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Are You Sounding the Warning Bell?

Have you ever been irritated by a continual warning sound? For example, when the fire alarm is constantly beeping because the battery is low? How about when the tornado sirens sound, but the tornado seems miles away? Or, when your alarm clock rings and you do not want to get up for work? These sounds are meant to serve as some type of warning, yet at times we neglect to take them very serious. In fact, once in my early twenties, I remember neglecting my alarm, only to find that my neglect caused me to miss my flight to a company gathering. Sometimes we become so desensitized to the warnings, we simply turn news station when a tornado is close, or we rip the fire alarm out of the wall only to cease the warning.

It seems that the people of Israel considered Ezekiel, more like an annoying noise, rather than a warning watchman. Ezekiel, was a prophet in the Old Testament that went into exile after the Babylonians took over Judah. He was a watchman, one who was sounding the warning bell to the nation of Israel, in order that they might repent. God had sent Ezekiel to speak His words, “Son of man, stand up on your feet and I will speak with you…. I am sending you to them… whether they listen or refuse to listen-for they are a rebellious house…. But you son of man, do not be afraid of them or their words, though briers and thorns are beside you and you live among scorpions. Don’t be afraid of their words or be discouraged by the look on their faces… But speak My words to them whether they listen or refuse to listen… (Ezekiel 2:1-7). The obedience of Ezekiel sounding the warning bell did not depend on whether the people listened, but instead on his love and relationship with God. He spoke truth, regardless of the response.

As Christians, we too ought to be sounding a warning bell to non-believers and believers. Wherever God has placed each Christian, is where one ought to be sounding the warning bell, winsomely speaking the Word of God in the lives around them. To the non-believer one ought to be sounding the warning bell that Christ is the way, the truth and the life and no one comes to the Father without Him. One also, ought to be speaking of His soon return and eternity. To the believer one ought to be discipling toward a Christian Worldview. Consider the following people who sounded warning bells for the good of God and others.

  • Esther warned King Xerxes of the fate of her people, even though it could have cost her life.
  • The 12 disciples tried to warn the world that sin separated us from God and Christ came to redeem, even though they were beaten and all but one martyred.
  • GK Chesterton warned people of the effects of Modern thinking, even though some of the most academic thought his faith was foolish.
  • Sir Winston Churchill warned of the deadly ideas of the Soviet Communist, even though it was challenging on too many levels to abbreviate.
  • Amy Carmichael warned India of the abuse to the children among the false temple gods, even though it went against the beliefs of the nation.
  • Chuck Colson warned Christians of the effects of a secular worldview, even though it was being embraced by the government and most schools.

These are just a snippet of the people sounding the warning bell.

What are you warning people about? Are you placed in the midst of people that need to know Christ as Savior? If you are a disciple of Christ, you are called to love God with all your heart, soul and mind and love your neighbor as yourself. Someone who loves his neighbor will share warnings with him of the things to come. Pray for your neighbors and others around you. Then share the gospel in humility and love, and let the Holy Spirit do His work. Go and make disciples, sound the warning bell that Christ is returning soon, “Yes, I am coming quickly” (Revelation 22:20).

Deanna Huff

Having doubts about your Faith? – A 17 yr old Student Testimony

Posted this week is the testimony of a student who knew all the right answers, but at the end of the day struggled with knowing if her salvation was genuine. Throughout life many can be challenged by these issues and every journey is different, but it is important that you “examine yourself in faith” as Paul instructed in 2 Corinthians 13:5. John stated “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life” (1 John 5:13). If you are struggling with feelings of doubt it could be growth in sanctification (growing in holiness) or realization of salvation (deliverance from the wrath of God by trusting in Christ as your Savior), either way read God’s Word daily, pray and seek out someone of leadership in your church to help you write out your testimony and solidify that you may know. Enjoy the sweet testimony of one who no longer doubts, but is being a witness to the one she knows.

The following is a testimony By Jacquelyn

Good Morning!! I am going to start off by telling y’all what I always said my testimony was…..until this past Sunday.

I am the 8th and last child in my family and was raised in a strong and faithful Christian home. I have been taught all the Christian values & morals my entire life, along with always being involved in church and attending CHA since I was in Kindergarten. I thought I had gotten saved when I was 5 years old because of a vague memory I had in my Sunday school class at church. I then got baptized when I was 9 because my sister was getting baptized and I thought I needed to as well since all Christians are supposed to do that in obedience to the Lord.

