Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Isaiah: The Miniature Bible

Bible critics have long attacked the book of Isaiah claiming that it was written by two or even three different Isaiahs. They claim that it is not possible for Isaiah to give such detailed prophecies, especially in the latter part of the book (for example, Cyrus being named 150 years before his birth in 44:28). They also point out the dramatic change in style of the last 27 chapters. Thus, the critics tell us that another Isaiah came along much later and wrote the last 27 chapters (after some of the prophesied events took place). This nonsense about a “deutero-Isaiah” is just another example of the UNBELIEVING approach to the Bible. Of course nothing in the word of God gives evidence for this theory. On the contrary, there is plenty of scriptural evidence that one Isaiah wrote all 66 chapters. Christ Himself quoted from BOTH sections (1-39 and 40-66) of Isaiah and attributed the quotes to one Isaiah (John 12:37-41). In the NT there are 21 quotes from the book of Isaiah that are attributed to one Isaiah. Ten of these quotes are from the first section and eleven are from the latter section. The scriptural explanation for the amazing detailed prophecies in the book of Isaiah is that “All scripture is given by inspiration of God” (2 Timothy 3:16) and "For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." (2 Peter 1:21). The obvious explanation for the change in style in chapters 40-66 is the fact that there is a change in theme. The same writer can use different styles when dealing with different themes. The layout of the book of Isaiah gives the critics reason to attack the Bible. Yet, the layout of the book of Isaiah also gives the Bible-believer another reason to believe the Bible! How can the same issue result in such different opinions? The answer is found in Isaiah 28:9, “Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts.” We must approach the word of God with a believing and humble spirit. 

About 2,300 years before the King James Bible was first printed, the exact order of its 66 books was revealed in the book of Isaiah. This went unnoticed until God lead men to insert chapter and verse divisions in the scripture and the KJB was printed. The 66 chapters of Isaiah correspond with the 66 books of the KJB. Some ignorant critic of the KJB might say, “The 1611 King James Version had the apocrypha in it and therefore had more than 66 books.” The apocrypha was inserted BETWEEN the OT and NT as a historical supplement and the translators did not consider it to be inspired scripture. There were translations that preceded the KJB that included the apocrypha as part of scripture and therefore had more than 66 books. There were also translations before the KJB that arranged the books of the Bible differently than the KJB. The Hebrew OT has the same books as the KJB but they were arranged differently (Chronicles is placed last) and some of the books were combined (for example, Samuel instead of 1 & 2 Samuel) so that it has less than 39 books. That the layout of the KJB was revealed in the book of Isaiah is more solid proof that the KJB is INSPIRED scripture. It is a supernatural Book. One critic said, "What about the modern versions, they have the same layout as the KJV, does that mean they are inspired also?" Yes, the modern versions do have the same layout as the KJB but that is because their translators/publishers copied it so that they might seem like bibles to the ignorant and deceived. That ALL of the modern English versions are corrupt is easily proven by simply comparing them with the KJB.

