Daily Bible Nugget #376, Matthew 9:2

The Nugget:

Matthew 9:2 And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.

My Comment:

My attention was directed to Matthew 9:2 this morning when I listened to Pastor W. L. Wade of Danville, Virginia bring a message on the theme of cheer. Pastor Wade spoke of (1) The Cheer of Jesus’ Pardon, Matthew 9:2, noting that this forgiveness was granted before His death on the cross. (2) The might of this word cheer in dealing with the leprosy of sin. (3) The merit of cheer. Every sin must be punished. (4) The mercy of the compassionate Christ. Christ provided not only physical healing, but spiritual healing as well. (5) The majesty of His cheer, as He uttered pardon. He reached their hearts. Pastor Wade, if he should see this, might be ready to tear his hair out at my unskilled note taking, but what I have given is just a tiny bit of what he covered in what must have been about a seven minute message in a 15 minute time slot with a musical piece or hymn played at the beginning of the program. Pastor Wade packs more Gospel truth and Bible instruction and encouragement in seven minutes than most radio speakers I’ve heard can manage in half an hour or more. He does not waste words. He brings words of comfort, challenge, and instruction. I listen to him, as far as my schedule permits, each Friday at either 9:45 am or 9:45 pm on Foundations Bible College radio of Dunn, North Carolina at www.fbcradio.org which provides several different options for listening, your choice dependent upon the kind of Internet connection you have. The choices are given in the right-hand upper corner of the page, and also spelled out in more detail if you click on the “Listen” option provided. I highly recommend you listen to his teaching every Friday. The music on this Christian station features solid Christian hymns throughout the day, which are delight to listen to.

On Sunday morning Pastor Wade’s program airs on a secular music station in Danville, Virginia at 8:30 am each Sunday morning, Eastern time, in the United States at this link: WBTM or when that link does not work, at WBTM.

If you happen to live in the Danville, Virginia area (my wife and I have often said to each other that we wish we did!), visit his church, the Lighthouse Bible Church, for absolutely sound, uplifting, Bible teaching.

Notice that in Matthew 9:2 we read that Jesus forgave sin, even before He died on the cross for us all. We learn from the Gospel account in Mark that certain of the scribes sitting there when Jesus said this were reasoning in their hearts, “Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only?” (Mark 2:7).

Jesus knew what they were thinking without them ever telling Him (Mark 2:8).

The scribes were certainly correct: only God can forgive sin.

The scribes also believed that only God can heal by a miracle of healing.

Jesus confronted them directly, asking “Which is easier to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee, or Take up thy bed and walk?” Then Jesus told the paralyzed man before him, “Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house” (Mark 2:11).

The paralyzed man got up right then and did just that.

This ought to have been enough evidence right there that Jesus was no mere man, though of course He was a man, but that He was also God. But, given the premises believed by the scribes, Jesus surely provided the proof required to establish His claim that He had the power or authority on earth to forgive sins (Mark 2:10).

And if Jesus has the power to forgive sins–Who does that make Him to be, seeing only God has that power by the scribes’ own testimony?

Are you sure that your sins are forgiven? Only Jesus Christ can forgive sins. For Him to do that, you must place your faith in Him as both Lord and Saviour, and hear His word, and believe on Him that sent Jesus to us (John 5:24).

I have never heard that any other religious leader, say like Mohammed, makes any claim to have the authority to forgive sin. Jesus Christ has that authority. He did not delegate that authority to anyone else, contrary to the claims of the Roman Catholic Church, its Pope, and its priests. They forgot to study their Greek Grammar carefully, and they are therefore absolutely wrong in their understanding of what our Lord Jesus Christ taught. You cannot properly interpret the doctrine of the New Testament until you understand the grammar which lies behind it.

Pastor Wade motivated me to take another look at the cross references given for Matthew 9:2. As a result, I expanded them, and placed them more accurately to correspond to the keywords of the verse. I share the results of this afternoon’s study with all of you immediately below.

Matthew 9:2. they brought. +Mt 4:24. 8:16. Mk 1:32. 2:1-3. Lk 5:18, 19. Ac 5:15, 16. 19:12. sick. +Mt 4:24. of the palsy. a paralytic. Mt 8:6. on a bed. Mk 2:4. 6:55. Lk 5:18. seeing their faith. ver. 22, 29. Mt 8:10, +Mt 8:13. 15:28. +**Mt 17:20. Mk 2:4, 5. 9:23. 10:52. Lk 5:19, 20. 7:9, 50. 17:19. 18:42. +*Jn 2:25. Ac 3:16. 14:9. *James 1:6, 7. 2:18. 5:15. Son. ver. Mt 9:22. Ru 2:8. 1 S 3:6. Pr 1:8. 23:15. Mk 5:34. Lk 8:48. +Lk 15:31. Jn 21:5. good cheer. Gr. tharseō [(S#2293g), to have courage (Strong): Rendered (1) be of good cheer: Mt 9:2; 14:27; Mk 6:50; Jn 16:33; Ac 23:11. (2) be of good comfort: Mt 9:22; Mk 10:49; Lk 8:48]. ver. 22. Mt 14:27. Ge 43:29. Ec 9:7. *Is 40:1, 2. Lk 5:20. 7:47-50. +Jn 16:33. Ac 23:11. *Ro 5:11. thy sins. Is 6:7. +*Mk 2:5. +Lk 7:48. Jn 5:14. Ro 4:7. *James 5:15. be forgiven thee. Note: Rather, “thy sins are forgiven thee;” the words being an affirmation, not a prayer or wish. The word be, however, was used by our translators in the indicative plural for are. As the palsy is frequently produced by intemperance, it is probable, from our Lord’s gracious declaration, that it was the case in the present instance. Ps 25:18. **Ps 32:1, 2. +*Ps 103:3. Is 44:22. Je 31:33, 34. Mk 2:7-12. Lk 5:20. 7:47-50. Ac 5:31. 13:38, 39. Ro 4:6-8. Ep 1:7. Col 1:12-14. +*Col 2:13. 3:13. *James 5:15.

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Daily Bible Nugget #375, Hebrews 5:7

The Nugget:

Hebrews 5:7 Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; (KJV)

Heb 5:7 During his earthly life Christ offered both requests and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to the one who was able to save him from death and he was heard because of his devotion. (NET Bible)

Heb 5:7 Who in the days of his flesh, having sent up prayers and requests with strong crying and weeping to him who was able to give him salvation from death, had his prayer answered because of his fear of God. (BBE, Bible in Basic English)

My Comment:

I have just had occasion to take a closer look at Hebrews 5:7 and several other “proof texts” used by sincere but mistaken Muslims who argue that Jesus did not die on the cross, did not die in a grave [?], and did not die for our sins.

The Muslim speaker/writer is no doubt not a native speaker of English, but his assertions are, nevertheless, clear:

Jesus did not died on the cross read hebrew 5:7 and jesus did not died on the grave read matt 12:39-40 . The bible says that no one can die for ur sin read jer 31:30 and deut 24:16 . Believing that jesus died for sins is a sin read deut 21:22:23.

To this comment, I replied:

I must gently reply that your understanding of what the Bible teaches is totally mistaken. Did Jesus die for our sins? Most certainly He did. Try to understand 2 Corinthians 5:15, “And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.” Jeremiah 31:30 hardly pertains to the subject, for it simply teaches that we are each accountable for our own iniquity, and shall die for our own sins, much as is stated in Ezekiel 18:4. Jesus Himself told the religious leaders of His day, “I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins” (John 8:24). Visit my little site at Real Bible Study, www.realbiblestudy.com, to learn how to properly study the Bible and get answers to any Bible questions you may have.

