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Lord willing, I will begin teaching a 15-week Bible college class Acceptable Music for Corporate Worship this Thursday! Through this class, I hope to disciple several Spanish students to know, understand, and do what the Bible teaches about this vital subject.

The students in this class will read the book of Psalms and La Batalla por La Música Cristiana, the Spanish translation of The Battle for Christian Music by Tim Fisher. They will memorize select passages about music, They will also write a paper on what the book of Psalms teaches about acceptable instrumental music for corporate worship.

I praise God for the opportunity to teach a college-level class on this subject!

Whether Solomon perished eternally is a question that has spurred more interest in my blog than any other subject that I have written about, which is something that I would never have expected. Until recently, an aspect of that question that I had not previously considered is the relevance of Hebrews 11 to one’s view about his eternal destiny.

Solomon is Not Mentioned in Hebrews 11

Hebrews 11 mentions many great saints of God and sets them forth as believers whose faith was exemplary. Although Hebrews 11 mentions David, who was a man of superlative faith and character (aside from his great sinful failures with Uriah and Bathsheba), it only does so in a brief listing of names that the author says that he did not enough time to talk about:

Heb 11:32 And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets:

Solomon, however, is not mentioned at all in this verse or elsewhere in the chapter. To assess properly whether this omission is relevant to our understanding of his eternal destiny, we need to consider other people that Hebrews 11 also does not mention.

Job, Hezekiah, and Josiah Are Not Mentioned in Hebrews 11

Job was the godliest man alive in his day (Job 1:8; 2:3), yet he is not mentioned in Hebrews 11. When we also take into account both his godliness and the genuineness of his faith that were displayed in the midst of horrific sufferings that he endured, it is even more striking and perplexing that Hebrews 11 does not speak of Job.

Like Job, Hezekiah and Josiah are extolled in Scripture for their stellar character and walk with God:

2Ki 18:5 He [Hezekiah] trusted in the LORD God of Israel; so that after him was none like him among all the kings of Judah, nor any that were before him.

2Ki 23:25 And like unto him [Josiah] was there no king before him, that turned to the LORD with all his heart, and with all his soul, and with all his might, according to all the law of Moses; neither after him arose there any like him.

Despite the unparalleled excellence of these two kings, however, neither one is mentioned in Hebrews 11! Hebrews 11 thus does not speak of Job, Hezekiah, and Josiah—three of the premier men of God spoken of in Scripture.

Discussion

Given the greatness of Solomon, one might argue that the lack of his being mentioned in Hebrews 11 implies that he perished eternally because he never repented of his great sinfulness late in his life. This reasoning, however, is faulty because Hebrews 11 also does not mention Job, Hezekiah, and Josiah, who were all exceedingly godly men about whom we can be certain that they did not perish eternally.

Conclusion

The lack of mention of Solomon in Hebrews 11 does not prove that he perished eternally. In fact, many other considerations show that Solomon did not perish eternally and that we will see him in heaven one day.

Suppose that all the major news networks were to carry a bombshell report that the Pentagon has had extended contact with aliens and will soon provide lengthy videotaped conversations between high-level government officials and the aliens. Over a period of many days, the videotapes reveal striking information provided by the aliens.

The aliens say that they have been around for 6 billion years and have traveled throughout our galaxy and have found no proof of the existence of God. They say that they first came to earth almost 5 billion years ago from a planet 10 light years away.

They emphatically deny that there were any people named Adam and Eve who were the first humans created by God. Instead, the aliens insist that when they came to the earth, they seeded it with its first life forms.

The aliens say that they have been observing what has happened on earth ever since. They say that there was a man named Jesus who lived many years ago, but they say that he was just a man who was made into a god by his devotees.

They deny that this Jesus rose from the dead and insist there is no heaven to which he ascended. The aliens proclaim that the real good news for the world is that they have come to save mankind by revealing the truth about the history of the earth and about how life began on the earth.

The videotapes are followed by stunning live footage showing the aliens appearing and disappearing at will, zooming through the sky in spacecraft powered by technology unlike anything man has ever known, and dematerializing and rematerializing select people from one place on the earth instantaneously to other places on the earth.

