February 4, 2018

“The God of the Old Testament – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

I am continually amazed by the number who pass for Bible students, who slander “the God of the Old Testament.” I refer to those who see a moral problem produced by elevating trending societal concepts of “goodness” to the status of moral law, a status that supersedes revelation from the Creator. They effectively say, “Yes, I admit God was a vindictive meanie in the Old Testament, but then He evolved into the wonderful God of love we see in the New.” This attitude demonstrates an astounding arrogance (assuming a superior sense of morality) and at the same time an amazing ignorance of the God of the Old Testament.

The following quote is not from Jesus, nor from one of His official ambassadors, the apostles. It is the law of Moses that instructs…

“‘You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am the LORD.” (Leviticus 19:18)

A professional teacher of that Mosaic law, “a lawyer” asked Jesus…

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, “‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ “This is the great and foremost commandment. “The second is like it, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’” (Matthew 22:36-39)

The words in capital letters are quotations from the Old Testament. The first quotation was one of the most familiar and revered of all passages to the Jews:

“Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one! 5 “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” (Deuteronomy 6:4-5)

The second commandment which the lawyer considered great, says:

“…you shall love your neighbor as yourself;….” (Leviticus 19:18)

Jesus acknowledged that His opponents knew the Old Testament Scriptures. He said: “The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the chair of Moses therefore all that they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they say things and do not do them.” (Matthew 23:2-3) This lawyer, an expert on the Law of Moses concluded regarding that law: “On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:40)

But wasn’t God cruel and vengeful toward the residents of Palestine when He commanded them to be “utterly destroyed” and gave their land to His favorites, the chosen Israelites? The answer is absolutely not! The view betrays a lack of appreciation of God’s holy view of sin.

“Your eyes are too pure to approve evil, And You can not look on wickedness with favor.” (Habakkuk 1:13)

The sin of the residents of Palestine had grown to a fullness that the holiness God could not tolerate. Consider His own explanation.

“Know, then, it is not because of your righteousness that the LORD your God is giving you this good land to possess,” (Deuteronomy 9:6)

“‘Do not defile yourselves by any of these things; for by all these the nations which I am casting out before you have become defiled. ‘For the land has become defiled, therefore I have brought its punishment upon it, so the land has spewed out its inhabitants.” (Leviticus 18:24)

The holy God who created the universe sees things perfectly through infinitely holy eyes. It is insolent arrogance for His feeble creation to assume that they know better.

The truth is that the great underlying theme of the Old Testament is love—love for God and love for others. Jeremiah testified that God’s love is eternal, from long before and that it will never end.

“The LORD has appeared of old to me, saying: “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.” (Jeremiah 31:3)

 

 

 

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January 28, 2018

Invalidating the Word of God – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

“thus invalidating the word of God by your tradition which you have handed down; and you do many things such as that.” (Mark 7:13)

The “politically correct” pluralist insists that those who believe conflicting religious views must learn to coexist (easy when you don’t believe any of the views are really true). In other words, if you have no more faith in the Bible than you do in Mother Goose, then you view it any way you want to, and they do. If you insist that a concept is true, necessarily implying conflicting views are false, you are an intolerant bigot (understandable if none of the views truly true).

This view invalidates the word of God as surely as the conduct of Pharisees, rebuked by Jesus in the New Testament. The fact that He rebuked their view, necessarily implied He believed what He taught was true and their view was not true.

The Pharisees had encumbered the Word with numerous “interpretations” that enabled them to ignore the teachings they found inconvenient. But, since it’s not really, really true, then what’s the problem? The obvious problem is that Jesus believed the Word was absolutely true and they were invalidating Divine revelation.

The contrasting attitude of today’s pluralist is not because they are nicer or more generous. It is because they don’t believe in truth, unless you are talking about their pluralism, which is true and contrasting views are false and must be opposed. That’s not sweet. It is dishonest. Like Jesus, I rebuke such attitudes because I believe in truth.

Jesus taught that every word of Scripture 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 5:18-19).

In John 10:35 Jesus added “the scripture cannot be broken.”

