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Pope Francis Authorizes Palestinian Embassy At The Vatican As He Threatens Trump On Jerusalem Move

POPE MEETS PALESTINIAN LEADER; VATICAN CALLS JERUSALEM HOLY

The Vatican stressed the sacred nature of Jerusalem on Saturday as the Palestinian leader warned that prospects for peace could suffer if the incoming Trump administration goes ahead with plans to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

“So the angel that communed with me said unto me, Cry thou, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; I am jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion with a great jealousy.” Zechariah 1:14 (KJV)

EDITOR’S NOTE: Pope Francis said that Jerusalem does not belong to the Jews alone, as the Bible says it does, but must be shared with Israel’s arch-enemy the Palestinians. He also authorized the creation of a Palestinian embassy at the Vatican. That tells you all you need to know about whose side the pope is on. Pope Francis warned Donald Trump against fulfilling his campaign promise to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. 

The developments came as Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met with Pope Francis and inaugurated the Palestinian embassy to the Holy See. Abbas said he had only heard through news reports of the proposal by U.S. President-elect Donald Trump to move the embassy to Jerusalem.

The Palestinians strongly oppose the embassy move, saying it would kill any hopes for negotiating an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement and rile the region by undercutting Muslim and Christian claims to the holy city.

New Palestinian embassy opened in the Vatican:

“We hope that this news is not true, because it is not encouraging and will disrupt and hinder the peace process,” he said. He urged Trump to open a dialogue with both Israelis and Palestinians.

Trump hasn’t yet laid out a clear Mideast policy, but has signaled he will be more sympathetic to Israel’s hard-line right than previous administrations.

In Paris on Sunday, the French government is hosting a Mideast peace conference attended by dozens of foreign ministers to show Trump’s administration that most of the world wants a two-state solution for Israel and the Palestinians and is fed up with decades of conflict.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met Pope Francis in the Vatican Saturday to inaugurate the opening of the first Palestinian embassy to the Holy See.

The Vatican has long sought an internationally guaranteed status for Jerusalem that safeguards its sacred character. In its communique after the Abbas meeting, the Holy See didn’t refer to Jerusalem by name but said during the talks “emphasis was placed on the importance of safeguarding the sanctity of the holy places for believers of all three of the Abrahamic religions.”

During the meeting, Abbas presented Francis with gifts recalling Christianity’s birthplace in the Holy Land, including a stone from the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem and documentation about the ongoing restoration of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, right, unveils a plaque on the occasion of the inauguration ceremony of the Palestinian embassy to the Holy See at the Vatican, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, right, unveils a plaque on the occasion of the inauguration ceremony of the Palestinian embassy to the Holy See at the Vatican, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017

After the papal meeting, Abbas formally inaugurated the new Palestinian embassy across the street from one of the main gates of Vatican City. He pulled back a curtain revealing a plaque and extended the Palestinian flag from a flagpole outside a window.

The embassy, located in the same building as the embassies of Peru, Ecuador and Burkina Faso, comes after recent accords in which the Vatican formally recognized the “State of Palestine.”

“This embassy is a place of pride for us and we hope all of the countries of the world will recognize the state of Palestine, because this recognition will bring us closer to the peace process,” he said.

Abbas had initially accepted an invitation to be in Paris on Sunday, but French officials say that visit has been postponed.

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The Plan of God

What is God’s plan for me?

As a Christian, of course you want to make decisions according to God’s will. But what happens when you just don’t know which way God wants you to go?

Sooner or later in life everybody has to make some decisions. Which college should I go to? Whom should I marry? Should I move here or there?” The list goes on and on and as the questions grow bigger and more life-changing, shouldn’t God’s answers and plan for our lives be clearer and clearer as well?

It can be difficult to hear God’s voice and know which road to take. You pray to God and ask for help but there are often no prophetic dreams, visions or strong feelings leading you one way or another. It can seem like God isn’t answering you at all.

Do everything before His face.

Many Christians struggle with this because we almost expect a loud voice from heaven when we talk to God, complete with trumpets and a burst of sunlight. But God doesn’t necessarily work that way. Often He works in whispers instead of shouts. And the way we practice listening is to go in faith and do everything before His face.

Often God works in whispers instead of shouts.

It says in Colossians 3:23: “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men.” This is the key point. It isn’t always so important what we do but why and how we do it. Are you doing it wholeheartedly because you want to please the Lord? Or are there a few selfish reasons behind your decision?

It also says in Matthew 7:7: “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” God is more than willing to show us His will and plan for our lives, but he also wants us to show that we want to know it and follow it. He wants us to make an effort – to seek His will. Then He has promised that we will find it. So if you are asking and seeking and knocking and doing everything as to the Lord then you can rest assured that He will show you His will for your life. His will may not always be what we expect, and it can be revealed to us in unexpected ways, but if we are truly interested, we will find it.
God’s will – good, acceptable, and perfect

Put simply this is the entirety of God’s will right here.

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:2. Put simply this is the entirety of God’s will right here, as well as His plan with our lives. That we be transformed by the renewing of our mind, that we prove what is God’s will. That is something we can do regardless of whether we decide to become a doctor or a teacher, move to another country or stay at home. There are always opportunities to be transformed and renewed wherever you are.

So how do you make your decision? Ask yourself, “Is it good? Is it acceptable? Is it perfect?” If the answer seems to be yes, then do it! Prove what is God’s will. Test it. He who seeks will find.

The renewing of your mind.

Whatever the outcome, when looking back, you may find that what you did was actually tainted with a bit of self-seeking, some demands on the others and so on. This was not according to God’s will, and yet you made your decision in faith and with a burning desire to serve God. That’s why God can now show you how you could have done it better, where you should have given up your own will. Go back and fix things, ask for forgiveness, set things right. It is this that is God’s will for us and His plan for our lives: that we to learn humility, that we learn how to live as a disciple. The revelation comes in an unexpected way – by showing you your mistakes, but because you are seeking to do God’s will, you use it to be transformed. This is the renewing of your mind.

A disciple is not one that knows everything and can do everything perfectly the first time.

A disciple is not one that knows everything and can do everything perfectly the first time. The life of a disciple means following Jesus, the Master, and learning from Him. It means listening for God’s voice every day and striving to be well-pleasing to Him. In this way, we will daily find more and more of this “I should have done things better. God, give me strength and wisdom to humble myself and do it better next time.” So next time I put to practice what God’s voice told me, and do it better – I’m becoming more like my Master day by day. That’s what it means to be a disciple!

Be Transformed by the Renewing of your Mind

Be Transformed by the Renewing of your Mind

No matter where we go we will find opportunities to hear God’s voice and do His will.

No matter where we go we will find opportunities to hear God’s voice and do His will. We will find our own life, our anger, our pride, our stubbornness and self-seeking, and by putting these things to death we are transformed more and more into Jesus’ image and in this way we are doing God’s will!

Ultimately, this is God’s perfect plan for both you and me: that we become free from the way that we are and be transformed into Jesus’ own image.

Isn’t that a hopeful gospel? You really can’t go wrong at all!

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True Wisdom

While I was a trades teacher in a shop, the opportunity arose to very naturally explain the essence of the gospel. Never before have I received the reaction I did that day from two men in particular. They found what I was saying incredibly stupid as, in a very distinct “New Joisey” twang, one carpenter exclaimed to the other, “Ain’t that somethin’ man? Ain’t that somethin’?” This man’s reaction to the gospel was far more honest than most, for a great many non-Christians feel exactly the same way about the gospel but are simply too polite, or too afraid, to say so. In the confines on that job, those two men could have cared less about what I thought of them, and so they very plainly expressed exactly what they thought of my religious beliefs.

