Who Needs Prophecy?

I once overheard an individual state that they could not understand the book of Revelation. In frustration they said that they were unable to sort out whether the rapture would take place before, in the middle of, or after the seven years of tribulation. Confused by the deep symbolism found in the prophetic books of the Bible, especially Revelation as noted, they seemed to be close to giving up. It is unfortunate to stumble across this, especially when I myself have been a close student of prophecy, and have spent a great deal of time studying the particular book in question. It saddens me to see Christians about ready to give up on prophecy due to a struggle to understand the Bible.

But I do understand the problems which lead to that final decision to not bother studying Revelation. It seems there are quite a few cryptic symbols in the pages of holy writ. Bible Prophecy in general tends to be characterized by deep symbolism, as though many of the prophetic books of the Bible were written in code. Perhaps if the book of Revelation were written this way, it would make sense. Deep symbolism used as a form of a code protects the messages of the Bible, which otherwise would not bypass the scrutiny of persecutors, especially if any of them are mentioned in the prophecies of holy writ.

But unfortunately this places Christians in the position of having to decipher the codes of Bible Prophecy, in order to understand the messages that God has given to us. As noted, some seem to struggle with the task, and even give up, especially due to confusion from pre-established viewpoints and where they fit into the scope of final events. Alongside the cryptic nature of prophetic books of the Bible, it would seem there are as many views of prophecy as there are denominations in Christendom. If this is indeed the case, what is the Christian to do?

We need not be discouraged by the cryptic symbols of the Bible. God never intended for deep symbolism to be a hindrance to the faithful Bible student. The book of Revelation itself contains a promise for those who read it, which says: “Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.” – Revelation 1:3. 

There is therefore a blessing pronounced on those who attempt to undertake the study of this specific prophetic book. Other Bible promises are also well suited to the different prophetic chapters, parables, dreams, and visions across the Scriptures. James 1:5, Mark 11:24, and John 16:13 could perhaps bring encouragement to struggling students of Bible Prophecy.

The abundance of views concerning prophecy however are a different matter. An example of this boils down to issues surrounding the rapture, the seven years of tribulation, the sequence of the rapture, and other events connected to prophecy. This is in addition to the fact that while some say all of prophecy will be fulfilled in the future, others teach it was all fulfilled in the past. Prophecies surrounding the antichrist are made to be about one man who will stamp out religion with Hitler-like fury [thus bringing about the seven years of tribulation], or it is claimed that he was Nero during the days of the Roman persecutions.

As stated above, even those who hold to the idea of the rapture cannot agree as to whether it will occur before the tribulation, during the tribulation, or after the tribulation. It creates a quagmire for the Christian to wade through and struggle with as they sit back confused, trying to determine which of the views is correct. This is where I want to make a radical suggestion.

I do not want to be perceived as though I personally hold to disbelief in the second coming of Christ. That would unquestionably be nothing short of heresy. But if any of the multitudes of views regarding prophecy have confused you and made it difficult to study Bible Prophecy and final events, I want to encourage you. I would suggest that you for the moment forget about trying to learn the sequence of the rapture in relation to the tribulation.

If you do not live in a country where there is a lot of persecution, take advantage of your religious freedom. Think and study for yourself freely in spite of what anyone at your church believes, teaches, or preaches. I propose that you conduct an experiment in which you lay aside all pre-determined views of Bible Prophecy. This includes the rapture, its sequence [pre-trib, post-trib, or mid-trib], the idea of a one-man antichrist, whether or not he will come in the future or if he was Nero, and any other views which you know other people personally hold.

After doing this, take every Bible Commentary in your house and put them in a place in which you will not be tempted to use them. You do not want their ideas to become your own. Then get down on your knees and spend some time in prayer. Claim the promises listed here in this post [Revelation 1:3, Mark 11:24, John 16:13, James 1:5]. After that, take a concordance or Bible search engine and dive into the word of God. Use the methods of study outlined on this blog. Then let me know if this helps you to better understand the teachings of Scripture on these points for yourself.

But beyond this, the difficulties of established views and cryptic symbolism may trigger some to ask why Christians should even bother studying prophecy in the first place? Afterall shouldn’t we just focus on evangelism? Would salvation not be a better study for the Christian to dwell on? Perhaps these seem like good questions on the surface, but in reality they convey the idea that prophecy is somehow unimportant, or that other matters should receive more attention from the Christian. Evangelism for instance can be supported and made more effective by a thorough study of the prophecies in connection with history.

The particular school of prophetic interpretation you believe in has an influence on this. However the ability to demonstrate the fulfilment of Bible Prophecy in history is something which has won souls in the past. This is because it in effect proves the inspiration of Scripture, and provides facts and evidence upon which a person may base their faith and make intelligent decisions for the truth. When supported by evidence that the events actually occurred in history, and the books were written before the events took place, than the Christian is equipped with powerful arguments in support of the truth.

Thus abandoning the study of prophecy because it is more important that we “focus on evangelism” is like going into battle without a sword, armor, or a shield. As for Salvation, it is of course important that every Christian, especially those engaged in evangelism, have a thorough understanding of the nuts and bolts of how to be saved. I can agree that everything else should be put on hold until you understand this, but some reach a state in their Christian experience where they do understand these issues. Therefore it is a little ridiculous to use salvation as a means of dismissing the study of the prophecies. The term “excuse” comes to mind.

But effectiveness in evangelism is not the only reason Christians should consider studying prophecy. It constitutes one of the reasons, as when one studies the issue thoroughly enough a powerful argument for apologetics is produced. But note what Peter had to say about the matter.

“We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.” – 2 Peter 1:19

It would seem that the “sure word of prophecy” is something that Christians would do well to pay attention to. This is clear from Peter’s words “whereunto ye do well that ye take heed.” Other versions render this literally as, “and you will do well to pay attention to it.” Scripture teaches that prophecy is to receive our attention, thus I would suggest that no Christian who is serious about their faith can dismiss the prophecies of Scripture in favor of other concerns. Beyond Peter’s admonition to pay attention to prophecy, consider the following.

The prophecies surrounding the second coming of Christ contain numerous warnings about deception. You can see these warnings in passages such as Matthew 24:4-5, 24:11, 24:23-24, and 2 Thessalonians 2:8-9. That knowledge would lead us to seek to be thorough Bible students in general and to practice discernment, but you would not have this knowledge unless you had taken the time to study prophecy. It may also leave you without an understanding of what needs to happen in your life in order for you to achieve a readiness for the final events.

If we take also for instance the prophecies surrounding the mark of the beast, a thorough understanding of these issues might also help you to avoid receiving it yourself. You would be capable of discerning precisely what the mark is, and have a decent enough knowledge of how to escape it. But a neglect of attempting to study them would leave you without that knowledge. Thus you would be unable to identify it when it arrives, and could theoretically be deceived into receiving it.

A thorough understanding of the prophecies connected to the final events is undeniably of great benefit to the Christian. In view of this fact, if you’ve ever felt frustrated at the deep symbolism and the varying beliefs regarding the prophecies, take courage. A study of prophecy is not only beneficial but important, and therefore it is worth a little perseverance on your part.

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The Importance Of Bible Study

“What have you been studying out of your Bible lately?”

To many within Christendom, this would seem an unanswerable question. It is as though some irrefutable argument was thrown at them, and they’re squirming to respond with solid logic. The reason for this is of course obvious, they haven’t been studying their Bibles. Searching the Scriptures seems to be a neglected and forgotten practice in the Churches of today. A variety of reasons are usually cited, from not having the time to not knowing how.

At one time, I had the opportunity of attending a group Bible study at another Church. It was aimed dominantly at young people, and I was invited to it by a couple of friends. Rather than an interactive study as I was typically used to from my own Church, this seemed more like a sermon with some discussion that followed than anything. One of the people who I met from here remarked, “I don’t need to study the Bible. It’s not like it’s a salvation issue!”

Evidently this individual did not consider Bible study to be important enough to be ranked as something effecting their salvation. To this day such a statement causes me to smack my palm against my face as a reaction to what was said by this person. Bible Study is perhaps more important than we as Christians give it credit for, and it does indeed have an impact on our personal salvation.

Without even addressing the act of searching the Scriptures itself, there is the fact that the Bible teaches precisely how to be saved. Thus if a Christian is neglecting to study the Bible, they will not have a correct knowledge of salvation, which would impact their’s in a negative way. Without an understanding of how salvation works, how is it that you’re supposed to be saved? You could literally wind up attempting to earn it by your own good works in spite of passages like Ephesians 2:8-9 and Romans 6:23, but you would not know about these texts if you had not studied your Bible.

The Scriptures are also a safeguard against deception. To be clear, deception isn’t given to save you. The entire purpose of it is to lead you away from the true path, to cause you to miss the mark so to speak that would lead to God and salvation. Real world examples can be in the form of other religions, such as Mormons or Jehovah’s Witnesses. Can you believe that the teachings of these groups will save the members of their congregations, and that these religions genuinely do lead to God and salvation? If this is in your thinking, you’re probably heading down the path of subjective truth and universalism. Both beliefs are wrong, but you wouldn’t know this unless you had studied your Bible.

