The Wisdom of God

I wanted to jump right to the sequence of the judgment. That sequence is in the Bible and it is written out. And written out in order. It is so easy to find. And when you read it, the sequence makes total sense. The problem is, the sequence God had recorded in the Bible is not the sequence of events most people believe in, accept, and teach.

As I was lying in bed praying, I could go through the sequence of events recorded in the Bible. I could see how I could quickly introduce that sequence, show you where it is, and explain how most people do not and will not accept the order of events God recorded. Then comes the hard part. You have the sequence in front of you. You read it. It is there in black and white, Every detail is backed up by scripture. I don’t need to add a thing or comment because God put it all together. The problem is, the chances of that sequence agreeing with what you’ve been taught is from slim to none. Even if you accept the sequence taken straight out of the Bible, there will be details you’ve been trained to add. And you will think, there are a few details that need to be rearranged because God doesn’t understand this modern world. And there are a few symbols you think you have figured out. The Bible will show how those symbols existed in the past, but not in the modern age. That doesn’t matter. A good threat from the past is a good threat to keep your eyes on today. There may be million reasons for you not to accept the judgment process God recorded in scripture. There may be a billion reasons why one person or another, or the next person will not accept that sequence of events. I have no idea knowing why one person will accept that sequence and why a million people will reject it. All I know is, the sequence will be rejected for one reason or another.

How do I know that? It’s simple. I prayed about it. Before I prayed, Jesus set up a sequence of events in my life to confirm the answer He gave me. That may all seem simple, but I suppose a few people will need an in depth explanation. So bear with me while I explain the prayer process I use and how it was confirmed before I prayed.

Prayer is simple. Prayer is talking to the ultimate source of knowledge in the Universe. Prayer is talking with God. I think everyone will agree with that. But 90% of prayer is listening. That is that hard part. For some people listening to God is nearly impossible. Moses wrote four books showing how difficult it was for the vast majority of Israel to listen to God. So we have more than adequate information from the Bible showing us, listening to God is an acquired skill. Moses had to learn how to listen to God. If you read the books Moses wrote, you will see how Moses began with fear, and wound up knowing God as the best friend He could not live without. Along side of that is a story about the majority in Israel who either didn’t want to talk to God, were afraid to talk to God, or didn’t believe a human can hear God. The devil took off on those human traits and created a few beliefs and doctrines designed to discourage people from listening to God. The term, “fear of God,” is one of them. People say they are God fearing. What does that mean? They can’t explain it. All they know is, other people say it. What they don’t know is, if they never grow and mature past that fear, they will never learn to listen to God.

Another monkey wrench the devil threw into the mix is the term Trinity. Is there a Trinity? All I can say is, I’ve seen too many people wasting too much time on the subject. They love to appear as if they can explain everything about an infinite God. A God they never met, talked to, or obviously listened to. The fact of the matter is, if they knew God, they would actually be able to explain God, and how He communicates with this world.

Abraham talked with God. God told Abraham to go there. And Abraham packed up and moved. One day Abraham saw three people coming down the road. They turned out to be angels on their way to Sodom to destroy the city. Abraham tried to save the city and everyone in it. Now think about that for a moment. Abraham a mere human negotiating with an angel. How does that happen? And what does that teach us? We can and should communicate with Heaven. If Abraham could do it, why not us?

Image result for abraham and angelsSome people think one of those angels was Jesus. Some believe one of those angels was God in the flesh. At any rate, either God or Jesus took on a human form and talked face to face with Abraham. What about that old saying, “if anyone looks upon God, they will die.” Is that true? What scripture is that based on? I’m going to copy that phrase, “if anyone looks upon God, they will die,” and paste it into an Internet search engine. I suggest you do the same.

Take a look at a few of the comments and studies on the Internet. What did you find? I found a few people who looked at both sides of the subject. The Bible has a few verses telling us, no one has seen or can see God. Is that in the physical or spiritual sense? Does the context of the story center on communication, choices, or the gulf between human and Heavenly understanding? You would have to open your Bible and read the entire story to find out the answers to any and all of the questions drifting through your head. But wait. There is another way to answer all those questions. You can rely on your memory, what you read, heard, been taught, what you were thinking at the moment, and a host of other, well earthly ways to come to a conclusion. In other words, form a personal opinion. Is your personal opinion based on – whatever – the same as an answer from Heaven? People may think so. People like to believe their thoughts are totally in line with Heaven. People like to believe they think exactly like God. Or is that the other way around? Does God modify His thoughts, actions, and plans to agree with this world? Come on now. Investigation is investigation. Research is research. Are you going to investigate a question or rely on a gut feeling? No wonder why no one can see God. If they ever listened to God and took God at His word, that person would die of embarrassment.

In fact, we can use science to prove God exists. Some people do. But other people use science to prove other theories. The problem is, people are focused on proving whatever it is they want to prove. If they want to prove evolution, their mind is focused on evolution and will not accept one shred of evidence God does exist. People like that are bound and determined to skip over, miss, and reject every shred of evidence proving God created this world and the Universe. On the other side of the coin, a person dedicated to proving God created the Universe will be so focused on their train of thought. They can and will miss the majority of information and facts that should have been obvious. The point is, we have to train our minds to be open to Jesus when we are talking with Jesus. And we should be listing as well as expecting the unexpected.

Lesson number 1. We have to have an open mind. Lesson 2. We have to focus on the subject Jesus is teaching. Take the Trinity distraction. Imagine yourself opening the Bible to go over the same subject over and over again to prove your point. Is that Bible Study? Not by a long shot. That type of study cancels out common sense. Let’s use Abraham’s story as an example.

Does it matter if God, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit took on a human form to talk to Abraham? It doesn’t matter. Whoever it was, they were on a mission from Heaven. God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit all agreed on the outcome, the reason behind it, the lesson that event would teach, and how that lesson would be used in the future. It wouldn’t matter which one you talked to, God, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit. You would get the exact same answer. I know it may be difficult for people to envision such an agreeable nature. But Heavenly beings are not human. We have to accept that and get onto more important issues. Like how Heaven communicates with this world. And why the devil wants to obliterate or at least confuse that communication. Now we can look at one of the ways Satan introduced static to God’s communication with this world. Or better yet, one of the ways God does communicate with this world. Through His Word.

The concept of dying if you ever look upon God is based on two verses. And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live. (Exodus 33:20 KJV). No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him. (John 1:18 KJV).

Let’s take a look at those two verses. First of all, we have to agree on a study method. Using a Concordance to research the definition of key words seems to be one study method most people agree on. In Exodus 33:20 we will look at two key words, face and live.

FACE

H6440 פּניםnnpa^ni^ym paw-neem’

Plural (but always used as a singular) of an unused noun (פּנה pa^neh, paw-neh’; from 6437); the face (as the part that turns); used in a great variety of applications (literally and figuratively); also (with prepositional prefix) as a preposition (before, etc.): – + accept, a (be-) fore (-time), against, anger, X as (long as), at, + battle, + because (of), + beseech, countenance, edge, + employ, endure, + enquire, face, favour, fear of, for, forefront (-part), form (-er time, -ward), from, front, heaviness, X him (-self), + honourable, + impudent, + in, it, look [-eth] (-s), X me, + meet, X more than, mouth, of, off, (of) old (time), X on, open, + out of, over against, the partial, person, + please, presence, prospect, was purposed, by reason, of, + regard, right forth, + serve, X shewbread, sight, state, straight, + street, X thee, X them (-selves), through (+ -out), till, time (-s) past, (un-) to (-ward), + upon, upside (+ down), with (-in, + stand), X ye, X you.

As you can see, the word face has many different meanings. Which one do we choose? How do we know which definition to use in that particular story? When we look at the definition of the word face, we see a host of words related to emotions. Accept, against, anger, battle, employ, endure, inquire, heaviness, and honorable are related to emotions in one way or another. When we see a Hebrew word that focuses on one aspect, and was translated outside of that realm, we have to ask why. Was God focusing on the His emotional aspects or the physical face? To answer that question we have to look at the context of the story. In other words, back up a bit and look at what lead into that particular event.

After Moses had gone in, the pillar of cloud would come down and stay at the door of the Tent, and the LORD would speak to Moses from the cloud. As soon as the people saw the pillar of cloud at the door of the Tent, they would bow down. The LORD would speak with Moses face-to-face, just as someone speaks with a friend. Then Moses would return to the camp. But the young man who was his helper, Joshua son of Nun, stayed in the Tent. Moses said to the LORD, “It is true that you have told me to lead these people to that land, but you did not tell me whom you would send with me. You have said that you know me well and are pleased with me. Now if you are, tell me your plans, so that I may serve you and continue to please you. Remember also that you have chosen this nation to be your own.” The LORD said, “I will go with you, and I will give you victory.” Moses replied, “If you do not go with us, don’t make us leave this place. How will anyone know that you are pleased with your people and with me if you do not go with us? Your presence with us will distinguish us from any other people on earth.” The LORD said to Moses, “I will do just as you have asked, because I know you very well and I am pleased with you.” Then Moses requested, “Please, let me see the dazzling light of your presence.” The LORD answered, “I will make all my splendor pass before you and in your presence I will pronounce my sacred name. I am the LORD, and I show compassion and pity on those I choose. I will not let you see my face, because no one can see me and stay alive, (Exodus 33:9-20 GNB).

At first glance it appears the Bible contradicts itself. In fact we could say, Moses contradicted himself. Moses wrote the Book of Exodus. Why would Moses contradict himself? Especially on such a serious subject. Would you say anything like, “I talked to God face to face.” Then later tell people, “God told me, I can’t see His face. Because if I did, I would die.” That doesn’t make sense. So the problem must be in the translation.

If the word face was actually meant to be something along the lines of emotions, we would see that in the previous conversation. As a matter of fact we do. Moses requested, “Please, let me see the dazzling light of your presence.” The entire conversation dwells on the emotional level. Moses does not want God to depart or leave. Moses relies on God’s presence, instructions, guidance, and protection. All of those words are related to other aspects found in the definition of the word translated as face in this story. If the entire story dwells on emotions, why would the main focus suddenly switch to God’s physical face? Before we can answer that question, we have one more word to look at, live.

LIVE

H2425

חיי

cha^yay

khaw-yah’ee

A primitive root (compare H2421); to live; causatively to revive: – live, save life.

Maybe revive would have been a better translation in this verse. If Moses ever saw all of God’s emotions, would he ever revive? Would Moses ever return to the same person he used to be? Did God need Moses with all of his faults? Was Moses a sort of bridge between God and Israel? Of course he was. Israel rejected God. Israel turned down the offer to talk directly with God. Israel wanted Moses between themselves and God. Israel demanded a man with faults. What would have happened if Moses saw all of God’s emotions and spirituality? That would have changed Moses forever. God knew what Israel needed and could only take Moses so far. God could only take Moses as far as Israel permitted. In a sense, Israel held Moses back. And we tend to face the same problems today. We can only tell people what they want to hear about God. We can only teach people what they are ready to accept. We need the Holy Spirit to prepare people for a message. If people aren’t ready, the message will be lost, disregarded, slandered, and trampled.

How do we get people past their fear of God? How do we get people past that belief that no one sees God, and that God doesn’t really talk to people? We can point out a few verses like the one in Exodus where Moses talked to God face to face like talking to a friend. We can show people a few of David’s experiences with God. We can show how God communicated with every prophet in the Bible. Some prophets received messages in visions, dreams, and some heard God’s voice. The Bible is filled with examples of people communicating with God. Not only prophets, but other people. Sometimes God sent angels as messengers. Pick a story. Any story. A story you can relate to. It’s up to you to either prove or disprove the fact, God has and continues to communicate with this world.

When I pray, I keep it simple. I ask to be forgiven. I think every Christian asks Jesus to be forgiven. At least those who plan on seeing eternal life. After that, I throw in a few sentences to remind me, Jesus created this world, the Universe, and everything in it. That sets my mind on the fact, I am communicating with a higher form of intelligence. Of course I thank Jesus for a few things that I remember at that particular time. Then I go over a list of details to pray about. You know, work, bills, income, and of course a list of people to pray for. Going over that list in my head shows me how little I remember. That opens up my mind to the next phase of prayer. What does Jesus want to talk about? What does Jesus want to tell me, teach me, warn me about, and in many cases, review a few details about my life. Ouch. That one can hurt. That is only a portion of the fear we have to learn to overcome.

When I open the floor to Jesus, I can hear His voice. Or at least thoughts that for the most part, are more detailed and make more sense than my usual thought patterns. In this case I focus on one subject. This book and this particular subject. I wanted to do one thing. But that didn’t turn out to be a very good idea. I had a conversation with Jesus that went like this.

Me: “Thank you for that list of events in the Bible that shows the process you are going to follow in the judgment process. As soon as I get this written out and posted, it will change the world.”

Jesus: “Go ahead. Copy and paste that sequence in our book. But what are you going to do after that?”

Me: “I don’t know. I guess I really don’t have to do a thing. You already explained everything.”

Jesus: “And how long has that been sitting there?”

Me: “About 2000 years.”

Jesus: “And didn’t you just write a chapter about all the different beliefs? Didn’t you just read about how all those denominations changed the sequence of events, added to it, omitted important details, wrote cannons and doctrines on the subject?”

Me: “Well yes I did. But we agree on most points.”

Jesus: “You already know, when you agree with people, they consider you a reliable source of information. As long as you agree with them, you are a genius. But as soon as you bring up one point they don’t agree with, you turn into an idiot in their eyes. You go through that almost everyday. Haven’t you learned anything from those experiences?”

Me: “Well I guess I did. So what do I do next?”

Jesus: “ How did you end your last chapter?”

Me: “ With some scripture about you being the all knowing God, and people in this world have a difficult time accepting that fact.”

Jesus: “Can you tell me that story word for word?”

Me: “Well no.”

Jesus: “I can.”

Me: “Okay. So what do you want me to do next?”

Jesus: “The reason people do not seek my knowledge is because they don’t understand how to communicate with me. So you have to explain how you communicate with me.”

Me: “That makes sense.”

Jesus: “So we agree. That sequence of events has to wait. There are steps people have to learn before they can, for lack of a better term, open their minds and hearts to understanding.”

Me: “I see.”

Jesus: “Are you ready now?”

Me: “Yep. Now I am.”

Jesus: “Then let’s get to that book.”

Me: “Okay. Where do I start?”

Jesus: “By admitting you had the wrong idea.”

Me: “Ouch!”

Communicating with Jesus is not very difficult. But there are a few things you need to learn to put together. One of those things is the way Jesus sets a course in your life. Before you can hope to accept and understand the sequence of events concerning the judgment process, you have to learn how Jesus establishes events in your life for a purpose.

During this past week I was thinking of William Miller. You can search William Miller on the Internet and do some research on his life. You will notice, a lot of articles are biased. They either support Miller, or totally reject him. Why? William Miller is mostly known for his prediction of Jesus’ return in October of 1844. Of course Miller was wrong. We are still here. That is about all most people know about William Miller. But what prompted Miller to make that prediction? That is where the story gets interesting.

There is a popular second level some people follow William Miller on. That is based on the field and study of prophecy. Some people dwell on that level and never get past it. They think if they are able to see a few details in the future, they have some sort of security. I’m not sure what that is.

Image result for william MillerWilliam Miller was a self taught student of the Bible. Or at least that is what main stream religion wants people to believe. Although William Miller was focused or restricted to time studies in the Bible, he did come up with s number of interpretations that are now accepted by quite a number of major denominations. Those denominations had to either rewrite a lot of their beliefs or add to them. It’s sad to think people focused and restricted their view on Miller to prophecy when Miller had so much more to offer.

Before Miller, the subject of Bible study had few if any rules. Miller came up with a set of Bible Study Rules. He published that list of Bible Study Rules with the scripture to back them up. Those rules became the back bone of theology institutions all over the world. The sad part is, people either ignored, or were afraid of Miller’s explanation of how he found and gathered that list of Bible Study Rules.

Main stream Christianity saw or created a threat out of Miller’s explanations. William Miller was not self taught in the art of Bible Study. Miller never claimed to be self taught. Miller never took an ounce of credit. Miller gave all the credit to God. Miller explained how God took him from one step to the next. There is a book called the Memoirs of William Miller. It is a great book and I would suggest you read it. That was one of the ways Jesus communicated with me throughout the week and confirmed our conversation before we had it. After about 3 years, I ran across my copy of the book, The Memoirs of William Miller. I gave it to a friend. I had no idea I gave away that book. It is a great reference source. A book I read three times. You see, William Miller was not ashamed to describe how Jesus communicated with him. Miller was not afraid to tell the world, Jesus taught him how to study the Bible. Miller was not afraid to tell the world, Jesus gave him that list of Bible Study Rules. Miller gave all the credit to God. I have no idea why main stream Christianity is afraid of a guy who gives all the credit to God. But that’s the way it is today. We just have to learn to deal with it.

To make a long story short, William Miller thought he was working on a prophecy about Jesus’ return to this world and end of this world as we know it. He worked out so many details, it sort of spun his mind around. Miller made one fatal error. He set his mind on proving something he believed was true. Miller was convinced he was working on a prophecy about the end of the world. The prophecy was about cleansing the Sanctuary. Miller interpreted the Sanctuary as the earth. Cleansing the earth has to point to its destruction. But of course the Sanctuary pointed to the Heavenly Sanctuary. And cleansing the Sanctuary pointed to the beginning of the judgment phase of Jesus’ ministry in Heaven. We will look at more of that later.

The point is. William Miller wrote a book about how Jesus communicated with him, taught him, and every detailed step. That scares the stuffing out of religious institutions. William Miller is one of the few modern men to write an account of how he communicated with Jesus. And that information is being buried. Why? I really don’t care to ask why. I am more concerned with reviewing Miller’s book and learning from it.

Some institutions actually support Miller to one degree of another. They mostly rely on the prophetic interpretations Miller recorded. But to keep Miller’s communication with God at a minimum, they slice out the prophetic portions of his book, claim their highest ranking theologians studied his book, and saved you the problem of reading all 400 or so pages. Gee thanks. Those institutions made prophecy a path to God’s throne. They made prophecy the main focus and basically used prophecy as a smoke screen to hide the lessons Miller really focused on, his relationship with Jesus. The institutions replaced a relationship with Jesus with a handful of prophecies and the idea they can see into the future.

The fascinating part of the story is, Jesus allowed Miller to follow his idea in one particular area. The belief that the prophecy was about the end of the earth. History shows us, Miller was wrong on that detail. History also shows us, no one was able to explain the prophecy actually pointed to Jesus entering the Heavenly Sanctuary to begin the judgment process until after that prophecy was fulfilled. That is just the way God works. No one is certain about any prophecy until after it is fulfilled. The Bible contains over 300 prophecies about Jesus’ ministry on earth. No one was able to understand any of them until all were fulfilled, and Jesus rose from that grave and went back to Heaven. We just have to accept the fact, that’s the way God operates.

So do we condemn a man because he was wrong on one point? That’s ridiculous. Many of the prophecies Miller interpreted are accepted by many major religions. It took some time, but people began to see, you can’t argue with scripture. When Jesus entered the Heavenly Sanctuary, it was basically a repeat of history. No one understood the prophecies about Jesus’ ministry on earth until after they were fulfilled. Only a small number of people grasped onto the truth at the very beginning. It took years for other people to catch on. The same pattern was followed for Jesus’ ministry on earth, and His ministry in Heaven.

Here is an interesting fact I want to add here. Miller had between 50,00 and 500,000 followers world wide. Out of all of those people, only about a dozen took his Bible Study Rules and the information Miller taught about his relationship with Jesus seriously. That is well under 1%. Some groups accepted Miller’s Bible Study Rules and tried to continue the studies. They soon fizzled out. Other groups concentrated on the relationship side of what Miller taught. They didn’t last long either. The few who kept the two combined, in other words, Bible Study with Jesus’ Spirit, went on the write hundreds of books, teach a handful of other people, and see the world accept portions of Miller’s interpretations for some of the major prophecies in the Bible. It took time and the learning process it not over.

I thought it would be interesting to look at a few other facts. I looked up the book ranking on The Memoirs of William Miller. Here are the numbers.

