Tongue-Tied! #5

Sunday, May 16, 2021

And they bring unto him one that was deaf, and had an impediment in his speech; and they beseech him to put his hand upon him (Mark 7:32 KJV).

What can this tongue-tied man possibly teach us?

During Christ’s earthly ministry, Israel exhibits various spiritual afflictions. She is spiritually deaf, spiritually mute, spiritually lame, spiritually maimed, spiritually blind, et cetera. Unable to hear, speak, walk, serve, see, and so on, she cannot function as God’s kingdom of priests in the Earth. Her pitiful spiritual condition is depicted in the form of physical disabilities. The various sufferers of poor physical health during Christ’s earthly ministry picture Israel’s spiritual sicknesses. Sin and false religion have rendered her useless to the LORD God; moreover, she is Satan’s prisoner!

The man in today’s Scripture is both unable to hear and speak properly. However, the Lord Jesus Christ personally ministers to him. Inserting His fingers into the man’s ears, He opens them (verse 33). There is no more obstruction! In Scripture, the Holy Ghost is called “the finger of God” (Matthew 12:28; Luke 11:20). The Holy Spirit intervenes in the man’s life and causes him to hear the Word of God; likewise, He causes Israel to hear the Word of God. Jesus spits on His finger—saliva or water representing life—and touches the man’s disabled tongue (verse 33). There is no more impediment! The Holy Spirit intercedes in the man’s life and causes him to speak the Word of God; similarly, He causes Israel to speak the Word of God. Such healing miracles anticipate Israel’s national spiritual restoration at Christ’s Second Coming. Her sin and false religion are removed.

“And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness” (Isaiah 29:18). “Thus saith the LORD of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you” (Zechariah 8:23). Now, in the Millennium, Israel can be all that the LORD God has called her to be!

Tongue-Tied! #4

Saturday, May 15, 2021

And they bring unto him one that was deaf, and had an impediment in his speech; and they beseech him to put his hand upon him (Mark 7:32 KJV).

What can this tongue-tied man possibly teach us?

If a Christian is not skilled in the Word of God rightly divided, it will be evident in his or her speech and writing. Denominationally-minded souls have no real understanding of spiritual truth, so they can do nothing but prattle and babble. It is nonsense, foolishness, tripe. They are completely unable to teach someone valuable spiritual information. Sadly, they themselves must first be taught. That was Israel of old, possessing the Hebrew Bible for 1,600 years and yet still confused. Hebrews chapter 5: “[12] For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. [13] For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. [14] But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”

The professing church, and even the genuine Body of Christ, is actually in worse shape. Despite the fact of possessing a complete Bible for 2,000 years, it cannot adequately express Christian truth to others because there is such a lack of Scriptural proficiency even among so-called believers in Christ. They can mindlessly recite facts about church history, comprehend the original Bible languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek), devise complex denominations and theological systems, and defend religious tradition; they can engage in lengthy prayers, stirring “praise and worship,” humbling water baptisms, and exciting missions trips; but can they tell others about how to have eternal life in Christ and victorious grace living? No! Like ancient Israel, we have hearts of sin and unbelief. There is almost no preaching of the clear Gospel of Grace, almost no preaching of Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the mystery, almost no sound Bible doctrine. Precious few believers are mature and founded in the truth; the rest utter gibberish. Like Israel, we also suffer an impediment in our speech….

Tongue-Tied! #3

Friday, May 14, 2021

And they bring unto him one that was deaf, and had an impediment in his speech; and they beseech him to put his hand upon him (Mark 7:32 KJV).

What can this tongue-tied man possibly teach us?

Reading verses 1-13 (passage preceding today’s Scripture), you notice Israel has relegated the Hebrew Bible to an inferior status. Whereas the written Law of Moses commanded the Jews to honor their father and mother, they circumvented that by appealing to rabbinical interpretations of Jewish religious tradition. Rabbis taught Israel did not have to financially support their aging parents. All a Jew had to do was merely claim to dedicate his wealth to “God” (the money actually going not to God, but the religious system of the Jerusalem Temple!), thereby freeing him from his obligation to his parents. Religious tradition took precedence; God’s words, especially the Ten Commandments, really meant nothing to them! The Lord Jesus criticized these hypocrites or pretenders for spurning His Father’s words. Since they did not have the Scriptures on their mind, they were unable to have faith and teach others.