In 7th grade I started working the bus ministry at my church and was very very involved and dedicated to that ministry until we changed churches my Sophomore year. I had, for years, spent countless hours every single week going on church visitations to invite kids to church, who almost all came from broken, sad, poor homes and who didn’t have the opportunity to have a loving home like probably all of us have.

I had always worked Vacation Bible Schools at Church in the summers, worked Bible Clubs in local neighborhoods or apartment complexes and just did what I knew were good things to do. I’ve read my Bible independently since I was in about 6th grade, I think, because I knew it was good, right and what I was always encouraged daily to do by myself. I have read so much of the Bible and I thought I knew all the right answers and ways to what I was supposed to do, act and say.

For the past several months, maybe even the last year, I have really been heavily convicted and scared because I did not know at all where I would spend my eternity. I would like to say it was in heaven but I literally just did not know.  Every time it was talked about at home, church or school I just had such an uneasy feeling about it. I had never in the last 17 ½ years had a true Peace about where I would spend eternity. If it was discussed I was quick to justify that I was a Christian by the vague memory when I was 5, how I was raised, my knowledge of the Bible, my faithful involvement at church and my mentality of ‘I know what I need to do and I know that I should try and please the Lord.’ The sad thing is I knew everything I needed to do and I believed the Bible to be true so why did I never ever in my life have a calm, true, peace about eternity?

`Well about a year ago I finally told my mom I had some doubts about my salvation and she was really shocked. She was concerned for me when I had admitted that little confession to her. She talked and prayed with me and told me the true fact that most, if not all, Christians will doubt their salvation at some point and that I should pray and read the Bible more to assure that I was a Christian. We talked for a while that night about it and she thought at that moment it was Satan deceiving me into thinking I wasn’t saved because he likes to do that to Gods children to make them doubt their assurance. I, again, took that and justified my salvation even though I wasn’t saved. The Peace that I craved so much still was not in me and I wanted it so bad.

For the next several months I told myself I was fine and that I had to be a Christian because all that I had done. I even led a little girl to the Lord the summer before at a Bible Club and I had done so much work for church, school and everything!

I was so deceived by Satan and so blind by my outward works and jobs that I would never admit to anyone that I wasn’t a Christian because it wasn’t in my character.

This past Sunday after the church service, our pastor talked a little more after the message was over and told the congregation that if we weren’t 100% sure, without a shadow of a doubt positive that we were a Christian, and that if we died that day we wouldn’t go to Heaven and spend eternity with Christ then we needed to talk to him or someone that day to get things figured out. And at that point the Holy Spirit was convicting me so much that I knew when I got home I needed to talk to my mom about it.

So the 5 minute ride home with my sister, Jessica, I was pretty quiet when she asked me some random questions because I was just so deep in thought and scared that I wouldn’t ever have a peace! We got home and changed and I went to the kitchen where my mom and I were eating a snack at the counter. Meanwhile, the battle in my head, soul, and heart to speak up and admit everything, was raging hard. I was so tempted to push it off and justify my salvation once again. It was so easy to be a coward and not admit what was going on. There also was the thought in the back of my head of what will my family, friends and teachers at school or church would think when they find out I haven’t been saved all along. My life has somewhat been a “normal” good Christian-type life, so why would I need to change what I’ve been doing if it all looks good to others and they think I am a Christian. My pride was obviously not wanting to be hurt by giving my life over to the Lord and admitting my wrong doings.

My mom left the kitchen and I followed her to her room a minute later where I let it all go. I had finally broken down and told her how I had absolutely no peace and didn’t know what I was doing and where I was going. I told her of a few verses that always convicted me, Matthew 7:21-23 being the one that had haunted me the most and gave me the most fear. It says, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.  On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’  And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.”

She then got my dad and we talked to him for a while about what I had been going through. He then prayed for the situation and we talked some more about what was going on and what I needed to do. I knew I needed to settle it that moment so I prayed with my mom and dad sitting on the edge of their bed. And right then in that moment I put away all my selfish pride and shame of always putting it off and justifying it by outward works and I got saved!! As all 3 of us were balling as I was crying out to my Lord and Perfect Savior I felt the most amazing, sweetest, calmest and most relieving Peace that I have ever felt! In that moment I didn’t want anything but the Lord and his rich salvation in my life. Literally, nothing else mattered. I know now that I am a daughter of the One True Perfect Everlasting King and I have never felt so loved and at peace in my life. Words cannot describe what Gods Peace feels like and I know that I will never be plucked out of His hand. I am HIS for all of eternity!

