the danger of misspeaking about God when counselingMisspeaking about God is a very serious matter. In a shocking way, the book of Job instructs us to beware of doing so.

Misspeaking about God without intending to do so

Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar were good friends of Job who cared enough to come to visit him in his affliction. They were true believers in God. They desired to minister truth about God to Job that they thought would help him deal with his grave troubles.

To that end, these three friends discoursed at great length with Job about his situation. They seem to have had the best of intentions in what they said in their conversations with Job.

Shockingly, however, after they had finished talking to Job, God sternly reproved them for misspeaking about Him:

Job 42:7 And it was so, that after the LORD had spoken these words unto Job, the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath. 8 Therefore take unto you now seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and my servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept: lest I deal with you after your folly, in that ye have not spoken of me the thing which is right, like my servant Job. 9 So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went, and did according as the LORD commanded them: the LORD also accepted Job.

God said that they had not spoken of Him what was right. He warned them that they had kindled His wrath because of what they had misspoken about Him!

God commanded them to offer burnt offerings because of their sinful speech about Him. Moreover, He ordered them to seek intercessory prayer from Job in order to deal properly with their sins.

We learn from God’s dealing with these men that they had misspoken about Him without intending to do so.

Application

Believers must exercise great care in what they say about God when counseling others so that they do not become guilty of misspeaking about God. Having good intentions is not enough—we must speak only what is right about God!

 

Thirty years ago, sometime in the first week of January 1990, God saved me. He opened my eyes and turned me from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to Himself. I received the forgiveness of my sins and an eternal inheritance among all those who saved by faith in His Son.

He translated me from the kingdom of darkness and put me into the kingdom of His dear Son. He put me in Christ and gave me hope for this life and the life to come:

Praise God for so great a salvation!

Praise God, from whom all blessings flow;

Praise Him, all creatures here below;

Praise Him above, ye heav’nly host;

Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

Amen.

—Thomas Ken

 

Whether or not Ezekiel 40-48 is revelation about national Israel, the Church, or something else is an important theological and interpretational issue. I recently posted the following series of comments (with some minor edits here) on a thread on Sharper Iron that shows why Ezekiel 40-48 refers to national Israel and not to the Church or to something else.

Length of the passage

To take the passage figuratively, 260 verses in 9 chapters would have to be treated consistently in a manner that is defensible. Trying to treat such a lengthy passage as figurative language and doing so consistently creates such serious problems that I believe it cannot be done legitimately.

To whom was the passage originally directed?

To interpret Ezekiel 40-48 properly, we must allow the text itself to determine the answer to a question of primary importance—to whom was the passage originally directed?

At least three verses in the passage pertain directly to answering this question:

Ezekiel 40:4 And the man said unto me, Son of man, behold with thine eyes, and hear with thine ears, and set thine heart upon all that I shall shew thee; for to the intent that I might shew them unto thee art thou brought hither: declare all that thou seest to the house of Israel.

Ezekiel 43:10 Thou son of man, shew the house to the house of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities: and let them measure the pattern.

Ezekiel 44:6 And thou shalt say to the rebellious, even to the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; O ye house of Israel, let it suffice you of all your abominations,

All three statements show that the passage was originally directed to the house of Israel. To determine who the house of Israel that God was commanding Ezekiel to make all this revelation known to was, we must carefully examine these statements within their original context.

The opening verses of Ezekiel 40-48

Ezekiel 40-48 opens this way:

Ezekiel 40:1 In the five and twentieth year of our captivity, in the beginning of the year, in the tenth day of the month, in the fourteenth year after that the city was smitten, in the selfsame day the hand of the LORD was upon me, and brought me thither. 2 In the visions of God brought he me into the land of Israel, and set me upon a very high mountain, by which was as the frame of a city on the south. 3 And he brought me thither, and, behold, there was a man, whose appearance was like the appearance of brass, with a line of flax in his hand, and a measuring reed; and he stood in the gate. 4 And the man said unto me, Son of man, behold with thine eyes, and hear with thine ears, and set thine heart upon all that I shall shew thee; for to the intent that I might shew them unto thee art thou brought hither: declare all that thou seest to the house of Israel.

These opening verses reveal that whoever the house of Israel refers to in its original context in Ezekiel 40-48 has to be established by noting the divine directive that everything Ezekiel was shown in this vision had to be declared to it/them. The house of Israel, therefore, in its context were the original recipients of this revelation who were alive at that time in history and were in exile in Babylon for their sinfulness. They were people to whom all the details of the entire vision were divinely directed.

Any attempt to make Ezekiel 40-48 figurative language must explain how the entire vision and not just selected parts are relevant to whoever the house of Israel is asserted to be in this passage.