Moving to verses 14-23 (also prior to today’s Scripture), you realize Israel is sidetracked with religious tradition, fanatical ceremonial washings. They ignored the most fatal contaminant; their hearts were unclean because of sin: “[20] And he [Jesus] said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. [21] For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, [22] Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: [23] All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.”

Thus far, we see national Israel has two problems—both are in the heart or soul. Firstly, Israel has a heart of sin, which separates her from God’s purpose and plan for her. She is defiled internally. Secondly, Israel has a heart of unbelief, and she has rejected God’s words to the degree of substituting works-religion (church tradition) for God’s righteousness (pure Bible). In contrast to Israel wallowing in this rank unbelief, a Gentile (!) woman has faith in Jesus (verses 24-30). Finally, as the chapter closes, a deaf and speech-inhibited man appears in today’s Scripture. Depicted here is Israel’s pitiful condition, spiritually deaf and babbling, whom the Lord faithfully restores to perfect health….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Does 1 Timothy 6:19 support Calvinism?

Tongue-Tied! #2

Thursday, May 13, 2021

And they bring unto him one that was deaf, and had an impediment in his speech; and they beseech him to put his hand upon him (Mark 7:32 KJV).

What can this tongue-tied man possibly teach us?

Our English idiom “tongue-tied” simply means someone is unable or unwilling to speak freely, such as due to embarrassment or surprise. Also, there is a literal or pathological application, a birth defect known as “tongue-tie” (“ankyloglossia,” or “hooked tongue”), when a band of tissue, the frenulum, attaches the tongue’s bottom to mouth’s floor, thus limiting tongue movement. Consequently, speech can be impaired, and surgery may be necessary.

Friend, to understand what a speech impediment entails, hold your tongue with your thumb and index finger and attempt to speak. Coherent language is nearly impossible; the result is mere babbling or gibberish. Whatever the case—it was a physical problem of some kind (not nervousness or astonishment)—the man in today’s Scripture was unable to produce intelligible or meaningful speech. The Bible calls it an “impediment,” a blockage or hindrance. He talks with great difficulty, as if something has been wrapped around his tongue. Verse 35 provides this imagery: “And straightway his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain.” Christ healing his tongue is like undoing a cord wrapped around something. His tongue, having full range of motion, now freely articulates words. (Plus, his sense of hearing has also been restored.)

It is definitely not coincidental that a man who has obstructed speech appears precisely in chapter 7 of Mark. Prior to the miracle of today’s Scripture, we find the Lord voicing His utter disapproval of Israel: “[6] He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. [7] Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. [8] For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. [9] And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.” Israel has a spiritual speech impediment….

Tongue-Tied! #1

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

And they bring unto him one that was deaf, and had an impediment in his speech; and they beseech him to put his hand upon him (Mark 7:32 KJV).

What can this tongue-tied man possibly teach us?

Let us read today’s Scripture with its context: “[31] And again, departing from the coasts of Tyre and Sidon, he [Christ Jesus] came unto the sea of Galilee, through the midst of the coasts of Decapolis. [32] And they bring unto him one that was deaf, and had an impediment in his speech; and they beseech him to put his hand upon him. [33] And he took him aside from the multitude, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spit, and touched his tongue; [34] And looking up to heaven, he sighed, and saith unto him, Ephphatha, that is, Be opened. [35] And straightway his ears were opened, and the string of his tongue was loosed, and he spake plain. [36] And he charged them that they should tell no man: but the more he charged them, so much the more a great deal they published it; [37] And were beyond measure astonished, saying, He hath done all things well: he maketh both the deaf to hear, and the dumb to speak.”