To this, the Muslim writer answered:

Smith you are wrong.

If you claim that Jesus died for your sin you are contradicting the Bible.

I replied,

Carefully consider what the Bible itself says in Philippians 2:8, “And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Therefore, the Bible clearly affirms that Jesus died on the cross. To arrive at truth, you must consider all the evidence, not simply “cherry pick” a verse or two out of context when other statements in the Bible, duly considered, refute your claim.

The reply:

Who wrote phillip

Paul the founder of christians speaks that jesus the seed of david whom he preach of his own not by God 2timothy 2:8. Says that jesus died lies. Jesus make it clear that he did not die just has jonah matt 12:40

I responded,

Faruq Kolodi, once again I believe you are mistaken in your understanding of the Bible. Paul preached the very central truth of Christianity and the Bible when he emphasized at 2 Timothy 2:8, “Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according to my gospel.” The emphasis upon “my gospel” stresses that Paul preached what he had been given directly and personally by the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ who personally confronted Paul on the Damascus Road (see Acts chapter 9), in contrast to the false gospel being propagated by the Judaizers prevalent in Paul’s day, against whom he wrote the book of Galatians. The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is the central fact of the Bible. The New Testament is the collection of 27 primary source documents that testify to the historicity of Jesus Christ, and contain all that has been preserved to our time of what Jesus both said and did. That Jesus Christ is of the seed of David is central to the truth of the Gospel of Christ because Jesus came in fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant given in 2 Samuel 7:10-17. To suggest that Jesus did not die on the cross is nonsense. The historical primary source documents contemporary to the event itself say otherwise. You cannot just arbitrarily dream up silly affirmations to the contrary when all documentary evidence from eye-witnesses who saw it happen affirm that Jesus Christ died on the cross, and affirm that he arose from the dead, and was seen for forty days after His resurrection by over five hundred known witnesses at that time. What Paul wrote in his letters is called Scripture by the Apostle Peter (2 Peter 3:16). Paul defined the Gospel when he wrote, “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; (2) By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I have preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. (3) For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; (4) And that he was buried, and that he arose again the third day according to the Scriptures: (5) And that he was seen of Cephas [Peter], then of the twelve: (6) After that he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep” (1 Corinthians 15:1-6). The Lord Jesus Christ Himself said of Paul, “But the Lord said unto him [Ananias], Go thy way: for he [Saul, also known as Paul] is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel” (Acts 9:15). There is no basis in historic fact to diminish or discount the testimony of Paul or his writings! The conversion of Paul to Christianity considered alone is remarkable evidence enough to establish the truth of Christianity itself.

It is hard in a Facebook conversation to adequately communicate the truth to a non-native speaker of English, but I pray some of what I said is understandable to him and others who read the discussion.

As for Hebrews 5:7, it does not deny that Jesus died for our sin. The Bible in Basic English best conveys the truth of this verse when it reads “…having sent up prayers and requests with strong crying and weeping to him who was able to give him salvation from death,” meaning, that God to whom Jesus prayed was able to give him salvation or deliverance from death–of course by means of bodily resurrection, for it is most certain that Jesus died on the cross (Luke 23:46; Matthew 27:50; Mark 15:37; John 19:30, 33).

Take a closer look at Matthew 12:39, 40, which the Muslim participant cites as proof Jesus did not die in the grave:

Mat 12:39 But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:
Mat 12:40 For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

I think the Muslim poster is saying that Jonah did not die in the whale or great fish; therefore, Jesus did not die in the grave.

Of course, Jesus died on the cross, as confirmed by the four separate eye-witness testimonies I just quoted immediately above. So we know Jesus did die a painful physical death on the cross.

Most Christian readers of the Bible may not be aware that the book of Jonah asserts that Jonah actually died in the great fish and was resuscitated at the point God had the great fish spit out Jonah, undigested, upon the shore. This is seen from Jonah 2:2, where Jonah is stated to have prayed “out of the belly of hell,” where “hell” is in Hebrew “Sheol,” which has reference not to the grave, as suggested by the KJV marginal reading, but the region of the dead, where the dead are indeed represented as being conscious, as Jonah had to be in order to be praying there. In Scripture, bodies are placed in graves, spirits go to Sheol, with the exception of perhaps two passages which are highly elevated Hebrew poetry (Ezekiel 32:27 and Amos 9:2, where see my notes in The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge).

Another significant verse used in argument against the truth that Jesus died for our sins used by the Muslim poster is Jeremiah 31:30,

Jer 31:30 But every one shall die for his own iniquity: every man that eateth the sour grape, his teeth shall be set on edge.

The cross-reference given for the expression “every one shall die for his own iniquity” clearly explains what is meant here:

2Ki 14:6 But the children of the murderers he slew not: according unto that which is written in the book of the law of Moses, wherein the LORD commanded, saying, The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, nor the children be put to death for the fathers; but every man shall be put to death for his own sin.

The glorious fact of the Gospel is that Jesus had no sin, so he surely was qualified to be our Saviour. He did not die for His own sin, because He had none. But He did die for our sin, and if we place our faith in what He did for us on the Cross, we can have the benefit of His sacrifice for us applied to ourselves that we might be saved.

The Muslim poster also cites Deuteronomy 24:16,

Deu 24:16 The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin.

This passage of Scripture was cited by Jeremiah, so I need not repeat the explanation given there.

Lastly, the Muslim poster makes reference to Deuteronomy 21:22, 23,

Deu 21:22 And if a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and he be to be put to death, and thou hang him on a tree:
Deu 21:23 His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged is accursed of God;) that thy land be not defiled, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.

This passage bears upon the issue that the Jews in the days of Jesus considered death on the cross a great curse, and since that is how Jesus was killed, Jesus could hardly be the Messiah. This constitutes what Paul speaks of as the “offense of the cross” (see 1 Corinthians 1:23).

This text in Deuteronomy has no connection with, and can lend no support to the mistaken notion that our Lord Jesus Christ could not die for our sins on the Cross. The historical evidence is perfectly plain that He did, to our everlasting benefit, in fulfillment of Bible prophecy about how the Messiah must first suffer before He can enter into His glory (Luke 24:26; 1 Peter 1:11).

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Daily Bible Nugget #374, 2 Timothy 2:2

The Nugget:

2Ti 2:2 And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.

My Comment

If all Bible-believing Christians would follow the directive given in 2 Timothy 2:2 this world, this nation, and each city, town, village, hamlet, and community would be a far different place than we see now.

The Bible text in 2 Timothy 2:2 does not relieve women of responsibility to get the Gospel out. Acts 18:26 shows most plainly that Priscilla had an important part in bringing needed correction to Apollos.

The ONLY solution to all the nonsense of violence in our major cities, even Detroit, is to get the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ out to the individuals who engage in this behavior.

Soul winning (Proverbs 11:30; Daniel 12:3) and discipleship ministry (2 Timothy 2:2) is the only way to get the Gospel out effectively. It has to be done one on one, persistently, consistently, with follow-up evangelism (Hebrews 3:12, 13).

It MUST be a Bible-centered effort, not a denominational outreach. It must lead to spiritual fruit in lives of people who then go out and reach others–their sons and daughters, brothers, nephews and nieces, cousins, aunts and uncles, friends, acquaintances, boy friends, girl friends, classmates, neighbors, and everyone else.

