Human Eyes Versus Divine Eyes #3

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads, And saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross. Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said, He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God. The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth (Matthew 27:39-44 KJV).

It is the same event, viewed from two different perspectives. Which assessment is reality and which is folly?

Approximately 1,000 years before Calvary, the Holy Spirit moved King David to write Psalm 22. That psalm is “Messianic,” as it is a vivid portrait of Jesus Christ’s suffering on the cross and subsequent resurrection. Christ is quoted throughout the chapter. Verses 6-8 are most interesting in light of today’s Scripture: “[6] But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people. [7] All they that see me laugh me to scorn: they shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, [8] He trusted on the LORD that he would deliver him: let him deliver him, seeing he delighted in him.”

Yea, 10 centuries in advance, the Bible predicted the very insults of Jesus’ ridiculers. They had crucified Him in unbelief, declaring at the closing moments of His trial, “We have no king but Caesar!” (John 19:15). However, Almighty God was not surprised or outsmarted. He knew beforehand His Son would be rejected. Yet, He let it come to pass. By letting sinful man crucify Jesus, God’s grand purpose would be accomplished. From man’s perspective, it appeared to be a complete failure. Israel had given His Son over to Rome, and Rome carried out His execution! Despite the outward “weakness” of Christ on Calvary (cf. 2 Corinthians 13:4), He was fighting a spiritual battle in the invisible realm.

Through man’s eyes, it looked hopeless—through Divine eyes, victory was certain….

 

Human Eyes Versus Divine Eyes #2

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads, And saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross. Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said, He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God. The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth (Matthew 27:39-44 KJV).

It is the same event, viewed from two different perspectives. Which assessment is reality and which is folly?

While describing the nations forsaking the one true God, the following passage can be applied to individuals as well: “[21] Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. [22] Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, [23] And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things” (Romans 1:21-23).

Compare this to Ephesians 4:17-19: “[17] This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, [18] Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: [19] Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.”

We can thus sense just how dark the lost or unsaved person’s soul is. Here is why the world is so messed up—abounding with deception, corruption, darkness, confusion, and evil. It is this fallen nature of man, this sin nature, that causes him to have a distorted sense of reality, an inaccurate awareness of what is actually going on around him. Today’s Scripture is just such a case. God sees one event one way (reality), but sinful man sees that same event another way (fantasy)….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What is the ‘mountain’ to be removed in Matthew 17:20?

 

Human Eyes Versus Divine Eyes #1

Monday, May 13, 2019

And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads, And saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross. Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said, He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God. The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth (Matthew 27:39-44 KJV).

It is the same event, viewed from two different perspectives. Which assessment is reality and which is folly?

The onlookers stand—and even sit!—at the foot of Calvary’s cross and mock the Lord Jesus as He hangs there. Concentrate on their reasoning. If He were the Son of God, He should be able to deliver Himself from that excruciating torture they are willfully inflicting upon Him. If He really is the Son of God, why had God not yet come to rescue Him? How could the “mighty King of Israel”—who had preached such potent sermons and performed innumerable astounding miracles—just let Himself be nailed to the cross and become “helpless?” The only conclusion they could reach is that Jesus is nothing but a fraud, an imposter, someone whom even God refuses to claim as His own. Friend, here is “natural-man” thinking. Mark well his position.

Jesus Christ was and is the Son of God. We read about His ministry beginning three years earlier: “And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased (Matthew 3:16,17). This was repeated a few years later in Matthew 17:5, on the Mount of Transfiguration. Friend, here is Divine thinking. Mark well His position.

Let us proceed to compare and contrast….

Mother: A Virtuous Woman

Sunday, May 12, 2019

“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 31 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.

I Am Italicized

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God (Exodus 3:6 KJV).

Suppose we removed the italicized word “am” here. The verse reads awkwardly now: “I… the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” Moreover, by omitting that tiny term, we have weakened a major Bible theme!