The aliens insist that their phenomenal superpowers prove their authenticity and the authenticity of their message. If such contact with aliens would take place, would that disprove the Bible?

For those who believe that the Bible is the perfect Word of God, the answer is an emphatic, “No!” Aliens who would come proclaiming another gospel would be under the divine condemnation revealed long ago by God:

Galatians 1:8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. 9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

Notice that God specifies that if an angel from heaven were to come preaching another gospel, that angel must be accursed. What applies to any angel proclaiming such a message certainly applies to any other purported celestial being that would bring a message contrary to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

In reality, if any so-called aliens were ever to come to earth heralding another gospel, believers would know that such beings are not aliens at all but rather fallen angels masquerading as aliens. Contact with aliens would not disprove the Bible because human beings would not have any ability to authenticate the message of these beings other than to take their word for it.

Scripture unequivocally reveals to us that contact with aliens would not disprove the Bible. Believers must heed this instruction that God has provided them so that they will not be led astray by deceiving spirits claiming to be aliens from other planets, galaxies, dimensions, etc.

After I was saved in 1990, I had an intense desire to read the Bible. Praise God, He has sustained that desire in me to this day in spite of my many struggles over the years.

So far, I have completed reading the Bible twice in three languages, English, biblical Greek, and Spanish. This post relates some highlights of my Bible reading in these languages.

Bible Reading in English

In my first year as a believer, I read the Bible through three times in English. Since then, I have read (or read and listened) to the entire Bible in English every year except for one year when I read the Bible through in Spanish.

In 2016, God led me to read the Bible through in 59 days, which was both very challenging and extremely profitable! This year, He directed me to do the same thing in 87 days. I am grateful to have been able to read the Bible twice each of these past two years.

Bible Reading in Biblical Greek

Over a period of a number of years, I read the entire Septaugint (canonical books only) and the Greek New Testament. After having done that, I was greatly blessed to read the entire Septuagint (canonical books only) and the Greek New Testament in 2011.

Reading the Bible in biblical Greek in one year was an immense privilege that I hope to have again in the future. The insights that God gave me into His Word through reading the Septuagint through in one year have proven to be extremely beneficial for my understanding of a number of key passages in the New Testament.

Bible Reading in Spanish

In 2014, God directed me to read the entire Reina Valera 1960 version of the Bible in Spanish. What began as incredibly hard task became much more manageable as the year progressed, praise God!

From 2014 to 2017, I have been reading the Bible in Spanish in both the Reina Valera and the La Biblia De Las Américas versions. I recently finished reading the whole Bible in the LBLA version so God has now enabled me to read the entire Bible at least twice in three different languages!

How I praise God for the glory of His Word and the matchless privilege of knowing Him through His inspired, inerrant, and infallible perfect revelation of Himself in His Word!

When 2017 began, I had no intention of trying to read through the Bible more than once in English. After finishing the Bible in English for the first time this year on July 10, my plan was to try to finish reading through the Bible in Spanish, which I had begun in 2016.

In September, however, it was arranged that I would teach (through an interpreter) a 15-week Bible class in a Spanish Bible college in Spring 2018. To prepare for that class on what the Bible teaches about acceptable music for corporate worship, I decided that I needed to read through the Bible again in the last three months of this year.

I began that second reading on October 1. I praise God that He empowered me to finish that second reading today—87 days after I had started!

Praise Glorious is a new hymnal supplement that my church Mount Calvary Baptist produced this year! I am very grateful that it includes my first published hymn O Sinner, Hear!, a song that I wrote more than 10 years ago.

This hymn has been sung in several churches, including as a special at my church. The hymn highlights how God wants all mankind to hear His urgent message to repent and turn to Him because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through the Man whom He raised from the dead and has appointed to be the Judge of the living and the dead (Acts 10:42; 17:30-31).

Adult Beginning Guitar Class!

December 16, 2017

Lord willing, I will be teaching an adult beginning guitar class for Majesty Music Academy in Spring 2018. If you know of anyone in the Greenville, SC area who might be interested in learning guitar by enrolling in a guitar class, please let them know about this opportunity.

