The Brook Cherith (pronounced ke’rith) is a highly significant location in the Bible. Why? What is the Brook Cherith about? It is the intention of this article to answer these questions.
What is the Brook Cherith?
A brook is a natural freshwater stream; it is smaller than a river. The Brook Cherith was located in western Jodan in the Jordan Valley and flowed into the Jordan River. Cherith means cutting or separation, which probably refers to the geological nature of the stream. It has been described as one of the wildest ravines of this rugged region.
What is the Brook Cherith About?
So, what is the Brook Cherith about? What is its significance? The location of the Brook of Cherith is where one of the most significant of biblical events occurred.
Known as Elijah the Tishbite, Elijah was born around 900 BCE in the village of Tishbe in Gilead in ancient Palestine. Not much is known concerning his birthplace other than it is likely the ancient city of Listib, which is present-day Jordan. He was the son of Savah, but nothing is recorded about his background.
However, Elijah was indeed a prophet and is portrayed as having lived during the reigns of Israelite Kings Ahab, Ahaziah, and Jehoram, during the first half of the 9th century BC. He was known as the prophet of confrontation. In the Scriptures, Elijah appears suddenly to promote traditional orthodox Jewish beliefs. His first appearance places him about midway through the reign of King Ahab, son of Omri, who founded the northern kingdom of Samaria. This period would place Elijah somewhere around 864 BC.
Elijah was a dynamic prophet during a tumultuous time in Israel’s history. The nation had betrayed the Lord by worshipping Baal, and King Ahab had allied with Sidon by marrying their princess, Jezebel. Elijah was sent to show Israel the evil of their ways and encourage them to return to the Lord.
This mission is described in the Scriptures in 1 Kings 17:1
17 And Elijah the Tishbite, of the inhabitants of Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the Lord God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, except at my word.” NKJV
The entrance of Elijah in the Scriptures is abrupt, bold, and dramatic. Like a bolt of lightning from heaven, Elijah suddenly appears on the scene. He confronts King Ahab, the wicked king of Israel, about the future weather conditions. Conversing about the weather is a typical conversation with people. But there was nothing typical about the weather talk of Elijah before Ahab, which we see in our text. An uncompromising Elijah stated that it was judgment time for Israel. He declared that a severe drought was coming to the land and would remain until he decided to stop it. No rain, no dew, no moisture, nothing. Only the burning, searing, wilting sun day after day until Elijah called a halt to the torment.
It was a bold and severe prediction about the weather that did not go well with Ahab. Imagine declaring judgment before a wicked king! He stood the chance of being beheaded. Therefore, he wasted no time leaving the presence of King Ahab, as we see in verses 2 and 3
2 Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying,
3 “Get away from here and turn eastward, and hide by the Brook Cherith, which flows into the Jordan. NKJV
Evidently, while Ahab was in a state of shock and unbelief from the appearance and pronouncement by the rugged and brazen prophet, Elijah abruptly walked out before he could be arrested. Immediately or soon after, the Lord instructed Elijah to flee and hide from the king in the event Ahab sought retaliation or revenge, especially after the drought commenced. Furthermore, the prophet needed to be out of Ahab’s reach, for the king would undoubtedly place undue pressure upon Elijah to stop the drought.
Next, we see that Scripture dramatically describes how God protected and provided for His beloved prophet. Verses: 4-6 reads:
4 And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there.
5 So he went and did according unto the word of the LORD: for he went and dwelt by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan.
6 And the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening; and he drank of the brook.
Here we see the provision of the Lord—supernatural provision. Imagine birds delivering food!
Elijah was obedient to God, and God provided for His beloved servant in the wilderness. Elijah witnessed God’s power as the ravens brought him bread and meat twice daily, morning and evening. And he drank fresh water from the flowing brook.
Despite being totally alone and being hunted down by the king, Elijah’s needs were met by the Lord Himself. God’s dear servant was being protected and provided for day by day.
Although protected and provided for during the drought, imagine being all alone, unable to go anywhere, with nowhere to turn. Research yields that Elijah was sustained at the brook for about three years. Now, isolated from society and deprived of luxuries, he couldn’t go out to eat or even to the store. What do you suppose he did for three years?
He had no TV, radio, cell phone, or tablet; he couldn’t go and visit with friends. He had to wait—by the brook.