Soul winning and evangelism does not take place in church. True Christians who are solidly grounded in the Bible (Colossians 1:23; 2:7) must engage in reaching out to the lost.

Do you know how to help another person to find Christ as their Savior, how to help another person enter a personal and continuing, growing, personal relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ? If you don’t, then you have some growing to do! You can learn all about these things by carefully reading and re-reading the New Testament for yourself.

You will likely discover that when others see Christ in and through you, and discern that you are a knowledgeable, Biblically literate Christian, both saved and unsaved people will come to you with their questions. When that happens, they have given you permission to answer their questions (or they would not be asking you), so that becomes an opportunity to share the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ with them. That is one way people can be reached for Christ.

When people are truly reached for Christ, they will no longer engage in the kind of negative behaviors that make the news almost every day.

Once a person comes to genuinely know Christ as personal Savior, it is important that each person be taught how to grow spiritually by reading and studying the Bible for themselves. They need to be taught to pray. They need to be taught to witness to others about faith in Christ. They need to be encouraged to fellowship with others who truly believe in Christ.

Home Bible study groups are also an effective means of spiritual nurture (1 Corinthians 16:15, 19). Fellowship cannot take place in groups larger than about ten people. When a group naturally grows larger, train leaders in the group to start additional groups that meet weekly in their homes or other suitable locations.

Just doing church with one central gifted pastor in the lead won’t cut it. We are using the wrong model when we think the pastor must do all the teaching and do all or most of the soul winning. No wonder the churches are stifled and powerless. We all have a job to do when it comes to reaching others with the Gospel so lives can be changed.

For those who desire to DIG DEEPER into this subject:

(1) Consult the cross references given in Nelson’s Cross Reference Guide to the Bible on page 1410 for 2 Timothy 2:2.

(2) Consult the cross references given in The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge on page 1431 or in Logos 5 or 6 Bible software for 2 Timothy 2:2.

(3) Consult the cross references given in the original Treasury of Scripture Knowledge on page 154 of the NT or on line at www.blueletterbible.org for 2 Timothy 2:2.

2 Timothy 2:2. the things. *2 Tim 1:13. *2 Tim 3:10, 14. *1 Tim 6:20. 2 P 1:15. among. or, by. or, in the midst of. many witnesses. Gr. martus (S#3144g, Mt 18:16). +*Ps 107:2. %Ac 6:13. 7:58. 22:20. 1 Tim 4:14. *1 Tim 6:12. Re 2:13. 11:3. 17:6. the same. See on 2 Tim 1:14. 1 Tim 1:18. *1 Tim 5:22. Titus 1:9. He 13:9. +*Jude 1:3n. commit. +**Ex 18:21. *Ezr 7:25. 1 Ch 15:16. **Pr 11:30. *Mt 28:19mg, Mt 28:20. Jn 15:16. 20:21. Ac 13:2, 3. 14:23. 1 Th 2:4. 1 Tim 1:11. faithful. *Nu 12:7. 16:5. *1 S 2:35. 2 K 22:7. *Ne 7:2. Ps 101:6. Pr 13:17. +*Je 23:28n. Ezk 44:15. +**Mt 24:45. +*Lk 12:42. **Lk 16:10-12. ++*Ac 6:3. 13:2. *+1 Cor 4:2, 17. *Col 1:7. 4:17. 1 Tim 1:12. He 2:17. 3:2, 3. *Re 2:10-13. who. or, such as. ver. 2 Tim 2:24, 25. *Ezr 7:10, 25. Ml 2:7. +*Mt 13:52. 1 Tim 3:2-9. *1 Tim 4:6. *Titus 1:5-9. able. or, competent. Gr. hikanos [(S#2425g), competent (as if coming in season), that is, ample (in amount) or fit (in character): Rendered: (1) many: Lk 7:11. 8:32. 23:9. Ac 9:23, 43. 12:12. 14:21. 19:19. 20:8. 27:7. 1 C 11:30. (2) much: Lk 7:12. Ac 5:37. 11:24, 26. 19:26. 27:9. (3) worthy: Mt 3:11. 8:8. Mk 1:7. Lk 3:16. 7:6. (4) long: Lk 8:27. 20:9. Ac 8:11. 14:3. (5) sufficient: 2 Cor 2:6, 16. 3:5. (6) large: Mt 28:12. (7) great number of: Mk 10:46. (8) to content (with S#4160): Mk 15:15. (9) enough: Lk 22:38. (10) a long season: Lk 23:8. (11) security: Ac 17:9. (12) good: Ac 18:18. (13) long while: Ac 20:11. (14) sore: Ac 20:37. (15) great: Ac 22:6. (16) meet: 1 Cor 15:9. (17) able: 2 Tim 2:2]. Nu 4:23. 8:24. 2 Cor 2:16 (sufficient). to teach. Pr 15:7. +*Ro 12:7. others. Gr. heteros (S#2087g, Mt 11:3). No reference to bishops and ecclesiastical organizations. All these have failed (CB). Le 14:42. 21:24. Ps 78:5, 6, 7.

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Daily Bible Nugget #373, Isaiah 54:17

The Nugget:

Isaiah 54:17 No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD.

My Comment:

This is a most encouraging Bible promise. The promise is in part applicable to everyone who truly believes in the Lord, who is truly saved. I like the insight found at Psalm 40:17 which lets us know that God is very much aware of each of us individually, a truth reflected by the words “yet the Lord thinketh upon me.”

It is possible to go much deeper into the truths of Isaiah 54:17 by studying the cross references given for this verse which I share below.

The primary application in context of Isaiah 54:17 is to the nation of Israel. As such, this promise still stands written against any and all who would take sides against God’s Chosen People. That is an issue that is almost daily in the news at this time. The President of the United States and the Secretary of State John Kerry are in the Biblical sense utter fools to be pushing for an agreement with Iran that obligates the United States to defend Iran against any attack from Israel. Apparently neither they, nor most people are aware that God keeps His promises to Israel (Malachi 3:6).

For those who desire to DIG DEEPER into this subject:

(1) Consult the cross references given in Nelson’s Cross Reference Guide to the Bible on pages 777-778 for Isaiah 54:17.

(2) Consult the cross references given in The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge on page 806 or in Logos 5 or 6 Bible software for Isaiah 54:17.

(3) Consult the cross references given in the original Treasury of Scripture Knowledge on page 460 of the OT or on line at www.blueletterbible.org for Isaiah 54:17.

Isaiah 54:17. no weapon. ver. *Is 54:15. 1 S 18:11. 19:10. 23:17. 26:25. *Ps 2:1-6. 27:3. +**Pr 21:30. +*Ezk 32:27n. 38:9, 10. *Mt 16:18. **Jn 10:28-30. *Ro 8:1, 28-39. formed against thee. Is 41:11. +*Ge 12:3. +*Ps 83:2-5. Zc 12:9. shall prosper. Ge 31:7. Dt 7:24. Jsh 24:10. 2 Ch 13:12. Est 4:14. Je 15:21. *Ac 6:10. 18:10. 28:21. Ro 8:31, 33. 1 P 1:5. every tongue. Is 50:8, 9. Ge 39:14. Jsh 10:21. Jb 1:11. 2:5. 5:21. 22:5-20. *Jb 42:7, 8. Ps 31:18. *Ps 32:6. 64:3. +*Ps 83:4. +Je 20:11. *Zc 3:1-4. *Re 12:10. thou shalt condemn. Ps 109:31. *Mt 12:41. *Mk 14:6. Lk 11:31. the heritage. *Is 58:14. Jb 20:29. 35:14. Ps 16:6. *Ps 61:5. +*Ps 119:111. Da 3:26-28. 6:20-22. +Mt 5:5. *Ro 6:22, 23. the servants. Re 7:3. and their righteousness. *Is 45:24, 25. *Is 61:10. *Ps 24:5. 37:6. 71:16, 19. +Ps 130:8. *Je 23:6. *Ro 3:21, 22. 4:6. 6:18. *Ro 10:4. +*1 Cor 1:30. *2 Cor 5:21. *Phil 3:9. *2 P 1:1.