The first great deception provides us an example of how error and false teachings are given to trigger the loss of our salvation. Especially when you consider the source of deceptions, as outlined by the Scriptures, and where the first one came from. In fact, we as Christians are in the mess we’re presently in, in which we’re sinners in need of a saviour, because of the first deception and it’s results causing the fall of man.

“Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.” – Genesis 3:1-5

Many of us know where this story goes from here. If you don’t, Genesis 3:6-24 will finish it off for you. Eve and Adam both ate from the tree as a result of these statements of the devil, although according to other Scriptures [“And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in transgression” – 1 Timothy 2:14] Adam was apparently not deceived during this whole mess. To an extent, the implication here is that he ate from the tree deliberately. I’m not certain we have the full picture as to why he would do this, but I can make a well-educated guess that it has something to do with Eve. Evidence supporting the fact that the serpent is in fact the devil can be derived from the book of Revelation.

“And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent called the devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.” – Revelation 12:9

A few key points may be gleaned from this incident.

  1. The result of the fall of man, brought on by deception, was the entrance of sin into this world. Romans 6:23 says that the wages of sin is death, referencing the loss of one’s salvation. [Revelation 21:8]
  2. The fall of man resulted in Adam & Eve being kicked out of the Garden of Eden and access to the tree of life being barred, in one sense causing them to lose eternal life. [Genesis 3:22-24, 3:19.]
  3. Deception resulted in the first sin ever committed. Is it not logical to conclude that one purpose of deception is to trigger the commission of sin?

In view of these facts, it should make a bit more sense why the Bible is full of strong warnings about deception, false teachers or teachings, and false prophets. [2 Peter 2:1, Matthew 7:15-20, 1 John 4:1, Matthew 24:23-24, Matthew 24:4-5, 2 Thessalonians 2:8-12, 2 Timothy 3:13, Revelation 16:13-14, Deuteronomy 13:1-4.] These things are not brought onto the scene to save you, they’re strictly for the purpose of misleading you so that you will miss the mark and ultimately miss out on eternal life.

The only way to defeat deception is a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. Think of the Bible as a map and a compass. We use these tools to find our way in order to avoid being lost in the wilderness when we go hiking or on long backpacking trips. They help us find direction and determine our position. Imagine for a moment that these instruments have given you the details of where you need to be and go in order to avoid getting lost, but on your journey you come across many who say you’re heading in the wrong direction. There is nothing wrong with either your compass, and your map is accurate. In all reality, they’re the ones taking the wrong route. But you wouldn’t know this unless you checked your map and compass.

When false teaching, teachers, or prophets arise telling you “this is the way”, a thorough knowledge of your Bible enables you to know the correct path in spite of their deception. If it points one direction, and people point another way, in all reality the Bible is correct and they’re wrong. But without studying your Bible you will not be able to detect these things. This is why the Bible gives us the example of the Bereans, who literally checked their “compasses and maps” when they were introduced to fresh concepts to be sure if they were heading in the right direction.

“And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming hither went in unto the synagogue of the Jews. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” – Acts 17:10-11

The Bereans are termed “more noble than those in Thessalonica” due to the fact that they “searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” As Paul and Silas preached to them, they had a tendency to check their “map and compass” as I stated above to determine if those two were teaching truth, which I would suggest is a part of the reason why they “received the word with all readiness of mind.” This where the phrase “being a Berean” in Christianity originates from, and it is based on their example of checking things out.

Your Bible cannot function as a spiritual map and compass for you, if you are not well conversant with it. Thus if deceptions particularly relating to salvation were to arise, you wouldn’t be able to pick up on it. In such a case, you could more than likely end up losing your salvation, as Adam and Eve were kicked out of the Garden. Especially if you’re as accepting of passages quoted out of their context as the last post demonstrated many Christians to be.

You are dealing with a foe who is also a thorough Bible student, and who has often quoted texts outside of their context to support his deceptions. You can especially observe this taking place in Matthew 4:5-7, which are passages from which we get the concept of presumption, or simply “tempting God.” Since Christians have demonstrated due to Jacob Dufour’s experiment that many of them cannot pick up on when some one quotes a verse out of context, unless they obtain a thorough knowledge of their Bibles they’re likely to be swept up by the strong current of the devil’s lies. This is not something that Satan does to save you, neither are his deceptions things that you would want to run around believing if you had their true character unmasked.

At this point the reasons mentioned above are usually cited, such as not having the time. The demands of married life can be somewhat understandable, in addition to work. But at the same time there needs to be some questions asked as to whether or not your time is being used wisely. If you were to calculate the amount of time you have in the day in which you’re not working, spending time with family, or sleeping perhaps you would be shocked to find that maybe you have more time for the Bible than you thought.

For instance, how much time after work is spent in front of the television watching movies or some show? In the case of youth, how much time is spent playing video games? These are buttons that need to be pushed in the Christian world, because I strongly believe that many of us have made idols out of entertainment. Our free time is often all-consumed by amusements whereas very little time is spent in the word or in prayer. We neglect these important practices of the Christian life in favor of amusements and suffer the results in a lack of power and discernment in our walk.

When I worked swing shift at a foundry a few years back, I was still able to find time to pray and study my Bible. I would spend breaks and lunch during my shift praying and memorizing Scriptures, and took the time before work to pray and study the word. Theoretically you should have time both before and after whatever job you work and time off from work. This can be in the form of vacation time, holidays, weekends, or simply just days off that some jobs give. How much of this time is spent in your Bible as opposed to on other things? Most people have a tendency to gravitate towards entertainment/amusement first over the Bible during such days.

Reality boils down to the fact that “I don’t have time” is an excuse. You would probably find that at best you have anywhere from fifteen minutes to an hour every day in which you could be studying your Bible, or at least memorizing a passage of Scripture. The real reason probably goes back to the previously mentioned entertainment. Idols in the form of movies and video games have created a situation in which Christians would rather engage in these activities than spend time in the word.

Not knowing how to study the Bible is a little bit more legitimate of a reason. I’ve come across some that are fifty-five years old, have been Christians all their lives, and they still do not know how to study God’s word. Many can find the task a little daunting. But I’ve written two posts here and here which deal with this subject in-depth, and should help to resolve that problem. Even then, much of what I learned was through trial and error, sort of jumping in and learning to swim. I had the advantage of naturally being somewhat of an intellectual individual who is analytical in his thinking, but this still demonstrates that you can figure it out if you’re willing to.

One of the real problems may rest in the fact that there are hordes of people in our age who do not like reading. In all reality, if this is you I would say you’re going to have to overcome this in the case of your Bible. This is because the idea that searching the scriptures has no impact on your salvation is a false teaching, the Bible has a major impact in the transformation of your character, and you more than likely will be swept up with the current of Satan’s deceptions otherwise. You do not need to spend time diving into a reading list which is 144 books long like myself, but I cannot stress enough how important it is than you get into your Bible. It is probably the most important book that you will ever read.

I would go so far as to say that reading the word isn’t enough. Simply studying it isn’t enough either. You need to thoroughly examine it and apply its teachings to your life. You can study the Bible as one studies the sciences, but it will not be of any value unless you’re living up to teaching of the Scriptures. “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” – James 1:22

If you catch the importance of Bible study, than my appeal to you is to spend at least one hour every day, whether before or after your job, searching the pages of holy writ. Use the methods outlined in my other posts, and perhaps leave a few comments about the effects on your walk with God.

Contend For The Faith

“Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” – Jude 1:3

“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:” – 1 Peter 3:15.

Apologia

This Greek word is the source of our word “apologetics”, which means a defense of the faith. The word here used in the Bible as “Apologia” in the Greek under the term “answer” as it appears in 1 Peter 3:15 means “A verbal defense, speech in defense, a reasoned statement or argument.” This is of course according to Thayer’s Greek dictionary. Being the branch of theology which focuses on a defense of the faith, you would think that Christians might see this to be more important.

An effective defense of the faith requires a person to be studious. I would suspect you would have to read works that have been written answering charges, take the time to research what others have done in this branch of theology, learn what the different logical fallacies are, and spend the time answering attacks on the faith. I’ve run into too many who consider this to be a waste of time. Some of the reasons cited are the idea that you should spend your time studying the truth, and often an illustration of how “they” don’t spend time studying the counterfeit dollar in order to spot the fakes but instead study the genuine.

Comments like, “A man convinced of his own will is of the same persuasion still” are occasionally made. Then others will still say they don’t have the time to spend in studying into something which isn’t true. We then start to wonder why it is that our youth sometimes leave the churches in droves, and it is so hard to answer the charges of atheists. I know that some in my church have struggled to answer questions which relate to God’s existence. Challenging questions like “who made God” and “why does he allow evil” are the stumps which Christians of different faiths have a tendency to trip over, including the issue of “why Did God command Genocide?”

I’ve had an interesting experience in this area myself. So much so that I would say my encounters with opposition to the Christian faith have been quite insightful. I’ve been blessed with the opportunity for door to door work. Knocking on doors is a very rich experience, in which you gain an intimate understanding of evangelism and what kinds of attitudes exist in the world. A friend of mine once said that, “you’re getting the whole gambit.” I’ve met all kinds of people knocking on doors, and have enough experiences where I could probably write a book chronicling my story.