I immediately wanted to tell anyone and everyone what had just happened to me! The selfishness, pride, shame and sin of my life wasn’t even a factor anymore! I just wanted to tell others about the true unspeakable joy and the peace that surpassed all understanding. I had never been so happy, excited and speechless by the feeling that only Christ could give me. I told all my siblings, called Blythe and more of my friends that day and Monday. The excitement and encouragement I have received from everyone that I have talked to has been overwhelming. I knew they would be happy for me when they found out, but that is such an understatement! I don’t know how to put into words how much my brother and sisters in Christ have encouraged and been a light to me.

Reading the Bible and doing my quiet time has been such a joy and Gods Word has become absolutely beautiful to me! I didn’t see how alive and how truly stunning His Word was before, but now I do.

Philippians is my all-time favorite book and I could read verse after verse that are all so amazing to me, but there are a couple verses I wanted to read to you about the righteousness of Faith through Christ.

Chapter 3 vs 7-11 “But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ  and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.”

The Lord has blessed me beyond belief and I am so grateful for the amazing family he has placed me in and the wonderful school and church that I have the opportunity to grow in.

I know there may be some of you who might be in the same boat I was in, and you never have had the wonderful Peace that only Christ can give. I pray that if you haven’t had that, that you will please talk with your mom or dad, a teacher or just someone who you can talk to about this, because I promise you that it was absolutely worthless and invaluable to live 17 ½ years thinking I was a Christian. I plead with you, that today you will get it settled,  because not everyone who says to Him on that day ‘Lord, Lord’ will get to spend their eternity with God. Thank you so much for allowing me to share God’s Grace in my life and I pray you have that same Peace that forever lives in me!

This testimony was given at Christian Heritage Academy.

Has Truth Perished?

Charles Darwin, Sigmund Freud and Karl Marx are voices echoing in the walls of non-Christian school systems, but schools in America did not begin with atheists and agnostics undergirding the education. There was a time in the eighteenth and nineteenth century that the Bible in general had the answers for life and the ethics to guide morality. Yet, today we have matter, self-helps and dictators which have reshaped the view of creation, man and the economic system regarding how one produces.

So what happened? Of course, there have been numerous books that delve into the depth of these three philosophies that are steering the education system today, yet here is a brief observation. Darwin sought to explain diversity among the species and their origins apart from a Creator. The result was his thesis On the Origin of the Species, written in 1859. It attracted much controversy and scientific attention, but “consequently, God was no longer necessary to explain the natural order. Science could get along quite well without God-or so Darwinian social scientists thought.”[i] It would not be long before America was challenged with teaching these European ideas which is seen during the Scopes Monkey Trial in 1925. Soon to follow would be the removal of a Creator from the class room and school books, which would be quickly replaced with the origin of matter. Man is no longer unique or here to be a steward of creation, but is now simply a higher order in the Animal Kingdom among the survival of the fittest.

Freud was another critic of the Christian belief and he “depicted religion as a psychological disorder that is common to humankind…. He assumed religion had no actual insight into the “way things are.”[ii] He is considered the father of Psychoanalysis and he contributed to shaping how one views childhood, personality and therapy. Psychology attributes many ideas in the area of id, ego and super ego to Freud. Ultimately, he considered the goal of all life to be death. Now many ascribe to working on their self-image, self-helps and building self-up. We have left behind the truth of the Bible declaring man is made in the image of God and marred by sin, until he is restored through Christ.

Lastly, Marx is voicing his opinion in the elementary, secondary, and academic halls of American society. At its basic definition, Marxism is a battle of class warfare in society where capitalism exists. “Students throughout the world are being taught as a basic principle that Capitalist system is evil and the creator of depression and war.”[iii] However, they are not recognizing the communist leaders and their effects, such as Russian leader Joseph Stalin who starved to death seven to ten million people. In addition, Chairman Mao of China, killed around sixty five million people and Che, who led in Castro’s takeover of Cuba, killing over fourteen thousand in the 1960’s. Yet, on the White House Christmas tree under our current president, Chairman Mao has been a household ornament.

