Tag Archives: bible study

Deuteronomy 4:25-39 (NASB) reads:

“When you become the father of children and children’s children and have remained long in the land, and act corruptly, and make an idol in the form of anything, and do that which is evil in the sight of the Lord your God so as to provoke Him to anger, I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that you will surely perish quickly from the land where you are going over the Jordan to possess it. You shall not live long on it, but will be utterly destroyed.

The Lord will scatter you among the peoples, and you will be left few in number among the nations where the Lord drives you. There you will serve gods, the work of man’s hands, wood and stone, which neither see nor hear nor eat nor smell.

But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul. When you are in distress and all these things have come upon you, in the latter days you will return to the Lord your God and listen to His voice. For the Lord your God is a compassionate God; He will not fail you nor destroy you nor forget the covenant with your fathers which He swore to them.

Indeed, ask now concerning the former days which were before you, since the day that God created man on the earth, and inquire from one end of the heavens to the other. Has anything been done like this great thing, or has anything been heard like it? Has any people heard the voice of God speaking from the midst of the fire, as you have heard it, and survived? Or has a god tried to go to take for himself a nation from within another nation by trials, by signs and wonders and by war and by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm and by great terrors, as the Lord your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes?

To you it was shown that you might know that the Lord, He is God; there is no other besides Him. Out of the heavens He let you hear His voice to discipline you; and on earth He let you see His great fire, and you heard His words from the midst of the fire. Because He loved your fathers, therefore He chose their descendants after them. And He personally brought you from Egypt by His great power, driving out from before you nations greater and mightier than you, to bring you in and to give you their land for an inheritance, as it is today.

Know therefore today, and take it to your heart, that the Lord, He is God in heaven above and on the earth below; there is no other.”

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In Matthew 24:29 (NASB), Christ says “But immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and great glory. And He will send forth His angels with a great trumpet and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of the sky to the other.

The sequence of events in Revelation (starting in chapter 6), goes like this…

  • 1st Seal: white horse – crowned rider goes out with bow conquering and to conquer (false Christ?)
  • 2nd Seal: red horse – rider goes out with sword, peace is removed from the earth
  • 3rd Seal: black horse – price of grain rises significantly
  • 4th Seal: ashen horse – death and hades go out to kill 1/4 of the earth with war, pestilence, famine, and wild beasts
  • 5th Seal: martyrs cry out asking for vengeance and are told to wait until the full number of martyrs has come in

This is the sequence of events after the Lamb breaks the sixth seal …

  1. great earthquake
  2. sun becomes black
  3. moon becomes like blood
  4. stars fall to earth
  5. sky splits, every mountain and island is moved
  6. everyone tries to hide from the presence of God in fear, as the day of wrath has come
  7. four angels hold the winds from blowing
  8. 144,000 from the tribes of Isreal are sealed
  9. John looks and notices a great multitude before the throne from every nation, people, tribe and tongue, who came out of the great tribulation

After all of this, the seventh seal is broken, followed by a half hour of silence, then the blowing of the trumpets, then the wrath of God.

The popular view seems to be that the rapture will come before the tribulation. I’ve done a great deal of bible study into the endtimes scriptures and I have to say that I see no biblical basis for this view. Christ’s own words in Matthew 24 make it very clear that Christians will be around for at least the beginning of the tribulation.

He says that those days will be cut short for the sake of the elect, and the signs and markers that Christ give tie in with the precursors to the appearance of the multitude at the throne.

I’ll have to lay out a full study of this after I’ve gone back through Daniel and a few other books, but the more times I read this stuff the more sure I am that those who are still alive will have to endure at least part of the tribulation.

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like a dead man

Okay since I didn’t sleep last night for working on code, and I didn’t sleep today for lack of common sense, I’m too tired to do any reading today. However, I never really did a real entry for yesterday, and I did read yesterday.

In my sleep-deprived state, the one thing I clearly remember from my reading yesterday was Revelation 1:17 — the first half of the verse in another version (NASB) reads: “When I saw Him I fell at His feet like a dead man.”

If memory serves me, the Greek actually says “fell dead at his feet” or something like that, so one take on the verse I heard was that the sheer glory of the Lord caused his heart to stop. I don’t doubt that that could happen, and could be what happened here, but I always like to think of it slightly differently.

People in Biblical times had a much healthier fear and respect for the Lord. It’s quite possible that, realizing he’d just seen God, his natural reaction was to fall down in worship.

I bring this up becuase I honestly can’t imagine that happening today. I don’t remember the last time met anyone with a healthy respect for authority, let alone that kind of respect for God. I find myself wondering if any of us would even think to bow. It’s kind of sad, really.

I’m looking for comments on this one… do you think you would bow in the presence of God out of reflex?

