The Rock and the It

Matthew 16:18 And I say unto thee, That thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. The two most misunderstood words in this passage are rock and it. Who is the rock? Some say it is Peter. Well who does Peter say the rock is? I Peter 2:6-8 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed. Paul says Christ is the only foundation in I Corinthians 3 and in I Corinthians 10:4 and that Rock was Christ. Moses in Deuteronomy 32: 3-4 Because I will publish the name of the LORD; ascribe ye greatness unto our God. He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgement: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.

Now that we have established that Jesus Christ is the Rock what about the it. Is it the church? Is the church trying to get into Hell? Or is it trying to escape? Neither makes any sense. And whole congregations have been wiped out and churches have shuttered their doors. The church which the Lord raptures is the Laodicean age, a church on the brink of disaster! Peter will once again explain who the it is.  Peter quotes Psalm 16:10 then in Acts 2:31 and 32 he gives the fulfillment- He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we are all witnesses. Who went to hell then escaped. Jesus! He bore our sins like the scape goat, took them to hell, then took the keys and went triumphantly out the GATES! The gates of Hell could not prevail against Christ. The church is human and will fail but Jesus never fails!

Love thy Neighbor

I have taken the stand that since the Bible commands us to assemble together we ought to do it. It doesn’t say assemble apart but together. Others have taken this stand also. But those who revere science over God have given us a scolding even using Bible text. The old saw is a text without a context is a pretext. I was told that I was wrong because the Bible says Thou shalt not kill. Of course this is specifically murder and I have murdered no one. A preacher in Florida had the sheriff, no doubt an accomplished theologian, tell him he was to love his neighbor as himself upon his arrest. For holding a church service. Got that? Some older Romanian Christians who had fled the iron curtain said the Chicago church raids reminded them of the communist rule.

So you want us to obey Christ’s command to love our neighbors? Well let’s go to the BIBLE and see how Jesus would have us follow Him. In Matthew 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you. If we are to treat our enemies that way how much more our brethren? Look what Jesus did in Matthew 8:1-4. He touched a leper! In Matthew 25:36 we read I was sick, and ye visited me. Now back to Matthew 7:12 Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets​.

If I was sick I would want someone to visit me. If I was in a nursing home I would want someone to visit me. If I was bombarded with the doomsday predictions of the media and government I would want an open church to go to. In closing look at John 13:1, one of the sweetest verses of the Scriptures- Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end. He had an unlawful assembly. He instituted the Lord’s Supper. He washed the disciple’s feet (and we should too). This is how we love our neighbors. Take care of the sick and visit them. Give them words of encouragement. Meet together for prayer and worship. And remember that in Luke 7:11-15 Jesus attended a funeral. I pray that this is a blessing and encouragement to you.

Another Testament or Another Koran?

I have been doing some studies of the history of different religions and have found some striking similarities. One is the vision of angels. Now Galatians 1:8 says But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.

Now when one looks at the title page of the Book of Mormon you will see “another Testament” written. The missionaries will tell you that God wrote one Testament for the Western hemisphere and one for the Eastern. But I would like to contend that it is not another Testament but another Koran. The first thing to notice is that both Joseph Smith and Mohammed had a vision of an angel. Both of these men where active polygamists. Both said the angel told them marry a woman who was not eligible. Both these men built up armies and were charged with treason and insurrection. And both acquired tremendous wealth by their revelations. Joseph Smith would go so far as to have other men’s wife’s to cover his polygamy! Joseph Smith never completely left his occultic past nor dis Mohammed leave his idolatry. He continued to worship Allah the moon god and to require pilgrimage to the Kaab. To this day Muslims still bow down and kiss a holy rock and holy shrines. This of course is just a surface study but the information is out there for you to find. And if you want another connection to an angel appearance Loyola saw an angel in a cave while worshipping Mary and started the Jesuit branch of the Catholic Church. I hope this gives you a stimulus for further study.

Food for Thought III Creature or Creation

I I Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new. Galatians 6:15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.

Many new translations will change creature to creation  in these texts. You may ask what is the difference? This is a point of doctrine we will attempt to explain. Now when I got saved in 1979 I was a short white male with blue eyes and dark curly hair. After I got saved I was still a short white male with blue eyes and dark curly hair. I was not a new creation but praise the Lord I was a new creature! The change was on the inside, I was born again, I had new desires and a new destiny. My soul was circumcised from my flesh, my spirit was renewed and Christ by means of the Holy Spirit took up permanent dwelling in my heart. I was able to understand and enjoy the Bible with out man’s help because God Himself was teaching me.