Have you ever been in a major life situation when you couldn’t do anything about it? A time when you have done all that you could have done, all you could do was wait? We’ve all been faced with a situation such as this. I call them brookside experiences.
These situations can involve life-changing and life-sustaining conditions, including career and spouse choices, where to live, and financial decisions, to name a few. It can be any situation in which we cannot solve ourselves. When we seek an answer through prayer, and we don’t receive it, we have to wait—by the brook.
The brook is where God places us sometimes for reasons that only He, in His wisdom, knows. It can be for timing. Perhaps the time may not be suitable for what we are seeking.
A time for preparation: Perhaps we aren’t prepared for what we are seeking, or what we are seeking isn’t ready for us.
A time of reflection: Perhaps what we seek isn’t suitable for us at all, and during this time, God can minister to us so that we will realize how unsuitable it really is.
A time of opportunity: Perhaps, God places us in this situation to bond with us. This time can be an opportunity to get closer to Him. Even if for one of the reasons above, it can be an opening to get closer to God.
God provided for Elijah’s nutritional needs in a most supernatural way; birds bought him “bread and flesh.”
We can be assured that Elijah, being the servant of God he was, used this time to solidify his relationship with his Lord.
Sometimes, as with Elijah, the brook is the only solution. He could have been captured and killed had he not obeyed the Lord. But aside from safety, there can be much gained from a brookside experience.
However, brookside experiences can be daunting. Verse 7 reads:
And it came to pass after a while, that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land.
Brookside experiences are temporary to varying degrees, and the temporary provision can begin to wane. This temporary provision can be unemployment insurance, temporary housing, a temp job, or even counseling that pulled us through the experience. Nevertheless, these things come to an end.
In Elijah’s case, his provision, the brook—dried up. What on earth was he to do with no water?
Verses 8-9 tell us:
8 And the word of the LORD came unto him, saying,
9 Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee.
God is faithful!
While experiencing a brookside experience, we may feel that we are all alone. However, we are never alone; the Lord steps in just when the brook dries up. In Elijah’s case, the ordeal wasn’t over, but God made further provision for him; a widow would sustain him.
In this passage, we see that when one door closes, the Lord opens another one. God has promised, “for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” This promise is why, as difficult as it may be, we must maintain our faith during our brookside experiences. God provided for Elijah supernaturally; can He not do it for us?
Rom 1:17 reads, “For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.” Faith and unconditional trust is the chosen way of receiving God’s righteousness and blessings. Because of God’s faithfulness to his promises, they move on in our response to faith. It is a perpetual progression throughout life. “the just shall live by faith.” Therefore, it is by faith, “faith to faith,” in other words, from first to last—from the beginning to the end. We need faith in Jesus at the beginning of our journey with the Lord, but we need the faith of
Jesus, the faith He had to endure the cross, to carry us through—to make it through our brookside experiences.
An observation of current events will yield to us that an extensive brookside experience is coming our way, a situation that we will be able to do nothing about—but wait and pray for the return of the Lord.
We need the faith of Jesus to carry us through life and into the presence of the Lord. Rev 14:12 says, “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.”
Covetousness—one of the sins we don’t hear much about these days. Yet, it is among the most dangerous ones we can commit. So, what is covetousness about? This article will expound on this insidious state of mind.
What is Covetousness?
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, it is “marked by inordinate desire for wealth or possessions or for another’s possessions.”
In other words, it is an intense desire to possess something (or someone) that belongs to another person.
Even though we may not hear much about it, it is a severe offense. It is, in a word, sin. After all, it is addressed in God’s moral Law, the tenth Commandment of the Ten Commandments (last but not least). Ex 20:17 reads:
17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.
What Does the Bible say?
What does the Bible say about covetousness? We’ve already seen that God’s base moral Law forbids covetousness. However, other Scriptures take the point home. One poignant Scripture that touches upon the harm of covetousness is 1 Cor 6:9-10
9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites,
10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. NKJV
Notice that the “covetous” is included with the unrighteous that “will not inherit the kingdom of God.” Therefore, if an individual is not guilty of any of the other listed behaviors yet desires something of their neighbor (covetousness), they will not inherit the kingdom; they will not go to heaven.
Take note of what James 2:10 says: “For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.” NIV
We may not be as conscious of the sin of covetousness as we are about other sins, but it carries a heavy penalty if we yield to it. We must keep all of the Commandments of God.