Who the “house of Israel” is in Ezekiel 40-48

In the next occurrence of “house of Israel” in Ezekiel 40-48, God states who these people were to whom Ezekiel was commanded to declare and write all that he was shown:

Ezekiel 43:7 And he said unto me, Son of man, the place of my throne, and the place of the soles of my feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the children of Israel for ever, and my holy name, shall the house of Israel no more defile, neither they, nor their kings, by their whoredom, nor by the carcases of their kings in their high places. 8 In their setting of their threshold by my thresholds, and their post by my posts, and the wall between me and them, they have even defiled my holy name by their abominations that they have committed: wherefore I have consumed them in mine anger. 9 Now let them put away their whoredom, and the carcases of their kings, far from me, and I will dwell in the midst of them for ever.

The house of Israel in this passage were people who had defiled God’s holy name in the specific ways that God states here. Because they had done so, He had consumed them in His anger. In and through all the detailed revelation in Ezekiel 40-48, God was confronting the Israelites about their sins against Him and demanding them to repent and get right with Him.

To take the house of Israel in this passage as the Church would require holding that God is confronting the Church about its having defiled His holy name by committing the specific sins that He denounces here. Such a handling of the passage is plainly untenable because the Church has never committed these sins.

Furthermore, God directly confronts the kings of the house of Israel who had defiled His holy name. Again, to take this revelation as being figurative language for the Church does not make any sense because the Church never has had any kings, etc.

A proper handling of Ezekiel 43:7-9 shows that it is impossible to legitimately take Ezekiel 40-48 as figurative language for the Church. We must take the passage to be about those people whom God explicitly states it is about—national Israel who was in exile at that specific time for her wickedness in the ways that God specifies in this passage.

Explicit divine emphases on details and their purposes

In Ezekiel 40-48, God specifies that the details of the visions about the Temple had to be given to the house of Israel for very specific purposes:

Ezekiel 43:10 Thou son of man, shew the house to the house of Israel, that they may be ashamed of their iniquities: and let them measure the pattern. 11 And if they be ashamed of all that they have done, shew them the form of the house, and the fashion thereof, and the goings out thereof, and the comings in thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the laws thereof: and write it in their sight, that they may keep the whole form thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and do them. 12 This is the law of the house; Upon the top of the mountain the whole limit thereof round about shall be most holy. Behold, this is the law of the house.

This passage profoundly emphasizes that all the details in this vision matter and were vital for the purpose of causing the Israelites to be ashamed of all their iniquities! Ezekiel had to show them all the following: “the form of the house, and the fashion thereof, and the goings out thereof, and the comings in thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the ordinances thereof, and all the forms thereof, and all the laws thereof.” God explicitly asserts that every detail of the vision was significant and had to be shown to them!

Moreover, God commanded not just that the house of Israel be shown these things, but also that they had to measure the pattern of them, keep the entirety of what was shown, and do all the ordinances of it!

This passage thus has a profound explicit divine emphasis on all the details of the vision being vital in accomplishing two vital purposes for the house of Israel: (1) they would be ashamed of all their iniquities; and (2) they would fully obey everything that is commanded to them in the entire vision.

A Bible reader must allow what God explicitly says to determine what he is going to do with a passage. This passage shows that any attempt to take Ezekiel 40-48 figuratively as revelation about the Church must account for all the details of the passage in that handling. Moreover, the purposes of such figurative handling of all the details must be for the purposes of bringing the Church to repent of all the iniquities specified in the passage and to obey all the specific things commanded in the passage.

It is impossible to apply consistently a legitimate figurative handling of all the details of the passage and its stated purposes. To pick and choose what is literal and what is figurative would be to go against explicit, repeated divine statements in the passage that all the details matter.

We must allow the passage itself to direct us in how we are to interpret Ezekiel 40-48.

Not an extended metaphor!

In addition to what the previous passages have shown, Ezekiel 44:5-6 reiterates why Ezekiel 40-48 is not an extended metaphor:

Ezekiel 44:5 And the LORD said unto me, Son of man, mark well, and behold with thine eyes, and hear with thine ears all that I say unto thee concerning all the ordinances of the house of the LORD, and all the laws thereof; and mark well the entering in of the housewith every going forth of the sanctuary. 6 And thou shalt say to the rebellious, even to the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord GOD; O ye house of Israel, let it suffice you of all your abominations

This is the third passage in Ezekiel 40-48 that explicitly stresses that everything that God showed Ezekiel was important—all the details matter! Taking these 9 chapters as an extended metaphor for the Church or something else is directly contrary to the explicit divine emphasis on all the details that God declares repeatedly in these chapters.