Skeptics pose apparent difficulties, evolutionists ridicule the creation account, and the immoral try to wriggle away from its moral constraints, and we may misunderstand, but the Scripture cannot be broken! Jesus said…

“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. …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).

Today’s intellectuality elite pluralists are following in the example of the Pharisees rather than Christ. Jesus says they are “invalidating the word of God…”

Various translation clarify: “nullify the word of God” NET, “making void the word of God” ESV; “making the word of God of no effect,” NKJV. The paraphrase CEV says, “And you ignore God’s commands in order to follow your own teaching.”

Consistently, all translations affirm that Jesus taught these words were God’s words and their own interpretation was blameworthy.

Peter expressed exactly the same view in II Peter 3:16, referring to what the inspired apostle Paul wrote; “…the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures.” Here, He uses the Greek word “στρεβλόω ” defined:

“twist…of the use of tortuous devices in the course of inquiries…to distort a statement so that a false meaning results, twist, distort…” BDAG

If you express what Jesus believed about God’s word, you will face fierce, dishonest opposition. They say it is absolutely true that you must not insist on what is absolutely true. But, we should believe as Jesus did, that if the word of God says it, it is true and opposing views are not. Proponents opposing views are not generous, they nullify the word of God.

 

 

January 23, 2018

The Hand of God – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 1:10 pm by sranderson0103

“that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the LORD is mighty, so that you may fear the LORD your God forever.” (Joshua 4:24)

Within the constellation Circinus we see a magnetized, neutron star, a pulsar which spins 7 times per second (bright central region of the picture). NASA calls it “a cosmic dynamo that powers a wind of charged particles…”

We are constantly impressed by atheist’s inventive ingenuity, but explaining the amazing complexities of this structure in the context of the pervasive disorganizing effects of the inescapable 2nd Law Of Thermodynamics is a major challenge. Their “explanation” raises more impossible questions than answers…when the Creator is ignored.

From time to time we need to be reminded, “The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.” (Psalm 19:1) The truth is, the hand of God can be seen throughout creation.

When the second generation of Israel emerged from the wilderness wandering and approached the land that “flowed with milk and honey,” they needed to be reminded how they got there.

“… the LORD brought you out by a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.” (Deuteronomy 7:8)

As the children of Israel miraculously crossed the Jordan River into God’s promised land, they were reminded, …

“For the LORD your God dried up the waters of the Jordan before you until you had crossed, just as the LORD your God had done to the Red Sea, which He dried up before us until we had crossed; that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the LORD is mighty, so that you may fear the LORD your God forever.” Joshua 4:23-24)

God’s word is awesome, but it is not the only means of demonstrating God’s power. As God showed His irresistible power to the world at the Red Sea, everyone should see the hand of God in the heavens.

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,” (Isa 40:26)

David was impressed with the evidence of God’s ability to hear and see as evidenced by His creation, of our ears and eyes.

“He who planted the ear, does He not hear? He who formed the eye, does He not see?” (Psalm 94:9)

We should constantly be aware of God’s sensitive ears and His all seeing eyes as well as His mighty hand.

“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” (I Peter 5:6-7)

 

 

 

 

January 14, 2018

Swelling Seas – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

O LORD God of hosts, who is like You, O mighty LORD? Your faithfulness also surrounds You. You rule the swelling of the sea; When its waves rise, You still them.” (Psalms 89:8-9)

I stood on the beach, a few feet from the roaring ocean, as a hurricane roared ashore. That impression of overwhelming, uncontrollable power, the awesome sound, has remained vivid in my mind for over 50 years. When we imagine a mere mortal trying to oppose such power, we laugh. Only the truly insane would try. But He can.

“For He spoke and raised up a stormy wind, Which lifted up the waves of the sea. They rose up to the heavens, they went down to the depths; ..He caused the storm to be still, So that the waves of the sea were hushed.” (Psalm 107:25-26, 29)

One of the most obvious demonstrations of the divine authority of Christ (absolutely confirming His word) was seen when a fierce storm suddenly arose on the Sea of Galilee. Jesus and his disciples were traveling across in a small sailing boat when the disciples were terrified in the midst of the raging sea.

