Lesson #3 ~ Gossip

Harnessing the Power of the Tongue

For the Glory of God

Key Verses:  Proverbs 18:21, Psalm 141:3, Psalm 19:14

Lesson #3 ~ Gossip

Prologue:  I was again surprised at how honest those in the class were at discussing their propensity to gossip.  I started off subtle though.  Can you think of a time when someone gossiped about you?  But here is the reverse:  Can you think of a time when you gossiped about someone else?  I read the definition for gossip out of the dictionary and added a bit from a couple of verses from the Proverbs.  Everyone realized that they have gossiped at one point and that it is a sin.

Have you ever talked about someone in a negative way when they were not around?

Do you think there is a gossip problem at Evanston?

I.  The Definition of Gossip

                A.  Exodus 23:1 ~ Spreading a false report.  Gossip can be a subtle form of lying and goes against the law of love.

                B.  Leviticus 19:16 ~ The word translated talebearer can also mean slanderer or scandal-monger.  Notice the context.  Verse 14 forbids harmful things to the deaf or blind.  Verse 15 forbids prejudice against the poor.  Verse 16 forbids gossip and slander.  Verse 17 forbids hatred in our heart against our neighbor.  Verse 18 is the second greatest commandment.  Gossip is breaking that commandment.  Do you want people gossiping about you?

II.  Warnings for the Church

                A.  II Corinthians 12:20 ~ All the things Paul did NOT want to find in the church.  How many are connected to the tongue?  James 4:1-3 traces these sins of the tongue to the heart.  Note:  In each lesson, I tried to include how the condition of the heart affects how we use our tongues.  Gossip can be traced back to a certain heart condition or conditions.

ESVKJVGreek WordMeaningsNotes
QuarrelingsDebatesErisContention, strife, wranglings 
JealousyEnvyingsZelosZealous, envious, contentious rivalry 
AngerWrathsThumosWrath, passion, anger, heat 
HostilityStrifesEritheiaElectioneering, partisanshipNote #1
SlanderBackbitingsKatalaliaDefamation, evil speaking 
ConceitSwellingsPhusiosisInflation, loftiness, pridePuffing up soul
DisorderTumultsAkatastasiaInstability, disorder, disturbanceNote #2

                B.  I Peter 2:1 ~ Gossip has a little sister named Slander. 

ESVKJVGreek WordMeaningsNotes
MaliceMaliceKakiaMalice, wickedness, evil 
DeceitGuileDolosDeceit, guile, craftCrafty
HypocrisyHypocrisiesHupokrisisPlay acting, dissimulation 
SlanderEvil SpeakingsKatalaliaDefamation, evil speaking 

                C.  James 4:11-12 ~ When you speak evil of your brother, you place yourself above him.  Note:  I got a little bit of negative feedback on this one.  There was one person in the class who seemed to want to justify saying something negative about other people.  The scripture here seems clear.  If you are critiquing someone, you are making yourself that person’s judge.  However, this passage goes even a step further and states when you do this you are making yourself a judge of the law, meaning placing yourself above the word of God.  Tough words here about something we all have done.

II.  What does a gossip do?  Note:  I cannot find a more comprehensive passage about gossip than Proverbs 26:17-28.  We broke this down verse by verse, but as a whole it has much to teach us.

                A.  Proverbs 26:17-28 ~ The Gossip and all that he/she does.

                                1.  Verse 17 ~ Does not mind their own business.

                                2.  Verses 18-19 ~ Says something hurtful, but then says it’s a joke.

                                3.  Verse 20 ~ Gossip starts arguments.

                                4.  Verse 21 ~ Arguments keep contentious conflict alive.

                                5.  Verse 22 ~ Dual meaning, gossip is like delicious morsels to those who love gossip, but for the person enduring the gossip, it is like wounds deep to the heart.

                                6.  Verse 23 ~ An earthen vessel was cheap and expendable.  To put a glaze over it would give the appearance of a quality drinking vessel, but underneath it was still cheap.

                                7.  Verse 24 ~ Gossip can sound pleasant, but it’s only a disguise.

                                8.  Verse 25 ~ When a gossip is speaking pleasantly, do not believe them because their heart has not changed.

                                9.  Verse 26 ~ Gossips will eventually be exposed, but we are warned about fakes.

                                10.  Verse 27 ~ Gossip will backfire on anyone who uses it.

                                11.  Verse 28 ~ Lies, flattery, and gossip are all destructive in nature.

                B.  Gossip can be factually true.  Sometimes it is information entrusted to you.

                                1.  Gossips tell, faithful friends keep quiet, ~ Proverbs 11:12-13

                                2.  Best of friends can be separated over gossip ~ Proverbs 16:28

                                3.  Love keeps quiet and covers for a friend ~ Proverbs 17:9

                C.  How to spot a gossip

                                1.  Look for the opposite of love in I Corinthians 13.  They are impatient, unkind (with words), envious, boastful, arrogant, rude, want their own way, irritable, resentful (holds grudges), glad when bad things happen to people they don’t like, doesn’t put up with things.

                                2.  Look for lots of words ~ Proverbs 10:18-19

                                3.  Their words destroy ~ Proverbs 11:9

                                4.  Fights and arguments break out around them ~ Proverbs 18:6-8

                                5.  Can’t keep secrets ~ Proverbs 20:19

III.  Examples in Scripture

                A.  David’s Friend turned gossip ~ Psalm 41:4-10, I Samuel 24:9, I Samuel 26:17-20, Psalm 9-title

                B.  I Timothy 5:9-16 ~ Women are to manage the home rather than be gossips

IV.  How can we stop the gossip?

                A.  How can we stop our own tongue from gossiping?

                B.  How do we handle others when they come to us with gossip?

                C.  How can we love with every single word we say?

Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13

-The Orange Mailman

Note #1 ~ Greek word eritheia which means electioneering, partisanship.  This word is found before NT times only in Aristotle where it denotes a self-seeking pursuit of political office by unfair means.

Note #2 ~ Greek word akatastasia which means instability, a state of disorder, disturbance, or confusion.  The root word akatastatos means unstable, inconstant, restless.

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Lesson #2 ~ Lying

Lesson #2 ~ Lying

This is the second lesson in the series, Harnessing the Power of the Tongue for the Glory of God.

I was surprised at how honest everyone in the class was concerning the fact that we all tell lies.  I guess I was expecting an attitude of, “Before I became a Christian I had a problem, but now I always try to tell the truth.”  Everyone admitted that there is an ongoing battle that they face to be honest.  One of the admitted short comings was making a promise and then not keeping it.  Or perhaps saying to kids or grandkids, “I said no” but then 15 minutes later, “Well, I guess I can allow that.”  This lesson here continued the good discussion that we had about how difficult it is to control our tongues.  I tried in each lesson to take the sin of the tongue and trace it to a sin of the heart.  In this case, lying reveals hatred in our hearts, or maybe just lack of love.  We don’t value people so we don’t tell the whole truth.  Or we try to spin the story to make ourselves look good.  Again, this is an outline.  If you teach this you will need some good discussion questions to make this relevant to your group.

Lesson #2 ~ Lying

This is the most basic thing.  God doesn’t want us to lie, but we do; all the time.

I.  The Origin of Lies ~ John 8:44.  The devil is the father of lies.  He deceives the whole world with his lies, Revelation 12:9.  Genesis 3:1-5 tells the story of how he used the serpent to lie to Adam and Eve.  Notice that much of what the devil said is true.  Only a small fraction of what he presented to them is false.  Telling only part of the truth is what the devil uses to destroy our world.

II. The Ninth Commandment ~ Exodus 20:16, Deuteronomy 5:20.  They are called the ten commandments in a couple of places in scripture, Exodus 34:28, Deuteronomy 4:13, 10:4.  In the ten commandments, it is phrased as “do not bear false witness” which has to do with official proceedings such as in court or with officials (which business was done at the city gates in those days).  It could be rephrased, “If you are going to give an official testimony, make certain it is true.”  But there are many other scriptures that speak of being truthful with all of our words, not just when we give official testimony.

III.  Psalms and Proverbs concerning lying.

                A.  We all do it.  Romans 3:4 quotes Psalm 51:4 and concludes that every man is a liar.  How did Paul come to the conclusion that David was conveying this idea?  Study.  II Corinthians 4:4 states all who do not believe are blinded by Satan.

                B.  How to live a long, full life.  Psalm 34:12-14.  There is a question here.  Who wants to live a good, long life?  What is the command for those who want to love life and see many days?  Before the command to depart from evil and to do good is to control that tongue.  Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from deceit or guile.  This is such a basic part of the Christian life that this passage is quoted in I Peter 3:9-12.   

