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BIBLE STUDY on VERSE

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BIBLE STUDY on VERSE Empty Re: BIBLE STUDY on VERSE

Post  Admin Yesterday at 5:54 pm

Matthew 12:9-14
(9) Now when He had departed from there, He went into their synagogue. (10) And behold, there was a man who had a withered hand. And they asked Him, saying, "Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?"—that they might accuse Him. (11) Then He said to them, "What man is there among you who has one sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not lay hold of it and lift it out? (12) Of how much more value then is a man than a sheep? Therefore it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath." (13) Then He said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." And he stretched it out, and it was restored as whole as the other. (14) Then the Pharisees went out and plotted against Him, how they might destroy Him.
New King James Version   Change your email Bible version

Matthew 12:9-14 is in many respects very similar to John 9. Jesus healed a man with a chronic problem. It was not an emergency situation. He could have allowed the person to go on and heal him after the Sabbath was over, but He deliberately chose to heal him on the Sabbath day. Why?

The answer is to show us that God's mind, His nature, His law, is always to be merciful under every circumstance. In following His example, we have to make sure that what we are doing, our intent, really is showing mercy to the person. Necessity in this case did not demand that He heal the man on the Sabbath, but it provided an excellent example that mercy is always right when the opportunity presents itself.

Even though Jesus had the power from God to do this, He did not frequently go out of His way to heal people on the Sabbath. On the other hand, if people came to Him on the Sabbath, He healed them.

The Pharisees were so far from God that they were blinded to the wickedness of their plans. They were looking for an opportunity to get evidence against Jesus to kill Him. Their wicked motivation for their actions is probably the most gross Sabbath violation in all the Bible: They used the Sabbath to plot the murder of an innocent Man.

— John W. Ritenbaugh
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BIBLE STUDY on VERSE Empty Re: BIBLE STUDY on VERSE

Post  Admin Sun 23 Jan 2022, 12:19 pm

Deuteronomy 8:2-3
(2) And you shall remember that the LORD your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep His commandments or not. (3) So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the LORD.
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This is one of the earliest references to the parallel between physical and spiritual eating. It is not directly stated but implied. God intended Israel's experiences in the wilderness to instruct the Israelites that all of life, both physical and spiritual aspects, depends upon God's providence. These verses also confirm that leading a good life, an abundant life, is dependent upon one's spiritual, mental, and emotional base. These elements of the mind determine one's outlook, goals, and reactions to the myriad vicissitudes of life. These verses confirm that God directly leads us into many of them, as a means of instructing us, producing dual results: first, to experience them and develop certain characteristics; second, to test us so both He and we can see where we stand and how we cope.

A major problem is that human nature compels us to focus almost totally upon the physical. God provides us "wilderness experiences" to let us know that there is a spiritual aspect to life that requires feeding and maintenance just as surely as the physical. Prayer, study, meditation, and obedience are the assimilation process in this parallel. Within this feeding/assimilation process, our relationship with God, worship, and religion should be enhanced to play an effective, positive role in life. Worship is more than adoration and reverence; it is the response of the whole person to the entirety of God's will in all aspects of life. In the church, at home, on the job, and in the community, our direction must always be whatever God wills.

Starvation of the spirit is less obvious on the outside than physical hunger because the spirit starves much more slowly and it resides within. Spiritual malnutrition may go unrecognized for long periods because the body and life goes right on. Yet just as surely as one's body gives signs that it needs nourishment, so does the spirit, and it, too, will eventually be recognized on the outside by its symptoms.

When the body cries out for food, one feels emptiness in the stomach, weakness in the muscles, and even sleepiness. If it goes on long enough, a faintness and headache may arise. But when the spirit is malnourished either from deprivation or a harmful diet, the gradual reaction in life is different.

Spiritual weakness appears, as does sin. With sin comes anger, irritability, exasperation, depression, discouragement, melancholy, despondency, gloominess, bitterness, hatred, resentment, self-pity, hopelessness, despair, paranoia, envy, jealousy, family conflict, arguing, divorce, drunkenness or other addictions, and competitiveness as self-centeredness deepens.

A purpose of Deuteronomy 8:2-3 is to emphasize to Israel and now to us that the source of spiritual nourishment is more important than the nourishment itself. If we have the right source, the nourishment will be good. Otherwise, the situation is hopeless. Our source of nourishment must, of course, be God.

When tempted by Satan, Jesus quotes this verse (Matthew 4:4). He suggests in His answer that, unlike Esau, He received a vitality that sustained Him even though He had not physically eaten. Therefore, He had no need to succumb to Satan's temptation. Israel also demanded bread in the wilderness. They ate and proceeded to die there. Jesus denied Himself bread, instead trusting God in submission to Him, retained His righteousness, and lived.

— John W. Ritenbaugh
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BIBLE STUDY on VERSE Empty Re: BIBLE STUDY on VERSE

Post  Admin Sat 22 Jan 2022, 9:23 pm

Colossians 3:5
(5) Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.
New King James Version   Change your email Bible version

The word translated "covetousness" here is the Greek word pleonexia. It is an ugly word describing an ugly sin. It is ugly because it is idolatry and destructive. Lexicons describe pleonexia as "the insatiable desire to have what rightfully belongs to others." It suggests ruthless self-seeking and an arrogant assumption that others and things exist for one's own benefit.

Covetousness is idolatry because it puts self-interest and things in the place of God. A man sets up an idol because he desires to get some pleasure or satisfaction from it. So he serves to get, which is idolatry. The essence of idolatry, then, is to get for the self. Christians, though, must give themselves to God, and we do it by yielding to Him in obedience to whatever He says.

Colossians 3:5 says we are to "mortify therefore [our] members which are on the earth" (KJV). This does not mean merely to practice an ascetic self-discipline. It is a very strong word, meaning "to kill." The Christian must kill self-centeredness. He must radically transform his life, shifting the focus from himself to God. This is exactly what Jesus taught in Matthew 5:29-30. Everything that keeps us from fully obeying God and surrendering to Jesus Christ must be spiritually excised. The tenth commandment, like the first, serves as a governor, controlling whether we keep the others.

— John W. Ritenbaugh
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BIBLE STUDY on VERSE Empty Re: BIBLE STUDY on VERSE

Post  Admin Fri 21 Jan 2022, 4:28 pm

Hebrews 1:4-5
(4) having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. (5) For to which of the angels did He ever say:
“ You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You”? And again:
“ I will be to Him a Father,
And He shall be to Me a Son”?
New King James Version   Change your email Bible version

Part of the reason that the great dignity of His name is far beyond that of any angel is how the relationship between the two God Beings transformed over the course of Their plan. Without any ambiguity, the author declares that the Father and Son are directly related to each other. There are no “in-betweens” as there are between God and angels. The Father and Son are one—that is, of the same immortal kind and in perfect harmony. Absolutely no angel under any circumstance can make such a claim!

It helps to recognize that the term “angels” is not qualified in any way, indicating that the author of Hebrews meant to include all angelic beings in his terminology. In God's organizational order, Jesus ranks higher than any and every rank of angelic beings that may exist, from the lowest to the highest, regardless of name or descriptor in Scripture, even to the position of archangel.

Two New Testament passages confirm this statement:

» . . . which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come, and He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. (Ephesians 1:20-23)

» There is also an antitype which now saves us—baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him. (I Peter 3:21-22)

However, the very fact that Jesus, even as a human, carried the title “Son of God” is telling and therefore totally persuasive to those who believe. It immediately conveys the idea of a relationship that humans, as Jesus was while on earth, can have with God. It also suggests a relationship superior to what angels have with God. Nowhere in Scripture are they considered sons as Jesus was. As Hebrews 1:5 implies, there is no record in Scripture that any angel was under any circumstance ever called “My Son”!

The natural idea conveyed by this title, “Son of God,” in Scripture is that He sustained a continuous relationship with God. Why did He use this title? Because it is true! He had maintained that relationship, which is why the author begins the epistle in that manner. The gospels show that “Jesus” (Yeshua, “Savior”) was His Hebrew birthname, inspired by God and revealed to Joseph and Mary (see Matthew 1:21; Luke 1:31), but at the same time, He was the Son of God (see Luke 1:32).