Furthermore, what God says explicitly here again shows that a key purpose of these chapters was to bring the house of Israel to repent and turn from all their abominations. A legitimate figurative handling of these chapters would have to show how all the details pertain to the Church and would have to show how the Church is supposed to turn from all its abominations as a result of its receiving this revelation.

Finally, a legitimate figurative handling of these chapters would have to show specifically how the Church is supposed to obey all the specific directives given in the passage.

There are even more aspects of these chapters that show the impossibility of legitimately taking them as figurative language for the Church or something else. For the careful Bible reader, what the passages that I have already treated provide should be more than enough basis to reject any attempt to make the passage figurative language for the Church or something else.

 

 

Reading through Psalm 119 tonight, I was challenged by what the most frequent self-designation that the Psalmist uses to speak of himself is in the Psalm—13 times he speaks of himself as God’s servant!

Ps. 119:17 GIMEL. Deal bountifully with thy servant, that I may live, and keep thy word.
Ps. 119:23 Princes also did sit and speak against me: but thy servant did meditate in thy statutes.
Ps. 119:38 Stablish thy word unto thy servant, who is devoted to thy fear.
Ps. 119:49 ZAIN. Remember the word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope.
Ps. 119:65 TETH. Thou hast dealt well with thy servant, O LORD, according unto thy word.
Ps. 119:76 Let, I pray thee, thy merciful kindness be for my comfort, according to thy word unto thy servant.
Ps. 119:84 How many are the days of thy servant? when wilt thou execute judgment on them that persecute me?
Ps. 119:122 Be surety for thy servant for good: let not the proud oppress me.
Ps. 119:124 Deal with thy servant according unto thy mercy, and teach me thy statutes.
Ps. 119:125 I am thy servant; give me understanding, that I may know thy testimonies.
Ps. 119:135 Make thy face to shine upon thy servant; and teach me thy statutes.
Ps. 119:140 Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it.
Ps. 119:176 I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek thy servant; for I do not forget thy commandments.

This is a profound emphasis and challenges us to come to God’s Word especially with the mindset of being His servants!

“Silent Night! Holy Night!” is a beautiful Christmas carol! This PDF provides a chord-melody solo of the carol that includes the notes, chords, chord diagrams, and lyrics for the first line.

Learning the charges on ions can be challenging. By using the concept of a number line, I created today an ionic number line that helps students learn the charges on ions by grouping common ions by their charges!An ionic number line that helps with learning the charges of ions.

Next November, Americans will vote for who will be President of the country from 2020-2024. In many such previous elections, many believers likely voted for the candidate that they believed to be the lesser of two evils. They did so because they believed that there was not any truly viable candidate who was an upright person. Is such an approach biblical?

To answer that question, we need to consider that Scripture speaks at least twice of how a successor to an evil ruler was less evil than his predecessor:

2 Kings 3:1 Now Jehoram the son of Ahab began to reign over Israel in Samaria the eighteenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and reigned twelve years. 2 And he wrought evil in the sight of the LORD; but not like his father, and like his mother: for he put away the image of Baal that his father had made.

2 Kings 17:1 In the twelfth year of Ahaz king of Judah began Hoshea the son of Elah to reign in Samaria over Israel nine years. 2 And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, but not as the kings of Israel that were before him.

These passages show that God notices when a successor to a ruler is still an evil ruler but not as evil as his predecessor. Furthermore, not only does God notice such rulers but also He calls them to the attention of His people.

Moreover, we should notice that God specifies that Jehoram was not as evil as his father Ahab specifically from a religious standpoint. This revelation therefore teaches us that we are to pay attention to whether one of two or more competing candidates is less evil specifically from a spiritual standpoint.

Application

Because God has recorded these passages for our profit, we should carefully consider them if we believe that we must choose the candidate who would be the lesser of two evils in the 2020 presidential election.

Comparing Scripture with Scripture is essential for interpreting the Bible properly. An examination of the following passages about music point to an important comparison about instrumental music:

1 Samuel 16:23 And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.

2 Kings 3:15 But now bring me a minstrel. And it came to pass, when the minstrel played, that the hand of the LORD came upon him.

To compare these passages properly, we must note that neither passage says anything about singing. Whatever we may conclude about the effects or the results of the playing of instrumental music on both of these occasions, we must attribute those effects or results to the playing of instrumental music alone and not to any lyrics being sung on either occasion.

By comparing these two passages properly in that manner, what do we learn about instrumental music?

The True “War on Women”

November 30, 2019

The “War on Women is a slogan in United States politics used to describe certain Republican Party policies and legislation as a wide-scale effort to restrict women’s rights, especially reproductive rights”.1 Although this term is an important term in today’s politics, this alleged War on Women is not the true war on women that is taking place.

