Battle Scars and Bible Skeptics

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing (John 20:27 KJV).

Today’s Scripture says that, in the body of His flesh, the Lord Jesus Christ bore the scars of the greatest battle ever faced.

“Doubting Thomas” is a famous Bible character, but the passage that features this apostolic skeptic involves a fascinating concept often overlooked. Contrary to the nonsensical notion that Jesus arose in some invisible, spirit form, He Himself declared that He had a physical body that Thomas could touch with his physical hands. In another post-resurrection passage, Jesus said, “Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have” (Luke 24:39). We are confident that the Lord knew more about His own body than present-day conjecturers in theology.

Today’s Scripture is Jesus’ reply to Thomas’ comments in verse 26: “The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But [Thomas] said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

As physical proof that it was the Lord Jesus Himself, He ordered Thomas to feel the nail scars in His hands and the spear wound in His side. Yes, it was the same body that had died on the cross three days earlier, and the exact body that laid lifeless in the tomb for three days and three nights. There was no question that Jesus Christ and His message were true—His literal, bodily resurrection confirmed everything (Romans 1:4). What else could His enemies do to Him? They had already killed Him, and now He was alive! What else could Thomas do but believe? Jesus was physically standing just steps away from him!

The Lord Jesus Christ chose to retain those battle scars, probably forever. Evidently, He still has them today, to one day be seen by us, those who already believe! What a concept!

Arrayed in Hypocrisy

Friday, October 31, 2014

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. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity” (Matthew 23:27,28 KJV).

“Looks can be deceiving” is not only true during Halloweentime, but confirmed year-round within Christendom.

Today is Halloween, when children dress up and feign themselves to be creatures they are not. Likewise, many church leaders today wear “Christian” garbs, but their ministries do not bring the Lord Jesus Christ glory and honor. They promote their denomination, and seek to perpetuate it, rather than serve and exalt the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ. The Bible manifests these who appear to be good, as “wolves in sheep’s clothing.”

In today’s Scripture, Jesus Christ exposed Israel’s corrupt religious leaders who misled the nation in His day. In His Parable of the Tares, Matthew 13:24-30,37-43, Christ explained how just as He had sown good seed (wheat, believing Jews) in Israel, Satan had also sown tares/weeds (unbelieving Jews). Tares resemble wheat; unbelieving Jews resemble believing Jews. The unbelieving Pharisees and scribes, for instance, looked like God’s people (believing Israel). Judas Iscariot was another example of Satan’s tares—the apostles never realized who Judas really was until it was too late!

But Satan’s counterfeit believers are not confined to Israel’s program. Today, within local assemblies of the Body of Christ, there are people feigning themselves to be Christians: For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works” (2 Corinthians 11:13-15).

Beloved, beware of the church leaders who are arrayed in hypocrisy, “and avoid them” (Romans 16:17b). If their teaching does not agree with the rightly divided King James Bible, you have no business as a child of God to be listening to them.

*This is excerpted from a larger Bible study with the same name. The Bible study can be read here or watched here.

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Should Christians celebrate Halloween?

What Shall Be on the Morrow?

Thursday, October 30, 2014

“Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away” (James 4:13,14 KJV).

Plan in Jesus Christ today, that regardless of what else may happen to you, you will be in Him.

Just yesterday, while walking in a store’s parking lot, I began to smell a fire burning in the distance. Someone pointed in the direction of large black clouds of billowing smoke; someone’s house in a nearby subdivision was ablaze! It was not too long after that that I began to hear sirens of emergency vehicles passing. Later, I learned on the local news what happened. A man had come home and had found his house on fire, with his mother sleeping inside. Fortunately, he was able to save her before she perished!

There are so many news stories like this from around the world. People can come so close to death and have yet another opportunity to be saved from their sins through Jesus Christ. They come ever so close to the flames of hell, right up to death’s doorstep and hell’s threshold, and yet, they survive those dangerous situations. Then again, they may not be so fortunate the next time around. Death may come far too quick for them, and what have they done with Jesus Christ? It is rightly said, “Eternity keeps you where death finds you.”

James, writing today’s Scripture, rebuked the Jews for their careless thoughts and selfish lifestyles. They were not filled with God’s wisdom; they did not realize how brief this earthly life really is. Like a “vapour,” our earthly life will “vanish away.” It is just a “little time,” so may we come by simple faith in Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour now, that if death finds us tomorrow, the Lord Jesus Christ will have found us first! :)

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How does Satan operate today?

Stones Whose Praises Would Rock Creation

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

“And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out” (Luke 19:40 KJV).

Why did our Lord Jesus Christ utter such a strange statement?

It was less than a week before He would die on Calvary’s cross, and He had entered Jerusalem on a donkey’s colt, a perfect fulfillment of a Messianic passage: “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass” (Zechariah 9:9).

Believers in Jesus, those who recognized Him as the fulfillment of hundreds of specific Old Testament prophecies of Messiah, “began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen; saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest” (Luke 19:37,38). The Bible says, “And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples” (verse 39). Today’s Scripture was Jesus’ reply to the Pharisees.

Geologically speaking, rocks are inorganic; they are composed of non-living minerals. Yet, the Creator Himself, Jesus Christ, said that they had the ability to “cry out.” Some may say that the notion of non-living objects “crying out” is preposterous, and the Bible unbeliever is free to feel that way. We may, however, point out that it was outlandish that most Jews—creatures with brains and souls—turned a blind eye to the hundreds of prophecies Jesus fulfilled, specific indications He was their long-promised Messiah, the Son of God.