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,302,360 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

#332 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Religion & Spirituality > Christian Books & Bibles > Christian Denominations & Sects > Protestantism > Seventh-Day Adventist

#440 in Books > Christian Books & Bibles > Christian Denominations & Sects > Protestantism > Seventh-Day Adventist

#446440 in Books > Religion & Spirituality

Surprisingly, the book ranks rather high. The book is also available as a free PDF download from a number of sources. The question is, if this book is that popular, why do we hear so little about the relationship William Miller had with Christ? The only logical reason is, people reading that book focus on the prophecies in that book and are not interested in the parts about his relationship with Christ Miller painstakingly recorded. Just another fact showing how the mind can quickly be closed to learning.

What is God’s Judgment?

How do you begin writing a book about God’s judgment? That is a great question. On one hand the judgment is a simple subject. On the other hand it has more facets than most people imagine. Then again, how many people talk about the judgment of this planet? Why do people avoid the subject? Why do few people study the subject? Let’s begin by taking a look at what the Greek definition of judgment is. Did you know John used three different Greek words for judgment in the Book of Revelation? Krima, krino, and krisis are the three Greek words John used in specific stories in Revelation. Let’s first begin by establishing John’s book and the Bible as inspired writings or revelations from Heaven. We are never going to get anywhere unless we approach the Bible as an inspired book written by the living God who created this world, the universe, and something referred to as the plan of salvation. In plain and simple terms, if we want to search the truth, the best place to begin is the original author and architect of not only this planet but the plan to save it. With that being said we can open up a Concordance and look at the definition of the three Greek words John used for judgment.

JUDGMENT

G2917 Rev_20:4

κρίμα

krima

kree’-mah

From G2919; a decision (the function or the effect, for or against [“crime”]): – avenge, condemned, condemnation, damnation, + go to law, judgment.

G2919 Rev_11:18 Rev_16:5 Rev_18:8 Rev_19:11 Rev_20:12 Rev_20:13

κρίνω

krinō

kree’-no

Properly to distinguish, that is, decide (mentally or judicially); by implication to try, condemn, punish: – avenge, conclude, condemn, damn, decree, determine, esteem, judge, go to (sue at the) law, ordain, call in question, sentence to, think.

G2920 Rev_14:7 Rev_16:7 Rev 18:20 Rev_19:2

κρίσις

krisis

kree’-sis

(Subjectively or objectively, for or against); by extension a tribunal; by implication justice (specifically divine law): – accusation, condemnation, damnation, judgment.

After looking at those three words there has to be a few thoughts drifting around in your head. The first may be, the word krisis is really close to the English word crisis. Why is that? Maybe the word crisis came from the Greek word krisis. I don’t know. I am not about to get side tracked by looking at the development of the English language. Although there are a few details we will examine. The first detail in the English language will look at is the modern definition of judgment.

Worldly Definition of Judgment

judg·ment

/ˈjəjmənt/

noun

noun: judgement

1. 1.

the ability to make considered decisions or come to sensible conclusions.

“an error of judgment”

synonyms:

discernment, acumen, shrewdness, astuteness, sense, common sense, perception, perspicacity, percipience, acuity, discrimination, reckoning, wisdom, wit, judiciousness, prudence, canniness, sharpness, sharp-wittedness, powers of reasoning, reason, logic; More

2. 2.

a misfortune or calamity viewed as a divine punishment.

“the crash had been a judgment on the parents for wickedness”

One detail I noticed is the fact, there are two ways to spell judgment. With and without the extra – “e”. Why? I don’t know. Maybe that’s God’s way of showing us, the world cannot even agree on how to spell the word judgment.

The main difference between God’s judgment and the world’s view of judgment is the outcome. Of course the world is going to disagree with the outcome of God’s judgment. This world as we know it will be on the loosing end of the judgment, They are not going to accept the final decision without a lot of screaming and kicking.

Looking at the definition of the three Greek words, krima, krino, and krisis, we should see something missing. When we look at the worldly definition of judgment, we see there is always a chance the final decision will fall in our favor. No one would proceed with a court case without hopes and thoughts the judge will agree with them and condemn their opponent. In human understanding, there has to be a winner and looser in every judgment. But when we look at the definition of those three Greek words John used, there is no winner. All three of those Greek words agree. Judgment only leads to condemnation, sentencing, and damnation. What happened to the winner? I have news for you. Based on the inspired word of God, there is no winner. If you reach the point of being judged, you are already a looser. Does that mean God’s court of law is fixed? That’s what the devil wants this world to think. He has been busing trying to convince the world they have a chance when they face God’s judgment, In plain and simple terms, the devil wants to defend you in God’s court of law. How do you feel about that? I’m sure you never heard that one from any preacher. But those are the cold hard facts.

Satan had to change the worldly view on the word judgment. Satan wants the world to believe they have a chance in God’s court system. After all, don’t we serve a loving, forgiving God? Of course we do. God made the sunshine, flowers, cuddly little animals, and a host of other things. Why would God just condemn this planet?

It boils down to a basic understanding of God’s plan of salvation. Most Christians agree Jesus came to this world, died for our sins, and if you believe in Jesus, or call on His name, you are saved. The one part most churches don’t teach is the fact, when you follow Jesus, you completely skip that judgment process. Only the losers face any type of judgment. Let’s look at that from a perspective much easier to understand than the worldly definition of judgment and much easier to understand than any court system in this world. Let’s look at the obvious example. Does everyone on this planet have to appear in front of a judge and defend themselves in a trial? No. Common sense tells us, only people who have been accused of a crime have to prepare to defend themselves in front of a judge. So let me ask you a question here. Why does the world think God’s judgment or court system is different? Why do we hear so many Christians walking around preaching that everyone stands in front of God? Why does the world teach us, you have to stand in front of God to be judged. And there are winners and losers. That’s not what John said. That’s not what the definition of not only one or two, but three Greek words tell us. Nothing in the Bible tells us, Jesus’ followers will be judged. I got news for you. Only the condemned will be judged. So if you are preparing your case to present in front of God, the outcome will not be good.

Okay so there are a few verses people can pull out of the Bible and argue that point. I’m not going to look at those just yet. Let’s just say, those verses used different Greek words and refer to different aspects or points of time in the plan of salvation. We will cover those verses in later chapters. At this point we will keep the plan simple and look at a few key thoughts.

John 5:20-30 RSVA For the Father loves the Son, and shows him all that he himself is doing; and greater works than these will he show him, that you may marvel. (21) For as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whom he will. (22) The Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son, (23) that all may honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him. (24) Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears my word and believes him who sent me, has eternal life; he does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. (25) “Truly, truly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. (26) For as the Father has life in himself, so he has granted the Son also to have life in himself, (27) and has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of man. (28) Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice (29) and come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment. (30) “I can do nothing on my own authority; as I hear, I judge; and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me.

This sums up the judgment process in a nutshell. There are two choices. The resurrection of life, and the resurrection of judgment. Here John used the Greek word krisis. Which we know means only condemnation and damnation. There is no chance of a good outcome, second chance, or a defense that will somehow get you off the hook.

The world likes to teach something along the way of, “believe in Christ and be saved.” Of course there are 100 versions of that. But we are not here to study all the different versions or flavors of salvation. We are here to take a series look at judgment and what it means.

When it comes to the subject of judgment, the world has a variety of ideals and concepts to choose from. I looked the judgment up on the Internet and was, well a little surprised at what I found. Few people are able to stay on track. In other words stick to the subject. They swerve off in all kinds of directions. We are not here to examine every belief the world has. That would be a waste of time. It may result in a best selling book. But I want to keep this book rather brief, to the point, and Biblical as possible. Later we will look into scripture explaining the judgment process in more detail. Today we you can look at some of the beliefs the world teaches about God’s judgment process. One of the best sources I found on the Internet comes from all places, Wikipedia. Here is the link. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Last_Judgment

You can look at the site yourself. It lists many of the modern day beliefs and doctrines on God’s judgment. Going through those I noticed, most of the Christian religions agree on about 80% of the points. But they vary on a few points. I’m not going to get into those disagreements but only point out the fact, for the most part Christian religions have a lot in common on the judgment process. Something in the back of your mind should be telling you, that opens a ton of doors to reach people. As a matter of fact, the Wikipedia article lists a few non-Christian religions that share some major points. That opens up a few extra doors.

Paul wrote a few letters showing how the subject of God’s judgment should open doors for discussion. We will examine those letters in later chapters in this book. For now we will look at a few basic concepts you have to know to number 1, understand the judgment process, and number 2, be able to teach what that judgment process is. Let’s look at the one of those criteria.

1 Corinthians 2:7-16 RSVA (7) But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glorification. (8) None of the rulers of this age understood this; for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. (9) But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him,” (10) God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. (11) For what person knows a man’s thoughts except the spirit of the man which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. (12) Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is from God, that we might understand the gifts bestowed on us by God. (13) And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who possess the Spirit. (14) The unspiritual man does not receive the gifts of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. (15) The spiritual man judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. (16) “For who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

The first concept you have to know, understand, and accept is, this world knows about God’s judgment but doesn’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell of explaining what God’s judgment is, the process, sequence, or anything else. We’ve already showed how the devil got into the mix, changed the definition of the word judgment, and gave this world a false hope of defending themselves, looking for a favorable outcome, and in the long run, changed one word to create dozens of new worldly beliefs about the judgment process. After looking at the article on Wikipedia you would agree.

The point is. We don’t stand a chance of getting on track if we don’t have the Spirit of God to guide us and explain God’s judgment process. That goes without saying. Another important point to consider is, we cannot avoid the judgment and condemnation that goes along with that process if we don’t know Christ. Without Christ we are going no where. So let’s get in tune with the Spirit, get to know Christ, and start our education process on God’s judgment.

Chapter 3 Noah

In about the ninth generation from Adam, (based on the bloodline of Seth) God decided to destroy the earth. Only one man his wife,his three sons, and their wives were chosen to survive. That’s not to say only eight people were worthy to survive. Other people found God’s favor, but were not allowed to see the other side of the flood.

How much information and technology made the journey across that flood? We really can’t answer that question. But we can look at what it took to build that one ship and get a tiny glimpse of the technology and skills involved.

I’m sure most people reading this book have been brainwashed into thinking Noah used a few wooden tools to make that huge ship. It may be difficult or even impossible for some people to see Noah living in an advanced society. Maybe more advanced than the society we live in today. I’m not talking computers and cell phones. We have not doubts, people in those days were blessed with great memories. Adam could remember the name of every animal on this planet. I’m sure those memory skills made it to and past the ninth generation. What about other skills? Mathematics is one of them. Let’s take a look at the ark to see mathematics come alive in the Bible.

Genesis 6:13-22 NLTse So God said to Noah, “I have decided to destroy all living creatures, for they have filled the earth with violence. Yes, I will wipe them all out along with the earth! (14) “Build a large boat from cypress wood and waterproof it with tar, inside and out. Then construct decks and stalls throughout its interior. (15) Make the boat 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet high. (16) Leave an 18-inch opening below the roof all the way around the boat. Put the door on the side, and build three decks inside the boat–lower, middle, and upper. (17) “Look! I am about to cover the earth with a flood that will destroy every living thing that breathes. Everything on earth will die. (18) But I will confirm my covenant with you. So enter the boat–you and your wife and your sons and their wives. (19) Bring a pair of every kind of animal–a male and a female–into the boat with you to keep them alive during the flood. (20) Pairs of every kind of bird, and every kind of animal, and every kind of small animal that scurries along the ground, will come to you to be kept alive. (21) And be sure to take on board enough food for your family and for all the animals.” (22) So Noah did everything exactly as God had commanded him.

Of course I used a Bible version that translated the size of the ark into feet. Something I can understand. For those of you on the metric system. Three feet and three inches is a meter. The ark is basically 138 meters long, 23 meters wide, and 14 meters high.

Image result for lambeau field450 feet is as long as one and a half football fields. That is one long ship. It is not too wide, only 75 feet. Which just happens to be one and a half times as wide as a football field. This will make the size of the ark easier to envision. Since we are using a football field as a guide, the average football stadium can seat 80,000 people plus a host of vendors, security personal, over 100 players,plus hundreds of other people for support. Now we are getting the size of the ark in perspective. The ark was about four stories high.

Exactly how big was Noah’s ark? Let us start by defining a cubit. A Biblical cubit is considered the length between the elbow of an adult and their fingertip, which is calculated to being 18 U.S. inches (roughly). Quite a few scholars who study the Hebrew Bible believe a cubit was somewhere in between 17.5 to 21.5 inches long. If we conservatively assume that a cubit was 18 inches (U.S.), we can conclude that the ark piloted by Noah was about 450 feet (U.S.) long, 75 feet (U.S.) wide, and 45 feet (U.S.) high.

The interesting thing about Noah’s ark its construction was on a 1:6 ratio. Naval architecture reveals that this is the most stable ratio for an ocean-going vessel. It could have easily survived even big ocean waves and would be next to impossible to capsize. The amount of water the ship would displace, given a draught of 15 cubits, exceeds 22,000 tons.

The total volume of Noah’s Ark was roughly 1.5 million cubic feet, which is equal to the total capacity of more than 570 standard stock cars used on a typical railroad. The floor space would be above 100,000 sq. ft. (9,383 square meters). What God had Noah make would be nothing less than the BIGGEST ship of its kind for many, many years until man began to build even bigger ships in the late 1800’s A.D.! (Source).

I’d like to get a little deeper into the actual size and weight of the ark to look at a few details most people tend to neglect. One of those details is the length. The longer a ship is, the greater the tendency for that ship to crack during a heavy storm. Let’s look at that storm.

There is really no way to gauge the force of the storm Noah’s ark faced. All we can do is look at the world’s largest tsunami and let our imaginations fill in the rest.

On the night of July 9, 1958, an earthquake along the Fairweather Fault in the Alaska Panhandle loosened about 40 million cubic yards (30.6 million cubic meters) of rock high above the northeastern shore of Lituya Bay. This mass of rock plunged from an altitude of approximately 3000 feet (914 meters) down into the waters of Gilbert Inlet (see map below). The impact generated a local tsunami that crashed against the southwest shoreline of Gilbert Inlet. The wave hit with such power that it swept completely over the spur of land that separates Gilbert Inlet from the main body of Lituya Bay. The wave then continued down the entire length of Lituya Bay, over La Chaussee Spit and into the Gulf of Alaska. The force of the wave removed all trees and vegetation from elevations as high as 1720 feet (524 meters) above sea level. Millions of trees were uprooted and swept away by the wave. This is the highest wave that has ever been known. (Source).

I have no way of estimating what percentage of the earth caused that wave and flooding. But let’s say 1%, That would make the storm Noah faced 100 worse than the worst tsunami ever recorded.

With that said, Noah’s ark had to be stronger than any wooden ship ever constructed. Keep in mind, Noah’s ark was the first ship of its kind ever constructed and it had to be right the first time. The difficult part with this book is finding a good recommendation for the thickness of the hull. This is the best I could find.

Image result for wooden ship constructionThe wooden portion of the laminated structure is preferably at least three-fourths inch in thickness, and generally ranges to about six inches, and greater. More preferably, the wooden planking ranges from about one and one-half inches to about four inches, and most preferably from about one and one-half inches to about three inches in thickness. Commonly, wooden planking of three-fourths inch or greater thicknesses is employed on boats up to about thirty feet length, and wooden planking of two inch or greater thickness is employed in boats of up to about seventy-five feet in length. Wooden planking of about two to two and one-half inch thickness is commonly used in large trawlers, and wooden planking of from three to four inches thickness is commonly used in North Sea trawlers. The laminated structure of this invention has been found admirably successful in the construction of boats of these sizes, and types. (Source).

Image result for noah arkBased on the information above, my best guess is the hull of the ark had to have been at least 6 inches think. That adds in a minimum safety factor for the stresses that boat had to face. Without getting into complicated calculations, my gut feeling tells me the actually thickness of the hull had to be 9 to 12 inches thick. But I am using a conservative guess so I do not exaggerate the actual weights.

I am not going to guess at the type of wood the ark used. Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch. (Genesis 6:14 KJV). No one knows what gopher wood is. Popular belief is that it was a wood of denser fiber and stronger than any wood we find today. In any case, I am going to use the weight of oak for my calculations.

The fact of the matter is, men lived longer is Noah’s day. There must have been trees thousands of years old when Noah began his project. Those trees must have been huge. That left Noah with the option to build large wooden sections. On the side of argument, I am going to use a few basic, nominal sizes to collect a few figures.

If the hull was 6 inches think, the boards may have been up to 18 inches wide. To keep the weight at a minimum, the boards may have been 20 feet long. I am going to use the basic weight of 45 pounds per cubic foot for normal oak. A 6 inch x 18 inch board 20 feet long would weigh 675 pounds each. I have no idea how many boards Noah required to complete the project, but lifting 675 pounds 4 stories in the air was a feat for anyone.

What if Noah and his sons were larger than the average human being? What if they were on the average, 12 to 15 feet tall? The best guess I can find on the Internet for a 12 foot man is about 800 pounds. If that were the case, each piece of wood would be close lifting your own weight. Try and do that all day long. In any case, what about using simple tools like a hoist? That would mean Noah had enough knowledge to make a wheel. Ropes also had to be fabricated. Because men weighed at least 800 pounds, one or two men would have been able to hull a plank of 20 foot long wood up 4 stories with no problems.

What about the inside structure? Those beams and columns would have weighed much more than planks for the hull. The inside columns would have been much thicker than the hull. I would estimate their size to be at least a foot thick. If those columns were fabricated in one piece, they would have weighed 2025 pounds a piece. It would have been impossible for even 15 feet tall men to put those columns in place, and balance a piece of lumber three times their height. Noah had to build something to aid construction.

Keeping to basic terms and questions about the construction of the ark, how did Noah fasten those pieces of wood together? Some people insist Noah had a primitive mind and skills. Some people suggest he used wooden pegs to hold the ark together. Would you trust wooden pegs in a ship that would sail through the worst floods this world had ever seen? I wouldn’t. Modern wooden ships use brass screws. They do not rust and are strong enough to withstand some shocks. Noah had to posses the technology, tools, and machinery to make screws. If people could build cities with doors, they needed hinges, along with other accessories. I’m not suggesting Noah had lathes and milling machines. But he could have had cutting dies and other simple tooling. This required a material harder and stronger than brass. The iron mentioned earlier in Genesis had plenty of time to be refined, fine tuned, and fashioned into a number of different qualities based on their use and available alloys.

The decks inside the ark could have been designed to use an interior support system made of a three piece column. This would have required a wider column to allow for a stronger attachment point, and designed with gussets for additional strength. In either case, beams between the columns would have been made in a single piece offering the greatest degree of stability. I would estimate those 75 foot long beams to be at least 12 inches think by 24 inches high. They would weigh 6750 pounds a piece. That would require some heavy lifting in anyone’s book. In the very least that would require a double pulley system.

Once it was fabricated and lifted, each column and beam had to be placed in the proper position. Chances are, all of those pieces were notched in one way or another to offer the greatest amount of strength and a stable fit. That would have required basic tools and jigs. Masters had to be fabricated for both male and female parts of each joint. Noah had to have access to, or the ability to make reliable cutting tools.

Glue and adhesive may have been another added feature in the ark. Many glues are made from plants. That was also a likely possibility in Noah’s day.

Image result for noah arkSome people think the ark was a basic square shape. I believe the ark was fashioned more like a ship utilizing curves and angles. I’m sure God chose a man with the basic concept of geometry and trigonometry. Noah would have taken all of those skills and knowledge with him into the ark and the newly formed world.

Let’s look at the shape for a moment from an engineering concept. Would a square shape float? Of course it would. As a matter of fact a square shape would offer more room. Then why are ships curved? Ships are curved in the front to cut down on friction and allow the ship to slice through water. The curved and angled shape helps increase the speed the ship can travel through water. Although Noah wasn’t concerned with speed, because God guided the ark with His hand, a curved bottom and bow would reduce stress on the hull and structure. When a wave hits the left side of the boat on a square ship, the boat has no choice but to displace that amount of water on the opposite side. With a curved hull the boat can slice through water with reduced friction and of course reduced stress on the hull and structure.