The “scholars” tell us that a translation cannot be inspired. They say that inspiration is limited to the original autographs, the word of God is only preserved in the original languages, and that our KJB is just an accurate translation of the preserved word of God. This “statement of faith” is not based on the Bible but theology books written by fallible men. The final authority of the “scholarship only” crowd is originals that they have never seen, Hebrew and Greek texts that they do not really understand, and the teachings of men. Nowhere in the Bible are we told that inspiration is limited to the originals or that a translation cannot be inspired. On the contrary, Paul said that Timothy had “holy scripture” in 2 Timothy 3:15. In the very next verse Paul says that “All scripture is given by inspiration of God”! Timothy did not have originals but a copy and more than likely a Greek translation of OT scripture. Inspiration is simply the process by which God’s Spirit gives man His words. Because the scripture is the word of God it is ALIVE. Jesus said, “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63). The Bible says in Hebrews 4:12, “For the word of God is quick and powerful”. We are to be “holding forth the word of LIFE” (Philippians 2:16). The Bible is the “word of life” because it is alive and gives life to those that believe it (1 Peter 1:23). To say that the KJB is not inspired but only preserved is like saying the KJB is a CORPSE. A dead body has no spirit (James 2:26) but it can be preserved like a mummy. To say that the KJB is preserved but not inspired is absurd. Why would God inspire scripture only to let it become a preserved DEAD body of words? The fact is, the KJB is both inspired and preserved. The Bible is “the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.” (1 Peter 1:23). Inspiration means the word of God “liveth” and preservation means that it “abideth” and BOTH is true FOREVER. One preacher criticized the above definition of inspiration by saying that it “does not square with any dictionary or with most Baptist preachers”. Well, this definition “squares” with the word of God! He also tried to invalidate this view by saying that it was only held by a “small group”. In these days of apostasy, I doubt that the majority is right on inspiration! This same preacher also said that the KJB was not given by inspiration but by the hard work of the translators! The KJB is the product of the Holy Spirit, not the ability of men. He used men to translate it, but it is a Divine Book. If you doubt that God REGIVES His word after the originals perish please study Jeremiah 36. Jeremiah 36:32 says, “Then took Jeremiah another roll, and gave it to Baruch the scribe, the son of Neriah; who wrote therein from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the book which Jehoiakim king of Judah had burned in the fire: and there were added besides unto them many like words.”

The bottom line is that the KJB (italicized words and all) is holy scripture given by inspiration of God. Now, let’s get back to considering the layout of Isaiah. Consider these amazing facts:

1. Isaiah has 66 chapters – the KJB has 66 books
2. Isaiah has just over 30,000 words – the KJB has just over 30,000 verses
3. Isaiah has 2 main sections – the KJB has 2 main sections
4. Isaiah’s 1st section has 39 chapters – the KJB’s 1st section has 39 books (OT)
5. Isaiah’s 2nd section has 27 chapters – the KJB’s 2nd section has 27 books (NT)
6. Isaiah’s 1st section has a general style of condemnation and ends with a curse (39:6-7) - The KJB’s first section has a general style of condemnation and ends with a curse (Malachi 4:6)
7. Isaiah’s second section has a general style of hope and begins with good news (40:1-5) -
The KJB’s second section has a general style of hope and begins with good news (Matthew 1:18-25)
8. Every chapter in Isaiah corresponds with every book of the KJB, in exact order! (e.g. Isaiah 1 = Genesis, Isaiah 2 = Exodus, etc…)

To prove #8 I will give you 11 examples. One example might be a coincidence, but not 11! 

