July 30, 2017

A Fiery Serpent – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:00 am by sranderson0103

“Then the LORD said to Moses, “Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a standard; and it shall come about, that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, he will live.” (Numbers 21:8)

“And Jehovah saith unto Moses, ‘Make for thee a burning [serpent],…” (Numbers 21:8, Young’s Literal Translation)

The Hebrew word translated “fiery serpent” ( שָׂרָ֔ף) (seraph), according to Brown Driver Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon, fundamentally means “burn.” It is used in a wide variety of ways; making bricks, destroying houses and chariots. It is never used for burnt offerings but is used of burning a red heifer (to produce ashes for purification). Under Roman numeral I, we read, “fiery serpent, usu. venomous; a flying serpent, or dragon.” Roman numeral II lists the plural form and defines: “seraphim — in OT. majestic beings with six wings, and human hands and voices, …”

So, now we know what Moses put on the pole??? Wow. Bible study is not always easy. There are several good words for “snake” in the Old Testament besides or in addition to this one. I have to wonder if the prejudice produced by evolutionists against dinosaurs, close-mindedly rejects the possibility of a fire-breathing dragon (which we see depicted only hundreds of years ago in sculptures and paintings around the world).

Proud Job is humbled by a consideration or God’s wondrous creation, the Leviathan in Job 41:21-34.

…Will you be laid low even at the sight of him? …“Who can open the doors of his face? Around his teeth there is terror. “His strong scales are his pride,… ““When he raises himself up, the mighty fear; Because of the crashing they are bewildered. The sword that reaches him cannot avail, Nor the spear, the dart or the javelin. “He regards iron as straw, Bronze as rotten wood. …“Nothing on earth is like him, One made without fear. “He looks on everything that is high; He is king over all the sons of pride.””

Then we read…

Out of his mouth go burning torches; Sparks of fire leap forth. “Out of his nostrils smoke goes forth…”

Isaiah appears to speak of a similar phenomenon.

“…for out of the serpent’s root shall come forth an adder, and his fruit shall be a fiery flying serpent.” (Isaiah 14:29)

“The burden of the beasts of the South. Through the land of trouble and anguish, from whence come the lioness and the lion, the viper and fiery flying serpent,…” (Isaiah 30:6)

So what afflicted the Israelites in the wilderness and what did Moses put on the standard? I’m not sure, but it would certainly ramp up interest in the Biblical account if it referred to a fire-breathing dragon (dinosaur). If it refers only to poisonous serpents, it still is an incredible story, but…it was confirmed by none other than the Lord Jesus Himself:

“As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life.” (John 3:14-15)

A plague of threatening creatures had terrorized the camp of Israel, sent as a divine judgment because of their complaints and ingratitude, and many people had died. When they confessed their sin and Moses prayed for their deliverance, God in His grace prescribed this unique remedy.

There is, of course, no naturalistic process that can heal a poisonous bite merely by a look. Neither, of course, is there a naturalistic explanation for the salvation of a sin-poisoned soul merely by looking with faith upon the crucified Son of man. Both are mighty miracles, with the first being beautifully designed by God to be a prophetic foreshadowing of the other.

The symbolism is striking. The brass image impaled on the pole represented slain creatures, but it also spoke of “that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan,” eventually cast forever into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:2, 10).

The symbols foreshadow and help communicate God’s eternal plan, the real deliverance which required a real Christ to die on a real cross.

“… even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life.” (John 3:14-15)

(Adapted from an article by Henry Morris)

 

 

 

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July 23, 2017

Nullifying The Word – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:00 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.” (Mark 7:13 NET)

“…You have nullified the word of God on account of your tradition.” (Matthew 15:6 NET).

The original Greek word ἀκυρόω,” 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 give 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 enabled them to “nullify” the ideas that they just “knew” could not be true.

Comments from Baker’s Exegetical Commentary may help us understand the Jewish tradition that Jesus condemns.

“…it had come to refer to items removed from common use and dedicated to God, including funds pledged to the temple… Evidently, such funds were not transferable to others, such as one’s parents, but were still available to the one who pledged them. One could claim inability to meet a charitable obligation because one’s resources had already been pledged to God, when in fact no money had yet changed hands. In Matt. 15:4–5 Jesus juxtaposes God’s word and human traditions and concludes in 15:6 that the human traditions have cancelled or rendered void God’s word. Jesus twice refers to the tradition as “your” tradition (15:3, 6). He does not view these traditions as having authority on a par with the written Torah.”

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

On another occasion, 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 thought because Scripture said it, that should be the end of the matter. The Son of God taught that every word of God’s revelation was true and authoritative.

Today’s skeptics (poor Bible scholars) stumble foolishly over apparent contradictions in the Bible, evolutionists ridicule its historical account of creation, and self-willed sinners determine to wriggle around its moral constraints, often denying what it plainly says, but the Son of God says, “the Scripture cannot be broken.

