Category Archives: Bible study

God’s promises delayed

The Israelites were slaves in Egypt.  They prayed for freedom and God heard their prayers.  He appeared to Moses and appointed him to deliver the people.

Then the LORD said, “I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters. I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. And now, behold, the cry of the people of Israel has come to me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them.Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.”  (Exodus 13:7-10)

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Joseph the dreamer

When you saw the title of this post you probably thought about Joseph in the Old Testament.  Dreams played an important part in his life.  When he was young he had dreams that were a source of antagonism between him and his family.  Genesis 37:5-11

When he was in prison because he had been falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife he interpreted the dreams of two other prisoners.  Genesis 40:1-23

He interpreted Pharaoh’s dreams and was made governor of Egypt.  Genesis 41:14-26

But the Joseph in the New Testament also had dreams.  When he learned that Mary was pregnant and was planning to divorce her God sent him a dream. Read the rest of this entry

A near life experience

Many people have had what are called near death experiences.  They found themselves outside of their bodies and saw a bright light to which they were attracted, but before they could reach the light they were back in their bodies.

Opinions differ as to what really happened.  Some think this was a real event and they actually left their bodies for a short time.  Others think this was a delusion created by their minds.  The Bible has many accounts of death but it never describes what goes on in the mind of a person who is dying, so we can’t use it to answer the question.

I have no personal opinion on the subject.  Those who believe it is a real experience claim that this proves that life continues after the death of the body.  I believe in the continuation of life because the Bible teaches it, so I don’t need any scientific confirmation.  After we experience death ourselves we will no doubt learn the truth. Read the rest of this entry

Do all infants who die go to Heaven?

Here is something I read on Facebook.

Do all infants who die go to Heaven?

by Joshua Arnold

 

I would like to prove that it is absolutely biblical to say that every human that dies in infancy goes to Heaven. Not only infants, but mentally handicapped people that are unable to grasp the reality of sin, and good and evil, but that’s not what I’m going to be discussing in this post. The post will be a quite long, and so it may not be very shareable, but God willing it will be informative, and worth the read. I don’t expect many people to read it all, but It should bring clarity and give rest to those confused or concerned with the matter. I answer a few common objections at the end.

Without a doubt in my mind, every single baby, unborn, stillborn, or born but dies before they are able to comprehend good and evil, goes straight to Heaven.
In fact, I believe that there is no greater display of God’s sovereign grace than a helpless baby, who has no personal, religious, or moral merits, inheriting the kingdom of Heaven by pure grace.

There are a couple things that must be understood about babies. Read the rest of this entry

Predestination and prayer

Those of us who are saved were chosen for salvation before the world was even created.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.  (Ephesians 1:3-6)

Since God has already decided who will be saved and who won’t there is no point in praying for the salvation of another person.  If he has been predestined for salvation he will be saved; if he hasn’t been predestined he won’t be.  Our prayers will have no effect.  This seems like an unanswerable argument against praying that someone be saved.  But Paul, the author of the above quote, wasn’t persuaded by it.  He prayed for the salvation of his fellow Israelites. Read the rest of this entry

Living in exile

If you have become a Christian by putting your faith in Jesus Christ you are an exile and not living in your native country.  When you became a Christian you acquired a new citizenship.

But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.  (Philippians 3:20)

Because of this our present status in this world is that of exile.

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,

To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia.  (1 Peter 1:10)

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Are you an ox or a donkey?

Sometimes animals behave more intelligently than humans.

Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth;
for the Lord has spoken:
“Children have I reared and brought up,
but they have rebelled against me.
The ox knows its owner,
and the donkey its master’s crib,
but Israel does not know,
my people do not understand.”  (Isaiah 1:2,3)

If you feed an animal he will recognize you as being the source of his food; all of us have received blessings from God but many fail to acknowledge him as the source of those blessings.

But not all animals respond in the same way.  Under the Mosaic law the ox was considered a clean animal.  It was suitable for sacrifice and its flesh could be eaten.  The ox knows it owner.

The donkey was an unclean animal.  It was useful for farmwork and transportation, but it could not be eaten or offered as a sacrifice.  The donkey’s focus was not on the owner himself but on the food he received from his owner. Read the rest of this entry

Bricks and stones

After the flood God told Noah and his sons to multiply and fill the earth.  So what did they do?

