquered death, hell, sin, and the grave. And that’s what the book of Romans is about. He rose, came out of that grave.

H.   He Is the Pure One

He, Jesus, the promised one. He, Jesus, the provided one. He, Jesus, the powerful one. And He, the pure one. The Bible says this in verse 4, that He did this “by the spirit of holiness”. (Romans 1:4) Never been a man like the Lord Jesus. How holy, how pure, how sinless is the Lord Jesus Christ.

John Phillips, a dear member of this church, wrote some words that deeply stirred me. I want to share them with you. He’s talking about our Savior. He said His life was perfectly holy. He never looked with lust. He never uttered a hasty, unkind and cruel, frivolous word. He never entertained an impure thought. He was never accused by conscience, never inflamed by wrongful passion, never out of step with the will of God. His time was never wasted, His talent never debased for selfish yens. His influence never bad, his judgment never wrong. He never had to apologize for anything that He did or retract a single word He said. He was never too late or too soon, never upset, never insipid, shallow or afraid. He lived on earth approximately twelve thousand days, and every one of them was a marvel of holiness. He was “holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners”. (Hebrews 7:26) From the summit of the Mount of Transfiguration He could’ve stepped straight into glory. He had absolute victory from the moment He first drew breath in that Bethlehem barn until the moment He closed His eyes in death on the cross of Calvary. He was “declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness …” (Romans 1:4) Don’t you love that? He is the pure one. You’re looking for a hero. Let me suggest mine to you if you don’t have one: His name is Jesus. Oh, what a Savior!

IV.       The Theme

Now, here’s the final thing we have time for, just a couple of minutes. The author of the book: Paul; the hero of the book: Jesus; the theme of the book: the Gospel.

A.   The Source of the Gospel

Notice how it begins again—verse 1: “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto”—what?—“the gospel of God.” (Romans 1:1) And right there he tells us the source of the gospel. Paul didn’t think it up. He said, “I didn’t receive it from man, neither was I taught it by man. It is the gospel of God, so don’t tamper with it; don’t pervert it.” Paul said to the Galatians, “If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that [which I’ve preached unto you], let him be accursed.” (Galatians 1:9) And, Phillips translates that, “Let him be damned.” Why? Because a false gospel will lead to a synthetic salvation that will lead to a very real hell. Now, Paul did not equivocate with the gospel. Paul is not trying to be politically correct. He’s just saying it is the gospel of God. He said, “If an angel comes and preaches any other gospel, let him be accursed.” (Galatians 1:8) Paul said, “If I preach any other gospel unto you than that which I’ve preached, I need to be accursed.” It is the gospel of God.

B.   The Subject of the Gospel

But, the source of the gospel of God, the subject of the gospel, is Jesus. Look, if you will, in verse 3: “Concerning his Son … Christ our Lord …” (Romans 1:3) It’s not a gospel that alludes to Him; it’s not a gospel that mentions Him. Friend, Jesus is the gospel. His death, burial, resurrection for our sins: that is the gospel. It is the gospel, the good news of Christ. The word gospel means “good news”! And it is good news concerning the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Now, why do we have churches that are filled with moral worldlings who’ve never been born again? You know, church is supposed to be a sheep hold; it’s more like a zoo. Why? Because people have met religion. They’ve not met Jesus; they’ve met denominations. They’ve not met Jesus; they’ve met programs. They’ve not met Jesus; they’ve met causes, but they’ve not met Jesus. Christianity is not a creed, not a code, not a cause; it is Christ. Did that get in? It is Jesus: to know the Lord Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior—not to know about Him, but to know Him. You can take Confucius out of Confucianism and still have Confucianism. You could take Buddha out of Buddhism and still have Buddhism. You could take Mohammed out of Islam and still have Islam. But you cannot take Jesus out of Christianity and still have Christianity. It is not just simply some truths that a man taught; it is a viable relationship with Him. And to take Jesus Christ out of Christianity is like taking the water out of a well, the blue out of the sky, notes out of music, and numbers out of mathematics. I’m telling you, folks, Christianity is Christ.

C.   The Supply of the Gospel

The source of the gospel is the gospel of God. The subject of the gospel: Jesus Christ. And the supply of the gospel—let me show you what that is, and I’ll be finished. Look at it—verse 5: “By whom we have received grace and apostleship …” (Romans 1:5) Do you know what grace is? Grace is what makes God save people like us apart from works of any kind. It is the sheer, absolute gift of God. That’s what exploded in the mind of Luther on those holy stairs. “The just shall live by faith.” (Galatians 3:11) By faith, I receive the gift of God. By faith, I receive the grace of God. Folks, you’re not saved by good works; you’re not saved by religion; you’re not saved by baptism; you’re not saved by church membership; you’re not saved by giving your money. You’re saved by the grace of God. We’re going to learn about that in the book of Romans. What a wonderful, wonderful book this is!