In the first chapter of his first Epistle to the Corinthians, Paul exposes and then confronts the problem of divisions within in the church at Corinth. He renounces divisions as contrary to the gospel. Further, Paul implies that the underlying problem is pride. Individuals took pride in the one whom they chose to follow. As Paul later says, they have “become arrogant in behalf of one against the other” (4:6). In verses 18-31 of the first chapter, Paul argued that pride and the gospel are incompatible. The world will never esteem the gospel or those who embrace it because it is contradictory to all they highly esteem. The Jews, who are impressed by power, wanted signs (of power). A crucified Christ was certainly not a demonstration of power but of weakness. The Greeks were impressed by intellectualism, by wisdom. To them, there was nothing wise about the gospel. It was foolishness to believe that faith in a crucified criminal could save anyone from their sins.

Paul has challenged the Corinthian saints to look around the church and observe that those most esteemed by the world are strangely absent in the church. By and large, the church is not composed of wise men, scholars, and debaters of the day. The church is not made up of the cultural elite. In verses 26-31, Paul urges the saints to look around them in the church to see who is present. The church is not made up of the upper crust of society but rather the rejected and despised of society. Of course there are exceptions, but the rule is clear: “God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised, God has chosen, the things that are not, that He might nullify the things that are” (verses 27-28). This is so that no man may boast, but God may receive the glory for what He accomplishes through those most unlikely to succeed in this world.

One might conclude from what Paul has said that the gospel really is foolish and weak. Not at all! This is only the way the world perceives the gospel. In chapter 2, Paul reveals that weakness and simplicity are not the end of the story but the beginning. It is through the weakness of proclaiming the gospel that the wisdom and power of God are made manifest. The world regards God’s wisdom as foolish because it is incapable of comprehending or accepting its truths. God’s wisdom is a mystery which the unsaved cannot grasp, and no one would have known apart from divine revelation. Through His Spirit, God has revealed Himself to men. The Spirit who searches the depths of God has been given in a special way to the apostles. Through these inspired men, divine thoughts have been translated into divine words. Those who possess the Spirit by faith in Christ can appraise the spiritual truths of Scripture; those who are unsaved, and thus without the Spirit, cannot. No wonder they think God’s wisdom is foolish. They cannot understand it—or God. But we who have the Scriptures and the Spirit have the mind of Christ.

Paul’s Conduct at His First Coming
(2:1-5)

1 And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. 2 For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. 3 And I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling. 4 And my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 that your faith should not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.

The Corinthians now look upon Paul somewhat like a teenager views his or her parents. Paul is not wise but simplistic. He lacks the charm and charisma which makes his spiritual children proud of him, and thus they have begun to listen to others who have a higher level of esteem, especially by their peers. Paul seeks to correct their wayward thinking by reminding them that he is the same Paul who came to them at the beginning, preaching to them the gospel of Jesus Christ. It was through his simplistic message and methods that the Corinthians, once pagans, became saints. Paul now reminds them of his message and manner when he first came to them which resulted in their salvation.

When he came, Paul did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom. He did not come with “high fullutin” words or thoughts, nor did he employ oratorical embellishments which would draw attention to himself and to his methods. Paul came with a simple, straightforward approach which sought to make the message, not the messenger, primary. He came to them “proclaiming the testimony of God” (verse 1). That is, he came to them preaching the gospel in simple terms, without sensationalizing it.

In verse 3, Paul turns his attention from his message and method to his mind set. He describes the attitude with which he came to the Corinthians with the gospel. If the charlatans of that day had lived in our own time, they would have worn expensive clothing, had a recent face-lift, a self-assured manner, and an omnipresent smile. They would have exuded confidence and composure. But this would not be so with Paul. When Paul first came to Corinth, he worked as a blue collar laborer making tents with Aquila. His mind set was characterized by his threefold description: weakness, fear, and much trembling. He may have come with a physical weakness, for it does seem as though Paul suffered from some physical affliction (see 2 Corinthians 12:7-10). In addition, I believe Paul came to Corinth with a clear sense of his own limitations, knowing that the salvation and sanctification of men could only be accomplished by the miraculous intervention of God.

Paul also characterized his coming as “in fear and much trembling.” We know there were fears, as Luke indicates to us. After previous persecution in other cities, Paul came to Corinth where he again faced opposition. But the Lord appeared to Paul with these words of assurance: “Do not be afraid any longer, but go on speaking and do not be silent; 10 for I am with you, and no man will attack you in order to harm you, for I have many people in this city” (Acts 18:9b-10).

I have always thought of Paul as a kind of “pit bull” evangelist. Some dogs have no courage at all, while others may sound awesome but when threatened or harmed they protect themselves by backing off. Still other dogs—like the pit bull—will continue to fight until they are dead. How easy it is to think of Paul in this way, as invincible and undaunting. But Luke’s words indicate otherwise. Paul was a man of like passions with our own. He too had fears. But our Lord’s words of assurance enabled him to press on in spite of his fears.

The expression, “fear and trembling,” seems to mean more than just “fear” and “trembling” combined.

33 But the woman fearing and trembling, aware of what had happened to her, came and fell down before Him, and told Him the whole truth (Mark 5:33).

15 And his affection abounds all the more toward you, as he remembers the obedience of you all, how you received him with fear and trembling (2 Corinthians 7:15).

5 Slaves, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ (Ephesians 6:5).

12 So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure (Philippians 2:12-13).

21 And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, “I am full of fear and trembling” (Hebrews 12:21).

The expression seems to convey the realization on the part of the person fearing and trembling that he or she is of a lower rank, a lower position than the one who is feared. The woman who had been healed by touching Jesus (Mark 5:33) seems to have realized not only that she had been healed, but in being thus healed, she came to recognize the greatness of the One who produced the healing. Slaves should submit to their masters with fear and trembling, recognizing that God has put them under the authority of their masters. We are told by Paul to “work out our own salvation with fear and trembling,” knowing that it is ultimately not our working or even our willing, but God’s sovereign work in us which causes us to will and to work His good pleasure.

Pride was the underlying reason for the divisions in Corinth. People took pride in following the right leader, the leader who spoke words of wisdom with oratorical skill who also had status and esteem among the unbelievers. Paul speaks of himself as a humble man, a man with no confidence in his own abilities, in his own message or methods, but whose trust is in God alone. Paul proclaims Christ, knowing that apart from the working of God in the hearts of men, nothing eternal will happen.

Paul’s actions in Corinth were purposeful, not accidental or haphazard. It was not that Paul was ignorant or uneducated, nor was it that Paul only knew about Christ and Christ crucified (verse 2). Paul determined that this was all he would know while ministering in Corinth (or anywhere else). He chose to limit his knowledge to those truths which would save men from their sins and transfer them from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light. Even though many would be impressed by his knowledge in areas which the unbelievers believed to be wisdom, Paul determined not to know such things and thus not to preach them.

Paradoxically, Paul came to the Corinthians in weakness, fear, and much trembling so that the power of God might be demonstrated (verse 4). If Paul’s human skills were dominant in his preaching, Paul’s power would be displayed. But when Paul came in weakness proclaiming a message men deemed foolish and men were converted, it was evident it was the result of the supernatural power of God and not the merely human power of Paul. Paul has much more to say on this subject later, especially in 2 Corinthians 12, but for now we should note that Paul’s weakness was not a hindrance to the demonstration of God’s power but the means through which God’s power was displayed. God’s power is manifested through human weakness.

Paul did not want to make disciples; that is, Paul did not want people to be his followers. His goal was for men and women to trust in Jesus Christ for salvation and to become His followers, His disciples. If men were converted because of Paul’s wisdom and because of his persuasive skills, they could then be led astray by anyone who was wiser and more persuasive. Paul’s desire was that men would place their faith in God and in His power (verse 5).

God's WisdomGod’s Wisdom and the Wisdom of This Age
(2:6-9)

6 Yet we do speak wisdom among those who are mature; a wisdom, however, not of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are passing away; 7 but we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom, which God predestined before the ages to our glory; 8 the wisdom which none of the rulers of this age has understood; for if they had understood it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory; 9 but just as it is written, “Things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard, And which have not entered the heart of man, All that God has prepared for those who love Him.”