Among other names and titles, He called Himself “Son of God” (John 5:25; 10:36; 11:4). To this fact, we add the truth that He never sinned; He never even once told one little fib. This truth is huge and telling when we honestly consider how frequently we have “bent” the truth.

It is also persuasive because the title authenticates Him as such throughout all time. It is either true or false, and if false, we have no Savior! John 8—the entire chapter—is an excellent guide to this revelation of Himself. In this way, Jesus is unique in all the history of mankind.

— John W. Ritenbaugh
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BIBLE STUDY on VERSE Empty Re: BIBLE STUDY on VERSE

Post  Admin Fri 21 Jan 2022, 4:28 pm

Hebrews 1:4-5
(4) having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. (5) For to which of the angels did He ever say:
“ You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You”? And again:
“ I will be to Him a Father,
And He shall be to Me a Son”?
New King James Version   Change your email Bible version

Part of the reason that the great dignity of His name is far beyond that of any angel is how the relationship between the two God Beings transformed over the course of Their plan. Without any ambiguity, the author declares that the Father and Son are directly related to each other. There are no “in-betweens” as there are between God and angels. The Father and Son are one—that is, of the same immortal kind and in perfect harmony. Absolutely no angel under any circumstance can make such a claim!

It helps to recognize that the term “angels” is not qualified in any way, indicating that the author of Hebrews meant to include all angelic beings in his terminology. In God's organizational order, Jesus ranks higher than any and every rank of angelic beings that may exist, from the lowest to the highest, regardless of name or descriptor in Scripture, even to the position of archangel.

Two New Testament passages confirm this statement:

» . . . which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come, and He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. (Ephesians 1:20-23)

» There is also an antitype which now saves us—baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him. (I Peter 3:21-22)

However, the very fact that Jesus, even as a human, carried the title “Son of God” is telling and therefore totally persuasive to those who believe. It immediately conveys the idea of a relationship that humans, as Jesus was while on earth, can have with God. It also suggests a relationship superior to what angels have with God. Nowhere in Scripture are they considered sons as Jesus was. As Hebrews 1:5 implies, there is no record in Scripture that any angel was under any circumstance ever called “My Son”!

The natural idea conveyed by this title, “Son of God,” in Scripture is that He sustained a continuous relationship with God. Why did He use this title? Because it is true! He had maintained that relationship, which is why the author begins the epistle in that manner. The gospels show that “Jesus” (Yeshua, “Savior”) was His Hebrew birthname, inspired by God and revealed to Joseph and Mary (see Matthew 1:21; Luke 1:31), but at the same time, He was the Son of God (see Luke 1:32).

Among other names and titles, He called Himself “Son of God” (John 5:25; 10:36; 11:4). To this fact, we add the truth that He never sinned; He never even once told one little fib. This truth is huge and telling when we honestly consider how frequently we have “bent” the truth.

It is also persuasive because the title authenticates Him as such throughout all time. It is either true or false, and if false, we have no Savior! John 8—the entire chapter—is an excellent guide to this revelation of Himself. In this way, Jesus is unique in all the history of mankind.

— John W. Ritenbaugh
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BIBLE STUDY on VERSE Empty Re: BIBLE STUDY on VERSE

Post  Admin Thu 20 Jan 2022, 3:07 pm

Matthew 12:1-4
(1) At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath. And His disciples were hungry, and began to pluck heads of grain and to eat. (2) And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to Him, "Look, Your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath!" (3) But He said to them, "Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, he and those who were with him: (4) how he entered the house of God and ate the showbread which was not lawful for him to eat, nor for those who were with him, but only for the priests?
New King James Version   Change your email Bible version

According to the Pharisees, the disciples reaped a crop. They threshed it by rubbing the berries in their hands and breaking the hulls off. Then they winnowed it by blowing the hulls away. By doing so, they were guilty of preparing a meal. This was actually a high holy day, very likely one of the holy days of the Days of Unleavened Bread.

Consider the disciples' motivation for what they did. First, they were hungry. Second, they were itinerate, using "shoe leather express," traveling with Jesus as a part of His entourage. He instructed them, giving them examples of His way of life, all along the way. He Himself said that He had no place to lay His head. They had, therefore, no place to prepare a meal. They did not have homes that they could readily return to.

These were strong, young men, probably in their twenties or early thirties (about the same age as Jesus), so they could have fasted without damage. But, because it was the Sabbath, Jesus deliberately drew attention to one of the Sabbath's main purposes: It is a day of mercy and not a day of sacrifice.

Christ's justification comes from I Samuel 21:1-6. He reasoned that, if it was all right for David to allay his hunger under an unusual circumstance by eating bread that had been consecrated for holy use, His disciples could provide for their needs in this manner. (The showbread was put into the Tabernacle on the table, and it sat there during the entire week. Then, every Sabbath it was exchanged for new bread. David ate the week-old bread that had just been exchanged for the new.)

So what is He saying? The Sabbath is a day of mercy. And if one can rightly, lawfully use "holy bread" to do something that, according to the letter of the law, was illegal, then it was also legitimate for the disciples to provide for their needs also in an unusual circumstance.

The emphasis here is on the word unusual. How frequently was David fleeing for his life and finding himself hungry? It did happen, at least this one time, but it did not happen every Sabbath. Maybe in David's lifetime something like this occurred a few times, but even for a man of war like David, it did not happen all that frequently.

The overall lesson, however, is that it is not the intention of God's law to deprive anybody of good things. The intent of God's law is to ensure life. If the need arises, one should not feel conscience-stricken to use the Sabbath in a way that would not "normally" be lawful. Christ admitted that what David did was not "normally" lawful. Neither was what the disciples were doing "normally lawful," except for the extenuating circumstance.

In this case then, they were blameless because a larger obligation overruled the letter of the law. The larger obligation was to be merciful. The letter of the law said that they could not have that bread. The larger obligation said that it was more important to eat than it was to fast (to sacrifice eating). Holy bread, or holy time (the Sabbath), can be used exceptionally in order to sustain life.

— John W. Ritenbaugh
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BIBLE STUDY on VERSE Empty Re: BIBLE STUDY on VERSE

Post  Admin Wed 19 Jan 2022, 3:06 pm

Revelation 11:3-12
(3) And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth." (4) These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands standing before the God of the earth. (5) And if anyone wants to harm them, fire proceeds from their mouth and devours their enemies. And if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this manner. (6) These have power to shut heaven, so that no rain falls in the days of their prophecy; and they have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to strike the earth with all plagues, as often as they desire. (7) When they finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, overcome them, and kill them. (8) And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. (9) Then those from the peoples, tribes, tongues, and nations will see their dead bodies three-and-a-half days, and not allow their dead bodies to be put into graves. (10) And those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them, make merry, and send gifts to one another, because these two prophets tormented those who dwell on the earth. (11) Now after the three-and-a-half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them. (12) And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, "Come up here." And they ascended to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies saw them.
New King James Version   Change your email Bible version

The primary texts on the Two Witnesses are Revelation 11 and Zechariah 4. What does not fit the facts and implications of these two prophetic passages we can discard as highly speculative and not worth serious consideration except in dismissal. Some people have asserted truly wild ideas about these two prophets, but we will see that they derive from their own imaginations rather than from the Bible.

First, the Two Witnesses will not be crazed, unstable individuals. Nothing in the Bible—much less these two passages—suggests that God ever uses people of unsound minds to accomplish a major work for Him. The apostle Paul tells us that God's Spirit in us is not "of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind" (II Timothy 1:7). While some of God's prophets had personal problems and were commanded to do some strange things to get God's point across in symbolic ways—Ezekiel comes to mind—they were far from being lunatics. They were different from the world around them because they believed God and did His will, but they were quite sane and rational.

Second, they will not be anything other than men. We can take this on two levels. Some have suggested that the Two Witnesses are entities like the Old and New Testaments, Israel and the church, the Jews and the Gentiles, or even the Philadelphia and Laodicean eras of the church! However, Revelation 11 is quite clear that the Two Witnesses are "prophets" (verse 10), that they can be killed (verse 7), that they have bodies (verses 8-9), and that the breath of life enters them upon resurrection (verse 11). The literal meaning of these details is the best interpretation, leading to the conclusion that they are people, not things.