Conclusion

•A little boy came forward in a church service and wanted to be baptized, and they said, “Well, son, tell us how you got saved.” He said, “Well, I did my part, and God did His.” Well, they didn’t like that. They said, “Well, tell us about your part.” He said, “I did the sinning, and He did the saving.” Friend, that’s it.•

“Oh, in my hand no price I bring; simply to thy cross I cling.” (Augustus Toplady) When I was a teenage boy in a revival meeting, they gave an invitation, and I went forward. They said, “Well, Adrian, why did you come? Did you want to be saved?” “Yes sir.” “Be seated, Adrian.” A kind person whose name I cannot remember sat by me, and said, “Now, how do you spell your name? A-D-R-I-A-N Rogers, is that right?” “Yes.” “And you’re coming accepting Christ as your Savior?” “Yes sir, I am.” And he checked that, and so forth. And he just sat there—that’s all he told me. Later on, they said, “Adrian Rogers has come forward this tonight. Adrian has come and those of you that rejoice that he’s come, would you lift your hand and say Amen?” Of course they rejoiced. I’d been a terror in the neighborhood. They said, “We’re glad that he’s come.” And you know, I was sincere; I meant business. But folks, I didn’t have assurance. You know why? I’d still not learned about grace. And I rode a spiritual roller coaster for a couple of years. But I learned the truths that I’m sharing with you today from the book of Romans. I learned about the grace of God. And, one night, after I’d walked Joyce home, I stopped on the corner of 38th Street and Calvin Avenue in West Palm Beach, Florida, and I said, “God, I don’t know whether I’m lost and the Holy Spirit has me under conviction, or whether I’m saved and the devil’s trying to make me doubt.” Have you ever done that? I said, “But God, I want to get it settled.” And I know now that I’m saved, by the grace of God. And I looked straight up into that Florida sky into those stars, and I said, “Dear God, right now, with all of my heart, once and for all, now and forever, I trust you to save me. If I am saved, this can’t take it away. But I’m going to nail down, stake now; I trust you. I don’t look for a sign; I don’t ask for a feeling. I stand on your Word; I receive the grace of God.” And, friend, a river of peace started to flow through my heart and through my life that is flowing this very minute. It’s the river of grace. That is the supply of the gospel. We’re going to be learning about this marvelous, matchless, infinite grace. The author: Paul. The hero: Jesus. The subject: the glorious gospel of the grace of God. We’re going to have a good time together as we examine the foundations of our faith.

I want you to bow your heads in prayer. Heads are bowed; eyes are closed. How many of you today in this building could say, “Pastor Rogers, I have received Jesus Christ as my personal Savior and Lord, and God’s Spirit bears witness with my spirit that I’m a child of God. I’ve repented of my sin. I’ve trusted Christ. I know because of the teaching of God’s Word. And the witness of the Spirit in my heart that I am a child of God, that I am absolutely certain that if I were to die right now I would go to heaven.” I wonder, while heads are bowed and eyes are closed, just between you and me and the Lord, how many could give that testimony. Would you lift your hand? All right, take them down. A great number.

Now, if you couldn’t lift your hand, I want to tell you some good news. The gospel is good news. You can be saved today forever if you will trust Christ. And I want to help you to do that right now. I want to help you to pray, and I want you to pray right now—right now—to receive the gift of God. “Dear God”—just pray sincerely in your heart—“I know that you love me. I know that you want to save me. Jesus, I believe you’re the Son of God. I believe that God raised you from the dead. I believe you paid for my sin with your blood on the cross. And now, by faith, I receive the gift of salvation, right now. I don’t look for a sign. I don’t ask for a feeling. I stand on your Word. You’re now my Lord and my Savior. Now, thank you for saving me. Now, Lord Jesus, I will make it public. I will not be ashamed of you, because you died for me. And, if you’ll just give me the strength, I will make this public; I will not be ashamed of you. Thank you for saving me. I will follow you the rest of my life. I am your bond slave. Begin now to make me the person you want me to be. In your name I pray. Amen.”•[1]


[1] Rogers, A. (2017). The Book that Changed the World. In Adrian Rogers Sermon Archive (Ro 1:1). Signal Hill, CA: Rogers Family Trust.

Sunday Sermon: And Now for the Good News

By John MacArthur

Romans 1

Tonight I want to share with you something of the truth of the significance of the Lord Jesus Christ from Romans 1. And if you have a Bible with you, I’d like you to look with me for just a very brief few moments … Romans 1. If you’re visiting with us and you didn’t happen to bring a Bible along, there should be one in the back of a pew or you can look on with someone near you and follow along as we read verses 1–7.

Romans 1:1, “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an Apostle, separated unto the gospel of God which He had promised before by His prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord who was made of the seed of David according to the flesh and declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness by the resurrection from the dead, by whom we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith among all nations for His name, among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ, to all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints, grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

In just six verses at the beginning of the epistle to the Romans, Paul outlines for us the gospel of God. You’ll notice in verse 1 that phrase closes the verse, “the gospel of God.” The term “gospel” means good news. Paul is about to write some good news, good news.