But I learned something very important when I was beating on doors. Upon occasion, an atheist answered the door. From these people I have been told I’m following a ridiculous path, that my testimony is an example of a coincidence, that there is no God because if he existed he wouldn’t allow evil, that God himself must be evil because of apparently messed up things in the old testament, and that he cannot be real because they’ve found alien skeletons on the moon. I think the attack I’ve heard the most is, “who made God?”

While this was discouraging at first, it drove me to study into apologetics. I have to admit that I have much to learn. But I’ve discovered that the question of “who made God” is a lot like the controversy surrounding Arianism, in which those who’re into false theology claim that Christ is a created being. If God was made than he obviously isn’t God, and thus the question cancels itself out. Alien skeletons on the moon is of course a laughable argument. But this is all beside the point. We as Christians need to know why we believe what we believe.

An argument often used by Atheists is that if you were born in some other country, you would be a part of a different religion. Thus it is claimed that you have been brain washed into accepting your current beliefs, that in applicable cases you’re only following it because your family has, and so on. We need to know why we believe what we believe as Christians, and not find ourselves going to a particular church because our parents always went to it. There is a real need to study into these matters. We often however do not study these things, and thus we’re left defenseless when the arguments of the atheists start pouring in.

We need to be able to respond to some of the attacks on Christianity which exist in our day. We should also understand that it isn’t a denial of faith to be able to explain why you believe in God, as this would be living up to some of the Biblical commands, and the early Christians had apologists in their ranks. Studying into Church History is sufficient to reveal that they had to deal with attacks against Christianity as well. They contended for the faith, responding to these charges at a time when they were also experiencing fierce persecution.

Today we don’t see the importance of this. More likely we don’t want to touch it because it involves the word “study.” If Apologetics requires research and studying, some of the masses who don’t like to read or barely get into their Bibles more than likely wouldn’t touch that branch of theology. Perhaps the thought that enters into their mind is that they should leave it to Ken Ham or Ravi Zacharias. Thus they don’t bother to touch it. This is like leaving evangelism to your pastor.

There are several reasons for why we need to consider the importance of apologetics. One of them is that Christianity is under attack from all directions. There are assaults on the trustworthiness of the Bible, the existence of God, and his character. It comes in a variety of forms from Evolution to the question of why there is an apparent command of Genocide in the Bible. Some of these questions can be very perplexing if you’re confronted with them. While the older people of the Church may be able to dismiss such questions easily, the youth could have their faith completely destroyed. Hence it doesn’t cut it simply to teach Bible stories without providing ample evidence upon which for them to base their faith anymore.

Christianity is also under attack in the form of cults that have arrived upon the scene who wrap themselves in the garments of sheep. The Mormons and the Jehovah’s Witnesses are examples of groups which fit this description. In view of so many attacks from external sources, I think it would behoove you study into the matter. A defense of Christianity is a needed thing, especially if you expect the Youth to stay in the Church.

But alongside them we have internal assaults in the form of heresies around almost every corner, and a mass amount of lay people who are not practicing discernment. Without exaggerating the seriousness of the situation, I would say that there is a spiritual war that is raging out there, and we as Christians are often busy posting things on Facebook like “post amen and God will bless you with such and such.” But as the video below demonstrates, some of us can’t even pick up on when something is quoted outside of its context.

Jacob Dufour is honestly some one I know almost nothing about. In the video he claims to be a Christian filmmaker. I’ve never seen any of his movies. This YouTube video is about as close as it gets to me watching something produced by him, and I stumbled across it because a friend of mine on Facebook shared it on their timeline. In turn I shared it on mine, because ultimately the message of this video is something that we as Christians need to see and consider. Thus it wound up in this post, as I thought it was very fitting with the subject in question. But because I do not know if everything he produces is Biblical, I thus will not say that I endorse all of it. If you watch anything of his in the future, do so with the very same critical eye that he admonishes you to have.

This video displays an overall lack of discernment, and perhaps even Bible study, on the part of the majority of Christian laypeople. What is worse is one of the individuals whom he was conversing with claimed to be a pastor, and mistook the quotation cited [which was originally from the devil as you saw], as being “our Lord Jesus.” Apologetics helps with the external assaults, but when the battle involves heresies floating around within the Church, especially in the form of prosperity gospel trash, you will need discernment. In fact, this video would cause me to go so far as to say that we’re in trouble. Why is it that I say this?

  1. A quotation which was taken out of context was accepted as truth because it sounded nice and inspirational.
  2. It stands to reason that if almost 97% of Christians conversed with were duped by a quote taken out of context as a simple experiment to see if they were serious, than they would likely be deceived on a more regular basis. Therefore they may accept all kinds of heresies as truth just because a quote was taken out of context to support it and it sounded “inspirational.”
  3. This was a statement taken straight from the mouth of Satan while Jesus was tempted. If Christians were duped by this, what will they do when the deceptions of the last days are multiplying around them? [2 Thessalonians 2:8-9, Revelation 16:13-14, Matthew 24:4-5.]

Christians really are in trouble, and especially at a time in which the battle for the faith thickens around us. Scanning through the WordPress reader, at times I’ve come across some blogs that have been produced by other Christians who’re an inch away from leaving the faith. Some of the earlier blogs I found when I started this ministry were by people expressing doubts about the truthfulness of the Bible and the existence of God. A friend of mine from the Bible college I went to suggested one of them was taking a bite out of “secular humanism.” They were definitely heading in the direction opposite of belief in God, as the title for their blog gave this suggestion. I battled back and forth with the person over Conditional Immortality in their blog comments for a time, not realizing that there was no way on earth they would listen to me. It was sad, because I was drawn into the fray over the fact that a part of the reasoning behind their doubts about God’s existence was the issue of an eternally burning hell.

Another blog that I found spoke about how there is no evidence to back Christianity up. The writer was going so far as to say that the “faith once delivered to the saints” was entirely fictional, and that learning this was a heart wrenching experience for them. It is saddening to come across something like that, but it can be directly charged to a neglect of study on the part of Christians. We not only do not study our Bibles or neglect to fact check those who quote something out of context, but we neglect an important branch of theology that would have us prepared to deal with such situations!

It is high time for us as Christians to awaken from our slumber. We need to be like the bereans, and we need to know why we believe what we believe. We cannot be the lukewarm pew warmers that some have been. There is a real need right now for us to be awake, especially if we genuinely believe that we’re approaching the final days of this earth’s history.

Locked In Deep Research

Over the past several months, I’ve found myself locked in deep study. With a reading list over 144 books long upon a wide variety of subjects, and a pressing need to mine the Scriptures for all they’re worth, I have been unable to post consistently for the past several months. I have regretably always been somewhat slow, unlike many of the blogs I follow which seem to keep my cell phone through the WordPress app buzzing every morning.

My posting speed can be directly attributed to some of the books that I will be working on, as well as my studies. The pursuit of a career as an author has always been something of a dream of mine, and something for which God has graciously given me the talents. Especially I find myself inspired by the book “Pilgrim’s Progress” by John Bunyan, and hold the desire to undertake a project which would be similar in that it most certainly would be a story or allegory with heavy Christian themes.

But lately a nonfiction book has absorbed my attention, and is soon to be published through create space. A post on this book is forthcoming, but for now understand that this as well as my super long reading list is where my attention has been these past few months. Many of the books I am reading are upon subjects which will have an influence on future posts.

The Lord has blessed me with access to a four volume set of books which give an in-depth synopsis of the history of prophetic interpretation. It traces out the history of the early Christian church, covers Jewish interpretations of old testament prophecies, enters catholic interpretations of prophecies during midevil times, sweeps through the protestation reformation and goes on up into the time when the books were written, which is around the 60’s. I’m only on the 2nd Volume, but I read through the 1st and found the information to be well-researched and very useful for the writing of future posts on various subjects.

You might be aware that I’ve written a number of posts on the subject of what is normally termed “Conditionalism.” [Everlasting Destruction, Forever – An Answer To Reveation 20:10, 14:9-11, The Rich Man and Lazarus, They Know Not Anything.] The author penned a pair of books on the history of the three schools of thought regarding immortality. [They’re all called Conditionalism Or Conditional Immortality, Universalism, and Traditionalism or sometimes simply Eternal Conscious Torment.] These books are also very high quality in the information they provide, which might also be worth a future post.

Many of the books on my list are historical or theological. However, several of them are related to apologetics, diving into the subject of creation vs evolution. One such book is none other than “Evolution’s Achilies Heel.” As for historical works, I’ve recently acquired access to a variety of books that cover the Protestant Reformation, as well as the overall history of the Christian Church. This is in addition to books by Flavius Josephus. I’ve also acquired a book which is an in-depth study on the issue of “Speaking in Tongues”, and one that studies into and refutes the teachings of the Mormons.

Why read all of this? I’ve always had something of a thirst for study and deep research. For whatever reason, it has just seemed to have been my natural tendency. Reading appears to be something I have just as much of a love for as writing. But beyond seeking to quench that personal thirst, many of these books have been carefully chosen with this blog in mind. It was my hope that the information in them would be helpful for the future of this ministry. Thus my reading list will likely have a major influence on the content of future posts. Additionally, some of them have been carefully selected with the hope that they will help in defending certain beliefs I hold, and give me arguments I can use in my books.