There was a time when creation, God’s image, hard work and private property were good things, but now are despised. Opposing views are shouted down and silenced. It reminds me of the days of Jeremiah, when he declared “This is the nation that would not listen to the voice of the LORD their God and would not accept discipline. Truth has perished-it has disappeared from their mouths.” So, what is the solution to changing the tide of these secular prophets that have voices in the walls of education? It is to pray and stand in the counsel of the LORD, reviving the facts that God created the world and man is sinful. We should not be teaching people to love themselves more, but to love Christ more and to love others. The book of Jude states a believer should build himself up in the most holy faith. God has given us sixty-six books for life and godliness, it is time to stand in his counsel and speak truth in the public square. No longer can we exchange truth for lies, but instead speak Truth in meekness and fear. Truth will only perish from the public square, if Christians are silent.


[i] Hoffecker, W. Andrew, ed., Revolutions in Worldview: New Jersey, P&R Publishing, pg.294-295.

[ii] Ibid. pg. 298

[iii] Schwarz, C. Fred and Noebel, A. Daved, You Can Still Trust the Communists to Be Communists: Christian Anti-Communism Crusade, 2010.

What is the meaning of “Separation of Church and State?”

The following is an excerpt from Mr. Aaron Ferguson on the meaning of “Separation of Church and State.” It is imperative for us to understand that “Separation of Church and State” was never meant to silence the Christian in the Public Square. Therefore, we must understand that “the people” will only have a voice if we use it. Enjoy the following article.

CHURCH & STATE
The Intent of the First Amendment
 The Church and the State should encourage each other, but neither should ever control the other.
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”
Why did our forefathers list this Amendment first in the Bill of Rights? Protecting their freedom of religion was top priority in their minds! In fact, it was the primary reason they came to America in the first place. However, while having the freedom to choose their religion was important, that right was second to having the liberty to exercise their beliefs in their homes, churches, schools, businesses, societies, and, yes, even in their governments. Religion, particularly Christianity, permeated every aspect of their public and private lives, and the people made certain to keep the government from prohibiting these fundamental rights.

NO ESTABLISHED RELIGION
“The Founders explained their purpose for writing the First Amendment; it was to prevent what they had experienced under British rule – the legal establishment, by the national government, of a single religious denomination in exclusion of all others (i.e. Catholic, Anglican, or any other). Frankly, the Founders believed that the Church and the State should remain independent (separate) from one another” (David Barton, Wall Builders). Since both are divine institutions, the Church should never rule the State (as with the Roman Catholic Church in medieval history), and the State should never rule the Church (as under the English monarchs).

Simply put, the Church and the State should always encourage each other but neither should ever control the other. The Church should encourage the State, because the State’s role is to protect the rights of the people; at the same time, the State should encourage the Church, for in the Church pastors develop the conscience and character of the people, by the teaching of Scripture and the power of the Gospel.

RELIGION & MORALITY
Our forebears understood that religion and morality are indispensible supports of our country. For liberty to last in America (or anywhere else), citizens must be able to govern themselves, live moral lives, and practice civic virtues. The best system of morality, they found, was in religion, particularly in Christianity.

The Founders also knew that if Americans ever became irreligious, they would quickly become immoral, and, if immoral, then, lawless and unable to govern themselves. A people unable to govern themselves must necessarily be controlled externally, by force; in that case, liberty is exchanged for slavery. Sadly, over the last 100 years, America has been secularized.

THE NEW SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE
The Founders warnings and worst nightmares have come true. Perhaps the most twisted lie ever offered to the American people is that of the new interpretation of the separation of Church and State. “Though the First Amendment was meant to restrain the government, it has been twisted and turned on its head in order to restrain the people” (Barton) How so?

In 1801, a Baptist congregation (Danbury) was concerned that Congress was going to establish a national denomination, so they wrote a letter expressing their concerns to President Thomas Jefferson. He comforted the Danbury Baptists by writing that Congress could not do such a thing, as “there is a wall of separation between Church and State,” referring to the First Amendment. Establishing a national religion or denomination, then, would have been unconstitutional and, therefore, illegal.