The Consequence of Covetousness
God said to the Israelites through Moses in Numbers 15:40-41 40 That ye may remember, and do all my commandments, and be holy unto your God. 41 I am the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: I am the LORD your God.
This passage was God’s will for Israel; He was to be their leader, their God. To transgress the will of God and His Commandments is sin (1 John 3:4).
Sin has consequences. Rom 6:23 says: “For the wages of sin is death.”
There is no more straightforward example of this than with the nation of Israel. 1 Sam 8:4-20 unfolds the account. This passage is rather lengthy, but it is necessary to view it entirely to grasp the impact.
4 So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah. 5 They said to him, “You are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways; now appoint a king to lead us, such as all the other nations have.”
Up to this point, Israel was a theocracy, meaning it was under a government led by God. But they no longer wanted to be governed by God; they wanted to be governed by a king like the other sinful nations around them.
6 But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the Lord. 7 And the Lord told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. 8 As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you.
It was God’s will to lead His people. However, since they rejected Him and desired a king instead, He allowed it, and it became His permissive will. But it came with a stern warning.
The Lord continued.
9 Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will do.” 10 Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking him for a king. 11 He said, “This is what the king who will reign over you will do: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. 12 Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. 13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. 14 He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. 15 He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. 16 Your menservants and maidservants and the best of your cattle and donkeys he will take for his own use. 17 He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. 18 When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, and the Lord will not answer you in that day.” 19 But the people refused to listen to Samuel. “No!” they said. “We want a king over us. 20 Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles.” NIV
Israel was warned in detail of the consequences of having a king over them. Yet, because of their covetousness, they insisted on having a king. They were deaf to reason and blind to the evil of their craving desire, their covetousness. They desired a king who could unite the nation, establish an army, and lead them to triumph over their enemies. In other words, they wanted a king who could be their savior, deliverer, protector, and provider.
Covetousness and jealousy are first cousins. While invisible, they can manifest emotions that influence all senses of reasoning, causing blindness to the consequences. So, God gave them a king and many kings thereafter. What were the results? All of the above, and then some.
By rejecting God as their Savior and Deliverer, their Protector and Provider, the Israelites were ready to put their destiny into the hands of a human being rather than into the hands of God. They decided to make a covenant, an agreement with a man, and to forget their covenant with God. What a fatal mistake.
According to verse 8, Israel was already out of favor with God because of their idolatry. So He gave them what they wanted. History has proven that their stubborn resistance to God was catastrophic. Down through the centuries, Israel had suffered terribly for their continued stubbornness against God.
As a result, the kings that Israel coveted so strongly led them further into idolatry, causing the kingdom to be divided. Two of the twelve tribes, Judah and Benjamin, became the southern kingdom, and the remaining ten fashioned the northern kingdom of Israel.
All of Israel’s kings were evil and practiced idolatry; Judah had a few good kings. Overall, God was angry with both kingdoms for their idolatry and warned them repeatedly about it through the prophets. Eventually, God sent the Babylonians to attack both kingdoms and carried them away into exile.
Imagine, an entire nation destroyed because of covetousness. Prov 14:34 says, “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.” NIV
The trials, the heartaches, the death, and the destruction all because they coveted a king like the other nations. Israel turned entirely away from God and paid a dear price. Over time the nation became a disgrace and was annihilated.
As mentioned earlier, this wasn’t God’s will for Israel, but since they wanted a king instead of Him, He gave them what they wanted. This scenario brings to memory the well-known quote from the Irish poet Oscar Wilde: “When the gods wish to punish us, they answer our prayers.” Therefore, we must be careful what we ask for; we just might get it.
Covetousness is idolatry because it diverts attention away from God and onto what is coveted. As the US continues along its unrighteous, idolatrous path, it, too, will pay the price. This is an undeniable principle of God.
This principle also applies to us individually; we pay a dear price when we covet what or who others have. Eph 5:5 states: “For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person — such a man is an idolater — has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.” NIV
God provides what we should have.
There is a vital lesson for us in this experience of the Israelites. As 1 Cor 10:11 informs, “These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come.” NIV
1 Cor 10:6 also states, “Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted.” NKJV
To covet or desire to be led by man instead of God, as Israel did, is included in “evil things.”
The lesson also to learn is that we must not covet what others have. It is the tenth Commandment of God’s moral Law. With this transgression of the Law, we never know what it will bring upon us.
