I just pre-ordered via Amanon, “THE RATIONAL BIBLE: EXODUS,” by Dennis Prager (due out April 2, 2018). This is the first in a commentary series by Prager on the first five books of the Bible, the Torah.As a Bible student and bibliophile, I am excited for this new series.
I clipped the above section to compliment some other uploads I have by Prager:
From BIBLE STUDY TOOLS, a quick “5 Essential Lessons You Need to Know from the Book of Ruth”
…1) God is concerned about all people regardless of race, nationality, or status.
Ruth was not a Jew. She was a Moabite. Even though many discriminated against her, God loved her just the same. God does not discriminate, and He loves all people just the same.
2) Men and women are both equally important to God.
God cares about men and women all the same. We are all one in His eyes. While most false religions that have been constructed over the centuries often elevate men and dishonor women, Christianity is the one religion that consistently honors men and women at the same level. There is no difference in His eyes.
3) There is no such thing as an unimportant person in God’s eyes.
At a surface level, few saw Ruth as an important person. She was from Moab, which was a nation that originated from an incestuous encounter between Lot and one of his daughters (see >Genesis 19:30–36). She was a poor widow. She was living in a foreign land away from her birth family.
But God saw her as important and His plan for her life culminated in her becoming a part of the lineage of Jesus (as the grandmother to King David). God’s plan typically involves using people who are considered to be underdogs or unimportant or unimpressive from man’s perspective. His strength is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).
4) God uses “little” things to accomplish great plans.
What an amazing plan God had for a series of “little” things that all added up to important pieces in God’s big plan. God intended for Ruth to be a part of the story of the lineage of Jesus. So, He pulled together events such as the famine, Naomi’s relocation to Moab, their return to Bethlehem, Boaz’ bloodline, and many other events just to ensure that Ruth could be a part of His plan. And God does that same thing in our lives today!
5) God has a Redeemer in place who can rescue us from the devastation of our own sin.
God has a Redeemer for our lives, too, and His name is Jesus. Boaz was a type (prophetic symbol) of Christ and His redemptive work in our lives today. You see, we are all desolate as a result of our sinful natures. We are empty, just as Naomi was empty and devastated after she had lost everything and returned to Judah. Our sin has rendered us empty and desolate spiritually.
But Jesus is willing to redeem us. He wants to rescue us from the penalty of our sin. And all we have to do to be rescued is to call on Him in faith and ask Him to save us (Romans 10:13). My hope is that you are one of His redeemed. If you are not, my hope is that you will call on Him right now and ask Him to save you once and for all from the consequences of your sins!…
EVERY WOMAN IN THE BIBLE
RUTH AND NAOMI’S ROLE IN SCRIPTURE
Ruth was a Moabitess who married an Israelite. Her husband’s family had left Judah during a famine and migrated to Moab. There all the men of the family died, leaving three women alone and helpless: Naomi, the mother-in-law, and Ruth and Orpah, her daughters-in-law. The women were helpless for a simple reason. Property was owned by men, not by women. With no men left in the family, the women lacked any means of support.
Only one course of action seemed open to Naomi. She would return to Judah and seek aid from her relatives. Naomi urged her daughters-in-law to return to their fathers’ households, where they would be supported until they could remarry. Orpah followed Naomi’s advice, but Ruth insisted on staying with her mother-in-law. The loyalty and support she offered Naomi proved to be the turning point in her own life.
EXPLORING RUTH’S RELATIONSHIPS
The Book of Ruth is a rich source of insights into healthy interpersonal relationships. It reminds us that even during the dark days of the judges, godly men and women could and did live blessed and happy lives.
Naomi and Ruth’s relationship with God (Ruth 1:9–17). Ruth’s relationship with God began the way that most relationships with Him do. Ruth came to know and value someone who knew Him well. For Ruth, that person was Naomi.
Naomi spoke easily about God because He was real to her. We see this in the blessing she gave her two daughters-in-law after Naomi had decided to return to Judah: “The Lord grant that you may find rest, each in the house of her husband” (Ruth 1:9). Naomi clearly loved her daughters-in-law and loved God. In loving she became the bridge over which Ruth passed to faith.
When Naomi urged the two young women to go home and find new husbands, Orpah turned back. However, Ruth refused to return home. She truly loved her mother-in-law and would not desert her.
The biblical text clearly shows that Ruth realized that this decision called for a faith-commitment to Naomi’s God. When Naomi continued to urge Ruth to return home, Ruth expressed her commitment in unmistakable terms.
“For wherever you go, I will go; And wherever you lodge, I will lodge; Your people shall be my people, And your God, my God. Where you die, I will die, And there will I be buried. The LORD do so to me, and more also, If anything but death parts you and me” (Ruth 1:16-17).
The order in which Ruth expressed her commitment is significant. In Old Testament times Israel alone had a covenant relationship with God. Ruth, aware of this relationship, pledged that “your people shall be my people,” fully aware that in committing herself to God’s covenant community she was also committing herself to Israel’s God.
Ruth’s decision to stay with Naomi was also her commitment to God. Ruth had chosen “the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings you have come for refuge” (Ruth 2:12).
Ruth’s relationship with Naomi. The first chapter of Ruth makes it clear that Ruth deeply loved and appreciated her mother-in-law. That love was expressed in a loyalty that surpassed all other ties. Rather than return to her father’s home, and stay in her own country, Ruth chose to accompany Namoi into an uncertain future in a strange land.
To see how Ruth’s commitment to her mother-in-law continued to work itself out is fascinating. For Ruth, Judah was a strange land, with unfamiliar customs. But in Naomi Ruth had a mentor, and she wisely followed her advice. The two women had returned at harvest time. Old Testament Law provided that the poor and landless could gather food in fields owned by others. That law said, “When you reap the harvest in your field, and forget a sheaf in the field, you shall not go back to get it; it shall be for the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, that the Lord your God may bless you in all the work of your hands” (Deut. 24:19). Naomi sent Ruth out to gather grain that the harvesters missed, a process called gleaning.
Gleaning was hard work, but for the poor each kernel of grain was precious. And Ruth “continued from morning” until late in the day gathering food for Naomi and herself.
Later, after Ruth’s modesty and virtue had won the admiration of one of Naomi’s relatives, Naomi explained to Ruth the law of the redeeming relative. When a man died childless a near relative could marry his widow. The first son produced by the couple would be given the name of the dead husband and inherit his estate. Hearing of the admiration of such a relative for Ruth, Naomi urged Ruth to approach the man and ask him to take on the redeeming relative’s responsibility.
Ruth allowed herself to be guided by her mother-in-law in the selection of a potential husband. Although Naomi’s choice was neither young nor especially handsome, Ruth realized that he was a man of quality, and she followed her mother-in-law’s advice.