I was traveling in the midwest this week and I was listening to a Christian radio station and every hour on the hour, I was driving for about three or four hours so I kept hearing it, every hour on the hour as I was driving along there were several Christian stations obviously plugged in to a syndicated news broadcast and they would give all of the news of the world and it would close with this statement, “And now for some good news.” And then they would quote a verse from the Bible. God has brought to man some good news. And that’s what Paul wants to share.

Basically people struggle in four areas or four categories, as I look at it, to which the good news is a tremendous blessing. You might say that people struggle with the problem of wrong desire, for one thing. People have a problem with not being able to control their desires, their lusts. And it leads them in to all kinds of problems. We have a society drowning itself in sex and pornography and the result of it is the destruction of the home and the destruction of morality that is going to take a terrible toll, as it already has, on the young people of the children, the families of the future, a society literally allowing itself to be guided by its own impulses and its baser feelings. The problem is it’s a terrible task master. I remember reading of Oscar Wilde who allowed his lusts to drive him in to homosexuality and he said at the end of his life, “I forgot that what a man does in secret he will some day shout aloud from the housetops.” His life came to dissolution and ruin. People in our society struggle with this problem of wrong desire, out of control, it destroys their lives, their marriages, their homes, their children, their jobs, sometimes even takes their life.

As a result there’s a second problem that man faces, he not only struggles with wrong desire but he struggles with the consequence of that which is guilt. Most psychoanalysists, psychologists and psychiatrists tell us the major problem of man is guilt. And if you want to know what the Bible says about it, the reason man is guilty is because he’s sinful. And guilt is simply God’s way of directing man to see the sin of his soul. A good parallel for it is pain. Now most people think of pain as a bad thing, but in fact if you think about it a second time you’ll recall that it’s really a good thing. If you didn’t feel pain you wouldn’t know how ill you were. If you didn’t feel pain you wouldn’t know that you were hurting and harming yourself. And so pain helps you to stop what you’re doing that is injuring your body. I remember in college when I had injured my knee, I wanted to play in a certain game so I got my knee shot full of Novocain so I wouldn’t feel anything and the end result was that I harmed it even greater. God has given us pain to show us we have a physical problem, and God has given us guilt to show us we have a moral problem. And the fact that you have these vivid memories of sin and you have this great amount of remorse over what you have done and what I have done is because God is showing us the disease of sin in our hearts and guilt is there to remind us of it so that we can avoid that which causes that pain.

I think a third thing that people suffer from is meaninglessness. You know, if you’re following wrong desires and if you’re living with sin and guilt, you begin to ask yourself the question … what is life really all about? I mean, it doesn’t really seem to matter, nothing makes much sense. Edna St. Vincent Malay said, “Life must go on, I just forget why.” Arthur Miller in his play “After the Fall” has a character sitting at the table reading the newspaper and his wife says, “You never talk to me.” And he says, “There’s nothing to talk about.” And Miller says, “Life had deteriorated to a discussion of how many miles to the gallon they get on their Volkswagan,” that’s it. And so, we come to the place where man doesn’t really understand why he lives and in our society that’s why suicide is at an all-time high, life is so empty and so pointless and so meaningless. They tell us now, and I just heard this recently, that one out of three people is known to be severely depressed through loneliness. Meaninglessness, no purpose for life.

And that leads to a fourth problem and that’s hopelessness. There seems to be no way out. There seems to be no escape. There seems to be no potential. You know, you grow up when you’re young and it’s all so much fun and then you get in to school and you have a great time and maybe have a few disappointments, you don’t get the grades you thought you might get, or you don’t make the team, or you don’t get the girl, or the guy that you had your sights on. And then you finally get going and you get a job but you never get the promotion you wanted and your marriage turns out to be a little sour. And you do your best with the kids and it’s all sweetness and light until they hit junior high and all of a sudden everything starts to kind of rot away and they turn on you and you don’t know what’s wrong. And the fulfillment in your job potential seems to be alluding you and you’re getting older and nothing seems to make much sense. And you get trapped in the fact that is there ever going to be anything that I’ve really dreamed come to pass.

And so, we look at man and man exists guided by his evil desires in many cases and then leading himself into sin, living with guilt and guilt piling up a sense of meaninglessness to life which ultimately ends in hopelessness. And man becomes so hopeless he’ll drown himself in drugs or in alcohol or in sex or in work or in recreation or in money or materialism or in whatever.

And you say, “Well what do you say to a world like this?” And Paul says, “Hey, world, I’ve got some good news … some good news.” And the good news doesn’t come from a human source, aren’t you glad? It’s God’s good news. God has some good news for you. You say, “What is it?” Well first of all, in verse 2, it’s old good news. It’s not even new good news, it’s been around. He promised before by His prophets in the holy Scriptures that He’d give us this good news. This is the good news that God’s been giving since God first talked to man in the Garden. Good news … good news for a man driven by sin, experiencing guilt and meaninglessness and living without hope in the world, good news that’s been around for a long time.

