Archive for the ‘Bible Studies’ category

The Parable of the Sower: A Biblical Rosetta Stone

March 20, 2018

The Parable of the Sower provides the Key to solving all parables.  It is a both a Biblical Rosetta Stone and a Proof-Text for Typological Interpretation

(Note: This study is excerpted from another longer post: Exalting the Person and Work of the Lord Jesus Christ: The Key of Knowledge for Unveiling the Mystery of the Bible)

Introduction

The Parable of the Sower is quite unique in a number of ways.  Discussion of it can be found in three places in the Bible….Please see: Matthew 13:3-23, Mark 4:3-20, and Luke 8:4-15.   What is unique about the Parable of the Sower is that we not only read about Jesus speaking the parable (essentially a riddle), but then we also learn how Jesus expounds on the meaning of it (Jesus solves the riddle for us).  Moreover, Jesus goes further to provide the reason why He spoke in parables, and in the process then makes it clear that He did not intend to make it possible for everyone to understand what He was saying.  Jesus clearly states that it was not His intention to save “everyone”.  Jesus also seems to have somewhat upbraided the disciples for not being able to understand the parable on their own, when in Mark 4: 13, Jesus said to his disciples, “Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables?  (We will look more into this point in the course of this study.)

In Luke 8, verses 4-8, we read that Jesus spoke the Parable of the Sower, and his disciples question Jesus about the meaning of the parable. Then Jesus answered them first by saying, in verse 10, “Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand.”

In Mark 4: 11-12, Jesus is quoted saying the same thing, but with some additional information highlighted here in bold, “Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables. That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.” 

In Matthew 13:10-16, we read the same thing, but with a cross reference from Jesus back to Isaiah 6:9-10 (see also Ezekiel 12:2). And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parable? He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias (Isaiah), which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.

In Mark 4:10 we read that Jesus, when He had just finished telling the parable of the Sower, was asked by His disciples what the parable meant; “And when he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked of him the parable.”  In Mark 4:13, Jesus gave the following response, “And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables?

Why did Jesus imply that His disciples should have known what the parable meant?  Could they have known before Jesus explained it to them?  Also, He indicated that if they did know the meaning of this parable, then they would be able to know the meaning of all parables.  What did that mean?

When we do a word study of the parable of the Sower, using a concordance such as Strong’s or Young’s (or even better yet… a personal familiarity with the Old Testament), comparing scripture with scripture (“comparing spiritual things with spiritual things” as we are instructed to do in 1 Corinthians 2:13); we find that if we search just the Old Testament (the only scriptures available at the time of Christ) we can derive essentially the same meaning of the parable as Jesus gave His disciples.  By applying the same principles to the rest of the Bible, trusting God’s Word, by faith, being led by the Holy Spirit, it would seem to be consistent that we ought to be able to learn the meaning of “all” parables.

However, please remember that the information in this Bible Study Help is not to be viewed as some kind of a cookbook “recipe,” by which we can automatically come to truth.  God is Sovereign, and in complete control of the revelation of saving truth from His Word, the Bible.  Intellectual knowledge will never save anyone (it could actually add to his greater condemnation).  May we never be as those God describes in II Timothy 3:7, “Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”   (Remember also that Jesus is The “Truth”)

Word Study, Parable of the Sower

The following explanations in this study of the various parts of the parable are provided directly to us by Jesus himself (who is the Word incarnate), but they potentially can be understood through diligent searching the Bible to see how the key words are used elsewhere and thereby derive identical meanings that Jesus interpreted for His disciples.

The Sower and His Seed: (the meaning is by interpretation: God and His Word)

Isaiah 55:10&11 For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper [in the thing] whereto I sent it.

*II Corinthians 9:10 Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for [your] food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;

The  Wayside: (The World, that which is not in “the Way”.  Remember Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life)

Psalms 140:5 The proud have hid a snare for me, and cords; they have spread a net by the wayside; they have set gins for me. Selah.