                C.  The Seven Deadly Sins!  Notice how 3 out of 7 have to do with our tongue, see Proverbs 6:16-19. 

#1- A proud look.

#2- A lying tongue.

#3- Hands that shed innocent blood.

#4- Hearts that devise wicked imaginations.

#5- Feet that run to evil.

#6- A false witness that speaks lies.

#7- He that spreads discord.

                D.  Proverbs 12:19 ~ The temporary nature of a lying tongue (compared to eternity).

                E.  The hatred behind lies.  Proverbs 26:28 ~ The lying tongue shows that it hates those about whom it lies.  If you have a falsehood, even if you are just twisting the truth ever so slightly to make yourself look good, you show that you hate the person because you don’t love them enough to tell the truth.  Flattery can be lies as well.  When we tell someone how great they are just to get on their good side, then flattery is a lie and it falls under the ninth commandment.

Note* We are going to be in Psalms and Proverbs quite a bit in this lesson series.  It is interesting that David wrote all of these songs (Psalms) which contain so much wisdom.  Then his son Solomon was the wisest man who ever lived.  He grew up singing all these songs that his father wrote which contained all this wisdom.  Then Solomon wrote and spoke all of these Proverbs which have many parallels in the Psalms.  Notice how our three key verses come from Psalms and Proverbs.  We are commanded to sing the wisdom of God, Colossians 3:16.  How would children turn out if all they sang were the truths of God?

IV.  The words of Christ.  Matthew 5:33-37 ~ If you promise to do something, you must do it.  If you do not do what you promised, you have lied, see Numbers 30 as a background for what Jesus was talking about.  Jesus spoke to this principle in the sermon on the Mount.  Apparently, by the time of Christ, people had tried to get out of fulfilling their word, or keeping their promise by saying something like, “I didn’t swear (take an oath) when I promised that.  I was just talking.”  There came about this saying not to swear falsely.  If you said something, then didn’t do it, but you hadn’t taken an oath, you were off the hook.  But Jesus raises the standard.  You shouldn’t have to take an oath saying “I promise”, or say, “My word is my bond.”  Anytime you say anything, anytime you tell someone you will do something, you should be so truthful that you should not have to say, “I’m officially taking an oath.  I promise.”

How many times do you tell your children or grandchildren something, but then change your mind?  When you say yes, let it mean yes.  When you say no, you should have a reputation that people will know, you mean no.

V.  The Apostle Paul.  Ephesians 4:25 ~ It’s not just to stop lying, but to always tell the truth (in love, Ephesians 4:15).  We must be truthful at all times especially with our Christian brothers and sisters.  The way out of lying is to always tell the truth.  One of the names of the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth, John 16:13, I John 4:6. (Note: I stressed that if we have the Holy Spirit, aka: The Spirit of Truth, then we will not lie.)

VI.  Ananias and Sapphira ~ Acts 4:31-5:11.  Ananias and Sapphira, two liars who brought judgment upon themselves.  It’s a sad story, but it didn’t have to be this way.  The unity of the church was amazing.  People were living for each other instead of for themselves.  Barnabas is pictured as a son of encouragement, laying down the full price of the piece of land.  He didn’t want any say over where the money went.  He completely trusted the apostles to distribute it to those in need.  Ananias and Sapphira also sold land, but kept back part.  But when they brought the money, they told Peter and others that they were bringing the full price of the land they sold.  There was nothing wrong with them keeping part of the price back for themselves.  After all, it belonged to them!  But the fact that they wanted to make a show in front of others and lie about it brought the judgment of God upon them.  Some facts:

1 ~ Ananias and Sapphira were filled with the Holy Spirit  and attested to the resurrection of Christ.

2 ~ The entire congregation was one, sharing everything.  They were a part of this family.

3 ~ Everyone trusted the apostles fully with any money they gave.

4 ~ What they said was mostly true.

5 ~ Peter pronounced the judgment of God upon them because they lied to the Holy Spirit and tested the Holy Spirit who was indwelling them.

6 ~ Peter said they could have done whatever they wanted to with the money, just not lie about it.

7 ~ The correction came in front of everyone who saw that they had lied.  This prompted godly fear.

8 ~ The unity of the church is threatened by any falsehood.

What are ways that we can begin to be truthful all the time?

When someone asks you a question, how about stopping to think before you answer?

Before making a promise, how can you evaluate whether or not you should commit?

Always strive to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
Have a genuine love for anyone you talk to.  Do not think you are above them in any way.

Have fun and stay busy ~ Luke 19:13

-The Orange Mailman

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1 Geek 4:11

My friend, Eric Anderson, wanted to promote our new book, The Fantastic 42. My subtitle idea won! Thank you to all who voted. The full title is The Fantastic 42: A Fellowship Facing Doom With Hope. The book is available on Amazon. The idea behind it is a 42 day Christian devotional based on lessons from all types of nerdiness and things we tend to get geeky about. I wrote 6 of the 42 entries. I highlight each one of them for at least a little bit in the podcast of which I was a part.

1 Geek 4:11 is a group of geeks that allowed us to almost completely dominate their podcast with what our book is about. There is quite a bit more about general things going on, so if you are not into some of these genres, like anime, Stargate, Dr. Who, The Witcher, etc., you may be scratching your head for the first half. Overall, this podcast will give you a very good idea what our book is about.

You will also find out about me personally. They allowed me to talk about me personally, along with how we used our ideas to point to lessons from the scriptures and Jesus Christ. If you have never met me in person, this is how I am. My microphone wasn’t the greatest. I’m the least techie person that was on the podcast. But you will get to know me if you watch this episode.

Here is the link and if you have any questions or want a copy of the book, please let me know. I will be giving them away.

Episode 182: Characters who Taught Us Spiritual Lessons with Eric and Darrin

Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13

-The Orange Mailman

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Harnessing the Power of the Tongue for the Glory of God

I have been convicted about the way I talk, the way I use my tongue.  Because the solution to committing sins with our tongues is not to simply stop talking, but to begin talking for the glory of God,  I wanted to teach a series of lessons on how we can control our tongues.  But it’s so hard!  I tend to complain, cut people down, talk foolishness….

I contacted a couple of different curriculum distributors for a series of lessons on controlling the tongue for God’s glory.  Nobody had anything like this.  One rep called me back.  He and I had a good discussion and he admitted that there really was no resource out there for what I had envisioned.  Then he added, “But you could write one.”  I thought, “I would if I wasn’t so busy.”  Then the pandemic hit and our church was shut down for 3 months.  During that time, I prayed and asked for God to show me how to teach a series of lessons on transforming our tongues from instruments of foolishness to glorifying God.  The result was a 12 lesson series titled, “Harnessing the Power of the Tongue for the Glory of God.”

This was a journey.  It was also personally quite convicting to teach this to my congregation; well, just to my Sunday School class.  Each week, as the teacher, knowing that I’m held to a higher standard, I spoke about how God wants us to use our tongues for His glory, and not for ourselves.  I started out with the negative things, like lying, gossiping, complaining, then we moved to areas where we have choices, like blessing or cursing, building people up or cutting people down, speaking wisdom or speaking foolishness, then finally we moved to the higher gifts where we speak completely for God such as teaching/preaching, praising, and evangelizing.  Everyone in the class seemed to identify with this struggle, which is very real.

What follows is the outline which can be used by just about anyone.  If you teach them, you need some good discussion questions to go with them.  I opened this lesson with the question, “What is one animal you would never want loose in your house?”  Answers ranged from bull, lion, and other large animals to snake, crocodile, or anything that creeps people out.  When I got to the part about the tongue being wilder than any wild animal, I made the salient point that your tongue, loose in your own home is worse than any animal you named.  Since the tongue is so deadly, and there is no license required to use it, this is the worst open carry firearm policy ever.  Your tongue kills.  So, without further ado, here is the first lesson in the series.

Harnessing the Power of the Tongue

For the Glory of God

Key Verses:  Proverbs 18:21, Psalm 141:3, Psalm 19:14

Lesson #1 ~ Controlling the Tongue

I.  The Fallen Nature of the Tongue ~ Romans 3:9-20.  We remember what the Apostle Paul wrote in this section of Romans primarily because of the Romans Road.  Romans 3:10, “As it is written, there is none righteous, no not one.”  Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”  But here in this passage there is so much content about the fallen nature of the tongue.  Let’s examine the passage.  Paul has demonstrated that the Gentiles are under sin by virtue of their conscience.  Now he asks the question, “Are we (Jews) better than they (them there Gentiles)?”  The answer is no and Paul starts quoting from the psalms to demonstrate the sinful nature of his own people.  The interesting thing is that the majority of what Paul writes condemns our tongue.