The words “separation, church, or state” are not written in the First Amendment, the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, or any other founding document, yet, “Jefferson’s phrase has been used against people of faith ever since” (Barton). The First Amendment is no longer viewed as a friend, to allow freedom of religion; rather it has been transformed, in order to institute freedom from religion. “The First Amendment is now being used to prohibit the very religious activities that the Founders themselves encouraged under the same Amendment” (Barton).

AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION
Today, anti-Christian organizations (i.e. ACLU) have duped Americans into believing that our Founders would not have wanted religion to influence the halls of government; thus, all of our institutions, buildings, and ceremonies have been secularized. Though the Founders wrote, in the Northwest Ordinance (1787), that religion was necessary for good government and should be taught in our schools, our Christian heritage has been robbed, and it is no longer allowed in our public institutions. The Constitution won’t permit us, they say, to express our religious values in public arenas. Thus, the ACLU has been a wrecking force, eradicating the country of its Christian heritage.

IMMORALITY/LAWLESS

Noah Webster warned us, “All the miseries and evils which men suffer from vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery, and war, proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible.” We are experiencing “those miseries and evils” today, but we have allowed it to happen. We have wrongfully separated the Church from the State.

Aaron Ferguson, BiAY.org

Are there reasons to think Judas went to heaven?

 Sometimes people will ask the question, “did Judas go to heaven?” Why is it that one might ask the question? It is because Judas Iscariot (the betrayer) is one of the twelve apostles. He is in appearance, a committed follower of Christ. Yet, one can note some worthy reasons to consider when examining his life, that are contrary to a true believer. The Scriptures are clear that he was a betrayer (Matthew 26:24). Pastor Mark D. DeMoss and Deanna Huff, discuss the issue and why it would matter today for every believer. Listen to your Talking Truth today.

Overcoming Loneliness

Augustine, the great theologian and church father, said, “God has made us for Himself and our hearts are restless until they rest in Him.” Also note Psalm 131 – this is an excellent Psalm regarding rest in the Father.

Loneliness is a result of the fall. Although it is clear that God said, “it is not good for man to be alone,” he was stating a fact, not voicing an emotion that Adam was feeling. Therefore, he created Eve which began the community of family and fellowship with humans. It was the fall of Adam and Eve, that destroyed the perfect relationship with God and one another. God created us to have fellowship with one another, however sin has destroyed that perfectness leaving sin, shame, blame, rejection and other ingredients that perpetuate feelings of loneliness. One may look at Genesis and only see the image of marriage as fulfilling loneliness, however this is not always the case. Note in Matthew 12:48-50, where Jesus enlarges and redefines the community of family that provides fellowship needed for every believer. And later in Revelation, when Christ returns people are in community as a bride to Christ, not to one another. Therefore, we can see through Scripture that restoration with Christ, encourages fellowship with the church body not necessarily just through marriage. At the same time, one must realize that the fullness of loneliness will not be completely eliminated until heaven, but for now he has given the church in order to enjoy fellowship. This community is more than people relating to one another on Sunday, but it is God’s family and all believers going through triumphs and tragedies together. This community though sometimes has challenges due to the sin, will more often provide encouragement and a championing for the body during the darkest times and best times.

Knowing this information, how does one begin to make changes for healing loneliness? First, ask the Father to begin to reveal himself to you. Ask Him to identify areas of sin that He desires to eliminate in order for you to be in right relation with Him, such as self-focus. Self-focus can distract our eyes to continually be inward, instead of upward and outward (Matthew 22:36-37). Also, ask Him to plant you in a church where you can develop with Him. Remember through trials God desires to make you more like Him. Read the Scriptures daily to allow Him to speak to you and realign your thinking to His Word.

Consider Luke 7:11-13, when Jesus was in the midst of a crowd, He noticed a grieving mother and His heart went out to her. He stopped to comfort and restore her. Consider steps that will kindle Christ like friendships and notice the hurting around you. Listen to other people who are going through hardships too. It may be that your particular experience is going to encourage others, when they see God’s strength in you (2 Cor. 1:3-4). Lastly, seek wise counsel in the Church (Pro. 19:20-21). Ultimately, God has given the Church community to walk along side and encourage one another in the journey, so do not lose heart but be in a Church with believers (Hebrews 10:24-25).