*Matthew 20:30  And, behold, two blind men sitting by the way side, when they heard that Jesus passed by, cried out, saying, Have mercy on us, O Lord, [thou] son of David.

* New Testament, only shown to reinforce illustration.

Fowls of the Air:  (Forces of Satan)

I Samuel 17:44 And the Philistine said to David, Come to me, and I will give thy flesh unto the fowls of the air, and to the beasts of the field.

I Samuel 17:46 This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel.

Job 28:21 Seeing it is hid from the eyes of all living, and kept close (concealed) from the fowls of the air.

Devour: (Destroy or Consume)

II Chronicles 7:13 If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people;

Isaiah 33:11 Ye shall conceive chaff, ye shall bring forth stubble: your breath, [as] fire, shall devour you.

Jeremiah 51:34 Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon hath devoured me, he hath crushed me, he hath made me an empty vessel, he hath swallowed me up like a dragon, he hath filled his belly with my delicates, he hath cast me out.

Zephaniah 3:8  Therefore wait ye upon me, saith the LORD, until the day that I rise up to the prey: for my determination [is] to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them mine indignation, [even] all my fierce anger: for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy.

Stony: (Hard Hearted)

Psalms 141:6 When their judges are overthrown in stony places, they shall hear my words; for they are sweet.

Ezekiel 36:26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.

Root: (Jesus Christ, the Root of Jesse)

II Kings 19:30 And the remnant that is escaped of the house of Judah shall yet again take root downward, and bear fruit upward.

Isaiah 11:10  And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.

Withered: (Dried Up, Scorched, as in the Fires of Hell)

Isaiah 27:11 When the boughs thereof are withered, they shall be broken off: the women come, [and] set them on fire: for it [is] a people of no understanding: therefore he that made them will not have mercy on them, and he that formed them will shew them no favour.

Ezekiel 19:12 But she was plucked up in fury, she was cast down to the ground, and the east wind dried up her fruit: her strong rods were broken and withered; the fire consumed them.

Joel 1:12 The vine is dried up, and the fig tree languisheth; the pomegranate tree, the palm tree also, and the apple tree, [even] all the trees of the field, are withered: because joy is withered away from the sons of men.

*John 5:3 In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water.

*John 15:6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast [them] into the fire, and they are burned.

Thorns:  (Cares of This World, and the Snare of False Gospels)

Genesis 3:18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;

Judges 2:3 Wherefore I also said, I will not drive them out from before you; but they shall be [as thorns] in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto you.

Proverbs 22:5 Thorns [and] snares [are] in the way of the froward: he that doth keep his soul shall be far from them.

Isaiah 32:13 Upon the land of my people shall come up thorns [and] briers; yea, upon all the houses of joy [in] the joyous city:

Isaiah 33:12 And the people shall be [as] the burnings of lime: [as] thorns cut up shall they be burned in the fire.

Jeremiah 4:3  For thus saith the LORD to the men of Judah and Jerusalem, Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns.

Ezekiel 2:6  And thou, son of man, be not afraid of them, neither be afraid of their words, though briers and thorns [be] with thee, and thou dost dwell among scorpions: be not afraid of their words, nor be dismayed at their looks, though they [be] a rebellious house.

Fruit: (Good Fruit, is the Evidence of True Salvation…and that fruit should be manifest in the winning of souls for Jesus Christ, see Proverbs 11:30)

Deuteronomy 11:17 And [then] the LORD’S wrath be kindled against you, and he shut up the heaven, that there be no rain, and that the land yield not her fruit; and [lest] ye perish quickly from off the good land which the LORD giveth you.

Leviticus 26:4 Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit.

Deuteronomy 22:9  Thou shalt not sow thy vineyard with divers seeds: lest the fruit of thy seed which thou hast sown, and the fruit of thy vineyard, be defiled.

Psalms 1:3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

Proverbs 11:30 The fruit of the righteous [is] a tree of life; and he that winneth souls [is] wise.

Proverbs 12:12 The wicked desireth the net of evil [men]: but the root of the righteous yieldeth [fruit].