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Daily Bible Nugget #372, Luke 20:35

The Nugget:

Luk 20:35 But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage:

My Comment:

I received the following very interesting question today from a reader here:

The Question:

I hope you answer a big question of mine in your blog. I know I have read in the Bible that we are “like” angels in heaven and as such there is no marriage frown emoticon

Yet, all of creations screams male and female for eternity. Did God make Eve for Adam for eternity? I have a hard time thinking that people in love who have been married here on earth cannot continue in heaven… married. I was taught as a Mormon that families are for ever and that marriage is eternal. Yet, I see in the Bible this may not be the case and I am confused. Why love if we cannot be with the love of our life forever as one? sigh

My Answer:

Readers: Sit up and take notice. The following answer will be new to you, but you may be sure that what I present below is the teaching of Scripture, to the best of my understanding!

Your question has concerned my wife, too. We do know that we will be able to recognize our loved ones in heaven (Matthew 17:3; Luke 16:23). Therefore, we surely will know our wives or husbands.

The idea that we will not continue the relationship of marriage in heaven as we know it on earth may be based upon Luke 20:35. Most readers of Luke 20:35 understand it to mean that our marriage relationship does not continue in heaven. I wonder if Jesus rather meant that when we get to heaven, we will no longer continue to marry or have children, without denying the continuation of the relationships we have had on this earth in this life. Of course, the Sadducees raised this matter as an argument against the doctrine of a future life and a resurrection from the dead, for if a person had more than one wife or husband, which wife or husband would be the relationship continued in heaven?

I wonder if we might better understand Luke 20:35 in the light of Isaiah 54:1. In Isaiah 54:1, the barren woman is a reference to Israel, and the married woman is a reference to resurrected believers who are united with Christ. In that future time, Israel as a nation will continue forever here on earth, inhabited or peopled by ordinary physical people in the flesh who will continue to marry and be given in marriage, for Scripture clearly teaches that the generations of mankind will continue to live on this earth forever (Psalm 72:5, and its cross references, given below).

The evidence in Scripture is that our Lord Jesus Christ will reign on this earth forever, not just 1000 years, and He will be seated upon the throne of David for ever (Luke 1:32, 33), ruling over the whole earth (Zechariah 14:9), from Jerusalem (Isaiah 24:23).

All who are saved, who are believers in “this age,” will reign with Christ forever, and thus will be the inheritors of His eternal kingdom here on earth. The natural generations of people who continue on earth will be the subjects of the kingdom, the ones who are ruled over by the Lord Jesus Christ, the King of the Jews, the King of Israel, and Lord of the whole earth. These subjects of the kingdom in their natural, physical bodies will continue to marry and be given in marriage, and have children on into the future here on earth, producing the eternal generations to come. But those who are the inheritors of the kingdom in glorified resurrection bodies will no longer marry and be given in marriage or have children, such that the descendants of natural Israel itself will eventually outnumber we who have been resurrected who are on the earth with Christ reigning with Christ in His kingdom. This ties in to the promises given in the Abrahamic Covenant.

This is where many great teachers, theologians, authors of books, get things wrong.

We will not spend eternity in heaven. We return with Christ to be with Him, to be where He is, and that clearly is upon this earth, where He will reign forever (Revelation 5:10; Matthew 5:5). If we should die before the Rapture takes place, we go immediately to be with Christ in heaven, fully conscious of the fact (Luke 23:43; 2 Corinthians 5:8; Philippians 1:23), until we return with Him to earth to receive our resurrected bodies. Those who are believers here on earth at the time that happens will be transformed into their glorified bodies without experiencing death (1 Corinthians 15:51, 52), and will join the resurrected believers to be with the Lord Jesus Christ ever after, not in heaven, for there is no Scripture evidence that I am aware of (after long and careful study, you may be sure) to suggest we return with Christ to heaven.

We meet Him in the air, and continue with Him as He completes His descent to earth, as mentioned in part in 1 Thessalonians 4:16, 17, 18; but also in Deuteronomy 33:2, and its cross references. Sometimes an event which took place as history (such as Deuteronomy 33:2) is shown to be a picture or type of what God intends to do in the future, and so serves as Bible prophecy too. This is what is established without question by the passages elsewhere in the Old Testament which make reference to Deuteronomy 33:2. The set of cross references at Deuteronomy 33:2, though not many in number, are to me among the most significant cross references to be found anywhere in the Bible, and very instructive about these things.

For those readers who do not have access to The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, let me share with you the more complete sets of cross references that I have compiled since I developed that now out-of-print volume for some of the verses I mentioned:

Psalm 72:5

Psalm 72:5 They shall fear thee as long as the sun and moon endure, throughout all generations.

Psalm 72:5. They shall fear. Ex 14:31. 1 S 12:18. 1 K 3:28. as long. ver. Ps 72:7, 17. Ps 89:29, 36, 37. +Ge 8:22. Dt 11:21. +Ec 1:4. Is 9:7. 66:22, 23. **+Je 31:35, 36. Da 2:44. *Da 7:14, 27. +**Lk 1:32, 33. +*1 Cor 15:24, 25. Ep 3:21. **Re 11:15. throughout all. +*Ps 89:4, 29, 36, 37. 102:28. **+Ps 145:13. **+Ps 146:10. +*2 S 7:16. Is 34:17. 51:8. 59:21. 60:15. 65:23. 66:22. Je 33:22. Ezk 37:25. Mt 5:5. +**Lk 1:32, 33. generations. +Ge 9:12.

The point of the above set of references is to show the Bible declares natural generations of people will continue on earth for ever, contrary to what is usually taught.

Deuteronomy 33:2

Deuteronomy 33:2 And he said, The LORD came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; he shined forth from mount Paran, and he came with ten thousands of saints: from his right hand went a fiery law for them.