It would be more labor intensive to build a curved hull. Columns would have to be designed to precise dimensions. Some of the columns would be the same size, but many would have different curves. At best, the back of the ship would have a number of columns sharing the same size and shape. As Noah progressed along the shape of the curved hull, he would have to calculate, fabricate, and install the next set of columns, so on and so forth. I’m not sure exactly how ships are designed and built. With a scaled drawing, the correct sizes may be able to be produced and installed the first time. Without a precise drawing, it boils down to trail and error. Based on the fact Noah had no ship building experience, the square shape appears to make more sense.

But when we consider the unimaginable forces on the hull and structure, fastening and reinforcing corners on a square ship would have been a nightmare to the most experienced ship builder. How would you prepare the corners of a square ship to face the forces of the world’s greatest flood? Do you butt the corners together and hope for the best? Do you miter or notch them? Notched, glued and fastened corners offer the greatest strength, but would take the longest amount of time to manufacture and fit. In either case, the ship had to be water tight as well as exponentially sea worthy.

Let’s take a brief look at a few other factors God had to help Noah set up to build that huge ark. When God said, “the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” (Genesis 6:5 KJV). That has to conjurer up images in everyone’s mind. Personally speaking, that sets up an image of government control, laws, rules, regulations, and of course taxes. To build an ark of that size it required a large space and a lot of wood.

It is nearly impossible to set an accurate date, I mean year when Noah began building the ark. Look on the Internet and you will see dates varying by thousands of years. We can agree, Noah was the 9th generation from Adam. That safely places Noah about 1000 years after creation week.

Another factor we have to consider whenever we study any subject in the Bible is the general attitude the subject and scriptures are approached with. If you have your mind set on evolution, you are only going to look for facts supporting evolution. Even if you believe in creation, you run the risk of having bits and pieces of evolution creep into your subconscious. In other words, mainstream thought runs parallel to evolution. The idea that people before the flood were primitive, almost stone age is generally acceptable. Although that stone age mentality flies in the face of a Creator God who spoke the world, including the sun, moon, and stars into existence in less than a week, people are constantly striving to reach compromises between creation and evolution. The gap theory that places thousands or millions of years between certain verses in Genesis chapter 1 is one example. Movies, books,pictures, and cartoons that depict Noah and his sons in stone age clothing using wooden hammers and wooden pegs to assemble the ark are factors that help sway the mind into an evolutionary thinking mode. Let’s face it, getting rid of that evolutionary train of thought is difficult if not impossible. Even the most devout Christian has the tendency of replacing evolutionary thought patterns with the, “I don’t want to offend anyone,” mentality. Let’s get rid of those evolutionary thought patterns for a moment and concentrate on a positive creational investigation.

We can pick a date for the ark. Since I like round figures, let’s choose 1000 years. Noah lived about 1000 years after the creation of this world. Let’s be serious and give God the benefit of doubt here. God created Adam the first man in His image. In the Image of the God who designed, engineered, and created all the grass, plants, trees, flowers, insects, fish, birds, and animals in the world. God is an artist, engineer, mathematician, creator, and God did every right the first time. God had infinite knowledge to teach and share with Adam, who was intelligent enough to name all the animals and remember each of those names. There is not doubt Adam had a brain. There is no doubt God could design and calculate complicated equations much faster than any Windows or Apple computer could ever hope to achieve. God gave Adam a mind much sharper and quicker than any computer.

Let’s take a look at how far this would could have advanced in 1000 years. Before the flood people lived much longer. People lived for 700 years and longer. That is generally about 10 times longer than the average human today. So advancements would have come at a much faster rate than scientist today are able to estimate.

The United State was once known as the new land. The US was settled a well over 200 years ago. Let’s look at the past 200 years of America’s history. The Revolutionary war was fought with muskets and cannon balls. Look at what we have for weapons of war today. 200 years ago ships had sails. Today they are made of special steel alloys and are nuclear powered. 200 years ago only a small portion of the US was settled. Today we have roads and railway tracks stretching from one ocean to the other. We have planes that fly from one coast to the other in a matter of hours. We have cell phones with reception in the majority of the land. All of that happened in about 200 years. How far did mankind advance in 1000 years since Adam?

Once again, we have to put that evolutionary mentality behind us and examine a few facts in the Bible. And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived, and bare Enoch: and he builded a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch. (Genesis 4:17 KJV). It took only 2 generation for Cain’s descendants to begin building cities. A few generations later we see brass, iron, musical instruments, and weapons of war introduced. ‘

If we can remove the worldly views of a primitive, backwards tribe roaming a desert wilderness to eek out a living, we can begin to image the world the way God created it, and what mankind did with all of those resources. God did not create a world with one garden surrounded by desert wasteland like we see in movies and cartoons. The entire world was covered with vegetation. The earth’s axis was not tilted until after the flood. There were no seasons of temperature extremes like we see today. For us, that is difficult to imagine. But I want to concentrate on a few other details.

The wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” (Genesis 6:5 KJV). That tells me God had other plans for this world. God had a civilized society in mind for this world with everyone living in harmony. That requires laws. Not long after leaving Egypt, God gave Israel the Ten Commandments. To build a new nation, Israel needed laws. Moses spent more than a month on that mountain receiving a set of laws directly from God. To think those laws and commandments were not in place before the flood is ludicrous.

Because Cain and his descendants turned their backs on God, Cain was likely to reject God’s law and create a set of his own. The Bible testifies to that fact. After a few generations of marriages between the descendants of Cain and Seth, God’s laws were compromised, altered, added to, and in the eyes of mere humans, improved. When evil thoughts step in, those improvements to God’s law benefit whom? The few in charge of course.

In other words, we have to consider the fact Noah had to face a structured government and work within their laws to get land and permits to build his ark. And I would bet, the government didn’t like or appreciate Noah’s ideas.

God had to be on Noah’s side to choose and purchase the right site to build that ark. The land had to be flat and contain enough of the right type of trees to get the job done. Land had to be purchased and permits obtained. Look at the US. There are more regulations on timber than cigarettes, alcohol, and firearms combined. Of course I’m exaggerating. But you get the point. God had to set up a ton of details in the background to get that ark off the ground.

I wish we knew more about the tools and technology Noah had to build that ark. But the Bible provided few details. We do have one thing. We do have the ability to remember details like Adam had when he named all those animals. That memory has been digressing over the years. Today the younger generation has little need to exercise those memory cells in the brain. All they want to do is pick up a cell phone and say, “hey Google.” The image of God we were created in has been replaced by the largest advertising agency this world has ever seen. I wish we knew what all those evil thoughts before the flood were about. That way we could at least try to avoid that path. But it seems like we are left on our own. To think, Adam and Eve were kicked out of the garden for eating a fruit that gave them the knowledge of good and evil. Notice that was good and evil. It appears that 9 generations after Adam this world forgot the good and only remembered or worked on the evil. Where are we now on that line between good and evil?

Chapter 2 Mankind Outside the Garden

How quickly did man digress? To find a clue all we have to do is look at the next story in the Bible. Adam and Eve had two sons. The first was Cain and the second was Able. Long before God formed Adam in His image, God had a plan. If and when sin entered this planet, God would send His Son to die for man’s sins. Cain and Able were told about that plan. They were told to offer a lamb as a sacrifice. That lamb was a symbol pointing to the sacrifice of God’s Son. That was all rather simple to understand. But Cain, the older brother decided to substitute some fruit and grains. Was that a proper symbol for the sacrifice of God’s Son? No it wasn’t. But Cain was stubborn. He thought he could make a few changes and those changes were as good as God’s original plan. Cain wanted to prove his point. He was so infatuated with his idea, he killed his little brother Able in lieu of admitting he was wrong. In a sense, Cain was a spiritual symbol of modern day science dedicated to destroying God at any cost.

In one generation mankind wanted to change God’s plan of salvation. Mankind wanted to alter God’s plan, come up with a better plan, and forget everything God taught. That is how fast mankind was able to digress.

Was mankind able to do anything with the skills God gave to Adam? I want to point out a few very important passages in Genesis.

And Lamech took unto him two wives: the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah. And Adah bare Jabal: he was the father of such as dwell in tents, and of such as have cattle. And his brother’s name was Jubal: he was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ. And Zillah, she also bare Tubalcain, an instructor of every artificer in brass and iron: and the sister of Tubalcain was Naamah. And Lamech said unto his wives, Adah and Zillah, Hear my voice; ye wives of Lamech, hearken unto my speech: for I have slain a man to my wounding, and a young man to my hurt. If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy and sevenfold. And Adam knew his wife again; and she bare a son, and called his name Seth: For God, said she, hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew. (Genesis 4:19-25 KJV).

In just a few verses we are shown how Cain’s sons mastered the art of metallurgy, musical instruments, tent making, raising cattle, and murder. What a combination. We are also shown how mankind was given the ability to master arts and the tradition of passing those skills to their sons. Each family specialized in one particular art. Where did they acquire those skills in only seven generations? Science wants us to believe it took thousands or millions of years for mankind to learn those skills. But lets take a look back at one previous verse. And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived, and bare Enoch: and he builded a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch. (Genesis 4:17 KJV). Enoch, the second generation from Adam had the skills to build a city. Someone had to teach Enoch how to build houses, streets, warehouses, and maybe walls and gates. We are not given specific details about that city like what materials were used to build houses and other structures. But a lot of planning goes into any city. Enoch must have learned those skills from his father Cain. Cain had to learn those skills from his father Adam. The only one who could have taught Adam was God. In just a few short chapters the Bible confirms that mankind had the ability to build structures and cities. Skills were passed down from one generation to the next. It didn’t take thousands of years for mankind to master simple tools, instruments, and detailed planning.

Many scientists and archaeologist like to claim iron came along well after brass. They all seem to have their own dates when iron showed up on the scene. It seems all of them chose to ignore a few facts in the Bible. What about those musical instruments? What were they made out of? Were those harps and organs made from wood, or a combination of wood and metal? Maybe copper, brass, silver, gold, or other specialized alloys. If they were made from wood, how did they form those instruments into such delicate and precise shapes? What about those tents? What were the tents made from? If they used animal skins, what did they use to skin the animals? If the Bible says a man was a teacher in brass and iron, that would lead us to believe they perfected a number of smelting, casting, and forming techniques for both of those metals. How advanced was man just a few generations after Cain? Was mankind using skills passed down from God to Adam, or was mankind inventing new techniques?

If we know the Bible mentions brass and iron in the same sentence, why do we allow scientists to tell people, “iron came generations after brass?” Why do we allow scientists to tell people the Egyptians only had brass tools to work on the pyramids and other projects? What are scientists afraid of? If they admit iron existed long before the flood, are they admitting God does exist? Talk about a cover up.

We also know that men lived for nearly a thousand years before the flood. And Seth lived an hundred and five years, and begat Enos: And Seth lived after he begat Enos eight hundred and seven years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Seth were nine hundred and twelve years: and he died. And Enos lived ninety years, and begat Cainan: And Enos lived after he begat Cainan eight hundred and fifteen years, and begat sons and daughters: And all the days of Enos were nine hundred and five years: and he died. (Genesis 5:6-11 KJV).

If people had brass, iron, musical instruments, and other tools to build cities in the third and forth generation, what could they develop in thousand years? What would you do with all that time on your hands? The industrial revolution began in basically 1900. I like using round figures. By that time we had ships to sail the oceans, guns to keep people under control, and a handful of other inventions. The automobile was just getting its start, Airplanes were in their infant stage. Electricity and communication were hot topics. Between 1900 and 2000 man added rockets, went to the moon, developed jet airplanes, broke the sound barrier, created and used the atomic bomb, and the world seemed to perfect, of all things, war and killing. It seems we have not advanced past Lamech’s mentality. On the other hand, the computer and cell phone were also developed. Was that a good thing?

In 100 years mankind took giant strides. That was in a time when the average lifespan was about 70 years. That left investors and scientists about 50 years to learn from the past and develop new inventions for the future. Now multiply that time by ten. What was the lifespan before the flood? People lived to the ripe old age of 700 or more. What did they do with all that time? What was mankind able to develop before the flood? Let’s first take a quick look at another story in the Bible that explains why the earth was destroyed.

And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years. There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown. And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the LORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the LORD said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them. (Genesis 6:1-7 KJV).

There is a lot to digest in just a few sentences. We will take one at a time. God looked down on this planet He created and didn’t like what was going on. Mankind used the skills handed down from one generation to the next to gain an advantage over other families or tribes that they were actually related to. Men could not get along. Cain’s way of handling a problem appeared to overwhelm all of his descendants. It seemed to be in their genes. God was faced with a decision. God could either wait for the world to destroy itself, or He could destroy most of it and start over.

There seems to be a common belief among many Christian denominations that God will one day step in to destroy the world a second time just before mankind wipes it out in a great war. That brings up the old saying, “History merely repeats itself. It has all been done before. Nothing under the sun is truly new. (Ecclesiastes 1:9 NLTse). A popular point of debate is centered around the term, “sons of God saw the daughters of men.” Some people are convinced that term refers to angels coming to this planet to mate with humans. Are there any facts to back up that claim? If we looked at the term, “sons of God,” we would see a few verses where Heavenly beings are referred to as, “sons of God.”

Job_1:6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them.

Job_2:1 Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the LORD.

There are only a few verses that mention Heavenly beings as God’s sons. The only book in the Bible that recorded that was Job. On the other hand, there is more than a handful of verses that call men, God’s sons.

Hosea 1:10 RSVA Yet the number of the people of Israel shall be like the sand of the sea, which can be neither measured nor numbered; and in the place where it was said to them, “You are not my people,” it shall be said to them, “Sons of the living God.”

John 1:11-13 RSVA He came to his own home, and his own people received him not. (12) But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God; (13) who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

Romans 8:14 RSVA For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.

Galatians 4:6 RSVA And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”

1 John 3:1-2 RSVA See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him. (2) Beloved, we are God’s children now; it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.

We can either base your decision on a few verses or investigate the question on the sons of God a little deeper. What other stories help explain the issue? One aspect to look at is the continual list of warnings Israel was given. God told Israel not to marry Pagan women. Otherwise they would run the risk of accepting false worship, gods, and idols.

You must worship no other gods, for the LORD, whose very name is Jealous, is a God who is jealous about his relationship with you. “You must not make a treaty of any kind with the people living in the land. They lust after their gods, offering sacrifices to them. They will invite you to join them in their sacrificial meals, and you will go with them. Then you will accept their daughters, who sacrifice to other gods, as wives for your sons. And they will seduce your sons to commit adultery against me by worshiping other gods. (Exodus 34:14-16 NLTse).

When God ties that warning to a command, we have reason to pay attention. The question is, is that warning about intermarriages directly related to the sons of heaven and daughters of men in Genesis chapter 6? Looking back a few chapters we see two distinct directions mankind took. Cain who killed his brother raised a clan going one way. Later Adam and Eve had another son, Seth. Seth’s generations were much closer to God than Cain’s descendants. The end of Genesis chapter 4 summed up that division.

Lamech said to his wives: “Adah and Zillah, hear my voice; you wives of Lamech, hearken to what I say: I have slain a man for wounding me, a young man for striking me. If Cain is avenged sevenfold, truly Lamech seventy-sevenfold.” And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and called his name Seth, for she said, “God has appointed for me another child instead of Abel, for Cain slew him.” To Seth also a son was born, and he called his name Enosh. At that time men began to call upon the name of the LORD. (Genesis 4:23-26 RSVA).

Genesis chapter 5 contains a list of Seth’s sons and explains how closely some followed God. Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him. (Genesis 5:24 RSVA). Other stories in the Bible show the results of marrying outside family descendants who didn’t follow God.

So the people of Israel lived among the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites, and they intermarried with them. Israelite sons married their daughters, and Israelite daughters were given in marriage to their sons. And the Israelites served their gods. The Israelites did evil in the LORD’s sight. They forgot about the LORD their God, and they served the images of Baal and the Asherah poles. (Judges 3:5-7 NLTse).

The list goes on and on. Now to make a decision. Did God warn Seth’s descendants to stay away from Cain’s descendants? Was this warning summed up with the terms, “sons of God,” and “daughters of men?”

When we examine the Bible for proof we have to keep in mind, the story we are reading was written in one language in a totally different generation. Common sayings, cliches, and words had quite different meanings. We also have to be careful. The basic meaning of many words has been changed over the years to support one belief or another about some Bible passages. Is that the case with those sons of God found in Genesis chapter 6? What about those giants the debate is centered on? Let’s look at the original Hebrew meaning for the word someone translated as giant in the KJV.

GIANT

H5303

נפל נפיל

nephı̂yl nephil

nef-eel’, nef-eel’

From H5307; properly, a feller, that is, a bully or tyrant: – giant.

When we look at the original Hebrew meaning, the Hebrew word nephil had nothing to do with giants. Nephil was used to define a bully or tyrant. Someone decided to substitute the English word bully with giant. Giant is nothing more than an English substitute for the Hebrew word nephil that means bully. Some people clung onto that idea of giants so hard, they came up with a new version of the Bible and created a new word to go along with that new concept. The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men that were of old, the men of renown. (Genesis 6:4 RSVA).

The word Nephilim is only found in a small number of Bibles. And only found in two verses in those transactions. It seems someone decided to take a few sentences out of one story in the Bible and create a new race. That new race required legends and stories. Legends and stories not found in the Bible. To be perfectly fair, we have to look at the root word used to make the word nephil.

H5307

נפל

nâphal

naw-fal’

A primitive root; to fall, in a great variety of applications (intransitively or causatively, literally or figuratively): – be accepted, cast (down, self, [lots], out), cease, die, divide (by lot), (let) fail, (cause to, let, make, ready to) fall (away, down, -en, -ing), fell (-ing), fugitive, have [inheritamce], inferior, be judged [by mistake for H6419], lay (along), (cause to) lie down, light (down), be (X hast) lost, lying, overthrow, overwhelm, perish, present (-ed, -ing), (make to) rot, slay, smite out, X surely, throw down.

Now that we have the exact meaning for the word nephil, we can take a fresh look at that story and see what Moses was talking about when he recorded it. The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men that were of old, the men of renown. (Genesis 6:4 RSVA). Moses didn’t record a story about giants roaming the earth. Moses used a Hebrew word to show how bullies wandered the earth. Were they giants? There have been dozens of large skeletons unearthed all over the world. Were they pre or post flood skeletons? There is no doubt they are old skeletons. There is no doubt giants roamed the earth after the flood. David and his men killed a number of giants. Other stories written by Moses and found in Joshua describe giants. I may be wrong but, giants always seem to be associated with Pagans, false gods, and other races who opposed God.

Another question that comes up is, are angels able to breed with humans? Some people like to say Jesus answered that question. “For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.” (Mark 12:25 RSVA). Some people may debate this. But in the Bible there is one word for marriage, knew.

The Bible doesn’t contain any ceremony for marriage outside its use of the word knew. And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD. (Genesis 4:1 KJV). Although the word knew does not define a sexual relationship, the context in the sentence points to only one thing. Conceived and bare do have a direct connect to a sexual relationship. The Bible offers no evidence of angels having any such physical contact with women. The Bible contains only one story that has both an angel and a physical encounter with a woman.

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Hail, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there will be no end.” And Mary said to the angel, “How shall this be, since I have no husband?” And the angel said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. (Luke 1:26-35 RSVA).

When we take a close look at this story we can’t help but see, Gabriel delivered a message. The power of the Most High created a baby. The power of creation remained with God.

One of the main reasons God destroyed the earth was to reduce the number of years man would be allowed to live. This is direct evidence showing how mankind digressed over the years. The minds of men drifted over to sin. They were controlled by sin. Men from Cain’s descendants turned their hearts to sin until it consumed them. Men and women intermarried Both sides, the descendants of Cain and Seth began to decline and drift away from God. Does sin lead to the advancement of mankind or its fall? That point may be debatable. Let’s face it, some of the greatest inventions in our generation are linked and credited to wartime developments.

Living shorter periods of time didn’t really hold sin in check. It did limit the amount of information passed along from one generation to the next. We will never know what kind of technology Noah and his sons brought over on the ark. We can only imagine. To get a general idea, we can look at what it would have taken to build such a boat, and what that boat had to survive.