At verse 6, Paul changes from the first person singular (“I”) to the first person plural (“we”). Verses 1-6 spoke of Paul’s mind set, message, and methods when he first came to Corinth with the gospel. Now in verse 6, Paul speaks for more than just himself. I understand the “we” to refer principally to the apostles.30 As further developments in this epistle and 2 Corinthians will show, the real struggle was not with Corinthian cliques, each of which had chosen to follow a different apostle, but with those in Corinth who had turned from the apostles to other teachers, of which some will prove to be “false apostles” (2 Corinthians 11:12-15).

What characterizes Paul that is so offensive to some of the Corinthians, causing them to follow other leadership? It is Paul’s “simplistic” devotion to Christ crucified. Paul has chosen to be a kind of “Johnny-one-note,” and the note he continues to play is offensive to both Jews and Gentiles. Consequently, for a Corinthian Christian to identify with the apostle Paul is to embrace that which is foolish and weak to the unbelieving mind, whether Jew or Gentile. To identify with Paul and his preaching is to become a fool in the eyes of the world, which has no status. And so some are tempted to identify with new leaders whose methods and message are far more acceptable. Associating with them gives one a much higher status.

Paul does not deny that his message and methods are foolish; rather, he emphasizes this is so. But in moving to the first person plural (“we”), Paul links himself, his message, and his methods with all of the other apostles. Paul’s message and methods are no different from those of his fellow apostles. He speaks with and for all the apostles as he admonishes the Corinthians.

At verse 6, Paul makes another shift in his emphasis. Up to this point, Paul has granted the fact that his gospel is foolish and weak. Now he begins to clarify and expand his instruction. The apostolic gospel is foolish and weak to unbelievers, but it is neither foolish nor weak in the sight of God. Neither should it be regarded as foolish nor weak in the sight of the saints. In verse 6, Paul insists that the apostles do speak wisdom. This wisdom is not for all, however. There are two groups from whom apostolic wisdom is withheld. The first group is those who are immature (verse 6). In chapter 3, verse 1, Paul plainly tells the Corinthians they are “men of flesh,” “babes in Christ,” and in verse 3, he contends that they still remain in the same condition. Did the Corinthians chafe because Paul’s message was too simple? It was because the simple things were all they were able to grasp. The problem was not with Paul or his colleagues; the problem was with the Corinthians.

The second group from whom apostolic wisdom is withheld is those who are unbelievers (2:6). Paul says the wisdom the apostles preach is not of “this age.” Consequently, the rulers of “this age” are not able to grasp it. Even those who are the wisest and most powerful people of this age are unable to grasp it. This is evident at the cross of Calvary. There, at the cross, the rulers of this age rejected Jesus as the Messiah as God’s means of salvation. God’s “wisdom” was never more clearly manifested to men than in the person of Jesus Christ, but the best of this age were not able to see it. It is obvious that they did not receive this “Wisdom” because they crucified Him.

Paul’s words here help us to distinguish between God’s wisdom and worldly wisdom. God’s wisdom was revealed in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ at His first coming, but the world rejected Him and the wisdom He manifested. The wisdom of God is “eternal wisdom,” a wisdom established in eternity past yet to be fully implemented when Christ’s kingdom is established on the earth. The wisdom of this world is “empirical wisdom,” based upon that which can be seen and heard and touched. The wisdom of God is otherwise. It is not seen by the naked eye, it cannot be heard with the ears, it cannot be fathomed by the natural mind. It surpasses even man’s imagination. It is other worldly. This should not come as a surprise to the Christian, for the prophet Isaiah indicated as much in the citation which Paul includes in verse 9.

Let me pause to reflect further on this concept of the “other worldliness” of God’s wisdom. Do we not tend to think of heaven as an extension of earth’s joys? Most people who believe in heaven think of it as the place where they will be reunited with their family and friends. And yet, when Jesus spoke to the Sadducees, he chided them for their ignorance because they supposed marriage would continue on into eternity (Matthew 22:23-33; see also 1 Corinthians 7:25-35). Are we perplexed when we find prophecies which describe things of which we have never seen nor heard? For example, there are Ezekiel’s wheels (see 1:16, 19-21; 3:13; 10:2-19; 11:22), and there are the “living creatures” of the Book of Revelation (Revelation 4:6-9; 5:6-14; 6:6; 7:11; 14:3; 15:7; 19:4). Nothing in this life can be compared with such things. Heaven is not just an improved earth; it will be “a new heaven and a new earth” (Revelation 21:1) where there will be no sea (21:1), no temple (21:22), no need for sun or moon (21:23-25; 22:5). The streets, we are told, will be paved with gold. This may be a way of telling us that what we value most highly on earth will have little or no value in heaven. Heaven, that biblical “new age,” is nothing like the present age, and thus no mortal can conceive of what it will be like. The things of God are other worldly, and thus we cannot even guess as to what they will be like.

How God’s Wisdom is Revealed
(2:10-13)

10 For [But]31 to us God revealed them through the Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, even the depths of God. 11 For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man, which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things freely given to us by God, 13 which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.

Paul has just shown us why God’s wisdom, the wisdom which the apostles proclaimed, is rejected by the great but unbelieving men of this age. Men of this age are limited to temporal, human wisdom. They cannot grasp God’s eternal wisdom. They cannot see, hear, or comprehend the things of God. How then can mere mortals ever know God’s wisdom? The answer is found in verses 10-16. In verses 10-13, Paul expounds the doctrines of inspiration and revelation whereby God has made his wisdom known through the apostles who have inscripturated the “depths of God.” In verses 14-16, Paul turns to the ministry of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer, enabling him to comprehend the things of God which He revealed in the Scriptures through the apostles.

How can men know of a God who cannot be seen and whose provisions are beyond human thought? The answer: through the Holy Spirit, who has imparted the knowledge of God to and through the apostles in the New Testament Scriptures. The Holy Spirit is theSpirit of God.” Just as man’s human spirit knows the deep thoughts of the man, so the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit, knows the intimate things of God. When the Lord Jesus was on the earth, He spoke many things to His disciples which they did not understand or even remember. Jesus told them that after His departure, He would send His Spirit. The Holy Spirit would not only call the things He had spoken to their remembrance, He would also enable them to understand them so that they could record them for others. In addition, the Spirit would reveal things to come, things of the coming age:

25 “These things I have spoken to you, while abiding with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you” (John 14:25-26).

12 “I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13 But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. 14 He shall glorify Me; for He shall take of Mine, and shall disclose it to you. 15 All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said, that He takes of Mine, and will disclose it to you” (John 16:12-15).

Paul has already spoken of the wisdom of God as a mystery (1 Corinthians 2:7). A mystery is something God reveals concerning the future, which is not fully grasped before its fulfillment because it is beyond human comprehension. The apostles played a unique role as “stewards of the mysteries of God” (1 Corinthians 4:1). After God has completed a work that was formerly a mystery, He fully discloses that mystery through one of His apostles. Paul was surely one of the great “mystery apostles” in that it was his privilege to speak of several mysteries. In the Book of Ephesians, Paul spoke of the privilege God had given him as an apostle to reveal some of these mysteries (Ephesians 1:3-14; 3:1-13; 5:32).

In 1 Corinthians 2:10-13, Paul describes the fulfillment of our Lord’s promise to His disciples (remember that Paul was divinely added as the twelfth apostle). Man, Paul is saying, could never know God on his own. But God has chosen to make Himself known through His Word and through His Spirit. His Spirit was given to the apostles in a special way so that the things of God might be inscripturated, divinely inspired and recorded as a part of the Bible. The apostles have been given the Spirit in this unique way so they “might know the things freely given to us by God” and might communicate them to us. The Spirit superintended this process by “combining spiritual thoughts (“the depths of God,” verse 10) with spiritual words” (the words of Holy Scripture).