Deuteronomy 33:2. The Lord came. Jb 33:23. +**Ps 68:7. SS 8:5. *Is 63:1-4. Da 4:13. 8:13. +**Hab 3:3. %Mt 24:26. +*Ac 1:11. Re 10:7n, point 5. from Sinai. Ex 16:1. 19:11, 18-20. *Le 26:46. Nu 10:12. Jg 5:4, 5. Ne 9:13. *Ps 68:7-10, 21, 23. 147:19. Is 11:11n, point 24. +*Je 31:2. Ezk 20:36n. Ho 6:5. +**Hab 3:3. Ga 4:25. rose up. 1 Cor 15:20. from Seir. Dt 11:29. Ge 32:3n. +Ge 36:20. Jsh 11:17. Jg 5:4, 5. he shined forth. Ps 50:2. 80:1. Is 58:10. 66:15. 2 Cor 4:6. from mount Paran. Dt 1:1. Ge 14:6. +Ge 21:21. Nu 13:3n. 1 K 11:18. +**Hab 3:3. 2 Th 1:9. came with. +*Zc 14:5. +*Mk 8:38. +*Jn 14:2, 3. Ac 20:32. +*Ro 8:19. +*1 Th 3:13. +*1 Th 4:16, 17n. +*2 Th 2:1. ten thousands. Ps 68:7, 17. Da 7:9, 10. Mt 16:27. Lk 9:26. Ac 7:53. Ga 3:19. 2 Th 1:7. He 2:2. 12:22. +*Jude 1:14. Re 5:11. 19:14. saints. Ex 19:6. Jb 5:1. Ps 50:5. +*Ps 89:5. +**Ps 149:5-9. +*Zc 14:5. Ep 3:18. +*1 Th 3:13. Re 11:18. a fiery law. Heb. a fire of law. Dt 5:22, 25. 1 K 8:53. Is 30:27. 66:15. Da 7:9, 10. +*Mt 3:11, 12. *2 Cor 3:7, 9. Ga 3:10, 19. He 2:2. 12:20, 29. +*2 P 3:7. for them. Is 33:22. Jn 15:14. Ac 7:53.

Note particularly, for the above references, the emphasis marking “+**” which I supplied for several of the cross references. Several of these are surely Bible prophecy, and just as surely, allude to Deuteronomy 33:2.

Isaiah 54:1

Isaiah 54:1 Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child: for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith the LORD.

Isaiah 54:1. Sing. or, Shout in triumph (CB). FS96B3, +Ge 20:7. Is 12:6. 44:23. 49:13. 52:8, 9. Zp 3:14. O barren. Is 62:4. +*Ge 11:30. 21:6. 24:67. 1 S 1:8. 2 S 2:1, 5. SS 8:8. Je 3:20. Ezk 16:15, 20, 21, 36, etc. Ho 2:4. 4:6. 5:7. *Ho 9:14-17. 10:1. Lk 1:25. Ga 4:27. 1 Tim 5:5. He 11:11, 12. thou. lit. she. FS96D3, +Ge 49:4. break. F/L +Is 14:7. 42:10, 11. 44:23. 49:13. 52:9. 55:12, 13. Ps 67:3-5. 98:3-9. *Zp 3:14. *Zc 9:9. Re 7:9, 10. into singing. Is 12:6. 24:14. 49:13. Zp 3:14. +*Zc 2:10. travail. Is 66:7. Re 12:2. for more. Is 9:3. 27:6. 32:15. 49:17, 18-20. 60:22. +*Ge 22:16-18. 1 S 2:5. +*Ps 113:9. Ec 3:2. Song 3:4. Je 31:27, 28. 33:22. Ezk 36:10, 11, 37, 38. Ho 1:10. Zc 2:3-5. Mk 4:31. Lk 13:19. +*Ac 3:19. He 11:11, 12. 12:22, 23. Re 21:2. are the children. +*Ps 102:28. Ho 1:10. of the desolate. +Is 1:7. 49:21. *Is 62:4. than the children. Ps 22:31. 45:16. Ezk 16:61. +**Mt 7:14. **Lk 20:35, 36. Ro 8:23. married wife. *2 Cor 11:2. *Ep 5:27. *Re 19:7-9.

Luke 20:35

Luke 20:35 But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage:

Luke 20:35. accounted worthy. Lk 7:4. +**Lk 21:36. Zc 3:7. Mt 10:37. +Mt 22:8. Ac 5:41. 2 Th 1:5, 11. Re 3:4. to obtain. +*Da 12:2, 3. *Jn 5:29. Ac 24:15. +*Phil 3:11n. **He 6:12. *He 11:35. that. +Mt 12:32. +**Jn 6:54n. world. Gr. aion, +Mt 6:13. Lk 18:30. Is 64:5. +*Mk 10:30. the resurrection. lit. the resurrection that out of dead ones, or the resurrection, that one out of or from among dead ones (Peters, Theocratic Kingdom, vol. 2, p. 299). +*Lk 14:14. from. Gr. ek, a preposition which in this construction signifies out of, from, from among, and when used before a genitive signifies a whole from which a part is taken, as at Ac 3:23; 19:33; 1 Cor 5:13; He 5:1 (See Peters, Theocratic Kingdom, vol. 2, p. 298). +*Lk 14:14. Ac 4:2. 1 Cor 15:22, 23, 42-44. +*Phil 3:11n. 1 Th 4:16. 1 P 1:3. the dead. or, dead people: i.e. leaving them for a subsequent resurrection (CB). Lk 16:30, 31. Mk 12:25. Jn 20:9. Ac 10:41. Ro 6:13. 10:7, 9. 11:15. 1 Cor 15:12, 20. +Phil 3:11n. He 11:19. neither marry. ver. Lk 20:34. Lk 17:27. +*Is 54:1. +*Mt 22:29, 30. 24:38. +*Mk 12:24, 25.

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Daily Bible Nugget #371, Deuteronomy 22:5

The Nugget:

Deuteronomy 22:5 The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.

My Comment:

A concerned reader here, newly interested in deeper Bible study, raised the question of how Deuteronomy 22:5 might properly be applied for Christian women of today.

She also mentioned she had some trouble finding a copy in good condition of The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, for the copy she purchased on eBay was in very poor condition with missing pages, etc. She asked if my book, The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, was enough alike that she could do without it and make use of Nave’s Topical Bible instead, which she received in good condition.

I thought my reply to her concerns would be of great, even important benefit, to all readers here.

My book, The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, is not at all the same as Nave’s Topical Bible. Nave’s Topical Bible is arranged alphabetically by Bible topic or subject. For each topic, Nave’s Topical Bible gives a good selection of verses about that topic.

My book, The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, is arranged just like your Bible, by book, chapter and verse. For each verse I supply the main keywords in the verse, and provide cross references to other passages in the Bible on the same theme or subject. I use the New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge far more often than I use Nave’s Topical Bible. You can study individual verses in the Bible using Nave’s Topical Bible by using the index at the back, but it is a tedious process, and should you happen to try it, you will likely find my book far more complete than Naves for illuminating any particular verse in the Bible. The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge also has seven indexes, largely prepared by my wife Susanne, which makes the content of The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge far more accessible.

Now about Deuteronomy 22:5. The least that can properly be affirmed from that verse is that women should not wear men’s clothes. Many Christians understand that to mean that women can wear slacks and pant suits designed for women, for they are not men’s clothes. That is the position my wife takes, and on these matters I greatly respect her judgment. We live out in the country, and to work outside in the garden and yard, riding the garden tractor to cut the grass, she does not wear a dress. But when attending church she wears a dress that is very modest, high neck line, and dress reaching to mid-calf. Because my wife is tall, particularly long-waisted, she has to sew her own clothes. Store-bought clothes just don’t fit her.

Yet I have known many women, including Christian female students in my public school classes, who always wore full-length dresses. I always appreciated the effort they and their parents made to have the girls dress modestly. I have had some girls who I dared not look their direction because of the clothing they wore to class–it was far too revealing.

I told the reader, When you finally do get your own copy of The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, you will note that the Subject Index has the entry, “Modest apparel, 1 Timothy 2:9,” an entry my wife made sure I included!