The other level is gender, a touchy subject in these inclusive times. Many have tried to hold the door open for a woman to fill the role of one of the Two Witnesses, but the language in the primary passages is overwhelmingly masculine (except where the natural gender of the languages demands it). Additionally, the pronouns are consistently masculine plural, as is the word "prophets" in Revelation 11:10.

Although it can be argued that the masculine is the Greek default gender for groups of mixed gender, the biblical pattern reveals that it is far more likely that God would choose two men to shoulder the burden of this final work. In addition, the allusions to types within the two primary passages are to men: Moses, Elijah, Joshua, and Zerubbabel. This is not to say that a woman could not do this work, but that the preponderance of Scripture argues against God choosing a woman to do it.

Third, the Two Witnesses will not be resurrected saints from the past, such as the aforementioned Moses and Elijah or perhaps Enoch. These three are often cited as candidates because the Bible describes their deaths so mysteriously, as if they are not really dead but in heaven waiting for God to send them back as His witnesses in the end time. There is no indication in the primary passages even to suggest this. So much time has passed since their lifetimes that it is ridiculous to think that anyone on earth today would even know who they are!

Besides, Hebrews 9:27 and the rest of New Testament theology, as well as God's consistent patterns, challenge this view. Except for Jesus, all the dead await the resurrection. In addition, God has never used a servant in two separate times. Jesus Himself tells us, "If they do not hear Moses and the prophets [in Scripture], neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead" (Luke 16:31).

Fourth, and finally, they will be neither unconverted nor recently converted people. In other words, they will be baptized members of God's church and probably ordained ministers. Again, God's pattern in working to bring His plan to fruition reveals that the Two Witnesses will come from among His people, just as the prophets came from Israel and the apostles were chosen from among His disciples. The apostle Paul may seem to be a glaring exception to this rule, but even he was required to undergo a three-year period of instruction before he was sent out to fulfill his expansive calling (see Galatians 1:16-18). Due to their mission's magnitude, the Two Witnesses will likewise be prepared for it over an extended period beforehand.

— Richard T. Ritenbaugh
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BIBLE STUDY on VERSE Empty Re: BIBLE STUDY on VERSE

Post  Admin Tue 18 Jan 2022, 6:25 pm

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
(1) To everything there is a season,
A time for every purpose under heaven:
(2) A time to be born, And a time to die;
A time to plant, And a time to pluck what is planted;
(3) A time to kill, And a time to heal;
A time to break down, And a time to build up;
(4) A time to weep, And a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, And a time to dance;
(5) A time to cast away stones, And a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing;
(6) A time to gain, And a time to lose;
A time to keep, And a time to throw away;
(7) A time to tear, And a time to sew;
A time to keep silence, And a time to speak;
(8) A time to love, And a time to hate;
A time of war, And a time of peace.
New King James Version   Change your email Bible version
 
Ecclesiastes 3 ties directly to the end of the preceding chapter. In Ecclesiastes 2:24, Solomon's approach in writing the book takes a turn. There, he begins to lead the reader toward the more specific details about the repetition of events that everybody experiences. It does not mean everything he mentions occurs to everybody. He is speaking in general terms: There is a time to be born, and a time to die. There is a time to plant, and a time to pluck what is planted. There is a time to kill, and a time to heal. All these things occur in most people's lives.
 
The chapter's overall tone is neutral. However, we can take positive value from what Solomon writes. He describes a series of opposites or contrasts. He is leading us to realize that there is a perplexing aspect to this reality: that most of the events he mentions are out of a person's control.
 
We have no control over when we are born and little or no control over when we die. We have little or no control over when we have to plant things; we must do it according to the seasons that God has arranged. We are also forced to pick what we have planted unless we want to lose it. All these events have aspects beyond our control.
 
Solomon wants the godly to understand that much of life is beyond human control. We just have to deal with it. If our lives are to mean something worthwhile, we have to deal with this fact: that completely controlling our lives is an act of futility. We can do very little about it. If we fail to deal with this properly, we will live in frustration.
 
He wants us to understand that human beings are not the masters of their destiny as many would like to think they are. Everyone wants to control his destiny, but Solomon is saying that is vanity. It is frustrating. We can exercise a bit of control, but far more of the events of life will be well beyond our control.
 
So, what is the positive aspect of Solomon's teaching for us? It is part of what preceded it—Ecclesiastes 2:24: "I saw this was from the hand of God." He also writes in verse 26, "For God gives wisdom and knowledge and joy to a man who is good in His sight." In Ecclesiastes 3, Solomon is saying that that they are not haphazard, but for the godly, God is involved in these events! He is exercising a measure of providential control in the cycle of these occurrences. In other words, He is in control.
 
— John W. Ritenbaugh
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BIBLE STUDY on VERSE Empty Re: BIBLE STUDY on VERSE

Post  Admin Mon 17 Jan 2022, 4:26 pm

1 Corinthians 6:9-10
(9) Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, (10) nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.

  Leviticus 18:22
(22) You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination.

  Romans 1:26-27
(26) For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. (27) Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.
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What an individual does—good or evil—affects the lives of others as well. Whether committed by man, woman, boy, or girl, there is no such thing as a victimless crime or a private sin. Sins of commission and omission affect the doer, his family, friends, and society.

Robert Bork ("The Necessary Amendment," First Things, August/September 2004, p. 16) drives this point home in his comments about the effort to legalize homosexual marriage. Bork cites three reasons why "the consequences of homosexual marriage will affect you, your children, and your grandchildren, as well as the morality and health of the society in which you and they live."

First, sanctioning gay marriage will endorse heterosexual promiscuity. By its very nature, legitimatizing homosexual marriage demeans "traditional marriage, [which] comes to be perceived as just one more sexual arrangement among others." Studies of the consequences of same-sex marriage in Scandinavia and the Netherlands hint that nontraditional marriage arrangements break "the symbolic link between marriage, procreation, and family." When that happens, there follows

a rapid and persistent decline in heterosexual marriages. Families are begun by cohabiting couples, who break up significantly more often than married couples, leaving children in one-parent families. The evidence has long been clear that children raised in such families are much more likely to engage in crime, use drugs, and form unstable relationships. These are pathologies that affect everyone in a community.

Second, sanctioning gay marriage will result in an increase in the number of practicing homosexuals. To legitimize homosexual marriage goes a long way to equating heterosexuality with homosexuality. What were once elemental differences become blurred in peoples' minds. "By removing the last vestiges of moral stigma from same-sex couplings, such marriages will lead to an increase in the number of homosexuals." Bork continues by pointing out that young people, "as yet uncertain of and confused by their sexuality" may find it easier to develop a homosexual orientation. This in turn will lead to an increase in the "homosexual syndrome," a collection of physical and psychological symptoms homosexuals are far more prone to display than heterosexuals. HIV/AIDS is just one set of these symptoms. Attempted suicide rates, commonly 300% higher in homosexuals than in heterosexuals, manifest another symptom (see "How Normal is Deviance?" CGG Weekly, October 22, 2004).

The word gay, attached to homosexuals, is a real misnomer, for homosexuals' lives are not at all gay. The homosexual syndrome manifests itself even in the most "gay-friendly" cultures. This fact exposes how absurd is the argument that psychological disorders in gays are the result of "social disapproval." Bork points out that no research exists to corroborate the notion that society's disapproval of homosexuals' lifestyles results in their increased incidence of psychological disorders. The homosexual syndrome, then, is directly related to sexual perversion itself and is not the product of a guilt-trip forced on sodomites by a supposedly intolerant culture.

Third, sanctioning same-sex marriage opens the floodgate to even more outlandish behavior. Bork quotes William Bennett, who points out that homosexual rights activists, having won the battle for same-sex unions, will have no reasons to criticize

the marriage of two consenting brothers. Nor can they . . . explain why we ought to deny a marriage license to three men who want to marry. Or to a man who wants a consensual polygamous arrangement. Or to a father to his adult daughter.