Here is a very crucial difference between the apostles and the false apostles. The apostles claimed to speak for God, and they did! False apostles claimed to speak for God, and they did not! God can be known intimately because He has chosen to disclose His innermost thoughts and being to men by means of His Spirit working through the apostles, resulting in the New Testament Scriptures. To reject the apostles and their teaching as the “wisdom of God” is to reject God, for they are the only ones through whom God has chosen to disclose Himself. Is the gospel simplistic? It is because God’s way of salvation is simplistic—one way (see Matthew 7:13-14ff.; John 14:6). To reject the apostles’ teaching is thus to reject the God who disclosed Himself to men through them.

There may be a secondary interpretation of Paul’s words in verses 10-13, but, if so, it is surely secondary. Many interpret these verses as speaking of God’s direct disclosure of Himself to men, through His Spirit. I do not think so. I believe these words make sense only as interpreted above. This same thought is taught by Peter as well in 2 Peter 1:16-21. The work of God the Spirit in the lives of Christians in general is spoken of in the closing verses (14-16) of 1 Corinthians 2.

Spiritual Insight: The Haves and the Have-Nots
(2:14-16)

14 But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. 15 But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no man. 16 For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he should instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:1-16).

God has disclosed Himself to men through the Holy Spirit. The Spirit knows the intimate things of God and, by inspiring the apostles, has translated spiritual thoughts about God into spiritual words—the New Testament. In the Old Testament period, God revealed His Word through the prophets. In the New Testament times, this revelation came through the apostles. Yet the unbeliever seems blinded to the truth contained in God’s Word. How can this be? How can some find in the Bible a rich source of revelation which enables them to know God more intimately, while others find the Scriptures a senseless mixture of writings which cannot even be understood? Why are some drawn to the Scriptures and others repulsed by them?

The difference may be summed up in terms of the presence or the absence of the Holy Spirit. We see in verses 10-13 that Paul speaks of the Spirit’s work in conveying God’s thoughts to men by inspiring the apostles to convey spiritual thoughts through spiritual words, the words of the New Testament. Now, in verses 14-16, Paul writes of the work of the Spirit, enabling men and women to understand the Scriptures and thus to know the mind of God.

Previously, Paul has divided mankind into two groups: (1) those who trust in the sacrificial work of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary for their eternal salvation and (2) those who do not. Another way of viewing these two groups would be: (1) those (unbelievers) who do not possess the Holy Spirit, who cannot understand the wisdom of God as revealed in the Scriptures, and (2) those who do possess the Holy Spirit, who therefore have the capacity to understand the Scriptures.

The first group Paul refers to as “the natural man” (verse 14). The “natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God.” The natural man, who is not indwelt by the Holy Spirit, cannot understand the Scriptures (“the things of the Spirit of God”). God the Holy Spirit conveyed the “deep things of God” to the apostles, who by the Spirit’s inspiration, recorded them as Scripture. The Scriptures are thus “the things of the Spirit of God,” the things which the Spirit of God has originated and communicated. How can one “devoid of the Spirit” (see Jude 19) grasp the things of the Spirit? No wonder the wisdom of God seems foolish to the unbeliever. They cannot fathom anything which falls within the realm of the Spirit.

More than a year ago, Dr. Jim Lopez visited while interviewing for a position at the University of Texas Medical School in Dallas. A part of his interview process involved making a presentation of his research. After Sunday dinner, he wanted to “run through” his presentation one last time, and so we set up the slide projector in the living room. I must confess I did not understand a word Jim said. It was completely over my head; it was a different world. Both of our cats perched on the coffee table beside the slide projector and were fascinated with the slides. Jim’s research was done with rats, and the cats found the slides of great interest.

True wisdom cannot be grasped by those who are unsaved, by those who do not have the Spirit of God dwelling within them illuminating the truth of the Scriptures so they can know the deep things of God. True wisdom speaks of things which pertain to a future age and of things which no man has ever seen, or heard, or is even able to imagine. The only way this kind of wisdom can be known is for men to trust in Jesus Christ so that their spiritual eyes may be opened to see the wonders of the wisdom of God and the world to come.

The Christian is the one who is called “spiritual” (verse 15) here by Paul. Most often, we understand the term “spiritual” to refer to those who are mature, who manifest the fruit of the Spirit in their lives. Paul seems to use it here to refer to those who possess the Spirit, who live in the realm of the Holy Spirit because they have trusted in Jesus Christ. The one who possesses the Holy Spirit is able to grasp and to appraise both temporal and eternal matters. The Book of Proverbs, for example, is divinely inspired and provided so that we may see life clearly from God’s point of view. The prophetic books have been given to us so that we may look at the eternal dimension of God’s plan. Thus, Paul can say that the Christian who possesses the Holy Spirit is able to “appraise all things,” things earthly and things eternal, things pertaining to this age, and things pertaining to the next.

While the Christian—“he who is spiritual”is able to appraise all things and thus to understand the beliefs and the behavior of the unsaved, the unsaved (“natural”) man is unable to understand the Christian (“he who is spiritual”). No wonder Christians are misunderstood and even persecuted. No wonder they are considered foolish and weak. This is the best the unaided mind of the natural man can do.

In verse 16, Paul closes our chapter with the words of Isaiah 40:13: “For who has known the mind of the Lord, that he should instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:1-16). These words sum up the difference between the non-Christian and the Christian. God has revealed Himself to all men in the person of Christ and in the Scriptures (see verses 10-13 above). The Scriptures make no sense to the unbeliever. This is because it is impossible for the unbeliever to grasp the things of God apart from the Spirit of God. Who can know the mind of the Lord? No one can, apart from the ministry of the Holy Spirit in revealing the Word of God through the apostles and in illuminating the Scriptures to the individual believer. Note that the words of verse 16 indicate not only the natural man’s ignorance but also his arrogance. Who would think that any man could instruct God? But this is precisely what the unbeliever does think. This is why they think the Christian is foolish and weak.

In contrast to the unbeliever, who is oblivious to the mind of God, the Christian can say confidently, “We have the mind of Christ.” The “we” may refer either to the apostles, who alone can speak the “mind of Christ,” or more generally, of all the saints who possess the Holy Spirit and the Scriptures. It is through the Scriptures and the Holy Spirit that the “mind of Christ” is conveyed to the saints. The Christian has both the Word of God and the witness of His Spirit, the Author of that Word. What more can one ask for than this?

This final statement sums up the vast difference of opinion which exists between Christians and unbelievers over “wisdom.” The unbeliever is incapable of understanding God’s wisdom and so is confined to a very limited, distorted temporal wisdom. The Christian has the means for knowing the mind of God and thus has access to the wisdom of God. The Christian should not be surprised by the reaction of the unbeliever to the preaching of the gospel. And the Christian should not forsake the vast wisdom God has made available to us in order to pursue the wisdom which the world seeks.

Conclusion

What a blow this chapter strikes at human pride. Paul’s coming to the Corinthians was far from prestigious. He came in weakness, fear, and much trembling. He came with a message offensive to both Jews and Greeks. He refused to “know” anything other than the crucified Christ, for he came to bring the Message of Salvation. His message was not one of superior wisdom, one that would appeal to the intellectual curiosity or headiness of the Corinthians. His method of presentation was not one that would naturally draw a crowd or attract a following. From a merely human point of view, Paul did everything wrong when he went to Corinth. But what happened? A number of his readers came to faith in Jesus Christ because of Paul’s mind set, message, and method!

How could Paul do everything wrong (from a worldly point of view) and yet sinners be converted and a church born? In verses 1-5, Paul indicates that he purposed to come to the Corinthians as he did so that the Corinthians’ faith would “not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God” (2:5). How does this happen? How is the faith of men and women turned God-ward by a mind set of weakness and humility and by a message and method which runs contrary to human wisdom? The answer is implied here and clearly stated later by Paul:

9 And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).

In God’s economy, divine wisdom is foolishness to the secular mind; divine power is weakness to the unbeliever. Paul’s weakness and simplicity were not obstacles to divine wisdom and power; they were the means through which God’s wisdom and power were demonstrated. Had Paul come with self-assurance and confidence preaching a “wisdom” applauded by the world, through a method which ranked with the best secular communicators, the best that could have happened was that men would place their confidence and trust in Paul. But when Paul came as he did, only God could convince and convert the Corinthians, and their faith must therefore be in God, not in Paul.