                A.  None righteous.  Romans 3:10-12 is a quotation from Psalm 14:1-3 and 53:1-3.

                B.  Open graves.  Romans 3:13a is a quotation from Psalm 5:9.  The open grave refers to a type of disposal place for dead bodies.  Oftentimes bodies would be placed in tombs, but if there wasn’t enough money or maybe in a time of battle when there were too many bodies to be properly buried, there would be an open pit where bodies would be dumped.  It would smell horrible with rotting dead bodies down there.  David and Paul compare our mouths to the stench of open graves.

                C.  Poisonous talk.  Romans 3:13b is a quotation from Psalm 140:3.  The poison of asps is under our lips.  There is no way to make this a good thing.  Vitriol is a good word to put here.  Poisonous talk is meant to poison.

                D.  Full of cursing and bitterness.  Romans 3:14 is a quotation from Psalm 10:7. 

                E.  Set on destruction.  Romans 3:15-17 is a quotation from Isaiah 59:7-8 and maybe Proverbs 1:16.  Not just our tongues, but our entire direction is bound to destroy.  The tongue is leading the charge with destructive words.

                F.  No fear of God.  Romans 3:18 is a quotation from Psalm 36:1.  If there is no fear of God, then we can say whatever we want.  The reverse is also true: if there is a fear of God, then we need to watch our tongues.

                G.  Conclusion:  When Paul gets to “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” he has been speaking about our tongues.  For all have sinned with their tongue by lying, speaking bitterly, and having poisonous words come out of our mouths.  That’s everybody.  No one is exempt.  Please don’t come to this set of lessons thinking, “I do pretty good with my words.”  We need to believe the Bible.  This is what the Bible has to say about the way we use our words.

II.  Harnessing the Power of the Tongue ~ James 3:1-12.  Before we get to our main text, James has had two little tidbits which serve as appetizers to the main course when it comes to controlling our tongues.  The first is in James 1:19-21.  We must be quick to hear and slow to speak.  James 1:26 has a phrase that will be repeated later, bridling our tongue.  The Greek word is chalinagogeo which is a compound word meaning to lead with a bridle.  If we do not lead our tongue with a bridle then our religion is empty.

                A.  Verses 1-2 ~ Bridling our bodies begins with the tongue.  The word bridle is here again.  If we can control our tongue, we will lead our whole body.  The example of Psalm 39.

                B.  Verse 3 ~ The example of the horse.  The bit in the mouth of the horse is what allows us to control the entire body of the horse.  Once we have control of the mouth of the horse, we can ride that horse great distances.  Do you want to accomplish great things with your whole body?  It will start by controlling your mouth.

                C.  Verse 4 ~ The example of the ship.  Look at how small that rudder is compared to the whole ship.  That rudder is the steering mechanism for the entire ship.  Large ship, strong winds, but a very small rudder.  If you have control of that rudder, you have control of the entire ship.  In the same way, if you have control of your very little tongue, you will control your entire body.

                D.  Verses 5-6 ~ The example of the forest fire.  We all remember Smoky the Bear.  “Only you can prevent forest fires.”  The idea is that forest fires are started by little campfires left unattended.  Thousands of acres are burned because of the carelessness of campers which starts with a very little, seemingly insignificant fire.  Those thousands of acres are nothing compared to the damage that the tongue does on a daily basis.  The words are used as flaming arrows to attack someone that they think is an enemy.  It stains our entire bodies, sets on fire the entire course of life, and is set on fire by hell itself.  Our entire world is on fire right now because of words, our words.

                E.  Verses 7-8 ~ The example of domestication.  Every type of animal can be trained in some way, but not the tongue.  There will be some horse whisperer, lion tamer, or snake charmer that can tame that wild beast.  But there is nothing that can tame the tongue.

                F.  Verses 9-12 ~ The divided nature of the Christian tongue.  With the same tongue we bless God, but curse men (who are created in the image of God).  Do you have something to negative to say about another person?  Guess what?  You are saying something negative about God since that person was created in the image of God.  A fountain will always send forth the same type of water.  It will always be sweet or bitter.  A fig tree will always bring forth figs.  In the same way, if we belong to God, we should always have sweet words on our tongues and not bitter.  That bitterness comes from the flesh, not from God.

III.  Pointing us in the right direction.

                A.  I Corinthians 13:1-2 ~ Without love, we are nothing.  We can speak with great words, even speak God’s messages (prophecy), but if we do not have love, we are nothing.

                B.  Psalm 45:1 ~ The pen of a ready writer, or the pen of a skilled scribe.  Our tongues could be used by God who is the most poetic (the Hebrew word means skilled) writer ever.  Do you want for your tongue to bring forth bitter words, or to bring forth the sweet words of God Himself?  God could use your tongue to bring forth words to shape this world for His purposes.

IV.  We will be judged by our words.  Matthew 12:33-37 and parallel passage in Luke 6:43-45.  Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.  Our words reveal what is in our hearts.  Bitter words reveal a bitter heart.  We will be judged for every idle word (the Greek words means lazy or perhaps careless) that we speak.  Matthew 15:1-20.  Out of the mouths come things that defile us because our hearts are sinful.

V.  How can we bridle our tongue?

                A.  Believe our tongue is a fallen untamed wild beast

                B.  Stop with the comments that burn

                C.  Begin to control the tongue

                D.  Allow God to write our words as they come off our tongue

Have fun and stay busy ~ Luke 19:13

-The Orange Mailman

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The Fantastic 42! Vote for me!

Two friends of mine have written two Christian devotionals, and for the third they asked me to be a part of it.  42 is the series; the idea was taken from The Hitchhiker’s Guide the Galaxy.  Each book is a 42-day devotional focusing on things we get nerdy about, such as Star Wars, Star Trek, Lord of the Rings, comic book heroes, Kaiju, etc.

They asked me to write six of the entries.  For those of you who have been following my blog, you know that I love Lord of the Rings, board games, comic strips, and a few other nerdy type things.  One of my entries in the upcoming book focuses on Aragorn from LOTR.  To remind you, here are a couple of my blog entries on LOTR.

Quotes from Lord of the Rings | The Orange Mailman (wordpress.com)

Lord of the Rings Communion Devotion | The Orange Mailman (wordpress.com)

My goal in posting this is to let you know so you can perhaps prepare to support my friends in their endeavor.  Plan on buying the book on Amazon.  If you would like, you can vote for a subtitle.  The main title will be The Fantastic 42!  Each of the other books had a subtitle.  They were

42: Discovering Faith through Fandom

The New 42: God Terraforms All Things

My suggestion for the subtitle was Facing Doom with Hope.  Eric and Nathan tweaked it to be A Fellowship Facing Doom with Hope.  The Fantastic 42 is a paronomasia of The Fantastic Four.  Since Eric and Nathan have brought in five others to help for this individual book, we are now a superhero team, like The Fantastic Four.  One of the main nemeses of F4 is Doctor Doom.  So my thinking was to build on that tension and lead into a spiritual conversation that way.  You can vote for the subtitle at this link here:

Vote on a Subtitle for The Fantastic 42! (google.com)

The content of this book is 42 character studies that will each lead you to see some biblical truth.  The way of salvation and the person of Jesus Christ are very clearly presented in these entries.  The Orange Mailman has an entry on eschatology as well, comparing Ragnarök to the end of the age.  When it comes out, if you don’t want to purchase it, I can send it to you for free.

But do me a favor, and go vote!  I want my suggestion for the subtitle to win!

Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13

-The Orange Mailman

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The Devil Came Calling

I wrote a poem titled The Devil Came Calling. I also preached a sermon titled Crucified with Christ in which I was able to use my poem. You can watch the message at this link here which my church posted on facebook. The poem is below.

The Devil

The devil came calling, the night of my death
He found me there helpless; I took my last breath

He was crafty and cunning, deceitful as e’er
The delights at his table were luscious and fair

This man had once devoured them all
But this was the time he ignored the call

The devil was puzzled, and thought to ask
“Why doesn’t he answer as in times past?

For so many nights he played the part
I pulled the strings on this work of art

My faithful client will surely respond
Of our time together I’ve grown so fond

I’ve so many plans; where did we leave off?
A pity ‘twould be if my servant were lost

Your friends await your witty jeers”
But his pleas for temptation fell on deaf ears

“Let’s joke with the rude, making fun of the weak
Some naughty remarks with tongue in cheek

Such dainty delights at the devil’s fine table
No fool can resist; no one is able

Come eat your fill, like you did before
You know you want to; then have some more

What fun we would have, giving ladies a glance
A little excitement, come join in the dance

Come eat the best food, and drink the best drink
Do what you want, and think what you think

Cruel remarks at another’s expense
Laughing out loud at foolish nonsense

What a waste to be dead to all his affection
My loyal disciple followed all my direction

Would you rather be up and dancing around
Or flat on your back not making a sound?

