Summary of the Bible

Biblical Interpretation.
The Beatitudes.
The Will of God.
The Plagues of Egypt.
Themes of the Books of the Bible.
The Early Church.
The Bible.
Numerology.
The names of God.
Creation.
Church history.

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Biblical Interpretation

BIBLICAL INTERPRETATION.

A man is bound to interpret the Bible as he reads it. He brings to the text his culture, his experience, his knowledge of the Scriptures, his religious training and his ideas. Most believers think of the cross as a cross and not a T shape. Most materialists think of the “flesh” as the physical body rather than the sinful nature. The fact of translation in itself has already involved interpretation of the original text. A man must sit under the authority of Scripture and not subject Scripture to his understanding.

Often when a person refers to the “plain meaning” of the words in the text, he wants the text to support his own pet ideas. There are endless disputes as to the meaning of words by cults and also within the family of God. God Himself provides teachers. Eph ch 4 v 11. 1 Cor ch 12 v 28. This allows others with different gifts to learn more quickly and get on with their own tasks.

Being God’s Word, the Bible is inerrant in its content, infallible in its teachings and authoritative in its demands and declarations. Above all, the Bible reveals the truth about the genuine, living God, so far as He has spoken about Himself.

Exegesis is the careful, systematic study of the Scriptures to discover the original intended meaning. It is necessary to read the text carefully and to ask the right questions of the text. The historical context is important. A man has to try to trace the author’s train of thought.

Hermeneutics has to do with what the passage means today. The meaning today must at least have been a possibility to the original readers. If it did not make sense to them, then it does not mean that for a man today. A text cannot mean what it never could have meant to its author or readers. This does not always help to prove what it means but at least it may establish what it cannot mean. Wherever a man shares comparable situations with the original readers, God’s Word to him is the same as His Word to them, e.g. 1 Cor ch 6 v 1-11. It is wrong for two brothers in Christ to go to law outside the Church. It was wrong then and it is wrong now.

For the study of the Bible it is advisable to have several well-chosen translations.
God’s truth is beyond unaided human understanding.
God’s truth cannot be known by the means men ordinarily use to acquire knowledge.
Only the Holy Spirit understands God’s truth.
Having the Holy Spirit, a believer is taught by Him. 1 Cor ch 2 v 12.

The Holy Spirit uses Scripture to teach man. 1 Cor ch 2 v 13. In order to receive the teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit a man must:
a. Give himself to His influence and work. Eph ch 5 v 18.
b. Pray to Him. Psalm 119 v 18.
c. Be rightly motivated. John ch 7 v 16-17.
d. Read and meditate upon the Word. Psalm 1 v 1-3.
e. Apply the rules of Biblical interpretation.
f. Rightly respond to God’s Word.
If it is a warning – heed it. If it is a failure – confess it. If it is a direction – follow it. If it is a rebuke –
accept it. If it is a teaching – receive it. If it is a blessing – give thanks for it.
g. Use sound tools.

1. Each book is complete in itself. The only book, which does not seem to come to an end, is the Book of Acts. The reason is that it is intended that each man writes his own chapters with his own life. It is the acts of the risen Christ through individuals. Every book in the Bible has historical particularity. Each one is conditioned by the language, time and culture in which it was originally written. God chose to speak His eternal truths within the particular circumstances and events of human history. God’s Word to man was first of all His Word to the people in the early days. It could only have come to them in language they could have understood. A man must first hear the Word to them there and then and then to hear the same Word in the here and now.

2. The Bible is like a tree and not a building. It is complete in Genesis. There is sin, grace, faith, judgement, the Holy Spirit, etc. Genesis does not depend on any other book.

3. There are two covenants. The Old one is not old but earlier. It is not made obsolete by the New one. The Old Covenant is between God and the nation of Israel. The New Covenant is also between God and the people of Israel.

4. Prophets had to use the language at their disposal. When they spoke of the last days, they could not use tanks or bombs but John spoke of hailstones mixed with blood. This accurately describes a bomb. The prophecy of Gog and Magog speaks of bows and arrows but there will be missiles. Isaiah speaks of Israel returning like doves to a dovecot. This accurately describes the Jewish people flying home from Iraq.

5. When reading a letter there are 4 things to know.
a. Who wrote it?
b. To whom was it written?
c. What was the situation of the people to whom it was written?
d. What was the writer seeking to achieve by the letter?
They were usually occasioned by some kind of behaviour, which needed correcting, or a doctrinal error, which needed to be set right. It is necessary to read the whole letter through. That is how a man reads ordinary letters. Why should this be different? That way a man gets the drift of the meaning of the letter. Then it is possible to outline the letter. In many cases the reason why the texts are so difficult is that they were not written for today. The original author and readers were on the same wavelength but man today is not. The author assumes a great deal on the part of the readers. The same principle applies when interpreting the words of Jesus.

The real letters were intended only for the persons to whom they were addressed. The epistle on the other hand was intended for the public. The epistles are more like tracts or treatises e.g. Ephesians and James. They are for the whole Church.

6. Each book and each letter has a theme. Each theme builds up a picture of God’s character. Like a jigsaw puzzle a picture of God emerges.

7. There are conflicting commands. One word says: “Go”. Another word says: “Wait.” Which is right? The Holy Spirit will direct through the appropriate word. If God wants a man to wait, He will use the passage, which says to wait. He speaks through the relevant passage.

8. There are 40 chapters about judgement of the nations. Amos speaks of the nations around Israel. At the time these were all the nations known to Amos. He was limited in knowledge. But the passage means that God will judge every nation, though not mentioned in the passage. The individual may be being blessed, while the nation in which he lives is under judgement.

9. Each passage has to be interpreted in light of the other Scriptures. God would never tell a lie. If the passage suggests that this is the case, then the interpretation is wrong.

10. It is necessary to know the historical setting of the person who is writing, e.g. Daniel and Ezekiel were in Babylon, while Jeremiah was in Judah. The people to whom they were writing were in different situations. God chose to speak His eternal truths over a period of 1,500 years within the particular circumstances and events of human history. If the recipient was to hear the word of God, it could only have come through events and in language they could have understood. It is necessary to hear the word they heard and to understand what it meant to them. Then man must hear the same Word here and now.

11. Do not force on the Scriptures what would not be forced on other literature. Jesus spoke of gouging out his eye, if it causes a man to sin. He obviously did not mean that to be taken literally. He was using a figure of speech to get across how serious it was to sin. One Disciple spoke of meeting two men. Another spoke of meeting one man. There is no untruth there. The second Disciple chose to mention the one person. Is the reference to 1,000 years in Revelation literal or symbolic? It appears only once and in a book, which is highly figurative and full of symbols and colourful language. Ezekiel also used very colourful language.

12. The Scriptures are to be taken literally but not literalistically. God sees what happens on the whole Earth. This does not mean that there is a huge eye roaming across the sky.

13. God hammers out His message on the anvil of history. He uses events to teach man how He views matters. Other religions use mythology. God is a God of truth. The truth is seeing things as they really are. The Bible is like a tutorial. Man listens into God dealing with the lives of others so that he can learn what pleases God and what displeases Him. “Israel is you and me on a national scale.”

14. The Bible is not a history book, although there are a lot of historical events recorded in it. It is not a science book but there are scientific facts recorded there. It is primarily a book about salvation – being saved and made holy. God says all man needs to know about sanctification.

15. There are many different literary forms within the Scriptures. When God writes in verse it shows His feelings. Prose narrates facts and discloses God’s thoughts. There is poetry, prose, parables, allegory, sarcasm, apocalypses, narrative history, chronicles, laws of all kinds, proverbs, oracles, riddles, drama, letters, sermons, sketches, etc.

16. Symbols. These are usually used to point out something difficult. e.g. bread, water, wine etc to point to the mystery of new life. It is used to convey a lesson or truth. The relation between the symbol and the truth must be discovered from what the original speaker intended. There are different types.
1. Miraculous symbols – like the burning bush.
2. Visional symbols – like a scroll.
3. Material symbols – like blood.
4. Emblematical symbols – like colours, metals.
5. Numbers e.g. in scripture 10 is a figure for fullness. 7 is a figure for perfection. 6 is a figure for imperfection. 12 is the number for government. The 12 tribes. The 12 Disciples.
6. Names. Babylon represents human rebellion because of Babel. Jerusalem represents the dwelling place of God. Egypt is the name for the World.

17. In poetry imagery is stronger than in prose. There is a need to be careful in interpretation of imagery in prose.

18. Prophecy. The message of the prophet relates to his situation. Ezekiel was in exile in Babylon. It may have a significance, which the prophet did not realise but it is rooted in his experience. Isaiah ch 24. Isaiah saw pollution but God was speaking of pollution Worldwide. There is nothing in the prophecy, which was irrelevant to the hearers. Consider what the message meant to the people of that time.

19. The allegory is an extended metaphor. “I am the true vine.” Do not go outside of the passage. Note the context of the allegory. A true allegory is a story where each element in the story means something quite foreign to the story itself.

20. The parable. It is an extended simile. A story true to the facts of life is used to make one chief point of comparison. The Good Samaritan. The meaning is to show who a man’s neighbour is. A man ought not to find multiple meanings. e. g. the coin, inn and hotel keeper have no significance so far as the meaning is concerned. In the parable of the sower, the meaning is – the response to the word of God will be mixed but effective. The parable of the mustard seed is meant to show the size of the Kingdom of God. The birds of the air are irrelevant other than to show the size. The lost sheep in Luke ch 15 v 3-7 has nothing to do with numbers but is to show how concerned a man should be for the lost. The parable of the labourers in the vineyard is nothing to do with industrial relations but teaches about mercy and the free grace of God. The ten virgins in Mat ch 25 v 1-13 is nothing to do with numbers but is one of a series to teach about the importance of being ready for the Second Coming of Jesus.

In Mat ch 13 v 10 Jesus explains the reasons for the parables. They helped make the message clear to the Disciples but made it confusing to others. They are used as a teaching tool. Picture language is used to convey truth in easily digested form. It is essential to identify the audience. For whom was the parable intended – non-believers or Disciples?

The story parables function as a means of calling forth a response on the part of the hearer. In some ways interpreting a parable is like interpreting a joke. It loses its impact under analysis. It no longer functions as a joke. The parables were designed to cause the hearers to catch the point or be caught by it. The parable leaves the hearer with a feeling of guilt. The Good Samaritan was told in response to an expert in the law, who, wanting to justify himself, had asked the question about his neighbour. Jesus exposed the self-righteousness of the lawyer. In the prodigal son, the real force is to be found in the attitude of the second son. God is gracious and the righteous should not begrudge God His generosity.

The Kingdom parables start with – “It is like this with the Kingdom of God.” The parable tells something about the nature of the Kingdom. The Kingdom of God is the rule of God in the heart of man.

21. The Kingdom of Heaven and the Kingdom of God is the same thing. Matthew is writing to Jews and Jews never mention the name of God. So Matthew uses the phrase “the Kingdom of Heaven.” Luke on the other hand is writing to Gentiles and calls it “the Kingdom of God”

Guidelines to help differentiate between what is cultural and what is for all times.
1. What is central to the message and what is peripheral?
2. Distinguish between what is inherently moral and what is not. Adultery is inherent. Foot washing is not.
3. Distinguish between what is uniform and what is not. Sexual immorality is basic – eating food offered to idols is not.
4. Is head covering for a woman literal or to show that there may be some kinds of dress, which would be similarly out of place today – e.g. a bikini at Church – wearing shorts in Africa. It would also disrupt worship.

The Old Testament Narratives.
Why did God choose a people? He did this to represent in a particular way all peoples before God.
Why did God choose a land? He did this to represent the natural World in a particular way before God.
That God is faithful to the people of Israel is a witness to His faithfulness to all people.
That God is faithful to the land of Israel is a witness to His faithfulness to all creation.
If God were permanently to break the relationship between Israel and the land it would mean no hope for the redemption of humanity and the whole created order.

The purpose of the narratives is to show God at work in His creation and among His people. The narratives glorify God, help man to understand and appreciate Him and give a picture of His providence and protection. At the same time they also provide illustrations of many other lessons important to man’s life. The story is told on three levels. The top level is that of the whole universal plan of God worked out through His creation. God’s story of redemption. The middle level centres on Israel. The bottom level deals with individual narratives. Each individual narrative is part of a greater narrative of Israel’s history in the World, which in turn is part of the ultimate narrative of God’s creation and redemption of it. The individual narratives are first and foremost stories about what God did to and through the people involved. “Israel is you and me on a national scale.” Just because someone in the Bible did something in a Bible story, that does not mean that man either has permission or obligation to do it too. For the believer the Old Testament is his spiritual history. The stories are the basis of a tutorial. Man listens in as God deals with individuals and situations, pronouncing what pleases Him and what displeases Him. God did amazing things with unlikely people. The focus is on God. He accomplishes what He will. God makes His own decisions and man is not entitled to question these decision.