Now the whole earth had one language and the same words. And as people migrated from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. And they said to one another, “Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.”

And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar.Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.”  (Genesis 11:1-4)

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Hiding the ark

One unanswered question regarding the Bible is the location of the Ark of the Covenant.  I recently made this post, The ark of the covenant, in which I suggested that it is better that the ark remain hidden.  If it were found it might become an object of worship.  This morning, in reading through the Bible, I found something which suggests the ark will never be found.

And I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding. And when you have multiplied and been fruitful in the land, in those days, declares the Lord, they shall no more say, “The ark of the covenant of the Lord.” It shall not come to mind or be remembered or missed; it shall not be made again.At that time Jerusalem shall be called the throne of the Lord, and all nations shall gather to it, to the presence of the Lord in Jerusalem, and they shall no more stubbornly follow their own evil heart.  (Jeremiah 3:15-17)

Not only will no one find the ark, no one will ever make another ark to replace it.  I have come to the conclusion that the ark was not lost but was deliberately hidden by God to make sure it never becomes a source of idolatry.

A message from the dead

God has forbidden us to communicate with the dead in an effort to discover truth.

There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the LORD.  (Deuteronomy 18:10-12)

In Luke 16:19-31 Jesus described the afterlife and revealed that God places some restrictions on the dead who wish to communicate with us.  (Many believe this is a parable and not something that actually happened.  I have discussed that in this post: Lazarus and the rich man – parable or actual event? )  When the rich man saw Abraham and Lazarus he asked that Lazarus be allowed to come to him to give him some relief from his suffering. Read the rest of this entry

Good cop/bad cop

Good cop/bad cop is a routine police sometimes us when interrogating suspects.  The bad cop is hostile toward the suspect.  The good cop is sympathetic and sometimes even restrains the bad cop.  The suspect comes to accept the good cop as his friend and sometimes will give him the information the police are looking for.

The suspect comes to think of the two cops as being opposed to each other and he naturally sides with the one who is friendlier to him.  In fact they are working together.  From the suspect’s point of view they are both bad cops because they are trying to get him to give them information they need.  From the point of view of law abiding citizens they are both good cops because they are trying to enforce the law and fight crime. Read the rest of this entry

A soft answer or a harsh word

A soft answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger.
Proverbs 15:1

There will be times when others are angry at us.  We can’t avoid this but we can choose how we respond to their anger.  We can either give a soft answer, which will turn their wrath away, or we can respond with a harsh word, which will increase their anger.  Two of the judges of Israel, Gideon and Jephthah, encountered the wrath of others in nearly identical circumstances but responded differently.

Gideon was a farmer.  When he first appears in the Biblical account he is beating out wheat in a winepress to keep it hidden from the Midianite invaders of the land.  The angel of the LORD  appeared to him and told him he had been chosen to destroy the Midianites.  He reluctantly accepted the assignment and after a successful war against the Midianites he encountered opposition from one of the other tribes of Israel, Ephraim. Read the rest of this entry

On earth as it is in Heaven

Matthew 6:9-13 contains the prayer known as the Lord’s Prayer.  It contains the phrase “Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”  Is this part of the prayer being answered today?  It appears to me that most of the earth is rebelling against God’s will rather than following it.

The Bible tells us that God created the world and everything in it in six days and we should acknowledge him as our Creator.  Humans have come up with the belief that the earth developed by natural processes over billions of years and that life arose by a process of evolution.  This belief is such an integral part of our culture that even many Bible believers accept it and interpret the Bible in a way that accommodates the belief that the earth is old.  I once believed in an old earth and reconciled this belief with the Bible by believing in the gap theory. Read the rest of this entry

YOLO

YOLO stands for You Only Live Once.  It is the philosophy that the life we are now living is the only we will ever have so we should make the best use of it by doing those things which bring us the greatest amount of pleasure now.  Like any other philosophy it needs to be tested by comparing it with what the Bible teaches.

If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.”  (1 Corinthians 15:32)

It is correct in one point.  If the life we live now is all there is then the wisest course of action would be to get as much enjoyment as we can.  But is this life really all we have?