In arguing this way, Bork is saying that legitimizing same-sex marriages crosses a line. Once crossed, no other moral barrier will hold against the onslaught of even the most bizarre proposals. How bizarre can bizarre become? Well, how bizarre is the proposal to legitimize pedophilia? After all, if a teenage girl no longer needs to receive parental permission to obtain an abortion, how far are we from legally approving intercourse between an adult and a consenting teenage boy? This is one of the most disturbing aspects of the floodgate principle. Mary Eberstadt shows that "the taboo against pedophilia is weakening."

Are those enough consequences of legitimizing same-sex marriages? Just three, but each one is horrid beyond words. In the name of "choice," America is destroying her young people. It is only a matter of time before even the most unspeakable deviant practices become legal, rampant, public, and "acceptable" in America. And, all that to the hurt of sinner and society alike.

— Charles Whitaker
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BIBLE STUDY on VERSE Empty Re: BIBLE STUDY on VERSE

Post  Admin Sun 16 Jan 2022, 7:19 pm

Psalm 90:1-4
(1) Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations.
(2) Before the mountains were brought forth,
Or ever You had formed the earth and the world,
Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God. (3) You turn man to destruction,
And say, "Return, O children of men."
(4) For a thousand years in Your sight
Are like yesterday when it is past,
And like a watch in the night.

New King James Version  

Perhaps only Isaiah 40 can compare with this psalm in presenting God's grandeur and eternity in contrast to our frailty and mortality. Moses' point, however, is that God's eternity is the answer to our problem with time.

One might think that we hardly need to be reminded of this. But when the misconception that we are already immortal ("You shall not surely die") is combined with our innate and powerful proclivity toward abusing time, it is urgently necessary that God emphasize this on occasion.

God often underscores the brevity of our lives. Job laments: "Now my days are swifter than a runner; they flee away, they see no good. They pass by like swift ships, like an eagle swooping on its prey" (Job 9:25-26). In Psalm 39:4-5, David prays:

LORD, make me to know my end, and what is the measure of my days, that I may know how frail I am. Indeed, you have made my days as handbreadths, and my age is as nothing before You; certainly every man at his best state is but vapor. Selah.

And finally Asaph writes, "For He remembered that they were but flesh, a breath that passes away and does not come again" (Psalm 78:39).

The rapid passage of time is something we need to be serious about. We cannot live as though there is no day of reckoning because judgment is now upon the household of God (I Peter 4:17).

— John W. Ritenbaugh
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BIBLE STUDY on VERSE Empty Re: BIBLE STUDY on VERSE

Post  Admin Sun 16 Jan 2022, 3:48 pm

Galatians 5:17
(17) For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.
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Sometimes we seem to consist of a whole clamorous mob of desires, like week-old kittens, blind of eye with mouths wide open, mewing to be satisfied. It is as if two voices are in us, arguing, "You shall, you shall not. You ought, you ought not." Does not God want us to set a will above these appetites that cannot be bribed, a reason that cannot be deceived, and a conscience that will be true to God and His standards? We must either control ourselves using the courage, power, and love of God's Spirit, or we will fall to pieces.

Adam and Eve established the pattern for mankind in the Garden of Eden. All of us have followed it, and then, conscience-smitten, we rankle under feelings of weakness. They were tempted by the subtle persuasions of Satan and the appeals of their own appetites for forbidden fruit that looked so good. To this they succumbed, and they sinned, bringing upon themselves the death penalty and much more evil besides. What is the use of appealing to men who cannot govern themselves, whose very disease is that they cannot, whose conscience cries out often both before and after they have done wrong, "Who shall deliver me from this body of death?" It is useless to tell a king whose subjects have overthrown him to rule his kingdom. His kingdom is in full revolt, and he has no soldiers behind him. He is a monarch with no power.

A certain Bishop Butler said, "If conscience had power, as it has authority, it would govern the world." Authority without power is nothing but vanity. Conscience has the authority to guide or accuse, but what good is it if the will is so enfeebled that the passions and desires get the bit between their teeth, trample the conscience, and gallop headlong to the inevitable collision with the ditch?

The solution to this lies in our relationship with Christ:

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. (Philippians 2:12-13)

This is the only thing that will give us complete self-control, and it will not fail.

In Luke 11:13, Jesus makes this wonderful promise of strength to those who trust Him:

If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!

Trust Jesus Christ, and ask Him to govern. Ask Him for more of God's Holy Spirit, and He will help you to control yourself. Remember, II Timothy 1:7 says this is a major reason that He gives us His Spirit. He will not fail in what He has promised because the request fits perfectly into God's purpose of creating sons in His image.

— John W. Ritenbaugh
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BIBLE STUDY on VERSE Empty Re: BIBLE STUDY on VERSE

Post  Admin Fri 14 Jan 2022, 8:16 pm

Revelation 20:10
(10) The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
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Before the explosion of modern translations, the final sentence of Revelation 20:10 roused no one's skepticism. However, the newer versions bring out the fact that the verb here (basanisthēsontai) is plural and is correctly rendered “they will be tormented.” Who are “they”? Does this include the Beast and False Prophet? Does God torment wicked human beings eternally? There are two ways to explain these questions:

1) The Bible denies any idea of men having innate immortality (I Corinthians 15:53; Romans 2:7; I Timothy 6:15-16). These wicked leaders of men in the last days will die and burn to ashes soon after being thrust into the Lake of Fire, their souls and bodies destroyed by Him who can do this in Gehenna fire (Matthew 10:28). This fact would preclude any human from being described as “tormented day and night forever and ever.”

The only group left is the fallen angels—Satan and his demons. But, one may counter, “the devil” in Revelation 20:10 is singular, and “they will be tormented” is plural. How can we reconcile this plural pronoun referring to a singular antecedent?

In this case, “the devil” is used in a figure of speech called metonymy. Technically, it is “the use of the name of one thing for that of another of which it is an attribute or with which it is associated.” More simply, one part of a thing represents the whole. Thus, “the devil” represents in himself all of the group we call demons, devils, fallen angels, or angels who sinned.

A parallel verse, Matthew 25:41, says that sinners will be cast into “the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” Jesus intimates that the Lake of Fire's primary purpose is for the punishment of demons, but it will also be used as the means of execution for the wicked among humans, those people who unrepentantly live as demons do.

2) If we understand “they will be tormented” to include the Beast and the False Prophet, we must explain the phrase “forever and ever” (eis tous aiônas tôn aiônôn). Literally, this means “to the ages of the ages” and would seem to imply perpetuity. However, we must be careful with the word aiôn and its various forms. Its range of meaning runs from “a space or period of time” to “a lifetime” to “an age” to “eternity.” As in all such cases, the context must give the sense.

Having rejected the immortality of the soul, we have no recourse but to understand aiôn here in the sense of “as long as conditions exist” or “as long as they live.” Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words concurs:

AION . . . signifies a period of indefinite duration, or time viewed in relation to what takes place in the period. . . . The phrases containing this word should not be rendered literally, but consistently with its sense of indefinite duration. (p. 43)

Moreover, aiôn can also be rendered as “unto the ages of ages,” “until the eternal age,” or even “up to the vanishing point”! As should be plain, a precise definition of this Greek word proves extremely difficult. Dogmatism on it is not advisable.

Thus, the Beast and False Prophet will be tormented “day and night”—unceasingly—for an indeterminate period until they die, probably within a few minutes or a few hours, which is about as long as a human being can live in a fire. As long as they remain breathing, they will suffer excruciating pain as their just reward, and in an indefinite time, they will pay for their sins with death.

— Richard T. Ritenbaugh
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BIBLE STUDY on VERSE Empty Re: BIBLE STUDY on VERSE

Post  Admin Thu 13 Jan 2022, 8:37 pm

Psalm 34:11-14
(11) Come, you children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the LORD.
(12) Who is the man who desires life,
And loves many days, that he may see good?
(13) Keep your tongue from evil,
And your lips from speaking deceit.
(14) Depart from evil and do good;
Seek peace and pursue it.
New King James Version   Change your email Bible version

David makes an interesting statement here regarding the fear of God. We must learn the fear of the Lord; it is not something we have by nature. We find the evidence of this in the conduct of all who have lived since Adam and Eve. Romans 3:18 is just as true now as it always has been: "There is no fear of God before their eyes." The reason it must be taught becomes obvious once we understand that it arises and grows from one's relationship with God.