I wrote to tell her, now that you have Nave’s Topical Bible, you can find the topic “Women” which starts on page 1412. On page 1413, notice the topic “Forbidden to wear men’s costume, Deut. 22:5. Wore hair long, 1 Cor. 11:5-15. Rules for dress of Christian, 1 Tim 2:9, 10; 1 Pet. 3:3, 4.

This is where The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge comes in handy. You can look up those verses cited in Nave’s Topical Bible to find more verses that shed light on the passages Nave has cited.

The key in this matter is that a woman’s character is revealed most by her face. Her clothing should to some degree help others focus upon her face rather than other areas of her body.

In the New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge I have placed a rather full discussion of a matter closely connected to this issue at 1 Corinthians 11:5. Some believe and teach that some of these regulations pertaining to dress, head covering, hair length, and the like only pertain to the people living at that time and in that culture, not ours. I have written in my note about that issue that we must take care in our culture to not imitate the dress of harlots and prostitutes or go-go girls, lest Christian women be associated with them. The Bible teaches plainly enough that we are to be very different from those in the world about us.

For those who desire to DIG DEEPER into this subject:

(1) Consult the cross references given in Nelson’s Cross Reference Guide to the Bible on page 200 for Deuteronomy 22:5.

(2) Consult the cross references given in The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge on page 219 or in Logos 5 or 6 Bible software for Deuteronomy 22:5.

(3) Consult the cross references given in the original Treasury of Scripture Knowledge on page 139 of the OT or on line at www.blueletterbible.org for Deuteronomy 22:5.

Deuteronomy 22:5. woman shall not. Note: This prohibition was no doubt intended to exclude the idolatrous customs of the heathen, as well as to prevent the evil which would be produced by the introduction of such customs. Nothing was more common among idolaters, than for men, in the worship of several of their gods, to put on the garments worn by women; particularly in the worship of Venus, to which that of Ashtaroth among the Canaanites bore a striking resemblance, the women were accustomed to appear in armour before her, and the men in women’s apparel. But independently of this, the practice has produced the greatest confusion in society, and has been productive of the grossest crimes. Hence Clodius, who dressed himself as a woman, that he might mingle with the Roman ladies in the feast of the Bona dea, was universally justly execrated. +Je 10:2. *1 Cor 11:4-15. +*1 Tim 2:9. Titus 2:4, 5. 1 P 3:3-5. neither shall a man. **Zp 1:8. +*1 Cor 6:9. abomination. See on Dt 18:12. 25:16.

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Daily Bible Nugget #370, Jeremiah 10:6

The Nugget:

Jeremiah 10:6 Forasmuch as there is none like unto thee, O LORD; thou art great, and thy name is great in might.

My Comment:

The twelfth attribute of God on my list of well over 40 attributes found in the Bible is the attribute of God being unequalled. If there is no one like God, He is surely unequalled.

In context, Jeremiah is speaking against idols and idolatry. God warns and commands, “Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them” (Jeremiah 10:2).

This is a clear message from God to us that we must not learn the way of the heathen. That means that genuine Bible believing Christians ought to stand out as being different in their values and way of life, compared to the pagan culture around us.

In my own experience, I have found that people will notice that I am not like them. I tried to hide that the first day on the job when I worked at Michigan Bell Telephone Company. By the end of the day my co-worker who was training me asked, “Are you going to be a preacher?” To this day I do not know what prompted that question or observation on his part. I had purposely not said one word about the Bible or the Lord. I learned from that incident that our testimony shines through even if we do not express it verbally.

By the way, I am not a preacher. I became an English teacher, a world and American history teacher, a reading specialist, and a writing specialist and consultant at the high school level. But I have continued to read and study my Bible.

But if God is unequalled, and we truly know and belong to Him, we should not be following the latest fad, agreeing with supposed majority opinion, using the same ungodly vocabulary, or blending in with the world about us. Our values must be rooted in God’s Word. But for that to take place, we must be reading and studying God’s Word. I hope you will do just that. Then God can use you as an instrument in His hands to bring others to a saving knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

For those who desire to DIG DEEPER into this subject:

(1) Consult the cross references given in Nelson’s Cross Reference Guide to the Bible on page 806 for Jeremiah 10:6.

(2) Consult the cross references given in The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge on page 832 or in Logos 5 or 6 Bible software for Jeremiah 10:6.

(3) Consult the cross references given in the original Treasury of Scripture Knowledge on page 473 of the OT or on line at www.blueletterbible.org for Jeremiah 10:6.

(3) Most people today do not have access to those three print resources, so I have posted cross references for this passage as I have developed them even more completely for your study as given below:

Jeremiah 10:6. none like. ver. Je 10:7. +**Ge 18:25n. +Ex 8:10. *Ex 9:14. *Ex 15:11. *Dt 32:31. 33:26. 1 S 2:2. 2 S 7:22. 22:32. 1 K 8:23. 1 Ch 17:20. 2 Ch 6:14. Jb 36:22, 23. *Ps 35:10. 77:13, 14. 86:8-10. 89:6-8. 96:4, 5. 113:5. Is 40:13, 14, +*Is 40:18, +*Is 40:25. 46:5, 9. 55:8, 9. %+*Mt 8:27. +*Mt 28:19n. thou art great. Je 32:18. Ex 15:7. Dt 3:24. 1 Ch 16:25. +1 Ch 29:11. 2 Ch 2:5. Ne 4:14. 9:32. Jb 25:2. Ps 48:1. 77:13, 14. 95:3. 96:4. +*Ps 104:1. 145:3. 147:5. Is 12:6. +Da 2:45. 4:3, 34, 35. Mal 1:11, 14. thy name. +Ps 20:1. 75:1. might. Jsh 4:24. Jb 36:22, 23. +Jb 42:2. Ps 50:1. Lk 1:49.

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Daily Bible Nugget #369, Isaiah 40:25

The Nugget:

Isaiah 40:25 To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One. (KJV)

Isa 40:25 Who then seems to you to be my equal? says the Holy One. (Basic English Bible)

Isa 40:25 The holy God asks, “Who compares with me? Is anyone my equal?” (CEV)

My Comment:

There is no one equal to God. He is absolutely unequalled. Notice the Common English Version’s rendering, “Is anyone my equal?” This is a question that expects “No” for the answer.

Isaiah 40:25 is a verse in the Bible that directly asserts God is unequalled, which is the twelfth attribute of God on my list of over forty attributes of God on my list.

Now, one might be tempted to ask, “So what?” The answer is found in the context of Isaiah chapter 40. That context was written to show the foolishness of idols and idolatry. Idols are usually thought of as physical representations of a pagan god. But checking further into what the rest of the Bible has to say shows that idols can be in our heart (Ezekiel 14:3, 4). Certain sins, like greed or covetousness, are associated with idolatry (Colossians 3:5).

The issue is, God wants us to be totally committed to Him, and to His written Word in the Bible. Jesus both spoke to and illustrated in practice this very principle when He confronted Satan’s temptations in the wilderness (Matthew 4:10). Any priority in our lives that comes ahead of our commitment to God and the Bible in some measure is idolatry.

God should be unequalled in our own lives. How we spend our time shows directly what our priorities are. We will be richly blessed if we “take time to be holy” as the Gospel hymn I have quoted in full on this site more than once says.

For those who desire to DIG DEEPER into this subject:

(1) Consult the cross references given in Nelson’s Cross Reference Guide to the Bible on page 758 for Isaiah 40:25.

(2) Consult the cross references given in The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge on page 789 or in Logos 5 or 6 Bible software for Isaiah 40:25.

