Quit You Like Men!

Saturday, May 31, 2014

“Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong. Let all your things be done with charity” (1 Corinthians 16:13,14 KJV).

What does our King James Bible mean when it admonishes, “Quit you like men?”

“Quit you like men” appears twice in our King James Bible—1 Samuel 4:9 and today’s Scripture. We need not complain of “old-fashioned” verbiage; we need not run to lexicons or modern versions for clarification. What we need to do is let God’s Word define its vocabulary for us. When exhorting “quit you like men,” today’s Scripture simultaneously defines the term for us. “Stand fast,” “men,” and “strong” convey the idea of maturity: only mature people stand fast, men are adults, only mature people (adults) are strong. The larger context of today’s Scripture—the epistle of 1 Corinthians—explains why the Apostle Paul concluded that book with such an exhortation.

Corinth, a seaport near Athens, Greece, had a grace Christian church Paul personally founded in Acts chapter 18. Unfortunately, these believers ignored most of the doctrine Paul delivered them. Their spiritually immaturity was so severe that they could not resolve simple conflicts amongst themselves, they ignored God’s Word to them and embraced pagan philosophy instead, they fell into devil worship, they abandoned the doctrine of bodily resurrection that Paul had personally taught them, and they abused spiritual gifts—among many other errors that still plague Christendom today!

“And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able” (1 Corinthians 3:1,2). Paul wrote these Christians a lengthy doctrinal letter, 1 Corinthians, encouraging them to grow up! He concluded by telling them that they needed to act like spiritual adults (today’s Scripture); they needed to place their faith in that epistle, and stand fast in that doctrine, to gain the charity (love in action) they lacked (1 Corinthians 13:1-13). They were to “fight the good fight of faith” as mature soldiers of Jesus Christ (1 Timothy 6:12; cf. 1 Samuel 4:9).

Saints, may we by faith obey today’s Scripture delivered us.

A Mind Worth Guarding

Friday, May 30, 2014

“I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well” (Psalm 139:14 KJV).

Verily, verily, the human mind is “fearfully and wonderfully made!”

A neurosurgeon recently described the miraculous, mindboggling human brain (surely not the result of random, mindless evolutionary processes!). We could learn one new fact every second, and our brain would take three million years before it would overload! Even in its fallen state, our mind can process two million bits of information per second! Our most powerful supercomputers cannot compare to the “computer” the Lord Jesus Christ made inside our craniums.

Every image we have ever seen and every book we have ever read, we do not remember them immediately, but these thoughts are deep inside our minds. In fact, the neurosurgeon said a certain medical procedure could stimulate our brains and cause us to access any and every memory we have acquired throughout our lifetimes. What was most amazing of all, he said that, if stimulated by such a procedure, we could even quote verbatim a book that we read several decades ago!

Due to the curse of sin, we actually use a very small percentage of our brain’s capabilities. We can only imagine the intelligence that Adam and Eve had just prior to their fall into sin. Recall what Adam did when he was just hours old: “And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field…” (Genesis 2:19,20).

Saints, our minds are powerful, so we need to be careful what we let into them, for what we let in will literally remain there for the rest of our earthly lives. “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things (Philippians 4:8).

Joshua and Jesus

Thursday, May 29, 2014

“For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day” (Hebrews 4:8 KJV).

Why did our scholarly King James translators render this verse in such an oft-derided manner?

Emulating countless others, an arrogant seminary professor once wrote a scathing article about so-called “King James Bible errors.” The wayward professor included today’s Scripture in his list of flaws: he criticized our 1611 translators by arguing that the Greek word they rendered “Jesus” should actually be “Joshua” to fit the context (the modern Bible publishers were thrilled to receive publicity and backing!).

Before we grow angry with God’s Word for being right 100 percent of the time, and before we attack the 400-year-old King James Bible, we would do well to let God teach us instead of us “correcting” Him. A quick lesson in anthroponomastics will cause us to appreciate why our King James Bible says “Jesus” not “Joshua” in Hebrews 4:8 (and Acts 7:45); the related anti-KJB remark will also be manifested as pointless.