Deep down I know you’re the same old man
Unable to change, come follow my plan.”

The leash that Satan had used to guide
Was attached at the neck, and lay by his side

The chain was still fastened; it had not broke
‘Twould still prevail if he ever awoke

“If he would just get up, he cannot say no
All the passion would come; it surely would flow”

The devil not dissuaded that he could be beat
Tried ever and often to accomplish this feat

But the devil concluded: “he must truly be dead
He cannot be living; no more can be said”

The corpse that remained proved fruitless for him
As there was no power to pull him back in

He finally departed for lack of reaction
To dominate others still bound by attraction.

The Death

The devil came calling, and found a surprise
A man dead on a cross, unable to rise

So much potential for his dearest friend
But lifeless and cold, he had come to his end

He died prematurely; his life had ceased
Now dead with the Savior, he lay there in peace

Try as he might to get him to sin
He lay there dead, without and within

Plague-ridden filthy, and sinner he was
But peaceful and quiet, he would not budge

Lust-worthy, selfish, abominable acts
Were all in his past, and that was a fact

Astray from his birth in vain imagination
Bending his friends to manipulation

Cursing and lying, an occasional jest
Once spewed out his mouth at the devil’s behest

Demanding his way, and never gave grace
Gossip and slander to try to save face

Cut from the cloth of the devil himself
He walked in his steps, and wore his suit well

He would try his best, (as he broke his word)
With a pat on the back, the devil concurred

Even asleep, he did not rest
Constantly dreaming of lusts of the flesh

While the devil lamented incredible loss
He would not move from the old rugged cross

“I cannot go back to playing the fool
Thinking I’m good, not the devil’s tool

‘I’m better than most!’ I used to proclaim
‘I’m a good guy; I have a good name’ ”

Then he would provide those same filthy clothes
Foul rags for good works would again be exposed

As much as I thought my life was good
God showed me in truth: I don’t do what I should

The voice of God said, “Until your flesh dies
You have no part with eternal life

You must experience complete termination
Go to the cross with no hesitation

If you think that you’re good, and need not die too
Then the way of the cross is not for you.”

Then I cried out “Quick! I’ll take my last breath
The world will be better at the time of my death”

In one fell swoop, with victory won
This addict of sin was finally done

I laid down my life, and yielded to Him
Crucified with Christ, and now dead to sin

Totally overcome, broken and beat
Falling on Jesus, I lay at his feet.

The Dawn

The devil came calling, and what did he find?
A man to the cross – completely resigned

Perfectly content to lie there still
If it means not sinning, and doing God’s will

That dirty old man finally met his fate
Nailed to a cross, with the Savior who saves

All he had done, throughout all history
Concealed by the cross in beautiful mystery

Perverted emotions, and shameful disgrace
Once vagabond thieves, now nailed in place

The habits that streamed as water that flows
Like a dry riverbed, now lay in repose

Deserving of death, so I had received
Now crucified, I’m no longer deceived

With no yearning for sin, and penance instead
In this way I found – I was better off dead

Death warrant signed by my own hand
Not merely assent, but willful command

Heaven has won; the enemy lost
The might of the devil failed at the cross

What made the change in his failure to win?
Complete crucifixion of the body of sin

The night of the devil is finally past
Welcome the dawn; it has come at last

This fear I have: that I would revert
Back to the sinner who lies in the dirt

To raise up from the grave this man full of lust
And think by good deeds that he could be just

Boasting out loud, competing with greed
Desiring praise for a meaningless deed

With succulent fruit inside of his mouth
He’d surely concede, I haven’t a doubt

Scrub him up clean; dress him up nice!
A sinner he’ll be till the day that he dies!

Who would have believed if they were told
Beneath the façade he was empty and cold?

I am speaking the truth: stop living a lie
In order to live, we first must die

The hope that I will not concede to temptation
Is not in ability, but in emancipation

For delivery from sin: death is the cure
The blood of Jesus will make you pure

It is said that the dead no longer tell tales
Walk the plank to your death, before your ship sails

The story so great; the plan is so grand
My small finite mind simply can’t understand

Accept it by faith; believe the good news
He died for your sin; you’ve nothing to lose.

Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13

-The Orange Mailman

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The Commands of Jesus

The Gospel of Mark is an action book. It is full of commands of Jesus. In many situations, Jesus gave a command that was obeyed. Here are some examples.

1:17 And Jesus said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.”

1:25 But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent, and come out of him!”

This shows the authority of Jesus over all unclean spirits. Here is the reaction of those that witnessed this.

1:27 And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him.”

1:41 Moved with pity, He stretched out His hand and touched him and said to him, “I will; be clean.”

This shows the authority of Jesus over leprosy, usually contagious to those who touched someone with the disease.

2:5 And when Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”

This sparked a debate as to whether Jesus had the authority to forgive sins.

3:5 And He looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.”

I am avoiding many of the commands that Jesus gave to people because sometimes they did not obey, such as when Jesus commanded the leper not to tell anyone about what He did. Here, though, the command for the man to stretch out his hand seems intertwined with the healing. It’s as if Jesus was saying to stretch out his completely healed hand, which he did.

4:39 And He awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” 41 And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?”

Here is the command for the wind and sea to obey Him, which they do without protest. The disciples cannot fathom this power.

5: 7 And crying out with a loud voice, he said, “What have You to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I adjure You by God, do not torment me.” 8 For He was saying to him, “Come out of the man, you unclean spirit!” 9 And Jesus asked him, “What is your name?” He replied, “My name is Legion, for we are many.”

A host of devils cannot withstand the power of Jesus. In Matthew 8:32 it is the little word “Go” that sends them forth.

In the story of the daughter of Jairus and the woman with a flow of blood, here are the following commands.

5: 34 And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace, and be healed of your disease.”

5:36 “Do not fear, only believe.”

5:41 Taking her by the hand He said to her, “Talitha cumi,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.”

Even the dead obey him.

6:31 “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.”

A surprising command to rest.

6:50 “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.”

The command is to the disciples but the result is that the wind stops, and again the disciples are amazed.

7:29 And He said to her, “For this statement you may go your way; the demon has left your daughter.”

Not a command, really, but a statement of fact. It reveals His authority and knowledge at the same time.

7:34 And looking up to heaven, He sighed and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.”

This is said to the man who is deaf and most likely dumb. It is another one-word command, like Go, or Arise. The power was not in flowery speeches or in right word combinations, like casting a spell. The authority is in Jesus Christ Himself.

8:33 But turning and seeing His disciples, He rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind Me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”

Another demonic rebuke, but this time to the future leader (rock) of the church.

9:25 And when Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, He rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You mute and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.”

This was something the disciples had been empowered to do, but they could not. Jesus asserts His authority over the most entrenched of strongholds, one that had been there since childhood.

10:13 And they were bringing children to Him that He might touch them, and the disciples rebuked them. 14 But when Jesus saw it, He was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to Me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. 15 Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”

Let it happen. Stop stopping it from happening.

10: 21 And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”

I include this command to a person for two reasons. #1- It demonstrates the love of Jesus for this man in love with the world. #2- It demonstrates the authority of Jesus over who will receive treasure in heaven.

10:52 And Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he recovered his sight and followed Him on the way.

This is another command to a person as the authority of Jesus over ailments is demonstrated.

11:14 And He said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And His disciples heard it.

Now Jesus is talking to trees, and they obey.

11:20 As they passed by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered away to its roots. 21 And Peter remembered and said to Him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree that You cursed has withered.” 22 And Jesus answered them, “Have faith in God.”

And once again the disciples are amazed. Jesus always had complete faith in His Father to do what He commanded. This will make my final point quite poignant.

12:17 Jesus said to them, “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they marveled at Him.

He commands, and they are amazed.

13:33 “Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come. 34 It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to stay awake. 35 Therefore stay awake–for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning– 36 lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. 37 And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake.”

14:13 And He sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him.”

Jesus displays divine knowledge as He commands His disciples.

14:36 And He said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from Me.”