Isaiah 4:2 In that day shall the branch of the LORD be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth [shall be] excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel.

Isaiah 27:6 He shall cause them that come of Jacob to take root: Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit.

Jeremiah 17:8 For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and [that] spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.

Ezekiel 17:8 It was planted in a good soil by great waters, that it might bring forth branches, and that it might bear fruit, that it might be a goodly vine.

Ezekiel 34:27 And the tree of the field shall yield her fruit, and the earth shall yield her increase, and they shall be safe in their land, and shall know that I [am] the LORD, when I have broken the bands of their yoke, and delivered them out of the hand of those that served themselves of them.

*Matthew 3:10 And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

*II Corinthians 9:10 Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for [your] food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;

Other verses to ponder:

Romans 15:4, “For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.

I Corinthians 10:11, “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.

Psalms 19:11, “Moreover by them is thy servant warned: [and] in keeping of them [there is] great reward.” (please, if at all possible, read all of Psalms 19 and 119)

Psalms 37:30, “The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgment.

Ecclesiastes 8:5, “Whoso keepeth the commandment shall feel no evil thing: and a wise man’s heart discerneth both time and judgment.”

Hebrews 12:25, “See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more [shall not] we [escape], if we turn away from him that [speaketh] from heaven:  Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more (Judgment Day) I shake not the earth only, but also heaven.”

Ecclesiastes 1:18, “For in much wisdom [is] much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.

Galatians 1:12, “For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught [it], but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.

I Corinthians 13:1&2, “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity (love, “agape” in the Greek), I am become [as] sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.  And though I have [the gift of] prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity (love, “agape” in the Greek), I am nothing.”  If we don’t have the Godly love (agape) of Jesus Christ in us (which is synonymous with true salvation), we are nothing.

POSTSCRIPT:

The following is a poetic note by another author that was found on the Internet about “Fruit” and “Winning Souls for Jesus Christ” that is also known as: Evangelism

Winning souls begins on our knees
Crying out to God to hear our pleas.
O’ Lord, we pray save those who are lost
Send us near and far whatever the cost.

Can we not pray but only one hour?
Rescuing the dying in God’s holy power?
It is appointed unto man once to die
O’ for lost souls we must cry!

Will a man be willing to lose everything
For one to repent and the angels to sing?
O’ believer, the day of their salvation is at hand
What will you say to the Lord when you stand?

We are bought with a price and we’re not our own
The orders have been given and we’re not alone.
God is with us wherever we are
To be a soul-winner must be our par.

Some say that soul-winning isn’t in their DNA
Tell that to Jesus, what will He say?
Brother and sister what about you?
Remember Jesus died for you too.

jimanthonykelley

 

 

 

Isaiah Chapter 29: “A Book that is Sealed”

February 16, 2018

Let’s take a look at Isaiah 29:10-12.  There we read, Isaiah 29:10, “For the LORD hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes: the prophets and your rulers, the seers hath he covered.  And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which [men] deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it [is] sealed:  And the book is delivered to him that is not learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I am not learned.

Isaiah 29 is primarily a testimony by God against the prophets, seers, and rulers (the Priests and Pharisees, the “learned ones”) who claim to understand the word of God, the Bible, but who really have no true understanding at all.  To them this “book” is “sealed,” even though they are “learned” men.  They are blind guides and the Light of Christ is not in them.  They do not have the Holy Spirit to guide them to the truth that leads to eternal life.  They do not want, nor seek, righteousness by grace through Jesus Christ alone, but rather through their own efforts through the keeping of the Law.  As a result, they are “spiritually blind” and therefore still dead in their sins.

As for the “not learned” one, there is no implication that he can do any better.  All he can say, and rightly so, is that “I am not learned.”   Moreover, regarding the “not learned,” the Bible has only unpleasant words to say.  Turning to II Peter 3:16, for example, we’ll find that regarding the understanding of scripture by such a one, “As also in all [his] (Paul’s) epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as [they do] also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.