I was always told by my Father that if you want to be a good writer, you need to read what others have written. He directed me toward an endless list of novels, read for the purpose of learning the trade of crafting a story, describing scenes, and developing characters. Today that advice finds it’s manifestation in my present reading list of over 144 books, read for the purpose of gaining as much information as possible to refine the arguments of my writings.

Posts are in fact forthcoming on this blog, but at times I may be slow to post as I read through my list. So I would go so far as to ask that you be patient and stay with me, because if I’m slow some high quality information might be coming. Some of the things I write about honestly take more time and research to pump out than what others on Word Press produce.

Our Need Of Compassion

“Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.” – Matthew 7:12

It has been said, “I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians, they are so unlike your Christ.” This statement has often been attributed to Mahatma Gandhi. The truthfulness of this statement is easily discerned. One need only spend a short length of time in the Christian church in order to spot the differences between Jesus and the believers who fill the pews.

One may even take a look at their own life, compare it with that of the life of Jesus, and spot the painfully distinct sharp contrast. I by no means free myself from this possibility. We must acknowledge the reality that as sinful human beings we have all fallen far from the mark of Christ-likeness, and that none of us may achieve such a state in our own human power. Neither do I myself claim to have reached this state. Instead it is my hope to engage in open warfare with a specific problem which has reared it’s ugly head inside the churches of today, and exhort you to be a light within your own church.

In view of this, it is prudent to point to one particular aspect of the character of Christ. There is a point in Scripture, particularly in the book of Luke, which is a most forcible illustration of the trait in question. It reads, “Now when he came nigh to the gate of the city, behold, there was a dead man carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow: and much of the people of the city was with her. And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her, and said unto her, Weep not. And he came and touched the bier: and they that bare him stood still. And he said, Young man, I say unto thee, Arise. And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And he delivered him to his mother.” – Luke 17:13-15.

These passages from Scripture describe a woman who was a widow, and who had lost her only son. Her dead son is described as being carried out of the gate of the city, this being the most likely conclusion from the position which Jesus is standing during all of this. Upon spotting the woman and her dead son he ‘had compassion on her’ and said ‘weep not’ right before performing a resurrection. There are a few instances such as this in Scripture where Jesus is moved with compassion at some one’s misfortune, and then he steps in to resolve the issue which caused it.

The keyword to focus on in this particular case is ‘compassion.’ What exactly is compassion? Jesus’ actions in all of these stories give us a great deal of clues as to the meaning of this mysterious word. It is quite clearly linked with caring about the misfortunes of others, as can be shown by the resurrection of this woman’s dead son. One might even go so far as to suggest that Jesus’ words ‘weep not’ indicate that compassion moves a person to speak a word of comfort. Given these obvious examples from Scripture, we cannot be far from the correct track.

What is the meaning of this word in common usage? An internet dictionary defines the word as such:

compassion

[kuh m-pash-uh n]

noun

1.

a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.

At this stage, some Christians may protest and even argue that words in the dictionary hold different meanings than that which is used in Scripture. However, if we take a look at Christ’s actions in comparison with the definition given, we can see clearly that the internet dictionary is giving a pin-point accurate description of everything Jesus did and said in this particular story. As if that were not enough, the word used for “Compassion” in the text is defined by Strong’s as:

G4697

σπλαγχνίζομαι

splagchnizomai

splangkh-nid’-zom-ahee

Middle voice from G4698; to have the bowels yearn, that is, (figuratively) feel sympathy, to pity: – have (be moved with) compassion.

With all of the information matching up, there can be no doubt as to the meaning of this word. We are dealing with a character trait which leads to sympathizing with another in their misfortunes and attempting to alleviate their suffering. It is a sad statement I make that this particular trait is missing from the churches of Christianity. While it is not as though every single Christian on the face of planet earth is lacking compassion, one can discern with ease the fact that many Christians do not act like this.

I myself have painfully run into this shocking discovery. I have had to experience the difficulty in attempting to get some one to pray with me over intense emotional battles, only to find myself repulsed with the excuse of “you are dwelling on yourself!” I have heard the horrific responses pour forth from unsympathetic lips desperate for any excuse to selfishly avoid speaking a word of comfort and cheer. And at the same time I would note that those who are following the light found in Scripture on this subject have been difficult to tear-up around without the majority of them surrounding me in an attempt to figure out what is wrong and aid me through the problem. One could hardly camouflage their sorrow around such persons.

The reality of it is, there really is no excuse for unsympathetic behavior on the part of the Christian. In the book of Peter we find a straight forward command, admonishing all to manifest compassion one to another and to be unified. The text reads, “Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren; be pitiful, be courteous.” – 1 Peter 3:8. Strong’s definitions for two of the words used can be found below. Note that “pitiful” is defined as “well compassioned, that is, sympathetic.” The other definition also stands out as an obvious reference to sympathy.

G4835

συμπαθής

sumpathēs

soom-path-ace’

From G4841; having a fellow feeling (“sympathetic”), that is, (by implication) mutually commiserative: – having compassion one of another

G2155

εὔσπλαγχνος

eusplagchnos

yoo’-splangkh-nos

From G2095 and G4698; well compassioned, that is, sympathetic: – pitiful, tender-hearted.

If we pay close attention to the words, we are to have “compassion one of another.” This statement describes a two-way street. There is no room here for individuals to excuse themselves from manifesting compassion on the grounds that the person did not give it to them. Everyone involved is to manifest the trait. We are admonished also to be pitiful. This would logically mean that such a trait becomes simply how or who we are. Many of these same principles are found in the book of Matthew, when Christ sets forth something many of us know as the ‘golden rule.’

“Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.” – Matthew 7:12

Whatever we would like done to us is to be done to others. This is the principle set forth by Christ, and this is ultimately what is needed in the lives of Christians. A reality not often realized is that these principles are more far-reaching than many give them credit for. These words of Christ should ultimately shape the words that you as a Christian speak to others, especially when you are confronted with a particular individual who is struggling with sorrow. Therefore there is an ultimate reality that there are certain things that you simply should not say to somebody who is dealing with a serious amount of heartache. Below I have produced a series of examples of common responses which are stereotypes of the wrong things people can often say to each other during a time of sorrow.

You are dwelling on yourself.

God has ordained your pain.

What do you want me to do about it!?

You have brought this on yourself.

You’re throwing a pity party…

You are choosing your own pain!

You need to just move on!

The world doesn’t owe you anything…

Time heals all wounds…

What do all of these responses have in common? With the exception of the last final response, they’re all really quite callous. Three of them are aimed at placing the blame for the individual’s emotional problems on the individual who is suffering. They do this either by implying that the suffering has come about through the person literally bringing it upon them self or through claiming the individual is choosing their pain. One response, by asking the horrid question of “What do you want me to do about it” is obviously indicating that the person probably doesn’t care.

The claims that the person is “throwing a pity party” and that the “world doesn’t owe them anything” both are designed as attacks, aimed at putting the person down for their suffering. The pity party statement also aligns rather nicely with the claim that they “need to just move on”, as both carry an underlying suggestion that the individual’s suffering is either not that big of a deal or that they are repeatedly dwelling on the issue unnecessarily. One of them carries the suggestion that the person is just trying to soak up sympathy from people as a form of attention seeking.

The statement of “God has ordained your pain” is especially disgusting. This makes God out to be a fiend who providentially arranges for the awful things to happen to you as some kind of a grand master plan of making you suffer. It is usually found among a class of Christians who hold to the idea that God arranges for even the horrible things to happen to us. This should never be uttered from the mouth of a Christian, especially in the presence of those who are dealing with serious emotional problems. Below there is a series of Scriptures which destroy this kind of theology.

“The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy. The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.” – Psalm 145:8-9

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” – John 3:16

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” – James 1:17

“And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.” – 1 John 4:16

The idea that God arranges our suffering is destroyed by the fact that the Bible describes him as loving the world, and defines him as love. Ordaining the painful experiences of your life is contrary to love, as this suggests that God wants to hurt you. You cannot desire to hurt some one that you love, as this suggests by default that you do not really love them. Additionally the suggestion that “Every good and every perfect gift is from above” comes with the question attached of, “where is the statement that every evil thing is from above?” I myself have never been able to locate one. In all reality, it is the good things that come from the Father and not the evil things in life. Questions arise in one’s mind as to exactly how God could be good to all and full of compassion, and yet turn around and scheme out painful things to happen to his people. Such an act is of course contrary all compassion and goodness.

The theological problems inherent in this kind of thinking aside, the response is an indisputably awful thing to say to some one who is struggling emotionally. A friend of mine once shared with me that he met a woman who had walked away from Christianity because something horrible had happened to her, and she had received similar responses. She had been told God was “testing her”. This ended her having anything to do with Christianity, and is a perfect example of why Christians should watch what they say to some one who is struggling.

The final statement is not as callous as the rest of the responses. It is however not the most helpful reply. The statement of “Time heals all wounds” is a generic phrase which I have aimed at covering responses which are usually something to the effect of, “time will heal it. It will get better with time. Time will make everything all better.” This is what is known as a platitude, which is a meaningless trite phrase or cliché aimed at quelling negative emotion such as sorrow. The phrase is usually too overused to add any real solution to the problem and is thus not that helpful. Credit must be given where credit is due, the people who usually use these are trying. They should however consider abandoning clichés and think about crafting their responses around Matthew 7:12. Those who have used these responses should think in terms of, “What would I want to hear if I was in their shoes?”