“Joshua” is the contracted version of the Hebrew “Jehoshua” (which is pronounced “yahowshuwa”)—Hebrew is the language of most of the Old Testament Scriptures. In Greek, the language of the New Testament, “Joshua” is “Iesous” (ee-ay-sooce), and in English, “Jesus” (meaning “saviour, deliverer;” see Matthew 1:21). Interestingly,  “Jehoshua”/“Joshua”/“Iesous”/“Jesus” means “Jehovah-Saviour” (in English, we pronounce “JEHOVAH,” the name of Israel’s God, as “jahovah,” but in Hebrew, it is pronounced “yahovah”).

Today’s Scripture refers to Israel entering the Promised Land under Joshua, Moses’ successor (recorded in the Old Testament book of Joshua). According to Numbers 27:15-23, which see, Moses said Joshua was to be Israel’s “shepherd,” the man to lead Israel into God’s Holy Land to possess it (God would have then established His earthly kingdom). Historically, Israel rebelled against God by following pagan idols, thereby delaying God’s earthly kingdom. Jesus Christ—Israel’s true Shepherd (John 10:1-30) whom Joshua pictured/typified (see Acts 7:45)—will lead God’s people Israel into her Promised Land to establish His earthly kingdom (see Isaiah 35:1-10; Ezekiel 37:1-28; Hebrews 4:1-11).

Basically, our King James translators alerted us in Hebrews 4:8 that Joshua’s leadership represented Jesus Christ’s future headship of Israel. Our Authorized Version translators are hereby vindicated, and their critics still puzzled! 🙂

Blessed Reading

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

“Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand” (Revelation 1:3 KJV).

Although the book of the Revelation is a source of confusion to many, it is a source of joy for the Bible believer!

Commonly known as “The Apocalypse” (from the Greek word apokalupsis translated “Revelation” in chapter 1, verse 1), the book of Revelation is a very challenging book for so many. Actually, there are even preachers and denominations that simply ignore it because it intimidates them. They never teach the book because they claim that their members do not need to learn from it. (Revelation is so despised that John is slandered as being a “drug abuser!”)

Speaking through the Apostle John, the Holy Spirit disagreed with those who view the Revelation as a burdensome mish-mash of verses. Today’s Scripture testifies that the Revelation is a book that provides its reader with blessedness (happiness, joy). Its audience, the nation Israel (John is an apostle of Israel; Galatians 2:9), is to pay attention to its contents and obey them. John reminds them that their fulfillment is near; Israel’s program will culminate.

Although not written to or about us in this the Dispensation of Grace, Revelation should bring joy to our hearts. As people who have trusted Jesus Christ alone as our personal Saviour, and as Berean Bible students, we understand that Satan’s policy of evil has operated for the last 6,000 years. God’s original purpose and plan for creation has yet to be fulfilled. The Revelation is the “unveiling” or “appearance” of Jesus Christ: the last book of the Bible’s canon manifests the Lord Jesus Christ as the rightful King and righteous Judge; who physically returns to earth in great wrath, power, and glory; who utterly defeats prideful, rebellious creatures (Satan, his angelic rebels, and unbelieving mankind); and who literally assumes His throne in Jerusalem as KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS!

May we take the time to read the book of the Revelation in our own time, bearing in mind that it is not to or about us, but still a most enjoyable book!

Holding Fast the Faithful Word

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers(Titus 1:9 KJV).

What does “holding fast” mean in the Scriptures?

Let us briefly survey other Bible passages that shed light on the concept:

  • The Lord Jesus said, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon” (Matthew 6:24; cf. Luke 16:13).
  • Paul instructed us to support the weak” (1 Thessalonians 5:14).
  • God speaks to Satan of Job’s holding fast his integrity” (Job 2:3), and Job said, “My righteousness I hold fast, and will not let it go” (Job 27:6a).
  • Before Jerusalem’s destruction, the LORD asked through the Prophet Jeremiah, “Why then is this people of Jerusalem slidden back by a perpetual backsliding? they hold fast deceit, they refuse to return” (Jeremiah 8:5).

As we see, God’s definitions for “holding fast” are “refuse to return,” “hold to,” “support,” “not let it go.”

Satan, as his Hebrew name suggests, is “adversary,” and he has an arsenal of weapons he uses against God and His people. God the Holy Ghost wrote the Holy Bible with the intention of educating us at to what He is doing in the heaven and the earth, and what Satan is doing to frustrate His purpose and plans.

