The Awareness of a Temporary Earth

Thursday, April 22, 2021

“And, Thou, O Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands: they shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; and as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail” (Hebrews 1:10-12 KJV).

On this Earth Day, let us not confuse the creation with the Creator!

Today, people worldwide celebrate “environmental awareness.” According to the secular, naturalistic worldview, our planet and its sun could last many more billions of years. They claim that we have done so much damage to our planet—climate change, overpopulation, deforestation, pollution, et cetera—that we must change our attitude toward “mother earth” and change our lifestyles before we destroy her and civilization as we know it! You can sense the zeal in their message, can you not? While these people are sincere, they are wasting all of their time, energy, and resources on a temporary planet.

Let us be very clear that the Lord Jesus Christ placed man on the earth, especially the Garden of Eden, to “dress it and keep it” (Genesis 2:15). Adam was to take care of the Earth: he was God’s representative, God’s king, who had a divine commission to rule this planet for God’s glory (Genesis 1:26-28).

It was not long, however, before Satan distracted mankind from understanding God’s purpose for him. Adam began to focus on himself: like Satan, he began to “worship and serve the creature more than the Creator” (Romans 1:25). Thus began man’s continual downward spiral into spiritual ignorance. He would continually worship himself, as we well know today.

Today’s Scripture reminds us that, because of sin, this creation will pass away. The Lord Jesus Christ, however, will live forever. Why worship that which is temporary? It makes no sense! The Lord Jesus Christ gave you life, not the pagan goddess “mother earth.” Environmental awareness? Indeed, be aware that our world is temporary, as God will one day create “a new heaven and a new earth” (Revelation 21:1).

Straightened Out—At Last!

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope (1 Thessalonians 4:13 KJV).

Having departed this present world, they are free from all the effects of sin—including doctrinal confusion!

Recently, I learned of the Homegoing of a brother in Christ whose writings I have read for several years. I was initially saddened, but then realized and rejoiced he was with his Lord and Saviour! What thrilled me the most was—at last—he was straightened out doctrinally. Although saved, denominationalism and seminary (Bible cemetery!) had severely corrupted and confused him. Hence, his articles frequently abounded with “scholarly” ramblings and sectarian slants. What he intended to be a Bible study was mostly Greek or Hebrew study: he would employ complicated terms here and there. As opposed to a lesson in Scripture, it was a lecture on theology. He did not “rightly divide the word of truth” either. All these unfortunate facts hindered the Holy Spirit from working through him more fully. Now, however, things have changed for him! Never again will he be spiritually puzzled!

Praise the Lord! The next time we see the saints who have graduated to Heaven, no doctrinal error will be present to divide or confuse us. Here is one more reason to “sorrow not, even as other which have no hope.” Continuing after today’s Scripture: “[14] For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. [15] For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. [16] For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: [17] Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. [18] Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”

The Withered Right Hand #5

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

And it came to pass also on another sabbath, that he entered into the synagogue and taught: and there was a man whose right hand was withered (Luke 6:6 KJV).

What can this account of the withered right hand teach us?

Israel’s Sabbath-Day observance was to remind them of the Creation Week, their role in God’s purpose and plan for creation (recall Exodus 20:8-11). They were God’s earthly people, and obligated to keep the Law of Moses, of which the Sabbath was the sign. By deliberately performing a miracle on Saturday, Jesus was pointing to His Millennial Reign, what the Sabbath previewed (cf. Hebrews 4:1-10). Israel would be restored to service! Every week, the Jews were to meditate on God’s Word, the Hebrew Bible, and be mindful of the LORD’S will for them. Alas, they became too preoccupied with their religious works. They were therefore unable to appreciate Christ healing the withered right hand on the Sabbath!

“And looking round about upon them all, he [Christ] said unto the man, Stretch forth thy hand. And he did so: and his hand was restored whole as the other. And they were filled with madness [insanity!]; and communed one with another what they might do to Jesus (Luke 6:10,11). “Then saith he to the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it forth; and it was restored whole, like as the other. Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him (Matthew 12:13,14). “And when he had looked round about on them with anger, being grieved for the hardness of their hearts, he saith unto the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it out: and his hand was restored whole as the other. And the Pharisees went forth, and straightway took counsel with the Herodians against him, how they might destroy him (Mark 3:5,6).