This question, which is based on the golden rule, should govern every response that the Christian gives to the suffering of others. You do not have to and should not sacrifice truth in order to this, but somebody who is dealing with severe emotional problems should not be given the callous responses listed above. In addition, so far as it can be done without lying to them, they should be told exactly what they want to hear.

If some one chooses to confide in you, your response should be aimed at alleviating their disturbance. If your responses are crafted in this way, than you are on the right track toward encouraging this person. A perfect example would be if some one came to you speaking about a bad breakup, confiding in you over the fact that their heart had been broken. What exactly do you say in this situation?

An effective approach from a Christian perspective would be to remind the person who God is. Texts like the ones quoted above to bring down false theological viewpoints can easily be used to encourage some one in these particular circumstances. The idea that God loves you and that he is full of compassion together imply that he wants to alleviate your sadness, and therefore right away the individual can be pointed to Christ without it sounding like you are attempting to get rid of them. A way in which you might more directly address their suffering is by pointing out that since nothing is impossible with God, he is more than capable of easing their sorrow. You might even consider using texts such as the ones from Psalms below which directly state that God heals your wounds, and is close to you when your heart is broken.

“The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.” – Psalm 34:18

“He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.”- Psalm 147:3

If you do not know what to say, the beautiful thing is that you may craft your response around Bible verses. The promises of the word are not only to encourage you, but they can be brought to bear upon anyone who is struggling. Prayer is also an option with equal weight. This would accomplish almost the same effect as if you had given some word of encouragement. If you put the two together, and hurl all of the encouraging words that you can think of at the individual, provided they are not platitudes, than you really have an effective and encouraging response.

One must also remember that there is a powerful solution to not knowing what to say. It is found in the book of James, in the first chapter. This passage of Scripture suggests that if we lack wisdom, all we have to do is ask God for it, and he will liberally distribute it to us. This statement from the Bible is so broad that it could be applied to in such a way as to be the solution to this issue. If you don’t know what to say to some one to encourage them, but recognize a Biblical duty to manifest compassion, consider praying over the matter first before ministering to the individual. Ask God for the wisdom to know what to say and do to help alleviate the individual’s sorrow.

“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” – James 1:5

“I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” – John 15:5

With that said, it is important to remember that it is only through Christ that we may develop compassion. He made this clear when he said, “without me ye can do nothing” and “He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit.” Without a connection with Christ, human beings are more likely to go for the callous response or to attempt to get rid of somebody because they’re annoyed at the idea of helping them. The facts are that it is not natural for you or anyone who is a follower of Christ to act this way, as we as human being are sinful and fallen. It is my hope however that you will seek to live up to this light, and manifest compassion toward all of those around.

Should Christians Play Violent Video Games?

The Lord has put the burden on my heart to address a very sensitive topic. I know that, having come out of these things, I feel it is my duty to bear a decided testimony against them. I could not in good conscience remain silent upon these issues, knowing that I am a watchman on the walls of Zion and that I must sound the warning message. I have seen from the word of God that I must blow the trumpet to warn those in the Churches of Christendom of the danger which I see, although I know that I speak an extremely unpopular message. I cannot help but speak the truth in love, knowing that I will be held responsible if I do not speak that which is on my heart.

“Son of man, speak to the children of thy people, and say unto them, When I bring the sword upon a land, if the people of the land take a man of their coasts, and set him for their watchman: If when he seeth the sword come upon the land, he blow the trumpet, and warn the people; Then whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning; if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head. He heard the sound of the trumpet, and took not warning; his blood shall be upon him. But he that taketh warning shall deliver his soul. But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand.” – Ezekiel 33:2-6

Then this would be your official warning. This post is aimed at some very heavy issues. Understand that I do not mean this in a judgmental way, but instead I see a Christian duty to sound a warning message, to blow the trumpet about an incoming sword. It is my hope and desire that if you have any of these things which shall be addressed in your life, that you will be willing to change and discard them through the grace of Christ.

I might begin by asking the question, have you worshiped Baal as of late? No Christian worth his or her salt who has any familiarity with Scripture would answer “yes” to that question. It seems a strange sight indeed to enter a professedly Christian church to find an altar erected for the worship of Baal, Moloch, Apollo, or Thor. One might even find the presence of a golden calf in front of the pulpit to be odd. You will find that most churches would express nothing but horror at the prospect of image worship. Many would even protest the erection of a literal altar to Baal as apostasy!

However reality is often not acknowledged. He who ardently protests evil in one form, more readily accepts it in another. It has been said of our enemy, “And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.” – 2 Corinthians 11:14. The devil, whose objective is to cause your ruin, would not openly invite you to worship idols. He knows that were he to do so, he would be met and repulsed through the powerful means at the disposal of the Christian in the form of prayer. One appeal to Christ would be enough to defeat the whole Satanic host. However it is a known fact that poison is best received coated in sugar, that the victim remain unaware of what is taking place.

In like manner, we can expect the enemy to make strategic maneuvers to conceal his purposes, masking them in robes of light or a garb of apparent harmlessness. Therefore the defenses of the Christian are broken down and discernment is bypassed. He then more easily invades the soul with his hooks of sin, which many find it difficult to remove. Thus he has successfully caused the ruin of the Christian, and has ultimately lead them to disqualify themselves from the Kingdom of Christ.

In view of all this, I might state that there are few Churches in this day and age that openly worship images. Everyone professing Christianity believes they worship the same God, and they feel secure in this belief. They thus lull themselves to sleep with a false sense of security, unaware of the danger lurking in their lives and in the lives of other Christians that could bring about their ruin. When the enemy comes to them in a form that they have not been searching for, they readily accept the deceptions and snares of Satan.

I may take this so far as to suggest that Christianity has been penetrated by the worship of idols. Yet it is not the golden calf of old that has been erected before the pulpit, that all may bow to it. Instead it is in the form of entertainment. Idolatry is in your very midst in the form of the PlayStation or Xbox-360 that you spent money on which could have been used to further the cause of Christ. It may even have taken the form of your Laptop, through which you would rather spend more time on Facebook or playing Computer Games than you would reading your Bible or praying.

Do my words seem extreme to you? Are they the ravings of a deluded extremist who has taken a journey down legalism lane? If this is the impression that you get from my words, I would like for you to ponder my case. As I present the evidence before you from the Scriptures and ask some hard hitting questions, I invite you to weight it and compare your life with the word of God. Remember that the Bible is the compass which points us on the road to heaven, with it’s instructions as to how to live and find Salvation in Christ. In the word the truth is to be found.

To begin, it is important to point out that there is nothing inherently wrong with electronics. Laptops and Televisions are not in and of themselves idols, it is the way in which they are used which attaches that label to them. The Christian may find spiritual uses for both of these items, as the TV may be used to watch spiritual materials such as sermons on DVD. You will find that a ministry which this blog links back to known as Amazing Facts also puts high quality content out on Television for Christians to avail themselves of. The present writer of this article has used his desktop computer as well as his laptop for spiritual purposes. The availability of high quality Christian literature in PDF format and Bible Programs such as E-sword creates a situation in which a computer can be used for something spiritual and Godly rather than for evil activities.

The real issue is gaming, movies, and television shows. While not literal Baal-worship, these practices have become modernized idols in the lives of Christians. Television shows and movies may be addressed at a later point. It is the object of this post to first address the issue of gaming, as the author of this article speaks from experience. I spent the majority of my life in gaming before becoming a Christian, where I was either playing games on my computer or on the Xbox console. During those days, the games I played were always exclusively real time strategy or first person shooter video games, both of which are known for a high level of violence.

So the real question is, what is it that makes games wrong? Why is it that the Christian should not play them? How are they modern-day idols? Isn’t such a notion legalism? The first issue with video games all comes down to violence, this fact then being the answer to two of these questions. It even lays the charge of legalism in the dust and exposes the sheer ridiculousness of this excuse, craftily concocted to escape rendering obedience. To properly understand how God feels about violence, there are many Scriptural facts which must be considered. We must first go right back to a time that was shortly after the fall of man, where the first human being was ever killed. Christians might be familiar with this story as that of Cain and Abel.

“And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper? And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground.” – Genesis 4:9-10

Those who have familiarity with the Bible know how this story goes. Cain was a tiller of the ground, something more along the lines of a farmer if you will, whereas Abel was a keeper of sheep. Both of them were the children of Adam and Eve. When it came time to offer up sacrifices to God, Cain brought the fruit of the ground while Abel brought the firstlings of his flock. God had respect to Abel’s offering and not Cain’s, which resulted in Cain experiencing anger. In a fit of rage he later killed Abel, and the two passages which we have produced above picture the result of this. God is described as saying to Cain, “the voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground.”

This statement suggests a high level of negative emotion experienced on the part of God towards murder. The act here carried out by Cain is forbidden in the sixth commandment, the exact statement of which reads “Thou shalt not kill” – Exodus 20:13. Yet God’s dislike of the taking of human life is put on fantastic display for the Bible Student, as found in the book of 1 Chronicles. We have produced two passages from the twenty-eighth chapter for your perusal. Note that these passages and what they describe allow you to get into the mind of God and understand how he feels about violence.