How does this happen? How can human weakness be transformed into divine power? How can human foolishness become divine wisdom and pagan sinners become saints? The answer: The Word of God and the Spirit of God. The gospel is the means by which men are saved: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Romans 1:16). And how can the gospel become the “power of God for salvation?” Again, the Spirit of God:

7 “But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper shall not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. 8 And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin, and righteousness, and judgment; 9 concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 and concerning righteousness, because I go to the Father, and you no longer behold Me; 11 and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been judged” (John 16:7-11).

The Corinthians had become mesmerized by men and by human wisdom. They were wrong. What had saved them was the Word of God and the Spirit of God, working through humble men who proclaimed a straightforward, simple message of Christ crucified, even though their message and their methods were unappealing to unsaved men.

If the Word of God and the Spirit of God were sufficient to save the Corinthians, Paul makes it clear to them that the teaching of the apostles does convey wisdom, but a wisdom of a different order (verses 6-9). It is a wisdom which even the cultural elite (“the rulers of this age,” verses 6, 8) could not comprehend. Indeed, when wisdom was personified in the person of Jesus Christ, they crucified Him. Why would the Corinthians be so enamored with secular, human wisdom? It cannot lead us to God; indeed, it will turn us from God. Human wisdom cannot comprehend God or the things which He has for men. Human wisdom is of no eternal value, and its temporal value is limited.

At verse 10, Paul turns us once again to the Word of God and the Spirit of God. What men could never have known about God (see verse 9), God has chosen to reveal to men. This He has done through His Spirit. His Spirit knows what no man can know about God. His Spirit took these spiritual thoughts, spiritual realities, and translated them into spiritual words, the words of Scripture. This He did by His Spirit, who inspired the apostles who were the human authors of the New Testament.

Men can come to know God in only one way—through His Word and through His Spirit. There are many different beliefs about God, but there is only one true God. This is the God who has revealed Himself to us in the Bible. All views of God which originate with men, rather than with God, are false. All views of God which come from some other source than the Bible are false. How often I hear people say something like, “Well, I like to think of God as… .” It does not matter how you would like to think of God. Paul’s words inform us that the way we think about God is certain to be wrong, for true wisdom comes from above, not from below. True wisdom flows from God to men, not from men God-ward. The Bible reveals to us a God that we would not have imagined, a God whom we would not have wanted, a God whom we would not have received. Apart from the Spirit of God and the Word of God, we could never have come to know God.

If anyone can appreciate this truth Paul is teaching, it is the teacher. Think about Paul. He was a devout Jew, deeply religious, committed, and sincere. But he was dead wrong. When God revealed Himself to Paul (it is always God who initiates a relationship with man and who initiates the revelation of Himself to man), everything suddenly changed. Indeed, all was reversed. The things he once prized, thinking they won him favor with God, Paul now counted as “dung” (Philippians 3:1-11). Now Paul is a new man in Christ. Now he has come to know God through His Word and through His Spirit. That is what Paul wants for each one of us.

If you have never trusted in Jesus Christ, you do not know God. You cannot know God apart from Christ, and you cannot know Christ apart from His Word and His Spirit. Hell will be populated with countless souls who served a “god” of their own making, and such “gods” are not God at all but only idols of our mind. We cannot know God through our own wisdom or insight. We cannot see, hear, or touch Him. But He has revealed Himself through His Word, the Bible. By the ministry of His Spirit, we can come to know God personally as the One who has provided for the forgiveness of our sins and for eternal life. God has revealed Himself in His Son, who died on the cross of Calvary, bearing the penalty for our sins. He has raised Him from the dead, as proof of His satisfaction with the work of Christ. All we need do is to believe the One whom God sent, that we are sinners, deserving eternal punishment, and that through the death of Christ, we have been punished and raised to newness of life. I urge you to view God through the pages of Holy Scripture and to trust in His provision for salvation in Jesus Christ.

My Christian friend, do you believe wisdom comes only from God, through the Scriptures, by means of the Spirit? If so, where are you seeking daily wisdom, the wisdom to understand the events and crises of daily living? Where are you seeking a knowledge of God and of His “mind”? Where do you go to learn of the glories of the coming age and of His promised kingdom? Do you read the Bible, or books about the Bible, or do you read “Christian books,” sparse with references to the Word of God or the Spirit of God? God has revealed Himself through His Word and through His Spirit, and we do well to take heed:

1 God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, 2 in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world (Hebrews 1:1-2).

1 For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. 2 For if the word spoken through angels proved unalterable, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense, 3 how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard, 4 God also bearing witness with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will (Hebrews 2:1-4).

1 Therefore, putting aside all malice and all guile and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, 2 like newborn babes, long for the pure milk of the word, that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, 3 if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord (1 Peter 2:1-3).

16 For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty. 17 For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, such an utterance as this was made to Him by the Majestic Glory, “This is My beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased”— 18 and we ourselves heard this utterance made from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain. 19 And so we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts. 20 But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, 21 for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God (2 Peter 1:16-21).

Thank you!


30 Would the Corinthians segment themselves into factions; would they distinguish their groups by individual leaders? Paul speaks of and for the apostles as a group, with no distinction. There may be divisions in the church concerning apostles, but there is no dissention among the apostles.

31 It is baffling to see the translation “for,” chosen as the reading of preference by the translators of the NASB. The KJV, NKJV, NIV, and Berkeley versions, and even J. B. Phillips’ paraphrase all begin verse 10 with “But.” The editors of the NASB do indicate in a marginal note that some Greek manuscripts read “but.” The fact is that most all of them do so with very sparse support for the reading they have selected. In addition, the context calls for a more decisive break here, indicating the beginning of a new paragraph.

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Christian Sexual Fetish

A Sexual Fetish is usually an interest in particular part of the body, feet for example. Fetishes range from an attraction to an absolute obsession. The question arises, then, is it wrong to have a sexual fetish? The answer depends on the status of the person asking the question and the extent to which that the sexual fetish is practiced.

There is nothing wrong with finding a particular part of the body especially attractive. The Bible says that our bodies are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). Within the confines of marriage, there is nothing wrong with a husband and/or wife particularly enjoying a part of their spouse’s body. While some fetishes seem very strange, there is no body part that is ‘off limits’ between a husband and wife, within the ‘mutual consent’ concept (1 Corinthians 7:5). Within a marriage, a sexual fetish would only become sinful if it became an obsession (an idol), or if the fetish bothered the spouse or in any way went against his/her will. Please read our article on ‘What is a Christian couple allowed to do in sex?’

For an unmarried person, again, it is not wrong to have an attraction to a particular part of the body. The unmarried person, though, needs to be especially careful that the attraction does not turn into lust. As soon as the attraction turns into a desire to do something immoral, it has become sin. An attraction to the opposite sex is normal and natural. Again, attraction is not the issue. But as Jesus said, ‘You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart’ (Matthew 5:27-28).

Sexual FetishCertain fetishes seem exceedingly strange to some people. At the same time, within the confines of a mutually consenting marriage, it is not wrong to have a sexual fetish. The key is avoiding obsession, lust, and making the spouse uncomfortable. For the unmarried, a sexual fetish should be suppressed as much as possible. Something as harmless as an attraction to feet can turn into lust, which can turn into sexual immorality. Romans 6:19 says, ‘Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness.’