“…He got up and rebuked the wind and the surging waves, and they stopped, and it became calm.” (Luke 8:24)

The same kind of superhuman power was witnessed when Jonah was fleeing from the disagreeable task assigned him by God. He was on board a sailing vessel when the mariners, sailing to Tarshish, realized that the storm threatening to destroy them had been sent by God because of Jonah.

“So they picked up Jonah, threw him into the sea, and the sea stopped its raging. Then the men feared the LORD greatly, and they offered a sacrifice to the LORD and made vows.” (Jonah 1:15-16)

Consider the fact that Isaiah compares the opponents of truth to a roaring sea.

“But the wicked are like the tossing sea, For it cannot be quiet, And its waters toss up refuse and mud. ‘There is no peace,’ says my God, ‘for the wicked.’.” (Isa. 57:20-21)

Likewise, Jude describes ungodly, false teachers who are like “wild waves of the sea, casting up their own shame like foam;” (Jude 1:13)

In Luke 21, Christ used the figure of a raging sea to portray the anguish “when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies,” (v.20) “days of vengeance,” (v.22) the “great distress on the earth and wrath against this people,” (v.23), when “Jerusalem will be trampled down.” (v.24). He says, “nations will be in distress, anxious over the roaring of the sea and the surging waves.”

From all the examples cited above, we are reminded that the God who created the swelling, threatening oceans and calmed them, can surely calm our darkest, most threatening storm. The Psalmist foresaw the coming Messiah as one who would “rule in the midst of Your enemies.” (Psalm 110:2) He can defeat or speak peace to the nations. He can calm our troubled hearts. Through faith we can see His power in the midst of the storm and await His calm voice of peace.

Adapted from an article by Henry Morris

 

January 7, 2018

The Word – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” (John 1:1-5)

In this passage John the used the Greek word “λόγος,” (logos) to communicate the role of Christ, the divine, eternal, perfect expression of God. It was a word that had already been used in Greek society, by deluded philosophers, to describe absurd notions of a few of their idols. When John appropriated their term, he was not copying their pagan absurdities; he was challenging their foolishness. Starting where they were, he took their concept to a completely new level. The real logos perfectly expresses the mind of God, is himself God, created everything, was the source of all life and light, and dispels their feeble darkness.

John’s description is a direct confrontation of Greek paganism. It supersedes any puny pagan competitor. It is as well, a marvelous portrayal of our savior, the foundation of Christianity.

The writer of the book of Hebrews describes the concept to a Hebrew audience.

“God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.” (Hebrews 1:1)

Consider also John’s description of the conquering Christ in his Revelation of Christ to the persecuted saints of Asia.

“And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.’” (Revelation 3:11-13)

Consider also the fact that the title of the “Word of God” is given both to Jesus Christ as the living Word and to the Scriptures as the written Word.

“For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12)

“For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the word of God, which also performs its work in you who believe.” (I Thessalonians 2:13)

How can one rationally claim to accept John’s “logos,” the perfect expression of God, while at the same time failing to honor the written word of God (the Bible)?

Some say “Oh, it used to be honorable but it has been polluted.” They are effectively saying the “logos,” the eternal, divine “Word” was powerless to protect and preserve, as He promised to do.

“Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.” (Matthew 24:34-35)

The living Word and the written Word are so perfectly synchronous that what is said of one can usually be applied also to the other.

Both are human, yet without error;

“…in Him there is no sin.” (I John 3:5)

“…the Scripture cannot be broken,” (John 10:35)

Furthermore, each is eternal.

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today, and for ever” Hebrew 13:8)

“Forever, O LORD, Your word is settled in heaven.” (Psalms 119:89)

Each gives everlasting life to those who believe.

“God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.” (I John 10:11)

“…born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God.” (I Peter 1:23)

Finally, judgment comes by both Christ and the Scriptures.

“…He has given all judgment to the Son,” (John 5:22)

“…the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds.” (Revelation 20:12)

The Word of God is truly awesome, but which, the living Word or the written Word? The answer is, “Yes.”