I wonder how many believers may have “desensitized” their inner man to one degree or another to the awe that God wants them to have about the true supernatural works of Jesus and other servants of God because they have filled their minds with fictitious accounts and images of imaginary “superheroes.” Has immersion in fictitious superhero accounts hurt many believers?

In an extended parable, God remarks on the heartlessness of people who fail to give newborn children the proper compassionate care that they should receive:

Eze 16:4 And as for thy nativity, in the day thou wast born thy navel was not cut, neither wast thou washed in water to supple thee; thou wast not salted at all, nor swaddled at all.

 5 None eye pitied thee, to do any of these unto thee, to have compassion upon thee; but thou wast cast out in the open field, to the lothing of thy person, in the day that thou wast born.

 6  And when I passed by thee, and saw thee polluted in thine own blood, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live; yea, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live.

This passage makes clear that God wants compassionate care given to newborn babies so that they would live. When such care is not given to them, it reveals the heartlessness of those who refuse to pity them and have compassion on them.

Arguing from the lesser to the greater, how much more heartless is it not just to fail to give compassionate care to newborns but also to take steps to kill them. In the same way, aborting an unborn baby displays the heartlessness of those who put to death a human being who is helpless, innocent, and undeserving of such inhuman treatment.

O God, please bring to an end the heartlessness of abortion and infanticide. Have mercy on these helpless babies. Work in the hearts of those who are doing these heartless things so that they will repent and believe in your Son.

Come quickly, O Christ, for the sake of these who are being mercilessly slaughtered. Hear their cries, O Father.

 

 

 

 

My life is a testimony to God’s providential leading. My father produced television commercials in Japan, and my mother was a copywriter. From my childhood, my parents were interested in me going into some sort of show business. Even before entering elementary school, my mother enrolled me in piano, Kabuki dance (a traditional Japanese dance form), acting, and ballet lessons. I especially liked ballet–if you can believe it!

In addition to all those lessons, I also received roles in television dramas and commercials. I had a very busy childhood. Everyone expected me to go into show business, and I worked hard to achieve show business success. God, however, had a different and far better plan for me.

My father was a self-declared atheist and my mother was a Shinto/Buddhist (a typical Japanese family). Never once during my childhood did I ever meet a Christian or even see a copy of the Bible. At one point, I thought the Bible was a magical book that only priests could read. However, I knew quite confidently that there must be a God. Lessons from nature and history taught me that.

The thought of God’s existence always made me uncomfortable because I also knew that I was a sinner and somehow knew that God was angry with me. The frustration of a guilty conscience grew heavier as I grew older, and this in turn led me into deeper sin and into self-hatred. God was gracious and although I didn’t yet know it, had a plan to rescue me from my miserable state.

At the age of 15, God led me to the island of Guam to attend high school. This move was precipitated by a long series of events over a period of years, and if even one of these events had been altered, I would not have made the move. My ballet teacher and her family had moved to Guam, and they invited me to come with them since they knew me as one of their sons and they knew that I was looking for a high school to attend. My parents were convinced that it would be good for me to go outside Japan for high school to better learn English and to start a new life.

My parents and I looked at every private school on the island. All of them were either Catholic or liberal Episcopalian, and all of them had a full enrollment for the upcoming year. The last place we visited was Harvest Christian Academy. This was our last choice because we didn’t like the idea of attending a “Christian” school and somehow Baptist sounded more “seriously Christian” than Catholic. Harvest Academy had one opening for a 10th-grade boy, and we had no choice but to accept.

The excitement of attending Harvest started while the filling out of the application. The first question was “What is your religion?” I was startled. No one had ever asked me that question before. I looked at my mother and asked, “What is my religion?” She thought a little and then said, “Just put down Buddhist.” It is not that unusual to be a Buddhist at Harvest, since Guam is a melting pot of different Asian cultures and religions and the school exists for mission outreach, but I was marked by teachers and administrators from the beginning.

My first year at Harvest was difficult. I didn’t know how to behave, and for once, I couldn’t get away with all the mischievous things that I used to do behind my teachers’ backs. I frequently ended up in the principal’s office, and my name was often mentioned in faculty meetings (so the principal has since told me). I felt caged and miserable. Because of my limited English, classes were difficult–Spanish class was the worst–and I could not converse with my classmates.