Christ’s earthly ministry, now over two years old, is winding down. It has less than one year remaining. Leaving the borders of Tyre and Sidon (modern Lebanon), and passing by the Sea of Galilee, He heads further south to arrive in the territory of Decapolis (“Ten Cities”). People here bring to Him a man who can neither hear nor speak properly. They know Jesus can heal this poor individual with a simple touch of the hand. He takes the man off to the side, away from the crowd. Jesus inserts His fingers into the man’s ears, and spits on His finger and touches the man’s tongue. Sighing, He looks upward to His Heavenly Father, and utters one Aramaic word, “Ephphatha,” or “Be opened!” Immediately, the man’s ears are unstopped and his tongue is freed—ears and tongue now functioning normally. What is the significance of this, especially the affliction of being tongue-tied?

We search the Scriptures for answers….

Going to Market #2

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

“But whereunto shall I liken this generation? It is like unto children sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows, And saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented” (Matthew 11:16,17 KJV).

Let us look at verses to glimpse into the A.D. first century market!

The ancient town squares in Palestine were particularly unsafe because they were major population centers. Since Israel’s apostate religious leaders craved the praise of men, they strove to spend as much time in these “markets” as possible. The longer they tarried, the more pedestrians and visitors to pay attention to them!

Christ therefore warned: “And he said unto them in his doctrine, Beware of the scribes, which love to go in long clothing, and love salutations in the marketplaces [agora],…” (Mark 12:38). “And [they love] greetings in the markets [agora], and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi” (Matthew 23:7). “Woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye love the uppermost seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets [agora] (Luke 11:43). “Beware of the scribes, which desire to walk in long robes, and love greetings in the markets [agora], and the highest seats in the synagogues, and the chief rooms at feasts;…” (Luke 20:46). By having people focus on them—their religiosity or piety—these Jewish religious leaders encouraged self-righteousness. While they feigned to be God’s servants, they were nothing more than slaves to unbelief. Such hypocrisy was not easily detected, so they “won” many to their hellish vain religious system (Matthew 23:15)!

The Apostle Paul deliberately visited such markets to preach to people and win them to Christ: “Therefore disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews, and with the devout persons, and in the market [agora] daily with them that met with him” (Acts 17:17). Unfortunately, that was also where Roman public trials were held! “And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the marketplace [agora] unto the rulers, And brought them to the magistrates, saying, These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city,…” (Acts 16:19,20). As subsequent verses show, physical perils abounded in the markets too, including unlawful beatings!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Is ‘Cainan’ in Luke 3:36 a ‘scribal error?’

Going to Market #1

Monday, May 10, 2021

“But whereunto shall I liken this generation? It is like unto children sitting in the markets, and calling unto their fellows, And saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned unto you, and ye have not lamented” (Matthew 11:16,17 KJV).

Let us look at verses to glimpse into the A.D. first century market!

We have a word adopted from Greek, “agoraphobia,” to describe the fear of places not easily escapable. Sufferers are anxious around crowds and/or other imposing situations or places in which bad things may happen. In the King James Bible, the word “agora” is often rendered “market” (today’s Scripture is the first reference) and would simply be a “town square” or large expanse bustling with activity.

As today’s Scripture suggests, the marketplace was where kids gathered to play with their friends: “They are like unto children sitting in the marketplace [agora], and calling one to another, and saying, We have piped unto you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned to you, and ye have not wept” (Luke 7:32). Proprietors frequented the market to recruit hired help, the town square functioning as a crude employment office: “For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard…. And he went out about the third hour, and saw others standing idle in the marketplace [agora],…” (Matthew 20:1,3).

The ancient town square was also where commodities—including food—were sold and purchased. See Mark 7:4: “And when they come from the market [agora], except they wash, they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing of cups, and pots, brasen vessels, and of tables.” To say the least, the market of old times was so filthy it was the last place you wanted to buy food! In 1 Corinthians 10:25, the butcher’s stall is correctly termed “the shambles!”

Unfortunately, the primeval market was also a threatening place spiritually, and rightly to be feared in this respect. There are verses in the Bible to suggest agoraphobia was justified. Various spiritual hazards lingered and lurked in these town squares, and ill-fated souls suffered terrible destinies thereby….

Mother: A Virtuous Woman

Sunday, May 9, 2021

“Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies” (Proverbs 31:10 KJV).

Today is Mother’s Day, so we dedicate this devotional to godly women (specifically mothers). I especially dedicate this to the virtuous woman who has been in my life for almost 33 years… my mom!