What’s the good news about? What’s it really all about? Look at verse 3, well the good news is concerning God’s Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Now that’s the good news. Now listen, people, the good news that God brings to the world is not some religious system. It’s not 84 spiritual pushups. It’s not some exercise in righteous behavior induced by human effort. The good news is not about a religion. The good news is not about a system. The good news is not about a denomination. It’s not about a particular church. The good news is about a person. It’s good news about God’s Son Jesus Christ our Lord. That’s the good news.

Have you been made aware of that good news? Do you know the good news about Jesus Christ our Lord? This is the good news that God’s been telling man. Do you know that even before Jesus came God was telling them the good news that He was coming? And that when Jesus finally did enter the world, God spread the good news that He was here. And when Jesus died and rose again, God spread the good news that He was risen. And now that it’s in the past that He came and went back to heaven, God has given us the news that He’s been here and He’s still alive. It’s the same good news. And you know something? Jesus Christ is the one who offers an answer to man’s evil desires. The Bible tells us that when we know and love the Lord Jesus Christ we can set our affections on things above and not on things on the earth. We are no longer victims of the lust of the flesh but we can produce in our lives the fruit of the Spirit … love, joy, peace, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control.

The Bible tells us that when we know the Lord Jesus Christ, no longer are we under the burden of guilt because He washes away every sin, He cleanses every sin and every defilement and replaces our guilt with a sense of absolute and total eternal forgiveness. He takes away our meaninglessness and He gives us a reason to live and He takes away our hopelessness and promises us a forever place with Him in heaven. And that’s good news and it’s good news about Jesus Christ.

Now Paul anticipates that somebody is going to say … “Well who is Jesus Christ our Lord? Who is this?” Let’s find out. First of all, says Paul, He was a man. Look at verse 3, “He was made of the seed of David according to the flesh.” What he means is that God actually became a man, that God entered into the world and was born of the seed of David. David was a man, a man in the history of Israel. Oh a very special man, a king, but not any more than a king, just a man. And through his lineage came this one, the Lord Jesus Christ, born as the son of a king, born in the royal line, but born of the seed of David … He was a man. Jesus Christ was a man.

I used to illustrate it in this way. Imagine a little box and imagine that in that little box we live … that’s our little world. And two things qualify life in that box, one is time and one is space. We live in a space/time world. We cannot imagine existence apart from time and space. It’s always a certain hour and we’re a certain place. And in our little space/time box we have a sort of a gnawing feeling in our hearts that there’s something outside our box but nobody has ever been there. And so we try to imagine how it might be and we stand on the edge of our little box and imagine that we can see out. And so man decides … well, I’ll invent some things about what’s out there. And so he invents some religions and religions are simply man’s way of trying to escape his little box and find who’s really out there. And some people have said it’s “the great hunter in the happy hunting ground.” And some people have said it’s Allah. And some people have said it’s Buddha. And some people have said it’s some ethereal philosophical floating mystical logos, that was the old Greek thought. And some have said it’s a myriad of gods and goddesses and there have been myriads of suggestions about who is out there.

But you see, man is confined in his little box in time and space, trying to figure out what’s outside where there’s no time and no space and no knowledge. How is man going to know what’s out there? Can man escape his time and space confinement? Can you go in to a phone booth and take off your clothes? Yes. Can you come out Superman? No. You can’t do it. You can’t lift yourself, transport yourself into another world. Listen, if man is ever to know what’s outside his time/space sphere, he’ll never discover it on his own. Whoever is out there has to come in to his little world. Do you know that every religion in the world offers itself as man’s explanation of what’s outside but Christianity says we have a message that God who is on the outside brought to the inside. And when God entered in to human life, God came in to a time-space world, He entered our dimension of living as a man. He became what we are in order that He might bring Himself to us because we could never have gotten outside.

First He wrote us a letter telling He was coming and the letter is the Bible and then … the Old Testament … and then He came and the New Testament tells us the story of His coming. And so the good news is that God came into the world. The good news is that Jesus was God in human flesh and He came here not only to tell us what God was like but He came here to die as a sacrifice for our sins so that we some day could go out of this little box and enter in to the eternal presence of God. Yes, says the Apostle Paul, He was made of the seed of David according to the flesh, He was a man. And listen, as a man He knows what we feel. The writer of the book of Hebrews says He was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. He went through every trial and temptation. He understands, says the writer, the feeling of our infirmities. He is therefore a sympathetic and understanding priest to whom we can pray and He’ll say, “Oh yeah, I understand, I cried tears, I walked the same roads you walked, I was tempted the same way you were tempted, I was disappointed in the same things that disappointed you, I fought the same battles you fought with Satan, I’ve been through all of the struggles and trials of life only I never failed and never sinned and I know the way to victory.”