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CHRISLAM ALERT: Huffington Post Calls For A Merging Between Christianity And Islam

Huffington Post calls on Christians to recognize Muhammad as a prophet

“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?”2 Corinthians 6:15,16 (KJV)

Liberal Drudge Report wannabe news rag the Huffington Post published an article last  month on why it’s time for Christianity to “merge” with Islam. Author Ian Mevorach has this to say:

“The majority of Christians still maintain a fundamentally Islamophobic position on Muhammad. So I believe that the time has come for peacemaking Christians to contradict this position directly. Changing our view of Muhammad–so that we recognize him as a true prophet rather than discredit him as a false prophet–would effectively inoculate Christians against Islamophobia and would help to establish a new paradigm of cooperative Christian-Muslim relations. I invite Christians everywhere to look carefully at our scriptures, search our souls, consider our history, and seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit in answering this question: “Has the time come for Christians to see Muhammad as Spirit of Truth?”

The idea that Christians and Muslims can forge a new union, the fervent dream of both Rick Warren and Pope Francis – is known as the demonic spawn of Chrislam. Below we show you, courtesy of our friends over at Jihad Watch,  the verses in the Qur’an that talk about things relating to Christianity and the Bible. Basically, Islam trashes and completely denies just about every pillar of the Christian faith. See for yourself:

  • Jesus is not the Son of God, belief in the Trinity is “excess”: “O People of the Scripture, do not commit excess in your religion or say about Allah except the truth. The Messiah, Jesus, the son of Mary, was but a messenger of Allah and His word which He directed to Mary and a soul from Him. So believe in Allah and His messengers. And do not say, ‘Three’; desist — it is better for you. Indeed, Allah is but one God. Exalted is He above having a son. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. And sufficient is Allah as Disposer of affairs.” — Qur’an 4:171“It is not befitting to (the majesty of) Allah that He should beget a son. Glory be to Him! when He determines a matter, He only says to it, ‘Be,’ and it is.” — Qur’an 19:35
  • Jesus was not crucified: “And because of their saying: We slew the Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, Allah’s messenger — they slew him not nor crucified him, but it appeared so unto them; and lo! those who disagree concerning it are in doubt thereof; they have no knowledge thereof save pursuit of a conjecture; they slew him not for certain.” — Qur’an 4:157
  • Those who believe in the divinity of Christ are “disbelievers”: “They have certainly disbelieved who say that Allah is Christ, the son of Mary.” — Qur’an 5:17
  • Christians “forgot a good part” of the divine revelations they received: “From those, too, who call themselves Christians, We did take a covenant, but they forgot a good part of the message that was sent them: so we estranged them, with enmity and hatred between the one and the other, to the day of judgment. And soon will Allah show them what it is they have done.” — Qur’an 5:14
  • Muslims should not take Jews or Christians as friends: “O you who believe! do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends; they are friends of each other; and whoever amongst you takes them for a friend, then surely he is one of them; surely Allah does not guide the unjust people.” — Qur’an 5:51
  • Those who believe that Jesus is God’s Son are accursed: “The Jews call Ezra a son of Allah, and the Christians call Christ the son of Allah. That is a saying from their mouth; they but imitate what the unbelievers of old used to say. Allah’s curse be on them: how they are deluded away from the Truth! ” — Qur’an 9:30
  • Christians who do not become Muslims “are the most vile of created beings”: “Nor did those who were given the Scripture become divided until after there had come to them clear evidence. And they were not commanded except to worship Allah, sincere to Him in religion, inclining to truth, and to establish prayer and to give zakah. And that is the correct religion. Indeed, they who disbelieved among the People of the Scripture and the polytheists will be in the fire of Hell, abiding eternally therein. Those are the most vile of created beings.” — Qur’an 98:6
  • Jesus’ mission was to proclaim the coming of Muhammad: “And when Jesus, the son of Mary, said, ‘O children of Israel, indeed I am the messenger of Allah to you confirming what came before me of the Torah and bringing good tidings of a messenger to come after me, whose name is Ahmad.’ But when he came to them with clear evidences, they said, ‘This is obvious magic.’” — Qur’an 61:6
  • Muslims must fight against and subjugate Christians: “Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, even if they are of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.” — Qur’an 9:29

There is nothing, not one thing, that is compatible between Biblical Christianity and Mohammed’s deception of Islam and the moon god Allah. But that will not stop the end times supporters of Chrislam from working to bring this about.

Chrislam-whatshotn

A merger? Never. Acceptance of Islam as on a par with the Holy Bible? Not in a million years.

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Some Have Said God Created Evil

Evil is what is morally wrong, sinful, or wicked. Evil is the result of bad actions stemming from a bad character. Biblically, evil is anything that contradicts the Holy nature of God (see Psalm 51:4). Evil behavior can be thought of as falling into two categories: evil committed against yourself or other people (murder, theft, adultery) and evil committed against God (unbelief, idolatry, blasphemy). From the disobedience in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:9) to the wickedness of Babylon the Great (Revelation 18:2), the Bible speaks of the existence of evil.

For many centuries Christians have struggled with both the existence and the nature of evil. Most people would acknowledge that evil is real and has always had devastating effects on our world. From the sexual abuse of children to the horrific terrorist attacks on 9/11, evil continues to rear its ugly head in our own time. Many people are left wondering what exactly is evil and why does it exist.

The existence of evil has been used as a weapon by opponents of theism and Christian theism in particular for some time. The so-called “problem of evil” has been the subject of various arguments by atheists in an attempt to demonstrate that a God who is good simply cannot exist. By implying that God must be the creator of evil, God’s holy character has been called into question. There have been many arguments used to indict God as the cause of evil. Here is one of them:

1) God is the creator of everything that exists.
2) Evil exists.
3) Therefore, God is the creator of evil.

The logic of this syllogism is sound. The conclusion follows logically from the premises. But does this syllogism demonstrate that God is the creator of evil? The problem with this argument is its second premise, that evil is something. For evil is not a thing; it is a lack or privation of a good thing that God made. As Christian philosopher J. P. Moreland has noted, “Evil is a lack of goodness. It is goodness spoiled. You can have good without evil, but you cannot have evil without good.”

Evil-whatshotnGoodness has existed as an attribute of God from all eternity. While God is perfectly Holy and just, He is also perfectly good. Just as God has always existed, so too has goodness as it is a facet of God’s holy character. The same cannot be said for evil. Evil came into being with the rebellion of Satan and subsequently entered the physical universe with the fall of Adam. As Christian apologist Greg Koukl has said, “Human freedom was used in such a way as to diminish goodness in the world, and that diminution, that lack of goodness, that is what we call evil.” When God created Adam, He created him good, and He also created him free.

However, in creating Adam free, God indirectly created the possibility of evil, while not creating evil itself. When Adam chose to disobey God, he made this possibility a reality. The same scenario had previously played out when Satan fell by failing to serve and obey God. So it turns out that evil is not a direct creation of God; rather, evil is the result of persons (both angelic and human) exercising their freedom wrongly.

While evil is certainly real, it is important to recognize that evil does not have existence in and of itself. Rather, it only exists as a privation (or a parasite) on the good. It exists in the same way that a wound exists on an arm or as rust exists on a car. The rust cannot exist on its own any more than cold can exist without the existence of heat or darkness can exist without the existence of light.

Despite the horrible effects of evil on our world, the Christian believer can take comfort in the words of the Lord Jesus Christ recorded for us in the Gospel of John, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). More importantly, we look forward with great anticipation to our home in heaven where the ultimate evil, death, will finally be destroyed along with the “mourning, crying and pain” which it inevitably produces (Revelation 21:4).

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Chick-Fil-A Banned From The University of Nebraska Because CEO Supports Traditional Marriage

The decision to bring Chick-Fil-A to the University of Nebraska at Kearney (UNK) was recently reversed after complaints from students that the fast-food chain’s CEO supports traditional marriage and thus allowing his restaurant chain on campus would be offensive to homosexuals.

Chick-fil-AA survey sent out by the UNK student government in January resulted in a majority student vote to bring Chick-Fil-A to the campus student union. A number of students opposed the decision, however, complaining that Chick-Fil-A CEO Dan Cathy has made comments in the past supporting the traditional definition of marriage. The following is a comment Cathy had made in 2012 while on The Ken Coleman Show:

I think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, “We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage.” I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about.