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Little Red Box

Anyone who spent much time in Sunday School, upon reading through my list of Praise Songs might just come back thinking I’ve forgotten a certain popular kid’s song in the list.
One of the most popular songs in jr church when I was growing up was one that went something like this:

  • If I had a little red box (trace a box in the air with your hand)
    to put the devil in (make like you’re putting something in a box)
    I’d take him out and SMASH HIS FACE (pound fist into hand)
    and put him back again!

  • But if I had a little white box (trace a box in the air with your hand)
    To put my Jesus in (make like you’re putting something in a box)
    I’d take him out and *SMOOCH*SMOOCH*SMOOCH* (while pretending to kiss something in your hand)
    and share him with a friend (offer your hand to a friend).

Now, we all know that songs that incorporate actions are very good at keeping the attention of children, and a simple song like that will be remembered for years to come. I’m also certain that the original intent was probably very good. However, there’s a reason that song never made it to my songs list…

Jude 1:9-10 (NRSV) reads:

But when the archangel Michael contended with the devil and disputed about the body of Moses, he did not dare to bring a condemnation of slander against him, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”

But these people slander whatever they do not understand, and they are destroyed by those things that, like irrational animals, they know by instinct.

We are told to “resist the devil and he will flee”, this is right and good. However, much like the song I quoted above, and other songs (“Demon Killa” comes to mind), it is popular in some circles to go around provoking the devil…

When I see this, my mind immediately flashes to a standard scene in every horror and creature movie where some horrible monster or villain, who has been harassing some character through most of the movie, has finally been outsmarted and trapped by the character. The overconfident character then stands there taunting the monster and bragging about their wit. Anyone who’s seen one of these movies knows that this is the point at which the monster or villain shows it’s true power, and the overconfident character almost always ends up eaten, killed, or severely injured.

Christ has conquered death and won the victory, but until His return, the earth is still Satan’s domain. Satan is not some pathetic, broken and chained monster that we should taunt and provoke for kicks. He’s an angel, albeit a fallen one, and because he has been defeated he is even more determined to bring as many of us down with him as possible. Take care not to underestimate him, lest you wind up like the sons of Sceva.

When face to face with the devil, never allow yourself to stoop to foolishness or arrogance. — do not slander or insult, rather, say a prayer, and allow the Lord to do the rebuking. Romans 16:20 says that the God of peace will soon crush satan underneath your feet, but that does not mean we should act like he’s there already.

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Gardening is a lot of work…

Today I was kicking myself for not keeping a closer watch on my garden, and for not taking the time to pull the weeds when they first sprung up and would have been more manageable. There are so many weeds in my garden at the moment I’m afraid they’re going to choke out some of my vegetables. After spending a half hour or so fighting with a hoe and trying (unsuccessfully) to rid my garden of the weeds, I gave up for a while and came in to read…

It was only appropriate, I guess, that I was reading James today. The NASB version of James 1:21 reads:

“Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness, in humility receive the word implanted, which is able to save your souls.”

I was reminded of several parables about fertile soil and such, and together with the day’s experience my mind started to wander…

A new Christian is much like a patch of land that has been freshly tilled – when we come to Christ our slate is wiped clean – our soil, as it were, is prepared. If we are faithful, the Word takes root and begins to grow. Reading, prayer and worship can be compared to the the tasks involved with tending a garden, and eventually, if we have been a good caretaker, we begin to bear fruit.

Much like a freshly tilled garden though, sin, like weeds, is bound to spring up, and if we allow it to get a foothold it takes over and chokes out the fruit.

Hebrews 6:7-8 (NASB) says, “For ground that drinks the rain which often falls on it and brings forth vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is also tilled, receives a blessing from God; but if it yields thorns and thistles, it is worthless and close to being cursed, and it ends up being burned.”

My garden got out of hand quickly because I neglected it during a week of storms. Hopefully, with some extra attention over the coming weeks, I’ll be able to salvage most of my crop, but how much easier would it have been if I’d pulled the weeds when they had first taken root?

note to self behind the cut


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Notes on Hebrews

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Hebrews yesterday, so much so that I called a friend to talk about it rather than writing the journal entry I had started. I will do here what I have done in the past, and just use this post as a note-to-self on what to look into further later.

(scriptures linked are from the NRSV)

  • Hebrews 5:14:
    It is worth noting that the author assumes the need to train oneself, through practice, to discern good and evil.

  • Hebrews 10:2:
    It is necessary, here, to read the surrounding context… I’m left wondering about the implication of “cleansed once for all, would no longer have any consciousness of sin” when one considers that, while this was not the case with old testament sacrifices, perhaps this is or should be the case with those who are covered by the blood of Christ.

  • Hebrews 10:26-31:
    I’ve done a number of studies on chapter 6, but this is the first time it dawned on me how much harsher this passage is in making a similar argument. This passage makes it clear that those who once were saved, and willingly walk away, will be judged much more harshly than those who were never saved in the first place.