The relationship begins with God's calling. Before that, we may have sincerely believed that He exists, but we certainly did not know Him. Respect cannot exist between two parties—especially the quality of respect God desires—when they do not even know each other. Knowing of someone is far different from knowing him. This is certainly true of God, as the world has been flooded with misinformation about Him. Psalm 34:8 supports this: "Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who trusts in Him!" David exhorts us to experience a relationship with Him, for only then will we know that He is indeed good.

David adds in verses 12-14: "Who is the man who desires life, and loves many days, that he may see good? Keep your tongue from evil, and your lips from speaking guile. Depart from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it." He urges us to understand that the fear of the Lord grows as the relationship develops. The relationship develops when we follow through in submission to God in conforming to His way of life. As we do this, we begin to get a taste of what it would be like to spend eternity as His companion in marriage.

The desires to please Him, not to disappoint Him, and to strive to protect the relationship grow from abject self-concern to preserve one's life to reverential awe for His great goodness and zealous desire to preserve and glorify His name within an increasingly intimate relationship. We can see how this would motivate what we do with our life and time. It would drive and guide us in how we did things. If we truly respect someone, we try very hard to give him the best possible quality in all we do for him.

Consider this in light of the dating process and the feelings that bring couples together in marriage. As Christians, we are now in the courtship period preceding marriage to our Savior. Access to and fellowship with Him, coupled with submission within the relationship, feeds a growing respect for Him and His way. By this, we come to know Him, and we are motivated to reciprocate His loving respect and to produce growth and the fruit of God's Spirit.

— John W. Ritenbaugh
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BIBLE STUDY on VERSE Empty Re: BIBLE STUDY on VERSE

Post  Admin Thu 13 Jan 2022, 12:44 am

Matthew 13:3-9
(3) Then He spoke many things to them in parables, saying: "Behold, a sower went out to sow. (4) And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. (5) Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. (6) But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. (7) And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them. (8) But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. (9) He who has ears to hear, let him hear!"
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Jesus' first parable to the multitudes concerns a sower and his limited success in receiving fruit from the earth. Recognizing the context and audience reveals that this parable was a rebuke of the nation. It testified of the citizens' inability to receive “the word of the kingdom” (verse 19)—the gospel of the Kingdom of God. It aptly describes what John the Baptist, Jesus, and the apostles experienced in the first century. They saw within the people some interest—and even some willingness—to repent (after a fashion) and to be baptized, but there was little depth because their hearts were so far from their King. In three out of four scenarios in the parable, the ground produced nothing of value.

Only the good soil—“he who hears the word and understands it” (verse 23; emphasis ours)—bears fruit. All the types of ground receive the Word, but God prepares the soil only of some. The masses lacked ears to hear, despite claiming Abraham as their father. They looked for a messiah who would improve their political condition while leaving their religious system and moral state unchallenged.

We see this even within the context of the Parable of the Sower. The critical factor is whether the “ground” heard and received the “word of the kingdom”—that is, whether God had given those hearing the Word the means to respond properly. In Jesus' explanation of the parable to His disciples, He refers to the multitude before Him when quoting Isaiah 6:9-10:

Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, and seeing you will see and not perceive; for the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, so that I should heal them.

The people to whom He gave the parables were fulfilling Isaiah's prophecy. They were living proof of the truth in this first parable—they could not receive the truth. In contrast, He had prepared His disciples to hear and respond properly. They were the good soil that would yield an increase (Matthew 13:16-17; see John 15:1-17).

— David C. Grabbe
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BIBLE STUDY on VERSE Empty Re: BIBLE STUDY on VERSE

Post  Admin Tue 11 Jan 2022, 2:57 pm

Titus 1:15-16
(15) To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled. (16) They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work.
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Do these people have the faith of Jesus Christ, that is, do they believe in and practice the same things He did? Are they truly walking in His steps? Even to casual observance, it is obvious they are unwilling to make sacrifices to practice many of the things He did. Jesus kept the weekly Sabbath and annual holy days of Leviticus; they do not. Jesus kept Passover; they keep Easter, which Jesus never did. He never observed a single Halloween or Christmas, which are never commanded in the Bible and, in fact, are clearly pagan to the core.

This barely scratches the surface, involving only the more obvious pattern of works. However, it points to the fact that the verification that one loves God is moral. God determines the standards of morality, not men who say they love God yet often ignorantly go their own way in many areas of life. Without the keeping of the commandments, there is no other means acceptable to God to identify that we are in union with Him (John 14:15; I John 2:3-5).

This does not mean that love ends with these works—in fact, just the opposite. Keeping His commands, which express godly love, only begins the process. It is by this means that we make our witness to the world. The apostle John writes, "But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him" (I John 2:5). Thus, this process also produces the boldness and confidence that enable us to overcome our anxious fears and conform our life to His.

We were created, called, and granted forgiveness upon confession of faith for this very purpose. In Romans 8:28-30, the apostle Paul confidently declares:

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, and that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.

Romans 5:2 reminds us that we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Our goal is set, but now we learn it is conformity to Christ that leads to glorification. Justification by itself is wonderful, but it only begins the process.

Can we honestly say that our walk is every bit as pure as His walk? If we are honest, we freely admit that, in comparison, our walk is irregular, inconsistent, and sometimes thoroughly misguided. Our actions, reactions, words, and attitudes are all too often not in accordance with Christ. We take Him into situations He never would have gotten into Himself. It should be evident why we need Passover each year. It is comforting and encouraging to remember God's mercy—that because He sees us as Christ, He gives us time to recognize what we are, repent of it, yield, and progressively conform to His Son's image.

The days of sacrificing are most assuredly not over—only what is sacrificed has changed. No longer are blood or grain offerings given but things of immeasurably greater value. Our life given in total devotion to walking as our Creator and Elder Brother Jesus walked is the sacrifice that brings conformity to Him. Before our calling, our lives may have been filled to the brim with status, activities, and things we felt were important to our well being. However, in many cases, such things must be jettisoned to accomplish this.

— John W. Ritenbaugh
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BIBLE STUDY on VERSE Empty Re: BIBLE STUDY on VERSE

Post  Admin Mon 10 Jan 2022, 7:54 pm

Amos 4:2
(2) The Lord GOD has sworn by His holiness:
"Behold, the days shall come upon you
When He will take you away with fishhooks,
And your posterity with fishhooks.

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"The Lord God has sworn by His holiness" - Although not in the habit of swearing oaths—His Word is sufficient—God sometimes does so to focus on the seriousness of a pronouncement. As the writer of Hebrews says, "For when God made a promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself" (Hebrews 6:13).

What does God see in Israel that so affronts Him that He has to swear "by His holiness"? Israel had every opportunity that the Gentiles did not have: His calling, His promises, His Word, His laws. He gave the Israelites these gifts to help them develop into His sons and daughters, but God sees them as diametrically opposite of Himself. Should not God expect to see some of His characteristics in His sons?

A simple illustration from the author's experience in visiting a family may help in understanding this point. Parents often show their pride by prominently displaying a photograph of their children, and these parents were no different. In this case, three of the four children bore a strong resemblance to their parents, but the fourth child was so noticeably different that it was obviously either an adopted child or the product of adultery.

God says, "I have children who bear no spiritual resemblance to me." He shows the cause to have been spiritual adultery—going after other gods and other ways of life.

"I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against Me; the ox knows its owner and the donkey its master's crib; but Israel does not know, My people do not consider." Alas, sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a brood of evildoers, children who are corrupters! They have forsaken the Lord, they have provoked to anger the Holy One of Israel, they have turned away backward. (Isaiah 1:2-4)

A dumb ox and donkey show more sense and appreciation to their masters than Israel did to her Father! Instead, she rebelled against Him!