So who then can understand this sealed book, the Bible?  The believers can.  We know this from Isaiah 8:13-16, “Sanctify the LORD of hosts (Jesus Christ) himself; and [let] him [be] your fear, and [let] him [be] your dread.  And he (Jesus Christ) shall be for a sanctuary (to the believers); but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem (those who claim to have fellowship with God, but really do not).  And many among them shall stumble, and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken.  Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples (the true believers).”  Also in Isaiah 8:20, “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, [it is] because [there is] no light in them.”  (Matthew 6:23, “But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great [is] that darkness!“)  Finally we read in Romans 11:8, “(According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day.”

Now getting back to Isaiah, chapter 29; if we go to the next two verses, verses 13&14, we read, “Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near [me] with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:  Therefore, behold, I will proceed to do a marvellous work among this people, [even] a marvellous work and a wonder: for the wisdom of their wise [men] shall perish, and the understanding of their prudent [men] shall be hid.”  To understand this passage we don’t go to men, we go to God through His Word the Bible.  In Matthew 15:7-9 (and Mark 7:6-9), we read where Jesus was rebuking the Pharisees and scribes (the learned ones, the prophets, rulers, seers of that day whom God had blinded referred to in Isaiah 29:10&11) and God records for us, “[Ye] hypocrites, well did Esaias (Isaiah in Greek) prophesy of you, saying,  This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with [their] lips; but their heart is far from me.  But in vain they do worship me, teaching [for] doctrines the commandments of men.”  Jesus also said in Matthew 23:27, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead [men’s] bones, and of all uncleanness.

A Marvelous Work and a Wonder?

As for the “marvelous work and a wonder,” God is declaring that despite the fact that so many “learned” men of Israel (who intellectually knew what the Bible says) are so blind to any understanding of what it is really talking about, God would save a remnant of all humankind (both Jews and Gentiles) for Himself.  We are told this in the concluding section of chapter 29, beginning with verses 18 and 19, where God capsulizes the essence of salvation, “And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book (the “sealed” book, the Bible), and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness.  The meek also shall increase [their] joy in the LORD, and the poor among men shall rejoice in the Holy One of Israel (the Lord Jesus Christ).”

God tells us that He would effectuate His salvation program first, marvelously (from the Hebrew word ‘pala’), by the redemptive action (the work) of the Lord Jesus Christ (as the Passover Lamb at the cross) and then, wondrously (from the related Hebrew word ‘pele,’ identified as a name for Jesus Christ in Isaiah 9:6), by “the opening of the blind eyes” (spiritually speaking) through the pouring out of His Holy Spirit on people from every nation (not just Jews) beginning at Pentecost.  Almost no learned Jew who was familiar with Old Testament would have been expecting salvation via the Messiah (Who is Jesus Christ) to be provided for anyone other than just the Jews (Gentiles are non-Jews). This knowledge was kept hidden from them (the book was sealed, they were blinded) until the era of the New Testament (even though God had spelled it out clearly in many places in the Old Testament). For proof that this is the only correct interpretation, we must first turn to Isaiah 42:6&7 where we read, “I the LORD have called thee (Jesus Christ, as the servant) in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, [and] them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.”  Then in Luke 2:30-32, we read that the devout Jewish man, Simeon, upon seeing the child Jesus in the temple at Jerusalem, declared to God under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, “For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,  Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people;  A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.

Finally, in Acts 13:38-41, we read that (after Pentecost) while Paul and Barnabas were preaching the gospel of salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ in Antioch in a Jewish synagogue, they said, “Be it known unto you therefore, men [and] brethren, that through this man (Jesus Christ) is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins:  And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.  Beware therefore, lest that come upon you, which is spoken of in the prophets;  Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish: for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you.”  Because many of the Jews did not believe, they were rebuked by God as we read in verses 46-48, “Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you (the Jews): but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.  For so hath the Lord commanded us, [saying], I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth.  And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.”  This is the true meaning of a “marvelous work and a wonder”.

