Joy to the World! #2

Thursday, December 12, 2019

“Sing unto the LORD with the harp; with the harp, and the voice of a psalm. With trumpets and sound of cornet make a joyful noise before the LORD, the King. Let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. Let the floods clap their hands: let the hills be joyful together Before the LORD; for he cometh to judge the earth: with righteousness shall he judge the world, and the people with equity” (Psalm 98:5-9 KJV).

The second verse of the classic Christmas carol highlights today’s Scripture.

“Joy to the earth! the Saviour reigns;
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat the sounding joy.”

When Adam sinned, sin entered the world, and death by sin (Romans 5:12), plunging creation into suffering. What God had intended to last forever was now languishing away and dying off! “For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth together in pain until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit…” (Romans 8:22,23).

We humans, pinnacles of God’s creatures, are so ungrateful to our Creator. Even in such a fallen state, our universe is amazingly complex and it is a miracle it even functions at all with its abounding impediments! Rather than praising our Creator for giving us life, we complain about our “problems” and then write books, display billboards, and give lectures about His “non-existence.” We mock His name, laugh at His Bible, stick out our tongues at Him, and wag our fingers in His face. Newsflash—God will not tolerate that forever!

In His own time, Almighty God will make all things right. That means getting rid of that which (and who) is wrong/evil. As 1 Timothy 6:14,15 say: “…the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords;” No matter what mankind does—cooperate with Him by faith, or protest by throwing a tantrum in unbelief—God has already determined what He is going to do. Jesus Christ, whether people like it or not, will be King over all creation!

Signs of Shallowness #4

Friday, November 15, 2019

Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. 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. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. 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 (Hebrews 5:11-14 KJV).

Behold the signs of shallowness!

We can understand why atheists, agnostics, and other skeptics are spiritually immature. Unless they seek to “disprove” it, they actually do not read the Bible. They often do not attend church, and are less likely to be exposed to “Christian” teaching. We do not expect them to be skilled in the Scriptures. Yet, here is a real dilemma, something even they find unbelievable. Actually, for this reason, people despise the Bible and have no time for Christians. What is this problem?

How is it that individuals who attend church regularly still wind up clueless about the Scriptures? How can preachers who have been in ministry for 30 or 40 years, look like fools when Bible critics tear them apart for their ignorance? How is it that people who claim to “believe the Bible” often live worse than those who never frequent church or believe in any “god?” They are not using God’s Word, God’s way.

God has designed His Word to spiritually mature His people: there is a “Divine design for the edification of the believer” in Israel’s program as well as for our current program. Romans chapter 16: “[25] Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, [26] But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:….” Here is how we grow from “babes” to people of “full age….”

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What happens after death?

Days of Usefulness #3

Monday, July 8, 2019

Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;… (Ecclesiastes 12:1 KJV).

What can today’s Scripture teach us?

Long ago, he was a wise, young king (1 Kings chapter 3). However, he was not immune from sin. Making literally hundreds of terrible choices, Solomon fully aligned himself with Satan’s lie program—false religion (chapter 11). Now, in his final days, the Holy Spirit moves him to write Ecclesiastes. A parent desperately tries to reason with a rebellious child: “I have been there, I have done that, take my advice. Please do not do what I did!” Solomon warns those who are living for self (sIn!). These instructions carry significant weight in the prophetic program. Israel should resist the seduction of Antichrist and his “natural-man philosophy.” That evil world system exists now, tempting us to engage in ungodliness too.

Ecclesiastes documents man’s futile attempts to conduct his earthly life without following the Creator God. While this is atheism, agnosticism, and skepticism, it is also works-religion. As long as it is not God’s Word rightly divided, it is Satan’s lie program. With Antichrist, it will be pagan idolatry—not the absence of God but the replacement of God (Daniel 11:36-39; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-12). Antichrist and his followers will be their own rulers, doing their pleasure while appearing religious. In the end, it will be dying Solomon—sorely disappointed because, after all those years of work, nothing of eternal value was produced!

Departing Solomon confessed (my paraphrase), “I learned philosophy but did not find meaning. I amassed great material wealth but did not find happiness. I toiled acquiring entertainment and other pleasures but found no lasting peace. I found religion but no hope.” See Ecclesiastes 12:8 (the context of today’s Scripture): “Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher; all is vanity.” “Worthlessness! Emptiness! I lived apart from the Creator God’s guidance for years. Here, this earthly sojourn is over. Now, I lose everything I have gained in this natural world. All my selfish efforts have profited me nothing. My physical body is falling apart, and I wasted so much precious time. Alas, I cannot return to my youth and redo life….”

What is God Doing? #17

Monday, January 21, 2019

“Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection? It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do? deeper than hell; what canst thou know? The measure thereof is longer than the earth, and broader than the sea” (Job 11:7-9 KJV).

What exactly is God doing? Can we say? Or, must we remain clueless?

Long ago, God’s chief spirit creature—a “cherub” named “Lucifer”—said in his heart, “I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High” (Isaiah 14:12-15). We also see him in Ezekiel 28:11-19, the attractive creature who “wast perfect in [his] ways from the day that he [wast] created, till iniquity was found in [him]” (verse 15). He was “full of wisdom, and perfect in beauty” (verse 12). Verse 17 says Lucifer’s heart “was lifted up because of [his] beauty.”

Lucifer decides to attempt to usurp God’s throne. Thus, he led a rebellion in Heaven, recruiting numerous angelic beings to oppose the Creator God. Lucifer became “Satan” (adversary—Luke 10:18), he and his angelic cohorts were evicted from Heaven, and we thus read of “the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41). In Genesis chapter 3, Satan—the “serpent,” a calculating character—entices Adam and Eve (our parents) to join him in his revolt against the Creator God. Adam, the head of humanity, was not deceived: he intentionally followed his wife, Eve, in following Satan (1 Timothy 2:14). Thus, Earth was corrupted with sin—cursed with thorns, thistles, childbirth pain, sickness, and ultimate death (Genesis 3:16-19).