Laws of the Prophets

So let us stop going over the basic teachings about Christ again and again. Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding. Surely we don’t need to start again with the fundamental importance of repenting from evil deeds and placing our faith in God. You don’t need further instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And so, God willing, we will move forward to further understanding. For it is impossible to bring back to repentance those who were once enlightened–those who have experienced the good things of heaven and shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the power of the age to come– and who then turn away from God. It is impossible to bring such people back to repentance; by rejecting the Son of God, they themselves are nailing him to the cross once again and holding him up to public shame. (Hebrews 6:1-6 NLTse).

What have you learned from the Bible lately? Anything at all? Now be honest. Has God shown you the riches and glory embedded in His Holy Book, or did someone tell you something they thought was significant? And was it something from God’s Word with His Word explaining every detail? Or was it more along the lines of pulling out a scripture or two and making a long winded speech about what they thought it meant? Is that really Bible Study? The world seems to think so.

See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize that we are God’s children because they don’t know him. Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is. And all who have this eager expectation will keep themselves pure, just as he is pure. Everyone who sins is breaking God’s law, for all sin is contrary to the law of God. And you know that Jesus came to take away our sins, and there is no sin in him. Anyone who continues to live in him will not sin. But anyone who keeps on sinning does not know him or understand who he is. Dear children, don’t let anyone deceive you about this: When people do what is right, it shows that they are righteous, even as Christ is righteous. (1 John 3:1-7 NLTse).

This world has experienced battles over the Ten Commandments for generations. Have a talk with God about it. I’m sure He will tell you the same thing He told me. There is no problem with His original Ten Commandments. The problem is with the thousands of amendments people added.

What about those other laws? The KJV was translated in a very particular and accurate manner. When the original Greek referred to the Ten Commandments, they always used the word commandments. For laws Moses recorded, the KJV always used the word laws. And when the writers referred to man man versions of the laws, they always used the words doctrines or ordinances.

In this case we see John used the word laws. But which laws? How many people study the books Moses wrote to understand those laws? How many of them allow scripture to explain those laws. What about other laws recorded in the Bible? What about the laws of the prophets? Those are laws all of God’s prophets followed. Following those laws identified them as God’s prophets. Who knows anything about those laws?

When we look at what John wrote, we can see he was pointing us to those laws. As God’s children, it is His job to protect us. God doesn’t look at protecting us as a job. We can’t imagine how God feels about protecting us. We didn’t create mankind and everything in this universe. There is no way anyone can understand God’s concern. Our biggest downfall is not spending time to listen to how much God cares for us when he tries to explain it to us. He tries to reach this world in many ways. God send angels who willing offer protection. God talks to people willing to listen through dreams and visions. And God gave us His Word to show His concern. Not all of those together begin to show us what really lies within God’s heart or why He turned all His attention to one fallen planet.

One way God showed His concern is through His laws. God wrote those laws to protect us. Some people look at those as restrictions. There are more views and opinions on God’s commandments and laws then there are laws. But why waste time debating man’s opinions on those laws? It doesn’t matter where people are on the issue. God has a plan to bring them along into a better understanding.

One of the most powerful laws designed to protect us is one of the most neglected and misunderstood laws. That is the law of God’s prophets. Most people have heard about the law of the prophets. Most Christian organizations have one or another version of that law. But do they understand it?

I’ve questioned people about that law over the past few months. Most answers are pretty much the same.

To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. (Isaiah 8:20 KJV)

And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. (1 Corinthians 14:32-33 KJV)

So we see one point made. Of course prophets have to speak according to God’s law. What do we learn from that? Over half the sermons in churches, on TV, radio, and the Interest contain one or two verses, then a long winded explanation of what they think it means. They used God’s Word. Does that make them legitimate prophets?

What about Satan. He quoted scripture. If we limited an explanation of the law God’s prophets follow to that simple explanation, we are in trouble.

Jeremiah gave us one of the best summaries for the law all of God’s prophets followed. “Suppose one of the people or one of the prophets or priests asks you, ‘What prophecy has the LORD burdened you with now?’ You must reply, ‘You are the burden! The LORD says he will abandon you!’ “If any prophet, priest, or anyone else says, ‘I have a prophecy from the LORD,’ I will punish that person along with his entire family. You should keep asking each other, ‘What is the LORD’s answer?’ or ‘What is the LORD saying?’ But stop using this phrase, ‘prophecy from the LORD.’ For people are using it to give authority to their own ideas, turning upside down the words of our God, the living God, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. “This is what you should say to the prophets: ‘What is the LORD’s answer?’ or ‘What is the LORD saying?’ (Jeremiah 23:33-37 NLTse).

To the unwary eye, this may not appear to be much. But when we apply God’s laws of context, the important details stand out. Look at what the author repeated to draw attention to. ‘What is the LORD’s answer?’ or ‘What is the LORD saying?’ Now listen to God’s Spirit who is telling us to look into the original language. You should always double check. Especially when you feel that nudging from God’s Spirit when your in His Word. What does that word what actually mean?

WHAT H4100 מה מ־ מ־ מה מה mâh mah mâ ma meh

A primitive particle; properly interrogative what? (including how?, why? and when?); but also exclamations like what! (including how!), or indefinitely what (including whatever, and even relatively that which); often used with prefixes in various adverbial or conjugational senses: – how (long, oft, [-soever]), [no-] thing, what (end, good, purpose, thing), whereby (-fore, -in, -to, -with), (for) why.

It’s not by accident that little word contains a number of meanings. The first is HOW. God’s prophets have to be able to explain how God talked to them. The second is why. God’s prophets have to be able to explain why God talked to them. The third is when. God’s prophets will identify when God spoke to them.

Look at all the prophets in the Bible. Did they follow that rule? Pick one out and look.

Haggai 1:1-3 NLTse On August 29 of the second year of King Darius’s reign, the LORD gave a message through the prophet Haggai to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Jeshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest. (2) “This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says: The people are saying, ‘The time has not yet come to rebuild the house of the LORD.'” (3) Then the LORD sent this message through the prophet Haggai:

Hosea 1:1-2 NLTse The LORD gave this message to Hosea son of Beeri during the years when Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah were kings of Judah, and Jeroboam son of Jehoash was king of Israel. (2) When the LORD first began speaking to Israel through Hosea, he said to him, “Go and marry a prostitute, so that some of her children will be conceived in prostitution. This will illustrate how Israel has acted like a prostitute by turning against the LORD and worshiping other gods.”

Joel 1:1-3 NLTse The LORD gave this message to Joel son of Pethuel. (2) Hear this, you leaders of the people. Listen, all who live in the land. In all your history, has anything like this happened before? (3) Tell your children about it in the years to come, and let your children tell their children. Pass the story down from generation to generation.

Daniel 4:1-5 NLTse King Nebuchadnezzar sent this message to the people of every race and nation and language throughout the world: “Peace and prosperity to you! (2) “I want you all to know about the miraculous signs and wonders the Most High God has performed for me. (3) How great are his signs, how powerful his wonders! His kingdom will last forever, his rule through all generations. (4) “I, Nebuchadnezzar, was living in my palace in comfort and prosperity. (5) But one night I had a dream that frightened me; I saw visions that terrified me as I lay in my bed.

Daniel 8:1-2 NLTse During the third year of King Belshazzar’s reign, I, Daniel, saw another vision, following the one that had already appeared to me. (2) In this vision I was at the fortress of Susa, in the province of Elam, standing beside the Ulai River.

We can see, even Nebuchadnezzar followed God’s law for His prophets. Why do we see God’s prophets consistently explaining how God communicated with them, but today it seems to be another one of those laws people claim is no longer required.

This contradicts a number of prophecies where God promised to send an outpouring of His Spirit. “Then, after doing all those things, I will pour out my Spirit upon all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your old men will dream dreams, and your young men will see visions. In those days I will pour out my Spirit even on servants–men and women alike. For I will pour out water to quench your thirst and to irrigate your parched fields. And I will pour out my Spirit on your descendants, and my blessing on your children. They will thrive like watered grass, like willows on a riverbank. Some will proudly claim, ‘I belong to the LORD.’ Others will say, ‘I am a descendant of Jacob.’ Some will write the LORD’s name on their hands and will take the name of Israel as their own.” “And this is my covenant with them,” says the LORD. “My Spirit will not leave them, and neither will these words I have given you. They will be on your lips and on the lips of your children and your children’s children forever. I, the LORD, have spoken! (Joel 2:28-29, Isaiah 44:3-5, Isaiah 59:21 NLTse).

When God promises something, He intends to deliver, whether we are ready or not. But how many people are prepared? How many people are able to distinguish between God’s prophets, those speaking for themselves, prophets sent by the enemy, and everything in between?

Think about it. What good is a prophet if they can’t explain how God talked to them? Then look at the main role of a prophet, which is to lead people back to God. Which is to lead people into a personal relationship with God. What prophet would lack those qualities? Only prophets looking out for their own interest, or working for the enemy. They have no interest or ability to lead people to God. They won’t explain how God communicated with them, how God communicates with this world, or any other aspects about a real relationship with God.

Let’s take a second look at that answer other people gave. The problem I see is, people see one aspect of a law and think they know every detail. They fail to pray, listen to God, and search His Word like looking for hidden treasure. Let’s take a deeper look at Jeremiah 23 to see how a prophet explained God’s law. The first detail to check of course is the introduction, which establishes the main theme.

Jeremiah 23:1-2 NLTse “What sorrow awaits the leaders of my people–the shepherds of my sheep–for they have destroyed and scattered the very ones they were expected to care for,” says the LORD. (2) Therefore, this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says to these shepherds: “Instead of caring for my flock and leading them to safety, you have deserted them and driven them to destruction. Now I will pour out judgment on you for the evil you have done to them.

The first thing we notice is how Jeremiah used the symbol shepherds. Jeremiah clearly identified that symbol by defining it as leaders. Jeremiah also used a contrast. God often used contrasts to teach lessons. Which makes the use of proof texts so dangerous. Many people use the contrast and teach a lesson it was never intended to teach. In this case the contrasts are scatter and caring, or safety. Leaders will either lead people to safety or destroy them. God used such a clear contrast for a reason. People may think they are doing good, but in fact they are causing harm they can’t hope to estimate. Look at the related words Jeremiah used.

Sorrow, destroyed, scattered, deserted, destruction, and evil.

Care, caring, and safety.

The good aspects are easy to follow while the negative aspects have a tendency to grow on their own. We can learn a lot from the simple lessons in God’s Word when we follow the laws of context. Jeremiah included a prophecy about Jesus in that chapter.

Jeremiah 23:3-7 NLTse But I will gather together the remnant of my flock from the countries where I have driven them. I will bring them back to their own sheepfold, and they will be fruitful and increase in number. (4) Then I will appoint responsible shepherds who will care for them, and they will never be afraid again. Not a single one will be lost or missing. I, the LORD have spoken! (5) “For the time is coming,” says the LORD, “when I will raise up a righteous descendant from King David’s line. He will be a King who rules with wisdom. He will do what is just and right throughout the land. (6) And this will be his name: ‘The LORD Is Our Righteousness.’ In that day Judah will be saved, and Israel will live in safety. (7) “In that day,” says the LORD, “when people are taking an oath, they will no longer say, ‘As surely as the LORD lives, who rescued the people of Israel from the land of Egypt.’

The prophecy included a promise to fix the problem. That problem was, leaders misleading people. How did Jesus fix the problem? Jeremiah listed two details. Jesus will gather His flock together. Once again, we’re given a detail, but not the step by step process Jesus will use. That’s one aspect of prophecies people have to realize. Prophecies seldom contain details showing exactly how they will be fulfilled. To find the answer, we have to follow the laws of context to locate and study the recorded fulfillment. When we look back at the one sided definition of a prophet the world leans on, we now can see how that detail can be explained.

It seems most people claim to know, God’s prophets will speak according to God’s Word. But what does that mean? What good does it do if you can’t explain what that means? How do you explain how modern day prophets need to follow God’s Word and law? Jeremiah included that law when He recorded a prophecy about Jesus. That prophecy has a recorded fulfillment found in 1 Timothy 6.

1 Timothy 6:8-16 NLTse So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content. (9) But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction. (10) For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows. (11) But you, Timothy, are a man of God; so run from all these evil things. Pursue righteousness and a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness. (12) Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have confessed so well before many witnesses. (13) And I charge you before God, who gives life to all, and before Christ Jesus, who gave a good testimony before Pontius Pilate, (14) that you obey this command without wavering. Then no one can find fault with you from now until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. (15) For at just the right time Christ will be revealed from heaven by the blessed and only almighty God, the King of all kings and Lord of all lords. (16) He alone can never die, and he lives in light so brilliant that no human can approach him. No human eye has ever seen him, nor ever will. All honor and power to him forever! Amen.

Once we compare prophecies with their recorded fulfillment, we see how they react with one another like a chemical reaction that brings an unexpected result. In this case we’re shown how money plays a part in making those shepherds mislead people. We also see how Paul included a list of attributes God’s preachers and prophets must have and practice.

We find recorded fulfillments by paying attention to key words in the prophecy and its recorded fulfillment. But the laws of context don’t stop there. Introductions and summation to both chapters are compared to make sure they both address the same theme. Those are the laws of context God’s prophets will know and understand. Following those laws will prove if a prophet is speaking according to God’s Word or another source.

Jeremiah filled in a few details about false prophets. That’s what most people concentrate on. As a matter of fact, Jeremiah pointed that out. Therefore, this is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says concerning the prophets: “I will feed them with bitterness and give them poison to drink. For it is because of Jerusalem’s prophets that wickedness has filled this land.” This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says to his people: “Do not listen to these prophets when they prophesy to you, filling you with futile hopes. They are making up everything they say. They do not speak for the LORD! (Jeremiah 23:15-16 NLTse).

What does it mean to be filled with bitterness and poison? Listen to some of the world’s most popular preachers. You’ll find the answer in minutes. Look at how they pull out a few little texts, then without a shred of evidence, cast insults and accusations on other religious groups. They talk about those groups as if they were once leaders in those churches, claiming to know about secret plans, and how those other groups think. They desensitize the issue by leading people to believe all those people live and think alike. They make it appear they are doing Jesus a great service by grouping all those people together, making Jesus’ job of judgment easier.

Is that what a teacher or prophet from God is supposed to be? Jeremiah called that kind of teaching, “futile hopes.” On the other hand, those preaches fill people with the attitude salvation comes from joining their club. Jeremiah called that a false promise of peace.

They keep saying to those who despise my word, ‘Don’t worry! The LORD says you will have peace!’ And to those who stubbornly follow their own desires, they say, ‘No harm will come your way!’ “Have any of these prophets been in the LORD’s presence to hear what he is really saying? Has even one of them cared enough to listen? (Jeremiah 23:17-18 NLTse).

Jeremiah described their messages in plain simple, easy to understand terms. Those people despise God’s Word. They don’t know it, nor do they have any intentions of following God’s Word. They want the freedom to pick and choose what they want to teach and when they want to teach it. What kind of Bible would we have today if God’s prophets had that attitude? God made it clear, those preachers and prophets are acting on their own. They didn’t go to God for their messages.

Since false prophets refuse to approach God’s throne, His prophets must be willing and excited to stand before God. Since it is something they experience, they should be able to explain the experience, and teach people how to meet at God’s throne. If they had stood before me and listened to me, they would have spoken my words, and they would have turned my people from their evil ways and deeds. Am I a God who is only close at hand?” says the LORD. “No, I am far away at the same time. Can anyone hide from me in a secret place? Am I not everywhere in all the heavens and earth?” says the LORD. (Jeremiah 23:22-24 NLTse). God made it plain, He is ready and available any time.

Do your preachers and prophets teach you how to comfort people asking for prayer? Do they teach you how to encourage people to approach God’s throne for the answer? Or do they tell you to say, “I’ll pray.” And break your vow quicker than it took to make it?

Nothing happens without God knowing about it. Nothing happens without God having plans to use the worst trials to increase understanding and teach a number of lessons. What are those lessons? Are you prepared to endure a major trial and waste the opportunity to learn how it fits into God’s plan of salvation by relying on human wisdom for an explanation? Or are you going to boldly approach God’s throne to learn the full story only He knows?

Going to a person for answers is like buying a product in a huge box. opening that box, looking at the last line of the instructions, and calling the 800 number to ask how to assemble the product. Wouldn’t it be a lot smarter to read and follow the instructions? Going to God’s Bible when you face a problem is another way God communicates with us and confirms His message.

This brings us right back to the popular definition of a prophet. If they speak according to God’s Word, they should be able to explain how God’s Word works in people’s lives. How God’s Word comforts as well as directs. Think of the world we might have today if preachers and prophets spent more time teaching what they should be teaching, and less time spreading their own thoughts and agenda. How long will this go on? If they are prophets, they are prophets of deceit, inventing everything they say. By telling these false dreams, they are trying to get my people to forget me, just as their ancestors did by worshiping the idols of Baal. (Jeremiah 23:26-27 NLTse).

“Let these false prophets tell their dreams, but let my true messengers faithfully proclaim my every word. There is a difference between straw and grain! Does not my word burn like fire?” says the LORD. “Is it not like a mighty hammer that smashes a rock to pieces? (Jeremiah 23:28-29 NLTse). Jeremiah included some good advice. Compare your own feelings between those man made messages and your personal contact with God. There is only one that burns inside you. There is only one that will make a real difference in your life. There is only one that will draw you into a closer relationship with God. All those others are designed to draw you away from God and into chains forged by this world.

Jeremiah followed up with another list of what false prophets do. Those are the verses they like to concentrate on and use to point a finger at other people, churches, and religions. But do all their complaints and accusations ever accomplish anything in God’s plan of salvation? Jeremiah repeated those warnings about those false prophets because of what they do. Because of what they add to their negative messages. They add an imagine of a false hope. They claim to have truth. The only evidence they provide is a long list of things they claim everyone else does wrong. But that never solves a single problem. But suppose they respond, ‘This is a prophecy from the LORD!’ Then you should say, ‘This is what the LORD says: Because you have used this phrase, “prophecy from the LORD,” even though I warned you not to use it, I will forget you completely. I will expel you from my presence, along with this city that I gave to you and your ancestors. And I will make you an object of ridicule, and your name will be infamous throughout the ages.'” (Jeremiah 23:38-40 NLTse).

God doesn’t mix words in the summary in Jeremiah 23. If they don’t want to listen to God, He will expel them from His presence. If they are not getting their message from God, where are they getting it from? And where will it lead?

If your wondering how God communicates with this world, read Daniel’s book. It is a manual showing how God communicates with this world. It also serves as a test for God’s prophets. Wannabe prophets in this world love to impress people with their so called knowledge of Daniel. They constantly try to interpret Daniel, but look at how they do it, and compare the methods they use to those methods Daniel recorded. Prophets who don’t know how to approach God’s throne, or wait on God for the answers will do the only thing they know. They go to the world for answers. Pay attention to the answers they give and if your wise, you’ll see the patterns they use.

To understand Daniel, most people have to forgot everything they’ve been taught from that book. Most of the information they’ve been taught is superficial at best. To get past the messages the world wants you to see, and into the spiritual lessons Daniel recorded, you have to learn how to set the world and its beliefs aside.

When Gabriel was sent to Daniel, he was afraid. Daniel hid his face in the ground. Gabriel told Daniel to take his face off the ground, look up and learn. Gabriel then repeated a series of words involving communication. Gabriel repeated words like listen, hear, pay attention, and message.

We have the choice to either continue to listen to those self proclaimed preachers and prophets with their faces on the earth, relying on this world for their interpretations, or we can learn how God communicates with us from Daniel and some of the other reliable prophets.

I decided to do something a little different this time. I decided to write a chapter in a new book and post it on the Internet. I want to get some feedback. I want to see if people think this is the sort of book this world needs at this time. It would be great if people took the time to contribute some constructive thoughts. It would be great if we could witness God’s Spirit working all around the world to bring together a number of ideas.

I’ll post sections on some social media sites. But you have to go to the website page to read the entire chapter. You can leave your comments there. That way I will have a reference in one general location.

This book is going to take a look at how mankind has been digressing over the years. Are computers and cell phone making mankind smarter or dulling our God given senses? We will also take a look at how much mankind has forgotten over the years. When we put this together the facts will amaze you.

