Category Archives: Bible study
When we look at the world it sometimes seems that evil is in control of the world. Many countries have rulers that oppress Christians and Christianity. Others practice aggression against weaker counties around them. Large corporations are concerned only with making profits and don’t care how many people they hurt in the process. Lawbreakers seem to operate with impunity and those who have good lawyers seldom suffer the consequences of their actions. Even individuals who appear to be living decent, moral lives devote their lives to advancement in this world and give little or no thought to how God wants them to live.
This state of affairs will not go on forever.
And the multitude of all the nations that fight against Ariel,
all that fight against her and her stronghold and distress her,
shall be like a dream, a vision of the night.
As when a hungry man dreams, and behold, he is eating,
and awakes with his hunger not satisfied,
or as when a thirsty man dreams, and behold, he is drinking,
and awakes faint, with his thirst not quenched,
so shall the multitude of all the nations be
that fight against Mount Zion. (Isaiah 29:7,8)
This world that we can perceive through our senses is only a small part of reality. When we die and are freed from the limitations of our physical senses we will experience that greater reality and our present lives will mean no more than the dreams we experience now.
This is the condition of those who have rejected God but what about those who believe in Jesus Christ and try to serve him faithfully? In many parts of the world Christians are exposed to constant danger, even the possibility of being killed for their faith. Those who do not face these dangers still have to live in a world which rejects God’s standards of good and evil. Someday we too will die and will then experience reality as it is. Our present suffering will be nothing more than an unpleasant dream that has ended.
In comparing our present lives to dreams I do not mean to imply that what we experience now is not real. Our present lives are probably the most important parts of our existence because the decisions we make now will determine our fates for all eternity. If you are concerned about your fate I recommend that you check this site:
The Lord’s Prayer:
My Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give me this day my daily bread,
and forgive me my debts,
as I also have forgiven my debtors.
And lead me not into temptation,
but deliver me from evil.
Does this sound familiar? It shouldn’t. All the first person pronouns in the Lord’s Prayer are plural. It is addressed to our Father and asks that God give us daily bread, forgiveness, and deliverance from evil.
So who is included in the word we? According to 1 Corinthians 12: 12-26 all Christians are one body and our personal welfare is linked to that of the whole body. Verse 26 says, “ If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.” When we pray we are asking for God’s blessings not only for ourselves but also for the rest of the body.
This doesn’t mean that we should never ask for something solely for ourselves. For example, look at Peter’s prayer when he walked on water. Matthew 14: 28-31 says, “And Peter answered him, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water.” He said, “Come.” So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, “Lord, save me.” Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him.”
Peter didn’t pray “Lord, save us.” That would have made no sense because Peter was the only one in danger, but our normal practice should be to pray for others as well as for ourselves.
Perhaps you have heard someone say something like this, “The Titanic was built by professionals but the ark was built by amateurs.” What they mean is that sometimes people without professional training or skills can do a better job than those who do have training.
But is the statement true? Was Noah just an amateur when God told him to build the ark? We really don’t know because the Bible tells us nothing of Noah’s occupation before the flood. It is possible that he was a professional shipbuilder and that God gave him this occupation to prepare him to build the ark.
Tim Chaffey and K. Marie Adams have written the Remnant Trilogy, a fictional account of Noah’s life before the flood, and they tell of Noah becoming an apprentice to a shipbuilder at the age of 40 and devoting his life to this job. When God finally told him to start working on the ark he was well prepared to carry out this task.
The Bible tells us very little about what life was like then, so naturally most of their work in fiction, but they are careful not to contradict anything the Bible actually says. At the end of each book of the trilogy there is a section in which they discuss what the Bible says.
If you want to read this series you can buy it here:
And yet even if Noah was a professional there is a sense in which he and his family were amateurs. The word “amateur” is derived from the French word for “love”, meaning someone who engages in an activity because of love, not just because of what he can gain from it. All Christians should be amateurs in this sense. We should serve God because we love him, not just for the rewards we will receive.