The Book of Acts. Luke writes not merely to inform from a historical point of view but to encourage inform, moralise and offer an apologetic aspect. Luke wants to tell the story of the continuing actions of the risen Jesus through His Disciples. They were continuing to write their own part of the continuing story. What was the motive behind the writing of the book? Acts can be seen to be composed of six sections, which give the narrative a continually forward movement from its Jewish setting based in Jerusalem with Peter as its leading figure towards a predominantly Gentile Church, with Paul as the leading figure and with Rome the capital of the Gentile World as the goal. The Holy Spirit is orchestrating the move from a Jewish based Church to a Gentile based Church as the Gospel moves out to the ends of the Earth. Luke was not so interested in individuals, Church organisation or geographical expansion except from Jerusalem to Rome. Church history was not Luke’s reason for writing. The crucial question facing the reader is this. Is what happened in the early Church what must happen in the present Church? Must believers follow the pattern or may they choose to do so or not? Luke demonstrates that the Church was always intended to be evangelistic, joyful and empowered by the Holy Spirit. What of the specific details within the narrative? Are they normative models? They are incidental to the narrative and there are ambiguities from one part of the narrative to another. Biblical precedents may sometimes be regarded as repeatable patterns, even if they are not understood to be normative. Walking round the town is a useful pattern but not a normative one.

The Covenant with Israel.
Deut ch 14 v 21. “Do not cook a young goat in its mother’s milk.” What is wrong with that? This and other prohibitions were designed by God to forbid the Israelites to engage in the fertility cult practices of the Canaanites. They believed in sympathetic magic – the idea that symbolic actions can influence the gods and nature. They thought that boiling a young goat in its mother’s milk would magically insure the continuing fertility of the flock. God would not bless His people, if they practised such nonsense. The laws are not arbitrary but graciously beneficial. The Old Testament law is a generous gift from God to Israel to bring Israel much blessing when obeyed.

The Prophets.
The prophets did announce the future, but it was usually the immediate future for Israel and the nations around them in their day, although some are clearly relative to the end times of World history, since they have not yet been fulfilled. Their primary function was to speak for God to their own contemporaries. In the longer books the oracles are not always presented in their original chronological sequence. At times it is not clear where one ends and another begins. Prophets were covenant enforcement mediators.

There were curses of the covenant when it was broken. The prophets spoke out the consequences for breaking the covenant. Positive enforcement brought blessing. Negative enforcement brought punishment. Some were corporate blessings and curses – to the whole nation. The curses brought death, disease, drought, danger, destruction, defeat, deportation, destitution and disgrace. The prophets were the ambassadors from the Heavenly court, who relayed the divine sovereign’s will to the people. The prophets require study. School textbooks need study. So do the prophets.

The times of the prophets from 760 – 460 B. C. were characterised by 1. unprecedented political, military, economic and social upheaval. 2. an enormous level of religious unfaithfulness and 3. shifts in population and national boundaries. Life was in turmoil for many people. God’s word was needed anew. God raised up prophets to speak to the people. Each prophetic utterance was delivered in a specific historical setting, at a given time and place. The prophets employed a variety of literary forms to convey their messages. The lawsuit. The woe. The promise.

Poetry. In ancient Israel poetry was widely used as a means of learning. Just as man can easily remember songs, he can recite poetry. Reading and writing were rare skills. Books were unknown. People recited and sang poetry and the Psalms.

The Gospels.
There are four Gospels. None of the evangelists intended that his Gospel be read in parallel with the others. Yet they cannot be read in total isolation from one another. Each one told his story from his own perspective. Mark had three special interests. 1. Jesus popularity with the crowds. 2. Discipleship for the few. 3. Opposition from the authorities. The basic theological framework for the entire New Testament is eschatalogical. When Jesus came the Disciples thought that the new age had come. Then Jesus was dead. When He rose, the first question they asked was in Acts ch 1 v 6. Would Jesus now restore the Kingdom to Israel? Then it dawned on them that Jesus had come not to usher in the end but the beginning of the end. They were living between the beginning of the end and the consummation. They celebrated the Lord’s death until He comes. There is an increased awareness that Jesus, having come once, will return as He has promised.

The Psalms.
The purpose of the Psalms is to help man to express himself to God and to learn His ways. They are musical poems. They are intended to appeal to a man’s emotions and to evoke feelings rather than thinking and to invoke a response. There is much symbolic language to express feelings and ideas. There are various types of psalms. Psalms of thanksgiving. Psalms of lament (more than 60). Times were often hard for the Israelites. These Psalms express the deep distress that the people felt. Psalm 137 is a lament for the suffering of Jerusalem. Psalms of praise. These centre on the praise of God, His creation and His providence. Psalms of salvation. The story of Israel as a special nation is celebrated in these Psalms. Psalms of Zion. Psalms of Enthronement. Wisdom Psalms. The Psalms were functional songs, composed for use in worship. They made connection between the worshipper and God. They came to be like a Temple hymnal. The Psalms are opportunities to speak to God in words inspired by others to speak to Him in times past. The Psalms are a guide to worship. They also help a man to reflect and meditate on those things, which God has done for him. David, who wrote half of the Psalms, lived a life, which was filled with almost constant tragedy and disappointment. Imprecatory Psalms harness a man’s anger and help him to express it to God. A man should honestly express his anger to God, no matter how bitterly and hatefully he feels it. God will swallow it and it saves the man from expressing it to others.

General rules for interpretation.

1. Interpret the passage according to its context. The limits of immediate context are determined by the limits of the principal thought, activity or topic of which the passage speaks. Each passage is like a piece of a jigsaw and must be put in its proper setting. Apart form its context, words might mean anything. Psalm 14 v 1. “There is no God.” In its context the passage says: The fool has said in his heart, “There is no God.”

2. Interpret the passage in light of all that the Bible teaches. A man needs to know what the Bible teaches on a particular subject to see how the passage in question fits in to the overall teaching.

3. Understand the meaning of the words in the passage. Words can have more than one meaning. e.g. the word “flesh” and the word “choose.” (It may mean a preference or for a purpose – the chosen people of Israel were chosen for a purpose.)

4. Interpret the passage according to its grammatical meaning.

5. Interpret the passage in the light of its background. Consider the writer’s plan and purpose, the historical data (Herod killing children), the geographical data, the cultural data. (Gates – holy kiss.) The question is this: Should the custom be observed today? If the custom was wholly cultural, then it is no longer binding on man today. If the custom was wholly trans-cultural, then he should obey it in his Churches. If its purpose was to illustrate a Biblical principle, then he should follow the principle but does not need to observe the detailed application of it in the passage. Head covering is a sign of a
woman’s submission to a man as the head of the house. Gen ch 3 v 16. Eph ch 5 v 22-4.

6. Recognise, identify and interpret any figurative expression in the passage. If the literal meaning of the word is unsuitable or absurd in its context or is in general conflict with the teaching of the Bible. Mat ch 7 v 15. Wolves. Figurative expressions convey truth much more vividly and powerfully than literal words do. Proverbs ch 15 v 3. “The eyes of the Lord are in every place.” This conveys the power of God and the fact that God is omniscient.

A simile is an expressed comparison. Hair like wool.
A metaphor is an implied comparison.
A symbol. The cup and the bread.
Synecdoche. This is a word for a part, which represents the whole. A set of wheels stands for a car. James ch 1 v 14. Lust stands for the sin-force within man. It also speaks of the whole expressing a part.
Metonomy. This is a word, which stands in close relation to something else. The cross represents the atoning work of Jesus.
Hyperbole. Pluck out the right eye. It is exaggeration to make a point.
Rhetorical question. This is a question, which has only one obvious answer.
Irony. This says the opposite of what the speaker means.
Sarcasm. This is a cutting remark showing the vanity of the hypocrisy.
Euphemism. “Joseph knew not Mary” means that he did not have sexual relations with her.
Personification. The fields shall clap their hands. The fields represent human beings.

7. Recognise and interpret any type in the passage. A type is an Old Testament person, event or thing, which illustrates a New Testament truth. Joseph was a type of saviour. He fed the people in a time of physical famine. Jesus fed the people spiritual truth in a time of spiritual famine. Jesus was the Passover Lamb.

Wisdom. Ecclesiastes, Job and Proverbs.

Wisdom is the ability to make godly choices in life. All of life is conditioned by the choices a man makes. Everything he does is to some degree a matter of choice. Choices chart the course of his life. There is plenty ancient and modern literature called wisdom literature. Biblical wisdom literature added the dimension that the only good choices are godly choices. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of real wisdom. The first step is to know the Lord. Wise living will follow the correct choices made in light of the knowledge of God. Wisdom has little to do with I. Q. but is to do with orientation to God. James ch 1 v 5 invites man to ask for wisdom. Wisdom was sought by Joshua and Solomon, who had to make decisions affecting the lives of others. Worldly wisdom seeks to get ahead of others and look after number one. There is a danger of seeking wisdom for one’s own advantage. Isaiah ch 5 v 21. Parents want to give their children wisdom for life. Proverbs is the advice from God for godly living. In Job and Ecclesiastes there is speculative wisdom. God uses different types of literature to teach people wisdom.

Many ignore Ecclesiastes looking for quicker spiritual benefits. It takes time to study Ecclesiastes. Its consistent message is that life without God is meaningless. It is a contrast to the rest of Scripture, which shows God at work. Here is the opposite – life without God and it is meaningless. For a man to try to make it in life on his own the result is hopeless. Chapter 3 v 11 is the key verse. God has left a hole in the heart of each person. Only Jesus can properly fill that hole.

Job. What happens in life is not always because God desires it or because it is fair. Scriptures do not teach that everything is the result of the will of God, even though He is in total control. He allows Satan a sphere of influence and man has freedom of choice. The reader learns that the wisdom of the World is logical but wrong.

Proverbs give man rules and regulations, which people can use to help themselves make responsible and successful choices in life. There are basic attitudes and patterns of behaviour, which will help a person to grow into a responsible adult. Life may not always go well but Proverbs will shape man’s life into one, which pleases God. They tend to lead to success according to God’s definition of success but they may not lead to success in the eyes of the World. Nowhere does Proverbs teach automatic success. The Proverbs show a sharp contrast between choosing wisely and foolishly. They also help to correct the danger of spiritualising everything. A Proverb is a brief particular expression of truth. It is not a complete statement of truth. Their purpose is to impart knowledge, which can be retained.
“Look before you leap” is easier to remember than: “In advance of committing yourself to a course of action, consider the consequences.” A proverb is catchy. A proverb does not state everything about a truth but points towards it. A man may not be able to control what he hears but he can control what he says. Proverbs are not promises from God and cannot be taken as such.

Song of Solomon.
God created love and sex. Anything can be used for evil as well as good. Instead of being a source of joy and blessing in a monogamous marriage, it can be a means of selfish personal gratification. The Song of Solomon is all about using sex and romance for God’s glory in accordance with His original design. In the Old Testament monogamous heterosexual marriage was the proper context for sexual activity. Love songs were probably sung at wedding banquets. Romance is something, which should continue throughout and actually characterise marriage.

The Beatitudes

THE BEATITUDES. Matthew ch 5 v 1-12.

In any passage it is important to know to whom the words are addressed? Jesus had been talking to the crowds. Then He went off on His own up the hillside and the Disciples came to Him. The words of Jesus are to believers. They were not to those who were interested in Him but to those who had made a decision to commit themselves to His service. All believers were Disciples. There is no such thing as ordinary followers and the really keen. Having called several people to follow Him, Jesus takes time to explain to them what is expected of them now that they are in the Kingdom of God. Every part of the Bible, no matter who actually wrote the passage is the Word of God. These are the actual words spoken by Jesus. By the power of the Holy Spirit believers today are able to hear the words of Jesus, just as the first Disciples heard them.

This may have been a one-off teaching or a collection of the teachings of Jesus over several occasions. The opening statement is to arrest attention and then Jesus goes on to explain what He means by the statement. It seems to finish in ch 7 v 28. There was plenty of time for teaching the people in Jesus’ day and the people were not inclined to rush off to another appointment. It seems most likely to regard it as one session of teaching.

A believer ought not to say: “He is my God.” Instead he should say: “I am His son.” A believer is one who has God as his Father. It was Jesus who taught the Disciples to call God – Abba – Father. Religious men often say that all men are God’s children. This is not found anywhere in the Bible. How does this come about? If it is not recognised that Jesus was talking to only His followers and not to all men everywhere, then the wrong interpretation will be assumed. The gift of son-ship of God becomes personal not through being born, but through being born again of the Spirit of God. The idea comes from Roman Law. It was a recognised practice for an adult, who had no child to be his heir and to carry on the family name, to adopt a male as his son – usually at an age, rather than in infancy, as is with adoption today.

