January 27, 2019

The Donkey’s Rebuke – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

“Then the LORD opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Balaam, ‘What have I done to you that you have beaten me these three times?’…The donkey said to Balaam, “Am not I your donkey that you have ridden ever since I was yours until this day? Have I ever attempted to treat you this way?” And he said, ‘No.’” (Numbers 22:28-30)

This tale of a donkey talking has long been the object of ridicule by skeptics. Elitist, liberal theologians assure us the story is an allegory or fable. We know that it is not, rather, a real historical event for several reasons. It is confirmed, both by inspiration through the apostle Peter and by Archeology.

“forsaking the right way, they have gone astray, having followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness; but he received a rebuke for his own transgression, for a mute donkey, speaking with a voice of a man, restrained the madness of the prophet.” (II Peter 2:15-16)

For those who truly believe the Bible, this is sufficient. More and more of today’s society do not believe the Bible is God’s word (as was the case in the New Testament world). Following the example of the prophets and Apostles, we need to learn to teach these people. Both in the Old and the New Testaments, the wonders of creation (Isaiah 40:26-27; Romans 1:20) and supernatural power were effectively used to persuade precious souls to believe. (I Kings 17:22:24; 18:19-39; II Kings 5:8-17; John 4:39: 11:42-45; John 20:8-9; Acts 17:28; 14:17; Romans 1:4) Those who insist contentiously, that only the Bible may be used to persuade, are woefully ignorant of Biblical methodology and would effectively tie one hand behind our backs as we seek to seek and save the lost.

Obviously, there is no naturalistic explanation for a donkey speaking with the voice of a man. When we find confirmation, we are demonstrating that supernatural powers were necessarily involved.

I was personally involved, in a small way, with an ongoing excavation at Deir Alla, Jordan, originally discovered in1967. The dig has revealed eighth century BC artifacts that document the activities of a prophet named Balaam. Three times in the first four lines he is referred to as “Balaam son of Beor,” exactly as in the Bible. The complete inscription consists of 119 fragments of plaster inscribed with black and red ink. It clearly describes the vision of Balaam son of Beor, a “seer of the gods,” described in in Numbers 22–24. (I have displayed in our museum, a certified replica of this critical fragment. DRP)

This dramatic confirmation does not come from the Israelites, who one might imagine would be tempted to embellish. It is from the antagonistic witness of the Amorites, their enemies. Amazingly, this Amorite inscription refers to God as “el” and “Shaddai” which is exactly the term often used to refer to God during the period before Moses. (Balaam Son of Beor, Bible and Spade, Bryant G. Wood, p114, 1995)

Archaeology is an important science that continually strengthens our faith in the historical accuracy of the Bible. Since the Bible refers to hundreds of cities, kings, and places, we would expect to find evidence from on-site excavations. Ninety-seven percent of all cities mentioned in the Bible have been found. (Zero percent of cities peculiar to the Book Of Mormon have been found.) The Bible is the most historically accurate book of history on earth.

We have extra-Biblical, tangible archeological evidence that God intervened supernaturally in the affairs of the nation of Israel (for our benefit, Romans 4:23) and that the record we have of these amazing events actually happened.

This divine record tells us that Balaam blessed Israel, instead of pronouncing the curse for which he was to have been paid by the Moabites, who were desperately trying to keep God’s people out of the Promised Land. The Moabites needed an unforgettable rebuke. They were apostate descendants of Lot, who had known the true God (Numbers 25:1-3) but were determined to thwart God’s purposes.

Consider also that this account demonstrates that God is concerned about His animal creation, caring even for every sparrow. (Matthew 10:29). The animals have been placed under man’s dominion, but they are for his service, his instruction, and his enjoyment—not for his abuse.

Thus, Balaam’s donkey was supernaturally enabled by God to rebuke not only Balaam but also anyone who would unnecessarily abuse one of His specially and beautifully designed animal subjects.

 

 

 

 

 

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January 20, 2019

The Authority To Edify – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

     The Authority To Edify

       Don R. Patton

“Because of this I am writing these things while absent, so that when I arrive I may not have to deal harshly with you by using my authority—the Lord gave it to me for building up, not for tearing down!” (II Cor.13:10 NET)

Paul is teaching the Corinthians about “building up” the church and about the different building tools used for accomplishing that end. He often spoke of “gentleness.” (II Tim. 2:25) In the above passage, He speaks of dealing harshly. God has given authority for both. Both are for edification.