God gave Israel many advantages—His law, His providence, His protection—to allow His people to live His way of life, but they turned their backs on Him and followed the ways of other gods. Paul shows how illogical this is:

For even if there are so-called gods, whether in heaven or on earth (as there are many gods and many lords), yet for us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live. (I Corinthians 8:5-6)

Since we have complete dependence upon God for life as our Designer, Lifegiver, and Sustainer, He has complete authority over how we should live. Among the multiple pantheons of gods, only one God lives the way a God ought to live. This particular God—the God of Israel—is holy, that is, He alone is transcendentally different, superior, and separate. He has called His people to be holy (I Peter 1:15-16). It follows that a holy person must be different in the way that God is different.

From God's holiness flows His love—outgoing concern for others, His outstanding attribute. When God looked on Israel, however, He saw a whole nation, from her culture to her government to her religion, organized on the basis of human self-concern. God wanted to see clear evidence of godly living, by which He could verify their claims of being His people. In Israel, He saw no such evidence, but instead a people in opposition to Him in every area of life. Spiritual adultery had occurred.

— John W. Ritenbaugh
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BIBLE STUDY on VERSE Empty Re: BIBLE STUDY on VERSE

Post  Admin Sun 09 Jan 2022, 7:11 pm

Exodus 2:23-25
(23) Now it happened in the process of time that the king of Egypt died. Then the children of Israel groaned because of the bondage, and they cried out; and their cry came up to God because of the bondage. (24) So God heard their groaning, and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. (25) And God looked upon the children of Israel, and God acknowledged them.
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A cursory reading of these verses might give a person the impression that God was just sitting on His throne, twiddling His fingers, and waiting for Israel to do something. But God had already begun to act. He had ensured that Moses would live through the slaughter of the Israelite children. He had directed the little ark into the hands of the Pharaoh's daughter. He had ensured that Moses would receive the benefit of a tremendous education, the best kind of secular education that one could receive at that time. He had put thoughts in Moses' mind that he could be Israel's deliverer. He had spared Moses' life when the Pharaoh tried to take it. He had prompted Moses to flee the land and led him into the wilderness to the family of Jethro. He had given Moses the time and the opportunity to continue his preparation for leading His people out of Egypt.

Who initiated all this? Certainly not the children of Israel! God did! We find all the way back in the book of Genesis that God had already prophesied that in about 400 years, He would move to bring the children of Abraham out of a captivity, which He also arranged.

Could God - who does not change, who sets patterns in His Word so that we will understand - ensure, long before we were born, that there would be a church for His people at the end time and that someone would be prepared by Him to get the doctrines they would need to understand at the end time? We know very well He could - and did.

How did Israel get out of Egypt? Not through any rebellion, revolution, intelligence, or negotiations on their part. They got out because God wanted them out. It was part of His purpose.

— John W. Ritenbaugh
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BIBLE STUDY on VERSE Empty Re: BIBLE STUDY on VERSE

Post  Admin Sat 08 Jan 2022, 3:14 pm

Exodus 20:4-6
(4) "You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; (5) you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, (6) but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.

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Some do not perceive the differences between the first and second commandments. However, the first stresses the uniqueness, the matchless distinctiveness of the Creator God. It draws attention to our obligation to the One without whom there would be no life or hope at all. He is also the Source of truth, right values, and standards that will produce right relationships and peaceful prosperity so that life is not merely lived but has the potential to contain great peace, joy, and accomplishment. Thus, the first commandment deals with what we worship.

In contrast, the second commandment covers the way we worship. The Father and Son are unique Individuals who come into our lives from beyond this physical realm. They are absolutely holy, pure, and undefiled, uncreated and eternal. An idol, on the other hand, is someone or something of any other realm that we make and value, giving it devotion that rightfully belongs to the Creator.

John 4:24 instructs us regarding the way God desires that we worship Him: "God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth." The second commandment regulates a specific area of idolatry; it deals with God's spirituality. It thus involves our manner of worship in faith, most obviously in that it prohibits the use of physical "helps" or "aids" in worshipping the invisible, spiritual God.

John 1:18 states that no man has seen God at any time. Deuteronomy 4:15-16 provides an Old Testament parallel:

Take careful heed to yourselves, for you saw no form when the LORD spoke to you at Horeb out of the midst of the fire, lest you act corruptly and make for yourselves a carved image in the form of any figure: the likeness of male or female.

Since no one has ever seen God, whatever is made to picture Him would be a work of man's hands and a lie. It is helpful to recall that the Holy of Holies contained no representation of God. The Bible frequently uses the image of an altar to indicate the worship of God, yet, except for the Temple's brazen altar, even they were to be made of simple turf or uncut stones (Exodus 20:22-26). Additionally, the second commandment prohibits the use of anything that represents God or could become an object of veneration. Thus, it prohibits any kind of likeness of Christ such as crucifixes, pictures, and statues.

Numbers 33:52 commands the Israelites, ". . . then you shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, destroy all their engraved stones, destroy all their molded images, and demolish all their high places. . . ." This destruction was not to be wanton, but God intended it to involve only religious, worshipped things. Why?

Any representation of God changes Him into a different god from what He really is. Egypt, from whence Israel came, worshipped oxen, heifers, sheep, goats, lions, dogs, cats, monkeys, ibis, crane, hawks, crocodiles, serpents, frogs, flies, beetles, sun, moon, planets, stars, fire, light, air, and darkness. Very likely, an Egyptian could come up with "good" reasons why he did so. A man wrote in an email that he did not care whether the Bible said not to worship as the pagans do through the use of Christmas and Easter. He was going to do it anyway because it was his way of praising God. He is worshipping a god of his own design.

Idolatry, then, denies the true nature of God, so obedience to this commandment determines the way we worship. It must be in spirit and in harmony with His nature, which the Bible reveals. Knowing God's true nature is important because we become what we worship. Thus, this commandment covers idolatry in a form in which the true God is worshipped through either a false image or a corrupt practice. This false representation perverts His reality. If we idolize, we become the wrong thing.

— John W. Ritenbaugh
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Post  Admin Fri 07 Jan 2022, 4:02 pm

Exodus 20:12
(12) "Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God is giving you.

New King James Version   

Obedience to this command does not stop at a certain age. Genesis 48:12 reveals the deep respect Joseph had for Jacob when he brought his two sons before him for a blessing: "So Joseph brought them from beside his knees, and he bowed down with his face to the earth." With adulthood, the time may come when it is no longer necessary or right for a person to obey his parents strictly. But God's requirement to honor them never ceases. This duty pays dividends by giving us access to the wisdom of years.

Honor has wider application than obey. It expresses itself in courtesy, thoughtfulness, mercy, and kindly deeds. We would hardly consider one to be honoring his parents who, when they fall sick, weak, and perhaps blind in old age, does not exert himself to the utmost for them and their support in their need.

Just as surely as God requires parents to nourish, defend, support, and instruct the children in their lowest state of infancy, so children in their strength should support their parents in their weakness. Turn about is fair play because the Scripture says, "Whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them" (Matthew 7:12). Each of us would want someone to care for us in our time of need.

— John W. Ritenbaugh
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Post  Admin Thu 06 Jan 2022, 4:18 pm

Exodus 18:20
(20) And you shall teach them the statutes and the laws, and show them the way in which they must walk and the work they must do.
New King James Version   Change your email Bible version

The word translated “walk” is halakhah in Hebrew. Israel had to walk "in the way."

The Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible, Volume 2, reads under "Judaism":

The authoritative Jewish way of life as expressed in moral law and ritual precept. It embraces the whole body of Jewish teaching, legislation, and practices that proceeded from interpretation and reinterpretation of the laws of the Bible. . . . Although legalistic in content, the Halakhah is designed to bring all human occupations into relationship to the service of God and to establish the supremacy of the divine will as the measure of all directions and strivings of human life.

On the surface, this sounds good; we should search and meditate as to how the Scriptures apply to every aspect of life. However, these interpretations were merely human opinions. Some of them were right on, but others were grossly off the mark. The Halakhah was not the Word of God.