“Then David the king stood up upon his feet, and said, Hear me, my brethren, and my people: As for me, I had in mine heart to build an house of rest for the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and for the footstool of our God, and had made ready for the building: But God said unto me, Thou shalt not build an house for my name, because thou hast been a man of war, and hast shed blood.” – 1 Chronicles 28:2-3

It would appear that the taking of human life is a serious issue with God. Serious enough to where David was forbidden to build the temple because he was a “man of war” and “hast shed blood.” If David being forbidden from building the temple was directly attributable to him having been a warrior, than obviously violence does not sit well with God, and certainly should not mark the Christian’s life.

The next and final piece of the puzzle takes us to the book of Philippians, where we find the following instruction from Paul. In the eighth verse of the fourth chapter, he tells us that we should think on things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, and things that are of any praise or virtue. To summarize, Christians should be thinking about only that which is good and not that which is evil. Note that by watching or playing something, you are thinking about whatever the content of the activity you are engaged in is.

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” – Philippians 4:8

In view of the clear Bible passages which speak against murder and killing, I find myself as a Christian scratching my head in confusion. Passages like those found in 1 Chronicles, Exodus 20, and Genesis 4 seem so plain. They convey God’s mind towards violence and his dislike of it, and yet there are so many in the Churches of Christendom who seem to think that it is okay to play violent video games. Logically speaking, if God feels this way about violence in the real world why would it be okay to view simulated violence? This is applicable whether it be in the form of video games, movies, or television shows. In reality all of these things are packed full of violence and bloodshed to the point where one would think they were visiting the Colosseum of the Roman Empire when partaking of these things.

In fact, the bloody exhibitions of old afford a suitable example and illustration. They display the real problem with humanity and the base nature of mankind. Roman citizens literally watched men get ripped apart by lions and gladiators kill each other for the fun of it. If you think other societies were better, or mankind has somehow advanced beyond this, perhaps you should guess again.

The fact that the violence is simulated does not hide or excuse the perverseness of the action. At the end of the day, playing these games is still the modern-day equivalent of the Colosseum. Those who do these things are still taking pleasure in watching something which looks like real people get slaughtered and killed, and often in increasingly brutal ways.

Therefore the common excuse of “it’s not real, so it’s okay” is starting to loose a lot of power. Destructible environments like those found in Battlefield 3 and increasingly superior graphics suggest that soon enough games will look and feel very real, and yet there will be no outcry among professed Christians as the level of gore increases with these things. It boggles the mind how some one who claims to know Jesus can play these things without an ounce of guilt. The world will always do what the world wants whether it is the literal worship of Baal or the playing of violent video games. The reality is that professed Christians should stop and compare their actions with the Bible standard and ask if what they’re doing measures up.

The real question than is, are any of these things pure? The obvious answer to that question is no. In which case, according to Philippians 4:8 the Christian should not be watching or playing them. 1 Chronicles 28:2-3 and Genesis 4:9-10 combine to demolish any possibility of God liking these things. In fact, as the case of David shows, we might even go so far as to say that God is not pleased with violent video games and those who profess to follow him playing them. If David was forbidden from building the temple on account of him being a warrior, why on earth would it be okay for the Christian to play video games where there is gore and a heavy amount of violence? Why would God be okay with his followers viewing these things for pleasure?

If you as a Christian take pleasure in simulated murder, what is to stop you from finding the real thing pleasing? Why is it that there are Christians who find pleasure in war, as it is portrayed in video games and movies? If one would like to go a lot closer to home than this, why would God be okay with us taking pleasure in watching people break his commandments? While some one might try to argue that “it’s not real” at this point, the simple fact is that if you as a Christian play these things you are taking pleasure in sin in a simulated form as defined by the law of God.

The fact of the matter is that these things are not safe for the Christian to partake of. In the book of Isaiah, we find very powerful reasons supporting these facts. The thirteenth and fourteenth verses of the thirty-third chapter mention that sinners in Zion are afraid, fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Right away we know this addresses sinners and hypocrites in the Church. The next thing asked is, “Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire?” This is a mysterious cryptic phrase followed by “everlasting burnings.” The answer is actually quite surprising, in that it mentions “he that walketh righteously and speaketh uprightly” and “that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil.”

“The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings? He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil;” – Isaiah 33:13-14

In Hebrews 12 we find a key to unlocking the mysterious statement “devouring fire.” “For our God is a consuming fire.” – Hebrews 12:29. Consuming and devouring are obviously the same thing, thus the statement “devouring fire” and “everlasting burnings” are to be taken as referencing God, which makes sense and clicks into place with the language of righteousness that follows. It therefore stands to reason that these texts are saying that he who shuts his eyes from seeing evil will dwell with God, hence the fear on the part of the hypocrites and the sinners in Zion, they’re obviously fearing for their salvation as the end of time is approaching. This is a gigantic reality check for those who think it is okay to play violent video games as a Christian. The simple fact is that if we have these things in our lives, we cannot expect salvation either.

Yet there are other reasons that the Christian should not play video games. Games generally found to be of the role playing variety have spiritual content in them that the Christian should ardently oppose. Role playing games specifically often have a vivid portrayal of sorcery, and include a list of gods that the player can worship. Right away the Christian should be aware of the fact that this goes against plain Scriptural commands. These are things that should justly alarm the Christian.

“There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee.” – Deuteronomy 18:10-12

“Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;” – Exodus 20:3-5

Magic is obviously condemned in texts found in the book of Deuteronomy. This should tell you that God does not want us as Christians to have anything to do with video games that have simulated divination. We can see clearly that idolatry is also condemned in the Ten Commandments, as pictured above. To suggest at this point that “it’s not real, so it’s okay” is like saying that you’ve found a way to worship other gods and seemingly get away with it while still supposedly worshiping the same God.

Note that this is the common content among the role playing genre. I have never seen a role playing game which does not include some form of idolatry in which the player has a list of gods to worship or magic at their disposal, with the exception of one series of games, and even those are still addressed by other concerns I have mentioned.

But then there are many questions the Christian should ask themselves as they engage in these activities. Even if they cannot agree with what has been previously stated, the real question comes down to this. How much time is spent in prayer and Bible study as opposed to in gaming? Do you as a Christian find the Bible boring? Do you find no pleasure in the hour of prayer or in searching the word of God?

If you find the Bible boring, it is no doubt because you have these forms of entertainment in your life. I can speak from personal experience when I say that it is difficult to transition from these entertainments into spiritual things. At the beginning of my Christian walk, I found the Bible boring and would have rather been playing video games. While I was not attending Church at this time in my life, I can say that at this point I might have found it equally as boring by comparison to gaming. I did not recognize any need to discard these things. A battle raged in which both God and the games wanted the throne of my heart.

A huge issue with video games not considered by most comes down to worship, which is why I began by asking if you had worshiped Baal lately. Several ways in which we worship God are through time spent with him in prayer and Bible Study, in which we become acquainted with him and communicate with him concerning our lives. But video games inevitably lead to the neglect of these disciplines of the Christian life. They eventually gain control of your heart, the Bible becomes boring, prayer seems repulsive and hard, and pretty soon the Christian will stop these things altogether, even if it is a process which takes years. They then become idols in your lives, as shown by the Ten Commandments where these are not only defined as images that you worship but anything that comes before God. The real question comes down to whether or not God is first in your life, and which would you rather do: Study your Bible or play video games? If you would rather play video games than study your Bible, than this is in fact idolatry.

While some may attempt to argue that the Bible is boring, this is only the appearance because of a long-established habit holding the throne of the heart. Those who would say the Bible is boring have never attempted to study the prophecies, the process of attempting to understand which is like trying to decode a hidden message or engage in detective work. The Bible is like a puzzle at times with it’s deep symbolism. Even the messages of Salvation, and the deep wisdom found in the book of Proverbs, are nothing short of intensely interesting. I can honestly say that Christians would state that the Bible is the most interesting book they ever read if they didn’t have other things in their lives taking control of the throne of the heart.

Beyond idolatry, a very good reason the Christian should discard Video Games of all sorts comes right down to use of time. Video Games are naturally addictive in the way they are designed, otherwise they would not sell as well as many of them do. I can personally testify that in playing massively multiplayer online role playing games before my conversion, huge amounts of time was consumed. Often entire nights were spent in gaming at the expense of sleep. This is time ultimately that could be spent in advancing God’s kingdom or helping the poor, or even hours that could be spent in the Bible gaining a knowledge of the word so that the Christian might become better acquainted with the reasons of their faith rather than simply being a pew warmer who expects to be spoon fed doctrine by their pastor.

While the professed Christian spends huge amounts of time gaming, souls who could be saved go down to Christ-less graves. If nothing else the desire to bring others to a knowledge of Christ or engage in missionary labor should motivate the Christian to discard these entertainments due to the vast amounts of time which they take up. The question should be asked, what are you as Christians doing to build up God’s kingdom while you are playing video games? If you partake of video games, you should understand that Satan gains control of your neighborhood while you sit in front of the Television playing your Xbox. Where is the missionary spirit of Christians? Why are Christians not missionaries in their home neighborhoods!?