He had just explained the reason for the possible need of harshness.

“For I am afraid that perhaps when I come I may find you to be not what I wish and may be found by you to be not what you wish; that perhaps there will be strife, jealousy, angry tempers, disputes, slanders, gossip, arrogance, disturbances;…” (II Corinthians 12:20

Therefore, he warns, “…if I come again I will not spare anyone,” (II Corinthians 13:2) The reason, this conduct hinders the building of the church.

“For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing. … And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” (James 3:16, 18)

The Greek word “οἰκοδομή” (translated “edification”) pictures the building of a house.

“1. process of building, building, construction

  1. a building as result of a construction process, building, edifice… The builders, the masons (after Ps 117:22) Matt 21:42″ BDAG

The same word is used in Matt. 21:42.

Jesus said to them, “Did you never read in the Scriptures, ‘THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED,THIS BECAME THE CHIEF CORNER stone…”

We still use the word edifice to describe an imposing structure. Paul specifically said there was divine “authority” to edify, here referring to harshness. Later he called himself a “wise master-builder.” Paul used the Greek word ἀρχιτέκτων. When transliterated we have “architektōn,” from which we get architect. Paul laid the foundation on which we are to build (I Corinthians 3:10).

“According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it.” (I Corinthians 3:10)

When Jesus used the same word, “οἰκοδομή,” to depict those who would build their house on a rock (His Word) or the sand (the ideas of men), He was painting a picture, not only of initially coming to Christ, but also of building (edifying) the coming church (Luke 6:48-49). The various gifts of leadership are to be used to “perfect” the saints in the work of ministry (Ephesians 4:11-12), using the living “stones” that will build the “spiritual house” of God (I Peter 2:5).

And like any good builder, the Christian carpenter has tools of the trade to assist the process. There are “things which make for peace” that must be employed (Romans 14:19). While our text refers to harshness, most certainly “love edifies.” (I Corinthians 8:1) It a major tool along with Godly communication that does not “corrupt” the building work.

“Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification” (Ephesians 4:29)

Paul commanded the church at Corinth to, “…Let all things be done for edification.” (I Corinthians 14:26) Luke reveals, “So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria enjoyed peace, being built up; and going on in the fear of the Lord.” (Acts 9:31

 

 

 

January 13, 2019

“Beginning Of The Year – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

“Now pay attention to all the commandments I am giving you today, so that you may be strong enough to enter and possess the land where you are headed, and that you may enjoy long life in the land the LORD promised to give to your ancestors and their descendants, a land flowing with milk and honey. For the land where you are headed is not like the land of Egypt from which you came, a land where you planted seed and which you irrigated by hand like a vegetable garden. Instead, the land you are crossing the Jordan to occupy is one of hills and valleys, a land that drinks in water from the rains, a land the LORD your God looks after. He is constantly attentive to it from the beginning to the end of the year.” (Deuteronomy 11:8-12)

The phrase, “the beginning of the year,” occurs only twice in the Bible, here in Deuteronomy 11:12 and in Ezekiel 40:1. The Bible is not referring to January 1, but to the month Abib, in the spring, just before Passover.

“Observe the month of Abib, and keep the passover unto the LORD thy God: for in the month of Abib the LORD thy God brought thee forth out of Egypt by night.” (Deuteronomy 16:1)

“This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you.” (Exodus 12:2)

Moses is reminding Israel that their blessings depend on God’s favor and that favor depends on paying attention to all His commandments, all the time. This is one of the most obvious and powerful lessons to be learned from God’s dealing with Israel.

In this passage, the Lord, through Moses, is speaking of the “promised” land, which He had prepared for the children of Israel. It was “a land flowing with milk and honey,” a phrase used eight times to describe a fertile, generously productive land. It was not like Egypt, which receives its produce from the overflowing Nile. Instead, this was “a land that drinks in water from the rains, a land the LORD your God looks after.” It required God’s constant, continual attention. This promised land was promised God’s blessings if they obeyed God. It was promised God’s judgment if they disobeyed.

“When Lot was choosing his portion of the land we read, “Lot lifted up his eyes and saw all the valley of the Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere — …like the garden of the LORD…”

This is the way it was, a paradise, like the Garden of Eden. Today it is a desert land, a pile of rocks. It takes a proud, blind prejudice to ignore the contrast. God’s repeated warnings have been dramatically fulfilled.