Here is the callousness or mercilessness of people obsessed with religion; they rejoice not in God’s deliverance of suffering sinners. After seeing Christ heal the man, they are outraged He has broken their religious rule, and thus begin plotting Jesus’ execution! Saints, may we not be foolish as they were. Let us have eyes to see, ears to hear, and hearts to believe the value of the withered right hand made whole! 🙂

The Withered Right Hand #4

Monday, April 12, 2021

And it came to pass also on another sabbath, that he entered into the synagogue and taught: and there was a man whose right hand was withered (Luke 6:6 KJV).

What can this account of the withered right hand teach us?

Today’s Scripture (cf. Matthew 12:10; Mark 3:2) says it was the Saturday Sabbath. JEHOVAH God had given Israel the Fourth Commandment through Moses, chapter 20 of Exodus: “[8] Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. [9] Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: [10] But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: [11] For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.”

Through the centuries after Moses, Israel began to move away from the written Law of Moses and emphasize the so-called “oral” Law of Moses. In fact, rather than worshipping the LORD on the Sabbath, the Jews were worshipping the Sabbath itself. According to rabbinical tradition, unless concerning a life-threatening situation, medical aid was not to be rendered on the Sabbath. Therefore, when a man with a withered right hand appeared in a synagogue (Jewish place of worship), the local religious leaders saw this as a perfect opportunity to set a trap for Jesus!

“And, behold, there was a man which had his hand withered. And they asked him [Christ], saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days? that they might accuse him” (Matthew 12:10). “And they watched him, whether he would heal him on the sabbath day; that they might accuse him” (Mark 3:2). Today’s Scripture in context again: “[6] And it came to pass also on another sabbath, that he entered into the synagogue and taught: and there was a man whose right hand was withered. [7] And the scribes and Pharisees watched him, whether he would heal on the sabbath day; that they might find an accusation against him.”

Blinded by their vain religious tradition, apostate Israel refused to see the significance of the withered right hand healed….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What is the ‘flood’ of Joshua chapter 24?

Whose Appeal Do We Seek? #2

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15 KJV).

Do we aim to please God—or men?

In John chapter 9, Christ healed a blind man, whom the unbelieving Pharisees subsequently persecuted: “[19] And they asked them, saying, Is this your son, who ye say was born blind? how then doth he now see? [20] His parents answered them and said, We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind: [21] But by what means he now seeth, we know not; or who hath opened his eyes, we know not: he is of age; ask him: he shall speak for himself. [22] These words spake his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue.

As opposed to seeking man’s appeal, today’s Scripture exhorts us to be “approved unto God.” If we lack God’s approval, however, He considers us a “castaway:” “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway” (1 Corinthians 9:27). Our service is unacceptable to the Lord who died for us and rose again (2 Corinthians 5:15). Having our fellow man’s applause, we are practically useless to our Saviour’s cause! Brethren, let us be mindful of the following passages.

“Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free” (Ephesians 6:5-8). “Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God; And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ” (Colossians 3:22-24).

Whose Appeal Do We Seek? #1

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15 KJV).

Do we aim to please God—or men?

A famous Christian musician once declared that, although he was not ashamed of his faith, he wished to create music with a “universal appeal.” Whether Christian, atheist, Buddhist, or whatever, he wanted all people to enjoy his songs. Another well-known Christian musician disliked his band being labeled “Christian” because that would discourage non-Christians from listening to their work. A celebrity Christian counselor once explained why his writings contained no Scripture verses. Had he included Bible references and quotes, his literature would have had a much smaller audience and his unsaved peers would have never endorsed him!