Now as to the doctrinal importance. By the way doctrine is not a bad word. Doctrine and doctrines is found 56 times in the Bible. The Jehovah Witness and Seventh Day Adventists​ teach that the body and soul are the same thing and that when the body dies you cease to exist until the resurrection when God recreates you from his memory. That will work if you are a new creation rather than a new creature. But as you see in I Thessalonians 5:23 the soul is not the body nor is the soul the spirit. After you die the soul goes to Heaven or Hell and stays there forever. Yes one little change like this can affect vast areas of truth and lead people to deny a basic fact of God Almighty and his judgement.

Random Thoughts

Just some random thoughts about current events. I notice that the media is giving a lot of attention to a man with no medical background or training about his thoughts on the Corona Virus. On the Fiddler on the Roof in the song If I were a Rich Man he sings that people would be coming to him for advice and it would not matter if he were right or wrong because if you’re rich they think you really know. So Mr. Gates, a billionaire, gets air time about universal inoculation for the virus. I suppose he may have some experience because Microsoft has been fighting viruses for years. Maybe Appears could help him.

Also every dark cloud has a silver lining. Even with gun and ammo sells up there have been no school shootings! I don’t recall any mass shootings since the lock down.

Kudos to barbers and hair stylists for their stand for liberty! It is amazing to me how a profession that earns a living specifically by pleasing people have the gumption to stand up to government over reach.

We also have seen how many children are thriving under the enforced home schooling. Many who need special attention, flexibility of schedule, and freedom from bullying and social stress are doing wonderfully at home. While home schooling isn’t for everyone neither is public or private. Let the state lay off and give more freedom to parents.

Does anyone remember a movie from the’90s where a world ruler called Dr. Wellness forbids any physical contact including kissing? He brings in a cop from the past to fight some criminals because no one knows how to deal with violence. Just kinda sounds like where we are going.

Finally I would like to give a word of thanks to Almighty God. I don’t know anyone who has contacted COVID. No one I directly know has died from it. I still am working, and lots of overtime too. My bills and mortgage are current. Many people are suffering from the current situation and my heart goes out to them. But there is a Good in Heaven that loves you and cares for you, who knows when a sparrow dies and how many hairs are on your head. I hope you got a few laughs and some encouragement. Remember: God is good-all the time.

Food for Thought II the Trojan Horse

I call this deception the Trojan Horse because it is the one that is usually used to trap people into the “Greek is better” lie. As you will remember the Greeks when they could not breech the walls of Troy decamped and left a large wooden horse which had men hiding inside. When the Trojans brought the horse inside the city walls one warned I don’t trust the Greeks even when they come bearing gifts. That night the Greeks came out of the horse and opened the gates for their buddies and destroyed the city. Even so many have had their faith in the Bible destroyed by this Greek trick, including men who claim to be King James only.

This is the trick. It is to claim that you can’t fully understand the text because unfortunately the English uses one word for love while the Greek uses two (in this text. The third Greek word porneo is not in the New Testament). Of course when the King James Bible uses the word charity they say it is unfortunate that they didn’t use the word love. You just can’t please some people.

So they take you to the Gospel of John 21:15-17. The lesson will be the difference between agape and phileo. Jesus asks Peter three times if he loves Him. Three times Peter answers that he loves Him. The first two times Jesus uses the word agape and the third time phileo. Peter answers all three times phileo. So we loose something in the translation! Well did we lose something in the translation when John translated it from Hebrew or Aramaic into Greek? Well we are told that agape is pure exalted love but phileo is just a fondness. Really? Look at John 3:19. Men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. The love here is agape love. So the lesson goes that Jesus is asking for agape love but can never get it out of Peter. How do we know that it is not the other way around? Maybe Jesus wanted phileo love all along and just wanted Peter to admit it. We know that neither of these is correct because of the context. In verse 17 it says Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, lovest thou me? The thing that grieved Peter was being asked the THIRD time, not  phileo instead of agape. By going to the Greek you miss the obvious that Jesus asked Peter three times if he loved Him because Peter had denied Him thrice. But this kind of teaching will put you in the mode of thinking that you must go to a Greek scholar for knowledge of the Bible. When William Tyndale did the first translation work of putting the Bible into English (after Wycliffe) he said he would make it so a plough boy would know more Bible than the priests. His vision was accomplished. He knew his work needed to be polished, and this was finished with the Authorized Version of 1611. I pray that this has been a help to you. I’m

A Word On Protesters

Recently I have been reading about the anti-lockdown protests and the government response to them. In I Kings 12:1-20 the children of Israel come to meet their king with a reasonable request. The King spurns the good advice of the old men and takes the advice of the young and it ends in disaster. Some politicians applaud these protests and others condemn them. What can we learn? Now in context we are given the first amendment right to peacefully ​assemble and address the government for grievances. Some were in horror because these citizens were armed, and had no masks. Yet there was no violence not outbreak of sickness. Let us go back a few years and​ look at another protest with masks and no firearms. In Charlotte NC and several other cities citizens (who had firearms) made various protests only to be met by Antifa and other violent groups. There were no shots fired yet many (including a journalist) were injured by shields, boards, fists, and plastic bottles filled with cement. Who is the Nazi and who is the law abiding patriots? Remember that if freedom of speech is denied to any it is denied to all. If a governor or mayor is frightened by opposition then perhaps they should consider the fact that they have over reached their authority. To be clear I am against violence, but sometimes a message needs to be sent to those in office.