In every way Ruth showed herself to be loyal, hard-working, sensible, and responsive to Naomi’s advice. Clearly Ruth had a deep respect for Naomi, as well as a real love for her mother-in-law.
Ruth’s relationship with Boaz. It is difficult to overemphasize the importance of a woman’s reputation. Long before Boaz met Ruth or knew her by sight, he had heard good things about her.
In the small farming community it was impossible to keep secrets. Everyone knew that Naomi had come back from Moab and that she was accompanied by her daugher-in-law, Ruth. They knew of Ruth’s choice to commit herself to Naomi’s people and their God, and they had formed definite opinions about her character. When Boaz first met her he was able to say,
It has been fully reported to me, all that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband, and how you have left your father and your mother and the land of your birth, and have come to a people whom you did not know before (Ruth 2:11).
Well aware of her good qualities, Boaz treated her favorably. He invited her to eat with his harvesters, told her to glean with his own servants, and instructed the young men not to molest her. That this instruction was necessary reminds us of how dangerous life could be for a woman alone in the era of the judges. Boaz even instructed his harvesters to be sure to leave handfuls of grain for Ruth to collect.
When Naomi learned of what had happened and realized that Boaz was a near relative of hers, she felt that God was opening a door for Ruth. She instructed Ruth to continue to work in Boaz’s fields through the barley and wheat harvests. When the several weeks of the harvests had passed, Naomi took Ruth aside and explained her concern for Ruth’s future security.
As a near relative, Boaz was qualified not only to marry Ruth but also to reclaim the lands of Naomi’s husband. So Naomi told Ruth how to approach Boaz.
During the harvest season workers often slept outside in the fields. Naomi told Ruth to go at night to the place where Boaz was sleeping and lie down at his feet. Some have taken this as an attempted seduction. However, the position Ruth took was symbolic and a request that Boaz take her under his protection as a wife. Boaz clearly understood the symbolism and promised to do as she requested, “for all the people of my town know that you are a virtuous woman” (Ruth 3:11).
Before Boaz could marry Ruth he had to obtain the permission of a man who was an even nearer relative of Naomi. When Boaz explained that to redeem the fields of Naomi’s dead husband the man would also have to marry Ruth, the man declined. He already had grown sons. If he should father more than one son with Ruth, he would have to provide for them from the estate he intended to reserve for his first family. With this claim disposed of, Boaz married Ruth.
The marriage was blessed with a son, and that son became the grandfather of King David and an ancestor of Jesus Christ.
RUTH: A CLOSE-UP
Ruth is one of Scripture’s most attractive women. She was a woman with a marvelous capacity for love and loyalty. While Ruth was decisive and ready to risk an uncertain future out of loyalty to Naomi, she was far from headstrong. She was wise enough to follow Naomi’s advice, ready and willing to work to support the two of them. Ruth quickly established a good reputation in her adopted homeland and won the approval of all who knew her. Her reputation rather than her physical attributes first won the admiration of Boaz, who responded by treating her graciously. The relationship that grew between them was founded solidly on the mutual appreciation of each for the good and gracious qualities of the other.
While Ruth truly is a love story, it is far from those romantic novels that emphasize passion and physical attributes. Ruth’s and Boaz’s love grew out of their commitment to values far more significant than mere good looks.
NAOMI: A CLOSE-UP
Naomi’s name, “pleasantness,” is suggestive. She cared for her daughters-in-law and earned their love and loyalty. Even Orpah, who chose to remain in Moab, wept when she left Naomi to return home. We can sense in Naomi an especially generous spirit. Although alone, she urged her daughters-in-law to think of their own future rather than Naomi’s welfare. Back in Judah, Naomi felt a deep responsibility to Ruth and determined to “seek security” for her, “that it may be well with” you (Ruth 3:1).
We should hardly be surprised that Naomi was such a powerful influence in Ruth’s life. People who truly and selflessly love others have a tendency to draw those others to them and through them to the Lord.
RUTH AND NAOMI: EXAMPLES FOR TODAY
Naomi is a wonderful example of how to evangelize. She didn’t try to talk Ruth to faith. Instead she loved Ruth and lived a life that Ruth recognized was worth emulating. Ruth wanted the peace, character, and loving-kindness she saw displayed in her mother-in-law’s life.
Naomi shows us how to be a gracious in-law. We don’t know whether Naomi had counseled her sons against marrying out of their faith. We do know that she loved both her daughters-in-law enough to put their welfare above her own. Eventually she even loved Ruth to faith in God.
Many parents hesitate to offer advice to adult children. While we cannot force our will on them, we can share our thoughts and our wisdom with those willing to listen. When advice is given lovingly and with respect for our children’s independence, it will often be welcomed.
Naomi is a glorious reminder of how God can make one of the least likely to be remembered into someone who will never be forgotten. When we feel insignificant we can remember how God used a starving widow to win a woman to faith who became an ancestress of Jesus Christ.
Ruth reminds us that character does count. Good men are more concerned about finding a godly spouse than a sexy one!
Sue Poorman Richards and Larry Richards, Every Woman in the Bible (Nashville, TN: T. Nelson Publishers, 1999), 105–107.
BAKER ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE BIBLE
Ruth (Person). Moabitess and the widow of Mahlon, the son of Naomi and Elimelech, who were Ephrathites from Bethlehem living in Moab because of a severe famine in Judah. Upon the death of Elimelech and Naomi’s two sons, Naomi returned to Bethlehem with her daughter-in-law Ruth during the time of the barley harvest (Ru 1:4–22). While gleaning in the barley fields of Boaz, Ruth found favor in his eyes (2:2–22). She later married Boaz, when he, serving as nearest kin to the childless Naomi, purchased Naomi’s estate to keep it within the family (4:5–13). Ruth is mentioned in Matthew’s genealogy of Christ as the mother of Obed and the great-grandmother of David (Mt 1:5).
RUTH, BOOK OF
Author and Data. The author of the book is unknown. The question of authorship has particular connection with the date of writing, and a few clues provide at least an “educated guess.” The book must have been written sometime after the beginning of David’s reign. The reference of 4:18–22, which pertains to the historical significance of Ruth as David’s great-grandmother, bears this out. Since foreign marriages were not approved in the Book of Ruth, it scarcely could have been written during the period in which Solomon began his policy of foreign marriages. Also, David’s close friendship with Moab might have prompted someone in his kingdom to write the book, thus presenting objective rationale for David’s actions (see 1 Sm 22:3–5). Consequently the author may have been someone close to David, possibly Samuel, Nathan, or Abiathar.