Covetousness also involves an inordinate desire to be rich. Scripture warns against this as well. 1 Tim 6:9-10 warns:
9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.
10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil,…NKJV
Coveting riches only drives us into destruction, and as Jesus warns in Luke 12:15, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.” NKJV
Lastly, we must not be stubborn, stiff-necked, and hard-hearted against God; He knows best.
Questions, comments, and concerns are welcomed and may be left below.
The Cross—a prominent symbol of Christianity. However, what does it mean? What is the Cross? What is the Cross about? This article will shed light on the Cross.
What is the Cross?
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, “a structure consisting of an upright with a transverse beam used especially by the ancient Romans for execution.” It is known as a symbol of death, the cruelest form of execution. But to the Christian, there is one special Cross: the Cross on which Jesus was crucified. Therefore, to the Christian, the Cross means so many things.
It all begins with love. John 3:16-17 reads:
16 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.
17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
God so loved us that He provided a way to save humanity from their sins by offering His only Son to pay for our sins. Jesus accepted our punishment and paid the price for our sins so we would not perish. This act is truly an act of love.
8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.
The death of Christ is the uppermost expression of God’s love for us. While we were rebellious and dreadful, Christ died for us so that we could go to God, find peace with him, and become recipients of his promises. Christ did not die because we were lovable; Christ died because God already loved us and wanted to bring us close to Him. No matter how lonely or alienated we feel, we have the unchangeable fact that Christ died for us. Every time we celebrate communion, we hear the words from Jesus, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 1 Cor 11:25
A Display of Humility
Phil 2:6-8 reads:
6 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
7 but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death — even death on a cross! NIV
The Incarnation of Christ was the act of the pre-existent Son of God, who voluntarily assumed a human body and human nature. He became a human being; the man called Jesus. While he did not give up his deity to become human, He set aside the right to his glory and power. In submission to the Father’s will, Christ limited his power and knowledge. This act is humility personified.
A Confirmation of Prophecy
The Scriptures have many prophecies of the Cross, from Genesis to Revelation. From the beginning of time, God has been planning to rescue humanity from the clutches of evil through horrific death on the Cross.
Isa 53:4-5 reads:
4 Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted.
5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. NKJV
This prophecy was written some 700 years prior to Christ’s birth. He was marred beyond recognition, tortured, and thoroughly abused. But not only was his punishment prophesied, but so was our atonement. The redemption was prophesied.
A Symbol of Freedom
The Cross is a symbol of the Christian’s freedom. Heb 9:14-15 reads:
14 How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!
15 For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance — now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant. NIV
The blood of Christ cleansed His followers from “dead works.” Before individuals follow Christ, they are filled with sinful thoughts, actions, and behavior. These “dead works” pollute people, putting them in need of repentance.
“For this reason,” in other words, because Christ offered himself to God, He can mediate a new covenant. He mediates based on his self-sacrifice and shed blood. As our High Priest, Christ is the mediator or advocate between us and God. He intervenes for all who believe, looking after their interests and presenting their requests to God. Christ died as a ransom, the price paid to release an enslaved person.
It is the blood of Christ shed on the Cross that has freed us from sin! Look at how Paul addressed this fact in Rom 6:17-18
17 But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted.
18 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. NIV
We all have a master and pattern themselves after him. Without Jesus, we would have no choice; we would be enslaved to sin, resulting in guilt, suffering, and separation from God. However, because of what Jesus did on the Cross, we can now choose God as our Master. Following him, we can enjoy new life and learn how to work for him. We no longer have to serve our first master. We can be free from him.
A Symbol of Suffering
The Cross represents suffering and pain. It is where Jesus suffered and died. Prior to His crucifixion, He had to carry His own Cross with much anguish.
Likewise, the freedom that Christians enjoy is not without problems. The Scripture says in 2 Tim 3:12
“Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”
If we stand up for Christian values to live godly lives, we can expect opposition and hostility from the world. Based upon the testimony of many, we can anticipate facing some form of persecution or resistance if we persist in living in obedience to Christ. Absence of persecution may not mean unfaithfulness, but if our lives as Christians never affect the world, we may have to question the seriousness of our commitment.
Jesus said in John 15:18-20:
18 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.
19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.
20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his Lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.