The First Attack on Women

To understand what the true war on women is that is taking place, we need to accept what God reveals was the first—and the most important—attack ever on women was:

Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? 2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: 3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. 4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: 5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. 6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

This passage testifies that the serpent attacked the first woman by deceiving her into disobeying God’s prohibition that He had given plainly to her and her husband Adam. Based on this revelation, we know that the true war on women that has taken place is what a supernatural evil being did to deceive the first woman into disobeying God.

Ongoing Attacks on Women

Scripture not only reveals that the first attack on human beings was an attack on a woman to deceive her to disobey God, but also it reveals the pernicious nature of similar ongoing attacks on women:

2 Timothy 3:1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. 6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, 7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 8 Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.

Application

When Christians encounter people who speak of the so-called War on Women, they should take advantage of such an opportunity to evangelize them. They should inform them of the true war on women that is taking place—attacks on women to get them to disobey God, even as the serpent deceived Eve into disobeying God.


1https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_on_Women; accessed 8/10/19, 4:52 pm.

Deuteronomy 32:1-43 records a song that is of profound musical importance for many reasons:

1. The song is one of the longest songs in the Bible: 43 verses

2. God appeared to Moses and gave him all the words of the song directly—none of it is at all of human composition

Deuteronomy 31:15 And the LORD appeared in the tabernacle in a pillar of a cloud: and the pillar of the cloud stood over the door of the tabernacle. 16 And the LORD said unto Moses, Behold, thou shalt sleep with thy fathers; and this people will rise up, and go a whoring after the gods of the strangers of the land, whither they go to be among them, and will forsake me, and break my covenant which I have made with them. 17 Then my anger shall be kindled against them in that day, and I will forsake them, and I will hide my face from them, and they shall be devoured, and many evils and troubles shall befall them; so that they will say in that day, Are not these evils come upon us, because our God is not among us? 18 And I will surely hide my face in that day for all the evils which they shall have wrought, in that they are turned unto other gods. 19 Now therefore write ye this song for you, and teach it the children of Israel: put it in their mouths, that this song may be a witness for me against the children of Israel.

3. The song instructs us of the stress that God has placed on warning His people about idolatry

Deuteronomy 31:16 And the LORD said unto Moses, Behold, thou shalt sleep with thy fathers; and this people will rise up, and go a whoring after the gods of the strangers of the land, whither they go to be among them, and will forsake me, and break my covenant which I have made with them. 17 Then my anger shall be kindled against them in that day, and I will forsake them, and I will hide my face from them, and they shall be devoured, and many evils and troubles shall befall them; so that they will say in that day, Are not these evils come upon us, because our God is not among us? 18 And I will surely hide my face in that day for all the evils which they shall have wrought, in that they are turned unto other gods. 19 Now therefore write ye this song for you, and teach it the children of Israel: put it in their mouths, that this song may be a witness for me against the children of Israel. 20 For when I shall have brought them into the land which I sware unto their fathers, that floweth with milk and honey; and they shall have eaten and filled themselves, and waxen fat; then will they turn unto other gods, and serve them, and provoke me, and break my covenant.

Deuteronomy 32:16 They provoked him to jealousy with strange gods, with abominations provoked they him to anger.

4. The song witnesses for God against the sinfulness of His own people

Deuteronomy 31:19 Now therefore write ye this song for you, and teach it the children of Israel: put it in their mouths, that this song may be a witness for me against the children of Israel.

5. The song begins with a call for all the universe to hear the words of this song

Deuteronomy 32:1 Give ear, O ye heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of my mouth.

6. The song warns of human beings sacrificing to demons

Deuteronomy 32:16 They provoked him to jealousy with strange gods, with abominations provoked they him to anger. 17 They sacrificed unto devils, not to God; to gods whom they knew not, to new gods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not.

7. NT use of the song reveals that bringing about musical worship of God was and is a premier goal of the mission of Christ as the Servant

Deuteronomy 32:43 Rejoice, O ye nations, with his people: for he will avenge the blood of his servants, and will render vengeance to his adversaries, and will be merciful unto his land, and to his people.

Romans 15:8 Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers: 9 And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name. 10 And again he saith, Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people.

8. NT use of the song reveals that the song ends with a command to the nations that concerns how the Gentiles are to glorify God for His mercy

Deuteronomy 32:43 Rejoice, O ye nations, with his people: for he will avenge the blood of his servants, and will render vengeance to his adversaries, and will be merciful unto his land, and to his people.

Romans 15:8 Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers: 9 And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name. 10 And again he saith, Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people.

Because of the profound musical importance of this song, God’s people must give special attention to profiting fully from it.