  • Hebrews 10:32-39:
    Most of us, in this society, cannot relate to the early Christians who endured such great persecution. While passages like this can offer great encouragement in times of struggle, we should be careful to remember that we are not in the same place as those who the author was originally addressing, lest our pride cause us to assume we’re in a better place than we are.

  • Hebrews 11:17-18:
    I need to do a specific study on the relation between what God asked of Abraham and God’s sacrifice of His own Son.

  • Hebrews 12:15-17:
    It occurs to me that there is a parallel to be drawn between our own situations and the “birthright” and “single meal” of Esau’s story…

  • Hebrews 13:5:
    This passage leaves no excuse for those who continually seek after riches, believing that their commitment to God somehow entitles them to be worldly wealth.

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Food for Thought

Titus 3:1-11
3:1 Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work,
3:2 to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show every courtesy to everyone.
3:3 For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, despicable, hating one another.
3:4 But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared,
3:5 he saved us, not because of any works of righteousness that we had done, but according to his mercy, through the water of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit.
3:6 This Spirit he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,
3:7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
3:8 The saying is sure. I desire that you insist on these things, so that those who have come to believe in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works; these things are excellent and profitable to everyone.
3:9 But avoid stupid controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless.
3:10 After a first and second admonition, have nothing more to do with anyone who causes divisions,
3:11 since you know that such a person is perverted and sinful, being self-condemned.

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I was compelled to read three books today. I started out with 2 Thessalonians and felt like reading on, so I went ahead and read 1 Timothy, after which I just had to read 2 Timothy.

This has left me with an over-abundance of scripture to think about, but I’m anxious to finish reading through so that I can start really digging in. It’s been too long, though, and I really have to read everything through first.

In any case, I have too much swimming in my brain now to concentrate on one particular thing. I did notice a few things during this read-through that are worth mentioning for later scrutiny…

  • Paul, for instance, wrote the second letter to the Thessalonians and signed it with his own hand specifically so that they would be able to identify it as genuine (see 2 Thessalonians 3:17 after reading 2:1-2). 
  • He also made a habit, when writing to Timothy, to share specific names when warning him about false doctrine or people who had fallen away or caused him harm (1 Timothy 1:20, 2 Timothy 1:15, 4:10, and 4:14-15). I think I will be using these letters as a jumping-off point for finding a good, complete, Biblical definition for what constitutes gossip, and I think this is worth noting in that study (as Paul surely wasn’t a gossip). 
  • I have read 1 Timothy more times than I can count, and I *always* find something new or fresh or see something in a new light — living Word indeed! 
  • 2 Timothy 1:6-7 reminds me that we all need to be reminded sometimes. 
  • 2 Timothy 1:12 – I learned this song recently, it’s a good one! 
  • 2 Timothy 3:1-9 made a specific impression… I am mentioning it now so that I’ll have a record of the passage and can go back to it later for a more in-depth study.


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Do not quench…

I was brought up in churches where the Spirit of God, and the workings of the Spirit were held in high intellectual regard. Passages like 1 Thessalonians 5:18-22: “Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise the words of prophets, but test everything; hold fast to what is good; abstain from every form of evil.” were read with a kind of wonder and awe, while thinking “if He ever chooses to use me, I definitely won’t quench it!”.

However, rarely, if ever, were the fruits manifest. Once in a while, at revivals or summer camps, He might show up and be allowed to move, but those cases were few and far between. Services were always pre-scripted and setup in such a way that God rarely had the opportunity to move, and if He tried, someone would usually interrupted with “Oh, look at the time!”, or something with an equivalent effect.

I’ve had a problem with this for quite a while, and scriptures like this mean a lot more to me now than they once did. It occurs to me that Paul did not write this to a congregation who would be looking at their watches to make sure the letter didn’t take more than the allotted 15 minutes to read. He didn’t write it to a group of people who thought the Spirit sounded pretty cool, but who weren’t quite sure if the Spirit still bothered to move anymore. He was writing to a group of people who had all spoken in tongues. He was writing to people who saw the Spirit move in mighty ways on a daily basis. He was writing to a group of people who were under constant persecution.

If he needed to remind THESE people not to quench the Spirit, how much more do we need to hear that message today? If you have been sitting on the fence, thinking that it would be great to be used but not really giving the Lord opportunity to move, I would like to challenge you…

Take some time to read through 1 Thessalonians and 1 Corinthians 14, but read them with the intention of seeing what Paul was taking for granted… and after you’ve read those, seek after the gifts — Paul encouraged the Corinthians to seek after the greater gifts, but perhaps we need to start by seeking after the lesser…

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Whatever is True…

I’m too tired today to say anything coherent, so I’ll just quote some food for thought…

Philippians 4:4-9 (NRSV):

4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.

4:5 Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near.

4:6 Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

4:7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

4:8 Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

4:9 Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.

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