Darkened Counsel

Friday, June 23, 2017

“Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said, Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?” (Job 38:1,2 KJV).

Can we hear God’s question echoing today?

Many years ago, a friend in the ministry was preaching at his church when a man showed up carrying several books under his arm. The man lied down on the floor and spread several books before him. After the service, my friend approached the man to learn that he had actually brought 10 different Bible translations to read. He would flip through each one! As my pastor friend began to talk to this man, he learned that the man did not actually believe any of those books… and why should he, seeing as to they all read differently?!

Modern Bible publishers have devised various clever sales pitches to advertise their products. They talk about the “up-to-date scholarship,” the thorough system of references, the nice leather cover, the online resources, the wide margins and/or large print, the “easy-to-read” wording, and so on. Yet, they will not tell you that they are actually introducing more confusion in the minds of people concerning the Bible. Why have dozens upon dozens of Bible versions? Is it really to make the Bible clearer? Certainly not, for the diversity of versions and readings make the Bible less clear. The point is, people want to produce their own sectarian or denominational handbook, and if they can change the derivative work enough, they can secure a copyright and start “cashing in” on God’s Word!

While there are many sincere, unsuspecting people in the Bible versions debate, we must also be mindful that many in the leadership know exactly what they are doing. They are not excused from their spiritual wickedness; their polluting lost and saved souls alike is not to be, and will not be, overlooked. Just as JEHOVAH God rebuked Job for rattling on and on about spiritual things he knew nothing about, so God condemns the religious leaders who make His Word harder to understand. They need to hush and study the Bible, gaining knowledge, before they start attempting to teach it to others!

Autocorrect

Thursday, April 27, 2017

“I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies” (Psalm 119:59 KJV).

When we approach Scripture, may we be willing to let it automatically correct us!

In this age of computers, especially smartphones and other personal electronic devices, we have become more associated, for better or worse, with a feature called “autocorrect.” If you have typed a word or letter by mistake, special software automatically corrects your error. This is very handy—especially if you are a poor speller. However, the downside is that the computer may misinterpret you. Perhaps you wish to spell someone’s name, a location, or a specialized term—something probably not found in the average dictionary. Or, maybe you are quoting words that were originally misspelled. Perhaps you are using a foreign word. Whatever the case, the automatic “correction” is damaging rather than helpful. “Autocorrect” would be incorrect!

Sadly, people, even professing Christians, function just like autocorrect software and “correct” the Bible. They mean well—hopefully—but they are better off not commenting about matters in which they are unskilled. They have an overestimation of their Bible understanding: they believe they are qualified to change Scripture at will. Just as the software would “think” a unique word is misspelled, so people assume they can adjust God’s words to make them fit human reasoning. This flawed approach to Scripture drives textual criticism—the “scholarly” science of “reconstructing” the Bible text that was supposedly “lost” in the centuries since the Apostles. These “restorations” are a series of critical works surviving even to this present hour—namely, Greek New Testaments (about 30 different ones) and their resulting English translations (100-plus different ones)!

It is silly to point out, but it must be said. Computer software, since it is not living, cannot approach the Bible in faith. We, however, can and should use spiritual understanding to see why the King James Bible text says what it does, before we mindlessly change what it says. Whenever we alter the Bible, we cannot fathom the depths of ignorance in which we have just placed ourselves. Friends, we do not correct the Bible; it is perfect (Proverbs 30:5,6). Brethren, we let the Bible correct us; we are imperfect (2 Timothy 3:16,17).

Believe the Translation!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

…And when there was made a great silence, he spake unto them in the Hebrew tongue, saying, (Acts 21:40b KJV).

What does the Bible say about manuscript translations?

One charge frequently leveled against the King James Bible is that it is a “mere translation.” We all know the complaint—“Language limitations prevent perfect translations from one tongue to another.” Friend, you talk about being a King James Bible believer long enough, and you will find yourself in a strange predicament. You will discover that Christians—even preachers and teachers—will denounce you for being a “translation fanatic.” Yes, as dumb as it sounds, professing Christians will criticize you for believing the Bible you can read in your own language and understand! Why?