Over the centuries, the Jews first gradually elevated these interpretations to be equal with Scripture, and then to be more important than Scripture. Mark 7:3 describes such a tradition that did not come from God's law but from Halakhah. Jesus says that they rejected the commandments of God so that they might keep their own tradition (verse 7). He also said their traditions destroyed the effect of God's Word (Mark 7:13). Halakhah was their tradition—the Jewish way of life.

In addition, not only were they zealous in collecting these interpretations and putting them into books, but in their zeal, they encouraged each other to live rigidly according to these interpretations. They were also zealous in proselytizing. Jesus says in Matthew 23 that they would encompass land and sea in order to gain one proselyte, and then they would make him a child of hell.

It became a major problem for Jesus and the church when the Jews did not have the humility to admit that many of their interpretations were wrong. They did not agree with God's Word, and they viewed Jesus, and then the church, as enemies to be obliterated.

Halakhah, the Jewish way of life that Paul called "the traditions of my fathers" in Galatians 1:14, had been his religion. It was in question in the book of Galatians, not the law of God. It was the Jewish way of life, the Halakhah, with ascetic, demon-driven Gnosticism added to it. This was the yoke of bondage that could not be borne.

— John W. Ritenbaugh
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BIBLE STUDY on VERSE Empty Re: BIBLE STUDY on VERSE

Post  Admin Wed 05 Jan 2022, 6:22 pm

Exodus 31:17
(17) It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever; for in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed.""
New King James Version   

This special covenant—strategically placed by Moses between information on the building of the Tabernacle (a type of the church) and the Golden Calf incident (brazen idolatry)—creates a special sign of the Sabbath between God and His people. Generally, a sign identifies. It communicates the purpose of or gives directions to a person or place. Signs bring people together with shared interests and common goals. A sign can function as a pledge of mutual fidelity and commitment. Organizations use signs to designate membership, allowing members to recognize each other.

The Sabbath serves as an external and visible bond that unites God's people, and at the same time it sanctifies them from almost everyone else. Almost everyone in the Western world keeps Sunday or nothing. By the Sabbath, the true covenant-keeper knows that God is sanctifying him. Anybody who has kept both Sunday and Sabbath knows this: Sunday sets no one apart from this world.

If He created the Sabbath only because we need to rest physically, any old time would do, but ultimately, how and why we keep the Sabbath is what becomes the real sign. God is working out a purpose. He has invested a tremendous amount in us in the creation and in the death of His Son. The Sabbath serves as a major means by which He protects that investment. He made a specific period of time special so He can meet with His people and take major steps to make them different—holy.

— John W. Ritenbaugh
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BIBLE STUDY on VERSE Empty Re: BIBLE STUDY on VERSE

Post  Admin Tue 04 Jan 2022, 5:08 pm

1 John 4:8
(8) He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
New King James Version   Change your email Bible version


Every thought, every word, every act of God is an expression of love. God is sovereign, and He has the right to do whatever He wants. This would be tyranny except for one simple fact: Everything God does, whether seemingly arbitrary or not, is motivated by love. Even our trials are supreme acts of love as Hebrews 12:5-11 and Job's experience show.


Herbert W. Armstrong once said about Job: "Job was one of the hardest men for God to ever bring down to repentance that has ever lived on the face of this earth." As terrible as the trial was, Job needed it for salvation. Psalm 84:11 says that God will withhold no good thing from us. To withhold that trial from Job would have been withholding a good thing, making God guilty of hating Job (Proverbs 13:24).


Only God is wise enough to allow us to go through a desperately needed trial while simultaneously using it to accomplish His other purposes as well. In the worsening times ahead, God will not use some of us as cannon fodder for His purposes, though He has the right to do it—He made us. Because of His love for us, He will allow us to face trials because we need them to perfect us. After all, "all things work together for good" to those called (Romans 8:28).


How will we survive spiritually if we are among those God chooses to be persecuted, possibly tortured, and killed? Only because we believe that God loves no one more than us, and for this reason, we will know that what we are enduring is for our good and will bring about His purpose.


As children, we were disciplined by our parents. As it happened, how often did we thank them for the love they were showing us? As parents, we have disciplined our children. How many times have they ever said, "Thank you"? Most likely, the answer to both is, "Never!"


Do we discipline our children out of love or hate? Love, of course. Then why do they not say, "Thank you"? At the moment it is happening, they cannot see—they do not believe—how much we love them. It is a hallmark of youth or immaturity to be blind to the big picture, to see only what is directly in front of them. Hopefully, in times of trial, we are not children in a spiritual sense.


— Pat Higgins
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Post  Admin Sun 02 Jan 2022, 9:26 pm

Ecclesiastes 7:23-29
(23) All this I have proved by wisdom.
I said, "I will be wise";
But it was far from me.
(24) As for that which is far off and exceedingly deep,
Who can find it out?
(25) I applied my heart to know,
To search and seek out wisdom and the reason of things,
To know the wickedness of folly,
Even of foolishness and madness.
(26) And I find more bitter than death
The woman whose heart is snares and nets,
Whose hands are fetters.
He who pleases God shall escape from her,
But the sinner shall be trapped by her.
(27) "Here is what I have found," says the Preacher,
"Adding one thing to the other to find out the reason,
(28) Which my soul still seeks but I cannot find:
One man among a thousand I have found,
But a woman among all these I have not found.
(29) Truly, this only I have found:
That God made man upright,
But they have sought out many schemes."

New King James Version   

This entire section examines wise judgment, whether the source of our problems is God, fellow man, or ourselves. We must ask ourselves if we are truly making an effort to pursue holiness, without which, Paul says in Hebrews 12:14, “no one will see the Lord.” Is that where our problem lies? Are we really making an effort worthy of the treasure we have been freely given? Do we have something to repent of regarding the time and energy we expend? Our conclusion will parallel his conclusion to some degree: It is no wonder that salvation must be by grace!

Ecclesiastes 3:11 balances this: “He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.” We will never have complete answers because God in heaven is also working things out in our lives, and His purposes take precedence over our weak efforts and conclusions. Much is beyond our control.

Two major truths are revealed from Solomon's confession: First, a truly wise person will be humbled realizing that he does not know everything, and this lack of knowledge will affect his choices and conduct because he knows he is terribly ignorant. Second, the humbling will move him to be cautious in his judgments so that he does not condemn God, others, or even himself. Recognizing these truths tends to balance our thinking because we know that what we have now is marvelous—but crumbs compared to what is coming. Thus, we can see that a study of the path Solomon took, though difficult, can be beneficially humbling.

The children of God must be constant learners. Why? We are not merely looking for salvation but also preparing for the Kingdom of God and for service to Him and mankind in that Kingdom. However, we must submit to the fact that the knowledge of God is like a distant star, a destination so far off that we will never reach it in dozens of lifetimes. This reality points to why we need everlasting life. We must humbly accept this truth now, knowing we will never reach it, but keep earnestly working toward it to be as prepared as possible.

I Corinthians 4:1-8 presents a hurdle we must deal with regarding the accumulation of knowledge or position:

Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful. But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by a human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. For I know of nothing against myself, yet I am not justified by this; but He who judges me is the Lord. Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one's praise will come from God. Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively transferred to myself and Apollos for your sakes, that you may learn in us not to think beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up on behalf of one against the other. For who makes you differ from another? And what do you have that you did not receive? Now if you did indeed receive it, why do you boast as if you have not received it? You are already full! You are already rich! You have reigned as kings without us—and indeed I could wish you did reign, that we also might reign with you!

A pitfall exists even in the earnest search for wisdom and truth: Human nature sometimes follows the path of flaunting it. We must be strongly resist this. The wise person knows this is true and resists self-glorification, making him wiser.