The most misunderstood and disparaged feature of the King James Bible is its italicized words. “Scholars” have told us non-Hebrew and non-Greek speakers and readers that the italicized words can be removed without damaging the Scriptures. This is not true! (But who bothers to verify that claim anyway because the vast majority believes the “scholars” are highly educated, infallible, and above suspicion?!) Suffice it to say that, during the translation process, words must be inserted into the receptor/target language to convey the sense of the original/source language. If English is to adequately capture the meaning of the original Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic, the English needs additional words.

Reading Matthew 22:23-33, we see Jesus Himself quotes today’s Scripture in verse 32: “I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.” The “am” here is not italicized! If the italicized word did not belong in Exodus, why does Matthew cite Exodus with the italicized word not italicized?

Common sense dictates that we cannot emphasize what is not there. Had we removed “am” from Exodus, we would fail to grasp the full impact of Jesus’ argument in Matthew 22:32. A major doctrine—resurrection—is no longer proven here. “Am” is present tense. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are still living in spirit form—although they had physically died some centuries before God spoke to Moses about them in today’s Scripture! (Jesus thus used this Old Testament passage to disprove the Sadducees’ belief that there was no resurrection, the erroneous notion that people ceased to exist after physical death.)

Here is one of the many strong arguments to retain the italicized words in the Authorized Version. They all belong—even the “insignificant” two-letter ones!

A Momentary Separation

Friday, May 10, 2019

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).

Yes, we sorrow, but not as “others which have no hope.”

Recently, I counseled a dear brother in Christ who has been mourning the loss of his believing wife nearly two months now. He has “his good days and his bad,” struggling with bitterness and loneliness. It was a privilege for me to remind him again of our Christian hope. She is “absent from the body and present with the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:8). We are “at home in the body and absent from the Lord” (verse 6). This is temporary; she has left us but for a moment.

We have unlimited confidence or courage. If Jesus Christ went to such great lengths to save us from our sin—and was completely victorious over sin and death—then we too have conquered sin and death. Short of His coming at the Rapture, we will age, grow sick, weaken, and die. That really does not matter. Bodily resurrection is inevitable for lost and saved alike, non-Christian and Christian alike. See the Bible’s great “resurrection chapter,” 1 Corinthians chapter 15.

Today’s Scripture and its context show us that, at the Rapture, we will be reunited with our Christian loved ones: “[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.”

Brethren, let us find boundless solace here, for herein can be found great hope! 🙂

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What does the Bible say about motherhood?

333’s 2900th – The Mutual Faith of Paul and Us

Thursday, May 9, 2019

“For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established; That is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me” (Romans 1:11,12 KJV).

Dear friends, only by God’s grace, we have arrived at devotional #2900!

The word “faith” in today’s Scripture is the body of doctrine the Apostle Paul himself believed. He desired—yea, Holy Spirit working in and through him longed—to “establish” the believers at Rome. Such a yearning applies to all Christians, whether there or elsewhere, whether in the A.D. first century or the A.D. twenty-first century. On several occasions, Paul had intended to visit Rome personally, but hindrances abounded. Verse 13: “Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, (but was let hitherto,) that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles.” Satan’s evil world system delayed him (cf. 1 Thessalonians 2:18).

Unable to travel to Rome, Paul wrote to them, and that epistle became our Book of Romans. In other words, Romans is the written form of what Paul would have spoken audibly had he had opportunity in Rome. Romans is a treatise—an exposition—of the Gospel of the Grace of God and how it impacts the world and us in particular once we believe it. If those 16 chapters were thoughtfully considered and believed, there would be far less heresy plaguing the professing church, far less confusion, far less ignorance, far less impotency, far less spiritual immaturity, and far less lost people sitting in the pews.

Over the last 2,900 days, dear brethren, we have striven in accordance with God’s grace to provide you with clear and concise Bible studies. We have endeavored to show you how the Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul looks at our world and how He would have us function in it. If we want to have Christian lives and ministries just as impactful as Paul himself did, then we must (!) pay attention to and trust especially his 13 epistles, Romans through Philemon. Therein do we find Jesus Christ preached according to the revelation of the mystery (Romans 16:25,26). May we agree with the Apostle Paul!

Saints, thank you for praying for us, and onward we go to devotional #3000! 🙂