Listen, Jesus Christ was a man, a real man in this world, total man, royal man but nonetheless total man, suffering in your place and my place to bear the wrath of God against the human race, He became a man. But He was more than that. Verse 4, and in verse 4 Paul says not only was He a man but He was declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness by the resurrection from the dead. And Paul says He wasn’t just man, He was also God. He was God in a human body. And the supreme proof of His deity was the fact that He went into the grave and went out the other side. And only God has that power.

Listen, if I’m looking for somebody to follow, I would like to follow one who was a man, I would like to follow somebody who can say to me, “John, I hear you, I know your heartache, I know your pain, I know your sufferings, I know the anxiety, I know what it is to be tempted, I know what it is to have trouble fulfilling your aspirations, I know what it is to be a man and I understand and I’m sympathetic.” Ah, that’s great. I don’t want some mystical foggy deity floating around in space who doesn’t know what it’s like down here.

But I’ll tell you something else, I want more than just a man. I not only need understanding, I need power to get me out of this mess. I need something to take me through the grave and out the other side. I need something to blast the walls of the time/space box so that I can ascend to the glory of the Kingdom of God. I need more than an example. I need more than a friend. I need that, but I need more than that. I need more than one who simply dies in my place. That happened in A Tale of Two Cities. I need more than that. I need one who is God and by His power conquers Satan, conquers sin, conquers death, conquers hell and takes me out of my world into the very presence of God forever.

And so, says Paul, here’s the good news, He is a man, a royal man but nonetheless a man. More He is God, the proof of it is in His resurrection from the dead.

Listen, this is the good news, people. That God in the form of Jesus Christ not only understand where you hurt, He not only understand the problem of temptation and evil desire, He understands the problem of sin, He bore all the sins of all the world in His own body on the cross and the guilt of every sin ever committed, He not only understands the meaninglessness of life in this world and its purposelessness and hopelessness as He saw it when He was here, but more than that He has the power to do something about it, see. That’s the good news … that’s the good news.

You know, you can go and plug in to every kind of religious system that’s running around the world and they might give you sympathy and they might give you understanding, but they’ll never give you resurrection. They’ll never take you through the grave and out the other side. They’ll never give you eternal life in heaven because they don’t have the power … that resides alone in Jesus Christ.

And so we say this, Jesus is not just a good teacher, good teachers don’t claim to be God. He’s not just a good example, good examples don’t hang around with prostitutes and dirty politicians. He’s not a religious mad man, mad men don’t speak the words He spoke and attract women and children. He’s not a fake-fix-stay dead. He’s not a phantom either, you can’t nail a phantom to a cross or touch a wound in his side. And he’s not a myth, you don’t set calendars by myths.

Who is He? He’s the God/Man and that’s good news … good news. And Paul says in verse 5, “It is through Him that we have received grace …” stop right there. You know what grace is? That’s giving you what you don’t deserve. You know something? It is because Jesus came in the world and died that God doesn’t give us what we deserve. You know what we deserve for our sin? You know what we deserve? We deserve punishment. We deserve death. The wages of sin is death. But God poured out all of that vengeance on Christ and to us He gives grace and forgiveness. That’s the good news.

I don’t know how well you’ve known the good news before, I hope you understand it now. Jesus died for you. He rose for you. He bore your sins and He says if you want the life that I offer … just by faith receive Me … as many as received Him to them gave He the right to be called the sons of God.

This transcript, along with related media, can also be found here on the Grace to You website.[1]


[1] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2014). John MacArthur Sermon Archive. Panorama City, CA: Grace to You.

October 3 Morning Verse of The Day

63:16 The appeal is made to God as a son makes an appeal to his father. God’s fatherhood supersedes even that of father Abraham as well as his son Jacob/Israel, who gave his name to his descendants.[1]

63:16 our Father. God has always been the Father of His people (64:8; Ex. 4:22, 23; Jer. 3:4, 19); they are His children by adoption (Deut. 32:6; Rom. 8:15).[2]

63:16 Abraham does not know us Abraham would not recognize his own descendants because of how far off the path they’ve wandered from following Yahweh (see Gen 15:6 on Abraham’s faith).[3]

63:16 Abraham … Israel. The nation’s physical ancestors, Abraham and Jacob (Israel) played a crucial role in Jewish thinking. It had been the besetting temptation and sin of the Jews to rest on the mere privilege of descent from Abraham and Jacob (cf. Mt 3:9; Jn 4:12; 8:39), but at last they renounce that to trust God alone as Father.[4]

63:16 The people of Israel are the Lord’s children (v. 8). He is their Father because He created them as a nation (Deut. 32:6; Jer. 3:4, 19). It is rare in the pages of the Hebrew Bible to find the explicit statement of the Fatherhood of God, though it is often presented implicitly. Abraham and Israel, the people’s human fathers (51:2), were limited in their knowledge by time and space—in contrast to the Lord, the people’s Father and Redeemer from Everlasting (41:14).[5]

