December 28, 2014

Weapons Of Our Warfare – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

“for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,” (II Corinthians 10:4-5)

The language of the battlefield is used throughout the New Testament, especially by the apostle Paul. He teaches us that Christians are not passive. We are to be warriors, ready and willing to fight to the death. We are to be skilled in the use of powerful weapons, destroying fortresses, determined to take the world captive for our King.

Perhaps someone read these passages to Mohamed. (He, himself, was illiterate.) If so, he took them to heart, but missed the point entirely, as he did with much of Bible.

Someone told him some of the stories of the Old Testament and he butchers them absurdly. He knew of Moses’ confrontation with Pharaoh and the story of the exodus (mentioned 27 times in his first 89 chapters) but somehow he missed the Passover. He mixed up Adam and Eve with the unfaithful angels. The first pair sinned, but not in the garden on earth. They sinned in the Paradise of Heaven and were cast down to earth. The book of Esther tells of Haman the Persian who tried to kill the Jews in Persia. Mohamed knew about him but put him 900 years earlier, described as an evil associate of Pharaoh.

Likewise, he terribly distorts the meaning of the military passages of the New Testament.

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh,…” (II Corinthians 10:3-4).

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God,…” (Ephesians 6:12-13).

We must conduct war, but not with literal weapons, we fight but against spiritual forces. The objective, of course, is to bring every intellectual argument captive to the truth of Scripture. This is done by…

“destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,…” (II Corinthians 10:5).

Mohamed didn’t get it.

There are at least 109 verses in the Quran demanding literal war, slaughter and beheadings, scattered through Mohamed’s chapters like blood spatter at a crime scene. (If non-Muslims fail to convert, they must be killed, or if young and strong or beautiful, they may be enslaved. If Muslims are in full political control, they may continue to live while heavily taxed for the advancement of Islam.)

The Jews of Medina ridiculed Mohamed’s foolish attempts to teach the Old Testament and rejected his baseless claims to be a prophet. Consequently, according to Muslim sources, Mohamed forcefully evicted the Banu Qaynuqa tribe of Jews from their homes, confiscated their property and took possession of their village. He ordered the beheading of all the male Jews and personally supervised the bloody execution of 500 (some Muslim sources put the number as high as 900). You don’t have to wonder where ISIS learned to wage war.

Muslim sources document that Mohamed personally led his marauding followers on at least 39 caravan raids and extended his military prowess to eventually conquer almost all the Arabian Peninsula. After his death his army continued the conquest of much of Africa and Asia to be finally stopped at the border of Europe in AD 732 at the battle of Tours (north-central France).

The world dominating goals and ruthless methodology practiced by their prophet and demanded by the Quran drove the Muslim army to try again. They had conquered all of Turkey (Remember the seven churches of Asia, Colossae, Lystra, Derbe, etc.). With an army of 300 thousand, they marched again toward Europe expressing a goal of flying the green flag of the prophet from the spire of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. They were finally defeated at the gates of Vienna on 9/11, 1683. The date is an ominous reminder that Mohamed’s faithful followers still read his book and follow his instructions.

The churches conquered by Muslim armies had deserted the New Testament pattern. History records that a faithful remnant believed this was God’s just punishment, nevertheless, they are no more.

Faithful Christians have been given very different but “divinely powerful weapons” and we are commanded to “overcome.” Some don’t seem to even know they are in a battle. “Onward Christian Soldiers,” is a song that expressed a scriptural motivation to wage war and win. What kind of soldier are you?

 

 

 

Advertisements

December 21, 2014

Nine Hundred, Ninety One – Philip Strong

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

I’ve never really had a “lucky” number- figured those were for folks who like to gamble.  I haven’t really even had a “favorite” number- it seemed kind of pointless, I suppose.  While I still don’t have a “lucky” number, I do now have a “favorite” one!  It has taken me roughly fifty years to decide that my favorite number is 491!