Adam and Eve

To understand how the earth is digressing, we have to look at how man began on this planet. The only reliable record we have of creation is found in the Book of Genesis.

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. (Genesis 1:27 KJV).

No one can argue the point, man and women were created in God’s image. What is God’s image? Can anyone say they are an image of God? Is any leader today or any historical figure an image of God? Take a look in the mirror. Can you say you are an image of God? Let’s take a look at the Hebrew definition of image.

IMAGE

H6754

צלם

tselem

tseh’-lem

From an unused root meaning to shade; a phantom, that is, (figuratively) illusion, resemblance; hence a representative figure, especially an idol: – image, vain shew.

It’s not by accident the word image was derived from an unused root meaning. Think about that on a spiritual level for a moment. We were created in God’s image. By the time the Bible was translated into English and supported by Hebrew and Greek dictionaries, the word used to describe our origin was an unused root meaning. That should give us a clue showing us how far this world has digressed. Let’s look at a few other words used to define the word image.

To shade, a phantom. That does not sound like a direct copy of God, but only a shadow of God. Were we created as a direct image of God or a mere shadow of our Creator? The words shadow and phantom are followed by the word illusion. What is an illusion? Wikipedia describes an illusion as:

An illusion is a distortion of the senses, which can reveal how the human brain normally organizes and interprets sensory stimulation. Though illusions distort our perception of reality, they are generally shared by most people.”

As this world digresses, senses are lost. Before we can relate to how senses have been lost or altered from the time of creation, we have to understand a bit about creation at the very beginning. Let’s see how the Bible described creation.

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day. (Genesis 1:1-5 KJV).

The first thing God did was create light. How did God create light? Has any man created light? Sure we have light bulbs in all shapes and forms. Fire also sheds light. But how was light actually created? Did God create light on the first day so He could see what He was doing? Or was light created on the first day to shed a little spiritual light on the subject? Let’s take another look at those few verses.

The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. Let’s compare darkness to light. They are opposites. In the spiritual sense darkness and light oppose one another. What does that tell you about what happens when God steps onto the scene?

“Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light. But when it is bad, your body is filled with darkness. Make sure that the light you think you have is not actually darkness. If you are filled with light, with no dark corners, then your whole life will be radiant, as though a floodlight were filling you with light.”

\(Luke 11:34-36 NLTse).

We could write an entire sermon on light and darkness. But that is not the intent of this book. For the time being we will concentrate on finding God’s image. An image that has been all but lost in this day and age.

And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day. (Genesis 1:6-8 KJV).

There could be a lot of different takes on this part of creation. People have a difficult time distinguishing between light and darkness. Now we get into the subject of earth and sky. But wait. There is no earth yet. All we have so far is water covering the earth and a mist of water above the earth God called Heaven. There is another clue showing what we are missing today. Look at the Internet. What do you see? We see people all over the world using the earth, or earthly wisdom to interpret the Bible. When the earth began, Heaven was above the earth in both the physical and spiritual sense.

And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good. And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the third day. (Genesis 1:9-13 KJV).

On the third day God took the earth that was under the water and brought it to the surface. What question does this raise today? This verse flies in the face of science. Most scientists disagree with the flood. They know if a flood can be proven, God could be scientifically proven. Science wants us to believe water just happened to be on this planet. That is why it is so important for science to prove water exists, or did exist on other planets. Why do you think they spend billions of dollars to go to Mars to look for that? Water. How smart is that. We have more water on this planet than we know what to do with. Why travel millions of miles to go to a planet with no sign of water to look for water? Some scientists will stop at nothing to prove God does not exist. But God had them figured out long before He created Adam. God had water to prove He exists. He also has light to prove He exists. And it gets better as we move along in the creation story.

And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the fourth day. (Genesis 1:15-19 KJV).

This is where is begins to get really interesting, when God created all the planets and stars. Let’s take a quick look at those stars. We know the earth is round. Well most people believe the earth is round. We’ll stick with that belief for now. The earth rotates on its axis we refer to as the north and south poles. Those poles have magnetic fields. We normally concentrate on the north pole. We use that magnetic field to navigate. For generations people have been using the sun to tell time, and stars to navigate by night. We know the earth rotates and has been rotating at a consistent speed and in a consistent orbit for as long as anyone can remember.

At this point we could get into hundreds of scientific fields to prove God exists. But all we want to do for now is gain a better understanding of God to see what image Adam was created in. All of those stars, plants, moons, and galaxies required a complicated set of mathematical equations before the first series of stars and planets could be hung in the sky. God created and hung all of them in one day. No one can even count all the stars. God created all of them and placed them in individual orbits in one day. That proves, God know His mathematics, Not even a computer could calculate all that information in one day.

So far God has light, water, and now mathematics to prove He exists and created this world and the universe. But some scientists want people to believe all those stars and planets just happened to form in perfect orbits. If the earth’s orbit varied by just a few degrees, this planet would either burn up or freeze to death. Science could tell you that if they wanted to. But for some reason, science doesn’t think it can exist along side of God the Creator.

There is a little story in the Bible explaining why mankind has a difficult time accepting God without question. You see, Adam and Eve were not alone on this planet. There was a snake in the grass. Actually a serpent in a tree. God placed one tree in the middle of the garden He arranged for Adam and Eve. It was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. And that tree was off limits.

And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. (Genesis 2:16-17 KJV),

Why did God decide to place a tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the middle of the garden, then tell Adam, if he ever ate from it, he would die. That sounds rather drastic. There had to be a good reason for that type of test.

It just so happened that one day Adam’s wife Eve decided to listen to that serpent hanging around in that tree. The serpent was Satan in disguise. But Eve had no way of knowing. Or did she? Eve did know that there was something in that tree she didn’t have, and she wanted it. Eve didn’t know anything about good or evil. That is rather difficult for us to imagine. But taking that fruit somehow gave her knowledge about good and evil. At first Eve had something Adam didn’t. So she convinced Adam to eat some fruit. That would once again level the playing field between the two of them. All it did was got them kicked out of the garden. Instead of living in a garden with all the fruit, nuts, and grains they could ever want, Adam had to sweat his butt off to put a meal on the table.

Now we have to look back and look at a few facts. Adam was created in God’s image. He was only a shadow of God. But did God explain to Adam, those stars were in the sky for a reason? Did God give Adam insight into how those stars moved and how Adam could tell the time and seasons by looking at the stars? Did God go as far as giving Adam the ability to understand the complex mathematical equations it took to put all those stars in planets in their perfect orbits? Was Adam a mathematical wizard? We have to look at a few pieces of evidence in the Bible to figure that one out.

We also know God created all the grass, trees, flowers, plants, insects, fish, birds, and animals on this planet. To create a bird that could fly, God had to know about the physical, scientific laws of gravity, lift, and what we refer to as flight. God had to create wings that worked. And worked the first time. More proof God is a mathematical genius. Some insects can walk straight up walls. The earth has this thing we refer to as gravity. Those bugs had to be engineered with the strength to grip what appears to be smooth surfaces, and the tools to grip them with. Those insects had to have a brain to decide where to move and how to control legs, eyes, and other senses. Some lizards have pads on their feet that can grip glass. Some animals climb trees. God had to calculate and design hands, feet, and tails so those animals could move through trees with ease. Then we have flying insects with wings that fold under hard protective shells. Some scientists insist it is mathematically impossible for the bumble bee to fly. Maybe there is something they don’t know. God created muscle systems and a system to power those muscles. In short, God created living machine that are still impossible for men to duplicate.

When it came time for Adam to leave the garden and eek out a living in this world now altered by sin, did God teach Adam the skills required to survive? There is a little side story I’d like to look at. Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them. (Genesis 3:21 KJV).

God killed the first animals, skinned them, and sewed cloths to protect Adam and Eve from the coming cold. Can you image a God working with His hands to kill an animal He created, take off its skin, and sew those skins to make a set of clothing for the human beings that disobeyed one simple command? It seems we can learn a lot about God when we read what is written about Him.

But what about those skills? What evidence do we have in the Bible that shows us Adam had a brain and knew how to use it?

And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him. And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; (Genesis 2:21 KJV).

Not only does the Bible tell us God had surgical skills, the Bible also tells us Adam had to possess quite a brain to name all those animals. There had to be hundreds, maybe thousands of them. Adam not only had to come up with all those names, he had to remember all of them. Sit down and see if you can write out a hundred names. How long would that take you? Adam did it in one day. We have the evidence, God gave Adam a brain with the ability to think, and remember.

Science tries to convince us that man evolved from lower life. So thousands or millions of years later, someone developed the ability to speak and communicate. According to the Bible, Adam was able communicate on day one.

We still have to take a look at what God would have taught Adam and Eve. At first they tended the garden God planted for them. God must have taught them gardening skills. But did it stop there? Was that all Adam and Eve knew? They had to know much more than gardening to survive alone in the world. What about shelter? Did God build Adam and Eve a house? Did they figure that one out on their own? Or did God teach Adam a few basic construction skills? Don’t forget, we have to prove every detail from the Bible.

For generations it was traditional for fathers to teach their sons the family trade. Jesus’ father was a carpenter. Joseph taught Jesus how to be a carpenter. We also have tons of verses in the Bible describing mankind as a form of God’s son. God looked at Adam as a son. After making clothing by hand, God would not have turned Adam out into the world without teaching Adam. When we look at the beginning of Genesis, what was God’s trade? What was God’s job? God was an inventor, engineer, and Creator. That tells us, God would have passed those skills onto Adam. We know Adam had a mind to think, and a great memory. The only thing we don’t know is, how much information about creation and science God shared with Adam. Scientists like to insist their brains evolved without any influence, guidance, or help from God. Scientists insist mankind developed over long periods of time on their own. If God was willing to kill the first animals to make clothing for Adam and Eve, do you think the support from God stopped there? Or do you think that was only the beginning?

The only evidence we have that Adam was thrown into this world with no skills is the word of scientists and philosophers. Not one of then was there at the time. Not many of them bother to read the Bible. The majority of them dedicate their lives to disproving the Bible. In other words, even if they approached the Bible, it would be with a pile of preconceived ideas. They would take out a few sentences and twist them around to support their personal theories. In the end, we would get no where, and their man made theories would prove nothing. Do you really believe man evolved from lower life forms? Do you really believe that this Universe was created from a mass of nothing that somehow condensed and exploded? Do you really believe that explosion placed all the stars and planets in perfect orbits around one another? Where did the oxygen, helium, hydrogen, and other elements come from? Do you really believe a set of basic elements can meet in a pond of water someplace and decide to combine in a specific order to create a single cell living organism? If evolution is true, why don’t we have living, thinking oxygen, nitrogen, and hydrogen molecules able to combine with other molecules at will to create new forms of life? If those elements had billions of years to learn how to create living organisms, why did they decide to give up that learned skill? And how did simple one cell organisms decide they needed eyes, feet, legs, ears, hands, and other appendages to be able to compete in a world they were creating? I remember hearing a story that went much like this.

A group of scientists got together to match their combined wits against God. They told God they could do anything He could. Without a word, God knelt down on the ground, gathered a mound of dirt, formed it into an image of a man, and breathed on it. The scientists looked a the man stand up, and began having a conversation with God. After a short time, God turned to the scientists and said, “your turn.” The scientists gathered around each other to have a private conversation. After some time one of the scientists approached God and said, “we can do it, but it will take some time.” With a smile on His face, God said, “okay, but you have to get your own dirt.”

How little we know about dirt. How does dirt give life to plants and trees? How do trees and plants produce seeds and fruits from elements inside dirt? How do plants convert simple elements into edible food? Plants and trees have some type of internal factories to convert elements from the ground and air to create life. Plants can do more than the greatest minds in the world. God placed that knowledge inside those plants and trees.

Without a doubt it takes a great degree of faith to believe in either a living God with the ability to speak life into existence, or basic elements with the ability to either create life through planning, or by a complete accident. We either have to accept a Creator God who came from, no one really knows or is able to explain. Or we can choose to believe in the ability of basic elements to combine and reconfigure themselves into what ever shape they choose. Or whatever shape they happened to form by accident. In either case, man still has a mind to gather evidence to make a choice.

The Biggest Idol – I

People seem to be fascinated by images and prophecies in the Bible. Many mainstream churches strive on this fascination and to one degree or another take advantage of it. Make up the biggest, most unbelievable story and people will flock to your doors.

In the world of prophecy two books in the Bible stand out among all others, Danial and Revelation. It’s common to see these two books combined and studied together to one degree or another. In this case, we will look at a couple of the most common images in those two books. We will compare the image Nebuchadnezzar built and compare that to the image designed by one of the beasts in Revelation chapter 13.

King Nebuchadnezzar made a gold statue ninety feet tall and nine feet wide and set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon. (Daniel 3:1 NLTse).

I wanted to use a Bible version that listed the dimensions of the statue in feet. The important thing is, the ration of 10 to 1 between height and width. I’ve seen many people teach on this chapter using an artist conception or drawing of the statue depicting it as a a man. Nebuchadnezzar in particular. In those studies, philosophers tell people, “Nebuchadnezzar was told he was the head of gold in Daniel;s dream. And that head of gold would give way to a chest of silver. So Nebuchadnezzar believed that if he built a gold statue of himself, his kingdom would last forever.” Of course nothing like that was ever recorded in the Bible. Philosophers took one sentence out of the Bible and mixed in what they considered to be a little common sense. But wait. The statue in Daniel’s dream was a symbol created in Heaven. No one will argue with that. On the other hand, the statue Nebuchadnezzar made was physical, created on earth. Now we are beginning to get somewhere.

What happens when people begin mixing spiritual symbols with physical things? People will read and teach the entire chapter in Revelation 13. They all seems to agree that chapter uses symbolism all the way up to the mark of the beast. Then they insist that has to be a physical mark. According to them, the story quickly and unexpectedly changed from spiritual symbolism to physical. Why? No one is going to try to explain why. That would ruin their entire concept on prophecy. Those philosophers just want people to take their word. No questions asked.

There is another image or statue in Revelation chapter 13 we should look at. We’re not told a lot about that image, but we know who designed it.

And he deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast, saying to them that dwell on the earth that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword and lived. And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause to be killed as many as would not worship the image of the beast. (Revelation 13:14-15 KJV21).

We know the lamb with two horns had people make an image to the first beast. The key phrase here is, “an image to.” They didn’t make an image of the first beast. People build an image to the first beast. What is or was that first beast?

We know that beast looked like a leopard. Which makes me think the beast is good at one thing, camouflaging itself. In other words, it doesn’t want to be seen or noticed until it is too late. It appears the camouflaging didn’t work because the beast suffered a wound to the head.

We don’t have to identify the first beast or the second beast to understand the symbolism for both of those images or statues. All we have to do is look at a few recorded facts about those beasts.

Then the beast was allowed to speak great blasphemies against God. And he was given authority to do whatever he wanted for forty-two months. And he spoke terrible words of blasphemy against God, slandering his name and his temple–that is, those who live in heaven. And the beast was allowed to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them. And he was given authority to rule over every tribe and people and language and nation. And all the people who belong to this world worshiped the beast. They are the ones whose names were not written in the Book of Life before the world was made–the Book that belongs to the Lamb who was slaughtered. Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand. (Revelation 13:5-9 NLTse).

We know the beast speaks out against God. How does he do that? We aren’t given any specific details. We are just told this beast slanders God, and those who live in Heaven. What does that mean? We know all the visions and images in Revelation originated in Heaven. We also know, no one in Heaven had any problem understanding any of those visions or images. If we mixed in a little common sense, wouldn’t great blasphemies against God pointing to people who want to add their own interpretations to the Bible without consulting God or His Word? We will cover more on that later.

The lamb with two horns is another spiritual symbol. It looks like a lamb but does not act or sound like a lamb. In other words, the lamb is more of a disguise.

And it exercises all the authority of the first beast before him, and causes the earth and those dwelling in it to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed. And it does great wonders, so that it makes fire come down from the heaven onto the earth in the sight of men. And it deceives those dwelling on the earth, because of the miracles which were given to it to do before the beast, saying to those dwelling on the earth that they should make an image to the beast who had the wound by a sword and lived. (Revelation 13:12-14 MKJV).

The lamb is much like the first beast. It seems Satan’s first plan didn’t work. So he had to come up with a new plan. The key word here is, “deceives.” In other words, the lamb misleads people. How does he mislead them? That’s where we have to look back to the previous story, in this case beast to find a clue. “Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.” This leads us to a few interesting stories in the Bible. Jesus quoted those words from Isaiah.

He who has ears to hear, let him hear. And the disciples said to Him, Why do You speak to them in parables? He answered and said to them, Because it is given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of Heaven, but it is not given to them. For whoever has, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance. But whoever does not have, from him shall be taken away even that which he has. Therefore I speak to them in parables, because seeing they see not, and hearing they hear not; nor do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah which said, “By hearing you shall hear and shall not understand; and seeing you shall see and shall not perceive; for this people’s heart has become gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and they have closed their eyes, lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.” (Matthew 13:9-15 MKJV).

We gather a host of details when we look back and read the entire chapter in Isaiah. Do you see how the Bible provided its own answers?

In the year that King Uzziah died I then saw the Lord sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and His train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphs; each one had six wings; with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is Jehovah of Hosts; the whole earth full of His glory. (Isaiah 6:1-3 MKJV).

Isaiah had no problem telling people exactly where he got his information from. Isaiah got all of his information from Heaven. Lesson 1. Reveal your source. Tell people if your information is from Heaven or earth. In plain simple terms, is your information from God or Satan who rules and directs the beasts in Revelation?

And I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then I said, Here am I; send me! And He said, Go, and tell this people, You hear indeed, but do not understand; and seeing you see, but do not know. Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts, and turn back, and be healed. (Isaiah 6:8-10 MKJV).

Isaiah is basically told, no matter what message he delivers, people will not believe it. They are stuck on their stories made up on earth. We are also told that the messages Isaiah receives and is sent to earth with are directly from Heaven.

So where does this all get is with the story about Nebuchadnezzar’s statue? Lets look at those dimensions again. Ninety feet tall and nine feet wide. Those are not the dimensions of any man on earth. The proportions are not even close. We can look at a few examples to see how some people tried to work around that problem. Why? To make the rest of their stories appear believable. Are those messages from Heaven or earth. From earth of course. The same place those beasts in Revelation 13 originated. Is this coming all together?

Image result for Nebuchadnezzar gold statue Image result for Nebuchadnezzar gold statue Image result for Nebuchadnezzar gold statue Image result for Nebuchadnezzar gold statue

Now let’s look at the exact proportions of that statue Nebuchadnezzar had made. What does it look like? A tall, skinny statue. Like a pole of some sort. Okay, so some people try to go over a host of roads explaining what a pole is supposed to represent using the world to explain it. But let’s look at the war that God and Satan are fighting. Revelation tells us, it is a war of words. There is one word shaped like that statue Nebuchadnezzar build. It is the word, “I.”

People make up stories to attract attention to themselves. They want t be noticed. They want to figure out things in the Bible no one has been able to understand. They want to be the first to come up with some clever answer. They are worshiping the biggest idol of all – I.

10 Ways to Grow a Church

1. Get people involved

2. Train members to serve.

3. Build strong homes.

4. Involve every member in the church service.

5. Build strong community service.

6. Bible study.

7. Establish effective giving.

8. Guaranty effective spending.

9. Give members a voice.

10. Build effective leadership.

This is not another collection of clichés aimed at getting you excited for a day or two, until you realize that, there is not one suggestion contained in this article that can help me. This is a collection of ideas and suggestions I have witnessed through personal experiences.

1. Get people involved

What is a church member if they are not involved? Are they really a member? Is there Biblical proof of a non active church member?

Remember when you were about eight years old and all the kids in the neighborhood got together to form a club? One of the first steps in forming the club was to assign all of the titles and duties Was there ever a member that did not have a title and an assignment? Why do we see the importance of involvement and activities to form a strong bond when we were children, but as adults we think it is okay to be the last one in, sit in the back pew and be the first one out?

Why do we need to get involved? So we can feel we are a part of the church. The church is an active, living, breathing entity. “Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.