                          Summary of Isaiah Chapter 29

In conclusion, we can see that the “sealed book” referred to in Isaiah, chapter 29, is the Word of God, the Bible.  We can see that the “learned one” is anyone who claims to have Biblical authority in his doctrinal pronouncements, but who is really preaching a false gospel because God has blinded him to the truth concerning salvation only through the Lord Jesus Christ.  As for the “marvelous work and a wonder”: it is God’s magnificent salvation program for “the elect of God” who are chosen by God from out of all mankind (not just the Jews).

That salvation program was wrought by God the Father through Jesus Christ His Son in the power of the Holy Spirit which effectively began in earnest about 2000 years ago (but was predetermined from the foundation of the world, and therefore covers the Old Testament believers as well, see Revelation 13:8).

Let us always remember that God is glorified by the Son, Jesus Christ.  It is Jesus whom we should believe in and come to know as our Saviour and Lord.  He is the One we should worship and honor, as saith the scriptures:

John 3:35&36, “The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.  He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

II Peter 1:2&3, “Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,  According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that [pertain] unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:

II Peter 3:18, “But grow in grace, and [in] the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him [be] glory both now and for ever. Amen.

Finally, I Peter 4:11, “If any man speak, [let him speak] as the oracles of God; if any man minister, [let him do it] as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever.


     *  Note the intimacy between Jesus and The everlasting Father that is reiterated later in: John 14:9, “Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou [then], Shew us the Father?”  John 10:30, “I and [my] Father are one.” 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.

 

(This lesson is taken from another longer blog post “Exalting the Person and Work of the Lord Jesus Christ” and is also placed here as a stand-alone study)

 

The Truth Can be Difficult to Hear, but it is Always Good to Hear!

January 1, 2018

When we read the Bible, there are a few verses that we can come upon that can stop us in our tracks and cut to the bone (Hebrews 4:12).  They are not always easy to hear, even for those who know God, but they nonetheless are always True and Good. Some verses that hit home recently include the following:

John 2:15-17, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.  And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

In this world, when things are going well, we can so easily get caught up in the love of the things of the world, the material world, and all of its material enticements.  We can easily forget how ephemeral they all are, and how these things can so quickly pass from us apart from the good grace of God Who provides them.  We can easily take them for granted, and not focus on the God (the God of the Bible) Who is the Giver of every good and perfect gift (and the eternal “good and perfect gift” from God is the salvation of souls that only comes through Jesus Christ).

James 1:17, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
The truth is that we are all earthly by nature, but we must focus on the heavenly, just as we read in 1 Corinthians 15:47-49,

The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.” 

We must catch ourselves and repent (turn away) and hate and forsake the world and its enticements and remember that it is really all so much vanity and indeed it (along with our physical bodies) will soon fade away.   Just as we read in Eclesiastes 1:1, “The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem. Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity. What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun?”  

When we stop to consider God’s Word, and what the Book of Ecclesiastes tells (along the same lines as we read above in John 1:15-17), we come to the end of that book and read in Ecclesiastes 12:13, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.
Ecclesiastes reminds us of what Jesus said in Mark 8:35-37, “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it. For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?”
(see also Matthew 16:26 and Luke 9:25)
The bottom line is that we are instructed to take up our cross as Jesus commanded in Luke 9:23, “And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.”
Let us all pray that God will be merciful to us who are unprofitable servants (as to one degree or another we are all unprofitable servants).  Please Dear God, grant us the desire and the ability to take up our crosses daily, and follow Jesus and deny ourselves in Your service. Help us to hate the world though we remain dependent on the material sustenance that God allows it to provide to us.  Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!
Let us consider, and never forget, the message given in the “Sermon on the Mount, in Mathew chapters 5:1-16,  and 6:24-34, where we read where Jesus is described and quoted as follows:

And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him:

And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

13 Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.

14 Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.

15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.

16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

 

And later in Chapter 6:24-34, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?

26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?

27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?