The 13th chapter of Leviticus gives instructions about leprosy. If someone had an unusual spot or swelling on his body he was to go to a priest who would examine the spot to determine if it was a sign of leprosy. If the person did have leprosy he had to live apart from other people and wherever he went he had to call out “Unclean, unclean” to warn others not to come near him.
(There is a disease called Hansen’s disease which is called leprosy. It is not the same as biblical leprosy. It can cause physical impairment or disfigurement. There is no indication that leprosy in the Bible did that. Leprosy wasn’t a disease; it was a skin condition that made a person ceremonially unclean. In Matthew 10:8 Jesus commanded his disciples, “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons.”)
There is one statement that has puzzled me. Verses 12 and 13 say, “And if the leprous disease breaks out in the skin, so that the leprous disease covers all the skin of the diseased person from head to foot, so far as the priest can see, then the priest shall look, and if the leprous disease has covered all his body, he shall pronounce him clean of the disease; it has all turned white, and he is clean.” If a person is unclean because of spots on his body, how can he become clean if his whole body is affected?
There is something in the New Testament that believe explains this. In chapter 5 of 1 Corinthians Paul commanded the church to expel a member who was living in immorality. In verses 9 to 12 he said this:
I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge?
Verse 5 explains the reason for not associating with Christians who live sinful lives. “You are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.” This approach wouldn’t work for unsaved people because they are spiritually dead. We must tell them the gospel so they can be saved and we can’t do this if we refuse to associate with them.
A leper is a picture of a Christian who is living in sin. When the leprosy covers his entire body be becomes a sinner who makes no profession of being a Christian. We are commanded to love both kinds of people, but love requires that we do what is best for their welfare, and because they have different needs our actions in regard to each person must differ.
In addition to creating humans, God has created angels and other beings who are like them. Students of the Bible generally teach that there are at least four classes of such beings: angels, archangels, cherubim, and seraphim.
Angels are mentioned many times.
Cherubim are first mentioned in Genesis 3:24, “ He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.“
Seraphim are mentioned in Isaiah 6:2, “Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew.“
But the word “archangels” is never found in the Bible. The singular, “archangel”, appears only twice.
The first appearance is in 1 Thessalonians 4:16. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. It says the archangel, not an archangel, meaning there is only one. (Some translation use the word an instead of the, but these are in the minority.)
The name of this archangel in found in the ninth verse of the book of Jude. “But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you.” Michael is the only one in the Bible called an archangel.
Some say that Gabriel in an archangel but he is never called this in the Bible. The apocrypha speaks of an archangel name Uriel, and the fact that many consider the apocrypha part of the Bible has led to a lot of false teaching on this subject.
The term “arch” in the word archangel refers to someone who is in authority. We find this in many English words, such as: monarchy, which means rule by a single person; oligarchy, which means rule by a few; and anarchy, which means a state in which there is no ruler.
God created angels and chose one of them, Michael, to be in charge of all the others. He gave him the title “archangel.” There are no archangels. There is only one archangel and his name is Michael.
After the flood God gave Noah a new command.
“Whoever sheds the blood of man,
by man shall his blood be shed,
for God made man in his own image.” (Genesis 9:6)
Despite the fact that capital punishment was commanded by God many Christians believe it should be abolished. One argument they use is that killing a person closes the door to any hope that he will repent of his sins and be saved. Yet the Bible tells of a case where capital punishment opened the door to salvation for one man.
When Jesus was crucified two others were crucified with him.
“Then two robbers were crucified with him, one on the right and one on the left. And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads and saying, “You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself! If you are the Son of God, come down from the cross.” So also the chief priests, with the scribes and elders, mocked him, saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. He is the King of Israel; let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God; let God deliver him now, if he desires him. For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” And the robbers who were crucified with him also reviled him in the same way.” (Matthew 27:38-44)
But one of the robbers changed his mind about Jesus.
“One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.”” (Luke 23:39-44)
Even though he was dying he put his faith in Jesus and received the assurance that would be in Paradise that same day.