God is walking with the believer and here are some verses to remember:)
Joshua 1:9
Isaiah 49:15
Philippians 4:19

College Students Being Persuaded the Bible Is Not Unique or True

The question surfaces while students study Western Civilization, “were the laws of Moses just another set of laws, written like the other laws in the surrounding nations at the time?” What was unique about the laws of Moses? College students are sometimes challenged by Professors that put the Biblical law on equal footing with all other Ancient Near East (map below) laws. Some professors insist on the Old Testament’s lack of truth if they do not see the uniqueness of God. The following is an example from two college Western Civilization books.

“Many scholars today doubt that the early books of the Hebrew Bible reflect the true history of the early Israelites. They argue that the early books of the Bible, written centuries after the events described, preserve only what the Israelites came to believe about themselves and that recent archaeological evidence often contradicts the details of the biblical account.” Western Civilization Jackson J. Spielvogel
 
“One of many small nations of the ancient Near East….the Hebrews would hardly merit attention if it were not for the example of their tenacious survival in the face of daunting odds and the fact that their spiritual legacy of strict monotheism became defining feature of Western civilization (mainly due to the spread of Christianity…)” CLEP Western Civilization I Robert Ziomkowski

For this setting, the events of the Israelites start in the book of Exodus, the Israelites were set apart through the seed of Abraham, when God called Moses to lead His people to the promised land. During the time of travel to the promised land they were given certain laws known as the Law of Moses or the Mosaic Laws, to set them apart as God’s people for His glory to reflect to the surrounding nations.

The time period was Ancient History dated between creation and 31BCE. Egypt, Canaan, Assyria and Babylon were growing and developing nations. The religion of the day “was polytheistic (believing in many gods), syncretistic (combining one belief with another), and pantheistic (God is everything). The ancients believed in multiplicity of gods-everyone being a specialist in some aspect of the world or nature… it was unthinkable to most ancients that a single god could be the only God.”[i]

Some of the surrounding laws or codes during that time consisted of the “Laws of Ur-Nammu from Ur, Laws of Lipit-Ishtar from Isin, Laws of Eshnunna from Eshnunna and one of the most well noted, the Laws of Hammurabi from Babylon also known as the Code of Hammurabi.”[ii] So the question arises, did Moses write a set of unique laws that were a standard of truth for all or did he just borrow from the surrounding nations and copy their procedures?

Moses did not copy from other ancient documents. He was bringing a correction, a better way of living, in contrast to the barbaric way of life. We can note that Moses is the author of the books since he does claim to be the author (Exodus 17:14, Exodus 24:4, Exodus 34:27). In addition, Jesus affirms that Moses wrote the first five books (Luke 24:44). Moses was revealing the true God and proclaiming a declaration that there was only one unique God. In addition, God was the one establishing authority not a King. The ANE laws elevated Kings and Rulers and they were the ones establishing justice, as opposed to the Exodus account which describes Yahweh as the judge and the one who brings justice. In the Israelite community the authorship is attributed to God, unlike the Code of Hammurabi which is attributed to King Hammurabi. Secondly, other Laws often catered to the upper class, also called the aristocrat or the ruling class. However, in the Biblical Law it liberates the citizen, stranger and slave alike. It brings justice to all, not just the ruling class, but also to the disadvantaged. Ultimately, there are two distinctions regarding the Mosaic Law, the first is establishing God as the one true God who brings justice and second, He is establishing laws for people to treat others as they would want to be treated.

There might be some that argue against the goodness of God in these laws, but that is for a later blog. The purpose of this blog is to point out that God is unique in the Mosaic Law, in claiming to be the one true God and He was bringing liberation to the slave and citizen alike. There were 613 laws given to Moses that can be summed up in 10 Commandments and lastly into 2 Commandments. These commandments call for the person to “love God and love their neighbor as themselves.” (Matthew 22:36).

So, if your student is challenged in the classroom, get equipped and get ready to respond in those situations with ready truth.
“Acknowledge and take to heart this day that the LORD is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other.” Deuteronomy 4:39

Map from – http://www.bible-history.com/geography/maps/Map-Ancient-Near-East.pdf

Recommended Reading
Is God a Moral Monster by Paul Copan
Has God Spoken by Hank Hanegraaff
Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary Edited by John H. Walton
Beyond Opinion Edited by Ravi Zacharias


 

[i] Stuart, Douglas K., The New American Commentary, B&H 2006; pg. 452
[ii] Walton, John H., Zondernvan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary, pg. 235.

