Archives For Theology

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!

 

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.

 

 

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.

 

In my opinion, espousal of the “David-raped-Bathsheba view” is having a profoundly detrimental effect on some of God’s people. It seems to be poisoning their minds so that they are in danger of developing or having and accepting a distinctly unbiblical and wrong overall perspective toward David as a man of God.

Yes, David sinned horrifically in what he did, and God dealt with him intensely for what he did. We must not, however, allow these facts to lead us to hold wrong overall views about David as a man of God.

Furthermore, the Bible reveals that God has dealt decisively with David’s sin:

2 Samuel 12:13 And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD. And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die.

Because God has dealt fully with David about his sin, Christians who now still denounce him as a wicked man for what he did back then are in danger of asserting that David’s sin with Bathsheba has not been fully and properly dealt with yet. They seem to me to think that David must be denounced in our day as a “rapist” and that people therefore should have a very negative and lasting overall regard for David.

Let us beware espousing any such unbiblical sentiments and lasting perspectives about king David!

Scripture provides abundant testimony that reveals to us how pervasively human beings have made temples for their idols. Scripture provides many references to the temples of the idols of specific peoples and at least one reference to the temples of the idols of all nations.

The Temples of the Idols of Specific Peoples

Canaanites

Judges 9:27 And they went out into the fields, and gathered their vineyards, and trode the grapes, and made merry, and went into the house of their god, and did eat and drink, and cursed Abimelech.

Judges 9:46 And when all the men of the tower of Shechem heard that, they entered into an hold of the house of the god Berith.

Philistines

1 Samuel 5:2 When the Philistines took the ark of God, they brought it into the house of Dagon, and set it by Dagon.

1 Samuel 5:5 Therefore neither the priests of Dagon, nor any that come into Dagon’s house, tread on the threshold of Dagon in Ashdod unto this day.

1 Samuel 31:9 And they cut off his head, and stripped off his armour, and sent into the land of the Philistines round about, to publish it in the house of their idols, and among the people.

1 Samuel 31:10 And they put his armour in the house of Ashtaroth: and they fastened his body to the wall of Bethshan.

1 Chr. 10:10 And they put his armour in the house of their gods, and fastened his head in the temple of Dagon.

Arameans

2 Kings 5:18 In this thing the LORD pardon thy servant, that when my master goeth into the house of Rimmon to worship there, and he leaneth on my hand, and I bow myself in the house of Rimmon: when I bow down myself in the house of Rimmon, the LORD pardon thy servant in this thing.

Samaritans

2 Kings 17:29 Howbeit every nation made gods of their own, and put them in the houses of the high places which the Samaritans had made, every nation in their cities wherein they dwelt.

Assyrians

2 Kings 19:37 And it came to pass, as he was worshipping in the house of Nisroch his god, that Adrammelech and Sharezer his sons smote him with the sword: and they escaped into the land of Armenia. And Esarhaddon his son reigned in his stead.

2 Chr. 32:21 And the LORD sent an angel, which cut off all the mighty men of valour, and the leaders and captains in the camp of the king of Assyria. So he returned with shame of face to his own land. And when he was come into the house of his god, they that came forth of his own bowels slew him there with the sword.

Isaiah 37:38 And it came to pass, as he was worshipping in the house of Nisroch his god, that Adrammelech and Sharezer his sons smote him with the sword; and they escaped into the land of Armenia: and Esarhaddon his son reigned in his stead.

Babylonians

Ezra 1:7 Also Cyrus the king brought forth the vessels of the house of the LORD, which Nebuchadnezzar had brought forth out of Jerusalem, and had put them in the house of his gods;

Ezra 5:14 And the vessels also of gold and silver of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took out of the temple that was in Jerusalem, and brought them into the temple of Babylon, those did Cyrus the king take out of the temple of Babylon, and they were delivered unto one, whose name was Sheshbazzar, whom he had made governor;

2 Chr. 36:7 Nebuchadnezzar also carried of the vessels of the house of the LORD to Babylon, and put them in his temple at Babylon.

Daniel 1:2 And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God: which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the vessels into the treasure house of his god.

Zechariah 5:11 And he said unto me, To build it an house in the land of Shinar: and it shall be established, and set there upon her own base.

Egyptians

Jeremiah 43:12 And I will kindle a fire in the houses of the gods of Egypt; and he shall burn them, and carry them away captives: and he shall array himself with the land of Egypt, as a shepherd putteth on his garment; and he shall go forth from thence in peace.

Jeremiah 43:13 He shall break also the images of Bethshemesh, that is in the land of Egypt; and the houses of the gods of the Egyptians shall he burn with fire.

Israelites

Judges 17:5 And the man Micah had an house of gods, and made an ephod, and teraphim, and consecrated one of his sons, who became his priest.

Hosea 8:14 For Israel hath forgotten his Maker, and buildeth temples; and Judah hath multiplied fenced cities: but I will send a fire upon his cities, and it shall devour the palaces thereof.

Nahum 1:14 And the LORD hath given a commandment concerning thee, that no more of thy name be sown: out of the house of thy gods will I cut off the graven image and the molten image: I will make thy grave; for thou art vile.

Ephesians

Acts 19:27 So that not only this our craft is in danger to be set at nought; but also that the temple of the great goddess Diana should be despised, and her magnificence should be destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worshippeth.