In response to the students’ complaints, the UNK student president Evan Calhoun announced via email that his student government would not be bringing Chick-Fil-A to campus because the chain’s “discriminatory policies” and “corporate values” did not align with UNK’s values. Calhoun wrote the following on his Facebook page:

When we learned more about Chick-fil-A and its corporate values and discriminatory policies, and after hearing these concerns raised by a section of our student body, we concluded that these corporate values are not aligned with our values as a student body, and it is not in the best interest of our UNK community to pursue Chick-fil-A right now. Because a chicken restaurant may still be your top choice, we decided to put a different chicken restaurant (Raising Cane’s) in the survey to see, now, which you favor among the lineup of other top options.

Evan Jay Calhoun, UNK student president

Evan Jay Calhoun, UNK student president

Students were told their next top choices were Panda Express, IHOP, and A&W.

Trevor Wiegert, a third-year UNK student and campus chancellor’s ambassador, said he was initially thrilled that the student government was considering bringing Chick-Fil-A to the campus union. After the decision was reversed, Weigert, backed by classmates and faculty members, urged the student government to reconsider Chick-Fil-A. In a letter he wrote to the UNK student senate, Wiegert wrote:

I think it is ridiculous and appalling that this is a situation we are faced with as a campus and student body, due to the preconceived notions of a very small minority.  This is a country that was built and has thrived on the notion of free speech.  Taking a man’s opinion on his belief in the traditional family and construing it to supposedly encompass his entire company’s corporate values and discriminatory policies in order to feel “safe” or like you’re not being “persecuted” is simply asinine.

Wiegert’s sentiments were echoed by other students who were also disappointed by the student government’s decision. UNK student Aaron Ohri wrote,

Dear UNK,

Your e-mail on why Chick-Fil-A does not “Align with our student body values,” and that this is why it cannot be a restaurant on this campus, is a complete and total slap in the face to many of us on this campus who believe that Chick-Fil-A is not wrong in what they believe. I understand that a Christian lifestlye [sic.] in this day and society is completely “Disrespectful” but please do not ever again send me an e-mail speaking for the “whole student body” when you do not have a clue what most of us actually think.

Thank You.

To Aaron Ohri,  The House of the Nazarene  responded: The poll was sent out, Chick-fil-A received the most responses, they should be the one picked. If a small body of students want to be discriminatory against the belief of the CEO, that should Not stop the majority of students (The real student body) have what they want and fairly voted for!
I know we live in the age and time when we don’t want to offend anyone, but the fact of the matter is, No matter what we do or say it IS going to offend someone, that’s life!
Kudos to you who are standing up for your rights! Chick-fil-A all the way!

Wiegert told The Daily Wire the opposition to the restaurant chain was led by a tiny group of students and did not represent the student body. After considerable pressure from Wiegert, among other university members, the student government decided to hold a forum next week to allow comments from students on all sides of the matter and send to the administration for review.

A final decision is now scheduled to be made next week on Thursday.

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The Last Supper meaning and importance

The way in which Jesus fulfilled the Jewish feasts is a fascinating study. In the Hebrew Scriptures, the Jewish prophet Amos records that God declared He would do nothing without first revealing it to His servants, the prophets (Amos 3:7). From the Old Covenant to the New, Genesis to Revelation, God provides picture after picture of His entire plan for mankind and one of the most startling prophetic pictures is outlined for us in the Jewish feasts of Leviticus 23.

The Hebrew word for “feasts” (moadim) literally means “appointed times.” God has carefully planned and orchestrated the timing and sequence of each of these seven feasts to reveal to us a special story. The seven annual feasts of Israel were spread over seven months of the Jewish calendar, at set times appointed by God. and the Last Supper is one of the last of these that Jesus fulfilled before His death on the cross, remember the Jews ate Passover meal while the death angel was passing over them.

The Last Supper is what we call the last meal Jesus ate with His disciples before His betrayal and arrest. The Last Supper is recorded in the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew 26:17-30; Mark 14:12-26; Luke 22:7-30). It was more than Jesus’ last meal; it was a Passover meal, as well. One of the important moments of the Last Supper is Jesus’ command to remember what He was about to do on behalf of all mankind: shed His blood on the cross thereby paying the debt of our sins (Luke 22:19).

In addition to predicting His suffering and death for our salvation (Luke 22:15-16), Jesus also used the Last Supper to imbue the Passover with new meaning, institute the New Covenant, establish an ordinance for the church, and foretell Peter’s denial of Him (Luke 22:34) and Judas Iscariot’s betrayal (Matthew 26:21-24).

The Last Supper brought the Old Testament observance of the Passover feast to its fulfillment. Passover was an especially holy event for the Jewish people in that it commemorated the time when God spared them from the plague of physical death and brought them out of slavery in Egypt (Exodus 11:1-13:16). During the Last Supper with His apostles, Jesus took two symbols associated with Passover and imbued them with fresh meaning as a way to remember His sacrifice, which saves us from spiritual death and delivers us from spiritual bondage: “After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, ‘Take this and divide it among you. For I tell you I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.’ And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.’ In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you'” (Luke 22:17-20).

Jesus’ words during the Last Supper about the unleavened bread and the cup echo what He had said after He fed the 5,000: “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. . . . I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. . . . Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink” (John 6:35, 51, 54-55). Salvation comes through Christ and the sacrifice of His physical body on the cross.

Also during the Last Supper, Jesus taught the principles of servanthood and forgiveness as He washed His disciples’ feet: “The greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves? Is it not the one who is at the table? But I am among you as one who serves” (Luke 22:26-27).

How God Fulfilled the FeastsThe Last Supper today is remembered during the Lord’s Supper, or communion (1 Corinthians 11:23-33). The Bible teaches that Jesus’ death was typified in the offering of the Passover sacrifice (John 1:29). John notes that Jesus’ death resembles the Passover sacrifice in that His bones were not broken (John 19:36; cf. Exodus 12:46). And Paul said, “Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed” (1 Corinthians 5:7). Jesus is the fulfillment of the Law, including the feasts of the Lord (Matthew 5:17).

Typically, the Passover meal was a family celebration. However, at the Last Supper, the apostles were alone with Jesus (Luke 22:14), which suggests that this particular meal has specific meaning for the church, of which the apostles became the foundation (Ephesians 2:20). While the Last Supper had implications for the Jews, it was designed for the church as well. Today the Lord’s Table is one of two ordinances observed by the church.

The Last Supper was rooted in the Old Covenant even as it heralded the New. Jeremiah 31:31 promised a New Covenant between God and Israel, in which God said, “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people” (Jeremiah 31:33). Jesus made a direct reference to this New Covenant during the Last Supper: “This cup is the new covenant in my blood” (Luke 22:20). A new dispensation was on the horizon. In God’s grace, the New Covenant applies to more than Israel; everyone who has faith in Christ will be saved (see Ephesians 2:12-14).

The Last Supper was a significant event and proclaimed a turning point in God’s plan for the world. In comparing the crucifixion of Jesus to the feast of Passover, we can readily see the redemptive nature of Christ’s death. As symbolized by the original Passover sacrifice in the Old Testament, Christ’s death atones for the sins of His people; His blood rescues us from death and saves us from slavery. Today, the Lord’s Supper is when believers reflect upon Christ’s perfect sacrifice and know that, through our faith in receiving Him, we will be with Him forever (Luke 22:18; Revelation 3:20).

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NBC Series ‘Superstore’ Openly Mocks Christianity And Implies That ‘Jesus Is A Homosexual’

We have long been accustomed to Hollywood bashing both Christians and the Bible, but their latest offering takes their hatred of God to a whole new level.