Therefore, in today’s Scripture, one of the characteristics of the bishop (frequently called “pastor”) is that he should not relinquish the rightly divided Word of God that he was first taught in his earlier years as a Christian. He should hold firm God’s Word, dispensationally studied, understood, and believed, that he may save others from Satan’s policy of evil and its deception (1 Timothy 4:16). The bishop will face intense opposition and criticism (today’s Scripture), but he must not surrender his rightly-divided Holy King James Bible for “easy-to-read” perversions and denominational systems.

Saints, let us always be mindful of the faithfulness of our King James Bible rightly divided, that it is worthy of our trust. May we “not let it go!” 🙂

The Greatest War Hero

Monday, May 26, 2014

“For God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8 KJV).

In the United States, today is Memorial Day, when we remember those who sacrificed their time and lives to provide our physical freedom. Likewise, as Christians, we have spiritual freedom, which was more costly. Someone had to die to give us the eternal life we now enjoy….

Scripture describes a spiritual warfare between good and evil, God’s truth program versus Satan’s lie program: “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles [schemes] of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:11,12; see also verses 13-20).

Satan distracts mankind from God’s pure Word, the Bible, keeping unbelievers lost (dead in their sins), and preventing unbelievers and Christians from knowing God’s will. The devil draws them away (seduces them) from God’s Word by using religious tradition and human “wisdom” (1 Timothy 4:1-3; cf. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5; Galatians 3:1-3).

God loves us, so at Calvary’s cross, Christ fought for us sinners, died in battle (today’s Scripture), shed His divine sinless blood, and eternally rescued us from Satan and sin: “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; and having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it” (Colossians 2:14,15).

Hebrews 9:12 says Jesus Christ has “obtained eternal redemption for us.”

If we have trusted Jesus Christ alone as our personal Saviour, God “hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son” (Colossians 1:13). Now, God can use us for His glory for all eternity.

Beloved, let us rejoice in our victory over sin, death, and hell that Jesus Christ secured for us by going to Calvary’s rugged cross! Jesus Christ is now alive forevermore—He is our Hero, the Greatest Hero!

*Adapted from a larger Bible study “The Greatest Hero,” which can be read here or watched here.

Having the Zeal of the LORD

Sunday, May 25, 2014

“And the disciples remembered that it was written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up” (John 2:17 KJV).

May we rely on our Lord Jesus Christ, that His zeal may always consume us as it does Him!

A Christian emailed me, replying to our March/April devotionals arc, “A Heart Transplant for Israel:”

“Excellent study! Can’t help but think about today’s Christian. Those that have trusted Christ have indeed had ‘heart surgery’. But there are some who could use a stint or bypass to get the blood flow healthy again. Sadly many have lost their zeal for The Lord & have forfeited Godly joy, peace, & contentment for the lies of this world.”

Indeed, today’s lukewarm Christianity is in trouble (especially younger generations such as mine). Unfortunately, many Christians have surrendered: they are tired of the opposition and criticism, and have failed to pass on God’s Word to younger Christians (cf. 2 Timothy 2:1-4). While this world is most certainly hopeless—it is headed for the seven-year Tribulation!—we Christians need not cower in fear. Beloved, the mighty Holy Spirit of God worked in and through the Lord Jesus Christ, and He will unquestionably work in and through us just as mightily if we take the time to study and believe our King James Bibles rightly divided (1 Thessalonians 2:13)!

Jesus Christ had become so consumed with, so passionate about, God the Father’s will, that He was delighted beyond words. The verse previous to today’s Scripture says, “And [Jesus] said unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father’s house an house of merchandise” (verse 16). The apostles remembered Psalm 69:9, a Messianic Psalm that Jesus had just fulfilled (“For the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up”). God purposed His Temple to be His dwelling-place, not some marketplace where people overcharged and swindled others in His name. So, Jesus cleansed the Temple, literally running out these thieves using a whip (John 2:15)!

Beloved, may we rely on Jesus Christ’s faithfulness, to have His zeal to proclaim His message of grace to this lost and dying world, and to be “zealous of good works” (Titus 2:14)! 🙂

Iniquity Not Yet Full #13

Saturday, May 24, 2014

“But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full” (Genesis 15:16 KJV).

Today’s Scripture expressly declares why the God of the Bible “takes His time” when dealing with sinful mankind.