This view is not without its critics, however. Some scholars consider the opening statement, “in the days when the judges ruled,” to demonstrate the late composition of the book. However, such a phrase need not refer to an extensive period. In today’s world one might use a similar phrase in reference to conditions at the beginning of the 20th century. The dates of the judges probably comprise a period of about 300 years, beginning with the judgeship of Othniel and concluding with that of Samson, though Samuel also served as a judge. If the genealogical information is complete in 4:18–22, the events took place during the life of David’s great-grandfather and mark the birth of his grandfather. Allowing a 35-year generation span, the events would have taken place somewhere about the turn of the 11th century bc, or about 100 years before David’s birth.
Purpose. The book’s purpose is closely related to its date of composition. Assuming an early date, that is, one close to David’s lifetime, its principal thrust must be the authentication of the Davidic line. The book may be considered as a justification for including the godly Moabitess in the nation of Israel.
Introduction (1:1–5). Driven by famine, Elimelech, his wife Naomi, and two sons, Mahlon and Chilion, cross the Jordan to stay for a period of time in Moab where there was sufficient provision. The two sons, after marrying Moabite women, die, and their father dies as well. Naomi is left a widow with two foreign daughters-in-law.
Return to Bethlehem (1:6–22). Hearing reports from Bethlehem that the famine had ended, Naomi makes preparations to return. Both of her daughters-in-law, Orpah and Ruth, accompany her for at least a portion of the journey. Probably thinking of the problems which might be encountered by them as foreigners in Judah, Naomi strongly urges the girls to stay in their own land. Both of the young widows refuse, but Naomi presents the facts. First, she is not pregnant, so the chance of a younger brother fulfilling the levirate responsibility is not imminent. Second, she has no prospects of remarriage and consequently no prospect of further children. Then, she also notes that even if the first two conditions were met immediately, the possibility of their waiting was impossible. Orpah is persuaded and kisses her mother-in-law good-bye.
But Ruth “clung to her” (neb). The verb, having the connotation of being glued to something, is the same verb used of marriage (Gn 2:24). Ruth demonstrates her serious intentions by making five commitments. In essence, Ruth renounces her former life in order to gain a life which she considers of greater value. At this point, she is contrasted with Naomi, who had encouraged both of them to return to Moab and its gods (1:15). But Ruth decides to follow the God of Israel and his laws. Ruth’s appeal to the God of Israel was more than equal to Naomi’s pleas, and the two of them return together.
Their arrival in Bethlehem is traumatic for Naomi. Having left Bethlehem with a husband and two sons, she returns empty. She tells her friends to call her “Mara” (bitter). But she has returned at a propitious time, the beginning of the harvest season.
Reaping in the Fields of Boaz (2:1–23). The first verse of the chapter provides the setting for the narrative which follows, introducing Boaz, a wealthy relative of Elimelech.
Ruth volunteers to glean the fields, to follow the reapers and pick up the insignificant amounts left behind. Gleaners were also permitted to harvest the grain in the corners of the fields, a provision for the poor contained in Yahweh’s Law (Lv 19:9,10).
She happens to come to the field of Boaz. As he visits this field, he notices Ruth, inquires about her, and learns her identity. His overseer reports that she has industriously worked the fields from early morning until that time. Boaz, attracted to her because of her loyalty and concern for Naomi, graciously makes additional provision for her. She is given a favored position in reaping, directly behind the main body of reapers. Further, she is to receive water which has been drawn for her by the young men—an unorthodox arrangement.
Ruth, falling before Boaz in a gesture of great humility and respect, asks why as a foreigner she should be accorded such favor. Boaz gives two reasons, her kindness to her mother-in-law, and her spiritual insight which led her to seek after Israel’s God, “under whose wings you have come to take refuge” (neb).
She is also given a place at the reapers’ table and, upon Boaz’s orders, returns to the fields—this time to reap from the unharvested grain. At the end of the day she returns home to Naomi and tells her of the day’s events. Naomi informs Ruth that Boaz has the right of redemption. Ruth returns to his fields until the end of the harvest season.
Relying upon the Kinsman (3:1–18). Naomi advises Ruth with regard to approaching Boaz as a goel, or kinsman-redeemer.
The plan suggested by Naomi seems peculiar, yet some thoughts may give a certain colouring to it. (1) Naomi seems to have believed that Boaz was the nearest kinsman, being ignorant of the yet nearer one (v 12). Consequently, according to Israelite law (Dt 25:5ff.), it would be the duty of Boaz to marry Ruth to raise up seed to the dead. (2) The general tone of Naomi’s character is clearly shown in this book to be that of a God-fearing woman, so that it is certain that, however curious in its external form, there can be nothing counselled here which really is repugnant to God’s law, or shocking to a virtuous man such as Boaz, otherwise Naomi would simply have been most completely frustrating her own purpose. (3) Her knowledge by long intimacy of Ruth’s character, and doubtless also of that of Boaz by report, would enable her to feel sure that no ill effects could accrue (Sinker, Ellicott’s Commentary on the Whole Bible, Ruth, p 283).
His response to Ruth’s actions demonstrates his gentlemanly concerns for her. He explains the situation of not being the nearest kinsman, but promises that he will take care of the necessary procedures the next day. Protecting her reputation, Boaz sends her home before daylight. Naomi, wise in these matters, succinctly predicts of Boaz, “He will not rest until he has settled the matter today” (neb).
Redeeming the Inheritance (4:1–21). Boaz goes to the place of business, the city gate. The city gate area comprised the forum of the city where the public affairs of the city were discussed. Boaz indicates that he wishes to discuss a matter of business with the nearer kinsman. Ten of the city elders act as witnesses. Beginning with the property matter, Boaz inquires whether this nearer kinsman is willing to acquire the property for Naomi, including the traditional stipulation, “On the day when you acquire the field from Naomi, you also acquire Ruth the Moabitess, the dead man’s wife” (neb). The nearer kinsman is unwilling because to marry Ruth would inevitably cost him some financial loss, since he would have to divide his own property with any son of his born to Ruth. Thus he relinquishes his rights by the custom of taking off his shoe. Significantly the shoe was symbolic of the land rights which belonged to the inheritance. So Boaz takes the part of the kinsman-redeemer.
The marriage of Boaz and Ruth produces a son who, under Israel’s laws, is reckoned as Naomi’s child and heir.
Teaching. The Book of Ruth traces the lineage of David to the Messiah. The completion of that line is in Matthew 1 and finds its focus in Jesus.
A second teaching is the beauty of God’s grace. A foreigner, even a Moabitess, can be linked with Israel’s blessing.
Theologically, the concept of kinsman-redeemer as a type of Messiah is clearly evident. He must be a blood relative, have the ability to purchase, be willing to buy the inheritance, and be willing to marry the widow of the deceased kinsman.
And finally, the love which Ruth shows becomes a pattern of devotion, a woman of whom it was said to Naomi, “your daughter-in-law who loves you is better to you than seven sons.”