The whole spirit of the Old Testament was determined by the thought of God’s holiness. Religion was the fear of the Lord. In the New Testament the position changes. God intends the lives of believers to be a reflection and reproduction of Jesus’ own fellowship with Himself.

Jesus knew this and He is seeking to teach His Disciples the importance of it. In a family, parents are constantly trying to teach their children to share their own attitudes and view of life. When members of a family do not share the same attitudes to life, the family begins to come under great pressure. The Sermon on the Mount is exactly that kind of teaching. As members of the family of God believers have to share their Father’s attitudes and point of view. They also have to share the same attitudes with one another. It is a tragedy when a family falls out and they do not speak to one another. It is also a tragedy when believers go their own way, fall out and do not speak to one another because of denominations. Gen ch 13 v 8.

There are 3 consequences of a believer being a member of the family of God.
1. Believers should imitate the Father and behave as He does.
2. Believers should seek to glorify their Father. They should be proud of their Father and speak confidently of the great things He has done and is doing. They should take care to behave in public in a way, which is a credit to their Father.
3. They should want to please their Father. Jesus said: “I only do what pleases my Father.”

There is a promise of reward – being blessed. “Those who honour me, I shall honour.” This is not a thought of earning wages or reward on a quid pro quo basis. Believers do not serve the Lord on the basis that He will owe them something. That is one of the ways of the World. Believers serve Jesus because He has saved them. Their Father will notice what His children do and there will be a blessing or reward but not as a direct result.

The religious leaders taught that man should live by a set of rules, earning points by keeping the rules. Jesus is teaching them that there has to be an inner revolution of attitude and outlook. In the eyes of the World man is guilty of theft only if he is caught stealing. In the eyes of God he is guilty of theft if he plans to steal and the plan is foiled. God sees the intentions of the heart and knows man’s thoughts. The reason for the Flood was that the thoughts and imaginations of the people were only evil continuously. Gen ch 6 v 5. It was enough to want to kill another, even if unsuccessful. Jesus turns the human ideas about happiness and success upside down. It is not the go-getters and rich people who find happiness. What really distinguishes a believer from a non-believer? Physically they are no different. It is not possible to tell by looking at people which is a believer and which is not. It is not by success and peace of mind. C. S. Lewis said: “You only know what a man is like when you stand on his toes.” It is when things go against a person, that his attitude is evident. Is his pride wounded? Is he apologetic? How does a person respond to a difficult situation? That is the real test of the belief of that person in Jesus.

It is vital to realise that the Sermon on the Mount does not end at ch 5 v 12. It goes on to ch 7 v 37. It was not a set of handy guidelines – a list of catch phrases – but a time of teaching by Jesus, ending with the vivid illustration of the wise man building on the rock of the teaching of Jesus and the foolish man building on the shifting sand of popular opinion and expediency. The time to build is when things are going well. By the time Jesus finished the people turned to one another and said: “We have never heard anything like this.” He taught with authority. Jesus was teaching truths to people who had an understanding of these things. The religious man, without understanding of spiritual matters, interprets the words in a physical way. They see being poor as being financially poor and not as being poor in spirit.

1. Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. They recognise their spiritual poverty of self-reliance and learn to depend wholly on God. Man cannot get into the Kingdom of God or grow in it, if he is proud. Job showed signs of self-righteousness and suffered as a result. 2 Cor ch 12 v 7. God sent a thorn in the flesh to keep Paul from pride. Confidence is acceptable. Pride is not. There is a fine dividing line between them. God draws near to those with a humble heart. He distances Himself from the proud ones. The Kingdom of God is the rule of God in the heart of man. God can rule in the heart of a person who is humble. There is no room for God in the life of a person whose heart is full of pride. The Holy Spirit is a humble spirit. He does not seek to draw attention to Himself but to Jesus. John the Baptist said that he must decrease while Jesus increased.

2. Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted. The World says: “Blessed are the merry.” Jesus says: “Blessed are those who mourn” This is radical! To mourn is to grieve for someone or something, which has been lost. What is lost for believers to grieve over? Their relationship with God. Sin does that. If believers are concerned about their sins and the sins of others, which have brought about the loss of that precious relationship, then they will find it and be blessed by knowing the Lord personally. Believers have to want it badly. Do believers grieve when they feel the relationship is not as it once was?

3. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the Earth. Moses was the meekest man in all the Earth. It took God forty years to strip Moses of all his pride, so that God could use Moses. Meekness must not be confused with weakness. Believers are not to be door mats trodden on by others They are to be meek, not asserting their own rights but looking to God to protect them. There is a difference between a “mug” and a servant. The servant does what the master wants. The “mug” does what everyone else wants. The people who can be certain of a future are the humble, the forgiving – the pure – those who set their hearts on what is right and who seek to heal rifts in relationships. Believers are seated with Christ in Heavenly places. They have power over demons. They reign with Christ and have inherited the Earth to a greater or lesser degree.

4. Blessed are those who hunger for righteousness. Righteousness is doing the right thing in every situation in accordance with the Word of God. Those who love God should long for truth and justice to be done. God is a God of truth and of justice. He wants to see fair play and honesty. It is not position or status or material property but what kind of person a believer is that matters. The only thing believers can take into eternity is their integrity. If integrity is the main objective, rather than position or status or wealth, then God will bless. People can be hungry to hear the Word of God, but only those who are hungry to do the Word of God will find satisfaction in life. Those who lose their life for the sake of Jesus will find true life. Man has to get rid of the second best if he is to enjoy the best in every area of life – music, clothes, food, relationships, etc. Luke ch 17 v 28-30.

5. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Only those who show mercy shall receive it. Jesus taught the Disciples to pray: “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” It is a conditional blessing. When a believer does wrong, does he want God to forgive him and bless him? Well then, he must not hold a grudge against another person. That is the condition.

6. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Psalm 24 v 3. “Who may ascend the hill of the Lord?” In the days of Israel, when God was present in the physical Temple in Jerusalem, the people ascended a physical hill on the way up to Jerusalem to visit God. God lives in each one of His children by His Spirit. It was ingrained into the lives of Israelites that they had to prepare to meet with God. Believers too need to keep a short account with God and not let sin get a grip on them. Paul suggests that believers should not let the Devil get a foothold in their lives. There are many different ways of burning the truth into the minds and hearts of believers that holiness is the goal of the believer.

7. Blessed are those who strive to make peace and cover up the sinfulness of others, choosing to do so rather than to expose the sins of others. Jonathan did that and it nearly cost him his life. 1 Sam ch 20 v 34. Gossip seeks to expose the sins of others. That was the chief purpose of Jesus – to bridge the gap between sinful man and a holy God. Man in his rebellion could not be at peace with God. By His death on the cross, Jesus made a way for a man to come into the presence of God. He knew the cost of making peace. Are believers prepared for the challenge of doing it?

8. “Blessed are believers when people persecute them for their allegiance to Jesus. A reward awaits them in Heaven.” There are long-term implications for being a servant of Jesus. There are principalities in the unseen World watching what is happening, even if there is no human response to what is done or said. Eph ch 3 v 10. The ancient prophets were persecuted also. Where would believers have been, if all the prophets had given up on God? There were once thriving Christian Churches in Turkey and Libya. Now there is hardly a believer to be found in these lands. Why? Because too many gave up the discipline of following Jesus. Perhaps they stopped at verse 12 and did not read on into verse 13 – 16. Jesus goes on to teach about various matters and the key to His teaching in each area is the attitude of the believer.

1. The Moral Law. God revealed His holiness through the moral law given by Moses. The impossibility of being morally pure had the effect of causing a man to cry out to God for mercy. It was impossible to keep the law. Now that Jesus has come the moral law – like a spiritual policeman – is not seen by the followers of Jesus as a threat but as a friendly policeman acting for their good. Whoever obeys the moral law and teaches others to do the same will have a great reward in Heaven.

2. Murder. It is not a question of stabbing someone to death. Hating another is just as bad. It is all about man’s attitude. Does he desire the good of others or is he secretly glad when some smart person gets what was due to him? Does he join in gossip and back stabbing others when the object of the gossip is not there to defend himself? A man should never say anything about another person, which he would not be prepared to say to his face.

3. Adultery. Jesus is teaching that it is not just the physical act, which constitutes adultery. Lust in the eye with a desire for physical union is just as bad and amounts to adultery in the heart. Many people are entertained by adultery. Unfaithfulness is in very many programmes on television and in films. Should this be the basis of man’s relaxation and entertainment? The Law of Moses taught: “Do not climb into bed with a woman to whom you are not married.” Jesus said: “Do not even look at a woman and wish that you could.”

4. Divorce. The Law of Moses said that it was possible to get a divorce. It was quite easy. Jesus is saying that if man does that and the spouse remarries, that is adultery. Sanctity of marriage is the very purpose of God who invented it. Dare it be treated lightly?

5. Taking vows. It is not a question about showing off before others and making a big deal by saying: “By Heaven!” It is about attitude. Be sincere. Just say “Yes” or “No”.

6. Revenge. It is one of the ways of the World to get even with another person. Be generous. If a man asks a believer to work overtime, he should do it gladly without counting the cost and charging double time.

7. It is not commanded for a believer to be kind to those who are kind to him. Even the pagans do that. But the real test of being a child of God is to do good to those who do unkind things to him. That is the mark of a child of God. The Bibles says: “While we were still His enemies, Christ died for us.” Jesus did exactly that.

8. Good works. There is no need for a believer to tell others about how good he is and claim their praise. God knows what His children do in secret. Then God gets the glory – and not the believer. The test is this – for whom is the work being done? For the person who needs it? For the believer – so that others will think more highly of him? For God – so that the unseen spiritual principalities will see the sheer kindness and mercy of God and wonder that the spirit of God in that person did such a kind thing? What is the attitude to helping others? The word for “work” and the word for “worship” is the same word in Hebrew. The test is this – is man working for the Lord or for what he gets out of the work?

9. Jesus tackles the age-old battle between the love of mammon and the love of God. Again it is a question of man’s attitude. Does a believer put his trust in material things to save him and bring him happiness or does he set his goal on being like Jesus and doing what pleases his Heavenly Father? Of course a believer needs clothes and food to sustain his body, but Jesus is saying these things have a place in life but God must come first. His interests should be the most important thing in the life of a believer. Are they?

10. In ch 7 Jesus tackles the problem of believers criticising others – running them down to prove that they are better than them. “Take the speck out of your own eye first, before you take the plank out of the other person’s eye.” If the attitude is to seek personal holiness, the condition of other people will be far less important. Unless of course there is an injustice going on and there is a desire to help someone who is downtrodden. Then there is a duty to speak out and even to be angry on account of a wrong done to another person.

11. Jesus concludes by warning about religious people. Some people take the name of Jesus in public and do good works but they will not be in Heaven. Ch 7 v 21 -23. The decisive question is whether or not they obey God.

Then Jesus issues the Disciples with the challenge in the form of the illustration of the wise man and the foolish man. They should be wise by following the advice of Jesus and putting it into practice – as a matter of urgency. The wise man builds his house when the weather is fine and he has time. He does not wait until the storms of life come along – as they can at any moment and unexpectedly. From the outside it is not always possible to tell which house is built on rock and which is built on sand. When the storms of life come it will become evident which life has been built on the teaching of Jesus and whish has been built on the sands of public opinion. Man ignores the words of Jesus at his peril. Deut ch 18 v 19. The people were amazed at the teaching of Jesus. No one had heard anything like this before – or since. Attitudes have to be shaped and trained and brought into line with those of Jesus. In that way believers will be growing like Him. Jesus leaves Disciples today with the same challenge.

Summary of The Bible.

The Plagues of Egypt.
Numerology.
The Beatitudes.
Creation.
Names of God.
Themes of the Books of the Bible.
The Early Church.
The History of the Church
Biblical Interpretation.
The Bible.
The Will of God.

The will of God

DISCOVERING THE WILL OF GOD. Ex ch 18. Lazarus. Luke ch 16 v 19- 31.

God has already made one important decision. He will make another one at a future date. The first was to send Jesus to be the saviour of the World. The second is to send Him as judge of the World. How does a man make his decisions – like moving to another town, choosing a career, choosing a particular service to God, which Church or Fellowship to join etc? How does he know what is the will of God for his life? How does he find out where he fits in with God’s purposes?

It is difficult for a man to find the will of God for is life. There was only one person who ever achieved it perfectly. Jesus said: “I only do what pleases my Father.” John ch 8 v 29. Jesus came to live on Earth not for His own pleasure but to do the will of His Father. However difficult it is, it is essential to find the will of God for our life.