These are but a few examples of the pitfalls of Christian “fame.” While we might have started out with good intentions, increasing popularity causes us to run the risk of compromising the truth so as to continue “broadening our appeal.” Once endeavoring to draw people to behold the glory of God, we now seek to lure them to see the glory of self. The stigma of being an “outcast for Christ” is simply too much for us to bear. Hence, at the expense of the Lord’s approval, we strive to continue charming our fellow man! Unfortunately, doctrine means nothing to us at that point, for our goal now is to say and write whatever will grow our church, ministry, business, social life, and so on. We remember those striking words of Christ uttered so long ago, just as applicable today: “Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets” (Luke 6:26).

Never should we forget the major thrust of John 12:42,43: “Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him [Christ Jesus]; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.Here is our choice, dear friends. We either love the praise of men, or we love the praise of God. It is impossible to seek both….

The Bible’s Season of New Life

Monday, April 5, 2021

“God that made the world and all things therein… he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;” (Acts 17:24,25 KJV).

May we never forget the true meaning of Eastertime!

Satan is the master counterfeiter: from Genesis to Revelation, the Scriptures reveal how the devil schemes to “be like the most High” (Isaiah 14:14). Whatever God does, Satan defiles that work by introducing false doctrine, distracts mankind from God’s truth by mimicking His actions, discourages God’s people from His ministry by using incorrect thinking patterns, and so on. Why? Satan wants the worship that God alone deserves (Matthew 4:8-10; Luke 4:5-8).

Consider Christmastime. Centuries before Christ, Satan had pagans worshipping the birth of the sun god in early winter—near the date that Jesus Christ (God the Son) took upon human flesh in the virgin Mary’s womb! Now, consider Eastertime. Centuries before Christ, Satan had pagans worshipping fertility deities and new life in early spring, near the date that Jesus Christ (God the Son) died for our sins and resurrected victoriously over sin, death, hell, and Satan to give us new life! (To Satan’s delight, today’s average church member is not mindful of relevant sound Bible doctrine during Christmastime and Eastertime—the devil’s distractions have never lost their efficacy!)

The God of the Bible instituted in Israel a festival, Passover (the killing of a spotless lamb and its bloodshed in early spring), while they were still in Egypt (Exodus chapter 12)—Passover’s annual observance reminded them of JEHOVAH delivering them from Egyptian slavery unto new life. Israel did not understand its meaning until 1,500 years later. The true Passover lamb, Jesus Christ, died and shed His sinless blood during that annual Passover feast (early spring), and He resurrected in new life to give them spiritual life and liberty.

Yes, the pagans may have “hijacked” this time of year for the devil’s glory, but we can disregard their ignorance: spring is God’s season for new life. We can still use this season to bring the God of the Bible glory by remembering that He has given us physical life (today’s Scripture), and He offers us new life (that is, spiritual life) through Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection! 🙂

Saints, please remember us in your monthly giving—these websites do cost money to run! 🙂 You can donate securely here: https://www.paypal.me/ShawnBrasseaux, or email me at arcministries@gmail.com. Do not forget about Bible Q&A s for sale at https://arcgraceministries.org/in-print/s-bible-q-a/. Thanks to all who give to and pray for us! By the way, ministry emails have really been backed up this year. I am handling them as much as humanly possible. Thanks for your patience. 🙂

The Last 12 Verses of Mark

Monday, March 29, 2021

Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils (Mark 16:9 KJV).

What should we conclude regarding Mark 16:9-20?

Dear friend, if you have a study Bible, or a version other than a King James Bible, you have probably encountered a disconcerting annotation at Mark 16:9-20. For 140 years, modern English Bible versions have placed an ominous marginal note or footnote at this Longer Ending. The comment reads something to the effect of, “The two oldest and best manuscripts lack these verses.” Some versions also provide an alternative reading, commonly called the Shorter Ending. Still, others may add between verses 14 and 15 something known as the Intermediate or Expanding Ending (Freer Logion).

Up until the mid-20th century, most “scholars” were open to the possibility John Mark wrote past 16:8. However, additional human wisdom and speculation caused them to change their consensus. Now, nearly all Bible “scholars” believe John Mark stopped writing at verse 8. Consequently, verses 9-20 (Longer Ending) are rejected as “spurious,” “doubtful,” “not genuine.” (They also refuse the “Shorter Conclusion” variant and the “Intermediate/Freer Logion/Expanded Conclusion” variant.) Yes, imagine that! We have Bible unbelievers, Bible doubters, leading Christendom!