Jesus was hated from the beginning (when Jesus was a young child, King Herod sought him out to kill him — Matt 2:13-16). He was hated at the end when the people of His time rejected him as the Savior and called for his crucifixion. Therefore with certainty, the same world will surely hate those who declare faithfulness to the crucified Lord.
To persecute Christians is to persecute Christ because Christians are an expansion of Christ, as branches are an expansion of the vine (John 15:5). Yet despite inevitable persecution, Christians are called to share the gospel — this includes not just telling the story but extending the invitation to accept Jesus as Savior and Lord.
The Cross not only represents suffering through persecution but, through life itself. The Scriptures inform us in Ps 34:18-19 NLT
18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.
19 The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord comes to the rescue each time.
We often wish we could escape troubles—the pain of grief, loss, sorrow, failure, or even the minor daily aggravations that relentlessly wear us down. But God promises to be “close to the brokenhearted” and our root of power, courage, and wisdom, aiding us through our trials and tribulations. Sometimes He chooses to deliver us from those problems.
All of us, Christian and non-Christian, have trials and tribulations. The difference is the response. The non-Christians, the worldly ones, rely on themselves. Christians rely on Jesus through faith. It is a requirement, as Jesus said in Luke 9:23, And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.”
Jesus made it clear that following Him would not be easy. To deny ourselves means letting go of selfish desires and earthly security. “Self” is no longer in charge; Christ is. We need this attitude for the days ahead. We must be willing to set aside our desires to fulfill God’s will.
Christians follow the Lord by imitating His life and obeying his commands. Imitating His life involves partaking in His suffering. 1 Peter 4:12-13 reads:
12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you.
13 But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.
Christians are not to be surprised at the trials they face as unbelievers do; we have to expect them. God’s plan for our lives often but not always includes pain and hardship. But as the previous Scripture reveals (Ps. 34:19), the Lord delivers us from them all.
This situation is why Jesus said we must take up our crosses: our trials and tribulations, and follow Him. Notice when Jesus said we are to take up our crosses: “daily.” Following Christ is not a one-shot deal; one must be in it for the long haul. Otherwise, don’t bother. For Jesus also said in Matt 10:38: “And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.”
Christ’s followers must deny selfish ambitions and selfish desires. Following Christ is costly now, but it is well worth the pain and effort in the long run. Individuals are willing to shell out a high price for something they value. Therefore, is it any surprise that Jesus would demand this much commitment from his followers? At least three conditions must be met by individuals who want to follow Jesus. They must be willing to deny themselves, to take up the cross, and to follow him. Anything less is superficial.
Consequently, when trouble strikes, we must not get frustrated with God. Instead, we must admit that we need God’s help and thank him for being by our side.
This carrying of our crosses is a daily struggle that yields everlasting results.
As you can see, the cross symbolizes much in the life of a Christian. May we take note, understand its significance, and hold it dear to our hearts.
Questions, comments, and concerns are welcomed below.
On occasion, articles on this website have addressed the year 1844. However, precisely what is 1844 about? What happened during this year that made it such a significant event in Christendom? Hopefully, this article will shed light on this very question with some answers.
The year 1844 results from the end of a prophecy written in the book of Daniel. It initially establishes the end of a prophecy and concurrently signifies the initiation of a significant event.
This prophecy is contained in a vision of Daniel, found in Daniel 8:1-13 which describes, with much symbolism, a period that entails the succession of three major kingdoms, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome.