Romans chapter 8 comments: “[20] For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, [21] Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. [22] For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now….” Creation awaits the day of its deliverance from evil….

Bible Q&A #570: “Would God want me to share the Gospel?

What is God Doing? #16

Sunday, January 20, 2019

“Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection? It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do? deeper than hell; what canst thou know? The measure thereof is longer than the earth, and broader than the sea” (Job 11:7-9 KJV).

What exactly is God doing? Can we say? Or, must we remain clueless?

The God of the Bible is a strong advocate of free will. He does not have to be in control of every last detail of every single event. Since He is God, all-powerful, He has the right/power to give His creation permission to make its own choices. However, let it be clearly understood that, regardless of who does what, no matter how disruptive that “who” or “what” is, the Creator has purposed to accomplish a specific goal and it will be achieved in the end. His creatures can cooperate or oppose, but His counsel shall nonetheless stand forever!

Something just is not right in creation. Even without the Bible’s testimony, we can sense it. We expect there to be justice, and yet, where is it? We envisage prosperity, health, and happiness all around, and there abounds poverty, sickness, and misery. Life—no matter how long and glorious—still ends in death. Indeed, something is wrong… something is terribly wrong. What, oh what, is it?

Friends, terrible choices were deliberately made long ago. Though we had nothing to do with them, we must live with their consequences. Immediately, the Bible scoffer rises to make his case. “See, if God is loving, He would not allow such suffering, such injustice! He must therefore not be loving. If He can do nothing to stop the evil, then He must not be God!” Unfortunately for him, the God critic has not gathered enough evidence (though he thinks he has).

In his rash zeal to free himself from a holy, righteous God, he has overlooked the following counterargument: “Right choices were intentionally made long ago as well. Though we had nothing to do with them either, we must live with their consequences too.” Overall, there is a balance. The Creator God was not outsmarted, and He has certainly not been outdone either. Behold, what wisdom He has displayed for us all to see….

Joy to the World! #2

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

“Sing unto the LORD with the harp; with the harp, and the voice of a psalm. With trumpets and sound of cornet make a joyful noise before the LORD, the King. Let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. Let the floods clap their hands: let the hills be joyful together Before the LORD; for he cometh to judge the earth: with righteousness shall he judge the world, and the people with equity” (Psalm 98:5-9 KJV).

The second verse of the classic Christmas carol highlights today’s Scripture.

“Joy to the earth! the Saviour reigns;
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat the sounding joy.”

When Adam sinned, sin entered the world, and death by sin (Romans 5:12), plunging creation into suffering. What God had intended to last forever was now languishing away and dying off! “For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth together in pain until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit…” (Romans 8:22,23).

We humans, pinnacles of God’s creatures, are so ungrateful to our Creator. Even in such a fallen state, our universe is amazingly complex and it is a miracle it even functions at all with its abounding impediments! Rather than praising our Creator for giving us life, we complain about our “problems” and then write books, display billboards, and give lectures about His “non-existence.” We mock His name, laugh at His Bible, stick out our tongues at Him, and wag our fingers in His face. Newsflash—God will not tolerate that forever!

In His own time, Almighty God will make all things right. That means getting rid of that which (and who) is wrong/evil. As 1 Timothy 6:14,15 say: “…the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords;” No matter what mankind does—cooperate with Him by faith, or protest by throwing a tantrum in unbelief—God has already determined what He is going to do. Jesus Christ, whether people like it or not, will be King over all creation!

Hot Air—And Cold!

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits (Ecclesiastes 1:6 KJV).

Behold, a most curious verse in a most interesting place!

Scoffers and skeptics portray the Bible writers as primitive, bumbling ignoramuses. They were not as “sophisticated” as we, “knowledgeable” as we, “enlightened” as we. Whereas they were so “superstitious,” here we are so “scientific.” The fact is, not only do we have an inflated view of ourselves, we hold a naïve view of them.

Earth’s atmosphere circulates in a highly complicated manner. We can think of it as a series of conveyor belts stretching from pole to pole, with “cells” or “belts” swirling up and down (vertically), and north and south (horizontally). Air parcels or air masses, depending on their temperature, will rise (warm) or fall (cool). This movement—greatly influenced by the Sun, Earth’s rotation, and vast ocean basins—drives our winds and the other weather phenomena we experience (as in fronts and storms).

Interestingly, today’s Scripture, written by King Solomon some 3,000 years ago, depicts wind movement just as we understand it according to modern science. The Bible is not a science textbook, but when it speaks of science, it speaks most accurately. Notice the word “circuits.” This is the idea of circles, or loops, or (if you prefer) a series of conveyor belts passing over rollers. The wind “returns” as it cycles around—down, south, up, north; or up, north, down, south. Most aptly, they are termed “wind belts.” Depending on the latitude, north or south of the Equator, wind travels along Earth’s surface in large sweeping motions.

Attempting to grasp the complexities of our natural world is quite exhausting. Our brains are fairly limited, yet our Creator has endowed us with some ability to analyze and understand His handywork. We, being so further removed from creation than the Bible writers, are actually less enlightened. Moreover, despite our technological advances, we (like them) still struggle with the basic challenges of this fallen world. We have yet to eliminate rampant crime, ceaseless war, rank cruelty, extreme poverty, absolute starvation, and so on. The human race, as a whole, has drifted further and further from the LORD God… just like the wind!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Why did Saul of Tarsus not refuse his water baptism by Ananias?