If it is so difficult, why bother? Most men live their lives as if there is no God and no judgement at the end of their life. The story of Lazarus and the rich man. It did not occur to the rich man that his wealth had any use other than enabling him to enjoy his pleasure. He ignored Lazarus. The rich man proved this – if a man is not active in serving God, his interests will become an idol to him. A man’s whole life is lived by grace. The air he breathes was provided by God. In light of that fact the very least a man can do is to try to find out what God wants him to do for Him with his life. God wants the very best for each man. A man does not even do the best for himself and is constantly letting himself down. Therefore it is worthwhile trying to do the best for God? God has a purpose in the Universe and He is relying on each man to do his part to serve that purpose.

What does it mean to live a successful life? The World says that it has to do with getting qualifications, having possessions, like a car and a house, reaching the top of a chosen career. There was no more successful life in the whole history of the World than that of Jesus of Nazareth. But He died at the age of 33 in shame and disgrace. In the eyes of the World He dies as a common criminal. Jesus was successful, because He served His Heavenly Father and achieved what no one else could achieve – salvation for mankind. For a Christian, real success in life is finding out the will of God for his life and living it out. There is only one thing, which a man will take into eternity. He cannot take his money or possessions. The Egyptians tried that and failed. He cannot take his career or even his wife. There is no marriage in Heaven. All he can take is his character or integrity. That is why working out his sanctification or holiness or character is stressed in the Scriptures. What matters in this life is who a man is and not what he is or what he has.” Who are you? You are the total of your experiences in life and your responses to them. That is what forms your character. It is only your character you can take into eternity.”

Finding the will of God for a man’s life is not an optional extra in life. It is the responsibility of every believer to please his Heavenly Father and do His will. Jesus teaches believers to pray: “Thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.” Mat ch 6 v 10. How important is it to do the will of God? Crucial! Mat 12 v 50. “Whoever does the will of my Father is my brother, sister and mother.” Faith actually starts at the moment when a man does what God wants as against what he wants. Many think about the idea but never take that step of faith. To repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ is the will of God for every person. That is the starting point of doing the will of God. It is one thing to do God’s will when it suits. It is another thing to do it when it does not suit. “It is not those who hear my words but those who do my words.” That is the test for the believer. Jesus said in Mat ch 18 v 14. “It is not the will of my Father that any little ones be lost.” Is that the concern of the believer and also his will? Life affords no greater responsibility and no greater privilege that the raising of the next generation.

Jesus also said: “My purpose is to do the will of God. Whatever He wants I shall do.” Can brothers and sisters of Christ want anything less? Heb ch 10 v 7. “I have come to do your will, O Lord.” 1 John ch 2 v 17. Man was created by God for His pleasure. In order to please God, a man needs to know what is God’s will for his life. There is no formula to be worked out on a calculator. But there are certain guidelines from the Bible.

Start by looking at the life of Jesus. Luke describes Jesus as the ideal man. How did Jesus as a human being find the will of God for His life. Consider the choice of the 12 Disciples. Luke ch 6 v 12-13. Jesus spent a night in prayer over the choice. What a vital decision Jesus had to make in relation to the Church. Jesus knew that when He returned to Heaven, the future of the Church was in the hands of these young men, some of them just teenagers. There is a story that an angel asked Jesus on His return to Heaven: “What arrangements have you made for the Church on Earth?” The angel was told: “I have left it all in the hands of the 12 Disciples.” “What if they fail?” “I have made no other provision.” It was a crucial decision affecting the purposes of God affecting the lives of millions of people. How did Jesus reach that decision? Was Jesus directed to make His choice of the 12 on the basis of the Word of God from Exodus ch 18 v 21? Jesus knew that while He had a specific task to fulfil, He could not do it all by Himself. He never left the land of Israel? Others would go across the World taking the message of salvation. He needed others to gather in the harvest. Perhaps the Holy Spirit guided Jesus to choose the 12 on the basis of the word of God to Moses. Jesus, like Moses before Him had to learn to delegate. Perhaps Jesus asked His Father what would happen when He died for the sins of the World. Then the Word to Him was Exodus ch 18 v 21. Then Jesus would have known that He had to train up Disciples to carry on the work, just as Moses had to train up men to do the work of teaching and judging the people of Israel. This is a suggestion.

After conversion the lives of believers are developed in three ways.
1. Studying the Bible alone or in a group. Ephesians ch 5 v 15-17. Use your time to understand God better. 2. Fellowship with other Christians. 3. Prayer alone or in a group. All three are necessary. Step by step believers should be growing like Jesus. 1 Thes ch 4 v 3. 1 Pet ch 4 v 2. 1 Pet ch 4 v 2. Believers need to have their brains washed or rinsed. The World is brainwashing them all the time and they need to let God wash them back. Isaiah ch 53 v 10 shows that it was the will or plan of God to bruise Jesus for man’s sins. God always wants the best for His children. But it may not always be pleasant. It may involve sacrifice.

1 John ch 2 v 15-17. The first thing to do is to establish a relationship with God. Then He will make His will known. When a man is close to someone, he knows how that person thinks. He knows how the person will respond in a given situation. He knows what pleases him and what displeases him. That is why Jesus knew the will of God for His life. The relationship between Jesus and His Father was right. God wants to build maturity into the lives of believers so that they will be like Jesus. Therefore it is essential that they know God better. A believer needs to know what He plans for his life, what He likes and dislikes. In short believers study the Bible in order to have the mind of Christ. Psalm 40 v 8. “I delight to do Thy will, O Lord.” By the age of 12 Jesus already knew the Scriptures so well that He was teaching men who had been studying the Scriptures for years. A man does not need a degree or a diploma to serve the Lord – just a heart for God. A man only knows another person to the extent that the person reveals himself to the man. The same is true about God. The Bible is a book of revelation. Through the pages of the Bible and in the person of Jesus God reveals Himself to mankind. Jesus said: “He who has seen me has seen the Father.” We are two of a kind. Like Father, like Son. Jesus invites us to abide in Him. John ch 15 v 4. “Let His Spirit live within us.” Through Scripture God reveals His character, His purposes, His desires and His plans. If He had not done that no one would know God, apart from what can be seen from the World in which men live. Rom ch 1 v 19.

Only when the relationship is right will the revelation of God flow from Him to us. Believers must know the mind of God to know the kind of things He is likely to ask them to do. Their walk with God must be pure. God speaks through His Word personally. The Bible is like a tutorial. Believers We learn what God is concerned about – in His dealings with other individuals and in particular the Israelites.

There is no formula but there are a number of guidelines or principles from the Scriptures.

1. A believer must want it badly enough. In life a man only get what he wants. How badly does he want it? Heb ch 10 v 7. Has he reached the point of saying: “Whatever God wants me to do, I shall do it?” Psalm 40 v 8. “I delight to do your will, O Lord.” God desires justice and mercy and truth. No one can deceive God. He knows the thoughts of each man.

2. It is a process of getting to know God better. It is not a once and for all event. In the Sermon on the Mount there are a number of key principles or guides as to how a Christian is growing. He should test his life against these principles. This is a measure of his maturity. God wants a believer to grow up to be a mature and responsible human being.

3. A believer should be aware of conflicting desires within his own mind. There may be objectives, which are good in themselves but are not in accordance with God’s plan for his life. It may be a worthwhile thing to stay in a particular place. But God may be saying to “kick the dust off your feet and move on.” He may not yet have said where to move. The believer might still be useful where he is, but God wants him in another place. Avoid feelings of indispensability. The graveyard is full of people who thought that they were indispensable.

4. In the eyes of the World a man lives a successful life if he is wealthy, or has a reputation for skill in one area or has won a medal. For a believer success in life is doing the will of God, whatever that is, even if it means giving up all the other aspects of life, which are important to the World. There is no principle that a believer should be poor financially. Many of the men of the Bible were very wealthy – Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Joseph, David, Solomon and Daniel. Some of the friends of Jesus were quite wealthy and indeed supported Him in His ministry. With wealth it depends on how a man gets it and what he does with it.

5. There are certain ways in which God communicates His Word to man. The believer must know the mind of God to know the kind of things He is likely to ask him to do.
(a) Negative commands. Thou shalt not. Avoid this or that. These are always for good.
(b) The audible word. God talked to Moses face to face at the burning bush and afterwards in the desert.
(c) A word of prophecy. Jeremiah prophesied the return of the Jewish people to Israel. Daniel knew to pray the prophecy into being. The Book of Acts in not the end of the story. It continues through all believers as they write their own chapters with their lives.
(d) Through visions, like Jeremiah at the potter’s wheel.
(e) By faith in the Word of God. A particular verse may jump out and speak.
(f) Advice of other Christians or even non-Christians. Jethro gave advice to Moses, which was from God. This attacks pride.
(g) Seek advice from a more experienced brother or sister. He or she may point out the consequences of a particular decision based on his or her own experience of life. Always test the advice against Scripture. If it is not in line with Scripture, it will not be from God. God will never advise a man to do something, which is against His character in His Word.
He would not ask a man to steal or do something, which He has forbidden. He would not ask a man to raise money by asking the World for it. His principle is for believers to give from their income. It is with the money of the Church that God blesses the unbelievers, not with their own money. Sponsoring is one of the ways of the World, which has crept into the Church. God is not beholden to non-believers to support Him.

God comes to a man through His Word. As a man honours the Word of God so he honours God. The place that God’s Word has in a man’s life is the place that God has Himself. A man does not love God more than he loves His Word. The test of a man’s relationship with God is his attitude to God’s Word.

7. Take one step at a time in faith. Watch the timing and do not rush. God’s Word is not like a floodlight into the future but is rather like a torch or light to the path. When making a will a man can only make it for the foreseeable future. Circumstances change. God is unlikely to tell a man His will for his life for the next 50 years. Events are changing and God’s purposes develop as time goes by. He is more like the player manager on the field than the manager in the stand. The player manager is more flexible and changes his game plan as events unfold on the pitch. God is sitting at the nerve centre of operations in the throne room of Heaven. Perhaps He will change His mind concerning a man’s life. Perhaps someone else was called to carry out a specific purpose. Then that person let the Lord down and did not do it. Then God decided to change the course of a believer’s life and asked him to stop doing what he was doing and do something else instead. Ezekiel was trained to be a priest. The nation rebelled against God. The exile followed and Ezekiel – only 30 – had no place in which to work as a priest. God asked him to change his career and be a prophet. There was no point in Ezekiel refusing the call to be a prophet and turning down the call. He set about the task and proved to be a wonderful spokesman for God. Some of his prophecies did not come true for 2,500 years.

8. The need to be obedient. A believer cannot expect God to show him more, if he is not being obedient to what He has already shown. He must grow in obedience as Jesus did. Since Scripture is the revealed will of God, a believer cannot expect to find God’s guidance, if he is not being obedient to the Bible. This applies to the Church as well as to individuals. The last 7 words of a dying Church. “We have always done it this way.” To disobey is to tie the hands of the Holy Spirit. Maybe the Holy Spirit does not want to do it that way forever. Tradition is the faith of the dying. A believer may know that his Church leaders ought to be in conformity with 1 Tim ch 3 but what is he we prepared to do about it? He cannot blame others but must take personal responsibility. A Church, which is in disobedience in any particular aspect, cannot expect to grow or hear further from God. Rom ch 9 v 19-20. John ch 7 v 17. Rom ch 12 v 2.

9. Take the principles of Scripture and develop sensitivity. When the reception is clear on the phone, a man can hear and understand the message. Learn to listen to God and stop talking all the time. When a man prays he hears noises, thoughts of his own subconscious and also God’s voice. A believer has to disentangle the real voice from his own thoughts. Fasting helps to develop sensitivity. Believers tend to talk too much and listen too little. This is true of any relationship. Does a man really know what the other person is thinking or does he make assumptions? When a believer is sensitive to the voice of God, there are some things, which can be ruled out. Clearly God would not want him to steal, if he is short of money or in debt. It is out-with God’s character.

10. A believer must have no will of his own. He must be really open to guidance from God. It is not a question of making up his mind and asking God to bless it and bring His will into line with the believer’s will. Surrender of the will to God means saying “Thy will be done” and meaning just that. God is always seeking to bring a person back into line with His will – by circumstances, by preaching or even by advice from others. Cyrus was used by God to build his temple in Jerusalem. Ezra ch 1 v 1. Jesus teaches men to pray: “Thy will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven.” Mat ch 6 v 10. Doing the will of God saves a man from following the passions of his heart. Rev ch 4 v 11. All things were created by the will of God.

11. Look for outward circumstances, an inner urge and a word from God. A believer might see an opportunity to be a missionary or to give telephone advice or to visit a lonely neighbour. There are the circumstances. Perhaps he feels a burden to help. He never felt it before but somehow he just realises afresh that he could do something. Perhaps a word will come into his spirit. “I was in prison and you visited me.” “What I have written I have written.” John ch 19 v 22. the believer needs to know the Word of God. Then the Holy Spirit can bring that word into his spirit.