16 Indeed, the Lord was their father, a fact stated at the beginning and the end of this verse. Even if the patriarchs disowned them, as it were, still the Lord would claim them as his own children. Speaking on behalf of the people the prophet calls the Lord ‘our redeemer’. The more common form used when addressing Israel is ‘your redeemer’, but here and in 47:4 the acknowledgment is made of this special family relationship as the people base their claims on having God as their redeemer. And not only that, but he was their redeemer from eternity, and that meant that that relationship antedated any with the patriarchs.[6]

16. Surely thou art our Father. God permits us to reveal our hearts familiarly before him; for prayer is nothing else than the opening up of our heart before God; as the greatest alleviation is, to pour our cares, distresses, and anxieties into his bosom. “Roll thy cares on the Lord,” says David. (Ps. 37:5.) After having enumerated God’s benefits, from which his goodness and power are clearly seen, so that it is evident that it is nothing else than the sins of men that hinder them from feeling it as formerly, he returns to this consideration, that the goodness of God is nevertheless so great as to exceed the wickedness of men. He calls God a Father in the name of the Church; for all cannot call him thus, but it is the peculiar privilege of the Church to address him by a father’s name. Hence it ought to be inferred that Christ, as the first-born, or rather the only-begotten Son of God, always governed his Church; for in no other way than through him can God be called Father. And here we again see that believers do not contend with God, but draw an argument from his nature, that, by conquering temptation, they may strive to cherish good hope.

Though Abraham do not know us. Here a question arises, Why does he say that the patriarch does not know the people? Jerome thinks that this is done because they were degenerated, and therefore were unworthy of so high an honour; but that interpretation appears to me to be exceedingly unnatural. The true meaning is, “Though our fathers deny us, yet God will reckon us as children, and will act toward us as a Father.”

They who say that Abraham and other believers care no more about the affairs of men, torture by excessive ingenuity the words of the Prophet. I do not speak of the fact itself, but I say that those words do not prove that the saints have no care about us. The natural and true meaning is, “O Lord, that thou art our Father will be so sure and so firmly established, that even though all parentage and all relationship should cease among men, yet thou wilt not fail to be our Father. Sooner shall the rights of nature perish than thou shalt not act toward us as a Father, or the sacred adoption shall be infringed, which was founded on thy unchangeable decree, and ratified by the death of thine only-begotten Son.”

Yet we may infer from this that holy men present themselves before God, and pray to him, in such a manner as not to look at any intercessions of others; for they are commanded to pray so as to rely on God’s fatherly kindness, and to lay aside every other confidence. And if the Prophet did not instruct the Jews, in order that God might listen to them, to turn their mind to Abraham and Jacob, to whom promises so numerous and so great had been given, assuredly much less ought we to resort to Peter, and Paul, and others; for this is not a private prayer offered by a single individual or by a few persons, but the public and universal prayer of the whole Church, as if the Prophet laid down a general form. Besides, our confidence ought to be founded on God’s favour and kindness as a Father, so as to shut our eyes on all the intercessions of men, whether living or dead. In a word, believers profess that they do not gaze around in all directions, but rely on God alone.

It comes now to a question, Why did he pass by Isaac and mention in a special manner Abraham and Jacob? The reason is, that with those two persons the covenant was more solemnly ratified. Isaac was, indeed, a partaker of the covenant, but did not receive promises so large and so numerous.

Our Redeemer. Redemption is here described as a testimony of that adoption; for by this proof God manifested himself to be the Father of the people; and therefore boldly and confidently do believers call on God as their Father, because he gave a remarkable testimony of his fatherly kindness toward them, which encouraged them to confidence. But redemption alone would not have been enough, if a promise had not likewise been added; and therefore, as he once redeemed them, he promised that he would always be their Father.

From everlasting is thy name. By the word “everlasting” is pointed out the stability and continuance of his fatherly name, for we did not deserve the name of children; but his will, by which he once adopted us to be children, is unchangeable. Since, therefore, the Lord has an eternal name, it follows that the title and favour which are connected with that eternity and flow from it, shall be durable and eternal.2[7]

Ver. 16.—Doubtless thou art our Father; rather, for thou art our Father. This is the ground of their appeal to God. As their Father, he must love them, and must be ready to listen to them. Abraham and Isaac, their earthly fathers, were of no service, lent them no aid, seemed to have ceased to feel any interest in them. It cannot be justly argued from this that the Jews looked to Abraham and Isaac as actual “patron saints,” or directed towards them their religious regards. Had this been so, there would have been abundant evidence of it. Thou, O Lord, art our Father (comp. ch. 64:8; and see also Deut. 32:6, and Jer. 3:4). Though the relationship was revealed under the old covenant, it was practically realized only upon the rarest occasions. Our Redeemer; thy name, etc.; rather, our Redeemer has been thy name from of old. “Redeemer” first appears as a name of God in Job (ch. 19:25) and in the Psalms (Ps. 19:14; 78:35). It is an epitheton usitatum only in the later portion of Isaiah. There it occurs thirteen times.[8]