1 Corinthians 12:27, Ephesians 5:30, 1 Corinthians 12:12

How does a church grow without getting members involved? If the church is on fertile ground the church should grow. “But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold.” KJV Matthew 13:8 This parable never teaches that seed fell on good ground and some brought in zero or one or two.

How do you get church members involved? How many seeds do you plant to grow a crop a few or a lot? You ask members and ask them and ask them. I can tell you beyond any shadow of a doubt, if you ask one hundred people to get involved in the church ninety nine will tell you, “I’ll pray about it.” I sometimes wonder if their attitude stems from the parable of the lost sheep. Perhaps they think they are part of the ninety nine and their job is to sit there and wait.

The most effective way of getting people involved is to personally ask them. It stands to reason, there is not one single person on this planet that can sell a nonpaying job to the whole world. But God will place one person in the church that is able to reach another. I am sure when God created this world He set up these matches. We don’t know who will have the personality or the correct approach that will reach the person God wants to fill a position within the church. The best thing to do is spread out the responsibility and use the concept of try, try again until you succeed. How do you accomplish this task? The pastor should appoint a number of leaders or board members to talk to every individual within the church. It may take three people and it may take six people to ask a person to serve before they say yes. No one says yes the first time they are asked. They need to be asked at least twice. This is human nature you need to formulate a plan to overcome. If there is no follow up nothing will be accomplished. Existing church leaders need to assist the pastor and they need to be held accountable. When a number of board members are assigned to contact a person, they should report back to the board the following information:

Date of contact

Type of contact: Phone call, personal visit, in church

What they said

The reaction received

This needs to be only a two or three minute report. This not only holds the board members accountable it will also create a situation where the board members will have the opportunity to share experiences and learn from each other’s short comings and successes. This allows the board to work as a whole and unite in a common effort, all moving together as a single unit to accomplish the same task.

How many times does a member need to be asked to serve? Until they serve. Or until they can produce Biblical proof that says certain church members are excused from service. At the very least you will get members to study their Bibles.

What are the best jobs to offer to the most reluctant members? This will depend upon the member. The best area to begin getting most members involved is the sanctuary service. On the surface this appears to be a simple one time, two minute task that often turns out be a foundation to build upon. It gives the members a sense of contributing. It gives them the experience of being involved. It makes them feel needed and best of all it gets them used to saying, “yes.”

Who determines how members should serve? The Bible is very clear on this subject. “God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us. As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” 1 Corinthians 12:28, Romans 12:6, 1 Peter 4:10-11

According to the Bible there are many spiritual gifts and, “every man hath received the gift, as of the ability which God giveth”. The Bible never mentions some the most common methods used to determine a member’s spiritual gift. The most common seems to involve letting the member choose. This seems to be the method most churches rely upon and this is why most members never get involved. This method does nothing more than create a stand off within the church. The board is waiting for the members to decide which spiritual gifts they posses. The members are waiting to be asked to serve. Both groups are convinced they are doing the work of God by politely waiting for the other side to make the first move. In the long run nothing is accomplished.

Another popular method used to determine a member’s spiritual gift is to take a test. But the Bible never mentions the use of a test, nor does the Bible specify a test. If God wanted people to take a test to determine what their spiritual gifts are I think God would have remembered to include a test in the Bible.

We read the text that gives us a list of the most common spiritual gifts over and over and it always seems the introduction is ignored. The text clearly tells us that God has set people in the church to lead. If God has set these people within the church isn’t it reasonable to assume that God equipped these people with the ability to do the job? To erase any shadow of doubt the Bible also tells us that these gifts are given to us, “according to the grace that is given to us.” Peter adds, “if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth.” God gives us our abilities. We miss this point because we always put the emphasis on receiving the gifts before we choose to serve.

Without a doubt whenever we look at this parable given in Matthew 25 we always put the emphasis on the talents. Everyone talks about the talents. We even call it the parable of the talents. We are told over and over again we need to multiply these talents ourselves. But the parable never tells us how we are supposed to multiply these talents. Most people think the talents are singing or playing the piano . Wrong type of talent, wrong teaching. If God expected us to increase our talents God would have written explicit instructions.

The lesson of that parable is not in the talent.

KJV Matthew 25:15

15. And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.

Once again the point to pay attention to is at the introduction of the parable. In this parable the man gave his servants money according to that person’s ability. In this text the word ability means miraculous power (usually by implication, a miracle itself): We do not have the ability to perform miracles on our own, only through the power of God. Making money was not the point God was trying to make. Working and increasing our abilities is the business God is in. Our abilities mean much more to God than all the money we could ever offer Him. We can only increase our abilities, our spiritual gifts by the grace and gifts of God. God determines our spiritual gifts based on our abilities and our needs. God supplies the miraculous power and miracles, just as the parable says.

We can take a look at one of the first examples given in the Bible concerning appointments. Moses was given the advise of his father-in-law, Jethro. When Jethro saw Moses working himself to death he told him, “Hearken now unto my voice, I will give thee counsel, and God shall be with thee: And Moses chose able men out of all Israel, and made them heads over the people, rulers of thousands, rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens.” Exodus 18:19, 28

Moses took action and chose the people. The Bible doesn’t tell us Moses waited for a group of members to feel the call of the Spirit to step up and serve. Moses chose people based on their ability and taught them the ordinances and laws. There will always be specific instructions required with any appointment. This is one of the biggest problems I see in churches. People are not being trained for the positions they occupy. This is another problem that stems from the misconception that people should posses the gifts before they serve. The board or pastor assumes the members already have the answers. In the business world you would never see a person promoted or hired for a position without a certain amount of on the job training involved. The pastor must have a training program in place before appointing the first person to a board position or any position of service.

Satan has convinced the churches that it is Christlike to live and let live. Many Christians think practicing patience is a virtue or a spiritual gift. Some are convinced the world is so far gone that developing patients is the only spiritual gift the church needs to survive. They sit and wait for the world to go down the drain. This is not the way Christ expects His churches to operate. Observing sin has never been a spiritual gift. Watching the world perish is a policy of live and let die. This is the attitude held by Christians that feel there is no need to get involved. There is a better way to organize a church. Make a list of the ministries you feel your church should be involved in and fill the positions with as many people as you can.

Examples of individual ministries:

Distribution of books or tracts in your neighborhood

Lend books to neighbors

Neighborhood Christian book clubs

Start or contribute to online Christian blogs

Develop a Christian web site

Add scripture to e-mail signatures

Vacation Bible school

Christian radio or television bumper stickers

Holiday church programs

Evangelistic seminars

Health or marriage seminars

Visit a growing church and learn from them

Invite people to lunch or dinner

Bible study

Small groups

Writing letters or e-mails to encourage people

Missionary work or support

Visit retirement homes

Food pantry

Clothing for those who need it

You may consider working in any of these ministries, supporting them and inviting people to the functions. Getting involved should be natural for a Christian. The most humble people will tell you they have no spiritual gifts. They will never take credit themselves. “See thou tell no man; but go thy way.” Matthew 8:4 We recognize the gifts these people give but they do not see what they do as anything special, rather they see their involvement as a way of life. Helping others and spreading the word of God is just something they do.

Churches are built most effectively by the young and able. “Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” KJV 1 Peter 5:5-7 Young members have the energy, understand their generation and have the monetary means to propel a church forward. It would seem to reason that young adults would be involved in the growth and governing of a church, however this is seldom seen. Many of the churches I have visited have only the elderly, the disabled and yes, the blind working and leading the church while the young adults sit back allowing the members that the Bible teaches should be served, to serve them.

Too much emphasis is put on small groups. Churches may feel as if they have failed if they have not been able to introduce effective small groups. This may be because they limit the idea of small groups to weekly home meetings. Limiting small groups to a single definition is what causes this ministry to fail in churches today.

The common perception of small groups will work in many churches. But when the preferred concept does not work why give up the idea entirely? Modifying the idea can bring results that have never been considered.

Use the concept of small groups in other ministries of the church. An elder’s meeting can be a small group. They are coming together to exchange ideas and support one another. This same concept can be used for a group volunteering for an evangelistic series or a holiday program. If the members show up a few minutes early they can meet for support, encouragement and training. Meetings can be held after the event to discuss methods of improving the function. This form of small groups can be used to grow relationships in many areas of the church.

2. Train members to serve

Productive businesses will have a new employee program in place to welcome them, show them around, introduce them to fellow workers and show them their first assignment.

If a person shows up for work on the first day and is left alone, sitting by themselves with no introductions, no assignment and no attention they will soon feel the company really doesn’t need them. They may feel that the company does not appreciate their abilities. Studies have shown that a person neglected on their first day of work may never recover from that first impression and may never perform up to their potential. Some churches ignore members during their entire term of service. Without proper training members become frustrated, feel neglected and often give up. In some situations they may leave the church.

Board members should always be given a written job description and the pastor should have a private meeting with each board member to discuss expectations on both sides.

Members serving in any capacity should receive instructions. Imagine if you were participating in the service for the first time. People are nervous enough as it is. They need members to calm and encourage them and make sure they know exactly what to do.

“Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be yet wiser: teach a just man, and he will increase in learning. That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed. I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye. To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding; To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity; To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion. A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels: To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. Thou gavest also thy good spirit to instruct them. Behold, thou hast instructed many, and thou hast strengthened the weak hands.” KJV Proverbs 9:9, Luke 1:4, Psalms 32:8, Proverbs 1:2-7, 2 Timothy 3:14-17, Nehemiah 9:20, Job 4:3

God is telling us that instruction is an important factor. Then why do some pastors think that members come pre qualified?

Many churches use the concept of sending people out by twos. They take this one step further by matching up an experienced member with a new member. Depending on the position the amount of training required will vary. The majority of the training should be left to the board members. A pastor needs to master the art of delegation as shown by Moses’ example.

Members should be given the opportunity to share their experiences in small groups and learn from one another. This should never be done during the church service. If members share a success during the church service it may be viewed as bragging. This could cause more harm to a church than good. Imagine if you were a new member attending church service for the first time and you hear a member telling a story of the sad situation they found you in and how they stepped forward to save your soul. This takes the credit and focus off God and gives the impression that members are glorifying themselves.

If these traits come to the surface within a small group they can be dealt with quickly. In a small group there is little need for damage control. Success and failures can be discussed and members can offer on site advise and prayer. I have never seen anyone discuss their failures during a church service. Did you ever hear anyone tell you a story during a service about the person they offered a tract to and the stranger told them to get lost in words they never heard before? A small group setting allows members to encourage and lift each other’s spirits. Small groups can be set up to train, encourage and support members. One of the most effective small groups is the family setting.

3. Build strong homes.

Where does training begin? The best place to begin is in the home. I believe there are steps members need to follow to graduate from one stage to the next. The first step is to become an effective witness within the home. Once you feel comfortable studying and witnessing within the home you are then ready to graduate to the next step. Working effectively within the home allows you to hone the skills that will help you become successful working within the church. Once you are successful working within the church you are ready to work within the community.

Have you ever seen a Christian act with one personality at home and a completely different personality in church? Have you ever seen a productive worker within the church that was not an effective leader in the home?

I strongly believe that God wants us first to become leaders in the home. The Bible is rich in counsels centered around the teaching of children within the home. The home is to be a model for the community and the church. The Bible shows clear evidence the responsibility of teaching children begins and ends with the parents.

“Now therefore hearken unto me, O ye children: for blessed are they that keep my ways. Hear instruction, and be wise, and refuse it not. Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding. For I give you good doctrine, forsake ye not my law. For I was my father’s son, tender and only beloved in the sight of my mother. He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live. Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth.” KJV Proverbs 8:32-33, Proverbs 4:1-5

“Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes. And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” KJV Deuteronomy 11:18-19

The Bible also confirms that the family is known by the actions of the children. God knew this was a fact that would never change. God believed in this so strongly He wrote it in stone.

“Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee. The just man walketh in his integrity: his children are blessed after him. Children’s children are the crown of old men; and the glory of children are their fathers.” Exodus 20:12, Proverbs 20:7 The respect of mothers and the influence they have upon the family is just as important as the husband. “Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.” Proverbs 17:6

Is it important for a church leader to have a stable family? The Bible is clear on the counsels to the churches concerning the appointment of leaders and their responsibility as parents.

“Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee: If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.” 1 Timothy 3:12, Titus 1:5-6, 3 John 1:4, 1 John 5:2

Learning begins at conception. “Hearken unto me, O house of Jacob, and all the remnant of the house of Israel, which are borne by me from the belly, which are carried from the womb: Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. I was cast upon thee from the womb: thou art my God from my mother’s belly.” KJV Isaiah 46:3, Jeremiah 1:5, Psalms 22:10

Too many parents neglect this responsibility. They reason that since they pay taxes, instructing the children is the responsibility of the city and state. The lack of leadership in the home leads to every imaginable crime, especially those of passion. Children who do not experience love in the home will look to fill this void in ways not imagined.

Children who have never been taught respect are all but lost by the time they enter the school system. Many of these parents are still children and have never been taught how to care for a child. If not corrected this problem will increase, “visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation.”

This is an area where churches can help. This is not only an inner city problem, this is a growing problem even in the suburbs. Churches can hold parenting classes and seminars. Members can volunteer to help young families on an individual basis. Churches can establish day care centers. Members can volunteer to watch neighborhood kids when they come home from school until the parents arrive. They can also tutor individually or churches can open a neighborhood tutoring center.

This world needs churches that will step up and correct the mistakes of the past. Ignoring the problem of weak and misguided families will not correct the situation. Putting the blame on the parents will accomplish nothing. Unruly children have become as much a part of today’s churches as pews in the church. Parents are only one cause and one solution to the problem. Some of the parents are not even aware of the examples they are setting for their children. Showing up late for church, failing to teach manners and respect in the home, not supporting teachers in the church or failing to prepare the children for the lesson of the week are only a few areas parents may fail. Watching parents fail is not a solution to the problem. Dealing with the parents in a Christlike manner will not only help to improve the church environment but the community as a whole. Government has known about these problems in the public school systems for yours and has failed to confront it. If the churches fails to help, there is no hope of ever solving this problem.

Much of the responsibility is upon the leaders of the churches. Few if any sermons deal with behavior within the sanctuary. Too many pastors have convinced themselves they are serving God by allowing children to act in any manner the child feels is appropriate. They feel it is more Christlike to ignore the situation than deal with it.

The focus needs to be placed back on the family and the lessons contained within the Bible. Too much is taught with the emphasis being applied to the individual. I am saved. Forgive me. Jesus died for me. Change me. I can only change myself. How am I saved?. The list goes on and on. Today everything is focused on the individual. The church has done as much to advance the religion of, “looking out for number one” than all the books and authors that have made a better than average living promoting a life style based on being self-sufficient and succeeding by becoming self-centered.

America has lost it’s moral compass because they have forgotten to teach the values that make a family the center of society.

4. Involve every member in the church service.

The easiest way to get members involved for the first time is to involve in the service. Among other areas this could include participation in announcements, prayer, scripture reading, special music, children’s story and even an occasional sermon.

I have seen many a proud mother leave a church because no one bothered to ask her child to participate in special music. Add to that the number of members that come to church week after week with a feeling that they are not important, or not welcome because no one has ever asked them to participate in the service.

How do you get members involved in the service? First of all you have to assume everyone wants to be involved in the service. If they enter into a church they are Christians and they are filled with a desire to serve. For many members this will be the beginning of a life of service. After they take the first step it will be difficult to slow them down. They will be volunteering left and right, on their way to becoming effective church members and leaders.

Steps to get members involved has already been covered in 1. Get people involved. The point to remember is, never give up. The very act of asking people to get involved will give them the feeling they belong and are needed. This is also great training for church board members. If they are efficient in the area of approaching people within the church they will be much better prepared to correspond with people outside of the church.

The sanctuary service should be a training ground for all church members and the leadership of the church. With proper planning and training this could be the platform that church growth can be launched from.

KJV Acts 18:24-28

24. And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus. 25. This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John. 26. And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly. 27. And when he was disposed to pass into Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him: who, when he was come, helped them much which had believed through grace: 28. For he mightily convinced the Jews, and that publickly, shewing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ.

The story of Apollos and Aquila shows an example of what can be accomplished when members become involved. In the beginning of Acts chapter 18 Paul meets Aquila and teaches him and his wife about Christ and the scriptures. At the end of the chapter we see Aquila meet Apollos, “and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly.” The chapter comes to a close giving us evidence that the key to this growth was teaching, “by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ.” We believe by knowing. We know Christ by teaching about Him and His ways.

5. Build strong community service.

Community service has always been the backbone of church growth. Caring for the elderly, the sick, the poor and the disabled are statues within the Bible. No wonder this has always been a staple in the Christian church.

There are a number of advantages for the church actively involved in the area of community services, not only is the church serving the commands of Christ, they are also filling a need in society. They are touching lives and making a difference in a world that at times seems to have gone mad. The church also experiences a degree of publicity. Neighbors will be more likely to attend a seminar if they are familiar with the community services conducted within the area. You cannot neglect the fact there are people who will not join a church unless they are involved in the community.

Members involved in community service are very dedicated to the church they serve. They invest time, energy and money in a cause they are passionate about. Members build life long relationships and fill the need to serve. Can a church survive without community service programs?

“Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.” KJV 1 Timothy 4:13-16

6. Bible study

Can a church grow without Bible study? Can you call any assembly a church if the body as a whole does not study the Bible? Bible study should be the center of every Christian church.

“The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O Lord, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever. Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little: All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding; To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity; To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion. A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels: To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.”

KJV Psalms 12:6-7, Isaiah 28:9-10, 2 Timothy 3:16-17, Proverbs 1:2-7, 1 Corinthians 2:12-14, Mark 4:11-13

What types of Bible studies should the church teach? Too many churches are leaning heavily upon teaching theology which is limited to teaching only the accepted doctrines of the church and accomplish little in teaching Bible study.

Have you heard the term, “give a man a fish and feed him for a day, teach a man to fish and he can feed his family and others.” This applies to Bible study. Does your church teach people how to conduct Bible studies on their own or does it teach a preassemblied list of studies teaching church doctrine? How long have these studies been in existence? Do these studies teach a man to fish or are they feeding members for one day?

I have searched the Internet extensively viewing hundreds of sites. Less than one percent of these sites will teach people how to conduct a Bible study. The others teach doctrine. What is it that these sites are afraid of? The Christian church is commissioned to, ” Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” KJV Matthew 28:19-20 Sad to say too many churches have chosen to teach only what feels comfortable to them and have neglected or forgotten how to study the Bible.

Are these churches really, “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you”? Are you certain about this? Is there any church that can claim they have all the facts 100% correct? If churches claim they are teaching everything the Lord has commanded, they are taking on an awesome responsibility they will never be able to bear. Are you willing to take that responsibility upon your shoulders? One would think churches would take the steps necessary to teach members to study on their own so individuals will be responsible for increasing their own knowledge.

What is the difference between the dark ages, when reading the Bible was banned, Bibles were burned and people faced the penalty of death for owning a Bible and the churches of today that continue to ignore their duty of teaching Bible study? There is no difference, they are only a different shade of dark.

Bible study should be taught so every member is able to search the dark sayings of God and understand all parables. If members cannot answer simple questions on their own the church has failed to instruct them. “But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.” 2 Timothy 2:23-26 Do not simply answer a question but show the members how to find the answers on their own. Group Bible studies should have every member contributing or be arranged to teach new members how to study using the Concordance, chain references and other study aids. Studies should be set up as examples to teach study methods, not doctrine.

There are many types of Bible studies. Reading through the Bible. Read chapters in a group and hold commentary type discussions. Members should be encouraged and shown how to locate parallel text. Personal reading at one’s convenience. Prepared studies that are discussed at church before or after the service. This is where Bible study can be taught. Members can be shown how to identify text and methods of finding text that can help explain the text. Members should be encouraged to find and share supporting text explaining the subject studied. There are subject studies and word studies, topic studies and studies that deal with the culture and history of the Bible. There are also doctrine studies. To increase loyalty members should be encouraged to study doctrine and find supporting text on their own. Members can write out a list of doctrine subjects and note supporting scripture as they read through the Bible. Members can be taught to use a Concordance or computer Bible program with search capabilities to locate text. Members can join a group that specializes in memorizing scripture.