This is what I am struggling with and amazed by. Jesus makes a command to His Father, and it seems contrary to God’s will. Basically Jesus says, “You can do anything. And since You can do anything, take this away from me.” The other gospels do not word it quite this forcefully. It is in line with the commands that Jesus issues throughout the rest of Mark’s gospel. It is followed by the statement, “Nevertheless, not what I will, but what you will.” That doesn’t change the fact that Jesus told His Father to do something, literally commanded Him to take something away that was the Father’s will for Him to accomplish.

I think this demonstrates the sheer terror of the cross that Jesus faced humanly speaking. This was a man that flinched at nothing. Storms that could kill him, demons that overpowered everyone else, crowds wanting to stone Him, lepers that could infect Him, Jesus flinched at nothing. Until He arrives in Gethsemane.

Another point is that the power and authority that Jesus possesses flow from being in line with His Father’s will. All the other times that someone was healed or a miracle was done, it was the Father’s will. When the woman with an issue of blood was healed, Jesus seems to not know the details, as if it was done without His command. But it was the Father’s will. With this command in the garden, though, this is not in line with the Father’s will and therefore it is not done. It doesn’t stop Jesus from commanding multiple times, though.

Father! Anything is possible for you! So take it away!

I can’t get over this.

Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13

-The Orange Mailman

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The Salvation of the Gentiles in Romans 15:8-12

I wrote a series on Romans 15:8-12 some time ago.  There are so many presuppositions about the relationship between Israel and the church that are disproven by simply reading this passage and looking up the scriptures from the law, psalms, and prophets that are quoted.  I was still formulating my positions as I studied these passages.  These principles are much more solidified in my mind now.

Please note: I am writing as a true amateur, someone who loves the word of God and prophecy.  I have no degree in anything.  I truly am a nobody if you need some sort of official education to be qualified.  The strength of what I write must stand on its own.  I follow no commentary to come to my conclusions, only examining the word of God in context.

Here in these posts, I see Israel and the church side by side.  God in His wisdom ordained for Gentiles to be praising God for His faithfulness to the physical nation of Israel.  These Gentiles which were foretold in the prophets are currently in the church participating in the covenants which were made to Israel.  The earthly ministry of Jesus Christ was almost completely TO Israel but not completely FOR Israel as evidenced by Matthew the tax collector, see Matthew 12:15-21.

This post contains links to all those posts that I wrote some 13 years ago.

Romans 15:3 and Psalm 69:9 ~ This serves as an introduction.

Jesus Christ became a Minister of the Circumcision ~ This explains the opening principle.

Romans 15:9 and Psalm 18:49 ~ Gentiles can rejoice because Israel’s Messiah will eventually rule.

Romans 15:10 and Israel’s Future Covenants ~ The Covenant Foundation

The Song of Moses ~ As an eschatological song and how it relates to the church

Psalm 117 ~ An Introduction ~ The idea that Psalm 117 is a part of a larger whole, namely Psalm 110-118

New Testament Usage of Psalm 110 – 118 ~ Further delving into how the New Testament writers quoted this passage

The Apocalypse of the Great Messianic Concerto ~ The overarching theme of Psalm 110-118

The Salvation of the Gentiles in Psalm 117 ~ Closing thoughts regarding the Great Messianic Concerto

Messianic Gentiles ~ Wait, one more thought

Gentile Nations Will Seek The Messiah ~ Romans 15:12 and Isaiah 11:10

Romans 15:8-12 ~ A Brief Summary

Paul – The Apostle to the Gentiles ~ at the end there are a couple of links to related articles

Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13

-The Orange Mailman

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Before the Wrath

Before the Wrath

When Exploration Films announced their upcoming prophecy video was titled Before The Wrath, many prewrathers’ ears perked up and wanted to know who was producing it. Disappointment ensued when it was discovered that this was not a prewrath initiative, in fact, something entirely different. This post is a review of this roughly 1 hour 23 minute video. Here is some of the opening information.

A Film by Brent Miller Jr.
Ingenuity Films/Exploration Films
Based on True Discoveries from the Time of Christ
Narration by Kevin Sorbo

This presentation takes the return of Jesus Christ as true, and immediately equates it as the rapture. There is a recent archaeological discovery which sheds new light on the return of Jesus Christ. This is the big hype throughout the video. This “discovery” proves that He is coming back. It will focus on first century believers and their point of view. For instance, the opening scene is a first century believer writing on papyrus (or something) words which I typed verbatim. Toward the end of the scene, the writing has ceased and he seals the scroll, just as the word “sealed” is narrated. It is unclear if they are portraying this person as writing scripture, which the following paragraph is not scripture, but could be several scriptures patched together. Note also the use of the word “convergence” as this company recently produced another prophecy video titled The Coming Convergence.

“Though He first came to save the world, He will return to judge it. My brothers and sisters in Christ, know that a time of great tribulation approaches such as has not been seen since the beginning of the world nor shall there ever be again. But our Lord will return to retrieve those that follow Him from the wrath that will be poured out upon all who are living on the face of the earth. A time of worldwide wars, famines, great earthquakes, and sickness that will bring an abundance of death. The oceans will rage and the land will burn, as the moon becomes as blood and the sun black as sackcloth. But I warn you, before that terrible day there will be a great falling away from the faith. And when the hour of judgment comes upon this fallen world, few will remain that truly believe. Though the convergence of signs for His return have been revealed to you throughout the scriptures, there are some mysteries that God proclaims will be sealed until the time of the end – understanding that will be unveiled to the generation that will witness the return of the Messiah. I fear, though, that when the Savior returns will He find any faith left on the earth?”

The documentary portion begins stating that there is division regarding the signs about when the Messiah will return. Jan Markell uses the phrase “the timing of the rapture” in the opening sequence to show this is a rapture debate film. She states that the debate “within the past ten years” has gone off the chart. The film was made in 2020, so what exactly in the last ten years has gone off the chart? What in the debate is different between 2010-2020?

J. D. Farag highlights the division about the rapture, stating that the church is fighting with each other instead of loving each other. A study shows that infighting among Christians is deepening. 5 minutes into the video, there is a poll presented by Scott McConnell from Lifeway Research as to when believers think the rapture will occur. The largest group is pretrib at 36%, so there is no consensus on this. They continue with stating that 4% believe it will happen in the middle, 18% believe it will happen at the end, 13% consist of “other timing variations”, 4% aren’t sure about any of it, 25% believe in no rapture at all. Note: there is no attempt to define what is meant by the middle or the end here. Lizette Dillinger of Lifeway Research talks about Christians with a lot of information at their fingertips who want to put together a cornucopia of eschatological beliefs without any kind of hermeneutical framework. [This statement will become quite ironic as we progress.] Jan Markell states that this division will drive people away from Christianity. Scott McConnell adds that if Christians can’t even explain how Jesus is going to return, that this leaves non-believers scratching their heads. Jay McConnell, Middle East anthropologist, makes frequent appearances.

The narrator hints that there is a discovery buried by the sands of time that those who walked with Christ understood which we do not. Jesus and His disciples were Galileans, with customs that were unique to them. He used these words, symbols, and parables to speak to them based on their culture. J. D. Farag states that it is hard for us to understand in our day what it was like for them in their day. They hint at the Olivet Discourse, but then say we must delve into their culture first.

Interjection: I am always suspicious when people tell me that before I read the Bible for myself, that first I have to understand all these principles and ideas that are not even in the Bible. Then after lengthy explanations they say, “Okay, now that you understand all this, now you can read the passage.” That’s exactly what we will see in this presentation.

After 15 minutes of hype about the culture of the Galileans, and a discovery that will change our point of view concerning the rapture, we finally get into an ancient ceremony that the Galileans understood which we don’t. The ancient secret is a “one-of-a-kind wedding”, a wedding that contains a series of customs that would unfold over an entire year, revealing a chronological sequence of events that perfectly aligns with the recorded biblical prophecies leading to the second coming of Christ. They point to early language of Jesus which points to wedding banquet language. Interjection: Interesting how they say the end of the world is going to be like a Galilean style wedding, but the scriptures state that the kingdom of God is (not will be) like a wedding banquet, see Matthew 22:1-3, John 3:29. Jan Markell states that the parallels to the rapture are so incredible and so brilliant.

They take us back to the ancient sequence of events within their wedding ceremonies which will uncover the truth about the rapture, the end of the world, and the second coming of the Messiah. They talk about the wedding at Cana without giving the reference. There is a pretty good reenactment of what this wedding ceremony would have been like. There would be an announcement where everyone would rush to the place where it is occurring to witness it. This would result in wedding guests, or witnesses, to witness the event of the wedding, because you can’t make a covenant without having witnesses to ratify the covenant. There was a written covenant, then the bride and groom would agree to the terms. Gifts would be exchanged with the most extravagant going to the bride. The dowry would be an insurance policy to take care of the bride. The groom takes a pitcher of wine to pour into a cup passing it to his bride. This presentation of the cup to the bride results in her being able to accept or reject the wedding. They highlight the idea that contrary to all other customs in the Middle East, in a Galilean wedding, the bride possessed the final authority to accept or reject the offer of the groom.