Have you ever thought about what his fate would have been if he had not been captured and executed by the Romans? He clearly didn’t believe in Jesus before he was sentenced. Perhaps he would have lived out his life and died without having his sins forgiven and been condemned to eternity in the lake of fire. The Romans took his physical life but opened the door for him to receive eternal life.
Jesus began his teaching and healing ministry in Judea but because of opposition from the Jewish leaders he moved to Galilee to continue his work. But he still had ties to Judea and he was asked to return there.
Now a certain man was ill, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. It was Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was ill. So the sisters sent to him, saying, “Lord, he whom you love is ill.” (John 11:1-3)
Bethany was near Jerusalem, the headquarters of those who wanted to kill Jesus. When he announced his intention to go there, his disciples objected.
Then after this he said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.” The disciples said to him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone you, and are you going there again?” (John 11:7,8)
One of them responded differently.
Thomas, called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” (John 11:16)
All of the disciples believed Jesus would be killed if he returned to Judea. All except Thomas urged him not to go. Thomas was prepared to go with him and die with him. He showed a degree of courage that the others lacked.
Thomas continued to express courage. After Pentecost he went to India preaching the gospel and was martyred there. He has always been honored for his bravery.
Actually that last statement isn’t true. It should be, but something happened that overshadowed his courage. After his resurrection Jesus appeared to the disciples.
Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.” (John 20:24,25)
Because he doubted what he was told he in commonly known as “doubting Thomas”. Even those who never read the Bible are familiar with this phrase. Most people know him as a doubter; very few are aware of his bravery.
Dead flies make the perfumer’s ointment give off a stench; so a little folly outweighs wisdom and honor. (Ecclesiastes 10:1)
The popular attitude toward Thomas is an illustration of the truth of this statement. We tend to focus on the one time he doubted and overlook his lifetime of courage. This will not always be the case. When God finally judges all of us Thomas will be honored as Thomas the Brave rather than being dismissed as doubting Thomas.
People are often angry at us. Sometime they have a good reason; sometimes they don’t. It is important that we respond to the anger in the right way.
A soft answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger. (Proverbs 15:1)
We can respond with a soft answer or with a harsh word. The Bible tells of two men who responded in each of these ways.
The first was Gideon. God empowered him to drive out the Midianites who had invaded Israel. After he had done this the men of Ephraim, another tribe, were angry with him.
Then the men of Ephraim said to him, “What is this that you have done to us, not to call us when you went to fight against Midian?” And they accused him fiercely.
And he said to them, “What have I done now in comparison with you? Is not the gleaning of the grapes of Ephraim better than the grape harvest of Abiezer? God has given into your hands the princes of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb. What have I been able to do in comparison with you?”
Then their anger against him subsided when he said this. (Judges 8:1-3)
Gideon gave a soft answer and pointeed out that they had helped by capturing two of the Midianite leaders. This dissipated their anger at him.
Jephthah faced a similar situation but responded in a completely different way. He defeated the Ammonites who were trying to invade Israel. The Ephraimites were angry with him just as they had been with Gideon.
The men of Ephraim were called to arms, and they crossed to Zaphon and said to Jephthah, “Why did you cross over to fight against the Ammonites and did not call us to go with you? We will burn your house over you with fire.” (Judges 12:1)
(I wonder why the Ephraimites waited for someone to invite them to join in the fight. It seems to me that they could have simply gathered their forces and taken action against the enemy. I sometimes feel they were more interested in quarreling with their fellow Israelites than defending Israel from its enemies.)
Jephthah didn’t respond the way Gideon did.
And Jephthah said to them, “I and my people had a great dispute with the Ammonites, and when I called you, you did not save me from their hand. And when I saw that you would not save me, I took my life in my hand and crossed over against the Ammonites, and the Lord gave them into my hand. Why then have you come up to me this day to fight against me?”
Then Jephthah gathered all the men of Gilead and fought with Ephraim. And the men of Gilead struck Ephraim, because they said, “You are fugitives of Ephraim, you Gileadites, in the midst of Ephraim and Manasseh.”