Bibliography. A.E. Cundall and L. Morris, Judges and Ruth; G. Gerleman, Ruth; R.M. Halo, The Theology of the Book of Ruth; A.R.S. Kennedy, The Book of Ruth; C. Lattey, The Book of Ruth.
Walter A. Elwell and Barry J. Beitzel, “Ruth (Person),” Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1988), 1871–1873.
Just a little Judaeo history and information regarding the 7 Laws of Noah (like the colors in the rainbow). For a further break-down of these laws found in the Jewish understanding of the Noahic Covenant, see Judaism Online’s article, “The Seven Laws of Noah“… needless to say, Jesus came to fulfill the law in it’s entirety.
This is the first sermon in the summer session of 2017 at Faith Community. Over the summer Faith meets for only one service and has children as well as the parents sitting in the pews. This “kickoff” sermon discusses the issues of family and the roles of husband and wife, as well as the kids. A great connection is made to the roles of the Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit).
(I am changing some of my “Pages” to “Posts,” so some of this info is older to my site)
…and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me (Galatians 2:20)
“Yet not I.” That is to say, not in mine own person, nor in mine own substance. Here he plainly showeth by what means he liveth; and he teacheth what true Christian righteousness is, namely, that righteousness whereby Christ liveth in us, and not that which is in our own person. And here Christ and my conscience must become one body, so that nothing remain in my sight but Christ crucified, and raised from the dead. But if I behold myself only, and set Christ aside, I am gone. For Christ being lost, there is no counsel nor succour, but certain desperation and destruction must follow.
This post [from top-to-bottom] deals with the “Identity Crisis” in unsaved [and saved] communities. Pastor Caleb Kaltenbach speaks to this crisis from a more personal experience[s]:
The following story starts will quote first Breitbart, following it will be a portion of an article (and audio) from an NPR piece.
(Breitbart) National Public Radio aired a remarkable interview on Sunday’s Weekend Edition with Allan Edwards, a Presbyterian pastor who is gay, yet lives a heterosexual life. Torn between his sexuality and his faith, he chose his faith–without trying to “convert” his attraction to men, and without trying to change his religion to fit his personal preferences. The conversation between NPR’s Weekend Edition and Edwards–and his wife–sheds light on an often overlooked constituency in the debate over gay marriage.
Edwards explains that he began to realize he was attracted to men during his teenage years, at the same time he was active in his church youth movement. He realized immediately that there was a conflict between his sexuality and his faith, and tried to find a justification in the Bible for living a gay life as a Christian. He could not, he says–and so he chose to live a heterosexual life, in accordance with the teachings of his church. He does not deny his gay sexuality, but does not act on those feelings, he says.
In that way, Edwards says, he is no different than anyone else. Everyone, he says, experiences some kinds of forbidden desire, or a sense of discontentment with their lives, and they have to adjust their behavior to their values and goals. He and his wife have a sexual relationship, despite his attraction to men, and they are expecting their first child. He is reluctant to judge others, but when pressed by Montaigne, says that he believes those who try to adjust Christianity to accept same-sex marriage are “in error.”
He acknowledges that others might call his lifestyle one of suppression–one that is doomed to divorce or suicide. He disagrees, and says that his relationship with God comes before other parts of his identity, including his sexuality….
How did this young man come to find his identity within the Christian faith? Simple, if Jesus is who He claims to be, then he [pastor Edwards… and we/us] should believe what Jesus believes. Simple:
...The Traded Life
Allan Edwards is the pastor of Kiski Valley Presbyterian Church in western Pennsylvania, a congregation of the Presbyterian Church in America. He’s attracted to men, but considers acting on that attraction a sin. Accordingly, Edwards has chosen not to act on it.
“I think we all have part of our desires that we choose not to act on, right?” he says. “So for me, it’s not just that the religion was important to me, but communion with a God who loves me, who accepts me right where I am.”
Where he is now is married. He and his wife, Leanne Edwards, are joyfully expecting a baby in July.
He didn’t understand how he could resolve his feelings, he says, and had little support from his friends. “I didn’t know anyone else who experienced same-sex attractions, so I didn’t talk about it much at all,” Allan says.
But at a small, Christian liberal arts college, he did start talking.
“My expectation was, if I started talking to other guys about this, I’m going to get ostracized and lambasted,” Allan says. “I actually had the exact opposite experience … I actually was received with a lot of love, grace, charity: some confusion, but openness to dialogue.”
Allan considered following a Christian denomination that accepts gay relationships, but his interpretation of the Bible wouldn’t allow it, he says.
“I studied different methods of reading the scripture and it all came down to this: Jesus accepts the rest of the scripture as divined from God,” he says. “So if Jesus is who he says he is, then we kind of have to believe what he believes.”
In other words, Christ’s claims and later His backing his claim with the Resurrection should make any one WANT to thank his/her creator by worshiping Him in obedience for the work done for each of us on Calvary. Pastor Edwards is building riches in his heavenly home in his obedience.
Wesley Hill, who is a scholar of New Testament studies and happens to be an openly gay Christian. He says the Bible makes it clear that marriage is between one man and one woman. And so, subjects himself to the will of the Lamb… not subjecting the Lamb to his will:
Now… I would be remiss to note as well that there are many people who once were gay, but through Christ’s redeeming power they no longer identify as homosexual. There is a play list of some testimony in this regard at Theology, Philosophy and Science’s YouTube Channel: Ex-Gay People.
The above testimonies and viewpoints add to a previous upload of mine a while back with three church leaders talking about this same-sex attraction but duty to God ~ and it is this duty to God that gives a new identity (a “new man” if you will):
The three men in the above interview (see below) have a powerful testimony to God working in their lives. They take Scripture serious and share their struggles openly and honestly in this interview by Justin Brierley of Premier Christian Radio for his show, “Unbelievable” (http://tinyurl.com/d2sgjrz). This interview and some other recent insights via Stand to Reason and Girls Just Wanna Have Guns, has me evolving and honing my apologetic on this more and more (See #4 of my cumulative case: http://tinyurl.com/acqhcfv).
▼ Sean Doherty is associate minister at St Francis, Dalgarno Way in London and teaches theology at St Mellitus College; ▼ Sam Allberry is associate minister at St Mary’s Church, Maidenhead; ▼ Ed Shaw is part of the leadership of Emmanuel Church, Bristol.
This is the larger interview of which I isolated Sean Doherty’s portion here.
And Savi Hensman of the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement and Anglican blogger Peter Ould debate the issues in the interview.
Here I am adding a video by First Things, and it is a short talk about a woman who is gay but has chosen to live towards truth. While I am not a Catholic, I am an admirer of people who sacrifice for the faith:
Eve Tushnet is a lesbian and celibate Catholic freelance writer. She studied philosophy at Yale University, where she was received into the Catholic Church in 1998. She writes from D.C., and has been published in (among others) Commonweal, First Things, The National Catholic Register, National Review, and The Washington Blade. Eve blogs at Patheos.com.