In the Bible, numbers are sometimes significant.  For instance, God specified exactly how many of each type of animal Noah was to take into the ark, Genesis 7:2-3.  He also used numbers in representative ways.  For instance, He specified that disobedient Israel would wander in the wilderness for 40 years- one year for each day the faithless spies were in the land of Canaan, Numbers 14:34.  In the book of Revelation, numbers are also used in a symbolic way: the number one symbolizes unity (as in one Lord, one faith, one baptism, etc.); three symbolizes God (Father, Son, Holy Spirit); four symbolizes the world (north, south, east, and west); seven symbolizes the perfect number (the combination of the divine number, three, and number of the world, four); and ten symbolizes completeness (as a complete set of fingers/toes).

What does God’s use of numbers in the Bible have to do with my newfound favorite number?  Consider Matthew 18:21, “Then Peter came and said to Him, ‘Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him?  Up to seven times?’”   Jesus had previously (in vv.15-17) been teaching the disciples about how to treat a brother that sins- some versions include “against you,” which, if accurate, better explains Peter’s question.  The Jewish rabbis of the time taught that one was obligated to forgive a person that sinned against them three times.  Peter, in his question to Jesus, has evidently doubled this requirement, and added one more time for good measure.  But he surely didn’t expect the answer he received from the Lord in v.22, “But Jesus said to him, ‘I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.’”  If you’re following the math, 70 x 7 = 490.

Think about what Jesus is saying.  If your brother (physical, spiritual, or worldly) sins against you 490 times (or “seven times a day,” cf. Luke 17:3-4), and returns saying, “I repent,” Jesus says to “forgive him.”  The point seems to be that our willingness to forgive should mirror God’s in that it is limitless.  I don’t think Jesus meant that although we are expected to forgive a sinning brother 490 times, at 491 times he’s out of luck!

Think about that: How many of us would be willing to forgive someone who sinned against us- not just hurt our feelings, or said something that we felt was insulting, but sinned against us either seven times in one day, or 490 times overall?  However, I’ve been married for almost 30 years now.  That’s a little shy of 11,000 days.  While I’m not sure about seven times in one day, I’m fairly sure I’ve needed forgiveness of some sort more than 490 times!  Likewise, I’ve been a Christian for approximately 14,000 days.  I am absolutely certain I’ve petitioned God to forgive me far more than 490 times!  The point is that if we expect others to forgive us, and more importantly, if we ask God to forgive us, these exorbitant numbers of times, how can we refuse to forgive those who sin against us?  Even those who do so repeatedly?  “For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment,” James 2:13.

One of the greatest blessings of being a Christian is the limitless forgiveness of God that is available to those who humbly confess their sin(s) to Him, and sincerely ask for His merciful forgiveness.  “If we say we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness,” 1John 1:8-9.  While this truth surely should not be taken as some sort of license to sin, cf. Romans 6:1-2, what a great God of love, mercy, and forgiveness we serve!  The number 491 reminds me of these things, which is why it is my favorite number- and probably will be so as long as I live.

 

 

 

December 14, 2014

Nullifying the Word – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

“Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like this.” NET (Mark 7:13)

The original Greek word “akuro,” translated “nullify” in the above verse, is defined by Thayer’s lexicon to mean, “to render void, deprive of force and authority, …”

Louw & Nida’s Greek lexicon gives the following definition:

“To refuse to recognize the force or power of something — ‘to invalidate the authority of, to reject, to disregard…’ In both       Mt 15:6 and Mk 7:13 the emphasis is upon the fact that people had regarded traditions as having greater authority than the word of God.”

Jesus uttered these sharp words of rebuke to the scribes and Pharisees, men who professed great loyalty and respect for God’s Word. Jesus taught that their claim of respect was hypocritical when they ignored the simple, straightforward teaching of Scripture with numerous “interpretations” which resulted in a “nullification” of ideas different from their own, ideas that they just “knew” could not be true.

 

When the Lord accepted and taught exactly what the Scriptures said, regardless of what “everybody” thought, He found himself condemned by the dominant forces of the religion of that day. Those who follow Jesus’ example today should not be surprised to find themselves in the same situation.

Jesus responded to slanderous accusations with an argument based on David’s poetry in Psalm 82. He called the quotation from the Psalms “Law” and hammered his conclusion home with the forceful statement, “the scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:5). Jesus believed that because Scripture said it, that should be the end of the matter.