 

 

December 31, 2017

A Well Springing Up – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

By Don R. Patton

“Jesus said to her, ‘Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.’” (John 4:13-14 ESV)

Water is absolutely essential for the world we know. I had a chemistry professor who introduced his chapter on water with the quip, “Without water, what would we do with all our ships?” His joke was funny because we are all well aware that the significance of water goes far, far beyond ships. We understand that most of what happens on earth requires it. We would not exist without it and if it is cut off we die.

Jesus used this obvious knowledge to communicate to the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well, and to you and me.

The word translated “drinks,” used twice in the above passage, is not in the same form both times in the original Greek. The first is present tense, which in the Greek implies a continual, habitual drinking. The second is aorist, which typically indicates a one-time action.

Likewise, the two references to a “well” in the passage depict two different ideas. The Samaritan woman referred to a “well” (literally “a hole in the ground”), while Christ denoted a “flowing well,” or “spring,” using a different word. The ESV appropriately translates it, “welling up.”

Also consider that when Jesus said one who drinks from His spring will “never be thirsty again,” He expressed Himself in a very emphatic way. Not only is “thirsty” emphasized by the sentence structure, but the combination of two negatives preceding the verb “thirsty” is further strengthened by a word often translated “forever,” or “eternal.” He said literally: “shall not, shall not thirst, forever.”

One who drinks from the wells of the world will continually thirst, again and again, for sinful pleasures that never satisfy. But a drink from the springs of “living water” (4:10; 7:38) of which Christ spoke eliminates spiritual thirst forever!

The drink of water from Christ is water that satisfies with the promise of forgiveness from every sin, perfect peace, ultimate fulfillment now, together with the firm conviction in the promise of eternal life forever. It becomes in the believer a veritable spring, inexhaustible in its quantity and unsurpassed in its quality. The water appears to portray the continual work of the Holy Spirit through His word that fills our hearts, sent by Jesus to comfort and provide complete guidance to His followers in His absence. One day we’ll be with Him, and then, as well as now, He completely satisfies.

Adapted from an article by John Morris

 

December 24, 2017

God Hears Your Whispers – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

“There will be silence before You, and praise in Zion, O God, And to You the vow will be performed. O You who hear prayer, To You all men come. …By awesome deeds You answer us in righteousness, O God of our salvation,…” (Psalm 65:1-2, 5)

Man is created as a social creature. God, himself, acknowledged that it is not good to be alone. (Genesis 2:18) Even in a crowd, we can find ourselves alone, without someone with whom we can share our thoughts, our fears, our desires. Loneliness is painful, and that pain can become overwhelming. Pity the poor soul who has no one.

There are circumstances in the life of most when loneliness overshadows like a cloud, when no one is there to listen and provide counsel. Holidays, when it seems loving families surround everyone, seem to intensify the pain.

Or perhaps there is some problem so personal and intimate that it seems unfitting or too embarrassing to share with anyone else. But God will listen! No need is so small, no place too remote, no burden too heavy. The “God of all grace” and “the God of all comfort” will listen and care.

“After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.” (I Peter 5:10)

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” (II Corinthians 1:3-4)

“The LORD hears when I call to Him.” (Psalm 4:3)

Teenagers may complain that their parents won’t listen to them; wives may believe their husbands don’t listen; sometimes it seems that no one will listen to our questions or ideas about anything. But

“The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth.” (Psalms 145:18)

“Trust in Him at all times, O people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us.” (Psalm 62:8)

But how can He listen? After all, God is far away on His throne. The risen Savior ascended far above all heavens to sit down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.

How can the Father hear when we whisper a prayer in our hearts that no human could hear?

God is indeed up there, but He is also right here! Furthermore Jesus promised an additional comforter.

“But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you.” (John 16:7)

The laws of physics tell us that we cannot be in two different places at the same time. But the author of those laws is above them. Man is quite different from the eternal creator who can be in heaven and in our small dark room. He can be with us in the midst of the lightning on the mountaintop and in the inner recesses of the black darkness of the depths of the earth. God. All of this is true while, “…God abides in us,…” (I John 4:12)

Of course, His hearing and living within is conditional.