And one of the most important presentations delineating the issue of “can a Christian be a homosexual?” is by Dr. William Lane Craig (see also his article, “Christian Homosexuals?“):
(I am changing some of my “Pages” to “Posts,” so some of this info is older to my site)
This will be a response to the “shellfish” mantra. These two challenges are from a much larger conversation in a private group on Facebook with a large group of gay or either homosexual behavior supporting friends and family.
I will deal with the above in a couple ways. Firstly, the entirety of Leviticus was not written for everyone.
Let me repeat that, the entirety of Leviticus was not written for everyone.
There are parts that speak to the Jewish nation of the day (the Hebraic peoples), and other commands that included more than just the Jewish nation. The Moral versus the dietary and ritual laws.
We know this because God says, “Speak to the sons of Israel saying…” He gives instructions to the Israelites, not to the rest of the nations.
✂ *SNIP* ✂
Here is a list of instances when the occurrence of the phrase “Speak to the Sons of Israel saying…” is found in Leviticus, the book under consideration.
Lev. 4:2, atonement for unintentional sins Lev. 7:23, don’t eat fat from ox, sheep, or goat Lev. 7:29, procedures for peace offering to the Lord Lev. 11:2, list of animals the Israelites may eat Lev. 12:2, uncleanness after giving birth Lev. 23:24, rest on 1st day of 7th month Lev. 23:34, Feast of Booths on 15th day of 7th month Lev. 24:15, the one cursing God will bear his sin
So, we can see a host of things that dealt only with Israel.
However, there are abominations that did not apply only to Israel, but to everyone else also. Again, let’s look at Leviticus.
✞ Lev. 18:22-30, “You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female; it is an abomination. Also you shall not have intercourse with any animal to be defiled with it, nor shall any woman stand before an animal to mate with it; it is a perversion. Do not defile yourselves by any of these things; FOR BY ALL THESE THE NATIONS WHICH I AM CASTING OUT BEFORE YOU HAVE BECOME DEFILED ‘For the land has become defiled, therefore I have visited its punishment upon it, so the land has spewed out its inhabitants. But as for you, you are to keep My statutes and My judgments, and SHALL NOT DO ANY OF THESE ABOMINATIONS, NEITHER THE NATIVE, NOR THE ALIEN WHO SOJOURNS AMONG YOU (FOR THE MEN OF THE LAND WHO HAVE BEEN BEFORE YOU HAVE DONE ALL THESE ABOMINATIONS, and the land has become defiled); so that the land may not spew you out, should you defile it, as it has SPEWED OUT THE NATION WHICH HAS BEEN BEFORE YOU. ‘For whoever does any of these abominations, those persons who do so shall be cut off from among their people. ‘Thus YOU ARE TO KEEP MY CHARGE, THAT YOU DO NOT PRACTICE ANY OF THE ABOMINABLE CUSTOMS WHICH HAVE BEEN PRACTICED BEFORE YOU, so as not to defile yourselves with them; I am the Lord your God.’”
What abominations is Lev. 18:22-30 speaking of? Contextually, chapter 17 is about blood atonement procedures, so that is for Israel, not for everyone. In Chapter 18 God says to Israel, “You shall not do what is done in the land of Egypt where you lived, nor are you to do what is done in the land of Canaan where I am bringing you,” (Lev. 18:3). So, now instead of it applying only to Israel, God mentions things that are done by Egypt and the land of Canaan. What were the things those nations did? The chapter contains the following.
Lev. 18:6-18, don’t uncover the nakedness of various relatives. Lev. 18:19, don’t have sexual relations with woman on her period Lev. 18:20, don’t have intercourse with your neighbor’s wife Lev. 18:21, don’t offer children to Molech Lev. 18:22, don’t lie with a male as with a female Lev. 18:23 don’t have intercourse with animals.
The next day, as they were traveling and nearing the city, Peter went up to pray on the housetop about noon. Then he became hungry and wanted to eat, but while they were preparing something, he went into a visionary state. He saw heaven opened and an object that resembled a large sheet coming down, being lowered by its four corners to the earth. In it were all the four-footed animals and reptiles of the earth, and the birds of the sky. Then a voice said to him, “Get up, Peter; kill and eat!” “No, Lord!” Peter said. “For I have never eaten anything common and ritually unclean!” Again, a second time, a voice said to him, “What God has made clean, you must not call common.” This happened three times, and then the object was taken up into heaven.
While Peter was deeply perplexed about what the vision he had seen might mean, the men who had been sent by Cornelius, having asked directions to Simon’s house, stood at the gate. They called out, asking if Simon, who was also named Peter, was lodging there. While Peter was thinking about the vision, the Spirit told him, “Three men are here looking for you. Get up, go downstairs, and accompany them with no doubts at all, because I have sent them.” Then Peter went down to the men and said, “Here I am, the one you’re looking for. What is the reason you’re here?” They said, “Cornelius, a centurion, an upright and God-fearing man, who has a good reputation with the whole Jewish nation, was divinely directed by a holy angel to call you to his house and to hear a message from you.” Peter then invited them in and gave them lodging. The next day he got up and set out with them, and some of the brothers from Joppa went with him.
The edict against the ethnic/religious Jew (“the sons of Israel”) was lifted in this verse. So contrary to the horrible arguments often made by Skeptics of the Christian faith, You, G.C., should not use the same horrible exegesis that non-believers use. The same can be said regarding arguments for same-sex marriage needing to be made well. (Per Mr. Blatt, whom I agree with on this point — that is, a coherent reasonable case needs to be made for same-sex marriage. A case that isn’t arbitrary, like liberals tend towards.) So to do hermeneutics need to be used well in the Christians life. No matter where it leads you (often times it leads ALL OF US to face our sins and sinful nature, right?).
Here are the very next words/list out of G.C.’s mouth [keyboard]:
You see, G.C. (as well as E.M.) do not want to accept what the Bible says at face value.
They have no need for ways to approach ancient texts to allow personal opinion and deconstructionism (progressive values) to be set aside and create a model for all people to equally and fairly come to these texts to get the most truth from them.
I explain this well in another post where the Bible is attacked and the people doing so are the literalists/legalists, similar to G.C. and Others.
They are the absolutists.
Conservative Christian and Jews are not the Biblical literalists as these skeptics define it (wrongly, creating a straw-man)… even though we are painted as such.
In other words, they incorporate what they deny, while applying straw-man positions to our side, its very convoluted on their part and why progressives typically think these attacks are acceptable.
A final word from Dr. Copan, that also touches a bit on the salvonic history involved in this discussion, that is often overlooked by the skeptics. He makes a point also about the wooden interpretation of the pharisees and has to point out that these topics (divorce, slavery, and the like) are not ideals from God but Him dealing with man’s “hardness of heart.”