They contend that you must appeal to the original Bible languages—Hebrew, Aramaic, and Koine Greek—to get the Bible’s “full” meaning. (This is carried over from Roman Catholicism: you must come to the priest and his “Latin” if you want to hear from God. The “Latin” is also a translation, by the way!) Ironically, the same “scholarly” people who fault you for using a Bible translation actually advertise their own pet translation. The “LXX” (“70”), commonly called the Septuagint, is the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament. Scholars often quote, not the Hebrew Old Testament, but rather the Greek Old Testament. They resort to the receptor language (Greek), when they, according to their rule, should be using the source language (Hebrew)! (After all, they tell us not to use the English Bible but rather the original Greek New Testament and the original Hebrew-Aramaic Old Testament!)

Friend, let me tell you something that you will almost never hear in any church or other Bible institution. Never, ever forget it! The Holy Bible, even in the original languages and original manuscripts, had translations within it. (Horrors!) Just look at today’s Scripture. The Bible says Paul spoke the next 21 verses in Hebrew; scholars know that Luke wrote Acts in Greek. There is no manuscript of Paul speaking in Hebrew. Evidently, God the Holy Spirit thought that that Greek translation of Paul’s sermon in Hebrew was sufficient for us to believe! Do we?

Our latest Bible Q&A: “‘If God peradventure will give them repentance…?’

An Eternal Word, To Be Preached Forever

Sunday, March 19, 2017

“I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” (2 Timothy 4:1,2 KJV).

In light of the abounding error (3:13), and considering the Scriptures can equip Christians to do God’s will (3:14-17), we are to never cease “preach[ing] [that] word!”

Two older friends of mine, a pastor and his wife, are celebrating their 30th year of ministry. I sent them a brief note voicing my appreciation of their faithfulness to upholding God’s Word rightly divided. The lady wrote back that they were thankful to Father God that younger men such as I would continue the work of the ministry once they graduated to Heaven. (Amen!)

No matter the point in human history, God has always had a testimony on Earth. Whether Noah, Elijah, or John the Baptist—all conducting ministries when so precious few believers were around—someone, somewhere, has always been preaching Almighty God’s Holy Word. They did not have a completed, written Bible, but they were faithful in sharing what divine revelation they had. How much more (!) should we—who do have a completed Bible—be faithful in declaring its truths to this lost and dying world?

Today’s Scripture makes an assumption. By commanding Timothy to “preach the word,” he would have to have the “Word” in the first place! As someone said, “There are many Bible agnostics today.” This is especially true of people in the ministry. They often do not believe they have a perfect Bible, just a “mere translation of flawed manuscripts.” While they in secret tell you that you do not have the Apostles’ original Bible in any language or version today, they publicly declare, “I believe, love, and defend the Bible.” As they privately discourage belief in Scripture, they preach from the pulpit, “The Bible is our final authority.” What foolishness!

Beloved, let us preach the “Word,” for we have the “Word” (King James Bible). Just as God’s words will last forever (Matthew 24:35), those words will always have a testimony in a human somewhere. If not us, God will have someone else do it! 🙂

Resolute to Speak in Christ!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ (2 Corinthians 2:17 KJV).

Despite all the corrupters, we will keep God’s Word pure!

I periodically receive emails from discouraged grace believers, people “beaten up” by denominationalists. Whether in-person or on social media, they have encountered much opposition. (I know!) Individuals constantly attack the King James Bible as “faulty” and “a mere translation.” Jesus Christ’s crosswork means nothing to them because their religious works mean everything to them. There is much anti-grace rhetoric (legalism). Individuals viciously ridicule the Apostle Paul. Dispensational Bible study is questioned and denigrated as “nutty” and “cultic.”

This should neither surprise nor discourage us. Whether today, or throughout Bible history, very few follow Father God. Never forget, my dear brethren, Noah preached for 120 years, and all he converted was seven precious souls (2 Peter 2:5)! Untold millions mocked and refused to hear him, thus perishing in the Great Deluge. Pride kept them from entering that Ark, eternally damning them. Even today, pride keeps billions of lost people from being saved by trusting Christ as personal Saviour (1 Timothy 2:4). Moreover, pride prevents millions of Christians from “coming to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4).

Some 2,000 years ago, people were “wresting” (perverting) the Scriptures—especially Paul’s epistles—to their spiritual destruction (2 Peter 3:15,16). When we learn of so many people today vilifying Jesus Christ, the King James Bible, Paul, and dispensational Bible study, we recall today’s Scripture: “For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.”