And the Gileadites captured the fords of the Jordan against the Ephraimites. And when any of the fugitives of Ephraim said, “Let me go over,” the men of Gilead said to him, “Are you an Ephraimite?” When he said, “No,” they said to him, “Then say Shibboleth,” and he said, “Sibboleth,” for he could not pronounce it right. Then they seized him and slaughtered him at the fords of the Jordan.
At that time 42,000 of the Ephraimites fell. (Judges 12:2-5)
Jephthah’s response led to a civil way in which 42,000 Ephraimites were killed. Earlier he had defeated the Ammonites but we are not told how many of them were killed. It is possible that he killed more Israelites than Ammonites.
When others are angry at us it is natural for us to respond with anger. Christians have the Holy Spirit in us. Our response should be supernatural, not natural.
A lot of people have what they call a bucket list, a list of things they want to accomplish during their lives. If you are a Christian you don’t need to make a bucket list; God has already made one for you.
The Bible tells us that we are saved by God’s grace and not by anything we do.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:8,9)
We are not saved by our works but we are saved to do the work that God has assigned us.
For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10)
In other words, God has prepared for each of us a bucket list of things that he wants us to accomplish during our life.
There have been many times when I have failed to do the work that God has given to me, and I am certain that that is true of others. We need to ask ourselves whether our failure prevents God from accomplishing the work he meant to do through us. The answer to that question is found in the book of Esther. God allowed Esther to become queen of Persia. When an official named Haman plotted to destroy the Jews Esther’s cousin Mordecai told Esther she needed to go to the king and ask for his help. When she expressed fear about doing this, here was what Mordecai said to her.
Do not think to yourself that in the king’s palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this? (Esther 4:13,14)
If we fail to do what God wants us to do, that work will be done by someone else, but we will suffer for our failure to obey. In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul describes what that suffering will consist of.
According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it.
Let each one take care how he builds upon it. For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done.
If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire. (1 Corinthians 3:10-15)
Our salvation is the result of God’s grace and not the result of anything we do. If we are not faithful in service we won’t lose our salvation, but we will lose the reward we could have gotten.
Mr. and Mrs. Brown were faithful members of their church and the taught their sons, Harry and Tom, to be faithful too. When the sons grew up Harry rejected his parents’ teaching and stopped attending church. Tom continued to be active in church.
The time came when Harry was about to die. He realized that he was not ready and finally repented of his sins and put his faith in Jesus Christ. His life had been wasted because he had lived for his own pleasure but in the end he was saved.
Tom also reached the end of his life. Looking back he realized that he had tried to live a Christian life but in fact he was not a Christian because he had not repented and believed in Christ. Near the end of his life he finally took this step. His life had been wasted because he had trusted in his church and his service to it rather than in Christ but in the end he was saved.
When we think of deathbed salvation we generally think of someone like Harry rather then Tom. The Bible gives us an example of such salvation. One of the criminals who was crucified with Christ repented and was told that he would be in Paradise that very day. We often forget that all people, regardless of how good a life the live, fall short of God’s standards and need to be saved.
There was a time when I was on the way to ending up as Tom did. I had gone to Sunday school as long as I can remember. When I was 14 years old I got baptized and became a member of my church. I was active in the church and at one time seriously considered becoming a preacher. The only thing wrong was that the church was liberal in its theology and on one there had ever told me how to be saved.
God didn’t wait until I was on my deathbed to save me. About two years after I joined the church I began listening to a radio program called Back to the Bible and through it a learned the true way of salvation.
Someone who lives a life contrary to the Bible doesn’t need to wonder whether he is saved or not. If he thinks about the subject at all he will know he isn’t. But it is possible for someone to live a life that is outwardly righteous and not really be saved. The Bible warns us in 2 Corinthians 13:5, “Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith.” Satan uses many tricks to keep people from being saved; one is to convince us we are already saved. Examine yourselves to make sure you are not falling for this trick.