…Jesus’s approach reminds us that there’s a multilevel ethic that cautions against a monolithic, single-level ethic that simply “parks” at Deuteronomy 24 and doesn’t consider the redemptive component of this legislation. The certificate of divorce was to protect the wife, who would, by necessity, have to remarry to come under the shelter of a husband to escape poverty and shame. This law took into consideration the well-being of the wife. So when Jesus spoke to the Pharisees, their wooden interpretation made it difficult to see that Moses’s words didn’t represent an absolute ethic. (Keep in mind that God’s commands involving divorce—and even slavery—are given not as ideals, but because of the hardness of human hearts [Matt. 19:81.) These Pharisees approached Scripture in a way that made it virtually impossible for them to see any further, as Jesus pointed out—to see that there was an even greater good of sacrificially serving in the kingdom by forgoing the joys and benefits of marriage (Matt. 19:10-12).
So as we look at many of these Levitical laws, we must appreciate them in their historical context, as God’s temporary provision, but also look at the underlying spirit and movement across the sweep of salvation history. As we do so, we see that the movement of Scripture consistently prohibits homosexual activity (for example), on the one hand. However, the movement of Scripture consistently affirms the full humanity of slaves (e.g., Job 31:13-15), eventually encouraging slaves to pursue their freedom (1 Cor. 7:21). As we noted earlier, slavery wasn’t commanded but permitted (as was divorce) because of the hardness of human hearts. Homosexuality is a different matter. New Testament scholar R. T. France writes that direct references to homosexual activity in Scripture are “uniformly hostile”; homosexual behavior—so common in surrounding cultures (ancient Near Eastern/Greco-Roman)—was “simply alien to the Jewish and Christian ethos.” Note too that acts—rather than mere inclinations/tendencies (whether homosexual or heterosexual)—are judged to be immoral and worthy of censure in Scripture.
So it’s wrongheaded to claim that homosexual acts were “just cultural” or simply “on the same level” as the kosher or clothing laws that God gave to help set Israel apart from its pagan neighbors. Levitical law also prohibits adultery, bestiality, murder, and theft, and surely these go far beyond the temporary prohibitions of eating shrimp or pork!
One last small dialogue from the larger strain. E.M. mentioned the following:
“Jesus never mentions homosexuality in the bible.”
To which I quoted Scripture (not to mention Jesus was heavily involved in writing Leviticus! Just Sayin’). I respond:
You are wrong E.M., Jesus specifically mentions the ideal (Matthew 19:4-6) I have continuously spoken to above.
He answered, “Haven’t you read in your Bible that the Creator originally made man and woman for each other, male and female? And because of this, a man leaves father and mother and is firmly bonded to his wife, becoming one flesh—no longer two bodies but one. Because God created this organic union of the two sexes, no one should desecrate his art by cutting them apart.” (The [“Dummy”] Message Bible ~ Red is Jesus)
You can read more about how to approach text in ways any deep-thinking literary critic is trained to as well as the person seeking truth. Obviously G.C. rejects portions of Scripture to embolden his view how he views man’s nature and his own standing before God. He fashions God and His Holy Spirit to fit his conception. Not based on deep study, but of psychological wants and needs. You can click through to my other post. I caution you however, this is a step those interested in truth should take. Those not interested in literary criticism, history, hermeneutics, and the like, shouldn’t take.
These are three books I recommend to the serious student:
I am catching up with some older audio… this caller thoughtfully challenges Dennis Prager on his stance regarding slavery and America’s Founders. I LOVED the reference to Noah, and Prager caused me to make a note in my study Bible. Great response to say the leasy. One can see my main page on my site about this: “U.S. RACIAL HISTORY“
Leviticus 19:28 states: “You shall not make any cuts in your body for the dead, nor make any tattoo marks on yourselves…” (NASB). Is this a forbiddance of getting a tattoo? Or was this written for a specific people, in a specific time, with a specific example in mind (God’s mind). Lets see what some commentators have to say on what this example would be that caused God to forbid marking or engraving on one’s body.
Matthew Henry’s Commentary: v. 28“They shall make cuts or prints in their flesh for the dead; for the heathen did so to pacify the infernal deities…”
New Bible Commentary: vv. 29-31 “The main focus of this section is to exclude rites and practices associated with pagan, Canaanite religion, particularly those which were physically or morally disfiguring. Abuse of the body in the name of religion is a wide spread human aberration…”
The International Bible Commentary: v. 28 “Cutting the flesh was a feature of the worship of Melqart (Baal in Old Testament)…. There are various explanations of this self-disfigurement which have been advanced: to provide blood for a departed spirit, to render mourners unrecognizable to departed spirits, to drive away the spirits by the life-force resident in the blood, and so on…”
The point here is that if one were to interpret this in a wooden literal sense that applies to today’s tattooing of the body for non-religious purposes, then one would apply verse 27 to getting “bowl-cuts.” For we read: “You shall not round off the side-growth of your heads, nor harm the edges of your beard” (NASB).
Matthew Henry Commentary: “Those that worshipped the hosts of heaven, in honor of them, cut their hair so that their heads might resemble the celestial globe; but, as the custom was foolish in itself, so being done with respect to their false gods, it was idolatrous.”
Yes, Matthew Henry just called the bowl-cut“foolish,” but when done for religious purposes, it is wrong. As with the tattoo, if done for spiritual purposes, it is forbidden. If done for personal reasons, I see no harm. If I am wrong, I suspect that when one receives their glorified body, it will be washed clean with the blood of Christ. Because only then will we be perfect, the creation God originally intended.
I see no clear precedence in the Bible for not getting a tattoo if done for non-religious purposes. If one were to interpret this as following the law, a maelstrom would soon follow; not to mention the book of Galatians being thrown out the window.
I have been reading over PSALM 145 a few times… meditating on the Song calling us to action, to praise of our Lord, and the like. Verse 10 stood out a bit to me, I will explain. But first, here are a few different versions of the same verse:
All your works shall give thanks to you, O Lord, and all your saints shall bless you! (ESV)
All You have made will thank You, Lord; the godly will praise You. (HCSB)
All Your works shall give thanks to You, O Lord, And Your godly ones shall bless You. (NASB)
All creation will thank you, and your loyal people will praise you. (CEV)
All Your works shall praise You, O Lord, and Your godly ones shall bless You. (MEV)
I noticed a split here… almost a change in “who” was being spoken of here. The first section included ALL of creation… everything in it. The second section of that verse seem to delineate a separated people. In supporting the idea that this first part is speaking to every being within creation (even creation “itself”) is again noted at the very end of the Psalms:
Let everything that breathes praise the Lord. Hallelujah! (CSB)
Everything that breathes are not regenerated. This includes, in my thinking, even the unregenerate — since the breath. I started to think of verses such as Revelation 5:13; Isaiah 45:23-24; Philippians 2:10-11, and the like. Of course we are all familiar with this Philippians verse:
“so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (NASB).