A disheartened grace believer recently wrote to me concerning the hostility: “After it’s done beating me up a bit I tend to try to redouble my resolve to know the word of grace.” In other words, the opposition motivates him to endeavor to learn about God’s grace even more! (It took me years to gain that same attitude, but I agree 1000 percent!!) The more they question God’s truth; the more we reinforce it in our minds, over and over and over again. Daily, constantly, eternally! 🙂

Sifted Saints #4

Sunday, March 12, 2017

“And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren” (Luke 22:31,32 KJV).

What is Satan’s goal here?

“Simon, Simon” underscores the seriousness in Jesus’ voice. After delivering to Peter the grim news about Satan wanting to split up the Little Flock—mainly by attacking its leadership, the 12 Apostles—the Lord comforts His chief Apostle. Not many people notice, but the Lord, in today’s Scripture, revealed that He had prayed specifically for Peter ahead of the impending ordeals. But I have prayed for thee….” (We do not read the actual prayer, although it preceded today’s Scripture.) Jesus prayed for Peter (remember, “thee,” singular), rather than the whole group (“you,” plural, as in modern versions).

“[T]hat thy faith fail not….” We are not to suppose that Peter’s faith will be unwavering (because, as we know, it was not). The implication is that he will fall; hence, his “converting,” or turning around, will be necessary. However, because of Jesus’ prayer, Peter’s denial of God’s only begotten Son will not be continuous. “[A]nd when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.” We know that, after he denied Christ, Peter went out and “wept bitterly” (Luke 22:62; cf. Matthew 26:75; Mark 14:72). Although not recorded in the Bible, we can assume that Peter was “converted” (moved from denier to embracer) sometime after.

When Peter would be turned around, re-oriented toward the right way, Jesus told him to strengthen his brethren. Those brethren would be vulnerable to Satan’s further assaults, but with Peter, their leader, now restored in faith, they would be also rescued from additional spiritual harm. Peter could encourage them to remain having faith in Christ. In fact, he will go on to declare to them the news of the resurrected Christ (Luke 24:34)! As a powerful, Holy-Spirit-filled Apostle, he will go on to lead the 11 Apostles of Jesus Christ into the Book of Acts. Except Judas, none of the Apostles were permanently lost to Satan. In short, the Lord Jesus’ prayer was effectual!

The Devil, however, still employs “divide and conquer” to hinder believers in Christ today….

Sifted Saints #3

Saturday, March 11, 2017

“And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren” (Luke 22:31,32 KJV).

What is Satan’s goal here?

It is the night of the Lord Jesus’ arrest; He has less than 24 hours left to live. In today’s Scripture, He issues some very solemn statements to His 12 Apostles. As He speaks, He bears in mind that Satan’s schemes against Him are already coming together in other parts of Jerusalem. There is worse news to come, but He does not tell His disciples yet.

According to the succeeding verses, Jesus and His Apostles will finish eating. Suddenly, and mysteriously, Judas will leave the meal. (The 11 Apostles will assume he is going out to purchase items for the feast, or to give something to the poor—John 13:21-30.) Jesus and His disciples, singing a hymn, will go out to the Mount of Olives (Luke 22:39; cf. Matthew 26:30). They will see Judas return, leading a mob, coming to the Garden of Gethsemane to take Jesus into custody (Luke 22:47-53). In other words, this is how the 11 Apostles will learn that Judas is the traitor. As Jesus is arrested, the Bible says that all of His followers will flee in fear: “Then all his disciples forsook him, and fled” (Matthew 26:56; Mark 14:50).

During the Lord’s trial, Peter, hiding afar in the shadows, will publicly deny knowing Christ not once, not twice, but THREE times (Luke 22:53-62; cf. Matthew 26:69-75; Mark 14:66-72; John 18:15-18). Peter was the leader of the 12 Apostles (see Matthew 16:19), and often their spokesman. Now, he will gravely stumble. With one Apostle (Judas) the traitor, and another Apostle (Peter) now the denier, the remaining 10 Apostles will be severely tested to cave in as well. Potentially, all of them, being fallible humans, can permanently forsake Christ Jesus. This is a very real possibility that the Lord Jesus foresees in today’s Scripture, well in advance. His Apostles will, not surprisingly, be unfaithful. However, He reminds them that He has been loyal to them, and that, consequently, Satan will not conquer or destroy them….