1. Compare Isaiah 1 with Genesis. Note in Isaiah 1:2a the words “heavens” and “earth” and compare Genesis 2:1. Note in Isaiah 1:2b that God brought up children that rebelled against Him and compare Genesis 3. Note in Isaiah 1:5 that the sin disease starts with the head and compare Rom. 5:12 (Adam was the head).
2. Compare Isaiah 2 with Exodus. Note in Isaiah 2:3 that God gives the law from a mountain and compare Exodus 19-31. Note that in Isaiah 2:2-5 that God sets up His kingdom with Israel over the nations and compare Exodus 19:5-6. Note in Isaiah 2:17-18 that God is exalted when He puts down the idols of men and compare with Ex. 9:14-16 (the plagues were judgments on idols in Egypt, Ex. 18:11).
3. Compare Isaiah 4 with Numbers. Note in Isaiah 4:5-6 the mention of the “cloud and smoke by day”, “flaming fire by night”, and “tabernacle” and compare with Num. 9:15-16.
4. Compare Isaiah 5 with Deuteronomy. Note in Isaiah 5:1-7 that in the parable of the God’s vineyard (Isaiah 5:1-7) God judges Israel because of its sin and note the “woes” pronounced on Israel (5:8-30) and compare with Deuteronomy 28:15-68.
5. Compare Isaiah 6 with Joshua. Six is the number of man and Joshua is the sixth book of the Bible. It is the first book that bears a man’s name. Joshua has six letters. The book of Joshua begins with the death of God’s man (Moses) and an appearance of Christ (5:13-15) to reassure Joshua about victory for Israel. In Isaiah 6 we see the death of God’s man (King Uzziah) and a vision of Christ to reassure Isaiah about the victory for Israel. In Joshua 1 God commissions Joshua and in Isaiah 6 God commissions Isaiah.
6. Compare Isaiah 39 with Malachi. Note that in Isaiah 39:6-7 the prophet announces a curse on Israel and compare with Malachi 3:9, 4:6.
7. Compare Isaiah 40 with Matthew. Note the prophecy of John the Baptist in Isaiah 40:3-5 and compare with Matthew 3:1-3.
8. Compare Isaiah 43 with John. Note in Isaiah 43:10-13 that God says “I am” several times and says He is the Saviour and compare with the many times Christ says “I am” in the book of John. John was written to show that Jesus was the Son of God and that He is the Saviour (John 20:30-31).
9. Compare Isaiah 44 with Acts. Note in Isaiah 44:3 that God says He will pour out His Spirit on the seed of Israel and compare with Acts 2:16-18.
10. Compare Isaiah 45 with Romans. Note in Isaiah 45:20-25 the words, “just”, “salvation”, “righteousness”, and “justified” and compare this with the fact that these are key words in Romans. Compare Isaiah 45:22 with Romans 3:29-30 and Isaiah 45:24 with Romans 3:21-26. 
11. Compare Isaiah 66 with Revelation. Compare Isaiah 66:15-16 with Revelation 19:11-21 and Isaiah 66:22 with Revelation 21:1. 

God chose a book written by a prophet to represent the whole Bible because the job of a prophet was to simply reveal God’s message to men. The Bible is God’s revelation to man. Every single chapter in Isaiah corresponds with every single book in the KJB in exact order. Some connections are harder to find than others, but they are there. The KJB has God’s supernatural fingerprints all over it because it is INSPIRED.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Buy the Truth

Proverbs 23:23
Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.
 
I don’t think Solomon is referring to all truth in general but to God’s truth in particular, because it is in His truth that we also find true wisdom, instruction, and understanding. The idea in this proverb is that we should seek to acquire the truth at any cost and then never part with it for any cause. The main purpose of selling something is to make a profit. But if you sold the truth of God’s word for all the money in the world you would take a major loss! There is nothing more valuable than the word of God (Prov. 8:10-11, 19; Ps. 119:72, 127).

The truth costs. If you don’t think so, just believe it with all your heart, live by it, preach it, defend it, stand for it, and see if it doesn’t cost! Before you are through it may cost you far more than you had thought. There is a difference between just mentally knowing the truth and buying it. To buy the truth it is to personally possess it deep within your heart. Many who mentally assent to truth won’t pay what it costs to say: “This is what I believe and stand for!” The truth isn’t worth that much to them.

Many in our society today, like Pilate of old, are cynical about truth (Jn. 18:37-38).
 
John 18:37-38
(37) Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.
(38) Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find in him no fault at all.
 
But God has revealed His truth to man and it is still available today (Jn. 14:6; 17:17). 
 
We must be all about the TRUTH! We are living in the last days of apostasy predicted by the apostle Paul. Most are deceived (2 Tim. 3:13). Apostasy is a willful denial and departure from the truth. Just as it was apostasy for Israel to depart from the truth that God revealed to them through His spokesman Moses, so it is apostasy in this age for believers to depart from the truth that God revealed to us through His spokesman the apostle Paul (2 Tim. 1:13-15). 
 
2 Timothy 1:13-15
(13) Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.
(14) That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.
(15) This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes.
 
In days of apostasy, the prophet Isaiah said that “truth is fallen in the street” (Isa. 59:14). Jeremiah said that there was none left in Jerusalem that was seeking the truth (5:1), that “truth is perished” (7:28), and that there was none that was “valiant for the truth” (9:3).