Let us take a look at this passage in Scripture and unpack it. Dan 8:1-13
1 In the third year of the reign of King Belshazzar a vision appeared to me — to me, Daniel — after the one that appeared to me the first time. (2) I saw in the vision, and it so happened while I was looking, that I was in Shushan, the citadel, which is in the province of Elam; and I saw in the vision that I was by the River Ulai. (3) Then I lifted my eyes and saw, and there, standing beside the river, was a ram which had two horns, and the two horns were high; but one was higher than the other, and the higher one came up last. (4) I saw the ram pushing westward, northward, and southward, so that no animal could withstand him; nor was there any that could deliver from his hand, but he did according to his will and became great. (5) And as I was considering, suddenly a male goat came from the west, across the surface of the whole earth, without touching the ground; and the goat had a notable horn between his eyes. (6) Then he came to the ram that had two horns, which I had seen standing beside the river, and ran at him with furious power. (7) And I saw him confronting the ram; he was moved with rage against him, attacked the ram, and broke his two horns. There was no power in the ram to withstand him, but he cast him down to the ground and trampled him; and there was no one that could deliver the ram from his hand. (8) Therefore the male goat grew very great; but when he became strong, the large horn was broken, and in place of it four notable ones came up toward the four winds of heaven. (9) And out of one of them came a little horn which grew exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the Glorious Land. (10) And it grew up to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and some of the stars to the ground, and trampled them. (11) He even exalted himself as high as the Prince of the host; and by him the daily sacrifices were taken away, and the place of His sanctuary was cast down. (12) Because of transgression, an army was given over to the horn to oppose the daily sacrifices; and he cast truth down to the ground. He did all this and prospered. (13) Then I heard a holy one speaking; and another holy one said to that certain one who was speaking, “How long will the vision be, concerning the daily sacrifices and the transgression of desolation, the giving of both the sanctuary and the host to be trampled underfoot?” NKJV
We see in verse 3 that Daniel saw a Ram in the vision with two horns. In prophecy, animals and beasts symbolize kingdoms; horns symbolize authority and great power. One horn was longer than the other and came up last. Further down in verse 20, it is stated that the ram represented the Medo-Persia empire.
Secular history reflects that Darius the Mede reigned first, followed by Cyrus the Persian, whose empire was the stronger of the two. Therefore, the first horn represented Darius the Mede, and the second, more prominent horn represented Cyrus, the Persian.
In verse 4, we see that the ram pushed its way west, north, and south, illustrating that it seized Lydia, Babylon, and Egypt during its rise to power.
Next, in verses 5 and 6, a goat appears on the scene from the west with a prominent horn between his eyes without touching the earth. Not touching the earth addresses the swiftness of this kingdom’s movement as it headed toward the ram. It is important to note that rams and goats were used in the sanctuary services.
In verse 7, the goat viciously attacks the ram and tramples him. The goat represents the kingdom of Greece, and the prominent horn between the goat’s eyes represents the first king of Greece (Daniel 8:21).
Verse 8 describes how great the goat became, and the large horn was broken off at the height of its power.
Secular history reflects that Alexander the Great was the first leader of a united Greece as it took over the world. Additionally, Greece defeated Medo-Persia in 331 BC. Alexander was only 25 years of age at the time. The horn of the goat breaking off signified Alexander the Great’s death at the age of 33 in 323 BC.
We also see in this verse that four prominent horns replaced the giant horn. Chapter 7 of Daniel confirms that four of Alexander’s generals eventually took over the Greek Empire. Ultimately, one took over the northern portion of the empire, known as the King of the North, while another took over the southern portion and became known as the King of the South.
In verse 9, we see that another horn rose from among these four. It started out small but increased in power. It grew “exceedingly great toward the south, toward the east, and toward the Glorious Land.”
The glorious land refers to the land of Judea (Daniel 11:16). The direction that the little horn was traveling indicates that it came from the west, directly affecting Judea and nations in the south and east. This little horn refers to Rome, which came from the west of Jedea and Greece. Judea and other crucial nations were directly en route between Greece and Egypt. By 168 BC, Rome became the fourth world kingdom.
Verse 10 addresses how the little horn grew up to the host of heaven. Verse 24 says that the hosts of heaven and stars are the mighty and holy people. This refers to the persecution of God’s people by Pagan and Papal Rome. The faithful Jews and Christians after Christ were viciously persecuted by pagan Rome under various emperors, and later during the years of Papal supremacy, the persecution increased as was instigated by the Catholic Church.
In verses 11 and 12, we see that the little horn exalted itself against “the prince of the host,” who was Christ. It was pagan Rome that crucified Christ in A.D. 31. In other passages in Daniel, Christ is referred to as Prince (Daniel 9:25-27, 11:22). Not only did it crucify Christ, but it set itself up to be the equal of God and ordered the daily sacrifices to end.
In verse 13, two angels are communicating with one another. One asked the other how long it would take for the completion of the vision to be fulfilled. The reply in verse 14 was 2,300 years.
This verse is the high point of Daniel 8. This vision is known as the 2300-day prophecy and culminates the chapter. This vision of Daniel occurred long before its commencement and has been fulfilled in its entirety.