The Christian should be a light in his or her community which burns with such a concentrated powerful blaze that people could see it for miles. Yet the light of truth is hidden in the brush while professed Christians sit in front of their Xbox console and play Halo or some racing game! The truth of a crucified and risen savior should be proclaimed with thunder tones that roar across the land. It should be the natural reaction for the Christian to run down the street with a Bible held aloft shouting, “It’s here! It’s here! Everything you need is right here!”

At the end of the day, there really is no escaping the fact that Christians should not be playing violent video games. Neither should they allow the games which bear an appearance of harmlessness to soak up their time so that they are not spending time in the word or attempting to reach the community around them. Yet those who would find themselves locked in a battle with a long-established addiction might be confronted with an awful and bitter struggle to be free of these things. Some might even be confronted with the horrific thought that their life will be boring, should they give up gaming.

There is always excitement to be found in the work of the Lord. The joy of seeing souls converted to the truth, of sharing the word of the Lord with those around you, is far superior to any video game I’ve ever played. Once separated from that which fought for control of the throne of my heart, I began to appreciate the word of God more and more. Prayer, especially for others, became a rich experience. These things altogether have virtually replaced gaming.

It sounds difficult, but it is possible. In the Scriptures we are told that if a man is in Christ, he is a new creature. The old things are passed away, and all things become new. You will eventually learn to hate the things you once loved which were wrong, and love the things which you would have previously found boring. I speak from personal experience when I say God can change your taste buds so thoroughly that you find these things of the past disgusting and want nothing to do with them. While you will not be free of temptation, even during those moments God will be there for you to give you power for victory. The way to the throne of grace is always open for you to find help from the friend of the helpless.

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” – 2 Corinthians 5:17

“But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.” – Romans 13:14

Ultimately to obtain complete victory over video games the Christian should consider Biblical principles. One of the verses quoted above speaks of not making provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof. This Scripture is suggesting that those who struggle with certain sins should not place themselves in tempting situations deliberately. If the Christian struggles with porn, they should get rid of the films or movies which they viewed and consider getting set up to block websites where these materials can be accessed. If the Christian struggles with drinking alcohol, they should dispose of all alcoholic beverages from their home. Even a Christian with anger problems should consider avoiding the situations which cause them to get angry in the first place. This is applicable to video games and it simply means this.

If you as a Christian are having a huge battle with video games in which you are consistently tempted and unable to gain the victory, you should consider getting every single game and console out of your house. Your computer should be wiped clean of every game that may have been installed on it and you should dispose of all games. If you’re concerned about selling them so that they can be in some one else’s hands, an option also available to you is destroying them. You can run over your Xbox or PlayStation with your car, smash it to bits with a baseball bat, or take your games out and stomp on them before throwing them away. Note that we have the example of the people of Ephesus, those of which who practiced divination burned their books when they were converted. Destroying your video games and then promptly chucking them in the garbage is a perfectly acceptable option for the Christian, and might actually be superior to selling them. Those who choose to sell them should not be condemned however, as the goal is to get rid of the games.

However the Christian can find ultimate victory over these things in Christ alone. If you struggle with these things, flee to the throne of grace for aid, and be rid of them at once. Do not attempt to give them up by degrees or make a slow conversion from one type of gaming to another, for when you do this Satan just laughs at you as he still has you caught in his nets. Therefore Christians should depart from these practices completely.

“Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” – 2 Timothy 2:19

Without Rule Of Law

Anarchy…

What does this word conjure in your imagination? He who can put the most boots on the ground and who has the biggest guns becomes king, or rather a warlord of sorts. This word “anarchy” generates images of rule by warlords, chaos in which the most revolting crimes are committed without penalty, complete and total lawlessness. Hordes of base criminals, best described as predators of the innocent, seem to come forth as though spontaneously generated. Bloodshed and indescribable evil become common place with looting and rioting.

Anarchy is the result of the complete and total breakdown of society, and ultimately what one might term rule of law. Society is governed by these laws, which alongside measures of enforcement, prevent the picture thus described. Although law in society is often broken, the scene pictured is held in check by armed and trained individuals who serve either in the military or police and essentially the Government.

Laws and their enforcement generate restraint with masses of individuals, who would prefer to live peaceably rather than create problems for themselves and their lives as a result of breaking those laws. The average individual knows that remaining in a state of abiding by laws is in their best interest, if they wish to avoid being arrested and thrown in prison, much less shot and killed. Therefore some of the baser crimes that an individual may wish to commit, were no laws present to stop them, may remain somewhat closeted. This is due to the potential to create serious problems, and no doubt because of an inability to perpetrate such crimes as a result of a lack of skills which might be required in order to escape punishment and evade the enforcers of law. Thus a closeted criminal remains a law abiding citizen, provided they do not suddenly acquire the skills that would enable them to get away with crimes.

Human nature is ultimately a base thing. In the book of Galatians, there is a description of what is known as the “Works of the flesh.” Some of the crimes that would come about as a result of anarchy in the land are listed among them. Paul also once wrote that “in me (that is, in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing.” I have produced this passage, as well as the texts from Galatians 5. Suffice it to say however that this all references human nature, which ultimately leads to the picture of anarchy described above. This is a result of the fact that we are all sinful fallen human beings with base passions, that if not restrained and overcome through Christ, lead to evil. One need only look at the wars consistently waged between countries, and the indescribable evil often perpetrated during those wars, to get a complete picture of what human nature is ultimately capable of.

“For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.” – Romans 7:18

“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” – Galatians 5:19-21

Note Paul’s use of the word “flesh” in Romans 7. He immediately connects the word with “in me”, indicating that this is something internal. Galatians 5 produces a list of sins of which the flesh is ultimately capable of if not restrained. Putting the pieces together this very clearly references human nature. Some of the things on the list are not necessarily condemned by the laws of man. Adultery, Idolatry, Witchcraft, and Hatred are prime examples of this. However, notice that “murders” is among the list. This in addition to another form of adultery known as rape would be prevalent in a world in which there was Anarchy, merely on the grounds that no rules exist to govern mankind and aid in restraining his base passions.

According to Scripture mankind is base. Therefore were the laws of the land to be removed, anarchy would be the inevitable result. Without rule of law there is nothing to stop this from happening. I then find what the Christian world has done with the laws of God to be strange. Too many echo the oft-repeated assertion that the Ten Commandments have been abolished, and that God’s laws have been nailed to the cross. Given the words of Paul in the book of Romans, I would imagine that this teaching is pleasing to the carnal heart.

“Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” – Romans 8:7

In all reality, there isn’t an ounce of truth to this assertion. To picture the ridiculousness of the abolition of the Ten Commandments, one need only take statements from them such as “Thou shalt not kill” and “Thou shalt not steal” or even “Thou shalt not commit adultery” and picture the result of them no longer being in effect. Christians would then be free to hate each other, look at porn, cheat on their spouses, steal from their neighbors, and even murder some one without repercussions from God. Moral restraint becomes arbitrary and goes out the front door, resulting in what one might term a spiritual anarchy.

Many in the Christian world do not oppose these things mentioned. Some will even go so far as to suggest that through love for God and our fellow man, we naturally do the things listed above. That in following the spirit of Christ these things just happen. Yet they turn around and assert that the law of God is abolished. The level of blindness to the contradiction in their thinking is worthy of a palm to the face. It is foolish and contradictory to assert that you naturally keep the law through Christ and yet in the same breath exclaim that it was abolished, for if it had been abolished there would be no keeping of the Ten Commandments at all.

These types of claims demonstrate a complete ignorance of the Biblical definition of Sin, as found in the book of 1 John. The passage in question reads, “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.” – 1 John 3:4. With Sin defined as the transgression of the law by the Scriptures, it should be clear that to abolish the law is an act which in and of itself removes any possibility of transgression. You cannot break a law which does not exist. Therefore I as a Christian would be free to cheat on my wife, supposing I had one, and could not be held accountable by God for any reason. I could essentially be saved in transgressions, and go to heaven regardless of whatever evil practices were present in my life.

What I have described is of course not possible. The simple fact is that sin has a defined punishment attached to it. This is found in the sixth chapter of Romans, where there are astounding and powerful statements that speak of the possibility for victory over sin. Note that in the text, the “wages of sin” is defined as death. Wages are something earned for work which a person does. Thus by committing sin you earn death. The reality is that this means a person who has earned this will miss out on salvation. If the Ten Commandments were abolished, than it would be very arbitrary of God for anyone to be lost because of Sin. How can you transgress a law which does not exist?

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” – Romans 6:23

Were the Ten Commandments ultimately abolished, this would leave the Christian in a position where they could do whatever they want. While the more intellectual have a tendency to make outrageous claims about naturally doing the things mentioned in the law through love in spite of it’s supposed abolition, the less studious and more simple minded would no-doubt take the idea of the abolition of the Ten Commandments as a license to sin. This of course is the ultimate and inevitable conclusion that one may come to. Since sin is defined in Scripture as “transgression of the law”, the thought that the Ten Commandments were done away with creates the suggestion of freedom to transgress, since you cannot break a law which no longer exists.

The senselessness of the teaching that the Ten Commandments were done away with has a tendency to boggle the mind. This teaching is something which I would include on a list of teachings within Christianity that make very little sense, are contradictory in some way, and do not really have a foundation in the Bible. Reality is that Scripture does not teach that the Ten Commandments were abolished at the cross, neither does it teach that it is even possible for the law of God to be done away with. In the book of Matthew, around the fifth chapter, we find a series of strong statements made by Christ illustrating this fact to us.