(3) Consult the cross references given in the original Treasury of Scripture Knowledge on page 451 of the OT or on line at www.blueletterbible.org for Isaiah 40:25.

(3) Most people today do not have access to those three print resources, so I have posted cross references for this passage as I have developed them even more completely for your study as given below:

Isaiah 40:25. To whom. +ver. Is 40:18. **Is 55:9. Dt 4:15-18, 33. 5:8. Ps 8:5n. 77:13. 147:5. liken me. %Ge 1:26. %Ge 3:5, 22. %Ge 5:1. Ex 8:10. 15:11. Dt 3:24. 33:26. *2 S 7:22. 1 K 8:23. 1 Ch 17:20. Ps 35:10. 71:19. 86:8. 89:8. 113:5. +Je 10:6. 49:19. 50:44. +*Mic 7:18. Ro 1:23. shall I be equal. Is 46:5. Ps 135:5.

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Daily Bible Nugget #368, Isaiah 40:18 Part Two

The Nugget:

Isa 40:18 To whom then will ye liken God? or what likeness will ye compare unto him?

My Comment:

God is unequalled. This is the twelfth attribute of God on my list of the attributes of God, a list that so far extends to over 40 characteristics God possesses as they are given to us in the Bible.

In the immediate context of Isaiah 40:18, the Bible tells us that since God is unequalled, there are no lesser gods, and idolatry is mistaken.

The specific term “equal” is applied in direct reference to God by His own statement, when He said “To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One” (Isaiah 40:25).

In my last post I discussed some of the theological ramifications of Isaiah 40:18 and the fact that God is stated in the Bible to be unequalled, the twelfth attribute of God on my list of over 40 Divine Attributes attributed to God in the Bible.

This time I want to apply the practical ramifications of the context of Isaiah 40:18, a context which is a strong and logical refutation of idolatry.

I’m sure almost no one today believes in idolatry. At least that is what they likely think in their own mind. But if you were to search the Scriptures on this subject, you might be very surprised at what the Bible has to say on this subject. Consider the following verse from the New Testament:

Colossians 3:5 Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: (KJV)

Col 3:5 So put to death whatever in your nature belongs to the earth: sexual immorality, impurity, shameful passion, evil desire, and greed which is idolatry. (NET Bible)

Col 3:5 Then put to death your bodies which are of the earth; wrong use of the flesh, unclean things, passion, evil desires and envy, which is the worship of strange gods; (Basic English Bible)

Col 3:5 Don’t be controlled by your body. Kill every desire for the wrong kind of sex. Don’t be immoral or indecent or have evil thoughts. Don’t be greedy, which is the same as worshiping idols.

If we are greedy, if we are covetous, we are guilty of idolatry.

The sin of covetousness as described and as commanded against in the Bible covers a broad range of issues and concerns. The commandment itself is found in Exodus 20:17. Paul discusses this commandment in Romans 7:7, 8.

In Isaiah 40:19 we read of the making of a physical idol. Evidently the very poor people who cannot even afford to make an offering to the true God scrape together enough resources to afford an idol of wood, gold, and silver. The idolater does not consider Who has made the visible creation, and Who is in ultimate control of all that goes on in the sphere of government and politics and the justice system (Isaiah 40:23).

The sin of idolatry involves making wrong choices. Wrong choices about how to use our limited resources, wrong choices about what we choose to be interested in, wrong choices in how we spend our time.

If God really is Who He says He is, then this understanding about God should make an impact in our lives and influence all we say and do.

Are we really committed to God? Do we really believe in His written word in the Bible? As to the Bible, our actual belief is demonstrated by the level of commitment we have made to take the proper amount of time to not only read the Bible, but study the Bible for ourselves.

Do you love the Bible? Does reading and studying the Bible bring deep joy to your life?

The Bible writers themselves confessed to the joy they had from the reading and study, literally inwardly digesting, the Word of God. Take just one example, the prophet Jeremiah:

Jeremiah 15:16 Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am called by thy name, O LORD God of hosts.

If you are not yet to the place in your life where you can confess, like Jeremiah, that the Bible is the joy and rejoicing of your heart, decide today to re-set your life priorities and take the time to read and study God’s written word in the Bible every day. The more you read the Bible, the better you will understand it, and the more interesting and helpful it will become in your life. Don’t let the “cares and riches and pleasures of this life” choke the word in your life, as Jesus taught about in Luke 8:14, when he spoke of the seed of the Word of God falling among thorns! Take care that the Word of God in your life has fallen upon the good ground that brings forth much fruit (Luke 8:15).

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Daily Bible Nugget #367, Isaiah 40:18 Part One

The Nugget:

Isaiah 40:18 To whom then will ye liken God? or what likeness will ye compare unto him?

My Comment:

God is unequalled. This is the twelfth attribute of God on my list of the attributes of God, a list that so far extends to over 40 characteristics God possesses as they are given to us in the Bible.

In the immediate context of Isaiah 40:18, the Bible tells us that since God is unequalled, there are no lesser gods, and idolatry is mistaken.

The specific term “equal” is applied in direct reference to God by His own statement, when He said “To whom then will ye liken me, or shall I be equal? saith the Holy One” (Isaiah 40:25).

In terms of Biblical theology, this concept raises the hackles of non-Trinitarians, because Jesus Christ is repeatedly called God in the New Testament. See John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

The Jehovah’s Witnesses and their teaching authority, the Watchtower, get around this verse by claiming the King James Version is mistaken here. The Jehovah Witness Bible translation, The New World Translation, “corrects” the King James alleged mistranslation by rendering “and the word was a god.”

By comparing Scripture with Scripture–perhaps the best method of Bible study easily available to every Bible reader, the fact that God is unequalled (Isaiah 40:18) lets us know right off that there can be no “lesser gods,” which Jesus Christ must be, if Jesus is merely “a god,” and not God Almighty. This is reinforced by the statement in Deuteronomy 32:39, where God declares “See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god with me…”

Every passage I might produce to demonstrate that Jesus Christ is full Deity, that Jesus Christ is called God (such as John 20:28; Acts 7:59; Acts 20:28; Titus 2:13; 1 John 5:20), has been contradicted by the Jehovah’s Witnesses repeatedly in their literature and Bible translation. Yet each of their efforts to contradict what the Bible properly translated most definitely says has been carefully answered by recognized Bible scholars who have no denominational axe to grind. I have answered many of the mistaken positions of the Watchtower on this and other matters in depth and in detail both here on this website and in my book, The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge (see its Subject Index entry, “Jehovah’s Witnesses: Answers to Doctrinal Errors,” on page 1562).

How can you or I be sure that the Bible doctrine we believe is the correct Bible doctrine? The answer is that correct doctrine matches what the Bible teaches. This means we must study the Bible carefully for ourselves. We must be “Berean Christians” (Acts 17:11), which is the direct opposite of being denominational Christians. I have driven by a relatively new local church congregation that has the name “Berean Baptist Church.” Now that is (unwittingly, I’m sure) a contradiction in terms!

I mean no offense to anyone who may be Baptist by denomination. The point is, anyone who continues to do what I call Real Bible Study will study himself or herself right out of any denomination he or she may now adhere to. That doesn’t always require that we separate ourselves from a sound Bible-believing church. But we eventually learn that no denomination fully adheres to the teaching of Scripture.