Once the bride accepts, then the groom also takes the cup, drinking from it, solidifying the new covenant. Then the bridegroom says, “You are now consecrated to me by the laws of Moses and I will not drink of this cup again until I drink it new with you in my father’s house.” The documentary really didn’t focus on Christ and his first miracle at all, but only on what they believe occurred at a typical Galilean wedding between bride and groom. From here we fast forward from the wedding at Cana, all the way to the last supper. Jesus offered the cup of wine to His disciples to signify a new covenant with them. After the disciples willingly drank from the cup, Jesus said something similar to what they would have heard at a Galilean wedding. “But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.” They point to the significance of the blood of Christ which is poured out for the New Covenant.

J. D. Farag begins to describe his Arab culture whereby when you eat and drink, you eat from the same bread and drink from the same cup as those around you. This signifies that “what is in you is in me”; this is why it is called comm-union, communion. This was a seal of betrothal in an ancient Galilean wedding. When Jesus said this statement at the last supper, His disciples only heard one thing, “wedding”. They point to the first miracle of Christ being at a wedding.

They shift back to the wedding at Cana, and now the betrothal ceremony is finished, but this leads into a year-long preparation that goes into making the way for the wedding feast. Though man and wife are technically one under the new covenant, they must live apart until the day of their wedding feast. Everything the man does looks forward to being reunited with his bride including making preparations within his father’s house. This evidence (which they haven’t really revealed by way of examining documents and such, just them talking) gives further revelation concerning Christ’s first coming. Then they quote John 14 (but they don’t give the reference) where Jesus states, “I go away to prepare a place for you.” They explain that this means that Jesus will come back for them so that where He is, they may be also. All of this, they assert, was Jesus speaking to them as a bridegroom speaks to a bride, and they assert that they knew this because they knew the culture of the day. J. D. Farag states, “You cannot separate the culture from the gospels. If you take the culture out of the gospels, you virtually gut out the entire meaning of it.”

The narration explains that this is talking about the kingdom of heaven. Jesus is coming back for His church via the rapture, and if we don’t believe this, we have the wrong Jesus. Jesus has to come back. Just a note here, when they are quoting the scriptures, they are not giving scripture references or complete context and are frequently skipping around. It’s not like they say, “In John 14, we read,”, it’s more like, “Jesus said He would come back for them and we have to believe this.” For instance, the narrator states, “And this is further reinforced by Christ Himself when He tells His disciples that when this time comes, there will be those living on the earth that will not taste death.” This is so indicative of the entire presentation that I cannot let this slip by without a comment. Here they are quoting from John 14, but insert the phrase “they will not taste death” which doesn’t appear there.  They may be borrowing language from just before the transfiguration (Matthew 16:28, Mark 9:1, Luke 9:27), or perhaps John 8:51.  The concept of not tasting of death is also found in I Corinthians 15:51 and I Thessalonians 4:15. The point is that these may be taken out of context and not examined within their respective contexts. We jump from here to there, but first going back to first century culture to lay our foundation rather than the word of God. Also, they add the words “for you” after “I will come again”, which are not in John 14:3. There is this pretrib idea that Jesus comes back for the church before the 7 year period, and then comes back with the church at the end of the 7 year period. There is no scripture where Jesus says, “I will come back for you,” but here they are subtly asserting that but not giving you the scripture reference to fact check it for yourself. Note: I believe that there are those who will not taste death at the time of Christ’s coming. That’s not the point I’m making. The point is that each passage is not being examined independently. They are putting different scriptures together and saying, Jesus said such and such, when that wasn’t what He said in that context.

Now we are in this in between time where the groom has gone and the bride is waiting for the groom to return. The bride is staying busy by making the dress, preparing items, etc. Many times, these preparations took months to complete. The bride also remained vigilant and pure, no matter how long it took. The bride was not to sit and wait, but to occupy until he came. Now we have this new archaeological evidence that “is sending shockwaves” through our understanding of the coming of Christ. No one knew the day or the hour that he would come back, not even the bride. Only the father of the groom knew the day, the hour, the time that his son would return for his bride. Jay McConnell, Middle East anthropologist, states that in all the other weddings of the Middle East, the day and the hour of the wedding would be known. It would be a one-year interval, and then the wedding would take place. Galilean weddings, however, were different. Only the father of the groom knew the time of the wedding. He states that the groom would finish the room for his bride, go to his father and say, “I want my bride,” to which the father would respond, “I’ll tell you when.” As of this point in the documentary (35 minutes in), we haven’t seen any documentation that this ever occurred, only this guy telling us the way it happened. They show a little clip of people excavating in the earth, but there is no one showing a scroll or any text that these events were recorded somewhere. It’s this great discovery, but there is no presentation of the discovery, only someone telling us about what they believe the Galilean culture consisted of. Note: I’m not saying it isn’t true, I’m just reviewing the film.

Anyway, back to the narration. The father would announce, son, go get your bride. The father would be the one who would determine the day and the hour. They continue with the same pattern of referencing scriptures without quoting them. They say this goes back to several places in the Bible where Jesus says that no one knows the day or the hour except the Father, without giving any scriptural references. They also add on to these passages by saying that Jesus was saying, “No one knows when I’m going to come back for My bride.” This is immediately followed by a presentation of the question by the disciples. I’ll type this word for word here so you can see the cut and paste type of exegesis that is going on whereby they connect Matthew 24:3 and 24:36 without the intervening verses. “You see, during Jesus’s first coming, when His disciples asked when He would return at the end of days, He also told them – But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” Then one of the commentators states, “Jesus Himself, I believe, demonstrated the genuine Galilean tradition by saying that not even the son knows the day and the hour.” So you see, they present the question of the disciples from Matthew 24:3, they skip over the words of Christ in Matthew 24:4-31 where Jesus explains the time frame for His coming, and then they focus on an addendum of Christ in Matthew 24:36. They take out the clear progression of abomination of desolation, then great tribulation, then the coming of Christ and gathering of the elect, and substitute Galilean culture. I just watched a video of Jan Markell and J. D. Farag which they state that Matthew 24 is not for the church but for Israel because of the Sabbath commands. So why are they not tossing out Matthew 24:3 & 36?

Now after saying no one knows the day or the hour, Jesus tells us that we could know the approaching season. So here we have a new section, a description of Jesus in heaven anticipating His coming to get His bride. The bride is also waiting for her groom to come. There is the mixture of referencing the gospels and also first century Galilean customs. “This brings us to a topic that’s fiercely debated today.” Because the message of Jesus in the context of Galilean culture has faded into history, this has sparked heated debate and growing misconceptions. The church has suffered because there are those who want to set dates. J. D. Farag states that these date setters have irreversibly damaged Bible prophecy, which is being systematically erased from Christianity all over the world. They encourage people not to be obsessed with the date, but being prepared for the second coming (rapture). J. D. Farag states that pastors are ignorant concerning Bible prophecy and fearful that prophecy will be controversial. This is marginalizing Bible prophecy.

But wait! It’s worse than you believe. Now we are back with Scott McConnell of Lifeway Research. Their study shows that out of 450 sermons that only 2% were from texts that were prophetic books of the Bible. Since one third of scripture is about prophetic events, this means that churches are intentionally marginalizing the subject. Christians today are dismissive of the Lord’s return, equating this with Biblical illiteracy. Since the rapture is a fundamental belief of the Bible, this is serious. You cannot have the whole counsel of God without having the prophetic word of God. If you take the return of Jesus Christ out of the gospel, you’ve left the gospel out. The reason for prophetic scriptures is to prove that the God of the Bible is the One true God. Interjection: Funny that I believe all of this, but if I bring up my point of view, they would say I’m being divisive and driving people away from Jesus Christ. This is all because I believe that Jesus will come and gather His elect after the great tribulation but before the wrath of God as contained in the Day of the LORD at a day and hour that no man knows. Instead of skipping over Matthew 24:4-31, I take that as the answer of Jesus to the disciples and the church. I just watched a video of Jan Markell stating that rapture views that disagree with hers are Satanic. With a statement like this you have to ask, who is causing division over the timing of the rapture?