The British Prime Minister Winston Churchill said, “Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing happened.”  

Buy the Truth – at any cost
Not, “Buy it if you can get it at a bargain; if the price is not too great.” No, buy the truth at any cost! It is worth far more than anything you can give in exchange for it.

What it may cost:
1. Time and effort to learn the truth (Prov. 2:1-9; 2 Tim. 2:15)
2. Religious traditions (Mk. 7:5-9; Titus 1:14)
3. Religious self-righteousness (Phil. 3:7-9)
4. Reputation (Gal. 1:14; Acts 24:14; 26:24-25)
5. Relationships (Lk. 12:51-53; Gal. 4:16)
6. Ease
7. Life (multitudes of martyrs)

In 1521 Martin Luther was called before Roman Emperor Charles V at the Diet of Worms ("diet" meaning a formal meeting and Worms being a city south of Frankfurt). Luther thought he would have a chance to defend his ideas but Charles would only accept an ironclad recantation. Luther said, "Unless I am convinced by Scripture and plain reason - I do not accept the authority of the popes and councils, for they have contradicted each other - my conscience is captive to the word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I can do no other, so help me God." 

God used William Tyndale (1492-1536) in a great way to translate and publish the Bible in English. Forbidden to work in England, he translated and printed the NT and half the OT between 1525 and 1535 in Germany and the Low Countries. His pocket-sized Bible translations were smuggled into England, and then ruthlessly sought out by the Church, confiscated and destroyed. Condemned as a heretic, Tyndale was strangled and burned outside Brussels in 1536. On that stake he prayed, “Lord, open the king of England’s eyes." His work has survived. Much of Tyndale's work eventually found its way to the 1611 Authorized Version of the Bible. 
Here are some quotes from Tyndale:
· "I perceived how that it was impossible to establish the lay people in any truth except the Scripture were plainly laid before their eyes in their mother tongue."

· "I defy the Pope and all his laws. If God spare my life, ere many years I will cause a boy who drives the plough to know more of the scriptures than you do."

· "I call God to record against the day we shall appear before our Lord Jesus, that I never altered one syllable of God's word against my conscience, nor would do this day, if all that is in earth, whether it be honor, pleasure, or riches, might be given me."

· "My overcoat is worn out; my shirts also are worn out. And I ask to be allowed to have a lamp in the evening; it is indeed wearisome sitting alone in the dark."

Anything it may cost us to buy the truth is well worth it! Consider the supreme value of the truth. It brings:
1. Assurance of salvation (Eph. 1:13)
2. Real and lasting freedom (Jn. 8:32, 36; 2 Tim. 2:25-26)
3. Sanctification (Jn. 17:17)
4. Knowledge of God (1 Jn. 5:20) 
 
Sell it Not – for any cause 
He does not say: “Don’t sell it unless you can get a very good price for it.” He says: “Sell it not.” Sell it not at any price. Buy it, no matter what it costs and when it is yours do not sell it for any price or under any consideration. Many have bought the truth only to sell it out! For a while they valued and defended some God-given light from His word, but they sold it for something that seemed more valuable to them. They may still have given mental assent to it but it formed no part of them. It was no longer a conviction.

People sell the truth to “gain”:
1. Peace with others
2. Position, or promotion – One preacher admitted, “A man can’t make a living in his denomination if he doesn't hold to the traditions of his denomination.”
3. Popularity (Jn. 12:42-43)
4. Prosperity – there is money to be made in religion (Gal. 1:14)! 

What would you sell the truth for? Judas sold the truth for 30 pieces of silver. Where did it get him? 

It is because the truth is so little valued in this indifferent age, that many of God’s people have become so spiritually powerless. They hold opinions instead of convictions, because they have given the infallible, unchangeable word of God little place in their lives. God blesses and uses those who “buy the truth and sell it not.”