12. Often faith needs a crisis to walk on. Problems – predicaments – crisis – fear – panic. Day by day a man can get by without a word from God and without faith. When a crisis comes he does not know which way to go forward. How does he know what God’s will is for him? When a man is in a crisis, there could be disastrous effects, if the man is driven off course and makes the wrong decision. A believers really ought to develop the habit of seeking the will of God so that when the crisis comes he need not panic but, turning to God, walk in faith through it.

13. The way of peace. Think through the two alternative paths and imagine the consequences of both choices. God will give a man peace, if he chooses the right path and trouble in his spirit, if he chooses the wrong path. God can lead a man back into the right path, if the wrong one is chosen. If a man is getting no peace by following one alternative, he should trust that the Lord is edging him away from that course of action. Doors just seem to close. “Our disappointments are God’s appointments.”

14. Pray about it. Jesus always spent time in prayer when He had a big decision to make. It is very serious, if it is wrong, especially if a man claims to have had a word from God. If it is not from God, then he makes God out to be a liar, imputing to God words, which are not His. That is taking the word of God in vain. Moses at Meribah. Ex ch 20. Luke ch 6 v 12-13. How did Jesus know to feed the 5,000 and to choose the 12 Disciples? Did He hear the word of God? 1 Sam ch 9 v 13.

16. Be bold and ask God outright, expecting an answer. It may be “No.” That is just as good as “Yes.” God operates in the realms of a man’s expectations.

17. Gideon’s fleece is not a good principle. Gideon knew what he had to do but was asking for confirmation. It is not a Scriptural principle for finding out God’s will.

Rules for a believer.
1. Get to know the mind of God.
2. Live a life in obedience to the Word of God as far as understood.
3. Apply the principles of God to his life.
4. Have no will of his own.
5. Take one step at a time.
6. Seek the way of peace.
7. Seek advice or confirmation from a more mature Christian.
8. Look for outward circumstances, an inward urge and a word from the Bible.
God allows disappointments and failures to test and to strengthen a man’s loyalty and obedience. Every step of obedience opens the way ahead to a greater revelation of God.

God’s will is best because God always gives the best to those who leave the choice to him. A man does not know the future, but God does.

The Plagues of Egypt

THE PLAGUES OF EGYPT.

God redeemed the Children of Israel from bondage in Egypt with an outstretched arm and with mighty wonders. These came in the form of plagues, which He poured out on the land and the people of Egypt. The plagues were more than a demonstration of God’s power. Each one was a judgement on the idolatrous worship of a pagan Egyptian deity. The plagues took place around 1260 B. C. A major factor, which protected the Hebrews from the plagues, is that the Hebrew villages were more than a few miles from the River Nile. The Egyptians lived along the side of the River Nile. The ten plagues demonstrate an environmental domino effect made worse by cultural traditions.

The first plague was blood (dham). Exodus ch 7 v 14-24. This was an attack on the false god Hapi, the father of the gods, who was “god” of the River Nile. He was the one who was worshipped for bringing water to all of Egypt. It was the water of the Nile, which sustained the life of the people. He was credited for watering the fields and bringing the dew. He was worshipped for bringing the annual inundation when the River Nile rose and flooded the fields. As a fertility god he is associated with Osiris. The Nile was considered to be the link between this life and the life after death. The Nile was considered to be the blood of Osiris. The priests of Egypt held blood in abhorrence and yet they cruelly made sport of the blood of the captive Hebrew slaves by casting their children into the River Nile. The Egyptians worshipped the River Nile. When the waters turned to blood it excited their loathing and detestation. The calamity covered them with confusion and shame of their god Hapi being defamed. Other deities connected with the Nile are Amon and Khnum, who was the guardian of the Nile.

The cause. The Nile turned to blood and the fish died. This was probably a pfisteria surge. If there is an exceptionally high flood of the Nile the waters bring down red earth from the basins of the blue and white Niles. It may well have brought down microcosms known as flagellates and associated bacteria. As well as making the water red in colour these would cause the death of fish on a large scale and cause the waters to stink. Pfisteria live in fresh water and secret neurotoxins, which kill fish and eat away their flesh. The toxins turn the water red when released.

The second plague was frogs (tz’fahr’day-a). Exodus ch 8 v 1-15. This was an attack on Heka (Heqt) the toad goddess, wife of Knepfh (Khnum), who was the goddess of the land and resurrection and procreative powers. Frogs and toads were very sacred to the Egyptians. They were consecrated to Osiris and were symbols of inspiration. If a man killed a frog, even unintentionally, he was punishable by death.

The cause. Toads and frogs lay relatively small clutches of eggs but toads can lay millions of eggs. With fewer fish to eat the toads’ eggs, the population exploded. The decomposing fish along the banks of the Nile would have polluted and infected the usual feeding places of the frogs and toads. The frogs and toads then came onto the land attracted to the heat and light of the house fires, which attract insects for them to eat. So the frogs infested the buildings and died and decayed there.

The third plague was gnats (kinnim) Exodus ch 8 v 16-19. This was an attack on Geb, the great cackler who was god of the earth and vegetation. He was the father of Osiris and the husband of Nut.

The cause. “Lice” was a general term since the concept of categorising plants and animals was introduced by Aristotle 1000 years later. Midges or mosquitoes (NoSeeEms) bite people but not livestock. They are poor fliers and were limited to fifty yards from the shore where they breed on water. The exceptionally high river may have increased their breeding. So they would attack the Egyptians living alongside the Nile but not the Hebrews who lived away from the River.

The fourth plague was flies (arov) Exodus ch 8 v 20-32. This was an attack on Khepfi, who was the god of insects.

The cause. In the climatic conditions the stable flies bred at an exceptional rate. They bred on the decaying vegetation along the banks of the Nile and did not affect the Hebrews living inland.

The fifth plague was livestock (dever). Exodus ch 9 v 1-7. This was an attack on Apis, who was the bull god. His counterpart was Hathor the cow goddess. Their place of worship was at On (Heliopolis). The Egyptians held many beats in idolatrous veneration. The lion, wolf, dog, cat, ape and goat were very sacred to them but especially the ox, heifer and ram. (Khnum.) The soul of their god Osiris was believed to reside in the body of the bull Apis. Mnevis, the bull god was a symbol of fertility.

The cause. The cattle but not the people suffered a sickness. The blue tongue or African house sickness was common in the area. This may be a form of anthrax arising from the death of the frogs and toads in the fields. These sicknesses are spread by insects. If the Hebrew cattle were held in stalls and not in the fields they would not have been infected.

The sixth plague was boils (sh’chir). Exodus ch 9 v 8-12. This was an attack on Thoth (Imhotep) who was the god of medicine and intelligence/wisdom. The Egyptians had several medical deities to whom on special occasions they sacrificed humans. The people were burned alive on a high altar and Mosheh took ashes from the furnace and cast them into the air. As the ashes were scattered by the wind, descending on the priests, people and beast they were believed to bring a blessing to them.

The cause. The now unknown disease of glanders is spread by stable flies and only infects people. The flies feeding on the decaying frogs and cattle would bite people and infect them. The boils particularly affected hands and feet. This may explain why the magicians could not stand before Moses.

The seventh plague was hail (barad). Exodus ch 9 v 13-35. This was an attack on Nut, who was the sky goddess. This was harvest time – the time of plenty. It was also an attack on Isis the goddess of life and Seth the protector of crops.

The cause. A hailstorm destroyed the crops. Hailstorms are rare in Egypt but happen every 20-30 years on average. The crops of barley and flax were flattened and destroyed.

The eighth plague was locust (arbeh) Exodus ch 10 v 1-20. This was an attack on Anubis, who was the god of the fields, especially cemeteries. This plague finishes up the work, which was done by the hail. The locusts devoured every herb of the land and the fruit of the trees. This was also an attack on Isis, protector against locust and Seth the protector of crops.

The cause. The high rainfall in Ethiopia and Sudan, which gave rise to the flood of the Nile gave favourable conditions for a plague of locusts, which would have been driven up the Nile Valley into Egypt by the east wind. The locusts would eat the rest of the crops. Locust droppings would have contaminated the fields and the remaining grain.

The ninth plague was darkness (choshekh). Exodus ch 10 v 21-29. This was an attack on Ra or Amon-Re the sun god. Darkness was considered a creation of Seth and it seemed like he had defeated and killed Re the sun god. At the same time as the Egyptians had darkness, the Hebrews had light because they lived inland away from the River Nile. Re was believed to be the father of all the Pharaohs.

The cause. A severe sandstorm – khamsin – brings darkness by blotting out the sun. Cloudless skies are the norm in Egypt. The dried out red earth brought down by the Nile from Ethiopia and Sudan would have increased the darkness.

The tenth plague was death of the first-born (makkat b’khorot). Exodus ch s 11 and 12. This was an attack on Pharaoh, who was the god king. Pharaoh considered himself a god and his first born who would succeed him to the throne was also a god. The first-born people and animals were often worshipped. Pharaoh was considered an incarnation of Ra the sun god and Osiris the giver of life. So when his son died it was as if a god of Egypt had died.

The cause. There was a tradition that the first-born received double rations of whatever food was available. The nation was in a drought situation. Wet crops buried in granaries under a heavy layer of sand from the sandstorm would have started to rot. The high levels of cellulose in grain would be an ideal growth medium for fungus, which would contain mycotoxins. Mycotoxins cause internal bleeding in the lungs and the patient dies without any externally visible cause. Only the first born with their double rations would have eaten the lethal quantity of food. Pharaoh had been warned but it is difficult to change or give up traditions, which are entrenched in society. Pharaoh would not have known the danger of lung disease from eating the damaged crops.

There were many local gods in Egypt. The nearest thing to a truly national religion was the cult of Osiris with his wife Isis and their son Horus. The king Osiris was believed to have been murdered by his wicked brother Seth, after which he became the ruler of the realm of the dead. Osiris triumphed in the person of his posthumous son and avenger Horus, who with the support of his mother Isis gained his father’s kingship on Earth. Osiris was also linked with the annual rise of the Nile with rebirth of life. (This family is similar to the Babylonian mystery religion surrounding Nimrod, his wife and son Tammuz.

In the plagues God was passing judgement on the people of Egypt for their false religion. Instead of giving praise to Him as provider of the waters of the Nile and every aspect of life, they worshipped false gods even when He demonstrated His power through Moses. It is a lesson and a warning to all peoples throughout history of the dangers of ignoring the true living God.

Themes of the books

Themes of the Books of the Bible.

 

ACTS. The acts of the risen Jesus. The work, which Jesus began to do, is continued by His Disciples through the power of the Holy Spirit.

 

AMOS. National sin leads to national judgement. Nations are judged in this World and in time and are punished by God.

 

FIRST CHRONICLES. God is the sovereign Lord of all, blessing obedience and punishing disobedience.

 

SECOND CHRONICLES. The secret of living a victorious life is seeking the Lord and serving Him.

 

COLOSSIANS. The supremacy and dignity of Christ.

 

FIRST CORINTHIANS. The Lordship of Christ.

 

SECOND CORINTHIANS. Comfort for the people of God.

 

DANIEL. God is sovereign over the affairs of men. He raises up empires and He brings down empires. He honours those who trust in Him and preserves their lives.

 

DEUTERONOMY. The true motive for obedience and the necessity for obedience, if there is to be a successful life for an individual or a nation.

 

ECCLESIASTES. Apart from God, the World is full of weariness and disappointment. Humanism does not honour God or lead to satisfaction.

 

EPHESIANS. A treatise about the Church, its creation, its function, its purpose.

 

ESTHER. The reality of divine providence. Quietly God provides for people, even though they do not publicly acknowledge Him.

 

EXODUS. God’s method of delivering sinful man by the redemption by blood and His gracious and glorious provision in rescuing man.

 

EZEKIEL. God is good to those who put their trust in Him but brings severe punishment to those who reject Him. His own people face punishment for their sin.

 

EZRA. The place and power of the Word of God in the religious, social and civil life of His people.

 

GALATIANS. Jesus is the deliverer from the demands of the moral law and mere externalism and leading into glorious liberty.

 

GENESIS. The failure of man under every condition met by the grace of God, who plans salvation for mankind before the foundation of the World.

 

HABAKKUK. God is consistent with His Word and allows evil for His own purposes. God punishes for the purpose of bringing to salvation.

 

HAGGAI. It is essential to put God first in life. Haggai was a model worker for God.

 

HEBREWS. The cure for faintheartedness and backsliding is a right conception of the glory and work of Christ.

 

HOSEA. An explanation of the method of God in the restoration of those of His people who have backslidden.

 

ISAIAH. God’s plan of salvation for the nation of Israel through judgement and grace.