“For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.” Romans 1:26,27 (KJV)

This is what the official blurb from the NBC website says about it:

America Ferrera (“Ugly Betty”) and Ben Feldman (“Mad Men,” “A to Z”) star in a hilarious workplace comedy (from the producer of “The Office”) about a unique family of employees at a supersized megastore. From the bright-eyed newbies and the seen-it-all veterans to the clueless summer hires and the in-it-for-life managers, together they hilariously tackle the day-to-day grind of rabid bargain hunters, riot-causing sales and nap-worthy training sessions.

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The episode shows how a sitcom can address differences in gay and straight culture by not “pointing fingers at misconceptions” but highlighting them to get humor and, eventually, understanding.

Doesn’t sound so bad, right? A quirky, offbeat “comedy” about Wal-Mart sounds pretty good, right? Wrong. The show takes pains to point out that one of the main characters, Glenn, is a “christian”. This “gag” gets repeated multiple times during the show in the run-up to Glenn doing very unChristian things like lying, cheating and stealing. NBC wants us to know that all Christians are hypocrites, and unrepentant ones at that. Glenn also has some unique ideas about Jesus.

In the episode “Wedding Day Sale,” a Christian store manager named Glenn asks for help from a gay employee named Mateo to build out a special gay wedding section.

“I just want everyone who comes into this store to feel accepted,” Glenn says. That seemingly compassionate gesture opens a discussion about Jesus supporting pro-gay adoption and pro-gay marriage—and even speculation that the Messiah Himself may have been homosexual.

Superstore-WeddingSale-whatshotnIf the character Glenn were truly a Christian, he would not in a million years be a party to creating a “gay wedding” section of the store much less volunteering to do it. If Glenn was a Christian, he would witness to his gay co-worker and tell himhow to get forgiveness for his sins by getting saved. And he certainly wouldn’t think, even on his worst day, that Jesus Christ was a homosexual. But this is the storyline they give us.

The writer of “Superstore”, Justin Spitzer, uses this episode as a potent selling tool for the LGBT agenda. It equates a rejection of same-sex-marriage with someone who is “narrow minded” and “old fashioned”, and all they need to do “open their mind” that “all love is love”. But that is not what the Bible teaches. LGBT evangelists like Matthew Pines travels across the country lobbying hard and preaching in any pulpit that will have him that God is in favor of homosexuality and same-sex marriage. His book, “God and the Gay Christian” is attempting to show a pro-gay Creator of the Universe.

Vines has also launched something he calls The Reformation Project, which aims to “eradicate homophobia from the Church”. Shows like ‘Superstore’ are working hard to help him sell his end times agenda.

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The Identity Of The Author Of The Book Of Hebrews

The book of Hebrews, while in the New Testament, was not written “to” Christians as doctrine for the Church Age. It was written to, you guessed it, the Hebrews.

“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.” 2 Peter 1:20 (KJV)

As Bible believers, we maintain and teach that whatever questions are raised in the reading of the King James Bible will also be answered in the reading of the King James Bible. And no, not by “going to the Greek and Hebrew” for more “light”. You don’t speak, read or write any of those languages so why would you go looking for answers there? God has preserved His word in English, the last, great universal world language, for an English-speaking people. Now before you open up Outlook to fire us off an email for berate us for our “narrow mindedness”, just remember that God the Holy Spirit wrote the Old Testament in Hebrew to the exclusion of every other known language, and He wrote the New Testament in Greek to the exclusion of every other known language. God’s way is and will always be the narrow way.

The whole Bible written for us, but the whole Bible not written to us

Further, we understand as Bible believers that while God meant the whole Bible to be “for” us, He certainly did not mean for the whole Bible be written “to” us. The Church is not Israel and Israel in not the Church. Promises made to Israel and the Jews remain their property no matter how far away they may slide away from God. When we steal promises God makes to His chosen people and try to apply them to the Christian Church, that’s called Replacement Theology, and it is unbiblical as well as being demonic.

With the foundation clearly laid, the question before us is this: does the Bible reveal the author of the book of Hebrews? This answer is yes, we believe it does.

The book of Hebrews, while in the New Testament, was not written “to” Christians as doctrine for the Church Age. It was written to, you guessed it, the Hebrews, though it is a rich treasure trove of spiritual application for Church Age saints. And as you read Hebrews, in chapter after chapter it becomes quite clear who the author is addressing. He is talking to Jews, under the Law, and he makes his case by reminding them of their chosen people lineage and comparing and contrasting that with the risen Lord Jesus Christ:

“Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus; Who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house. For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house.” Hebrews 3:1-3 (KJV)

The writer of Hebrews pleads with his Jewish audience to not reject Jesus Christ the way their fathers provoked God in the Exodus from Egypt:

“Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.” Hebrews 3:12,15 (KJV)

Certainly the writer is not addressing gentile, Greek-speaking Christians, he is talking to Jews. In fact, the writer of the book of Hebrews seems to have a genuine love and a sincere heart to see his fellow Jews get saved. Kinda reminds you of this:

“I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh: Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises; Whoseare the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.” Romans 9:1-5 (KJV)

Those verses from Romans written by the apostle Paul match the tenor of Hebrews quite closely, we could make a pretty good case for Paul as the author of Hebrews. But if this was all we had to go on, it would be at best a circumstantial type of proof that would probably not hold up in court. Let’s continue.

In the tenth chapter of Hebrews, we come across a clue to the writer’s identity that, under close inspection, yields a bonanza of information about him. In verse 34 we find that the writer was in prison:

“For ye had compassion of me in my bonds, and took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance.” Hebrews 10:34 (KJV)

Now the field of possible candidates was just reduced to nearly a single possibility. Whoever was writing Hebrews was well-acquainted with the chain of imprisonment. Paul was the only apostle that had “prison epistles”. John was in exile on Patmos, but that is not the same as being chained in prison.

Since the writer of Hebrews uses the word “bonds” 3 times in Hebrews, lets do a quick search to see where else in the New Testament that word was used. We find the word “bonds” appearing 18 times in the New Testament.

  • “And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me.” Acts 20:22,23 (KJV)
  • “Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian. And Paul said, I would to God, that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether such as I am, except these bonds.” Acts 26:28,29 (KJV)
  • “The salutation by the hand of me Paul. Remember my bonds. Grace be with you. Amen.”  Colossians 4:18 (KJV)

Jesus Loves YouThe amazing thing is that every time they appear, not counting the 3 times in Hebrews, the word “bonds” was either written by Paul or about Paul. All 18 of them! We strongly urge you to pull all the references to bonds and study them in light of Hebrews, it will amaze you. And there is one verse that stands out so strongly it becomes virtually a proof-text for proving Paul was the writer of Hebrews:

“And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.” Ephesians 6:19,29 (KJV)

Did you see that? Not only does Paul own all the places in which the word appears, the Holy Spirit then tells us that he is so closely identified with being in prison chains that he is called the “ambassador in bonds”. Honestly, how much more proof do you require? Many scholars, so called, will attempt to argue authorship by saying “well, it doesn’t sound Pauline enough for it to be Paul”, and various other chestnuts like that only scholars can appreciate. But the Bible wasn’t written for scholars, it was written for the average person, in the Koine “street talk” of it’s day. So the clues are not hidden very deeply at all, a simple dose of 2 Timothy 2:15 sufficient to solve the problem.

Yes, there are many doctrinal differences between the book of Hebrews and all of Paul’s known writings. Paul, for example, teaches the doctrine of eternal security from Romans to Philemon, while the book of Hebrews teaches a works-plus-faith salvation. So when we rightly divide, we see that Hebrews as doctrine will be for the saints living in the time of Jacob’s trouble, a time in which salvation can be lost. Hebrews is clearly in line with Matthew 24, James, Jude and Revelation chapters 6 – 19.

Perhaps the Holy Spirit told Paul not to put his name on it to avoid confusing Christians living in our dispensation. Seems to me like a pretty good idea. And perhaps Paul was giving us a huge clue when we told us to “remember his bonds”.

“So that my bonds in Christ are manifest in all the palace, and in all other places; And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.” Philippians 1:13,14 (KJV)

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