The Holy Spirit through the Prophet Zechariah urged Israel to rejoice and shout when her Messiah came forth on the donkey, and yet here some Jews discouraged the exhibition of such joy! Had no person praised Jesus on that day of the so-called “Triumphal Entry,” surely other aspects of creation would have honored their Creator. The sounds of their praise would have “rocked creation” indeed! :)

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Could you please clarify Ephesians 2:18-22?

In Him and Not in Hell

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

“And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith” (Philippians 3:9 KJV).

Before we can have a right standing before God, we must realize our wrong standing before God.

A dear lady I shared the Gospel with not many weeks ago told me, “I think I will go to heaven. Now if I commit some horrible sin just before I die, then I will go to purgatory.” Like so many, she needed to realize that the ultimate sin is to believe we can live a perfect life to make God so happy with us that He will have no choice but to let us into heaven, that we can supplement and/or substitute Jesus Christ’s life and righteousness with our own, that we call God a liar by saying our sin nature can still offer so much as one work that is pleasing in His sight, that Jesus Christ failed to do what we must do.

When I asked this lady on the basis of what five minutes her life would be totally acceptable to God, what five minutes of her living were 100 percent perfect and made her worthy of heaven, she confessed she had no such five minutes; that is when she realized that that failure is sin, that her lack of assurance was a sign she was headed to anywhere but heaven!

I began to share with her the wonderful news of God’s righteousness in Jesus Christ received by simple faith in Him alone (today’s Scripture). God is offering us a place in heaven as a free gift and we cannot work for a gift (otherwise it becomes a debt). If we so much as believe we can work enough to add to Jesus’s perfect sacrifice, then we are telling God we want to pay for our own sins; the place where God’s wrath against our sin is appeased, is the lake of fire, and it burns forever because God’s wrath against our sin can and will never be appeased apart from Jesus Christ’s suffering at Calvary. Let us be found in Him, and not found in hell!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Why did God ask where Adam was?

Sinner’s Gospel or Scoffer’s Creed

Monday, October 27, 2014

“For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written” (Romans 2:24 KJV).

Dear saints, let us use today’s Scripture and learn a valuable lesson from Israel’s history, that it not be our history.

Someone once commented, “You are the only Bible this careless world will read. You are the sinner’s gospel, you are the scoffer’s creed.” What exactly does this mean? Quite simply, the world is watching us Christians. The lost people of the world, and even the angels, are watching us (1 Corinthians 4:9; 1 Corinthians 11:10; Ephesians 3:9-11; 1 Timothy 3:15,16). What do they see? Do they witness sound Bible doctrine on display, or do they see loose, sinful living? Dear friends, whatever they see, whether good or bad, they perceive it as “Jesus Christ” and “Christianity.” Either they will grow interested to see what you have, or they will laugh and distance themselves from such a hypocrite.

When JEHOVAH God delivered Israel from Egyptian bondage, He gave them His Covenant of Law to have them display His Word in their lives, for all the Gentile nations to see. He instructed them through Moses: “[6] Keep therefore and do them; for this is your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the nations, which shall hear all these statutes, and say, Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people. [7] For what nation is there so great, who hath God so nigh unto them, as the LORD our God is in all things that we call upon him for? [8] And what nation is there so great, that hath statutes and judgments so righteous as all this law, which I set before you this day?” (Deuteronomy 4:6-8).

Still, King David later departed from God’s laws by committing adultery with Bathsheba, causing God’s enemies to laugh at Him (2 Samuel 12:14). Israel’s behavior made JEHOVAH a laughingstock in Assyria (Isaiah 52:5). Brethren, the choice is ours—act like Israel and act like the world, or let Jesus Christ live His life in and through us.

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Does Matthew 19:27-28 prove Judas is in heaven?

A Sign of Dispensational Change

Sunday, October 26, 2014

“For the Jews require a sign…” (1 Corinthians 1:22a KJV).

Our Holy Bible confirms the global health news—yes, God has temporarily suspended Israel’s healing program.

Christendom abounds with “faith healing,” the belief system that contends that God heals physical illness in our Dispensation of Grace—some go so far as to say that He literally raises the dead! They quote James 5:14,15, Mark 16:18, Matthew 10:8, Exodus 15:26, and 1 Peter 2:24. While the Bible confirms God can perform miracles, including physical healing and resurrection, these were for Israel’s benefit (today’s Scripture). The miracles always communicated various doctrines to Israel. Today, we have the completed canon of the Holy Bible; we do not need God to teach us anything apart from His written Word (2 Timothy 3:16,17).

Saints, that God is not physically healing us is evident in global health news. The United States’ never-ending healthcare debate would be nonexistent—there would be no need for healthcare (even for the faith-healers!). Beloved, consider the current Ebola outbreak in Africa. Such cases are now here in the United States. Have we yet to hear of a single faith-healer attempting to “heal” even one person sick and dying of this most serious and painful disease? Now would be the time to manifest “God’s power,” and yet they are “missing-in-action.” They know they could not fake an Ebola healing even if they tried!

Not long ago, a “Christian miracle-worker” addressed the Ebola outbreak on his television program. A proclaimer of “healing miracles,” but still exhibiting the debilitating effects of aging, he cautioned people traveling to Africa to rather be afraid of contracting AIDS, to be wary of disease-carrying mosquitoes, and not to eat certain foods (due to unsanitary handling practices). Later, he and co-hostess discussed how they and their viewers should take precautions with the approaching cold and influenza seasons, that they manage tip-top immune systems. Lastly, his co-hostess complained when he asked her to read a text without her eyeglasses!

Dear friends and precious readers, may we abandon such religious tomfoolery, may we not be deceived by such duplicity, and may we rejoice that God’s Holy Bible is all that we need in terms of divine revelation! :)