Today’s Scripture is the first verse of the Bible’s “Virtuous Woman” passage (Proverbs 31:10-31). King Solomon explained that the virtuous woman:

  • has a husband who safely trusts in her (verses 11,12).
  • is not lazy, but is strong because she works to feed and clothe her family and herself (verses 13-19,21,22,24,25,27).
  • pities the poor and needy (verse 20).
  • has a husband who is well-known because of her godly lifestyle (verse 23).
  • opens her mouth with wisdom, and speaks kindly and lovingly (verse 26).
  • has children and a husband who praise her (verse 28).
  • excels in what she does (verse 29).
  • has works that praise her (verse 31).

Verse 30 explains the virtuous woman is “a woman that feareth the LORD.”

The Apostle Paul wrote that godly women should: not slander/gossip, not be controlled by alcohol and emotions (sober minded), be teachers of good things, love their husbands and children, be cautious and modest, maintain the home, be “good,” and should obey (respect) their husbands… “that the word of God be not blasphemed” (Titus 2:3-5). A Christian woman, especially a mother, should be a virtuous woman in beliefs as well as in deed. She needs to set an example for her children (especially her daughters).

A Christian woman and/or Christian mother places her faith in this sound Bible doctrine, the indwelling Holy Spirit will then take that doctrine and transform her for God’s glory (1 Thessalonians 2:13). Her mind will be renewed by sound Bible doctrine, and that will transform her outward activity (Romans 12:1,2).

Are you a Christian woman or Christian mother who desires to be the woman God intends you to be in Christ Jesus? Place your faith in this sound Bible doctrine, and God will take care of the rest!

 HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY TO OUR READERS WHO ARE MOTHERS!

*Adapted from a larger Bible study with the same name. The Bible study can be read here or watched here.

Archived: “What does the Bible say about motherhood?

Fortified!

Saturday, May 8, 2021

I remembered thy judgments of old, O LORD; and have comforted myself (Psalm 119:52 KJV).

How does the Psalmist comfort himself? He remembers God’s words to him!

On four occasions, the Bible refers to the Holy Spirit as the “Comforter” (John 14:16,26; John 15:26; John 16:7). Read verse 26 of John chapter 14: “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” The Holy Spirit would give Israel’s Little Flock spiritual understanding, which would eventually give rise to the penning of the New Testament canon beginning in the Acts period.

The English word “comfort” is derived from Latin, and it means “with strength” (as in “fortify” or “fortitude”). We receive spiritual strength by listening to the words of the Holy Spirit, the Comforter (cf. today’s Scripture). Remember, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Timothy 3:16,17). “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Peter 1:20,21).

As we read and believe God’s words rightly divided, paying special attention to Romans through Philemon, the Holy Spirit fortifies us internally: “That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;…” (Ephesians 3:16). “For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe” (1 Thessalonians 2:13). What is the goal? “In [Jesus Christ] whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit(Ephesians 2:21,22).

“Pick and Choose” Religion!

Friday, May 7, 2021

“When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost. The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away” (John 19:30,31 KJV).

Like modern denominationalists, the apostate Jewish people carefully picked and chose which Bible verses to follow and which to ignore.

Christ Jesus died on Passover, when the sacrificial lambs were slaughtered (3 P.M.), some three hours before the meal. The first day of Unleavened Bread began at sunset. As per the Law of Moses, leaven/yeast (a type of sin) was to be removed from all Israeli houses. Exodus chapter 12: “[15] Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses: for whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel.…. [19] Seven days shall there be no leaven found in your houses: for whosoever eateth that which is leavened, even that soul shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he be a stranger, or born in the land.”

Crucified individuals could linger for days, pushing up with their legs to breathe. Therefore, their legs were broken to hasten death and burial. Israel knew not to leave “cursed” Jesus of Nazareth hanging there, lest He defile their land. Deuteronomy chapter 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: [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.”

Yet, they failed to see Jesus as the ultimate Passover lamb who would pay for their sins. They chose to believe only parts of their Bible. “For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me; for he wrote of me” (John 5:46).