They say, “You are not my judge.” Jesus said, “The one who rejects me and does not accept my words has a judge; the word I have spoken will judge him at the last day.” (John 12:48 NET)

Jesus’ frequent quotations from the Scriptures indicate complete confidence in and conviction that this was the Word of God. His own words in following passages demonstrate.

“For just like the days of Noah were, so the coming of the Son of Man will be. For in those days before the flood…” (Matthew 24:37 NET)

“For just as Jonah was in the belly of the huge fish for three days and three nights, so the Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights. The people of Nineveh will stand up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, because they repented when Jonah preached to them–and now, something greater than Jonah is here!” (Matthew 12:40-41 NET)

“He answered, ‘Have you not read that from the beginning the Creator made them male and female,’” (Matthew 19:4)

Jesus, Himself is the living Word of God, and we dare not tamper with the written Word inspired by the Holy Spirit. The Son of God never questioned their accuracy, and neither should we.

Nevertheless, many modern “Christian” intellectuals are following in the example of the Pharisees, rather than that of Christ, just as they did in Peter’s day.

the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they also do to the rest of the scriptures.” (II Peter 3:16).

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

Adapted from an article by Henry Morris

 

 

 

July 16, 2017

His Holy Arm – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:00 am by sranderson0103

The LORD has bared His holy arm In the sight of all the nations, That all the ends of the earth may see The salvation of our God.” (Isaiah 52:10)

Reference is often made in the Bible to the human arm in order to symbolize spiritual strength or power. The first instance is in Jacob’s dying prophecy concerning his cherished son Joseph: “But his bow remained firm, And his arms were agile, From the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob,…” (Genesis 49:24). The source of strength for children of God is in their father, the almighty God, so it is not surprising to find at least forty biblical references to the Lord’s powerful “arm” or “arms.” In the passage quoted above, Isaiah promises that when God “bares his arm” for His great work, whether freeing from the bondage of Egypt, or the oppression of the Babylonians, the whole world will see His salvation. Contrary to the common misconception about approved faith, it is not blind. Biblical faith is the result of an honest evaluation of the facts. There is always abundant, sufficient evidence demonstrated by God so that unbelievers are inexcusable.

“When Israel saw the great power which the LORD had used against the Egyptians, the people feared the LORD, and they believed in the LORD and in His servant Moses.” (Exodus 14:31)

“For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “FOR THIS VERY PURPOSE I RAISED YOU UP, TO DEMONSTRATE MY POWER IN YOU, AND THAT MY NAME MIGHT BE PROCLAIMED THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE EARTH.” (Romans 9:17)

“Lift up your eyes on high And see who has created these stars, The One who leads forth their host by number, He calls them all by name; Because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power, Not one of them is missing.” (Isaiah 40:26)

“…He cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth.” The man who had died came forth… Therefore many of the Jews who came to Mary, and saw what He had done, believed in Him.” (John 11:43-45)

“The crowds with one accord were giving attention to what was said by Philip, as they heard and saw the signs which he was performing.” (Acts 8:6)

“…that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.” (Romans 1:19)

The ultimate demonstration of His power is seen in delivering us from bondage to Satan and sin and death by raising Jesus from the dead. There is a real sense in which “His holy arm” is Jesus Christ. It did not depreciate His power when the world rejected the Messiah. Rather He demonstrated the power of His mighty arm when He foresaw and predicted the rejection through Isaiah. Who has believed our message?

And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? …He was despised and forsaken of men, …” (Isaiah 53:1, 3).

Most rejected, but some honest hearts responded in faith; first, before He was born, His own mother.

And Mary said: “My soul exalts [“magnificat] the Lord, … “He has done mighty deeds with His arm;…” (Luke 1:46, 51)

This confession of faith is the first use of “arm” in the New Testament and refers to the saving arm of God, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Isaiah reminds Israel (to whom he had just pronounced the doom of Babylonian captivity) that His arm is not only mighty to save, but will authoritatively reign and judge.

“Behold, the Lord GOD will come with might, With His arm ruling for Him…” (Isaiah 40:10)

And we can have confidence that this same powerful arm lovingly provides for those who will submit and follow.

“Like a shepherd He will tend His flock, In His arm He will gather the lambs And carry them in His bosom;” (Isaiah 40:11)

The idea for this article came from Henry Morris

 

 

July 9, 2017

No, Lord … By Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:00 am by sranderson0103

No, Lord!” Peter said. “For I have never eaten anything common and ritually unclean!” (Acts 10:14 Holman)

Impetuous Peter. Words fly out of his mouth unrestrained. Just a little thoughtful consideration would have helped him avoid this foolish self-contradiction. He affirms Jesus is his Lord and then, in the same breath, refuses to submit.

His words remind us of an old quote. “Make sure your brain is engaged before putting your mouth in gear.” Farmers Almanac

Peter could have used this wisdom at the Transfiguration when he made a similar blunder, bringing a rebuke directly from God.

“Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; and let us make three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah”— because he did not know what to say, for they were greatly afraid. And a cloud came and overshadowed them; and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son. Hear Him!’” (Mark 9: 5-7 NKJV)

J B PHILLIPS translation says…

“Peter burst out to Jesus, “Master, it is wonderful for us to be here! Shall we put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah?” He really did not know what to say, for they were very frightened. Then came a cloud which overshadowed them and a voice spoke out of the cloud, ‘This is my dearly-loved Son. Listen to him!’”

Peter had observed the Jewish dietary restrictions all his life. We are all designed so that habits become ingrained and “second nature.” There is a positive advantage in not having to think about such conduct. It happens automatically. However, changing this conduct becomes extremely difficult. Peter reflexively resisted and told the lord, “No!” It took another rebuke from heaven (actually three more) together with coordinated, providential circumstances to produce Peter’s righteous response.

Submission is difficult, for multiple reasons. The result is that many Christians who have called Jesus their Savior and Lord, question or disregard His Word. Sometimes they say ‘No!”

Faithful Christians may legitimately discuss and question different interpretations of the Word, but there is never justification for questioning the authority of our Lord (Matthew 28:18), regardless of our familiar, habitual practices or pressures from society.

Our Lord himself asked the stinging question, “Why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46).

It was Peter again, who demonstrated inconsistency when Christ told of His imminent crucifixion. “Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You. (Matthew 16:22). The Lord new the difficulty Peter was having and responded with a severe rebuke.

“Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s,” (Matthew 16:23).

It was not Peter’s prerogative, nor is it ours, to question the Word of the Lord, to challenge His authority, even when we don’t yet understand it.

A failure to learn this lesson can have deadly, eternal consequences. Jesus warned disobedient disciples who professed His Lordship.

“Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, …“And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS,’” (Matthew 7:22-23).

Peter learned his lesson. He was soon teaching Cornelius regarding Jesus Christ, “he is Lord of all” (Acts 10:36). The life he lived thereafter, demonstrated much greater consistency with that eternal truth. Later, he spoke of the practical effect of Jesus as Lord. He assured that Christians would be “…neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ,” (II Peter 1:8).

Likewise, Paul speaks plainly of the eternal consequence of failing to acknowledge with our lives that Jesus is Lord.

“Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.” (II Thessalonians 1:7-8)

Have you obeyed, are you obeying your Lord?

 

 

July 2, 2017

God’s Will In Our Heart – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:00 am by sranderson0103

“I delight to do Your will, O my God; Your Law is within my heart.” (Psalm 40:8)

David exemplifies an attitude that should be ours, expressing his determination to joyfully surrender his own desires, goals and thinking to that of his Creator. However, the passage is much more than that. It is also a Messianic prophecy, fulfilled completely only in Christ. Note the previous verse, “Then I said, “Behold, I come; In the scroll of the book it is written of me.” Nothing in the scrolls of Moses (available to David) would have spoken of David. The Spirit (by David’s mouth, Acts 1:16) was speaking of the coming Messiah.

I know this because the writer of the book of Hebrews, by inspiration, quotes this passage and applies it to Christ.

Therefore, when He comes into the world, He says, “THEN I SAID, ‘BEHOLD, I HAVE COME (IN THE SCROLL OF THE BOOK IT IS WRITTEN OF ME) TO DO YOUR WILL, O GOD.’” (Hebrews 10:7)

The Messiah himself said…

“Jesus said to them, ‘My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work.’” (John 4:34)

“For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.” (John 6:38)

(Aside: The submission of Jesus while on earth did not indicate he was “second class,” as today’s feminists argue regarding the submission of wives.)

The Messiah (who had become like us to be our example) determined to attune His heart to the will of God. Therefore the law was “within” His heart, not because God directly inserted the Law. Calvinists erroneously tell us that the Spirit directly operates on our heart, destroying personal responsibility and ignoring the figurative imagery. Consider similar language in II Corinthians 3:2-3.

“You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men; being manifested that you are a letter of Christ, cared for by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.”

Our example determined, as we must, to submit His own will to God’s, even in unimaginably trying circumstances. He prayed, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.” (Luke 22:42)

This illustrates the determined, submissive attitude we must train our own hearts to follow. Yes, we are saved by grace, but this does not deliver us from the personal responsibility of submitting to constraints of God’s holy will, as in the case of Christ Himself. God implants His law in our hearts (indirectly, through the word) resulting in love for His law. The writer of Hebrews quotes the prophecy of Jeremiah, saying…

THIS IS THE COVENANT THAT I WILL MAKE WITH THEM AFTER THOSE DAYS, SAYS THE LORD: I WILL PUT MY LAWS UPON THEIR HEART, AND ON THEIR MIND I WILL WRITE THEM,” (Hebrews 10:16)

We should learn from the example Psalmist and the Messiah, not to resist, per our own understanding, but to love His will and to delight in His law with all our hearts.

“O how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day.” (Psalms 119:97)

“I have inherited Your testimonies forever, For they are the joy of my heart.” (Psalms 119:111)

“I long for Your salvation, O LORD, And Your law is my delight.” (Psalms 119:174)

Adapted from an article by Henry Morris