It is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment.  (Hebrews 9:27)

We do indeed only live once, but our existence doesn’t end when our body dies.  Here is a description of the final judgment. Read the rest of this entry

The ark of the covenant

Exodus 25:10-22 describes the construction of the ark of the covenant.  The Israelites spent 40 years wandering in the wilderness, during which time the ark was carried from place to place.  After they entered the promised land the tabernacle was set up at Shiloh and the ark remained there for many years.  King David eventually brought it to Jerusalem.  When King Solomon built the temple the ark was placed in it.

Then the priests brought the ark of the covenant of the LORD to its place, in the inner sanctuary of the house, in the Most Holy Place, underneath the wings of the cherubim.  (2 Chronicles 5:7)

The king and the people probably thought the ark had found a permanent resting place and the days of its being carried from place to place were over.  That turned out not to be the case.  Here is an incident that took place during the reign of King Josiah. Read the rest of this entry

Praying for prisoners

Christians are commanded to promote the welfare of everyone, including those who are in prison.

Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body.  (Hebrews 13:3)

Some think this command merely says we are to be concerned about prisoners in general and need to pray for them and enable them to hear the gospel.  There are many Christian organizations dedicated to reaching prisoners with the gospel.  Perhaps the best known of these is  Prison Fellowship.  This is certainly a legitimate application of this verse, but I don’t think it is what the author of Hebrews had in mind.  When the New Testament was being written Christians often faced severe persecution and many were in prison because of their faith.  This statement is a reminder not to forget them. Read the rest of this entry

Golden calves

Exodus 32 describes the creation of the first golden calf mentioned in the Bible.  Moses had gone up Mt. Sinai to get God’s commands for the people.  When he was gone longer than expected the people asked Aaron to make a god to lead them.  They had just come out of 400 years of slavery in Egypt where there were images of all the Egyptian gods.  The idea of following a god they couldn’t see was foreign to them.  While Moses was with them they could follow him but in his absence they needed a visible representation of God.

He received the gold from their hand and fashioned it with a graving tool and made a golden calf. And they said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!

When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it. And Aaron made a proclamation and said, “Tomorrow shall be a feast to the LORD.  (Exodus 32:4,5)

When Aaron proclaimed a feast in honor of the calf he proclaimed it in the name of the LORD, the true God.  In making the calf the people weren’t breaking the first commandment, “You shall have no other gods before me.”  They were breaking the second, “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.” Read the rest of this entry

But we’ve always done it that way!

Have you ever tried to persuade a church or other organization to change some long established practice?  Often people who oppose the change will say something like, “We’ve always done it that way.”  They believe that because something has worked well in the past they should continue to do it and not change anything.  Are they right?  Is the fact that something worked well in the past a reason we should keep on doing it and not change it?  There was an incident in the life of David that I believe answers that question. Read the rest of this entry

Samson’s eyes

The life of Samson is recorded in Judges 13-16 .  God revealed to Samson’s parents that they would have a son.  They were not to cut his hair and he would begin to deliver Israel from the Philistines.  He would begin the job but King David would be the one who completed it.  Samson is famous for his strength but his parents were never told anything about this.  The discovery of how strong he was likely came as a surprise both to him and to his parents.

Here is the first incident recorded after he became an adult.

Samson went down to Timnah, and at Timnah he saw one of the daughters of the Philistines. Then he came up and told his father and mother, “I saw one of the daughters of the Philistines at Timnah. Now get her for me as my wife.”

But his father and mother said to him, “Is there not a woman among the daughters of your relatives, or among all our people, that you must go to take a wife from the uncircumcised Philistines?”

But Samson said to his father, “Get her for me, for she is right in my eyes.”  (Joshua 14:1-3)

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Christians and government

Christians disagree about how involved we should be in government.  Some believe we should not be involved at all and not even vote in elections.  Others think we should use the government as a way to promote Christianity.  Most Christians adopt a position somewhere between these two extremes.  We need to look at what the Bible says about this subject.

We are commanded to pray for our government leaders.

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people,for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.  (1 Timothy 2:1,2)

The command is found in the Old Testament as well as the New.

But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.  (Jeremiah 29:7)

This was what Jeremiah told the exiles in Babylon to do.  Since Christians are citizens of Heaven we are in the same position as those exiles; we are exiled from our native land and living in a foreign country.  This is true even if we are living in the country in which we were born. Read the rest of this entry

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