“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew 5:17-19

“And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.” – Luke 16:17

Christ states specifically “think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.” There are some who interpret this word “fulfil” as though this in and of itself abolishes the Ten Commandments on the grounds that the “law was fulfilled”, therefore the logic is that the law was done away with. However were this the case Jesus would be contradicting himself. He would in effect be saying, “I did not come to destroy the law. I came destroy the law.” This is ultimately a reason in which every word used in the text should be considered.

These words of Christ state that it was not his mission to destroy the law, and that nothing was to pass from it. He even used such strong language as “Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one title shall in no wise pass from the law.” These terms indicate very strongly that it is impossible for the Ten Commandments to be done away with, as long as the earth still stands and that the term “fulfilled” in no way means what people take it to mean. We then have instruction in the nineteenth verse which completely invalidates the thinking that “fulfilled” means to abolish. These statements of Christ suggest that whoever breaks one of the commandments, and teaches men to do so, shall be “called least in the kingdom of heaven.” This language is very clear, and seems to place questions in one’s mind. Supposing that “fulfilled” means “abolished” how is it that one could be called least for breaking the Ten Commandments? Obviously that wouldn’t make any sense.

G4137

πληρόω

plēroō

play-ro’-o

From G4134; to make replete, that is, (literally) to cram (a net), level up (a hollow), or (figuratively) to furnish (or imbue, diffuse, influence), satisfy, execute (an office), finish (a period or task), verify (or coincide with a prediction), etc.: – accomplish, X after, (be) complete, end, expire, fill (up), fulfil, (be, make) full (come), fully preach, perfect, supply.

Yet if this is all the case, what is the meaning of the mysterious word “fulfilled”? Doesn’t this word prove that Christ meant to abolish the law? Such a conclusion ignores the Greek meaning, produced above from Strong’s Concordance. Note the word “satisfy” and “execute” found in the definition. They seem to be the only definitions among the list produced that actually fit with the meaning of the word, given the rest of Christ’s words in the text, showing that the original meaning of the writer would’ve had to have been something along those lines. Otherwise contradictions and violence is done to the passage. Thus these Bible verses in fact state that it is impossible to do away with the Ten Commandments. Note that the equivalent passage produced above from Luke says virtually the same thing, only this time without using the word “fulfilled.”

Yet even without these texts, there are quite a few New Testament verses which mention the Ten Commandments. Many would be shocked to learn this, as some have claimed that the New Testament does not mention them. Note that in the book of Revelation, there are several verses which mention God’s law. All of these verses are prophetic in their nature. Some of these passages have a future application, while some are presently being fulfilled. If this is indeed the case, how can the Ten Commandments have been done away with? That is a thought which of course causes a man to scratch his head in confusion.

“And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” – Revelation 12:17

“And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name. Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” – Revelation 14:9-12

The first passage speaks of a dragon wroth with a woman. He then tries to make war with the woman, and the “remnant of her seed” which are defined as keeping the commandments of God. The commandments of God are obviously the Ten Commandments. Jeremiah 6:2 and Revelation 12:9 define for us these other terms. These texts, when combined with Revelation 12:17, teach us that the woman is the Church and the dragon is Satan. Thus Satan is enraged with a church, the remnant or remainder of which are defined as “keeping the commandments of God” and designated as that which the devil makes war with. If the Ten Commandments were done away with, why is Satan making war on the remainder of a church which keeps God’s commandments? This seems a fairly good question.

In the texts from Revelation fourteen, notice that an angel is proclaiming a message. This message is a warning that if anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives the mark in his forehead or in his hand, “The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God.” The very next thing which follows are descriptions of torment via fire and brimstone. What is interesting is the contrast mentioned in the final verse of the three. In the twelfth verse, it says “here are they that keep the commandments of God” and this is then defined as the “patience of the saints.” The saints are obviously the people of God. Such a thought is difficult to dispute. However the saints are defined essentially as keeping God’s commandments. Were the Ten Commandments to be abolished, such a statement appearing in the book of Revelation would be rather outlandish.

“And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. He saith unto him, Which? Jesus said, Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” – Matthew 19:17-19

“Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.” – Romans 13:8-9

As one comes across these texts, the idea that the Ten Commandments were done away with starts to vanish. In the statements from the book of Matthew, Jesus appears to connect them to Salvation, telling the rich young ruler to keep them. The Ten Commandments are quite obviously referenced here, as Jesus lists a series of specific commandments which are found in the second table. Note that his statements are not meant to convey these are the only ones which should be kept. The Christian would then be free to worship idols and take the Lord’s name in vain. Such a thought is ridiculous and taking a seriously large amount of license. Instead the Ten Commandments are pointed out.

The next passages are from the book of Romans. Logically these would be statements from which one gets the idea that love does away with or supplants the law, in addition to some texts where Jesus made similar comments. However these texts are not really saying that. Paul starts out by saying that we should owe no man anything but to love one another. Thus he says that we should love each other, and that this “hath fulfilled the law.” He then goes on to list several of the commandments which appear in the second table of the Ten Commandments, and states that they are “briefly comprehended” in the saying “love thy neighbor as thyself.” In other words, if you love your neighbor you will naturally refrain from stealing their things, committing adultery with their wife, murdering them, or coveting their stuff. These texts do not teach that love replaces the Ten Commandments, but rather that if you truly love your neighbor you end up naturally keeping them.

If Jesus made such statements in Matthew 19, and Paul says that we naturally keep several of the Ten Commandments through love for our neighbor, how is it that they have been abolished? Does it make any logical sense for Jesus to respond to the rich young ruler’s question about Salvation in that way, if part of his mission was to abolish them? Why on earth would Matthew be writing those statements years later if they had been done away with after the cross? Wouldn’t this give to Christians the idea that the Ten Commandments were still binding, and that we have a duty to keep them? What of Paul, who claims that we naturally keep them through love for our neighbor? If the Ten Commandments were abolished, how on earth is that possible? Wouldn’t that be contradictory in the extreme to suggest that you wind up naturally keeping them, and yet to claim they were done away with? Isn’t it clear that this would be saying, “you will end up keeping the Ten Commandments, but you don’t have to keep the Ten Commandments”? Isn’t it clear that to abolish the Ten Commandments, based on Paul’s words, would mean that you no longer are required to love your neighbor?

I could further ask how this kind of thinking is harmonized with the book of James. In the second chapter of that book, we find passages which present problems for the thought that the law was abolished. Notice verses eight through eleven, where we find the phrase “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” By default this would obviously connect back to the concept found in the thirteenth chapter of Romans, where we find this same phrase used. Note that James states that if you keep the whole law, yet offend in one point, you are guilty of all. The concept ultimately brought forth by James is that if you break one commandment, you break all of them.

“If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors. For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all. For he that said, Do not commit adultery, said also, Do not kill. Now if thou commit no adultery, yet if thou kill, thou art become a transgressor of the law.” – James 2:8-11

Notice that James extends this concept beyond just loving your neighbor versus having respect to persons. He takes it right down to the actual commandments themselves, noting that if you do not practice adultery and yet run off and kill some one you are a transgressor of the law. We already proved that 1 John defines sin as transgression of the law, and that Romans 6:23 suggests that the wages of sin is death. This means that being a transgressor of the law is something which ultimately causes some one to miss out on their salvation, when all of the pieces of Scripture are studied together. If we were not under any obligation to obey the Ten Commandments, why on earth would James be saying this? His words do not in any way harmonize with the popular teachings of today that the Ten Commandments were abolished.

In all reality, those who claim that the Ten Commandments were done away with do not have any problem with the majority of them. When pressed and confronted, everyone ultimately believes that it is wrong to steal, kill, have sex with another man’s wife, lust, worship idols, refuse to honor your parents, or take the Lord’s name in vain. The real issue is the fourth commandment, or rather the Sabbath. The claim is advanced that he who keeps the fourth commandment is a “judaizer”, and that the Ten Commandments were abolished as a means of skirting around obedience to a command which people are unwilling to obey.

The word “judaizer” is nothing more than an ad hominem attack. Ad hominem is a mistake in reasoning or logical fallacy, in which some one attacks the character of an individual making an argument rather than actually answering their arguments. The claim that the Sabbath is Jewish falls right into this category. The idea is to paint some one who keeps the fourth commandment as pushing false teachings that are associated with Judaism, which is something which most Christians believe shouldn’t be followed any more. We freely admit that the ceremonial or sacrificial system was abolished. Therefore my words should not be misunderstood.

However claiming that the Sabbath is Jewish, that everyone who keeps the Sabbath is into “Jewish practices”, that Sabbath keeping is somehow cultic, or that a Sabbath keeper is a “Judaizer” does not in any way make their teachings false. These claims by themselves do not in any way answer the argument that the Sabbath should be kept, or sweep the Scriptural evidence of such aside. Merely this is just an attack on the character of those who do it, without really proving them wrong from Scripture. And obviously every passage that we have produced from the Bible should prove conclusively how it is impossible for the Ten Commandments to be abolished.

That said, I hope that you see the ridiculousness of the idea that the Ten Commandments were done away with.