Here is some in-depth commentary on this verse:
Ultimately, every creature in the universe will acknowledge who Jesus is. Two concerns must be discussed: the meaning of “at the name of Jesus” and the description of which persons acknowledge him. The phrase “at the name of Jesus” may mean that he is the object of worship, that he is the medium of worship,165 or that he provides the occasion and focus of worship. The context clearly reveals that Jesus is to be the object of worship, as the name “Lord” and his exalted position indicate. That rules out Jesus as a medium of worship, but more may be required by this expression. In fact, more is intended. Wherever Jesus’ name (and character) has authority, he will be worshiped. Since he is authoritative everywhere, as the next phrase indicates, he will be worshiped everywhere. The emphasis of this text, however, is not directly on the worship of Jesus. The language is that of triumph. The bending of the knee was a posture of submission, as was confessing “Jesus Christ is Lord.” The hymn, therefore, speaks to Jesus as the conqueror of all and should be seen as parallel to such texts as 1 Cor 15:24–28. Thus the hymn points out that everyone will acknowledge the position of Jesus in the universe.
The second concern of this first purpose clause is the persons who submit to Jesus’ lordship. The text states, “in heaven and on earth and under the earth.” The meaning of the text is that it is the knees of beings located in these places. Paul could and did use personification to speak of the relation of inanimate objects to Christ (Rom 8:19–22), but this context is confined to persons. Jesus’ lordship encompasses spiritual beings (those of “heaven”—good or evil), living human beings (those of “earth”), and dead persons as well (“under the earth”). Thus the hymn includes every conceivable habitation of personal beings.
The second purpose statement is that “every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.” In a parallelism typical of poetry, both the universal nature of Jesus’ lordship and the acknowledgment of it are reemphasized. “Every tongue” includes the same beings as “every knee” which bows. The confession “Jesus Christ is Lord” encapsulates this aspect of the Christian faith and may well have been the earliest Christian confession.
Honoring Jesus in this way fulfills God’s plan. He elevated Jesus to the position of lordship (v. 9), and the confession is “to the glory of God the Father.” There is perfect unity in the Godhead. The actions of Jesus in his exaltation bring glory to the Father. Thus the Father honors the Son, and the Son honors the Father. In this dynamic, both display selflessness, and both receive honor.
This is an eschatological picture. The hymn brings the future into view by describing the culmination of history, when all persons will acknowledge Jesus’ lordship. No evidence states that such acknowledgment will bring salvation, however. That must be cared for in the present, before Jesus conquers his enemies. The church bears witness to Jesus’ lordship by confessing to the world “Jesus Christ is Lord” and offering salvation to those who accept that confession and make it the central part of their lives (Rom 10:9–10). Paul recognized, therefore, that some people will voluntarily accept the reality that Jesus is Lord and participate in his reign of glory. Others will deny that lordship and, in the end, be conquered by the Lord himself. For them, it will be too late to participate in the glory, and they will be destined to the punishment appropriate for those who resist the Lord.
Richard R. Melick, Philippians, Colossians, Philemon, vol. 32, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1991), 107–108.
Likewise, I was drawn to REVELATION 5:13 as connected to this Psalms and it’s future ruminations:
Then I heard every creature which is in heaven and on the earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that are in them, saying:
“To Him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and power, forever and ever!”
This verse drips with this distinction I noted in Psalm 145:10. Here are a [more than] few commentaries on Revelation 5:13 —
This movement is extraordinary. Joining the host of heaven apparently are all the beings created by God, including not just humans but other forms of life as well. Conceivably, this chorus of glory to the Lamb even includes those who are perishing, since, after all, Paul has promised that “every knee should bow … and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil 2:10–11). Redemption has no specific mention in this final chorus, simply the worthiness of the Lamb to receive praise, honor, glory, and power, and his worthiness to receive this forever.
Paige Patterson, Revelation, ed. E. Ray Clendenen, vol. 39, The New American Commentary (Nashville, TN: B&H, 2012), 175.
Animals, birds and fish join with humanity in a great act of divine worship. Even the underworld, the abode of the dead and dwelling-place of evil, is involved. Clearly this vision does not reflect present reality from John’s perspective, for rebellion and injustice still exist in God’s world. Rather we catch a glimpse here of what creation was intended for, and what can be in God’s great plan, on earth, as it is in heaven.
Ian Boxall, The Revelation of Saint John, Black’s New Testament Commentary (London: Continuum, 2006), 102.
On that day every creature including the unsaved (cf. Phil 2:9–11)—will give the Father and the Son the glory they deserve.
Robert Vacendak, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ,” in The Grace New Testament Commentary, ed. Robert N. Wilkin (Denton, TX: Grace Evangelical Society, 2010), 1275.
Loud sevenfold praise for the Lamb spills over from the heavenly throne room and is joined by every creature … on the earth … under the earth … in the sea, as is seen in Pss. 148 and 150. Blessing and honor and glory and power: From the vantage point of heaven, these verses look forward to the climactic point when “every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord” (Phil. 2:11).
Earl D. Radmacher, Ronald Barclay Allen, and H. Wayne House, Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Commentary (Nashville: T. Nelson Publishers, 1999), 1743.
The entire created order now joins in the mighty chorus—everything in heaven, on earth, under the earth, and in the sea—in adoration of both God and the Lamb together (5:13)
Walter A. Elwell, “Revelation,” in Evangelical Commentary on the Bible, vol. 3, Baker Reference Library (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1995), 1209.
Now the music becomes a diapason, a full, deep burst of harmonious song. Every creature … in heaven and on the earth joins in heaping eternal blessing and honor and glory and power on God the Father and on the Lamb.
This verse parallels Philippians 2:10 and 11, which insists that every knee will bow at the name of Jesus and every tongue confess Him Lord. No single, specific time is mentioned, but it will obviously be after the saved are raised to everlasting life and then after the unsaved are raised to everlasting judgment. Believers will have already acknowledged Jesus as Lord; unbelievers will then be compelled to honor Him. Universal homage to the Father and the Son is an assured fact.
William MacDonald, Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments, ed. Arthur Farstad (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1995), 2363.
The universality of Christ’s work calls for this universal praise.
Robert B. Hughes and J. Carl Laney, Tyndale Concise Bible Commentary, The Tyndale Reference Library (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2001), 741.