Such animosity toward Mark 16:9-20—the King James Bible ending—began way back in the A.D. first century, when John Mark first wrote it. Its dispensational nature ignored, denominationalists and apostates struggling to harmonize it with Pauline doctrine, they finally excised (removed) the troubling passage from some manuscripts. Yet, even today, we find those last 12 verses of Mark supported in the ancient testimonies of dozens of early church fathers, hundreds of Greek manuscripts of Mark chapter 16, thousands of ancient Bibles with Mark chapter 16 in other languages (Syriac, Latin, et cetera), and thousands of ancient Greek lectionaries (not full Bibles, but rather books containing excerpted passages of Scripture). In fact, only two Greek manuscripts omit Mark 16:9-20—Codices Vaticanus and Sinaiticus (and, when closely examined, are seen to really be neither oldest nor best!).

In summary, 99.9% of the extant Greek witnesses support Mark 16:9-20. We accept these verses as authentic, truly inspired of God, and part of Mark’s original autograph! As always, we are careful to handle them dispensationally.

Special edition Bible Q&A #825: “Does Mark 16:9-20 belong in the Bible?” (120-page PDF)

Concerning our New Testament Survey Project, I recently finished teaching the Book of Mark. That final study was a defense of Mark 16:9-20. This 200-minute video can be watched below.

That They All May Be One! #10

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me (John 17:20,21 KJV).

What exactly is this unity?

Contrary to popular belief, the harmony or accord of which Jesus spoke in John chapter 17 was not Bible believers setting aside doctrine so as to unite with heretics and apostates. Rather, it was the reunification of the peoples of Israel and Judah, the divided kingdoms joined together as they were in the days of David. Through the Apostles’ preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom—Jesus is Christ, the Son of David—their converts would return to Father God and thus submit to the Davidic dynasty as before. Ultimately, this will occur during the Millennium.

Re-read John chapter 17: “[16] They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. [17] Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. [18] As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. [19] And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.” We must not throw away sound Bible doctrine, for true Christian unity is based on the truth (cf. Ephesians 4:3-6). Thus, it is impossible to make all beliefs equivalent: all religions and denominations cannot be accepted without reservation. The Bible is specific in its teachings; therefore, we conclude doctrine matters (Romans 16:17,18; Galatians 1:6-9; 1 Timothy 6:3-5; 2 Timothy 3:1-5; 2 Timothy 4:1-4; Titus 3:9-11; et al.). Remember, the division between Israel and Judah occurred because of Solomon’s false religions, epitomized as: “Doctrine does not matter. Let us all gather around any and every god. All religions are the same anyway!”

Nay, brethren, we bring to mind the stern warning in Scripture: “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?” (2 Corinthians 6:14,15).

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What does ‘by and by’ mean?

That They All May Be One! #9

Friday, March 26, 2021

Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me (John 17:20,21 KJV).

What exactly is this unity?

One purpose of the New Covenant is to rejoin Israel and Judah, redeem them through Jesus Christ’s shed blood, and forgive their sin debt incurred under the Old Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-34; cf. Hebrews 8:8-13; Hebrews 10:1-39). Sin split them from God, and also divided them into two kingdoms and two nations. Yet, God’s grace will cover those transgressions and restore all 12 tribes under one King, the Lord Jesus Christ, to become one born-again nation. Returning to the Promised Land, they never again leave it because of Gentile captivity (Jeremiah 32:36-44; Ezekiel 36:16-38; et al.).

Although unbelieving, High Priest Caiaphas was used of the Holy Spirit to describe Jesus’ impending death: “And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all, Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation; And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad (John 11:49-52).

Believers from Israel and Judah, dispersed worldwide, will be made one people through Christ’s finished crosswork: “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd (John 10:16). Again, it was this prophetic unification of Israel and Judah underlying Jesus’ prayer in today’s Scripture. Speaking of that Millennial reconciliation and blessing of Israel and Judah, Psalm 133:1 exclaims, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!”

Let us summarize and conclude this devotionals arc….