“If I regard wickedness in my heart, The Lord will not hear;” (Psalm 66:18)

“FOR THE EYES OF THE LORD ARE TOWARD THE RIGHTEOUS, AND HIS EARS ATTEND TO THEIR PRAYER, BUT THE FACE OF THE LORD IS AGAINST THOSE WHO DO EVIL.” (I Peter 3:12)

Adapted from an article by Henry Morris

 

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December 17, 2017

What Is First In Your Life? – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33 NASV)

“But above all pursue his kingdom and righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33 NET)

My grandmother “bribed” me to memorize the “sermon on the mount, at about age 12. Some would say she motivated. Whatever…it worked, and no doubt had a profound impact. I did the same with my children.

Of course, the passage quoted above is included in this Lord’s sermon. It has become a favorite memory verse for millions and has even been set to music by a number of musicians. Its truth is foundational. Let’s carefully look at what it says.

First, we must know what we are talking about. Most don’t understand the kingdom. Most of the time in the New Testament, the kingdom is a rough equivalent of the church. Notice the interchangeability in the following passages.

“Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.’ And Jesus said to him…‘upon this rock I will build My church; …I will give you the keys of the kingdom…’” (Matthew 16:16-19)

“…transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. …He is also head of the body, the church;” (Colossians 1:13, 18)

“John to the seven churches that are in Asia:… your brother and fellow partaker in the tribulation and kingdom…” (Revelation 1:4, 9)

Many depreciate the value of the church today. The Bible presents a very different view. Paul said that Jesus died for the church (Ephesians 5:25) and Jesus says you should put the kingdom and God’s righteousness first in your life.

Greek “tenses” speak less about the time than the kind of action involved. The Greek word translated “seek” is present tense, which typically implies continuing action. This would imply a command to establish an ongoing habit or lifestyle of “seeking” the kingdom and righteousness. We are commanded to put first things first on a continual basis, then watch Him take care of the items of secondary interest.

The “seeking” Jesus commands specifies “His righteousness.” Many today are seeking to be righteous, but at the same time consider the principles of righteousness taught by the Bible to be nuts. The attitude is similar that Paul described on the part of his brethren, the Jews.

“For not knowing about God’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God.” (Romans 10:3)

They seek diligently, as long as they get to seek what seems righteous in their own eyes. It should not surprise us that God’s standard of righteousness is different from our own. (Isaiah 55:8-9)

Jesus teaches that we must continually “seek” to make His priorities our priorities—to mold our thinking by the Word of God so that we think as He does. Our lives should exhibit the purity and righteousness that He exhibited when on Earth. While it is true that we never completely achieve such perfection this side of heaven, we are commanded to be “seeking,” to do so by the power promised to us (Philippians 4:13).

If we reverse the proper order, not only will we not attain His kingdom and His righteousness, but we will probably miss the secondary “things” as well. The word “added,” a mathematical word, implies the prior existence of something to which other things can be added. We enjoy bountiful physical blessings, but Jesus knows how to add. The assurance of “all these things,” the physical things we need, are not as important as the “unsearchable riches of Christ,” (Ephesians 3:8), but how nice to know he cares and promises…when “above all pursue his kingdom and righteousness.”

Adapted from an article by John Morris

 

 

 

December 10, 2017

Mt. Ararat and the Resurrection – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

“In the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, the ark rested upon the mountains of Ararat.” (Genesis 8:4)

The story of Noah’s preservation through the Flood that brought death to most life on earth not only demonstrated God’s attitude toward sin and His determination to judge, but it is also a beautiful picture that prefigures the salvation God planned and now offers to all mankind. It is an accurate history of a real event that did happen the way the Bible describes, but it is also a beautiful analogy.

The Flood was sent as a judgment upon the sinful world of Noah’s day.

“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. 6 The LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. 7 The LORD said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the sky; for I am sorry that I have made them.” (Genesis 6:5-7)

The “wages of sin” (Romans 6:23) has always been death. It is more than a consequence. In the eyes of the source of all justice, the Almighty God, sin requires death as payment of a debt. But God provided a way of salvation, not by faith only, but through faith demonstrated by building and entering the Ark. Out of probably billions on the earth, eight souls, Noah and his family, believed and humbly submitted.