Churches need to stop calling a collection of text supporting doctrine a study. This is information important to members but has very little to do with teaching people how to study.

Many of the studies found on the Internet are not Bible studies at all. They are commentaries on text. A Bible study is a study that uses the Bible to prove itself. There is nothing else required other than a Concordance used as an aid to locate text. When a verse is studied the only way to find the proper interpretation is to use the Bible to explain the meaning. If we use other sources and rely upon our own knowledge the interpretation is subject to the influence of personal beliefs and doctrine. This can never guarantee a proper interpretation.

Challenge God in Bible Study and He will reveal Himself through His scriptures.

7. Establish effective giving

There are only a hand full of text that deal with monetary giving. There are far more text that deal with giving of another type.

“Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me. Offer unto God thanksgiving; and pay thy vows unto the most High:” KJV Mark 10:21, Psalms 50:14

The only problem with church giving is too many people have a limited view of what the Bible says. The above text has a tendency to scare people. It has a tendency of shutting ears to anything having to do with the subject of giving. When this happens people may never know what they are missing. Giving is a manifold subject.

“Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life. Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away. If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.

KJV 1 Timothy 6:17-19, Matthew 5:42, Matthew 7:11, Luke 6:38

It is clear to see these text are about much more than money. There are other areas of giving we need to study.

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began. The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised. Give unto the Lord, O ye mighty, give unto the Lord glory and strength. Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name; worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness. And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.”

KJV 2 Timothy 1:7-9, Luke 4:18, Psalms 29:1-2, Luke 8:10, Matthew 10:6-8

The key point is, “freely ye have received, freely give.” Can it be any clearer? Make a list of the gifts you have received throughout the years. Have you shared them with others? Or do you find yourself being caught up in the four step correction. That occurs when you find yourself in a situation, turn to walk away and after four steps an idea comes into your mind showing you a better way you could have handled the situation. I refer to that as evidence the Spirit is working in your life. There are other examples of giving shown in the Bible that teach us how to give.

“But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully. Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: (As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth for ever.) And he looked up, and saw the rich men casting their gifts into the treasury. And he saw also a certain poor widow casting in thither two mites. And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all: For all these have of their abundance cast in unto the offerings of God: but she of her penury hath cast in all the living that she had.”

KJV 2 Corinthians 9:6-9, Luke 21:1-4

“And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not make clean riddance of the corners of thy field when thou reapest, neither shalt thou gather any gleaning of thy harvest: thou shalt leave them unto the poor, and to the stranger: I am the Lord your God. But the seventh year thou shalt let it rest and lie still; that the poor of thy people may eat: and what they leave the beasts of the field shall eat. In like manner thou shalt deal with thy vineyard, and with thy oliveyard. If there be among you a poor man of one of thy brethren within any of thy gates in thy land which the Lord thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not harden thine heart, nor shut thine hand from thy poor brother: 8. But thou shalt open thine hand wide unto him, and shalt surely lend him sufficient for his need, in that which he wanteth. And if thy brother be waxen poor, and fallen in decay with thee; then thou shalt relieve him: yea, though he be a stranger, or a sojourner; that he may live with thee.”

KJV Leviticus 23:22, Exodus 23:11, Deuteronomy 15:7-8

It takes a bit of imagination to apply some of these text to the living styles of today but I am sure the Spirit will increase your understanding at the proper time. Even though many of us do not have fields and vineyards to offer the poor we do have other assets to share. We have money, we can share groceries; either the traditional nonperishable items from a food pantry or we can pay a personal visit with fresh fruits and vegetables. We can share our cars or offer a ride. We can car pool and use this as an opportunity to witness. There are also clothing drives, back to school and the season of sharing during Christmas. All of these are witnessing tools allowing us to share the gifts we have received.

One of the most touching scenes and successful gift drives I have seen was a collection of clothing and gifts for inner city public school children. Yes, this was a church program shared inside of a public school. Having the opportunity to share Christ within a public school system is only one of the reasons that program was such a success.

The program was run by one of the physically smallest adults within the church. Lesson one, size does not matter. She made an appeal to the church. All she asked for was underwear and personal hygiene items such as toothpaste, brushes, soap and towels. What she received was dozens of tables of toys, clothes and of course an overflowing supply of the personal items she had asked for. She also received a healthy supply of volunteers to help sort, wrap and tag all the gifts.

The outpouring was so successful they had to move the gift giving ceremony from the library to the gymnasium. Teachers were so touched by the scene they told the organizer that if anyone complained about celebrating Christmas inside a public school they would have to go through them.

Many of the students did not know what to do. Most of them had never received a gift before. They had to be convinced that it was okay for them to take the gifts home. Imagine, a group of young students that needed to have the concept of giving explained to them.

“For the poor shall never cease out of the land: therefore I command thee, saying, Thou shalt open thine hand wide unto thy brother, to thy poor, and to thy needy, in thy land. Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the Lord will deliver him in time of trouble.” Deuteronomy 15:11, Psalms 41:1

Listing examples in the Bible is only one of the things we expect to see from God. We also expect God to lead by example. The Bible is filled with verses where God challenges us to challenge Him, and other verses that remind us of the gifts God has already given us.

“Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. , the Lord shall give that which is good; and our land shall yield her increase. Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. KJV Psalms 37:4, Psalms 85:12, Matthew 11:28-30, Ephesians 5:2

Giving is a part of God. We are created in the image of God. Therefore giving must be a part of the Christian walk.

8. Guaranty effective spending

Most people do not realize how effective spending can grow a church. We will first take a short look at one possible outcome of ineffective spending. If a church experiences wasteful spending they face the possibility of loosing members. One poor financial decision may cause the loss of a member or a few familles. Churches must be very careful with the money they are entrusted with.

Members have good reason to put an added factor on church spending. People view the money they drop into the basket as God’s money. Church leaders are not only responsible for member’s money, but God’s money. Jesus did not look kindly on upon those taking advantage of His followers.

KJV Matthew 21:12-13

12. And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, 13. And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.

The most common term used to describe financial responsibility within the church is the word stewardship. As we will see, the word steward does not begin to describe the responsibility of church spending.

“And he said also unto his disciples, There was a certain rich man, which had a steward; and the same was accused unto him that he had wasted his goods. And he called him, and said unto him, How is it that I hear this of thee? give an account of thy stewardship; for thou mayest be no longer steward. Then the steward said within himself, What shall I do? for my lord taketh away from me the stewardship: I cannot dig; to beg I am ashamed.” KJV Luke 16:1-3

“And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath. As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful. For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre;” KJV Luke 12:42-44, 1 Peter 4:10, 1 Corinthians 4:1-2, Titus 1:7

The word steward gives us basic information concerning the responsibilities God has trusted His church with. God will deal with poor stewards and faithful stewards will be rewarded. Being a good steward goes beyond the money. The leaders of the church are also stewards of the grace and mysteries of God.

It is one thing to understand what a steward is. It is quite a different matter to understand the duties of a steward.

The greatest amount of funds is usually spent on the church building. This seems to be consistent throughout the Christian church. Why is that? We have the example of the tabernacle built by Moses. This was after a pattern shown to Moses by God. There are pages of instructions written in the Bible describing every item in detail. Most items are described three times.

Has anyone questioned why we do not see this amount of detail associated with the stone temple built by Solomon?

How important is the temple? How important is the church building? We know Jesus taught in the temple. “And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them.” KJV John 8:2 Is this why churches today are built with such splendor? Does the glitter of the church enhance the word of God? Is the church designed so that the building attracts the people? Or is it the words that should attract them?

“And as he went out of the temple, one of his disciples saith unto him, Master, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here! And as some spake of the temple, how it was adorned with goodly stones and gifts, he said, As for these things which ye behold, the days will come, in the which there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.”

KJV Mark 13:2, Luke 21:1-6

The disciples thought the splendor of the temple contained some type of enchanting power. They looked at it as a symbol of national pride. The temple meant more to them than anything else on the earth. Jesus saw this trait in them. That is why He told them the temple needed to be destroyed.

“Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.

Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? But he spake of the temple of his body.” KJV John 2:19-21

The world is filled with elaborate churches. Has anyone ever compiled a study to show a relationship between church growth and the amount of money spent on the church? Does blue carpet attract more people than red? Do $3000 light fixtures help people to understand the word any better than $100 fixtures? Jesus has also been represented wearing simple dress in paintings by artists throughout history. Jesus taught in the temple, at the seaside and in fields, gardens, on islands, along road sides and in the homes of followers. The Holy Spirit made it’s famous appearance in a home referred to as, “one place”. Chapter two of Acts does not tell us but from the context we can assume the early church began in the streets of Jerusalem.

Where is the Biblical proof that teaches churches need to be built to a higher ornate standard than the homes and work places of the members? Think of all the money that could have been spent on missionary work of all types. There are foreign missions in all lands, filling the needs of medical care and hunger; both physical and spiritual. There are also local missions such as feeding and clothing the needy, housing the homeless, providing family counseling and marriage enrichments seminars and many of the other outreach programs that are being neglected. The time has come for church boards to ask, “what would Jesus do?”

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord. And great multitudes came unto him, having with them those that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and cast them down at Jesus’ feet; and he healed them:”

KJV Luke 4:18-19, Matthew 15:30

9. Give members a voice

Let’s go back to the childhood club for a moment. Everyone had a voice. There wasn’t a member that didn’t provide some type of input. As people grow older they gain experience and wisdom which increases their input on a variety of subjects. If the member’s opinions are not sought out, appreciated and utilized, members will feel slighted. If this happens often enough they will do what comes natural. They will leave to find a club that appreciates them and utilize their skills.

There are other advantages to seeking the input of members. Projects can be enhanced and operated more efficiently after all the ideas and details are gathered and considered. Inviting members to meetings and asking their advise on a ministry provides a sense of involvement. Once a member feels they are appreciated they will be more likely to become involved in a ministry.

KJV Exodus 20:18-22

19. And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die.

KJV Exodus 34:28-35

28. And he was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights; he did neither eat bread, nor drink water. And he wrote upon the tables the words of the covenant, the ten commandments. 29. And it came to pass, when Moses came down from mount Sinai with the two tables of testimony in Moses’ hand, when he came down from the mount, that Moses wist not that the skin of his face shone while he talked with him. 30. And when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone; and they were afraid to come nigh him. 31. And Moses called unto them; and Aaron and all the rulers of the congregation returned unto him: and Moses talked with them. 32. And afterward all the children of Israel came nigh: and he gave them in commandment all that the Lord had spoken with him in mount Sinai. 33. And till Moses had done speaking with them, he put a vail on his face. 34. But when Moses went in before the Lord to speak with him, he took the vail off, until he came out. And he came out, and spake unto the children of Israel that which he was commanded. 35. And the children of Israel saw the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses’ face shone: and Moses put the vail upon his face again, until he went in to speak with him.

The book of Exodus gives us two examples of members that did not want a voice. The Bible contains a number of stories detailing the complaints of the Israelites. But these two stories show evidence that they turned down the opportunity to speak to God on their own. At first they demanded that Moses speak to God and he would tell them what He said. They chose not to speak to God because they feared Him. This fear grew. Later we see that they could not bear to see the light on the face of Moses. So he had to wear a vail when he spoke to the Israelites. There is a lesson within these stories. This is the main reason Israel was never able to accomplish their commission on earth.

When Christ died He removed the vail between God and man. He also sent the Holy Spirit to guide us and answer our prayers. Each member of God’s church can now speak with God, face to face as a man speaks to a friend. Each member has a voice with God, Jesus and the Spirit, “that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth. I sent you to reap that whereon ye bestowed no labour: other men laboured, and ye are entered into their labours.” KJV Matthew 5:45-48, John 4:37-38

10. Build effective leadership

What is effective leadership? This is the question of the century. To answer this question we first need to determine a number of aspects. How do you choose effective leaders? How do you measure effective leaders? How do you train effective leaders? As with everything else, we should seek our answers from the Bible.

One theme that we consistently see throughout the Bible assures us that human leaders are not perfect. Moses killed a man. In addition to other mistakes, David sent Uriah to his death after getting his wife pregnant. His son Solomon, being blessed with wisdom decided to maintain peace throughout the land by marrying a number of women from all the surrounding kingdoms. Jesus’ own disciples could not understand what He was trying to teach. Each one of these acted parables teaches us a lesson. Some of these lessons are easy to understand. Others are multifaceted.

And he came to Capernaum: and being in the house he asked them, What was it that ye disputed among yourselves by the way? But they held their peace: for by the way they had disputed among themselves, who should be the greatest. And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all. And he took a child, and set him in the midst of them: and when he had taken him in his arms, he said unto them, Whosoever shall receive one of such children in my name, receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me, receiveth not me, but him that sent me. Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ. But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant.

KJV Mark 9:33-37, Matthew 23:10-11,

Most Bible scholars agree that the disciples disputed among themselves three times on the subject of who was the greatest among them. Often times this is a problem seen in church leadership which leads to other problems such as unappreciated and unhappy members, neglected ministries and in the worst case, diminishing membership.

When we take a closer look at the text above we see many points that are brought up in an attempt to reach leaders of the church. First, we see the fact that Jesus did not hesitate to ask them about their dispute. This is a problem I have seen in churches. Sure we are all Christians but does that mean that we are supposed to experience poor leadership without questioning it? Now make sure you are careful on the subject of pointing out flaws. There is a right way and a wrong way of doing it. The correct way will help you achieve a Christ centered goal. The wrong way will make matters worse.

Jesus used a child as an example to show the disciples they needed to prepare themselves to serve others. The disciples had a problem. They were convinced they were following Jesus for personal gain. To be more specific, the disciples were following Jesus because they thought that Jesus would claim His kingdom and they would receive positions of power and glory. But the glory was never meant to be in this life. Churches can have the same problem. Church leaders can develop their own perception of glory while occupying church board positions, desiring to occupy these positions only as a display of power. They rate church board positions with a type of point system. They look at a church board position as a stepping stone to their ultimate goal. Get real! What kind of glory and honor is there in leading a church? As a church leader you are trying to hold together a group of individual volunteers who are not getting paid for the jobs they do. They can quit at any time and what are they loosing other than their time invested. Chances are most members spend more time in front of the television within any given week than they do in church activities. So the time invested may not seem very important to them in the first place. True leaders have a way of bringing out the best in people. True leaders guide individuals, they do not micomanage. True leaders train others to fill their position. Members who have a desire for power should not be appointed to leadership positions. They will not be serving the will of the Lord but rather their own will. Christ used the example of a child to illustrate the point that leaders need to be willing to learn. Leaders have to possess the patience to sit and listen to the ideas of others. They also need to possess the skills to teach. We are all the body of Christ. This illustration shows that we rely upon one another for life and growth. No member is more important than another. The spirit may give one the gift of leadership but leaders must rely upon the members for suggestions. Hence leaders rely upon members for direction. There is no leader that will have all the answers. More on this subject later.

One final point on the illustration of Jesus and the child. Notice the Bible points out that Jesus took this child in His arms. What message do you think Jesus was trying to send the disciples when He did this? Pictures speak louder than words.

And they began to inquire among themselves, which of them it was that should do this thing. And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest. Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash each others feet. For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him. If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.

KJV Luke 22:23-24, John 13:13-17

Jesus also tried setting an example by washing the feet of the disciples. Imagine the impact this must have had on their lives. Did it change them? After this Peter still denied Christ three times. How is that for choosing effective leaders? There is also a lesson in that.

Imagine your leader washing your feet. What would you do if your boss came in one day and started washing the feet of your fellow employees? How would you feel when it was your turn? Would you feel like you deserved it and they were finally doing their job? Would you feel like this was only the beginning of pay back for all the problems your boss caused? Or would you feel a bit embarrassed? Like there was nothing in your life you could have done to receive this type of treatment? If that did happen would you begin to remember every cross word you ever thought or spoke about your boss and would you begin to regret them?

If a mere human can evoke those types of emotions, can you imagine what the disciples must have felt. Christ CHOSE to use this illustration just before His trial and crucifixion. Churches have a habit of imposing this illustration upon the members of the church when they should be examining this story in the light of church leadership. Jesus did not wash the feet of the masses that followed Him. Just before His death Jesus washed the feet of the leaders He chose. This illustration teaches members how to treat one another, how to treat their families, friends and strangers. More importantly, and we cannot deny the fact, this illustration was directed and acted upon those that were chosen to lead the church.

Jesus told His chosen leaders, “For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord; neither he that is sent greater than he that sent him.” Jesus expects church leaders to become servants, just as Jesus has done. Jesus said, “I am among you as he that serveth.” KJV Luke 22:27 Church leaders should be chosen for their ability and willingness to serve.

“We are fools for Christ’s sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised. We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let everyone of us please his neighbour for his good to edification. For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me. For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God. Let all things be done decently and in order. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.”

KJV 1 Corinthians 4:10, Romans 15:1-7, 1 Corinthians 14:40, Ephesians 4:31-32, Philippians 4:7-9, 2 Peter 3:18

With Jesus everything was planned. There was nothing left to chance. As a matter of fact everything was recorded in writing. We refer to Jesus’ plan as prophecy. This is God’s way of doing things. God puts details in writing, afterwards they are fulfilled. This is another example for us to follow. If there are no written plans, how would anything be accomplished? The board will bring accountability into play when they put plans in writing. This will also ensure that working models are handed down from one leader to the next. It will also ensure that procedures are followed and details are not overlooked or forgotten.

The book of Acts gives us examples of what leaders should be taught. One of the most important is seen at the beginning of Acts. “To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:” KJV Acts 1:3 In His final act on earth Jesus taught his disciples from the scriptures. This is a very important example. Out of all the qualities a leader can posses, knowledge of the scriptures should be the most important. Think of this fact, a leader should be grounded in the word. “With God all things are possible.” KJV Matthew 19:26

How long should leaders serve? We need to look only as far as the example Jesus set for us. How long did Jesus serve? Three and a half years. During that time Jesus dedicated Himself to the task of preparing His replacements. Churches should not expect leaders to occupy the same position year after year. Leaders should never think the church cannot survive without them. Jesus set this example for His churches to follow, it is not open to personal interpretation. What kind of a leader entertains thoughts that they are indispensable when the Head of the church has given us the example that He was destined to pass His leadership along to others?

How does a church get beyond the points system established in many churches? There is one way. Whatever point system is used for positions, all church board members need to realize that every position has two criteria. Number one, is every position is temporary. Every position must be a training platform for members. If positions are filled by the same person year after year the church looses an opportunity to train other members. The leadership should make this clear to all the members. The leaders should also have a written system in place that assures each member understands the responsibility for each position and has clear guidelines explaining the process of training the next individual to fill the position. The best laid plans are always in the written form. New ideas and concepts can be added. Effective, proven concepts will not be forgotten.

Secondly board members must understand each position is a learning process. Not one position is more important than another. The most important part of any position is the opportunity to serve others. Using the misguided points system as an example, let’s assume a church body views an elder’s position as the highest position within the church. In a poorly organized church you will see the same people as elders year after year. When there is no change in the leadership of the church there is no growth. The pastor must convince the elders that to properly serve Christ and to give the church an example of service, the elder’s position is only a training ground for other positions. An elder can be an effective example to the church when the members see them training others to take their position elders can continue to serve in other capacities. They can begin personal ministries reaching out to the community on a personal basis. They can join other established ministries within the church. Imagine the impact felt by a new member when they see a head elder later serving on a soup line or helping out in a children’s class. Imagine the growth a church can receive when leaders begin to serve as in the examples Christ left for the church.

When it comes to choosing our political leaders we rely upon a system that has proved only one thing. The system does not work. When we look for political leaders we look for people that are experts in every area. Candidates spend weeks or months trying to convince us that they are the only person that has all the answers. They spend millions of dollars telling us they are experts on every conceivable subject that one could imagine. Some election campaigns go past the point of being ridiculous. We fall for this type of advertising year after year. I often wonder to myself, “does anyone believe half of the things these people claim?” The media has us so convinced this is the way to choose leaders within the church we have adopted this same method. The fact of the matter is, this system does not work in politics and it will not work in the church.