‘Yet if in spite of this you do not obey Me… ‘I will make the land desolate … I will scatter among the nations and will draw out a sword after you, as your land becomes desolate and your cities become waste.” (Leviticus 26:27, 32-33)

God has withdrawn His attentive care, on which Israel’s “water from the rains” depends. It does rain in Israel, only in the winter, when they don’t need it.

Although these promises were made specifically with reference to Israel, blessings of a covenant relationship with God are now extended to individuals of “all the nations” (Matthew 28:19), including America. God has certainly blessed our nation most abundantly, founded as it was in its beginnings on the principles of God’s words. Sadly, however, there may be indications that His blessings are being withdrawn. Apostasy dominates religious service and moral decay has overtaken us. Could His judgment be on the way?

Here, at “the beginning of the year,” let us resolve pray and work to bring America back to the God of our fathers before it is too late and final judgment falls on our once-blessed nation. Our text reminds, “He is constantly attentive…from the beginning to the end of the year.”

Adapted from some thoughts expressed by Henry Morris

 

 

 

 

 

January 6, 2019

Deceptive “False Wonders” – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

“For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents: but Aaron’s rod swallowed up their rods. (Exodus 7:12)

Magicians go back a long way in the history of mankind. Man has been aspiring to be like God since the Garden of Eden. The desire to have an audience ooh and awe is certainly not new nor unfamiliar today. These magicians were con men, who had apparently convinced Pharaoh that their supernatural power was superior to the representatives of any Israelite God. Paul does tell us of the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders, and with all the deception of wickedness…” (II Thessalonians 2:10). However, on this occasion, while we are not given all the details we may desire, I believe there is good reason to believe they had no supernatural power (demonic or otherwise). I acknowledge that I am influenced by my experience performing as a magician in my younger days. I am very much aware of the amazing deception that can be produced, all perfectly natural. The purpose of the power given to Moses was to provide persuasive evidence that the message from Moses and Aaron was from the only real God. Those who claimed similar credentials, with a different message were frauds. Neither men nor demons can really create life; this is a prerogative of God alone, who “created every living creature.” (Genesis 1:21) However, human magicians can effectively deceive people into thinking that they can do what God alone can do.

It is interesting to notice that when their fraudulent performance was over, nothing was left. Even their rods (not “serpents”) were gone. Aaron’s supernaturally produced genuine serpent had made a meal of them. This was a true miracle of creation. Aaron’s God had transmuted the dead atoms of a wooden stick (just as He later made it to produce blossoms and almonds, Numbers 17:8) into a living serpent, capable of consuming other sticks that only appeared to be serpents.

The deception of the magicians was unmistakably revealed when, later, they were unable provide an imitation of Moses’ miracle of turning dust into lice throughout the land of Egypt.

“The magicians tried with their secret arts to bring forth gnats, but they could not; so there were gnats on man and beast. Then the magicians said to Pharaoh, ‘This is the finger of God.'” (Exodus 8:18-19).

Egypt’s greatest experts of deception would know. This was not like their deception. The evidence was so convincing, that even the professionally dishonest admitted, this is really from God. And, by implication, “Our performance is not the finger of God.” Wow! That’s powerful evidence.

Interestingly, many scientists believed for many centuries that a similar phenomena—which they called “spontaneous generation”— occurred naturalistically. “Maggots appeared on rotting meat, so this is how maggots originate.” They believed microbes would naturally develop in milk from nothing. These foolish notions were scientifically demolished, demonstrated to be false by Pasteur and Redi over a hundred years ago. They were Creationists who understood that life only comes from life, which only comes from God. They understood that only the living God can create life!
The miracle of Aaron’s rod can also be viewed as an amazing antitype, an occurrence in the Old Testament that foreshadows the type, the reality fulfilled in the New Testament. Aaron’s rod of life took on the nature of the serpent, just as Christ was made sin for us (II Corinthians 5:21). But then it swallowed up the other serpent-rods, and the sting of “that old serpent” was put away. Thus, “death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting?” (I Corinthians 15:54-55). Only the real God can foresee and plan in this way.

“I am God, and there is none like me, who announces the end from the beginning and reveals beforehand what has not yet occurred, who says, ‘My plan will be realized…” (Isaiah 46:9-10)

Several of these thoughts were adapted from ideas

expressed by Henry Morris