We don’t need to stir up trouble in our own church when we learn from careful study that our church is wrong on doctrinal issues about which good Christians differ. It does mean that when we know what the Bible teaches, we do not emphasize those doctrinal and denominational distinctives which turn out to be unsupported by the Bible.

Take the issue of the mode of Christian water baptism. Some churches sprinkle, some pour, and some immerse. Which way is correct according to the Bible?

This matter creates serious conflict when one must move to a new location, a new neighborhood, due to job change, or other reason. It may not be possible to find a church that matches what you are used to in your home church.

If you were brought up Methodist, Episcopalian, or Presbyterian, you may discover that in your new location the only Bible teaching church you can find is Baptist. But if you wish to join the Baptist church, you must be or have been immersed.

I have for many years been associated with Baptist churches. I taught the college and career age Sunday school class at the Covenant Baptist Church in Detroit for several years. I taught the college and career age class at the Heritage Baptist Church in Gainesville, Florida. I was brought up at Highland Park Baptist Church, in Detroit, Michigan. That is where I was first given the opportunity to teach Sunday school. Then someone checked and found I was not officially a member of the church. To continue to teach in the Sunday school, I must join the church (never mind that I had attended Highland Park Baptist Church from the time that my parents carried me there as an infant!). When I asked what I must do to become a member, I was told I must be baptized. I told them that I had just been baptized at the Methodist church two blocks away from my parents’ home. When they learned I was baptized by sprinkling, not immersion, I was told that does not count. So I agreed to be immersed at Highland Park Baptist.

My Methodist pastor, Pastor Laphew, of Thoburn Methodist Church, had given me the option to be baptized by any mode I wished. I chose sprinkling, and was baptized there before I was baptized by immersion very soon after at Highland Park Baptist Church.

Many years later, I met an elderly friend who everyone called “Uncle Frank.” Turns out he lived in the hotel next door to the apartment building where I lived at the corner of Fort Street and Hubbard in Detroit. Frank raised the mode of baptism issue as we talked one day out in the apartment building parking lot. He offered to share with me a book by Reverend G. E. Hughey, The Scriptural Mode of Christian Baptism, published in 1907.

I read that book carefully. Hughey was an expert debater in his day. I had myself extensive debate experience in high school and college. I could see Hughey demolished the position of the Baptists on the subject of the Scriptural mode of Christian baptism. In essence, he took all the water out of my tub, or baptistery!

Some have repeatedly objected to my change of position on this subject. They object that I did not go by the Bible alone and in its entirety, studying from a plain text Bible on Robinson Crusoe’s Desert Island, has I frequently urge others to do. After all, I admitted I learned this new doctrine from another man and his book, not from my own direct and independent study of the Bible.

The trouble with that objection is (1) Hughey writes about the Scriptural Mode of Christian baptism, so he appeals to the Bible and to the lexical and grammatical evidence on this subject; (2) I have no objection to learning something new from the Bible when the details of the subject are carefully derived from Scripture, even though I learn those new things from someone who has written a book on the subject.

As for baptism, I have learned (1) all modes are possible in terms of the original language terms employed in the Bible, but not all modes are supported in terms of examples of the practice in the Bible narrative; (2) the original Greek and Hebrew words that pertain to the act of baptism in some sense actually in themselves are non-modal: that means the words tell what was done, but not how it was done. (3) There are no provable examples of the immersion of persons in water for any religious purpose whatsoever anywhere in the Bible, Old or New Testament.

This last fact eliminates from any possible consideration the mode of immersion for Christian baptism; it is utterly unsupported by any example or command found in the Bible.

If you think you can find either a verse or example that proves immersion, please share it in a comment below!

So yes, you can choose to “follow the Lord” in immersion if you wish, but there is no warrant in the Bible for doing so.

Therefore, it is morally and ethically wrong to teach one must be baptized by the mode of immersion in order to have a valid Christian baptism. All Baptists must be warned and cautioned about this matter.

It is most wrong, therefore, for a Baptist church to reject the membership of genuine Christian believers who happen to have been baptized by a mode other than immersion. It is a direct violation of the command of Christ regarding baptism itself, for He did NOT command the use of immersion, neither did He or the New Testament apostles ever make use of the mode of immersion anywhere in the New Testament. It is a serious violation of the command in Romans 15:7, “Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.” I have shared in full the cross references for Romans 15:7 in a series of posts under the category to the right, “Verse by Verse Studies.” I believe the evidence from Scripture itself is that anyone who fails to obey Romans 15:7 is very likely not to be genuinely saved. Read the cross references I have posted in full and judge for yourself. This is a very, very serious matter–reflecting what may be the chief failing of the contemporary Church.

What should a newcomer to a church decide to do if they have already been baptized by sprinkling or pouring, if they wish to join a Baptist church? If there are no other Bible believing, Bible teaching, Bible preaching churches that are non-Baptistic available, it should be no problem to go ahead and be immersed to satisfy the requirement at the Baptist church. I did that as a teenager newly saved. My parents were most upset at my decision, for they (unknown to me at the time) did not believe in immersion. Now, many years later, I have learned that my parents were right, though they were either unable or unwilling to explain to me the basis of their own conviction at the time.

My wife disagrees with me. She has never been immersed and does not ever intend to be immersed. Her argument is, “Why should I agree to be baptized in a manner that is absolutely wrong in terms of what the Bible actually teaches? Immersion is clearly wrong, and I won’t submit to being immersed because it is contrary to what the Bible teaches.” So for her, the option is not to attend any church that insists on immersion.

Disagree with me about these matters? Have further questions? I invite you to post a comment giving in your own words any contrary evidence or argument you may have. I always welcome discussion and disagreement here. If your evidence is good enough, you may cause me to change my mind. That is one thing I openly declare: I believe the Bible. If you can prove that I am mistaken by sharing proper evidence and interpretation of the Bible that follows the now 24 Rules of Interpretation given in the October, 2010 archives here, I will most certainly change my position. I am always open to correction. So, post a comment, whether in agreement or disagreement. Or, post a question you may have.

This post has grown long. I went in a different direction than I thought I would when I started writing. So I’ll continue the discussion on another point I originally intended to raise at the beginning of this post next time, the Lord willing and enabling.

For those who desire to DIG DEEPER into this subject:

(1) Consult the cross references given in Nelson’s Cross Reference Guide to the Bible on page 758 for Isaiah 40:18.

(2) Consult the cross references given in The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge on page 788 or in Logos 5 or 6 Bible software for Isaiah 40:18.

(3) Consult the cross references given in the original Treasury of Scripture Knowledge on page 451 of the OT or on line at www.blueletterbible.org for Isaiah 40:18.

(3) Most people today do not have access to those three print resources, so I have posted cross references for this passage as I have developed them even more completely for your study as given below:

Isaiah 40:18. To whom. ver. +*Is 40:25. *Is 46:5, 9. +Ex 8:10. 9:14. *Ex 15:11. +Ex 20:4. Dt 4:15, 16. 33:26. 1 S 2:2. Jb 40:9. Ps 8:5n. 86:8-10. 89:6, 8. 113:4, 5. +*Je 10:6, 16. Mic 7:18. *Ac 17:29. +**Col 1:15. +*He 1:3. what likeness. Ex 32:4. Nu 12:8. Dt 3:24. 4:12, 15. Jg 17:3. +*2 S 7:22. 1 K 8:23. 1 Ch 17:20. Ps 35:10. 71:19. 77:13. 106:20. Je 50:44. Ro 1:23. compare. Ps 88:6.

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