Of course, salvation is free to all sinners! We are saved freely by God’s grace through faith because Christ paid the full price with His blood. It is free to believe the gospel but it costs to stand for the gospel and faithfully preach it to others (just ask the apostle Paul).

 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Two Witnesses

Revelation 11:
3    And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.
4    These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.
5    And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed.
6    These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.
7    And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them.
8    And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.
9    And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves.
10    And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth.
11    And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them.
12    And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them.
13    And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven.

I. Their ministry (v.3-6)
II. Their death (v.7-10)
III. Their reward (v.11-12)
IV. Their avengement (v.13)

God said that things are established in the mouth of two or three witnesses (Deut. 17:6; 19:15). A witness is one who gives testimony (v.7) to what he knows to be true. The two witnesses will testify in the great tribulation (last 3 ½ years) against the antichrist, apostate Israel, and concerning the second coming of the true Christ. 

Jesus Christ is the faithful witness (Jn. 18:37; Rev. 1:5). There are a number of similarities between the two witnesses and the faithful witness (v.8 connects them). 
1) Ministry in great power (signs and wonders)
2) Ministry of 3 ½ years
3) Invincible until ministry completed 
4) Killed at Jerusalem through instrumentality of the son of perdition 
5) Enemies rejoice at their death
6) Raised on the third day
7) Earthquake accompanied death and resurrection 
8) Ascended in a cloud 

The two witnesses are represented by the olive tree and candlestick. Olive trees produce olive oil used in the candlestick to send forth light which is symbolic of the Holy Spirit (Zech. 4). 

There are two passages that settle it in my mind that the two witnesses are Moses and Elijah (representing the law and prophets): Mal. 4 and Matt. 17:1-13. Elijah and Moses were seen in their bodies on the mount of transfiguration. They talked with Christ concerning His decease that He would accomplish at Jerusalem (Lk. 9:30-31) and saw Him in His kingdom glory (Matt. 16:27-28; 2 Pet. 1:16-18). Therefore they are witnesses that the suffering servant is also the coming King. Elijah was taken up bodily into heaven (2 Kings 2:11). Moses died but his body was taken by Michael the archangel (Jude 9).  

Both Moses and Elijah:
1. Were great prophets (Deut. 18:15-19; Mal. 4:5-6)
2. Stood before God (Ps. 106:23; 1 Kings 17:1)
3. Preached to types of the Antichrist (Pharaoh and Ahab)
4. Destroyed their enemies with fire (Num. 16:35; 2 Kings 1)
5. Smote the earth with plagues (Exodus 7-13; Jam. 5:17)
6. Mentioned together in the last chapter of the OT in the context of the coming day of the LORD (Mal. 4)
7. Were with Christ on the mount of transfiguration (Matt. 17) 

Monday, August 4, 2014

Adoption

Romans 8:14-15
(14) For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
(15) For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father
.
 
The word adoption is not used here in the sense of making someone a child who was not born into the family. We were born into the family of God upon salvation. Adoption is about position rather than relationship. It is the full placement as a son. It has to do with position and the rights, privileges, and responsibilities that come with that position.

Galatians 4:1-7
(1) Now I say, That the heir, as long as he is a child, differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all;
(2) But is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father.
(3) Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world:
(4) But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,
(5) To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.
(6) And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.
(7) Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.
 
Being complete in Christ we have this position now but we have yet to fully enter into the experience of all that it means to be a son of God. The apostle Paul speaks of adoption in relation to the body of Christ in three passages and applies it in three tenses.

1) As to the past, we were predestinated unto adoption (Eph. 1:3-6)
2) As to the present, we now have the Spirit of adoption (Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:5-6)
3) As to the future, we are waiting for adoption (Rom. 8:23)

"Abba" is Aramaic and is an intimate term for father, like our English word “daddy”. This is what Jesus called the Father when He was praying in Gethsemane (Mk. 14:36). We are accepted in the beloved!
 
Mark 1:11
And there came a voice from heaven, saying, Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
 
Ephesians 1:6
To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.


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