— John W. Ritenbaugh
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BIBLE STUDY on VERSE Empty Re: BIBLE STUDY on VERSE

Post  Admin Sat 01 Jan 2022, 6:23 pm

Revelation 11:3-12
(3) And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth." (4) These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands standing before the God of the earth. (5) And if anyone wants to harm them, fire proceeds from their mouth and devours their enemies. And if anyone wants to harm them, he must be killed in this manner. (6) These have power to shut heaven, so that no rain falls in the days of their prophecy; and they have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to strike the earth with all plagues, as often as they desire. (7) When they finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, overcome them, and kill them. (8) And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. (9) Then those from the peoples, tribes, tongues, and nations will see their dead bodies three-and-a-half days, and not allow their dead bodies to be put into graves. (10) And those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them, make merry, and send gifts to one another, because these two prophets tormented those who dwell on the earth. (11) Now after the three-and-a-half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet, and great fear fell on those who saw them. (12) And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, "Come up here." And they ascended to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies saw them.
New King James Version   Change your email Bible version

Notice the anthropomorphic language—all the descriptions of human traits and behaviors—of this passage. In verse 3, for instance, the Two Witnesses are clothed in sackcloth. How could this apply to two parts of a book? Most of our Bibles are "clothed," if you will, in leather bindings or cardboard and cloth covers. It takes quite a bit of mental gymnastics to see how one can fit this type of terminology into the idea of the Two Witnesses being the two books of the Old and New Testaments. A person must symbolize away nearly the entire description of them.

Also notice verse 6: "They have power . . . to strike the earth with any plague as often as they wish" (The New Testament in Modern English by J.B. Phillips). In other words, these Two Witnesses have the power of volition, or will. They can make decisions, and they can execute them within the scope of the power God has given them. The Old and New Testaments are not animate beings with minds of their own, and as such, those two collections of books cannot express volition. They cannot make decisions, nor can they execute decisions in this sense.

In verse 7, the Two Witnesses die, and they are described as having bodies that lie in the streets of Jerusalem. Admittedly, we can refer symbolically to the death of an idea. We can describe the end of an era as a kind of death and so forth. However, death in this passage does not appear to be metaphoric because God speaks of their bodies lying in the street and remaining unburied. This type of language is not amenable at all to understanding the Two Witnesses as the Old and New Testaments.

Then notice verse 11: "The breath of life from God came into them" (The New Testament by Richmond Lattimore). Are there any known instances of God breathing life into books? The idea of them being the Old and New Testament becomes even more ridiculous when we realize that the Two Witnesses then stand on their feet—this is a real resurrection—and they are translated to heaven!

In verse 10, John actually uses the word "prophets." In Greeks, it is the word prophetes (Strong's 4396), which appears about eighty times in Scripture. This word is always rendered in the King James Version as "prophet" or "prophets." For instance, Jesus uses the word in Matthew 13:57: "A prophet is not without honor except in his own country." There is not one instance where this Greek word refers to the Scriptures; it always refers to a person or to people.

A great deal of other evidence exists as well. For example, Revelation 11:3 tells us that God empowers His Two Witnesses for a limited period of time, 1,260 days. But does God ever set a time limit on the power of His Scriptures? God does not, in fact, set a time limit on the power that He gives His Word. Notice Isaiah 55:10-11:

For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.

God is saying through an analogy here that, throughout the span of history—or as Solomon would say, "under the sun" (Ecclesiastes 1:3, 9, 14, etc.)—rain has always worked to produce food for mankind. In like manner throughout that same span of time, throughout all of history under the sun, God's Word has been effective to carry out His purpose. Isaiah 55 places no limitation of 1,260 days or any other. Therefore, Revelation 11:3 cannot refer to a limited period of time when God empowers the Old and New Testaments to be effective because God's Word is always effective.

Let us not belabor the point. A careful textual analysis makes it clear that the preponderance of the language of this passage points to the Two Witnesses being individuals, not collections of books.

— Charles Whitaker
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Post  Admin Fri 31 Dec 2021, 7:04 pm

Ezekiel 34:1-10
(1) And the word of the LORD came to me, saying, (2) 'Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy and say to them, 'Thus says the Lord GOD to the shepherds: 'Woe to the shepherds of Israel who feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks? (3) You eat the fat and clothe yourselves with the wool; you slaughter the fatlings, but you do not feed the flock. (4) The weak you have not strengthened, nor have you healed those who were sick, nor bound up the broken, nor brought back what was driven away, nor sought what was lost; but with force and cruelty you have ruled them. (5) So they were scattered because there was no shepherd; and they became food for all the beasts of the field when they were scattered. (6) My sheep wandered through all the mountains, and on every high hill; yes, My flock was scattered over the whole face of the earth, and no one was seeking or searching for them.” (7) ‘Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD: (8) “As I live,” says the Lord GOD, “surely because My flock became a prey, and My flock became food for every beast of the field, because there was no shepherd, nor did My shepherds search for My flock, but the shepherds fed themselves and did not feed My flock”— (9) therefore, O shepherds, hear the word of the LORD! (10) Thus says the Lord GOD: “Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require My flock at their hand; I will cause them to cease feeding the sheep, and the shepherds shall feed themselves no more; for I will deliver My flock from their mouths, that they may no longer be food for them.”
New King James Version   Change your email Bible version

God is identifying that, over the course of Israel's history, a chief cause of its despicable behavior and the resulting cultural deterioration was an almost continuous breakdown of leadership. He uses the term “shepherd” to identify the source of the cause, but we need to consider it in more detail because a shepherd is generally associated with a person who leads sheep. We will see that the figurative use of “sheep” is the focus in this context.

In Isaiah 1, God describes Judah as “a people laden with iniquity.” God personified the nation, describing its breakdown as a diseased body: “From the sole of the foot even to the head, there is no soundness in it” (Isaiah 1:6). The nation was corrupt and deceived from the lowliest citizen in the realm all the way to the highest, most powerful governmental leader.

It is easy to assume that in Ezekiel 34 “shepherd” refers only to Judah's religious ministry. Jesus directly refers to Himself in John 10:11 in such a way: “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.” However, minister is not the only occupation to which the Bible applies the term. A clear and perhaps surprising example appears in Isaiah 44:28, where God Himself calls Cyrus, a Gentile king, “My shepherd.” In II Samuel 5:2, David is commanded by God to “shepherd My people Israel, and be ruler over Israel.” (See also Numbers 27:15-19.)

Shepherds of literal sheep were providers, guides, protectors, and their constant companions. Thus, they were figures of authority and leadership to the animals under their care. So close is the connection between shepherd and sheep that, to this day, separate flocks can mingle day or night at a well, and a shepherd has only to call his sheep, and they will separate themselves to gather to him. In Genesis 31:38-40, Jacob witnesses to the closeness of a shepherd to his flock, as does Jesus in John 10:5.

The Bible uses the term “shepherd” in Ezekiel 34 to designate anyone responsible for giving guidance to a community. In today's language, in a national sense “shepherds” includes the president or prime minister or royalty, for that matter. It also includes representatives in the legislature and court justices all the way down to the local level. In addition, besides governmental functions, in principal it also includes leaders of corporations and in education, most especially in universities that exist to train the next generation of community leaders. We must not forget the leadership provided by entertainers and media figures. In other words, “shepherd” broadly includes anybody who should be providing righteous leadership over others.

Then comes what might be the most important shepherding category of all, because they are closest to us and have the most meaningful relationship with us—parents. A noteworthy example regarding the impact of parental leadership is that of Adam and Eve. The Bible provides no specific instances of why things turned out as they did, but it is clear that Adam and Eve did not follow through on God's teaching as well as they could have. In the first generation after their sin, they played their roles in producing a murderer.

We find a distinct answer on Adam and Eve's shepherding of Cain when we combine two principles from Scripture. God says in Ezekiel 18:20: “The soul that sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.” To this we add the apostle John's statement in I John 3:11-12: “For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another, not as Cain who was of the wicked one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his works were evil and his brother's righteous.”

God's judgment in Genesis 4 does not lay the greatest weight of blame on Cain's first guides and leaders, Adam and Eve. John shows Cain to have been a disciple of Satan. Everyone who sins bears in himself the greatest burden of guilt. There is no doubt that people become enslaved to sinful thinking, but no one can excuse himself from a huge measure of blame.

Righteousness and sin are serious responsibilities; in the end there is no dodging the burden. Every human being has had less-than-perfect family, church, neighborhood, school, and work associations, having been given some measure of guidance through them. But God's Word is clear: God's judgment is fair, and each person is judged individually on the basis of his own record.

— John W. Ritenbaugh
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