Now we transition into the falling away. Because people are ignorant of the prophetic scriptures, this leads into the falling away of those that believe. Because people today do not believe in the return of the Lord Jesus Christ, this is a part of the end-times apostasy, the fall from truth into apostasy. Here we have a clear presentation of the gospel that only Jesus Christ is the way to forgiveness for sins and to eternal life. Lifeway Research shows that many people do not believe that the Bible is the complete word of God.

Since the return of Christ is synonymous with the end of the world as we know it, this explains why we are seeing the trends in our culture. The Bible foretold that this would happen. J. D. Farag states, “I know you have a little strength. This describes this church in the last days prior to the return of Jesus Christ as just hanging on. There are a remnant of believers today that are hanging on to that hope.” Jack Hibbs states that we have a Westernized version of Christianity which is failing. He references II Peter 3 without quoting it that people are going to question and doubt the coming of the Lord Jesus, even mocking it. J. D. Farag states that “It’s going to get exponentially worse.” I’m assuming he means the ignorance of the Lord’s return and people doubting that it will ever happen, which Jan Markell states this is a part of the apostasy. Again, they are not giving any scripture references for what they are saying. Prewrathers understand why. If they turned to II Thessalonians 2:1-4 which is one of the end times apostasy passages, they would have to explain why the text states that this apostasy will occur before the coming of Christ, our gathering together unto Him, and Day of the LORD. Since that is their position in the video, what’s the problem? The contradiction comes with seeing that part of the apostasy that the scriptures describe in that text is the revealing of the man of sin in the temple. Pretribulationalists will tell you the rapture occurs before that, not after. Oops. Read that text before going any further.

At this point, we come back to the first century believer writing on papyrus. Here is what is narrated as he writes, “Considering these trends, it’s not surprising that this is precisely why the scriptures famously warned that in the last days, Jesus will return as a thief in the night into a world that is unbelieving and unprepared.” They state that Jesus warned His disciples to be prepared for His return. Now we are picking up at I Thessalonians 5, but they don’t tell us that. They tell us that there is no need for me (Paul although they don’t say his name so some might assume it’s Jesus based on the previous context) to tell you because you perfectly know that the day of the LORD will come as a thief in the night, but not as a thief in the night to you (meaning believers), because if you’re ready, you’re ready. Now catch this, they state “and we can only be surprised and we can only suffer from it if we’re not ready.” So you see, they quote part of the passage in I Thessalonians 5, but then add on something that is not even in the text. This is why, I believe, that they do not give the scripture references when they quote, “Jesus said…”

Interjection: For those unfamiliar with the rapture debate, pretribulationalists want to equate the entire seven year period known as Daniel’s 70th week as the Day of the LORD and wrath of God. They state that it is entirely tribulation and the wrath of God, and then state that if God doesn’t rapture the church before any of this, that it is like God allowing His bride to suffer. Note that added phrase “we can only suffer from it if we’re not ready.” Which suffering are we talking about though?

Narration opens this next section (55 minutes in) with, “Jesus returning as a thief in the night to those unprepared in the last days appears self-explanatory. And for years, theologians interpreted the meaning at face value. But you see, in ancient Galilee, we know that only the father of the groom knew the day and the hour that the wedding would take place. But what researchers have now discovered is that the hour would be in the middle of the night.” J. D. Farag is back with telling us that in that day, they would have understood exactly what Jesus was talking about. He said, like a thief in the night, because the wedding feast would be in the night which is why they would have to have oil in their lamps. To be dressed and ready for the bridegroom would mean that you would not be overtaken like a thief in the night. This Galilean tradition of the groom coming for the bride in the middle of the night is what Jesus knew and was trying to convey to His disciples. Again, they are quoting scripture from multiple places without referencing. The scriptures being quoted are from I Thessalonians 5, Matthew 25:1-13, Luke 12:31-40, etc. without examining the context of each passage. They tell us to look for the signs that Jesus gave to the disciples in order to be ready.

Interjection: What they are doing is taking one illustration, like a thief in the night, and saying it’s really a wedding feast in the night, no thief at all. Based on Matthew 25:1-13, a wedding feast in the night could very well have been the way they celebrated. The issue is that they are stripping I Thessalonians 5:1-11 of its major metaphor, like a thief in the night. This is a passage about the Day of the LORD which has certain other passages which should be correlated, such as Joel 2:31, Zephaniah 1:14-15, II Thessalonians 2:1-4. Studying these passages will reveal that the Day of the LORD does not begin until after the cosmic signs, see Joel 2:31, Matthew 24:29-31, and especially Revelation 6:12-17 where it states that this is the beginning of the wrath of the Lamb.

At this point, without giving the reference, they begin examining Matthew 25:1-13. Only those with faith in Christ will be prepared. According to Jan Markell, the remnant who is prepared for the return of Jesus Christ are watching and waiting, looking at headlines and current events, but that remnant is getting smaller. Interjection: Not sure what scripture passage encourages us to look at news headlines and such, but it can’t hurt.

There has been this portrayal of what they believe the wedding in Cana looked like. It has been referenced throughout the video. Now they return to this imagery with actors portraying the event, and pretty well I might add. To them, the wedding feast at Cana where Jesus turned water into wine, was where they exchanged vows, but then separated to wait for the time when the groom would return for his bride. The year or so has elapsed and now the time has come. The father makes the announcement for the son to go get his bride. The son leaps to his feet, grabs a shofar, a ram’s trumpet, and wakes up the entire village, including the bride and her family. They talk about what would occur as the announcement of “The Bridegroom Cometh!” prompts the bride to wake up, trim her lamp, and execute her preparedness. As the groom approaches, the guests would be assembled, but only those that were prepared could quickly rise and join them. The bride is dressed in white and after a year of waiting, they are finally together again, reunited as one forever. The bride is carried by a litter back to the father’s house. The ancient Galileans refer to this as “flying the bride to the father’s house”. Jack Hibbs states, “She is lifted up off the ground. She’s escorted with him back to that place of preparation…. She’s borne aloft. She’s taken away with him.” The narration points out the parallels between this and the rapture. Doesn’t this sound like Jesus lifting His bride off the ground to be with Him in the air? Absolutely, in their minds. Jesus made it clear that this is what He was referring to when He spoke of His coming. Now quoting again, “Those that are caught up to be with the returning Messiah will partake in what the Bible refers to as the marriage supper of the Lamb, the Lamb being a clear reference to Christ Himself as the sacrificial Lamb crucified on the cross. In fact, the Apostle John references this wedding feast when believers are reunited with Christ as written in the book of Revelation.” (I believe this is the first time a book of the Bible has been given, maybe I’m wrong.) “To those in the final generation, he writes – Let us be glad and rejoice and give honor to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife has made herself ready.” Again, they point back to the Galilean wedding to state that this is the pattern for Christ’s return.

Many questions about the importance of this event of the uniting of Christ with His bride are given and answered. Then the narration mentions that one of the things that will occur is saving His bride from the wrath to come in the last days. We are now at the 1 hour 9 minute mark with 14 minutes remaining with the title of the film being Before the Wrath. Many will choose not to join in the wedding feast, and these will be left behind. The Galilean wedding feast analogy continues with the doors being shut and no one enters in or leaves for 7 days and 7 nights. In ancient Galilee, if you were locked out, there was no getting in.

Narration: “And just as with an ancient Galilean wedding, Bible prophecy warns that those who missed the return of Christ, are destined to partake in the wrath of God, that will be poured out upon a rejecting world.” Jack Hibbs again, “And the righteous will be removed from the earth, because the Lord says in Isaiah 26, I will put them in their place, I will shut the doors behind them in these inner chambers while I pour out my indignation, wrath, upon all those who dwell on the earth.” Jan Markell continues, “The fact that the church escapes God’s wrath is so important. The church does not escape man’s wrath, and we see that going on – terrible persecution going on in various parts of the world. But the church biblically, scripturally, God says that He’s going to spare us from the wrath to come.” Jay McConnell, our anthropologist friend picks up, “When you look at the whole picture, the Galileans are really the key to understanding the why and what of the rapture. Jesus used this illustration that they knew so intimately over and over and over again – that you have a bride who is loved by a bridegroom, who is betrothed to this bridegroom. And the bridegroom is going to make a covenant with her, and then he’s going to go away. And eventually when, they don’t know, he’s going to come back to take her to be with him where he is.”

Interjection: This is a very interesting way for a group of pretribulationalists to close their video. Prewrathers have been trying to get this message across, that the wrath of God and the wrath of man are two different things. Our title (prewrath) has brought to the forefront within the past 10 years the idea that we will not be here for the wrath of God, but there is no scriptural exemption from tribulation, which is the wrath of man. II Thessalonians 1:4-8 gives one of the reasons for Christ’s return, which is to repay those who are putting the church through tribulation with God’s vengeance. The presenters have stated multiple times that the reasons for the return of Christ are so important, but they are selective with the reasons that they give.