 

JAMES. Real faith is demonstrated by works.

 

JEREMIAH. The certainty of God’s judgement because of sin, yet the tenderness and eternity of the love of God.

 

JOB. Trials and suffering sometimes come for education and purification and not always as chastisement. The book is about the mystery of suffering.

 

JOEL. The value and importance of repentance. Access to God and the outpouring of blessings follow true repentance.

 

JOHN. Jesus as the eternal Son of God, the very revelation of God.

 

1 JOHN. The life of fellowship with God – its joyfulness, victory, safety and certainty.

 

2 JOHN. Truth must be received, obeyed and cherished at all costs.

 

JONAH. God is the God of the Gentiles as well as the Jews. The believer is responsible for the storms of life, when he is in rebellion against God.

 

JOSHUA. The faithfulness of God as He fulfils His promises and carries out His purposes despite the sinfulness and frailty of man.

 

JUDE. The duty of man in view of apostasy is to keep the faith and trust in order to be kept from stumbling.

 

JUDGES. Man’s inclination to wander away from God and His ways, the consequences for man’s chosen isolation from God and God’s grace in pursuing and restoring backsliders.

 

FIRST KINGS. Through all the activities of man, God is sovereign and the ruler of Israel, blessing obedience and punishing disobedience and forgiving the penitent.

 

SECOND KINGS. God will fulfil His Word, regardless of the disobedience of man, his inclination to take the reigns of his own life and even to defy the purposes of God.

 

LAMENTATIONS. The misery, which sin brings. The love and compassion of God for those who are the subject of His wrath.

 

LEVITICUS. The plan of God that mankind would have access to Him through the shedding of blood, leading to the holiness of man as an imperative of God.

 

LUKE. Jesus as the ideal man.

 

MALACHI. Remember the love of God. Repent of your sins. Return to God. Rehearse His love, grace, and promised coming to you.

 

MARK. Who is this man Jesus and by what authority does He speak and perform miracles? Jesus in the role of the servant of mankind.

 

MATTHEW. Jesus as the Messiah King in fulfilment of the Scriptures.

 

MICAH. God’s hatred of injustice and ritualism and His love of pardoning.

 

NAHUM. The awful doom of the apostate. Ch 3 v 19. “Your wound is too deep to heal.” All that God can do to an apostate nation is to destroy it.

 

NEHEMIAH. Conditions for successful work for God – pain, prayer and perseverance. A man full of self-denying labours for God.

 

NUMBERS. Unbelief leads to failure in the service of the Lord. The Hebrews complained about the food, the way, the leader, the land, God’s appointments, thirst and God’s provision for them.

 

OBADIAH. Solemn warnings against the perils of pride and opposition to the people of God. God will defend His people and wipe out His enemies in the fullness of time.

 

FIRST PETER. How a believer may be able to suffer patiently, welcoming trials and difficulties, while being joyful and giving glory to God.

 

SECOND PETER. How to be pure and loyal to God during times of corruption and apostasy.

 

PHILEMON. The practice of Christian forgiveness is enforced and illustrated.

 

PHILIPPIANS. Christian unity is to be maintained at all cost. Be content and rejoice in all circumstances of life.

 

PROVERBS. Godliness is intensely practical. The wise man listens to the Word of God and obeys is to his benefit. The foolish man ignores the Word to his detriment.

 

PSALMS. God gives man the words to say to God, when man is unable to express his own thoughts and innermost feelings, considering himself inadequate to speak to God.

 

REVELATION. Jesus, the glorious and triumphant ruler of the Universe holds the future of the World in His hands and will triumph over all the principalities and powers. Hold on, brother – it is worthwhile, even though at times the wicked seem to prosper.

 

ROMANS. The righteous shall live by faith in Jesus. How man is justified and the consequences of living by faith. The place of the Jewish people in God’s plan of salvation.

 

RUTH. Rest through redemption and grace – following union with our redeemer.

 

FIRST SAMUEL. The place of prayer and the power of prayer in all experiences of life.

 

SECOND SAMUEL. David’s fall. Be sure that your sins will find you out and bring you low.

 

SONG OF SOLOMON. A love song to celebrate the love of Jesus for His people. It is necessary that the people respond to that love and the consequences of their doing so.

 

FIRST THESSSALONIANS. The Lord is returning to gather His own people. Written to correct some erroneous views about the return of Jesus.

 

SECOND THESSALONIANS. Certain events must take place before the return of the Lord. The delay gives mankind time to put certain things right before the return and the judgement.

 

FIRST TIMOTHY. The believer is chosen and sent forth for the purpose of accomplishing something worthwhile for God.

 

SECOND TIMOTHY. The importance of loyalty to God and to truth despite persecution and apostasy.

 

TITUS. God’s ideal for the Christian Church and for Christian workers.

 

ZECHARIAH. If God’s people will repent and return to Him, He will graciously restore them to their land, their inheritance and their Messiah.

 

ZEPHANIAH. God is a jealous God. Because of His love for His people, He cannot stand a rival and must have whole-hearted devotion from His people.

The early Church

Factors unfavourable to the early Church.

1. Because they refused to worship any particular god, it was assumed that they claimed that there was no God. They were considered to be atheists.

2. Since there were no buildings, it was assumed that there was no God.

3. They were referred to as cannibals, since they spoke about eating the flesh and drinking the blood.

4. It was considered that there was incest taking place at their meetings, held behind closed doors in homes. They referred to one another as brothers and sisters and spoke about “love” in a way, which was foreign to the other people. In the eyes of pagan man “love” means only sexual relations. In 1 Cor ch 5 there was a real case of incest, which only furthered the accusations.

5. They separated from the World. As they turned their backs on society, so society turned its back on them. All literature was pagan. The Games involved brutality. Statues were idolatrous. The challenge is to be in the World but not part of it.

6. Christianity divided households and caused tension. The more pagan a family the more difficult it was for a new convert.

7. The believers gave others a guilty conscience and as a result the others lashed out with criticism to transfer their guilt to the believers.

 

Aids to the growth of the Church.

1. The Church fled before the destruction of Jerusalem in A. D. 70 as warned by Jesus.

2. Communications by road and sea were excellent in the Roman Empire. Merchants travelled.

3. There was unity of worship (no denominations) and good inter Church communication.

4. There was great religious loyalty on the part of the people.

5. It was a time of religious vitality and creativeness. There was universal faith in something and not all were fully committed to their religion.

6. The threat of heresy forced the Church to establish its own canon.

7. There was a common language (Greek and Aramaic) and common coinage in the Empire.

8. Judaism was collective and not individualistic.

9. It was not a time of apathy. People met in groups to discuss matters of importance.

10. Israel was at the centre of many countries, where trade routes converged and cultures mingled.

11. Several dominant factions were not respected by the people in Israel – Pharisees and Zealots.

12. There was freedom of movement within the Empire and private enterprise was favoured.

13. Jews were dispersed all over the Roman Empire. Paul found Jews wherever he went.

14. The Roman Empire dealt justly with all the citizens. Paul was entitled to appeal to Caesar.

15. Christians gained respect by their integrity.

16. With so many gods, the idea of one real God was attractive.

17. The idea of people being important to God and not as tools or numbers was attractive.

18. In prison Paul was able to write letters, which were carried to other parts of the Empire.

 

Hindrances to the growth of the Church.

1. False teaching like – Gnosticism and Marcionism.

2. Opposition by imperial authorities – persecution was widespread.

3. Pagan practices crept in as soon as pagans were converted and joined the Church.

4. There were so many religions – what was so special about another one?

5. Obligatory Emperor worship discouraged weaker believers.

6. Opposition by Pharisees and Sadducees and by Zealots and Essenes.

7. It was a time of materialism.

8. Due to mob rule it was easy to place the blame on believers, such as the fire of Rome.

9. Initially believers appeared to be self-righteous and judgemental.

10. There was widespread superstition and belief in fate.

11. There were many philosophical views, which had considerable respect.

12. Christianity caused divisions within families.

13. The spread of Christianity was prevented from going to the east due to the Parthians.

14. Fear of trouble led to those in positions of power – like Pilate – compromising and placating the other groups.

15. Authorities were afraid that the Gospel would change society and many liked the status quo.

 

Persecution arose from several areas.

1. The State. Forced labour – John on Patmos. Torture and imprisonment in the interests of avoiding any civil disorder. Forced to worship the Emperor. Destruction of buildings and Scriptures. Confiscation of property. Ridiculed and fed to wild animals.

2. Family. Rejection by families who wanted to distance themselves from new converts in case they were involved in persecution from the authorities. Some would be embarrassed.

3. Religious bodies. Religions were afraid of losing privileges from the State. The Jews encouraged mob violence and brought false charges against the believers.

4. The general public. Discrimination in jobs. There were protests against the believers and the authorities tended to ignore these.

 

The main Greek philosophies encountered were

1. Platoism. It downgraded the physical body and relationships.

2. Epicureanism. The object of a man’s life should be pleasure. Eat, drink and be merry.

3. Stoicism. It elevated self and human reason and made a virtue of self-control to face life.

4. Cynicism. It led to contempt for those in authority. It encouraged detachment from life and encouraged people to do without things.

5. Gnosticism. This was the belief that a man needed to be someone special with knowledge to get to Heaven by himself. It emphasised human wisdom and denied divine wisdom.

The Bible

Man can never plumb the depths of the Bible. It is like a many sided diamond. Every time man considers Bible he finds something new.

 

Consider some facts about the Bible.

1. No man on Earth can compare with Jesus.

2. Mohammed is in a tomb in Arabia. Jesus is alive.

3. Fulfilled promises. 735 have come true. The odds against the 100% accuracy of prophecy are billions to one.

4. Lives are changed by the reading of the Bible.

5. 19 centuries of determined attack have not stamped out the message of the Gospel. No one has ever proved an untruth.

6. The unity of the book. Written by 40 authors, in 66 separate books, each one unique and self-contained, over a period of 1,500 years, yet there is one single message. Imagine 40 different examination essays and they all contained the same message.

7. The superiority of the Bible’s teaching. It is in a different class from all other books. Other books have truth and error but the Bible has only truth. There is no moral truth omitted.

8. If all the other books in the World were lost and the Bible left man would be no worse off so far as moral truth is concerned. No book holds a candle to the Bible.

9. Jesus said that it was true and that it pointed to Him. The life He lived, the words He spoke, the works He did the fact of the resurrection prove it to be true, and His influence on history

10. It was written over 60 generations of man.

11. It was written partly in Africa, partly in Europe and partly in Asia.

12. It was written by 39 Jews and 1 Gentile – Dr Luke. These included Kings, Priests, peasants, philosophers, poets, fishermen, statesmen and scholars.

13. It was written partly in times of joy and partly in times of depression.

14. It was written partly in times of war and partly in times of peace.

15. It was written partly in Hebrew, partly in Greek and partly in Aramaic.

16. It is rooted in history – actual events at a specific time and in geography – specific identifiable places are mentioned.

17. It is written in different places: in the wilderness by Moses: in a Palace by Daniel: in a prison by Paul: while travelling by Luke. It was written partly in prison, partly in the wilderness, partly in a palace and partly while travelling.

18. Changed lives lived by those under its authority are a living testimony to the power of the Bible.

19. The inexhaustible depth of the book. More than mere man.

20. The Holy Spirit convinces the reader.

21. The Qur’an openly contradicts itself. The Bible does not.

22. It comprises 3 parts: revelation – commands – promises.

23. It includes psychology, family life, illness & economics.

 

Despite all that the Bible reads as one book – from beginning to end there is one unfolding story of God’s plan of salvation for mankind, through the person of Jesus Christ. It is impossible to understand the New Testament without recognising that its purpose was to supplement and explain the Hebrew Bible.

 

2 Tim ch 3 v 16-17. “All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”

 

The Bible tells that there was a beginning to the World. Man would not have known that, if God had not told him. Man is the pinnacle of God’s creation. In some schools the people are taught that man is descended from monkeys. As a man thinks, so he will behave – that is the principle of brainwashing. So if he thinks that he is descended from an animal, that is how he will behave – like an animal. Sadly some do behave just like an animal. Am I my keeper’s brother? Without the Bible, man is not aware of his beginning and his special role in the World. It tells also tells that the World will come to an end. Just how it will end is a specific study – not entirely relevant to day to day life, yet important, in view of the way humans are abusing God’s World and hastening the end. There are 1845 references to the Second Coming of Jesus. 318 in the New Testament and the rest in the Old Testament. In view of the prophecies, which have come true so far it is certain that the others will come true also. Man also learns a little of what happens after death.