“But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD. …Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his time; Noah walked with God. …Make for yourself an ark of gopher wood; you shall make the ark with rooms, and shall cover it inside and out with pitch. “This is how you shall make it: the length of the ark three hundred cubits, its breadth fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits. “You shall make a window for the ark, and finish it to a cubit from the top; and set the door of the ark in the side of it; you shall make it with lower, second, and third decks. … Thus Noah did; according to all that God had commanded him, so he did.” (Genesis 6:8-9, 14-16, 22)

Although the analogy is not perfect, it does beautifully illustrate the fact that the punishment for sin is still death and that God has provided a perfect way of salvation to those who believe and humbly submit to His Son Jesus Christ.

In that light, it is interesting to note the date mentioned in our text, Genesis 8:4, has great significance. The calendar was changed by God at the time of the Passover, another beautiful prefigure of Christ’s work. The seventh month became the first month.

“This month shall be the beginning of months for you; it is to be the first month of the year to you. “Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying, ‘On the tenth of this month they are each one to take a lamb… ‘You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month, then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel is to kill it at twilight.” (Exodus 12:2-3, 6)

The Passover was to be observed on the fourteenth day of that month each year following.

“…For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed.” (I Corinthians 5:7)

Christ was sacrificed for us on the day of the Passover (John 19:14) and rose again the third day, the seventeenth day of the first (formerly the seventh) month.

This was the anniversary of the landing of Noah’s Ark on Ararat, providing its inhabitants new life following judgment of the world and its destruction because of sin. What a blessed picture of our new life based on Christ’s death for our sins.

“…God patiently waited in the days of Noah as an ark was being constructed. In the ark a few, that is eight souls, were delivered through water. And this prefigured baptism, which now saves you…” (I Peter 3:20-21 NET)

(Based on a shorter article by John D. Morris, Ph.D.)

 

 

December 3, 2017

Things Which Are Not Seen – Don R. Patton

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:00 am by sranderson0103

“while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (II Corinthians 4:18)

It is obvious, when we look at the life of the apostle Paul, that he was able to focus on, and evaluate choices and circumstances in view of eternity. Christians talk about this, but it is one of the most difficult concepts to actually put into practice. Physical things loom large in our eyes. Sometimes that is all we see. Paul says he does not look at such things. Expressed in the irony of the paradox, he does not look at what is seen, rather he looks at what is not seen.

It is easy to see and think about temporal things but hard to see and think on eternal things. Spiritual nearsightedness is all too common and subtlety distorts our perspective.

The authors of the New Testament were embroiled in strife with the carnal minded, immersed in the cup of suffering the Lord predicted (Mark 10:38-39), but still managed to keep their sights on the eternal. Consider how often “eternity” seasons their Spirit inspired words. The redemption that Christ purchased for us with His blood is nothing less than “eternal redemption” (Hebrews 9:12) and therefore “He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation,” (Hebrews 5:9). Consequently, as joint-heirs with Him, “those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance,” (Hebrews 9:15). ” He encourages us to remember that “the God of all grace…called you to His eternal glory in Christ,” (I Peter 5:10) and to remember that God has there provided for us “eternal dwellings,” (Luke 16:9).

All of these eternal things—eternal redemption, eternal salvation, eternal inheritance, eternal dwellings, and eternal glory—are of infinitely greater value than the temporal things that crowd our minds and limit our goals. They are not to be compared with temporal distractions that are all, no matter how appealing, passing away. It is significant that the phrase “eternal life” occurs no less than 44 times in the New Testament. God speaks of it often, and so should we!

The last eternal thing mentioned in the Bible is the key to obtaining all eternal blessings. It is the “eternal gospel.”

“And I saw another angel flying in midheaven, having an eternal gospel to preach to those who live on the earth, and to every nation and tribe and tongue and people;” (Revelation 14:6).

Let’s determine to submit to it and fill our hearts with it.

 

 

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