28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:

29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?

31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?

32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.

33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”

 

But please remember this…If all of this is too difficult to hear, beg God for mercy, because as we read in Psalm 34:18, “The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.” and in Psalm 51:17, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.”

So here is a prayer for all of us who read these Bible Studies in Bereansearching.com…

Dear Heavenly Father, Lord God, please give us the ears to hear, the eyes to see, the hearts to receive, and the willingness to be obedient to Thy Word.  In the name of Jesus Christ, thine only begotten Son, we pray.  Amen

 

Proverbs 30:4; A Rhetorical Question,Canst thou Tell?

September 2, 2017

Proverbs 30 is a bit different from the other chapters in Proverbs, and sometimes a bit difficult to follow the thread, but verse 4 stands out as unique because it asks five questions that might be hard to answer.  That is unless you know God, and His Son, Jesus Christ.

“Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? who hath gathered the wind in his fists? who hath bound the waters in a garment? who hath established all the ends of the earth? what is his name, and what is his son’s name, if thou canst tell?”

Let’s look at each question in order.

“Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended?”  Who do we know who has descended and ascended up into Heaven?  Jesus is the only one to come to Earth from Heaven and return to Heaven to sit at the Right Hand of God the Father.

“who hath gathered the wind in his fists?” Jesus, as God the Creator, is the One Who can do this, and only Him! In Genesis 1:1 we read, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”

“who hath bound the waters in a garment?” Once again, only Jesus can bind the waters and say no further…and this reminds us of what we find in Job 38: 8-14

Or who shut up the sea with doors, when it brake forth, as if it had issued out of the womb? When I made the cloud the garment thereof, and thick darkness a swaddlingband for it, And brake up for it my decreed place, and set bars and doors, And said, Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further: and here shall thy proud waves be stayed? Hast thou commanded the morning since thy days; and caused the dayspring to know his place; That it might take hold of the ends of the earth, that the wicked might be shaken out of it? It is turned as clay to the seal; and they stand as a garment.

Genesis 1:9 tells us, “And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.”

“who hath established all the ends of the earth?” Notice how Job 38:13 (above) uses those same words, “ends of the earth.”  In both cases, these rhetorical questions do have an answer…God, Who is Jesus, is THE ANSWER! Remember in John 1:1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Jesus is the Word made flesh. John1:14, “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

“what is his name, and what is his son’s name, if thou canst tell?” The answer to this question is derived from what we are informed of from throughout the Bible… that the Name is God: The Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son, Jesus Christ. and let’s not forget that we “canst tell” the answer by being blessed and informed by God’s Word (the Bible) by the Power of God, the Holy Spirit (Who testifies only of Jesus)!

There a lot more similarities with Job 38, but let’s leave it at that for now, simply remembering that, when in doubt, JESUS IS THE ANSWER.

 

 

Proverbs Chapter 8, Who Is It Really All About?

August 31, 2017

This is short for now…Please read Proverbs chapter 8 …I was awed by how clear this chapter points to only One Person.  Wisdom is the theme, and “she” speaks truth and dwells with prudence. Wisdom was there with God at the beginning of the creation of the Universe, and rejoicing always (daily) before God.

Note that it says that we can sin against widsom (How can we do that)?  And who hates wisdom? (We are told that only those who love death)

Please check this chapter out…read it for yourself and think as you read…Who is it all about?  You will be blessed for doing so.

Is There an Eternal Hell?

January 30, 2017

Is There an Eternal Hell?

There are many so-called “Christian” denominations that claim that the Bible is the Word of God, yet they totally ignore all that the Bible declares regarding Judgment Day and the associated punishment from God that will be meted out to everyone of the unsaved of the world on that “great and very terrible day of the LORD” (see Joel 2:11). It has become most unpopular to talk of God’s wrath and punishment for sin, eternal damnation, or the fires of an eternal hell. Are these just euphemisms, or are they an integral part of God’s magnificent salvation plan?