16 But what is the basis for such expectations that God should care about us? By what right does the prophet expect that God should have feelings of affection and compassion toward us? The answer goes back to the election of the people of God (v. 8). Who brought these “children” into existence? It was not Abraham or Israel (Jacob). These men are not the real “fathers” of the people of God. It is God who fathered these people (cf. 64:7 [Eng. 8]; Deut. 32:6). This is a profound thought: Israel is not an ethnic, or linguistic, or national entity, but a spiritual one. God is their Father. Commentators have debated whether ancestor worship is implied here. That is, the people have prayed to Abraham and Jacob for help and have gotten none, so they turn in desperation to God. The Hebrew people certainly practiced nearly every other feature of pagan religion at one time or another, so it should not surprise us if they did this. But the point here is not sociological but theological, similar to that of 49:15 or Ps. 27:10. God’s relations with his own are deeper than the deepest we humans know, that between a parent and a child. Although an Abraham might deny his children, God cannot. This is why the prophet is so bold as to call on God to do what he should.

But there is another basis for the appeal. Not only is God our Father but his name, his reputation, is inseparably tied to us. What is that name? Our Redeemer from ancient times. This is who God has been known to be. He is the one who has redeemed Israel not only from Egypt (v. 12) but also from hosts of other enemies (v. 14). Can he now afford to allow his people to go unredeemed? Can he continue to allow them to be held in bondage by their sin and unrighteousness? Can he continue to leave them in a condition where there is no distinction between them and the pagan peoples around them? Will he be able to leave his temple in a state of ruin? Can a God like this continue to leave the nations of the world in darkness? Surely not! Surely he will take whatever steps he needs to protect and preserve the great name he has made for himself.[9]


[1] Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1132). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

[2] Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2005). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (p. 1042). Orlando, FL; Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries.

[3] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Is 63:16). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[4] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Is 63:16). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.

[5] Radmacher, E. D., Allen, R. B., & House, H. W. (1999). Nelson’s new illustrated Bible commentary (p. 872). Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers.

[6] Harman, A. (2005). Isaiah: A Covenant to Be Kept for the Sake of the Church (pp. 412–413). Scotland: Christian Focus Publications.

[7] Calvin, J., & Pringle, W. (2010). Commentary on the Book of the Prophet Isaiah (Vol. 4, pp. 353–355). Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

[8] Spence-Jones, H. D. M. (Ed.). (1910). Isaiah (Vol. 2, p. 444). London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company.

[9] Oswalt, J. N. (1998). The Book of Isaiah, Chapters 40–66 (pp. 612–613). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

Internet Church Service a October 3, 2021; Faith is the one system that man must use to get to know God. — God’s Gift of Eternal Life Blog

EMBEDDED VIDEO SERMON in HD – WITH NOTES

Faith is the one system that man must use to get to know God.

Please join us as we fellowship in the Word of God, listen to Christian Music, Pray in Christ’s Name, and Praise the Lord Our God in our Hearts and Minds.

ALL ARE WELCOME

from – Romans 8:38-39

Hymn #1

Hymn #2

Preparing yourself for the study of God’s Word

Before we begin, only if you are a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ (that is; you have believed [trusted] in Him for His promised gift of eternal lifeJohn 3:16John 6:47 as a few examples; it is very important to prepare yourself to learn God’s Word so the Holy Spirit can teach you as to what your reading or hearing is true or false. To be taught by the Holy Spirit you must be filled with the Holy Spirit which means abiding in Christ. To place yourself in fellowship with God the Holy Spirit [also called abiding in the Christ], take a moment to simply name, cite or acknowledge [confess] your known unconfessed sins privately to God (i.e.; with your thoughts directed only to God the Father). Why? Because you cannot grow spiritually if you’re not abiding in Christ [in fellowship with Him] when you take in bible truth.

1 John 1:9, says: “If we confess [meaning to simply name, cite or acknowledge to God the Fatherour sins [known unconfessed sins], He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins [known sinsand to cleanse us from all unrighteousness [all unknown and forgotten sins];” NKJV (New King James Version); we call this REBOUND; read the full doctrine as to “why” we need to use 1 John 1:9 to grow spiritually. Left click the following link to learn more and fully understand the doctrine of Rebound; which answers the question, why do I need to keep confessing my sins all the time? REBOUND

If you have never personally believed in the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior (that is, believed in Him for eternal life), the issue for you is not to name your sins to God; the issue for you is to believe by faith alone in Jesus, The Christ alone for eternal life [salvation] and you will be saved [receive Eternal Life] the very second you believe in Him:

John 6:47 says: “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me [Jesus Christ] has everlasting life.” NKJV

Notice again what John 6:47 says, “he who believes in Me [Jesus Christhas everlasting life.” It doesn’t say, “will have”; it says, “has.” Therefore, the very moment you believe Jesus Christ’s promise of everlasting life, you have it (it’s really just that simple), and it can never be lost or taken away from you (John 10:28-29). Furthermore, the gift of everlasting life (also called eternal life in scripture) is available to every human being; there are absolutely no exceptions.