 

The Bible is like a tree, rather than a building. It is complete in each book. In Genesis there is the whole Gospel. If it stood alone, it would not be incomplete. The Bible is progressive revelation. What can be seen of God is plain in creation. Rom ch 1. As each book is written, God reveals more of Himself. Each time He reveals Himself, He gives Himself a new name, telling man more about Him. The Bible is like an identikit picture. As the Bible is read it builds up a picture of God. Without the Bible man has at best a very hazy idea of God and His purposes for this World. The Bible tells man a lot about God – what pleases Him – what He thinks – what makes Him angry – what He wants man to do for Him.

The Bible deals with the physical World, the moral World and the Spiritual World.

 

The Bible is all about Jesus. The Old Testament looks forward to His coming to Earth. The New Testament tells man how He came, what He did, how He died and rose again and ascended and looks forward to His coming back a second time. It explains why Jesus came to Earth, what He achieved and what He is doing right now. Four words in the Old Testament and three in the New hold the key. Isaac said to his father Abraham at the time when Abraham offered his son as a sacrifice: “Where is the lamb?” John the Baptist, seeing Jesus coming, said: “Behold the Lamb!”

 

From time to time young men are taunted with the idea that it is soft to follow Jesus. Yet, Jesus was the toughest man who ever lived. It took a real man to stand up against the religious leaders who were leading the people astray and tell them that they were hypocrites. It took guts to stand up to the political leaders and claim that He was a king and that their position depended entirely on the grace of God – His Father – and not on their own strength. It took stamina to cope with the busy schedule Jesus undertook. It took bravery to face the criticism and lies against Him without flinching. He willingly underwent the cruellest death for others, despite the fact that He could have saved His own life. Never let anyone say that Jesus was not a tough man.

 

The Bible tells man about various covenants or deals, which God has made with mankind. First God made a covenant with Noah. Gen ch 9 v 8-17. God promised that He would never flood the Earth again. Then He made a covenant with Abraham. God promised that Abraham’s descendants would live in Canaan and that the Jewish people would always be a nation or a people. Then God made a covenant with the Jewish people at Mount Sinai. It is better to refer to them as the former or earlier and the later. The word “old” gives the impression that the first covenant is dead and finished. This is not true. Through Jesus, God made a new covenant with mankind, one, which embraces all who come to Jesus as Lord and Saviour. God is a covenant God. He keeps His word to mankind.

 

The Bible tells man about sin. There are three categories of sin. Each one is a personal affront or insult to God. Without the Bible man does not know either the seriousness of sin nor the remedy for it. It is like a mirror.

 

The Bible tells man about the physical World. It is not a part of God but is distinct from God. Once it did not exist. God created it out of nothing. It is temporary. What God has done once He can do again – whenever He likes.

 

The Bible tells man about how human beings should behave not only towards God but towards each other. It tells man about Judgement. Not only personal judgement but judgement of the nations. 40 chapters are devoted to God’s judgement of the nations. Britain is the 23rd Empire in the World. Each one has risen and fallen and the same characteristics have been present with each one.

 

The Bible tells man all he needs to know about salvation and his relationship with God. It lets man know a little about Heaven. Man has spoiled his body and the Earth, so perhaps God has decided to tell man very little about Heaven. Humans would only scoff at it. That is Father’s secret. It will be fantastic.

 

The Bible tells man about the supernatural. God is a supernatural God. It tells about the spirit World – about angels (there are 300 references to angels in the Bible) and fallen angels or demons, led by Satan. He is the enemy of mankind. He despises man and seeks to destroy him. Jesus tells man because He came to set mankind free from the power of Satan.

 

The Bible is primarily a book of truth. There is not a word of untruth in it. It guides man in his walk through life and explains about disease and emotional problems. It tells why there are wars and fights. 1900 years of unrelenting attack have not proved a single untruth. It is in a different class from all other books. Other books have some truth and some error. The Bible has only truth. If all the other books of the World were lost and only the Bible survived, man would be no worse off for moral truth. There is no moral truth missing in the Bible. The lives lived under its authority speak to the power of God flowing from its pages.

 

The Bible is the Word of God in that God speaks through its pages. Every experience man has ever had is recorded somewhere in the Bible. When man wants an answer from God, He, by His Spirit, will guide him to a passage, which is relevant. It is like a tutorial. Through the Bible man finds out what is God’s will for him. God hammers out His message on the anvil of history. In real situations He shows man what He is like and what He expects of mankind. He has largely used one small people – the Jewish people or Hebrews – through whom He has spoken to mankind. The Bible is largely written by Jews. Jesus Himself is a Jew. The Jews were chosen for a purpose – to bring salvation to the World. Jesus Himself said: Salvation is from the Jews.

 

The Bible guides man in the running of the Church or Fellowship. It provides rules for conduct of the meetings. It also tells how to form family relationships. It has a lot to say about daily work. There is a great deal about human bodies – what causes disease and how to bring about healing, not only physical, emotional and spiritual.

 

The Bible is a prophetic book. It tells in advance what will happen. There are over 800 prophecies. Of these 735 have come true already, exactly as God said they would. Man can trust God for the remaining ones – right up to the day when Jesus reappears in bodily form. The Bible says: ” No prophecy ever came by the impulse of man, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke form God.” 2 Pet ch 1 v 21.

 

In the pages of the Bible man finds answers to all the perplexing questions in life. “Why does this happen? Why do I feel as I do?” When man looks at the scriptures he finds some hard questions are asked of him. It is essential to keep an open mind to learn more from God and if necessary to wrestle with the truth.
Sadly, some believers, genuine and sincere, do not teach the whole Scriptures. Some teach only the New Testament and have little knowledge of the Old Testament, treating it as if it is irrelevant today. Some emphasise the basic doctrine of salvation to the exclusion of a great deal in the Scriptures. Some teach that the gifts of the Holy Spirit were for the first century Church only and are not available today. Some teach an emphasis on the moral dimension, leaving aside the supernatural dimension. Some deny that miracles are possible today. Yet every conversion is a miraculous event. Some teach that God has finished with Israel and that the Church is the new Israel. Some deny that God is interested in supernatural healing. Satan’s principal line of attack on believers is to teach them false doctrine. That way he has them at each other’s throats and causes divisions. Then the witness of the Church to the World is poor.

 

The Bible is revelation from God. Inspired by the Holy Spirit. Illuminated by the Holy Spirit. 1 Pet ch 1 v 17. Heb ch 12 v 2.

 

On judgement day man will be asked: ” Have you read my book? ” Those who are ignorant do not know that the hand of God is against them. It is very hard to find what is the will of God for man. The Devil has studied the Word of God and is able to quote it, but he does not quote it accurately. Carelessness will give him an opportunity to misquote, if man does not know and understand the Word, especially if it is quoted out of context. e. g. Ecc ch 1 v 4. When the J. Ws. refer to the 144,000, which passage in Rev do they mean – chapter 14 v 3 or chapter 7 v 4? Always examine the context. Believers need to know the whole of Scripture to counter the J. Ws.

 

“I believe the Bible because God created me.” Heb ch 1 v 2. Evolution is still only a theory. The Bible is fact. Man lives in a temporary home in this World. His real home is waiting for him after death. There is no lost eternity. There will be the lost in eternity. The wrath of God rests on the lost.

When discussing with those of other faiths it is important how believers justify being believers.

1. There is no point in saying to a Buddhist that “God lives in me.” They will say that they have enlightenment.

2. It is no good saying to a Muslim that the majority of people are Christians. They are not. There are more Muslims.

It is no good saying to a Chinese that Christianity is the oldest religion. Confucious is much older.

The answer is that the Bible is revelation from God, inspired by God and illuminated by the Holy Spirit.

God will never let His children go.

 

The Bible tells a great deal about God. What He thinks – what pleases Him – what He wants of each man.

 

The Bible tells who where man came from. That mankind had a beginning and that there is a supreme God, who not only created him, but cares for him.

 

The Bible tells man about the man Jesus who claimed to be God in human flesh. No man ever spoke like Jesus did. No man ever healed people like He did. No man ever taught with such authority. No man ever made the claims, which He did and proved them to be true. No man has ever laid his life down and taken it up again.

 

The Bible tells man a lot about why he behaves the way he does and why the World is in such a mess. Disease – pollution – war – famine – greed – corruption – poverty. God tells man why and what to do about it. God did not want it to be like this but human beings have sinned against God and rebelled against His authority.

 

The Bible tells man about the unseen spiritual World. Everything, which happens in the seen World is a manifestation of what happens in the unseen World. There are angels and demons and other kinds of spiritual beings. God is a spirit. Man is a spiritual being – in three parts. That is the way God created him.

 

The Bible tells man about what happens after death. Death is not the end. Man will face physical death but as a spirit man cannot die. God made man to last forever – either with Him in glory or out-with His presence in Hell. The choice belongs to each man. God declares that He would like everyone to be with Him, but sadly only those who are concerned for Him in this life will be with Him in Heaven after they die. That seems only fair. God is prepared to forgive man his sins but only on one condition – that he repents and accepts Jesus Christ as Lord of his life. It is the toughest decision any person can make – to follow Jesus Christ. He was the toughest of men. It took a real man to stand up to religious leaders who were full of hypocrisy and call them liars. It took guts to tell the political leaders that he was a king and that their position as leader depended on God’s grace and not their strength. They killed Him for his courage. But there was no other way – for sin has a price and that is death. Jesus was prepared to die for all men, so that they might be free from their sins. He came to set those in bondage free to worship Him – a tough decision.
The bulk of man’s information comes through word form and later man may meet the person. This gives personality to the words. God’s personality is revealed through the words of the Bible. There is a danger of trying to explain God’s plan. Man does not know other than what is revealed by Him. The two parts of the Bible belong together. They interpret each other. The Bible is an instrument in God’s hand.

 

God knew that man could never find Him by his own efforts and had He not sent Jesus man would still be lost in his sins. Religions all invite people to follow a set of teaching. Christianity invites people to come to a person. Those who hated Jesus did not get the idea that He was mad. They asked where He got His authority from. The religious leaders were exposed by Jesus. He made them feel ashamed and guilty of deception.

 

This book is free. People died that man might have salvation and be free from his sins. The very least a believer can do is to pass on the good news to others and to ensure that others have the opportunity to know Jesus for themselves. Read it.

Numerology

A major part of interpretation of the Bible is an understanding of the significance and meaning of the use of numbers. It is easy to forget that it is only within the last few hundred years that man has had availability to the written word. God spoke through the created World and also through the written Word passed on from one generation to another. But words can so easily be misquoted as Satan proved. If God knows the number of hairs on the head of each man and created life teeming in so many different species, why should He not only speak through the meanings of words and also through the numerical value of the words – like a giant code? Each word was inspired by the Holy Spirit.

 

In Latin there are letters with a numerical value – I = 1. V = 5. X = 10. L = 50. C = 100. D = 500. M = 1,000 Without M which was not used at the time when the New Testament was written in Greek, the total value of the numbers equals 666. The Old Testament was written in Hebrew, which has 22 characters and the New Testament was written in Greek, which has 24 characters. Although the language is different the numbers are the same. Each character has a numerical value. Each word has a numerical value. In Rev ch 13 v 18 Jesus advises His readers to understand the number of the Beast.

 

Bar Codes. Each bar code on tins and packets has a number. The bar at the beginning, the middle and the end is the number 6. Why was that number chosen? Because it is the number for man? So a trader cannot sell unless there is a bar code. A bar with the number 6 below it is the same as one with no six below it.

 

Every word has a numerical value. Jesus equals 888. Isaiah Ch 9 v 6. Jesus is called Wonderful. The value is 111 x 8 equals 888. Jesus reveals the secrets of numbers. He is the secret numberer. 1 Kings ch 6 v 19. The Holy of holies or the holiest of all. The number points to Jesus.

 

NUMBER 1. God. Deut ch 6 v 4. One conveys the unity and uniqueness of God. Job ch 23 v 13. God is one. Zech ch 14 v 9. The Lord will be one and His name one.

 

NUMBER 2. Divine witnesses. Deut ch 17 v 6. Revelation. Unity – a man and a woman make a new unit. At Sinai there were two tablets of stone. Ex ch 31 v 18. Num ch 35 v 20. 2 witnesses. Deut ch 19 v 15.

John ch 8 v 17. The testimony of 2 men is true. Acts ch 1 v 10. 2 men in white clothing. John ch 20 v 12. 2 angels were in the tomb. Gen ch 6 v 19. 2 of each animal went into the ark. Rev ch 1 v 16. Jesus is said to have had a 2- edged sword.

 

NUMBER 3. The Trinity. Mat ch 28 v 19. 1 John ch 5 v 8. Gen ch 18 v 2. 3 men came to Abraham.