Food for Thought Part I

Recently my wife had a discussion with a relative in which he said he refused to argue about Bible translations. And while I understand that one may not wish to argue you most certainly should consider the evidence. For they do not all ” say the same thing just in a different way” as I was taught as a child. Now he had a unique argument for his position. It was ​that no matter which version he used it would defeat the Devil. Now I have never sat down with the Devil and quoted different versions to him but I would like to venture two thoughts on this.

First if I would use the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God Ephesians 6:17, or Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee,  Psalms 119:11, that word must be there! If I want to stay out of jail I would plead the Fifth but if I want to stay out of Hell I must plead the blood of Jesus Christ. What if the blood is missing from Colossians 1:14 and other places? Or whoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved Romans 10:13? What if your version leaves out the word Lord in Luke 23:42 when the repentant thief calls for salvation? What if I want to proclaim the deity of Christ and your version leaves out the word begotten in John 3:16 or completely leaves out I John 5:7 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. There are many words and even whole verses left out in modern translations​, like the last seven verses of Mark 16. You can not fight with something that is not there. Go to Bible Hub and you can easily check out these differences.

Secondly the Devil also knows the Bible better than you. He quoted Psalms to Jesus, who replied with Deuteronomy. But when he came to Eve he said Yea hath God said. Then proceeded to misquote the Almighty. Eve used his version and left out the word “freely”. Then the Devil told her that God would not be so severe “Ye shall not surely die” then goes on to disparage God’s character. We all know the miserable end to that first attack upon the word of God. This is just food for thought. I will leave some more in the future, God willing. I leave you with Jeremiah 26:2 Thus saith the Lord; Stand in the court of the Lord’s house, and speak unto all the cities of Judah, which come to worship in the Lord’s house, ALL the words that I command thee to speak unto them;DIMINISH NOT A WORD: (emphasis mine) I pray that this is a blessing to you

An Empty Tomb and an Empty Church

John 20:19 Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. Verse 24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. It is a sad thing to see so many empty churches when we have such wonderful news “He is not here, but is risen.”!. The message is the same, and still proves that Jesus is the way, the only way, it still delivers souls from hell, lives from misery, and mankind from sin. So why are churches declining and empty and shuttered? Why do people stay home for fear of the government in a supposedly free country. Why do brethren condemn the brethren who are brave enough to defy tyranny and obey God? Remember Thomas. He missed the blessing of seeing the risen Christ at the first meeting and would have missed the second time if he was not there. But on that second time he makes the strongest statement on the deity of Christ in the Bible “My Lord and my God.” If you can’t meet in public meet in secret. Do like Paul and invoke your rights as an American citizen. And above all get back to preaching the Bible. For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth. Where of he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead. Amen and Alleluia.

Antisocial Distancing

Hebrews 10:25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much more as ye see the day approaching. I am reminded of the great hymn We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing. How about some of our great patriots? We have nothing to fear but fear itself. We must all hang together or we will all surely hang separately. Is life so sweet or peace so dear to be purchased at the cost of chains and bondage? My spiritual ancestors were publicly whipped for preaching on the streets. Sheriffs road horses into the meeting house and shoved a whip down the pastor’s throat while he was praying. Men met secretly in caves and were smoked out and brutally tortured and killed. In our wonderful country whole congregations joined the fight for liberty so that you and I could peacefully assemble and worship God Almighty without government interference. Now if a church has many elderly and infirmed and chooses to suspend meeting for a short period that is between them and God and is no one else’s business. If a church chooses to continue meeting it is also no one else’s business, especially not the government’s! The Communists in China require the churches to be registered and are even telling them to change the Bible. They told the home churches they could meet online (how sweet to have their permission) and then used it and the COVID-19 ruse to round them up. Are we to follow the communist policy on religion? Are we going to register our church and ask the government for permission to meet during a non-event? Control is the issue not safety. And of all times during a disaster the head of state should be asking for a day of prayer. I served in the Navy during the Cold War. I remember reading about a veteran putting up the hammer and sickle when Obama shoved his unaffordable health bill down our throats. I see a full blown socialist running for office and praising Russian and Chinese dictatorships. I do believe that if you love the Bible and love freedom you are, like me often lifting up your eyes to Heaven and praying with John even so come Lord Jesus. Who will be the head of your church, the state or the Lord?