Jesus taught that every word of God’s revelation was true and authoritative:

“For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:18)

Today, skeptics “see” difficulties throughout the Bible, evolutionists ridicule its account of creation, and sinners in general may try to wriggle away from its moral constraints and deny what it plainly says, but “the Scripture cannot be broken.

Before Jesus was given “all authority” (Matthew 28:18), He spoke the Father’s authoritative words. Consider His attitude toward the words from the Father that He expressed …

“He who rejects Me and does not receive My sayings, has one who judges him; the word I spoke is what will judge him at the last day. For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak. I know that His commandment is eternal life; therefore the things I speak, I speak just as the Father has told Me.” (John 12:48-50)

He is now the authoritative, living Word of God, and we dare not tamper with (nullify) the written Word inspired by the Holy Spirit. His example here on earth demonstrated the proper attitude we should have toward the Word. He never questioned the factuality or literal accuracy. We have good reason to respect the Word in the same manner.

Nevertheless, many modern “Christian” intellectuals and cultists are not following the example of Christ. Rather, they are acting like those Jesus rebuked.

Peter encountered the same rationalizing attitudes.

“…the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.” (II Peter 3:16)

God has spoken plainly in His Word. It is our responsibility to believe and do what He says.

 

Adapted from an article from Henry Morris

 

 

December 7, 2014

The Eyes of the Lord – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

“For the eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His. You have acted foolishly in this. Indeed, from now on you will surely have wars.” Then Asa was angry with the seer and put him in prison, for he was enraged at him for this…” (II Chronicles 16:9-10)

Since God is Spirit (John 4:24) and is everywhere, we understand the question, “How can such a God have eyes?” They must be very different from our own. The reality is, however, that the Bible frequently refers to God’s eyes. In fact, this phrase, “the eyes of the LORD,” occurs no less than eleven times in the New American Standard Version (twenty one times in the King James Version.)

While this is hard to understand, when we realize that He designed and created our eyes, we should know certainly, that He can see. As David expressed it,
“He that formed the eye, does He not see?” (Psalm 94:9).
We may not be able to understand the seeing mechanism of spiritual eyes, nevertheless, we should know that He knows.

“The eyes of the LORD are in every place, Watching the evil and the good.” (Proverbs 15:3).

In our text, the prophet Hanani is confronting king Asa for making a treaty with an idolatrous king, in order to protect Israel. The prophet Hanani reminded the king that God saw Israel’s need in the past and provided powerful provision. Therefore, the eyes of God could see what was happening now. The king should have known this. “You have acted foolishly in this.” His failure to remember that God could see, caused God to destroy Asa, “Because you have relied on the king of Aram and have not relied on the LORD your God,…” (II Chronicles 16:7). Asa knew this, but did not like being reminded. “Asa was angry with the seer and put him in prison, for he was enraged at him for this.” It may be comfortable to think God can’t see, but it is still foolish.

When man forgot that God could see, the world became wicked. We are reminded…

“Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” (Genesis 6:5).

Yet God could still see righteous Noah.

“Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD.” (Genesis 6:8)

As a result, he and his family were saved through the awful worldwide Flood.
The prophet Zechariah reminds us not to “despise the day of small things,” for they will be observed by “the eyes of the LORD, which range to and fro throughout the earth” (Zechariah 4:10).

“The eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous And His ears are open to their cry. The face of the LORD is against evildoers,…” (Psalms 34:15-16; I Peter 3:12)

The numerous names of God, found throughout the Bible, are used to describe His divine attributes. Hagar, Sarai’s maid is deserted, alone and facing death in the desert, when an angel from God appears and makes amazing promises to her regarding her soon to be born son. She responds using a name for God that reveals her faith in those promises. The name is translated, “You are a God who sees.” (Genesis 16:13)
Our feelings may suggest to us, from time to time, that we are alone, but those emotions are deceitful. It is not so. We serve a God who sees. Remember, and act like it.

Adapted from an article by Henry Morris.