In order for someone to claim that he is “saved,” or that Jesus Christ is their “Savior,” he must have a clear idea of what he has been saved from. If he claims that he is escaping the just penalty for his sins, he is correct, for the Bible clearly teaches that “the wages of sin is death.” (see Romans 6:23) However, the Bible doesn’t stop there, because it talks of the “second death” which is the just end that awaits all sinners who remain unsaved; those whose names are not written in the “book of life.” In Revelation 20:14-15 and 21:8 we read that the second death means to be cast into “the lake which burns with fire and brimstone.” In reference to this same fire, Jesus declared three times that the unsaved would “go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where the worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.” (see Mark 9:43-48) In Matthew 3:12, John the Baptist declared that Jesus would “throughly purge his (threshing) floor, and gather his wheat (the believers) into the garner (harvest house); but he will burn up the chaff (the unsaved of the world) with unquenchable fire.” We also know from Revelation 14:11, that “the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night.

The Bible specifically mentions hell 54 times (see below) of which Jesus is quoted concerning its reality 15 times, but it is clearly alluded to many more times in other words. As Jesus taught in Matthew 15:14, “when the blind (false prophets and false teachers with their false gospels) lead the blind (the unsaved), they both fall into the ditch” From Psalms 7:15, a ditch is equated to a pit, and from Isaiah 14:15, we know that a pit is equated to hell reserved for Satan and all his dominion (see also Psalm 143:7 and Psalm 9:17). This was determined by comparing scripture with scripture. The Bible is its own interpreter or dictionary. The interpretation is therefore God’s alone and not man’s (i.e. not of our private interpretation). Other times God refers to hell as outer darkness as in Matthew 26:30, where Jesus in a parable declared, “And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” More explicitly, in Matthew 10:28, Jesus warned: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him (God) which is able to destroy both body and soul in hell.”

It should also be remembered that Jesus not only gave his life as “a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28), but He had to endure the wrath of God on behalf of all who would believe on Him because God’s justice demands that the penalty for the sins of the believers had to be paid in order to make their salvation possible. Jesus not only died for those whom He came to seek and to save, but He had to endure the equivalent of an eternity in hell for them (something which is humanly incomprehensible).

Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men;” 2 Corinthians 5:11.

The Bible verses that discuss “Hell”:

Deuteronomy 32:22 For a fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell, and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains.

2 Samuel 22:6 The sorrows of hell compassed me about; the snares of death prevented me;(Compare with Jonah 2:2-6)

Job 11:8 It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do? deeper than hell; what canst thou know?

Job 26:6 Hell is naked before him, and destruction hath no covering.

Psalm 9:17 The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.

Psalm 16:10 For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.

Psalm 18:5 The sorrows of hell compassed me about: the snares of death prevented (went before) me.

Psalm 55:15 Let death seize upon them, and let them go down quick into hell: for wickedness is in their dwellings, and among them.

Psalm 86:13 For great is thy mercy toward me: and thou hast delivered my soul from the lowest hell.

Psalm 116:3 The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell gat hold upon me: I found trouble and sorrow.

Psalm 139:8 If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.

Proverbs 5:5 Her feet go down to death; her steps take hold on hell.

Proverbs 7:27 Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death.

Proverbs 9:18 But he knoweth not that the dead are there; and that her guests are in the depths of hell.

Proverbs 15:11 Hell and destruction are before the Lord: how much more then the hearts of the children of men?

Proverbs 15:24 The way of life is above to the wise, that he may depart from hell beneath.

Proverbs 23:14 Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.

Proverbs 27:20 Hell and destruction are never full; so the eyes of man are never satisfied.

Isaiah 5:14 Therefore hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure: and their glory, and their multitude, and their pomp, and he that rejoiceth, shall descend into it.

Isaiah 14:9 Hell from beneath is moved for thee to meet thee at thy coming: it stirreth up the dead for thee, even all the chief ones of the earth; it hath raised up from their thrones all the kings of the nations.

Isaiah 14:15 Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.