 

NUMBER 4. The Earth. The Universe and all things, which are created. There are four elements – earth, fire, water and air. There are four regions of the Earth. There are four seasons of the year. There are four horsemen of the apocalypse. In Daniel there are four heads of the animal creation – the lion, the eagle, the ox and man. The fourth commandment refers to Earth. The fourth clause of the Lord’s Prayer mentions Earth. Isaiah ch 11 v 12. Mat ch 24 v 31. There were four rivers flowing out of Eden. Gen ch 2 v 10. It is a sign of completion. The four corners of the Earth. In Ezekiel ch 1 there are four living creatures. In Rev ch 4 v 6 there are four living creatures. Daniel sees four kingdoms spanning World history. The four names of Satan are the Devil – the Accuser – the Dragon – rebellious and apostate – the Old Serpent – seductive and Satan – personal. When Jesus fed the 4,000 there were 7 baskets left over. Four stands for the World. Jesus came to be the spiritual food of the whole World. There was the perfect amount left over.

Rev ch 9 v 14-5. 4 fallen angels were held at the Euphrates River.

Dan ch 8 v 4. 4 horns came in place of Alexander the Great.

Dan ch 7 v 3. 4 beasts represented 4 earthly powers.

 

NUMBER 5. Divine grace. Favour to the unworthy is Grace. Gen ch 17 v 5. Abram was renamed Abraham. The additional syllable was “hey” which is the figure five, standing for grace. All of the life of Abraham was of grace. The fifth kingdom in Daniel’s book is the Kingdom of Grace. The Hebrews came out of Egypt in ranks of five. In Egypt today the number five is associated with evil. 1 Sam ch 17 v 40. David chose five stones to fight Goliath with but the first was all he needed. In the tabernacle the number five is the all-pervading number.

 

NUMBER 6. Man in his imperfection. God created man on the sixth day. Gen ch 1 v 26-27. Rev ch 13 v 18. 666 is the number representing man constantly falling short of God’s standards.

 

NUMBER 7. Spiritual perfection. Gen ch 2 v 2-3. Rev ch 5 v 6. Joshua marched 7 times round Jericho. “How many times shall I forgive?” Seven times seventy. Jesus did 7 miracles on the Sabbath day. When Jesus fed the people the second time there were seven baskets left over – the spiritual food was perfectly adequate to feed the whole World.

Mark ch 16 v 9. 7 demons were cast out of Mary Magdalene.

Mat ch 12 v 45. 7 more evil spirits will enter.

Rev ch 1 v 4. The letters to the 7 Churches in Asia Minor.

 

NUMBER 8. The figure eight in Scripture always stands for a new beginning. The number for Jesus is 8 or 88 or 888 or 8888. Jesus is the new Adam and those who have Christ in them are a new creation.

(a) God created the World in six days and rested on the seventh day to admire His creation. The eighth day was a new beginning. Instead of the work of creation began a new work of living in relationship with His creatures, those made in His image.

(b) Circumcision was on the eighth day. This was the day when the clotting agency in the blood was at its maximum effectiveness. The child was dedicated to the Lord. This was a new covenant God was to make with the Jewish people.

(c) There were eight people on the ark. 1 Pet ch 3 v 20. Mankind was set for a new beginning after the flood.

(d) Jesse had 8 sons. David was the eighth son. He was chosen to be King of Israel. David was described as a man after God’s own heart. He burned with zeal for God.

(e) Resurrection. There are 8 people resurrected in the Bible.

(f) Science has proved that man can cope with seven things at one time. There are dials in an aircraft in groups of seven. After that man has to start a new group.

(g) Luke ch 9 v 28. The transfiguration. After teaching the Disciples many things, 8 days later Jesus took the inner group up a mountaintop so that they might have a new depth of understanding of who He was.

(h) Ezekiel ch 43 v 27. The priests made their offering on the eighth day.

(i) Bethlehem is mentioned 8 times in Scripture. It is the city of bread. Jesus said that He is the bread of Heaven

(j) There are 22 chapters and 404 verses in Revelation = 8888. Jesus warned against adding to or taking away from His revelation.

 

NUMBER 9. Divine judgement. Mark ch 15 v 34. Finality. Jesus died at the ninth hour. Mat ch 27 v 46. The words “God created Heaven and Earth” have a value of 999. Abraham was 99 when Isaac was born. 9 is the last number. The word Amen in Greek has a value of 99. The value of the wrath of God is 999. Blood is used 99 times in Scripture. The blood of Jesus is final. The pit of Hell is mentioned 9 times in Scripture. This number is held in great reverence by all who study the occult. It is significant of the conclusion of a matter. It is the summation of man’s works. It is the number of finality and judgement. It marks the completeness and issue of all things as to man – the judgement of man and all his works. (“my wrath” numbers 999.) There have been 27 sieges of Jerusalem. 3 x 9. The number of divine completeness = 3 and the number of judgement = 9. The 28th siege is in the future and will be by anti-Christ himself.

The fruit of the Spirit comprise nine graces and the gifts of the Spirit are nine in number. Wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, discerning of spirits, tongues, interpretation of tongues.

There are 9 persons stoned. There are 9 persons afflicted with blindness and 9 with leprosy.

 

NUMBER 10. Completeness of order. Legal perfection. Exodus ch 20 v 1-17. There are 10 Commandments and 10 passovers recorded. The reference to 1000 years in Revelation stands for the complete number of years between the fall of Satan and the destruction of Satan. 10 x 10 x 10 = 1000. Dan ch 7 v 7. The 10 horns representing the 10 kingdoms or 10 areas of the World.

 

NUMBER 11. This number marks disorder, disorganisation, incompleteness, imperfection and disintegration. Acts ch 1 v 15-26. A twelfth Disciple had to be found to replace Judas. There were 11 sub-tribes of Edom. Gen ch 36 v 40-43. Without Joseph, Jacob’s 11 sons were incomplete. The eleventh hour in Mat 20 v 6 is contrary to what is right in order and arrangement.

 

NUMBER 12. Israel. Perfection of government. Mat ch 19 v 28. Jacob had 12 sons – to rule the new nation. As a result there were 12 tribes of Israel chosen to govern the land of Canaan. Jesus chose 12 Disciples and as soon as Judas was killed the Disciples chose another to replace him. 12 x 12 x 10 x 10 x 10 = 144,000 will govern the Universe with Jesus. This is the perfect number, which God has elected to govern the Universe. The sun rules through its 360 degrees in the sign of the Zodiac. There were 12 patriarchs. There were 12 judges or saviours of Israel. The number 12 is the predominating number in the Temple. In the New Jerusalem there are 12 gates, 12 pearls and 12 angels. It is 12,000 furlongs square. Rev ch 7 v 4. the number 144,000 is the square of 12. 12 persons were anointed in Scripture for government of various kinds. Jesus was 12 when He first appeared in public. Gen ch 15 v 16. The 12 princes of Ishmael. Mat ch 26 v 53. Jesus could have called on 12 legions of angels.

 

NUMBER 13 is the number for rebellion, apostasy, defection, corruption, disintegration and revolution. Gen ch 14 v 4. Ishmael was 13 when Abraham circumcised him. He rebelled and rejected God. Gen ch 17 v 25. America was formed with 13 states, which rebelled against British rule.

 

NUMBER 15. Five is the number for grace and 3 is the number for divine perfection. Fifteen refers to acts brought about by the energy of divine grace.

Hezekiah’s reprieve from death was 15 years. 2 Kings ch 20 v 6.

In Esther the deliverance of the Jewish people was on the 15th day of the month. Esther ch 18 v 21.

Bethany where Lazarus was raised was 15 furlongs from Jerusalem. John ch 11 v 18.

The Feast of Tabernacles was on the 15th day of the 7th month. Lev ch 23 v 6.

 

NUMBER 17. There are 17 angelic appearances recorded in the Gospels and Acts.

 

NUMBER 30. 3 x 10 denotes a higher degree of perfection of the divine order at the right time.

Jesus was thirty years of age when he started His ministry. .

Ezekiel started his ministry at that age. Ezek ch 1 v 1.

David began to reign at thirty. 2 Sam ch 5 v 4.

Joseph was thirty when he entered the service of the King. Gen ch 41 v 46.

 

NUMBER 40. This number is used in association with a period of divine testing, probation, trial and chastisement. Deut ch 2 v 7. Heb ch 3 v 9. The birth of the Church was after 40 days during which God tested the Disciples to see if they could hold onto what had been revealed to them. Moses was 40 years in the wilderness being tested before God had stripped him of all worldly thinking. Jesus was forty days in the wilderness, being tested of God to see if as a human being He could handle temptation and to see if He was able to cope with the pressures of the Devil.. Mat ch 4 v 2. Ezekiel lay on his right side for 40 days. Ezekiel ch 4 v 6. In relation to probation it is 5 x 8. Grace (5) leading to a new thing (8). Mat ch 4 v 2. Moses in Egypt Acts ch 7 v 23 and in Midian Acts ch 7 v 30. In relation to enlarged dominion or extended rule it is 4 x 10. Gideon. Judges ch 8 v 28. Forty days occurs 8 times.

 

Hebrews ch 3 v 9. God waited for forty years while the people were in the wilderness.

Israel was 40 years in the wilderness as a punishment.

There were 40 years from the crucifixion to the destruction of Jerusalem.

Moses was on the mountain forty days after the golden calf. Deut ch 9 v 18 and 25. Ex ch 19 v 18.

Moses fasted on the mountain for 40 days. Ex ch 24 v 18.

Elijah was forty days at Horeb. 1 Kings ch 19 v 8.

Goliath ‘s defiance lasted for 40 days. 1 Sam ch 17 v 16.

The reigns of Saul, David and Solomon were each for forty years.

The spies were forty days spying out the land. Num ch 13 v 25 and Num ch 14 v 34.

Jonah warned Nineveh and predicted its destruction for forty days. Jonah ch 3 v 4.

The Jews were not permitted to administer more than 40 lashes in punishment. Deut ch 25 v 3.

Jesus appeared and was seen by His Disciples for 40 days after His resurrection Acts ch 1 v 3.

The rain lasted 40 days in the Flood. For 40 days the floods prevailed in the days of Noah. Gen ch 7 v 12.

 

NUMBER 42. This is the number for Anti-Christ. An important part of his career is to last for 42 months. Another number for him is 1260 = 30 x 42 or 3 ½ years or 42 months.

42 young men mocked Elisha. 2 Kings ch 2 v 23-24.

The number 42 has the multiple of 6 – the working out of man’s opposition to God. The saying “Sixes and sevens” may reflect when man is mixed up with the things of God and religious flesh engages in spiritual matters.

 

NUMBER 50. This is the number of jubilee or deliverance, when everything should return to its rightful owner. Lev ch 25 v 10. Luke ch 9 v 14. Jesus sat the people in groups of 50 as He taught them with a view to their deliverance.

 

NUMBER 51 is the number of divine revelation. There are 51 books in the Bible, which reveal the purpose and person of God.

 

SEVENTY. This is the combination of two of the perfect numbers – 7 and 10. It speaks of perfection and completeness. There were 70 sent out by Jesus to preach. Luke ch 10 v 1.

Moses appointed 70 elders. Ex ch 24 v 1.

Gen ch 46 v 27. 70 people – the issue of Leah and Rachel and their maids built up the nation of Israel.

In His death Jesus fulfilled 70 predictions concerning His death.

 

ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY. Gen ch 6 v 3. This number is made up of 3 X 40 and is a divinely appointed period of probation.

 

ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY THREE. John ch 21 v 11. The numerical value of the words “Sons of God,” which occurs 7 times in Scripture is 153. The total number of people who received a direct blessing from Jesus is 153. Jesus calls His people by name. The total number of the Sons of God are caught in the net by Jesus. The net is not broken so no one will escape of be lost.

 

TWO HUNDRED AND SEVENTY THREE. Num ch 3 v 46. Moses gives 273 as the number for redemption.

 

THREE HUNDRED AND THIRTY SEVEN. This is the number for Hell. There were 337 snake gods on the gates of Babylon, through which the Israelites entered in 586 B. C.

 

SIX HUNDRED AND SIXTY SIX. Rev ch 13v 17-18. It is the number of a name. Six is the number of man falling short of the perfection of God. So the number 666 is man constantly falling short of the standard of God. The number 666 was the secret symbol of the ancient pagan mysteries connecting the worship of the Devil. The Roman numerals D 500 C 100 L 50 X 10 V 5 I 1 total 666. It marks the culmination of man’s opposition to God. 1 Sam ch 17. Goliath was 6 cubits high and had 6 pieces of armour and his spear weighed 600 shekels of iron. Nebuchadnezzar set up an image 60 cubits high and 6 cubits broad. Dan ch 3 v 1. The music was by 6 special instruments. One six is connected with the pride of fleshly might. Two sixes are connected with the pride of absolute dominion and three sixes are connected with the pride of Satanic guidance. The Assyrian Empire ruled for 666 years until conquered by Babylon.