John 3:14-18 says: “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness [Num 21:4-9], even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” NKJV

Let us now bow our hearts and take a moment to prepare for learning God’s Word, if there is any known sin in your life, this is the time to just cite it privately to God the Father with your thoughts directed towards Him. With your head bowed and your eyes closed, you have total privacy in your mind and soul:

Romans12.2

Our Pastor-Teacher is:

Robert McLaughlin – Grace Bible Church and Robert McLaughlin Bible Ministries

Terms used by RMBM

Doctrinal Statement

This ministry is non-denominational and is dedicated to teaching the Word of God from the original languages and making it available at no charge throughout the world.

OPTIONAL: On-line Bible – NASB95

Sermon

NOTES

Unlike the bible study, these notes are not just for reading without watching the video. These notes are more designed to follow along during the sermon and to bring up the “hover pop-up scripture references;” if just hover doesn’t work, do a “control-left-click,” if that doesn’t work then look them up in your Bible) when the Pastor asks everyone to turn to that passage in their bibles.

Faith is the one system that man must use to get to know God.

Jn 15:1 — a reference to the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ as undiminished deity and true humanity in one person forever = “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.”

Three systems of perception whereby mankind can use one or more of those systems of perception to learn things.

Three Systems of Perception

1. Empiricism

2. Rationalization

3. Faith

Here is the wisdom of God once again revealing His perfection with His omniscience, His omnipresence, and His omnipotence, which all reveal the glory of God.

If man could get to know God through empiricism then getting to know God would be based upon the resources that man has from his experiences which are ever equal.

Man cannot know God by His experiences because his experiences are based upon his privileges or lack of them.

If women could get to know God through rationalism, then getting to know God would be based upon one’s intellect, or one’s I.Q., or one’s education, etc.

There is still no equality to those individuals who think they are a lot smarter than others and think that their ability and their knowledge and their experiences make them unique.

Only one system that man can get to know God, and that is the non-meritorious system of perception that we call faith.

Three Systems of Perception

4. Empiricism

5. Rationalization

6. Faith

Jn 15:1 – ‎Vinedresser;

Jn 15:2 – Divine Pruning;

Jn 15:4 – Abiding in the Vine

Jn 15:9-10, Agape or impersonal love.

All of these mystery doctrines of the Church-age reveal the tremendous wisdom of God as He motivates those disciples to be prepared for any spiritual warfare that comes their way.

If the Christian soldier is prepared for battle as stated in Eph 6:10, where our Lord has given to us divine instructions concerning spiritual warfare, both in the angelic realm and in the human realm.

In Eph 6:10, the Christian soldier is commanded to be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might.

Pr 24:5 A wise man is strong, And a man of knowledge increases power.

There are a lot of the doctrinal principles in this chapter, which were given to us by God because in doing so it gives us power and ability to fulfill the PPOG=predesigned plan of God & PSD=personal sense of destine.

Eph 6:10, Paul says to be strong in the Lord, and in the strength of His might.

Eph 6:16 in addition to all, taking up the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming missiles of the evil {one.}

Eph 6:17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

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Let’s take a quick look back at the wisdom of Isaiah in dealing with some of the problems that the Jews and others were having because of their very own NVTD=negative volition towards doctrine.

Isaiah warned them to be careful how they are handling the people who were under the authority of God even though they may be backsliders.

Jam 1:84:8, – an alert system ingrained in our spirit so that we can recognize who the double-minded individuals in our Life who are trying to destroy us; Jam 1:84:81Co 2:14.

Our Lord even laughs at those who reap what they sow after they have spent a lifetime mocking, laughing, being sarcastic, disrespectful, as they spit on our Lord’s face.

To those who were attacking the people of God, God says ignore them — he will take care of them.

Psa 2:4 He who sits in the heavens laughs, The Lord scoffs at them.

Psa 37:12-13, The wicked plots against the righteous, And gnashes at him with his teeth. The Lord laughs at him; For He sees his day is coming.

Before the cross where He would be so abused and mocked, mistreated, punched in the face, and so scared that He did not even look like a member of the human race.

Hymn #3

The following link is to a good-news message describing how one can receive eternal life: Ticket to Heaven, it was written for anyone not absolutely certain about of their eternal future.

Internet Church Service a October 3, 2021; Faith is the one system that man must use to get to know God. — God’s Gift of Eternal Life Blog