Should Christians still follow the Old Testament laws?

 There is an age old debate regarding the Old Testament laws. It has surfaced in our culture as the Hebrew Roots Movement. The call of the movement is for the Christian to return to the traditions of the Hebrews. When encountering a person from the movement they will put a heavy emphasis on why a believer should be set apart by following the Hebrew roots. Pastor Mark D. DeMoss and Deanna Huff discuss this matter on Talking Truth.

Bible Overview

Many people are starting off the New Year by reading the Bible chronologically. There are some good helps to understanding the continuity of the 66 books. Some things to consider are timelines and overviews. Here are a couple to get you started and will help you communicate God’s message more clearly to those trying to understand the flow of the Bible.

Enjoy!

A Brief Overview of the Bible - God Redeeming Man


overview timeline of bible pdf

  1. God created the heavens and the earth and all that is in it.
  2. Adam and Eve lived in a perfect world until they disobeyed and sinned against God.
  3. Sin entered the world brought death and separated us from God.
  4. God gave the Law (10 Commandments) to reveal our sin.
  5. The prophets spread the message of hope (Christ Jesus) that was to come and would restore believer’s relationship to God.
  6. Christ Jesus is born to bring hope for all mankind to be in relationship with God.
  7. Jesus paid the price of sin and took the believer’s place on the cross, then three days later he rose from the grave.
  8. Now we can ask God to forgive our sins and receive Jesus who died in our place. Now the debt of sin has been paid and we can be in relationship with God forever.
  9. Christ established His Church through the disciples. Now we have the message of hope and while there is time we can share it with others.
  10. Judgment – One day we will meet Jesus face to face and for the believer there will be no more suffering or pain. We will live eternally with Christ where there is no more sin. For the unbeliever there will be punishment of sin.

Ancient History Timeline


Timeline of Ancient History pdf

An Important Goal to Consider for the New Year

Each December many people contemplate setting goals for the next year. Some consider physical, economical or spiritual goals. I would venture to say for the believer reading through the Bible is a goal that affects all three areas. It is interesting to note that there are approximately 6900 languages in the world today and only about 2479 have some or part of the Bible translated in their own language. There are only around 450 that have a complete Bible in their own language. If you are reading this blog, then you have the Bible available in your language.

The Bible is unique among the ancient documents. It is the revelation of God redeeming man. God used people such as Moses and the prophets with sources such as stone, leather and clay to pass down the words of God from about 2000 BC. About 450 BC Ezra the priest is noted for compiling the Old Testament Books. Around 250-100 BC the Jewish scholars translated the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) into the Greek language and it is what is called the Septuagint. “The Old Testament canon was meticulously cared for by a cadre of copyists commissioned to solemn task of preserving the text. The Dead Sea Scrolls remain an enduring testimony to the reverential awe with which they engaged their sacred task.” By the time of Christ the teaching of the Hebrew Bible was endorsed by Christ. Jesus said, “do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.” Jesus’ disciples continued the message of God by writing the teachings of Christ down on papyrus scrolls and the New Testament was completed by the end of the first century. In the 4th century the books were confirmed as the 27 books in the New Testament.

Although the Bible was preserved over the years it was often preached in Latin instead of the common language of the people. John Wycliffe spent his life conveying the message that the Word of God should be in the hands of the people. It was William Tyndale who worked off of Wycliffe’s efforts at translating the Bible into English in 1526 and was later burned at the stake in 1536 because of these endeavors. The challenges of getting the Bible in the hands of the people did not stop there, but the printing press and the Reformation further opened the doors of the common people being able to read the Word of God.

So, should it be a New Year’s goal to read it because people gave their resources and sometimes their life to get the Bible into the hands of the people? No, but there should be a deep appreciation for those that were handing down the truth of God’s Word. So what should be the reason to learn and share the Bible? First, it is God’s revelation of His redeeming love for His people. Second, it enlightens our eyes and gives us everything for life and godliness. Third, if we are disciples of Christ, we are commanded to teach all that He commanded. How can one teach what they do not know? Lastly, we should read it because Jesus gave His life so that we might know Him and left this revelation for those who believe.

For Further Reading
Statistics from Wycliffe International
Has God Spoken by Hank Hanegraaff
The Story of Christianity Justo L. Gonzalez
Why Trust the Bible? Rose Bible Basics