Thankfully, there was one boy, Ryan Izumihara, in my class who could speak Japanese. Since he was the only one I could speak to, we talked a lot and became best friends. Ryan had been saved the year before, and he had presented the Gospel to me and talked about how it had changed his life. We would often argue about religion, and I would tell him that I believed in UFOs, reincarnation, and the mystical nature of our afterlife.

One day Ryan told me, “Yoh, I just want to tell you that you are my good friend, and I want you to go to Heaven. I want to see you there too.” By that time, I had begun to admire and even envy Christians for their joyfulness and peace, so it was easy for me to respond to that invitation. After chapel that day, I responded to the invitation, trusted Christ, and began living a new life. From that day forward, God has continued to show me the greatness of His grace.

The preaching and Christian fellowship in Guam helped nurture my love for God. During my senior year, I learned about baptism and desired to testify publicly my love for Jesus. My baptism brought about great trials in my life. When my parents learned of it, they thought that they had lost their only son to a cult, and they tried everything in their power to pull me away from Christianity. They even considered bringing me back to Japan in the middle of my senior year.

In time, they relented and allowed me to finish at Harvest, but they absolutely condemned the idea of me attending a Christian university like Bob Jones. I persistently pleaded with them, and tried to be the best possible testimony to them. Eventually they relented and promised that I could attend Bob Jones if I would first go for two years to a conservatory in Japan (they were hoping that I would change my mind).

I auditioned for a small, private conservatory started by a famous Kabuki actor, and I was one of four students accepted. Although my major emphasis was ballet, I also had to take voice lessons. I have always loved singing. In fact, my elementary school teachers would often write on my report cards, “Yoh loves to sing–loud.” Taking voice lessons was a dream come true. Learning to sing loudly for a long time without hurting my voice was exhilarating (I didn’t yet care about sounding beautiful). Singing was more enjoyable and less strenuous than ballet, so I changed my major to musical theater.

Contrary to my parent’s expectations, my determination to come to Bob Jones University did not wane. I had planned to major in math at BJU, since I obviously was not going to be able to study Kabuki or ballet, but now I determined to major in voice performance. My parents seemed pleased with that choice and decided to come with me to BJU to see what kind of place this “Fundamentalist Christian University” was. After seeing the beautiful campus and the well-dressed friendly people, my mom was convinced that she could entrust her son to this school.

In fact, the Lord used the visit to begin to soften my mom’s heart to the Gospel. That fall we prayed for my mother nearly every night in my prayer group, and on Christmas day, she responded to an invitation at Harvest Baptist and trusted Christ as her true God and Savior. She has grown in grace through many different trials, and I can boldly say that now I have a Christian mother.

During my senior year at BJU, the Lord directed me in another marvelous way. My plans were to audition for a conservatory after graduation and to pursue a professional singing career. That fall while on a choir tour, we received news that Dr. Bob Jr. had passed away. I knew that he was a very talented actor and poet but that his real passion was for preaching the Gospel. The Lord spoke to my heart and during Dr. Bob’s funeral service, I dedicated myself to the Gospel ministry, and then I enrolled in the Master of Divinity program.

My father passed away during the first semester of my graduate study, causing greater financial need. As my graduate work progressed, I greatly desired a position as a teaching assistant, so that I could study languages and prepare for comprehensive exams in the summers. Eventually the Lord provided me with a teaching assistant position in the Division of Music. This provided for my financial needs and gave me an opportunity to experience the joy of helping to equip Christian young people to better serve the Lord.

I finished my Master of Divinity and my doctorate at BJU and then thought about returning to Japan to help train Japanese pastors for the ministry. After having been at Bob Jones University for ten years, I was looking forward to passing on to others what the Lord had taught me there.

Instead, I went to Singapore as a missionary replacement for Dr. Steve Reynolds for a year. I stayed on after the Reynolds returned as his assistant pastor and a teacher at Asian Baptist School. After being in Singapore for 3.5 years, the Lord led me back to Guam in 2010 to teach at Harvest Baptist Bible College where I currently serve as the dean of academic affairs and the mission’s pastor for Harvest Baptist Church.