Corinthians

1 Corinthians 8:10 For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol’s temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols;

The Temples of the Idols of All Nations

Joel 3:2 I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land. 3 And they have cast lots for my people; and have given a boy for an harlot, and sold a girl for wine, that they might drink. 4 Yea, and what have ye to do with me, O Tyre, and Zidon, and all the coasts of Palestine? will ye render me a recompence? and if ye recompense me, swiftly and speedily will I return your recompence upon your own head; 5 Because ye have taken my silver and my gold, and have carried into your temples my goodly pleasant things:

Application

The biblical data about the temples of the idols of specific peoples and of all nations testifies to the horrific and widespread idolatry that humans have engaged in throughout most of their history. A careful study and analysis of this data should strengthen our resolve to flee from all idolatry (1 Cor. 10:14)!

God commands believers to flee idolatry (1 Cor. 10:14). Isaiah 44 explains a fearful reason that we must flee idolatry:

Isaiah 44:9 They that make a graven image are all of them vanity; and their delectable things shall not profit; and they are their own witnesses; they see not, nor know; that they may be ashamed. 10 Who hath formed a god, or molten a graven image that is profitable for nothing? 11 Behold, all his fellows shall be ashamed: and the workmen, they are of men: let them all be gathered together, let them stand up; yet they shall fear, and they shall be ashamed together. 12 The smith with the tongs both worketh in the coals, and fashioneth it with hammers, and worketh it with the strength of his arms: yea, he is hungry, and his strength faileth: he drinketh no water, and is faint. 13 The carpenter stretcheth out his rule; he marketh it out with a line; he fitteth it with planes, and he marketh it out with the compass, and maketh it after the figure of a man, according to the beauty of a man; that it may remain in the house. 14 He heweth him down cedars, and taketh the cypress and the oak, which he strengtheneth for himself among the trees of the forest: he planteth an ash, and the rain doth nourish it. 15 Then shall it be for a man to burn: for he will take thereof, and warm himself; yea, he kindleth it, and baketh bread; yea, he maketh a god, and worshippeth it; he maketh it a graven image, and falleth down thereto. 16 He burneth part thereof in the fire; with part thereof he eateth flesh; he roasteth roast, and is satisfied: yea, he warmeth himself, and saith, Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire: 17 And the residue thereof he maketh a god, even his graven image: he falleth down unto it, and worshippeth it, and prayeth unto it, and saith, Deliver me; for thou art my god. 18 They have not known nor understood: for he hath shut their eyes, that they cannot see; and their hearts, that they cannot understand. 19 And none considereth in his heart, neither is there knowledge nor understanding to say, I have burned part of it in the fire; yea, also I have baked bread upon the coals thereof; I have roasted flesh, and eaten it: and shall I make the residue thereof an abomination? shall I fall down to the stock of a tree? 20 He feedeth on ashes: a deceived heart hath turned him aside, that he cannot deliver his soul, nor say, Is there not a lie in my right hand?

We must not fail to note the fearful reality that this passage attests to at its end—those who participate in idolatry have deceived hearts that have turned them aside so that they cannot deliver their souls!

Put differently, this passage reveals that idolaters are incapable of delivering themselves from their idolatry. Only God in His mercy can deliver a person after he has been ensnared by the deceitfulness of idolatry.

We must flee idolatry and not have anything to do with it in any way lest we become ensnared by it and become unable to deliver ourselves from it!

In the NT, the Holy Spirit profoundly highlights the importance of the resurrection appearances of Christ. Part I of this series treats some aspects of that importance in the Gospels, Acts, and the Epistles.

The Gospels

All four Gospels testify that Christ appeared to His disciples after He rose from the dead (Matt. 28; Mk. 16; Luke 24; John 20-21). Because the Spirit inspired every writer of the Gospels to include the appearances, we know that such testimony is vital.

John emphasizes the importance of the appearances by writing in detail about several of them. He highlights that Thomas did not believe that He rose until He showed Himself to them personally (John 20:24-31).

Acts

The book of Acts highlights in several ways that Christ appeared to His disciples after His resurrection. Acts reveals that Christ over a 40-day period after His Passion “showed Himself alive” to His apostles “by many infallible proofs” (Acts 1:3).

Moreover, Acts reveals that Peter declared in his gospel message that God showed the risen Christ only to people that He chose (Acts 10:41a). He also said that those who were His witnesses ate and drank with Him after He rose (Acts 10:41b).

Similarly, Luke records that when Paul preached the gospel in Antioch of Pisida, he testified about those who saw Christ after He rose (Acts 13:31). Furthermore, Luke reveals that Paul’s mission was that he had to be His witness to all men of what he had seen and heard (Acts 22:15). Because what he had seen and heard was “that just One” and “the voice of His mouth” (Acts 22:14), we know that testifying to Christ’s appearing to Paul was an essential part of Paul’s mission.

The Epistles

First Corinthians 15 underscores the appearances of Christ after His resurrection in a profound way. Paul says that the gospel that he preached in Corinth included testimony to four key events concerning Christ: His death, burial, resurrection, and appearances (1 Cor. 15:3-8). Because he testified to those same four elements in Antioch as well, we know that the appearances were a vital part of his gospel message.

Application

We must allow the Spirit to to teach us from the NT just how much the resurrection appearances matter! In particular, we should learn from Him to follow Paul in evangelism by testifying to the appearances when we witness to lost people.