There is a closing encouragement for pastors to teach their congregations what the scriptures teach, because they have more impact with their congregations than others. Those with media influence need to speak out. Each of us needs to share this message with others. We must be prepared to tell others why Jesus is coming back. In closing (7 minutes to go including 5 minutes of credits), before the day of wrath, before the feast begins, before the rapture, before the thief comes in the night, when you are offered His cup, will you accept it?

There are many generalizations in the video without digging into the details. Really this video is aimed at people who don’t know a whole lot about the second coming of Christ. There is no point in the video where they demonstrate that Christ returns before the tribulation, or before Daniel’s 70th week. It is a very superficial presentation as a whole. It really could be a good video with good analogies, but for someone who knows the scripture, I wouldn’t bother. Perhaps something good will come out of someone watching it. Maybe someone will watch it and want to read the Bible for themselves. They will read the scriptures and realize that the video is right. Jesus is coming back. He will save us from the wrath to come. But they will also see that the church will go through the great tribulation. There will be a man of sin, mark of the beast, and great deception. You can’t say that part of Matthew 24 is for the church and the other part that we don’t like is for Israel only.

I really like the wedding and wedding feast analogy that they portray. If that is the way that it happened in Galilean culture, it is a very accurate representation of the coming of Christ. Christ says, I will come again (from heaven to earth) and receive you unto Myself. The bride flies to be with the groom, caught up into the air. There is no reason that Mark 13:26-27 cannot be describing the rapture of the church. Revelation 7:9-17 is the raptured church before the throne of God just after the event of Isaiah 26:19-21. I was surprised to hear Jack Hibbs teach this because the entire context of Isaiah 26:16-18 is the great tribulation, the time of Jacob’s trouble, see also Isaiah 24:19-23, Isaiah 25:8 with I Corinthians 15:51-54 and Revelation 7:17. Revelation 14:14-16 is the therismos harvest of Matthew 13:30, 39, 43.

In closing, my closing of my post, I would like to encourage dialogue about why it is okay for Jan Markell to make a video and talk about her view of the rapture, but if I talk about my view of the rapture, that is causing division. What about my view makes it Satanic? I agree with her that there is a difference between the wrath of God and the wrath of man. It seems to me that titling the video “Before the Wrath” and then not clearly defining when that wrath begins in the scriptures is sloppy exegesis.

That’s the video and that’s my review.

Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13

-The Orange Mailman

Posted in Bible, Eschatology, Pre-Wrath, Pretribulationalism, Prewrath, Prophecy, The Olivet Discourse | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Christmas Communion

This year has been interesting as far as our church goes. Our ministries are on pause again as our area is affected by an apparent plague. The elders gave me permission to serve communion in the parking lot during this shut down as they did during the last shut down. Because of the close proximity to Christmas, I wrote and hosted this Christmas Communion devotion. We sang Hark the Herald Angels Sing and What Child Is This? as part of the devotion. So here it is for you.

Hark! The herald-angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King;
Peace on earth and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled”
Joyful all ye nations rise,
Join the triumph of the skies
With the angelic host proclaim
“Christ is born in Bethlehem”
Hark! The herald-angels sing
“Glory to the new-born King”

Christ by highest heaven adored
Christ, the everlasting Lord,
Late in time behold Him come
Offspring of a Virgin’s womb:
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see,
Hail the incarnate Deity
Pleased as man with men to dwell
Jesus, our Emmanuel
Hark! The herald-angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King”

Hail the Heaven-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings,
Risen with healing in His wings;
Mild He lays His glory by
Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth
Hark! The herald angels sing
“Glory to the new-born King”

Many times we put Christmas and Communion in two different categories. We put Christmas with the birth of Christ and we put Communion with the death of Christ. But as you just heard in this classic Christmas carol, the story of Christ is one story. The first verse has the line “Glory to the newborn King”, but it also has “God and sinners reconciled”. The entire reason why Christ was born was not so that we would adore this little Baby in a manger, but because God through His Son Jesus Christ would bring sinners like us into fellowship with Him. This is what it’s all about.

Think about the second verse. “Veiled in flesh the Godhead see.” To think that all of God was dwelling in a baby, this Son of Mary, you can hardly understand it. Can you imagine looking on this little child and thinking, “It’s by His power that every single molecule in the entire universe holds together”? And here He is lying in a feeding trough for animals. Think about this line, “Pleased as man with men to dwell.” Imagine yourself in heaven with God in the perfect place. Now imagine God says, I want you to leave this perfect place and go down where people are hating, cursing, lying, killing each other. There are diseases, storms, famines, terrible heartache. How excited would you be to obey God? The Bible says that there was joy for Jesus Christ even in enduring the cross. “For the joy that was set before Him, He endured the cross,” Hebrews 12:2. Pleased as man with men to dwell. Jesus wanted to come down here and be born into this sinful world. He was pleased to come and walk among us, and even to give His life for us.

In the third verse there are these lines, “Mild He lays His glory by, born that man no more may die.” He left His splendor, His all-powerful seat in heaven, just so that you and I could be welcomed into God’s presence. The entire reason why Jesus was born was so that He would die and be raised from the dead. His entire life was humble. His birth was humble, giving up His throne of glory for a manger. His life was humble, He did not live with the rich and constantly blessed the poor. His death was humble, the most humiliating thing that someone could go through. He was completely innocent, but He was treated as the worst criminal, even by His own Father. God the Father turned His back on His own Son while He was on the cross. Here we have just sung about “Glory to the newborn King!” But the entire reason why the original herald angels were proclaiming the message was because, like the angel told Joseph, “You shall call His name Jesus for He shall save His people from their sins.” If Jesus had not gone to the cross, we would not be singing today.

Christmas and Communion are two parts of the same story. We celebrate the Child being born, but this was for Him to take on flesh. You probably remember John 1:1. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” But also remember John 1:14. “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory.” It was actually the body of Jesus which was standing in the way of our fellowship with God. Remember how the veil, or the curtain of the temple was torn in two when Christ died. Hebrews 10:20 says that the veil was the flesh of Christ. Jesus Himself stood in the way, symbolizing the holiness of God. The Word became flesh and God ripped the body of Jesus apart so that sinful people could enter into His presence. Those nails pierced His flesh. And that’s why Jesus said, take eat, this is my body which is broken for you. Before we partake, let’s bow our heads and confess our sins to God.

Jesus said, take eat, this is my body which is broken for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.

When the blood of Jesus was shed, it was the blood of an innocent Man. He was paying the price for our sins. He was establishing the New Covenant in His blood. The terms of the New Covenant are that those who were far off now have access to God by the blood of Jesus Christ, Ephesians 2:13.

Jesus said, “Drink from it, all of you, for this is My blood of the new covenant which is shed for many for the forgiveness of sins.”

What child is this, who, laid to rest,
On Mary’s lap is sleeping,
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet
While shepherds watch are keeping?
This, this is Christ the King,
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing;
Haste, haste to bring Him laud,
The Babe, the Son of Mary!

Why lies He in such mean estate
Where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christian, fear: for sinners here
The silent Word is pleading.
Nails, spear shall pierce Him through,
The Cross be borne for me, for you;
Hail, hail the Word Made Flesh,
The Babe, the Son of Mary!

So bring Him incense, gold, and myrrh;
Come, peasant, king, to own Him!
The King of Kings salvation brings;
Let loving hearts enthrone Him!
Raise, raise the song on high!
The virgin sings her lullaby.
Joy! Joy! For Christ is born,
The Babe, the Son of Mary!

Notice the original second verse. The author tells us the reason why Jesus was lying in such a “mean estate” as the feeding trough. The silent word that was pleading was the humility that Christ would endure, not just in birth, but in death. The Word was made flesh so that He could be pierced with nails and spear. When you see a manger scene, think about the humility of Christ the King, lying in a manger. That humility followed Him all the way to the cross and to heaven, because Christ is still humble. He does not force Himself into your life, you must choose to follow Him.

Let’s close by reciting one of the early creeds found in the Bible. It seems that I Timothy 3:16 contains one of the essential confessions of the faith. Let’s recite this together and note how Christ being manifested in the flesh is one of the essential beliefs of Christianity.

Great indeed, we confess, is the mystery of godliness:
He was manifested in the flesh,
vindicated by the Spirit,
seen by angels,
proclaimed among the nations,
believed on in the world,
taken up in glory.

May God bless you this Christmas as we remember the birth of the Savior.

Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13

-The Orange Mailman

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