There is not one person that is an expert on every subject. There is not a single person half the people in any given area will agree with on every subject. A politician is a jack of all trades and a master of none. The government would be better served if leaders were chosen because they were proficient in one or two areas. Government would run much smoother if people were elected who could do one job and do it well. Some could be experts in government organization. Others in transportation. Some in social issues and others in energy, communication, business, finance, family matters, education and the many other issues our elected officials need to face. Can anyone, beside Christ be passionate in all of these subjects?

When choosing leaders, church members should not allow the political method of choosing leaders. As a matter of fact, according to the Bible, the method of choosing church leaders is quite the opposite as the one used to choose government officials. Here are some examples of the type of leaders God has chosen.

KJV Exodus 4:10

10. And Moses said unto the Lord, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue.

Moses did not want anything to do with the opportunity God was offering him. Did God accept the first excuse from Moses? No He didn’t. God encouraged Moses. Leaders should not accept the first answer they receive from members, they should learn to encourage them. Let them know that others will be supportive of them.

Did Moses have all the qualities to be a leader? No he didn’t. All the training Moses received in Egypt accounted for nothing. God gave Moses the ability to lead after he was chosen and God continued to bless Moses with the spiritual gifts he needed to solve the problems he faced.

KJV Matthew 3:3-4

3. For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. 4. And the same John had his raiment of camel’s hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey.

John does not fit the model of the ideal church leader. But John was a trail blazer. He paved the way for Christ by setting the minds and hearts of the people upon heavenly things. John was able to prepare the humble for Christ’s ministry. He was also able to excite the thoughts and passions of the leaders. Was John able to reach everyone? Of course not. John was prepared from his birth “In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life,” KJV Luke 1:75 to be an expert in one field. “And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways; To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins.” KJV Luke 1:76-77 If John could not reach everyone we shouldn’t put this burden upon ourselves or others.

“And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant; And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God.” KJV Luke 1:17, Luke 1:72, Luke 1:16

And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him. And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them. And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him. And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. KJV Matthew 4:18-23

Can you imagine a pastor going to Fisherman’s Wharf to form the church board? What do you think your local pastor would come back with? A group of self made men, cussing and swearing. Weathered by both the environment and the business aspects of the job. How many of them do you think would be dedicated church members? God looks for leaders in the most unusual places. God does not look for the perfect image to fill the most important positions.

Remember that these were the people who were going to lead the early church once Jesus returned to Heaven. Jesus knew that He was going to give His life. Jesus knew He had only three and a half years to convert and train this group. Jesus knew exactly how important these positions were. The future of the world was at stake. What would have been the outcome if these individual failed? Imagine the God of the universe coming down to the save this world and leaving the future of the church in the hands of less than perfect leaders. This is exactly what God did. God used these less than perfect people to illustrate a lesson He expects the church to learn and follow.

KJV Acts 26:24

24. And as he thus spake for himself, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad.

Much has been written about the life of Paul. Once an enemy of the church he became a leader that wrote the majority of the New Testament. It took time for Paul to gain the trust of the disciples. If we looked at this decision in human terms most of us would have considered this decision too risky to contemplate. But God saw something in Paul others could not. “The Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” KJV 1 Samuel 16:7

KJV John 4:17-18

17. The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband: 18. For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly.

KJV John 4:28-30

28. The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men, 29. Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ? 30. Then they went out of the city, and came unto him.

The woman at the well may not have been a leader in the church but she was an effective evangelist. She was not the type of person the church of today would have chosen but one that Jesus chose. She had her problems. She probably didn’t have the greatest reputation but when the light went off inside her it was easily recognized by others. Her story is a transformation that took place within minutes. There was no long training process, no pre-qualifications that needed to be proven. There was only a desire on the part of the woman and the encouraging words of Jesus that brought this gift to the surface.

“And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, which had devils long time, and ware no clothes, Who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains: Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him. And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones. When he saw Jesus, he cried out, and fell down before him, and with a loud voice said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God most high? I beseech thee, torment me not.” KJV Mark 5:2-5, Luke 8:26-28

This has to be one of the most unlikely members of a church, much less an effective leader. Imagine a naked man possessed by devils being an effective worker for Christ.

“Now the man out of whom the devils were departed besought him that he might be with him: but Jesus sent him away, saying, Return to thine own house, and shew how great things God hath done unto thee. And he went his way, and published throughout the whole city how great things Jesus had done unto him. And it came to pass, that, when Jesus was returned, the people gladly received him: for they were all waiting for him.” KJV Luke 8:38-40

God has a way of using some of the most unlikely people to be effective workers. What are some of the qualifications and guidelines given in the Bible that help us to become effective leaders?

“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light; Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men. For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. That ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another. When ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying. KJV 1 Peter 2:9, 1 Corinthians 14:20, 1 Corinthians 14:33, Ephesians 4:25, Ephesians 4:29, Hebrews 5:12, 2 Timothy 3:14-17, 1 Corinthians 4:6, 1 Corinthians 14:26

“Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel: therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me. When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul. Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.” KJV Ezekiel 3:17-19, Isaiah 6:8

The main lesson here is not to overlook members when choosing leaders. God established His church with people that most churches would turn away. These individuals all succeeded beyond all expectations. Do not underestimate the power of the Holy Spirit. Churches will experience set backs no matter what method is used to choose leaders. Mistakes and setbacks are part of God’s plan. They are a part of the learning and growing process. We need to expect and embrace disappointments. They were present in the early church. One could say they were required for our learning. Doing nothing will results in setbacks. Not attempting to improve will result in setbacks. We will always experience disappointments setbacks in this life. But God will never let His church fail.

New Testament Books

The collection of New Testament Books is of course all the New Testament books following the four Gospels. This includes Paul’s books, Hebrews, James, Peter, John, Jude, and of course Revelation. I’ve written a book on Romans which turned out to be a guide or manual telling us the step by step process to becoming an apostle of Christ. But based on the almost non-existent sales of that book, I’m not inspired to write too much more on Paul’s books. Or other books about the Bible. Who wants to read a manual straight out of a book in the Bible when they can pick and choose a set of compromises until they find one that agrees with their particular life style?

The Tabernacle, Temple, and Sanctuary: Revelation
The Tabernacle, Temple, and Sanctuary: Revelation

I’ve also written a book on Revelation. That is also not a best seller. Although it looks at Revelation from a completely new and interesting view. My book on Revelation looks at John’s book exactly how it was written. It is a verse by verse look at Revelation not based on the wisdom of the world, or views the world has already placed upon it. My version looks a Revelation, its stories, symbols, and visions based on a view from Heaven. How do you get a view from Heaven? John showed us when he wrote Revelation. John explained how and where he received each of those visions. Then John explained exactly how he was given the definition of each of those symbols. Each and every vision and symbol was explained by someone in Heaven. No one in Heaven had any trouble knowing what those visions revealed, and what those symbols pointed to. Heaven never had to guess. And no one in Heaven ever got any of those symbols wrong. John explained all of that and more when he wrote his book. All we need to do is take the book in its entirety, and look at it as a whole. After all, it is one book. John’s book does cover a major portion of earth’s history. And that past history was explained by a Heavenly being who watched every event unfold. There was no guess work. Every tangible event was included. Why not take John’s book the way it was written and study that book using the facts John was instructed to record? When we do that, we remove all doubt. We also remove all the guess work and fabricated interpretations we’ve been spoon fed over the past few generations.

Taking a fresh look at the New Testament based on what is recorded in the New Testament is not a popular subject. Nor does it seem to be a popular way to study the New or Old Testament. People like to see facts from archaeologists and other scientists mixed with scripture to draw upon a conclusion. People like to see news reports interpret future prophecies. People prefer to have the world establish Bible Study methods, predictions, and interpretations to provide answers. People have been trained to doubt the Bible. We see people questioning the Bible everyday. We see people arguing about what one line or another verse means. We’ve grown use to accepting conflicts and questions about the Bible. Each of those has establish a network of doubt surrounding the Bible like a wall. People have been trained to accept institutions as the ultimate authority on the Bible and accept interpretations without questions. Churches have been training people to defend those interpretations, but failing to train people how to study the Bible, take each book as a whole, look at each story, and allow the stories to explain themselves. We live in a society where pride out weighs truth and common sense is defined by personal choice.

Hundreds of churches tell people what they believe to be truthful. Then they tell people to test what they’ve been told. But not one of those churches are able or willing to teach people how to test what they’ve been told by using the Bible and only the Bible. In some cases a few churches have taught people how to look up what is referred to as proof text. A series of text that agree with one statement. But are those proof text used within context? Context is defined as the words and statements around a word, phrase, or sentence. The well accepted study method of proof text ignores context. Proof text was invented by Satan for his own greedy desires. When Satan tempted Jesus, he used proof test. A single statement taken out of context.

Then the devil took him to Jerusalem, to the highest point of the Temple, and said, “If you are the Son of God, jump off! For the Scriptures say, ‘He will order his angels to protect and guard you. And they will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.'” (Luke 4:9-11 NLTse).

The devil quoted one little part of scripture, but ignored the context. We learn what the context is when we read a few additional verses.

For he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go. They will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone. You will trample upon lions and cobras; you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet! The LORD says, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them. I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation.” (Psalms 91:11-16 NLTse).

When we learn exactly what context is and where is originated, we would never use proof text study method again. Some people may claim Jesus used proof text. That is not true at all. An inspired writer will always quote scripture to send people back to the original story where more facts are included. If you looked up the first verse Jesus quoted, you would find out that chapter told about every move Satan would make before he made it. That proved that Satan does not understand scripture or context.

I decided to set up this website to accept comments. You can post your ideas on a subject., share what you’ve learned, or just say thanks. Also remember to share. Not a dime is spent to advertise this site. Although I have every website developer in the world calling me along with every person trying to make a living selling advertising for Google and the other search engines. I don’t believe in those. I do believe God’s Spirit can and will guide people to this site when they are ready to learn how to study the Bible. This site has a collection of studies showing how information was collected, and why it was collected. My books also offer a collection of studies, and each one is explained in detail. Most of the posts on this site are chapters from my books with links to those books in both eBook and print formats.

Romans 12:6-21 Spiritual Gifts

This is a short chapter on spiritual gifts. How did Paul explain the spiritual gifts? I’m not asking how people, churches, or modern society describes spiritual gifts. What was Paul inspired to write about spiritual gifts? How did Paul describe each of those spiritual gifts? What are spiritual gifts supposed to be used for? How are people trained to use spiritual gifts? Who trains people to use spiritual gifts? The answers shouldn’t surprise you. A list of those spiritual gifts is found in that we refer to Romans chapter 12. That is near the end of Paul’s letter. Common sense should tell us where to look for answers. Paul used 11 chapters to build his audience up to the introduction of spiritual gifts. Before listing the spiritual gifts, Paul had to be confident people reading about spiritual gifts knew how to serve God. People had to know who Jesus was. People had to know how the Holy Spirit communicated with them. People had to know how to interact with the world. And people had the know the difference between a message from this world and one from Heaven. All of that and more had to be in place before any of those spiritual gifts could be used.

Romans 12:6-21 NLTse In his grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you. (7) If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well. (8) If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly. (9) Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. (10) Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. (11) Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. (12) Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. (13) When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality. (14) Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. (15) Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. (16) Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all! (17) Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. (18) Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone. (19) Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” says the LORD. (20) Instead, “If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads.” (21) Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.

When we read Romans chapter 12 in its entirety, it makes more sense than what the world has been teaching about spiritual gifts. Paul intentionally introduced spiritual gifts by telling us, we need to give ourselves up. We have to put everything the world has taught us aside, prepare to listen to God’s Spirit, learn to follow directions, and get ready to learn details we have never seen or considered before. Paul referred to that as a living sacrifice. What else would you call a complete change in your life?

Paul gave Christianity the best advice this world could imagine. Pert near anything we could think of crept into the Hebrew religion and somehow filtered its way into Christianity from the beginning. It was like trying to make a soup from a wide variety of vegetables pulled from the ground and thrown into a pot before they were cleaned. What kind of soup would you get from vegetables covered with dirt? It wouldn’t be a very healthy or tasty mixture. No matter what you added, it would still have that dirty look, smell, and taste.

Purchase the eBook here

Some churches think it is their role to clean those vegetables before throwing them into the pot of soup. We term that indoctrination. You have to learn and memorize a certain set of rules and standards before you can be baptized into the church, stand up front, deliver a prayer, or assist in any capacity. In other words, you have to become like the cult before being granted special privileges. Most people never stop long enough to consider the fact, all of those church privileges are spiritual gifts. Those churches are exercising their control over God’s Spiritual Gifts. Why? There are a number of reasons. Men have a need to take control. Men need to feel like they are in control. Woman have that same drive when it comes to religious issues. Even though Paul told this world to be a living sacrifice, place your life in God’s hands, and let the original manufacturer transform you, people had to think of new ways of getting their hands in the mix, and attempt to do God’s work to the best of their ability. Which can never be up to God’s standards.

The names may have changed, but teaching is still a spiritual gift. Today teaching may be referred to as a church role, office, or other term, but it is still a Spiritual Gift. When people teach inside of a church, wouldn’t the students want a teacher with the spiritual gift of teaching? Doesn’t that make sense? Then why not call it a Spiritual Gift, and go over the standards of the spiritual gift of teaching? Why does this world measure the spiritual gift of teaching by worldly standards? How long have they been teaching? What institution did they graduate from? What books have they read, and a series of other questions have replaced Paul’s simple letter to the Romans. God’s simple plan has been replaced by an ever increasing set of human standards designed to reach God’s level. In a sense, that is building a spiritual tower of Babel. And that has happened to all the spiritual gifts.

Teacher free iconThe sad part about how churches handle and what churches teach about spiritual gifts is the fact, a lot of people walk away thinking those gifts are used only inside the church structure, and are shared with only Christians like themselves. That has spread into the thought that God only listens to people in a particular structure, or series of structures people loosely term a church. That has spread into the concept, God only accepts people who belong to a particular church. Which spread its own roots into the belief that to be saved, you have to belong to a particular church. That crept into the belief that all you need to do to be saved is join the right church. In other words, those concepts have been attacking and trampling the simple concept of spiritual gifts Paul, John, and other apostles recorded at Jesus’ command. Why are those spiritual gifts such a target?

When we look at the original Greek meaning of each spiritual gift, we find that each gift requires our presence in front of God’s throne. That is what needs to be taught about spiritual gifts. Our classroom is in Heaven, not a meeting room inside a church. Our Teacher should be Jesus, the One who came to this planet to leave a lasting impression, and put us on the proper path. Those things should never changed, altered, or tinkered with. What happens when we take one little detail or lesson out of God’s hands and try to place it in human hands? It gets mixed up with who knows what, then leads to who knows where. The only certain path for any spiritual gift placed in human hands and taught by human standards is that new concept will lead souls away from God.

Paul pointed out a very important aspect of spiritual gifts. “God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well.” Not to our standards, but the standards in Heaven. We can’t hope to learn the depth of those standards based on worldly concepts, and what we’ve learned from this world. Paul went onto explain how the ability to share each gift comes from God.

Each spiritual gift is supposed to be given or delivered with super human effort. Where do you suppose we receive those supper human effort, skills, and abilities from? Only from Heaven. That is what we are reaching people for. To join the ranks of Heaven, not to conform to one human club, group, or society.

Paul listed love as a spiritual gift. Isn’t that proof enough, or at least a hint, we have to approach the feet of Jesus for instructions? Has the world experienced any other love like Jesus? Has any book been written to capture the essence of that love? There have been millions of books written about how to love in this world, how to get along with others, and how to get ahead in love. None of them have achieved anything close to what Jesus achieved. Not one of those books has been able to explain love like prophets in the Bible have been to explain messages, warnings, explain gifts, or let this world know how much, how long, and in how many ways God has been trying to reach out to this world. That only touched the tip of the iceberg in the subject of love. The majority of that information and feeling lies deep below the surface. And can only be experienced by a one on one relationship with God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.

Spiritual gifts bring genuine love, which brings peace, confidence, patients, endurance, enthusiasm, hope, awareness, and affection. With all those benefits only a prayer away, why would anyone settle for a counterfeit?

Honor, blessings, harmony, and victory are also a package deal included with spiritual gifts. Why are so many people wallowing in fear, mistrust, anguish, and pain in this world? Have we forgotten the spiritual gifts, or has the world been misled into a less than stellar explanation of those spiritual gifts? What do you know about those spiritual gifts? Where did you gather your information from? When was the last time you talked to God about your spiritual gifts? When was the last time God told you to correct this or that error in your life so you can get to the next level in your spiritual journey, or receive a spiritual gift someone near you, or a stranger you will meet by chance needs? How many lives can you change, after Jesus spends a little time changing your life when you commit yourself to being a spiritual sacrifice?

When Paul quotes scripture, we need to look it up. Paul pointed people to scripture to get a clearer view on what he was writing about. That was one of the spiritual gifts Paul was given, and we need to respect that gift if we expect to perfect any of the gifts we are given. Here Paul sends us back to the Old testament to find out what that day of vengeance is all about.

Who is this who comes from Edom, from the city of Bozrah, with his clothing stained red? Who is this in royal robes, marching in his great strength? “It is I, the LORD, announcing your salvation! It is I, the LORD, who has the power to save!” Why are your clothes so red, as if you have been treading out grapes? “I have been treading the winepress alone; no one was there to help me. In my anger I have trampled my enemies as if they were grapes. In my fury I have trampled my foes. Their blood has stained my clothes. For the time has come for me to avenge my people, to ransom them from their oppressors. I was amazed to see that no one intervened to help the oppressed. So I myself stepped in to save them with my strong arm, and my wrath sustained me. I crushed the nations in my anger and made them stagger and fall to the ground, spilling their blood upon the earth.” I will tell of the LORD’s unfailing love. I will praise the LORD for all he has done. I will rejoice in his great goodness to Israel, which he has granted according to his mercy and love. He said, “They are my very own people. Surely they will not betray me again.” And he became their Savior. In all their suffering he also suffered, and he personally rescued them. In his love and mercy he redeemed them. He lifted them up and carried them through all the years. But they rebelled against him and grieved his Holy Spirit. So he became their enemy and fought against them. (Isaiah 63:1-10 NLTse).

It’s not by accident Paul sent us back to another prophecy about Jesus. This reminded the Jews in Rome how the priests goofed up every single one of those prophecies, had no idea who the Messiah was, and actually killed God’s Son. The track record for the Levitical priesthood was stained in blood, misunderstanding, deceit, and a reckless way of looking at scripture. The last thing Paul wanted to see was those new Christians following the same path, or trying to invent a new man made path to God’s throne. There has always been only one path. Few have been able to find or follow that path. Jesus came to explain that path. After His resurrection, Jesus earned the right to oversee spiritual gifts, pay the redemption price, call and hold His flock, teach, and protect them. No one else on earth has earned that right. No one on earth has gathered enough knowledge or wisdom to guide anyone along that path. Much less themselves. With all the evidence in the world. All those stories in the Old Testament, and all the New Testament explanations, people still want to adopt bits and pieces of the old Levitical priesthood, claim a higher understanding, and forge new concepts that may appear to parallel God’s plan, but in essence, veer off course as men add more and more rules, ideas, concepts, instructions, and cliches to the mix. Where will all this stop?

Paul wanted Isaiah to emphasize the point he made in his own letter. People will stray from God’s concept on spiritual gifts. People will prefer man made concepts over Paul’s inspired instructions. It will get to the point, Jesus will have a difficult time finding anyone with any real understanding. When Jesus looks down from Heaven in the last days, He will see a world much like the world of darkness He witnessed just before the Holy Spirit transferred Jesus to this planet in the form of a few human cells. Jesus grew in the security of the womb during some of the darkest days this planet has seen. Jesus is the expert on being reborn. Why would we trust that transformation to inexperienced human hands?

When we look at Isaiah chapter 63, we can see two distinct time lines. One at Jesus’ birth and ministry here on earth. We can also see a time line aligning with the closing days of this planet. Both times are dark. Jesus was rejected in both time frames. Very few people knew anything about the Messiah, and very few people know anything about Jesus. Who the real person is, who their real King is, what His role in Heaven is, His role in the judgment process, the plan of salvation, redemption, sanctification, and the spiritual gifts. This world may have been spoon fed a little on each subject, but one line verses from scripture, and a long winded earth based explanation will never cut it.