Just as God finally had enough of the sinful Amorites and evicted them (today’s Scripture), so the unbelieving, unrighteous world will be dispossessed from God’s planet one day (the day of His wrath). Rest assured, God will right the iniquitous deeds of the world one day, just not today, not in our Dispensation of Grace.

Regarding our dispensation, God has given all of mankind nearly five times as much longsuffering as He gave the Amorites, but how mankind has squandered that goodness! “Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil” (Ecclesiastes 8:11). God has given all of mankind nearly five times as long as He gave the Amorites, to prove Himself righteous in pouring out His wrath on them.

As in Peter’s day, the Christ-rejecters still inquire about the Lord’s return in flaming fire and vengeance (2 Peter 3:3,4). Peter replied, “[5] For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: [6] Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: [7] But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. [8] But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. [9] The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

Dear friend, you can be saved from God’s wrath, so please do not reject His grace. Come by faith alone in Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork, and your iniquity will be paid in full! 🙂

Iniquity Not Yet Full #12

Friday, May 23, 2014

“But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full” (Genesis 15:16 KJV).

Today’s Scripture expressly declares why the God of the Bible “takes His time” when dealing with sinful mankind.

Webster’s 1828 Dictionary defines “iniquity” as, “injustice; unrighteousness; a deviation from rectitude.” Derived from Latin, the term conveys the idea of things not being equal or just (fair). God’s standard of rightness (righteousness) is not being met (sin, disobedience to His Word, is present). When God’s righteousness is offended, His justice meets out His wrath, that the balance be restored, that His offended righteousness be satisfied, that the injustice be corrected (that sin be punished).

Today’s Scripture is the first time the term “iniquity” appears in the Holy Bible. According to the Bible study principle of “first mention,” the first occurrence of a word in Scripture generally outlines the Bible’s (God’s) attitude about that term. Today’s Scripture says that God will only tolerate injustice for so long; our Dispensation of Grace will not last forever. Therefore, we must never take God’s grace for granted. While we in Christ will always enjoy God’s grace, today’s lost world will not experience it indefinitely.

The Apostle Paul cautioned the world’s (Gentile) nations: “[20] Well; because of unbelief they [Israel] were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear: [21] For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. [22] Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off” (Romans 11:20-22).

One day, God will “cut off” our program, His grace to the nations; He will restore Israel and resume her program (verses 15,23-29). Gentiles who do not get saved during our Dispensation of Grace, their unbelief will cause God to end our program (just as unbelief caused God to interrupt Israel’s program)—our dispensation will conclude when Jesus Christ returns to take us the Church the Body of Christ back to heaven (rapture). Lost Gentiles should accept God’s grace to us in Christ by faith, while He is still offering it to them….

Iniquity Not Yet Full #11

Thursday, May 22, 2014

“But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full” (Genesis 15:16 KJV).

Today’s Scripture expressly declares why the God of the Bible “takes His time” when dealing with sinful mankind.

Beloved, this Dispensation of God’s Grace is the greatest time in all of God’s dealings with mankind. JEHOVAH God has never been more generous. His love for lost and dying man—demonstrated at Calvary (Romans 5:6-8)—has never been more evident (Titus 3:4,5). His grace for lost and dying man—demonstrated at Calvary (2 Corinthians 8:9)—has never been more obvious (Titus 2:11). For 20 centuries, God has offered the riches of His grace, love, mercy, and peace to unloving, prideful, helpless, idolatrous, ungrateful humanity.

Many have willfully ignored the Gospel of His Grace, preferring their sins of the spirit (religious works) and their sins of the flesh. As Israel’s program fell away (albeit, temporarily) when no one else wanted to trust Jesus Christ, so our program will eventually conclude. Our dispensation will end when we, the Church the Body of Christ, are raptured into heaven, when this agency is complete (Romans 11:25). Israel’s program will resume where it paused (God’s wrath!).

Romans 2:3-6,8,9 warns: “And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest them which do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God? Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; Who will render to every man according to his deeds: … them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil….”

Paul, writing about the seven-year Tribulation period, says those who “received not the love of the truth” in our dispensation, “God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie” (2 Thessalonians 2:10,11). They will follow the antichrist in his rebellion against God, thereby receiving God’s wrath for participating in Satan’s “mystery of iniquity….”