All animated creation now joins in the ascription of praise. Those under the earth are probably the “spirits in prison” of 1 Pet. 3:19, though Vitringa understands the expression to be used of the devils “who unwillingly obey Christ,” and even declare his glory, as in Mark 1:24, “I know thee who then art, the Holy One of God.” The sea is meant literally; the apostle’s object being to include all animated beings wheresoever existing. It has been remarked that St. John’s exile at Patmos would render him familiar with the appearance of the sea, and account for its frequent use in the Apocalypse, both literally and symbolically. The things on the sea would signify, not merely ships with their inhabitants, but also those animals in the sea which are known to men by dwelling near the surface. “All things that are in them” serves to render emphatic the universality of the description, as in Exod. 20:11 and Ps. 146:6, “The Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is.”
H.D.M. Spence-Jones, ed., Revelation, The Pulpit Commentary (London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1909), 167.
Just try to imagine such singing. This, of course, means all intelligent life in the universe. In the strictest sense, this cannot happen until the final consummation (Phil. 2:10–11). However, in many places John’s visions record events yet future, so we should not be troubled by this anticipation of the Son’s universal worship. Note also the extreme chronological sweep of the throne room worship scene developed in chapters 4 and 5:
✧ The worship of the Almighty by the living creatures and the elders has been going on since their creation eons ago. ✧ The worship of the Lamb by the heavenly court and all the angels has occurred—at least in this manner—since he was slain. ✧ The worship of both the Almighty and the Lamb by all the universe’s creatures has yet to become a reality.
Kendell H. Easley, Revelation, vol. 12, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1998), 96.
This scene anticipates the universal acclamation to be offered at the consummation of all things. If it represents universal praise in an absolute sense, then it issues not only from God’s willing subjects but also from his opponents, who will be forced into submission (as in Phil. 2:10–11; Col. 1:20). Rev. 5:9–12 and 5:13 are good examples respectively of the “already” and “not yet” time reference of chs. 4–5 in particular and of the Apocalypse in general.
G.K. Beale, The Book of Revelation: A Commentary on the Greek Text, New International Greek Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI; Carlisle, Cumbria: W.B. Eerdmans; Paternoster Press, 1999), 365.
This documentary abounds with compelling testimonies by house church missionaries. Their dedication, suffering, faithfulness, and thanksgiving is producing an unprecedented multiplication of Chinese Christians every day. Discover the similarity of the early church in the Book of Acts of rapid multiplication of Christians by disciples making disciples.
ACTS 2:42-47 ~ They spent their time in learning from the apostles, taking part in the fellowship, and sharing in the fellowship meals and the prayers. Many miracles and wonders were being done through the apostles, and everyone was filled with awe. All the believers continued together in close fellowship and shared their belongings with one another. They would sell their property and possessions, and distribute the money among all, according to what each one needed. Day after day they met as a group in the Temple, and they had their meals together in their homes, eating with glad and humble hearts, praising God, and enjoying the good will of all the people. And every day the Lord added to their group those who were being saved.
Church at the Cross, Grapevine (2016) – Many people claim that the Bible is merely a human book, irrelevant, full of errors, and unreliable as an authoritative source of truth for all people. But, what does the evidence suggest? Can we trust the Bible? Speaker: Dr. Dan Wallace (author and Sr. Professor of New Testament Studies, Dallas Theological Seminary).
Two things struck me about these videos that a city-boy like me can now apply more vividly the application of some of these verses herein that many “salt-of-the-earth” folks already know well. These two things are that they literally know their masters voice… AND they also know they are going to be nourished. Wow… these verses come to life for me… enjoy
“I assure you: Anyone who doesn’t enter the sheep pen by the door but climbs in some other way, is a thief and a robber. The one who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. The doorkeeper opens it for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought all his own outside, he goes ahead of them. The sheep follow him because they recognize his voice. They will never follow a stranger; instead they will run away from him, because they don’t recognize the voice of strangers.”
Jesus gave them this illustration, but they did not understand what He was telling them.
So Jesus said again, “I assure you: I am the door of the sheep. All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep didn’t listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved and will come in and go out and find pasture.
A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired man, since he is not the shepherd and doesn’t own the sheep, leaves them and runs away when he sees a wolf coming. The wolf then snatches and scatters them. This happens because he is a hired man and doesn’t care about the sheep. I am the good shepherd.
I know My own sheep, and they know Me, as the Father knows Me, and I know the Father. I lay down My life for the sheep. But I have other sheep that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will listen to My voice. Then there will be one flock, one shepherd. This is why the Father loves Me, because I am laying down My life so I may take it up again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down on My own. I have the right to lay it down, and I have the right to take it up again. I have received this command from My Father.”
Again a division took place among the Jews because of these words. Many of them were saying, “He has a demon and He’s crazy! Why do you listen to Him?” Others were saying, “These aren’t the words of someone demon-possessed. Can a demon open the eyes of the blind?”
When they found Him on the other side of the sea, they said to Him, “Rabbi, when did You get here?” Jesus answered, “I assure you: You are looking for Me, not because you saw the signs, but because you ate the loaves and were filled. Don’t work for the food that perishes but for the food that lasts for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal of approval on Him.”
“What can we do to perform the works of God?” they asked. Jesus replied, “This is the work of God—that you believe in the One He has sent.”
“What sign then are You going to do so we may see and believe You?” they asked. “What are You going to perform? Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, just as it is written: He gave them bread from heaven to eat.” Jesus said to them, “I assure you: Moses didn’t give you the bread from heaven, but My Father gives you the real bread from heaven.For the bread of God is the One who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.” Then they said, “Sir, give us this bread always!”
“I am the bread of life,” Jesus told them. “No one who comes to Me will ever be hungry, and no one who believes in Me will ever be thirsty again.But as I told you, you’ve seen Me, and yet you do not believe.Everyone the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do My will, but the will of Him who sent Me.This is the will of Him who sent Me: that I should lose none of those He has given Me but should raise them up on the last day.For this is the will of My Father: that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
Therefore the Jews started complaining about Him because He said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.”They were saying, “Isn’t this Jesus the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How can He now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?” Jesus answered them, “Stop complaining among yourselves.No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him, and I will raise him up on the last day.It is written in the Prophets: And they will all be taught by God.Everyone who has listened to and learned from the Father comes to Me —not that anyone has seen the Father except the One who is from God. He has seen the Father. I assure you: Anyone who believes has eternal life.I am the bread of life.Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died.This is the bread that comes down from heaven so that anyone may eat of it and not die.I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread he will live forever. The bread that I will give for the life of the world is My flesh.”
At that, the Jews argued among themselves, “How can this man give us His flesh to eat?” So Jesus said to them, “I assure you: Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you do not have life in yourselves.Anyone who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day,because My flesh is real food and My blood is real drink.The one who eats My flesh and drinks My blood lives in Me, and I in him.Just as the living Father sent Me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on Me will live because of Me.This is the bread that came down from heaven; it is not like the manna your fathers ate—and they died. The one who eats this bread will live forever.”