Isaiah 28:15 Because ye have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us: for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves:

Isaiah 28:18 And your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it.

Isaiah 57:9 And thou wentest to the king with ointment, and didst increase thy perfumes, and didst send thy messengers far off, and didst debase thyself even unto hell.

Ezekiel 31:16 I made the nations to shake at the sound of his fall, when I cast him down to hell with them that descend into the pit: and all the trees of Eden, the choice and best of Lebanon, all that drink water, shall be comforted in the nether parts of the earth.

Ezekiel 31:17 They also went down into hell with him unto them that be slain with the sword; and they that were his arm, that dwelt under his shadow in the midst of the heathen.

Ezekiel 32:21 The strong among the mighty shall speak to him out of the midst of hell with them that help him: they are gone down, they lie uncircumcised, slain by the sword.

Ezekiel 32:27 And they shall not lie with the mighty that are fallen of the uncircumcised, which are gone down to hell with their weapons of war: and they have laid their swords under their heads, but their iniquities shall be upon their bones, though they were the terror of the mighty in the land of the living.

Amos 9:2 Though they dig into hell, thence shall mine hand take them; though they climb up to heaven, thence will I bring them down:

Jonah 2:2 And said, I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the Lord, and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I, and thou heardest my voice.

Habakkuk 2:5 Yea also, because he transgresseth by wine, he is a proud man, neither keepeth at home, who enlargeth his desire as hell, and is as death, and cannot be satisfied, but gathereth unto him all nations, and heapeth unto him all people:

Matthew 5:22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.

Matthew 5:29 And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

Matthew 5:30 And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

Matthew 10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

Matthew 11:23 And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.

Matthew 16:18 And I say also 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.

Matthew 18:9 And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.

Matthew 23:15 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.

Matthew 23:33 Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?

Mark 9:43 And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:

Mark 9:45 And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched:

Mark 9:47 And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire:

Luke 10:15 And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted to heaven, shalt be thrust down to hell.

Luke 12:5 But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him.

Luke 16:23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.(this is from a parable, but speaks the truth about Hell as being a place of eternal torment)

Acts 2:27 Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.

Acts 2:31 He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.

James 3:6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.

2 Peter 2:4 For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;

Revelation 1:18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death.

Revelation 6:8 And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.

Revelation 20:13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

Revelation 20:14 And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death.

 

Please also see this useful reference:

https://truthingrace.com/2013/12/02/fire-fire/

 

 

 

Who can find a virtuous woman? Proverbs 31:10-31

January 24, 2017

This will be the next study to be undertaken…so it is just a work in progress…but please think about what this verse (and the rest of it through to the end of the chapter) means from a spiritual perspective.  Feel free to offer comments before we begin. Look carefully at the key words and think about what they mean when viewed in the context of the whole Bible. But here is one hint as to what we must consider to understand these verses correctly…The virtuous women (from the spiritual perspective) is the eternal Church, the Bride of Christ as God views her, and the husband (from the spiritual perspective) is the Lord Jesus Christ.  When we search out where all the descriptive words are found everywhere else in the Bible, this exegesis will be more clearly borne out.

10 Who can find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies. 

11 The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.

12 She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life.

13 She seeketh wool, and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.

14 She is like the merchants’ ships; she bringeth her food from afar.

15 She riseth also while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and a portion to her maidens.

16 She considereth a field, and buyeth it: with the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.

17 She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.

18 She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night.

19 She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff.

20 She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.

21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet.

22 She maketh herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple.

23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.

24 She maketh fine linen, and selleth it; and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.

25 Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.

26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.

27 She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.

28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.

29 Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all.

30 Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.

31 Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.

Please bear in mind that there are only two other verses in the Bible that use the phrase “virtuous woman.”

And now, my daughter, fear not; I will do to thee all that thou requirest: for all the city of my people doth know that thou art a virtuous woman.
A virtuouswoman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is as
rottenness in his bones.
House and riches are the inheritance of fathers: and a prudentwife is from the Lord.