The last two chapters of the Bible describe the creation of a new heaven and a new earth which will be the home of all whose sins have been forgiven through their faith in Jesus Christ. There will be no more sin or temptation to sin. All that is evil will have been removed.
Some people think of this time as being like retirement. We have finished our work and now we are able to begin living a life of leisure. Nothing can be further from the truth. This is not the end of our service to God but its true beginning.
When God created Adam and Eve he had great plans for their future. We don’t know what those plans were because they ate the fruit that God had forbidden and so brought sin and death into the world. All that has happened since then is God’s efforts to remove these two invaders and restore the creation to what he intended it to be. Once that has been accomplished he will begin to carry out the real purpose for which he created us.
The Last Battle, the last book of the Chronicles of Narnia, ends with the destruction of Narnia and with the followers of Aslan being taken to a new and perfect Narnia.
And for us this is the end of all the stories, and we can truly say that they lived happily ever after. But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page. Now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read, which goes on forever, in which every chapter is better than the one before.
This is an accurate description of what awaits Christians at the end of this age.
If you have not had your sins forgiven through faith in Jesus Christ this is not your future. After death you will be judged for your sins and be sentenced to eternity in the lake of fire. But if you are willing to turn from your sins and believe in Christ you can share in this future. The link below will take you to a site that explains in more detail how you can do this and answers many of the questions you may have on this subject.
The Israelites were often tempted to worship the gods of the Canaanites and the surrounding nations. One of those gods was called Molech or Moloch. He required that his worshipers sacrifice their children to him. Here is what Wikipedia says about him. Read the rest of this entry
There will be a final judgment just before God creates the new heaven and the new earth.
Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life.
And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire.
This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. (Revelation 20:11-15)
It is a popular belief that in the past everyone thought the world is flat. I have heard it said that Christopher Columbus proved the world was round when he discovered America. The peasants might have thought the world was flat but the educated people knew it’s true shape. They didn’t think Columbus would sail off the edge of the world. They thought it was impossible to reach Asia by sailing west because the distance was too great. If the American continents didn’t exist they would have been right. Read the rest of this entry
While Moses was on Mt. Sinai receiving God’s commands the Israelites feared that he was gone for good so they took action to ensure that they had someone to lead them.
When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered themselves together to Aaron and said to him, “Up, make us gods who shall go before us. As for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.”
Everyone knows that human life begins at conception. A new person comes into existence, created in Gods image, with his unique DNA, with a God given plan for his life. The new human isn’t yet able to survive on his own so he must spend the first nine months of existence in his mother’s womb. Read the rest of this entry
Christians have been lied to about the devil and Hell.
We have been told over and over that Hell is Satan’s dwelling place. He lives there and just comes around to bother us sometimes or sends his demons to mess with us. It has been suggested that the devil spends time with those that are in Hell tormenting them and allowing demons to torment them as well.
The link below is from the movie “War Room”, and we see where the wife (played by Priscilla Shirer) decides she’s had enough of the devil and goes after him. She becomes mad enough about the devil messing things up in her life that she gives the devil a firm scolding and yells at him for a good while.
She starts out with her explaining to him, “I don’t know where you are, devil, but I know you can hear me.” Well, the…
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Answers in Genesis is an organization founded and led by Ken Ham that is dedicated to proving that the Bible’s account of creation recorded in Genesis is true and can be supported scientifically. It has aroused a great deal of controversy. It is strongly supported by many Bible believers. It is disliked by unbelievers who accept the popular idea that life evolved over millions of years and even by some Christians who also accept this belief. (For a long time I was in this group. I was a Christian but I also believed that the theory of evolution had been scientifically proven. If I had known of Answers in Genesis I would probably have believed that what it was teaching was false. In the last few years I have come to realized that in fact there is no evidence supporting evolution.) Read the rest of this entry
Great is the LORD and greatly to be praised
in the city of our God!
His holy mountain, beautiful in elevation,
is the joy of all the earth,
Mount Zion, in the far north,
the city of the great King.
Within her citadels God
has made himself known as a fortress. (Psalm 48:1-3)