It is very crucial to note that the 2300 days mentioned are not literal because of the kingdoms it encompasses. Therefore, it is evident that the prophetic day-year principle is used. That is, each day is one (1) year. Thus, 2300 prophetic days are actually 2300 years. This principle is evident in Numbers 14:34 and Ezekiel 4:6. This period began in 457 BC. It is verse 13 that begins to shed light on the year 1844.
Daniel had problems understanding the meaning of the 2300 days as he said in Dan 8:27, “I, Daniel, was exhausted and lay ill for several days. Then I got up and went about the king’s business. I was appalled by the vision; it was beyond understanding.” NIV
In chapter nine, Daniel earnestly prayed an intercessory prayer to God for Israel and himself and asked for understanding of the vision. While he was praying, God sent Gabriel with the interpretation in Dan 9:24-27 which reads:
24 “Seventy ‘sevens’ are decreed for your people and your holy city to finish transgression, to put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy.
Israel was attacked and annihilated by Babylon, destroying the temple, and the Babylonians carried the Israelites into exile for seventy years because of their sins against God (Jeremiah 27:7-11). At the end of the 70 years, Israel was given seventy-sevens, 490 prophetic years (1 week=7 days=7 prophetic years x 7=490 prophetic years) to “put an end to sin, to atone for wickedness, to bring in everlasting righteousness,” etc.
In other words, they had 490 years to get their act together. This period served as a probationary period for Israel. This period is known as the 70-week prophecy. These 490 years were the beginning of the 2300-year prophecy.
25 “Know and understand this: From the issuing of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until the Anointed One, the ruler, comes, there will be seven ‘sevens,’ and sixty-two ‘sevens.’ It will be rebuilt with streets and a trench, but in times of trouble.
In 457 BC, Artaxerxes, the Persian King, issued the decree to rebuild Jerusalem. This was when the 2300-year prophecy began. It would take seven weeks (seven sevens =49 years) to rebuild Jerusalem, and it would be with much opposition. Sixty-two weeks (434 years)after that point, we have the messiah, the anointed one.
26 After the sixty-two ‘sevens,’ the Anointed One will be cut off and will have nothing. The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed.
After three-and-a-half years, the Messiah would be cut off. Three-and-a-half years later, the nation’s probation will end. Then Jerusalem and the Temple will be destroyed by the Romans. War, destruction, and desolation will come in on the land like a flood.
27 He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on a wing [of the temple] he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him.” NIV.
During this last prophetic week of the seventy-year prophecy, God will fulfill His covenant promise to the people. But three-and-a-half years into the Messiah’s ministry, they will turn Him over to strangers to be crucified. This action will end the ancient sacrifices and offerings. For the next three-and-a-half years, God will extend one last call to the people, but the rulers will not listen, bringing about desolation. However, the nation that destroys the city and the temple (Rome) will also come to an end. The end has been decreed and is assured.
Again, this vision of Daniel occurred thousands of years prior and was fulfilled exactly as it was seen. The fulfillment of the prophecies of the past helps us to look forward to the fulfillment of the prophecies of the future. History is prophecy fulfilled, and prophecy is history foretold.
What is 1844 about?
The first 490 years of the 2,300-year prophecy apply specially to the Jews and the coming of Christ the Messiah. The last part of the 2300 years must apply to God’s people, both Jew and Gentile, along with the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary. Ultimately, after that, the second coming of Christ.
The first 490 years applied to the first Advent of the Messiah and ended in A.D. 34 with the stoning of Steven. Subtracting 490 years from 2,300 years leaves us with 1810 years. These remaining 1810 years apply to God’s people. If we begin at A.D. 34 and add 1810 years, we come toA.D. 1844,the cleansing of the heavenly sanctuary and the beginning of probation. This is what the year 1844 is about. The chart below illustrates this remarkable vision and timetable.
In the light of the cleansing or restoration of the truth about the sanctuary and heaven’s end-time judgment, God makes His final appeal to all humanity in Revelation 14:6-11 to respond to His love, accept His grace, and live godly, obedient lives. This is what the three angels’ messages are about.
Christendom is a word that is tied to Christianity. But precisely what is Christendom? This article will shed light on the answer.
What is Christendom?
Christendom is the whole organization of Christians. Historically, Christendom pertains to the Christian empires, Christian states, Christian-majority countries, and the countries where Christianity dominates, succeeds, or is culturally or traditionally entwined.
The question becomes, out of Christendom, the body of Christians, how many are indeed Christians? How many are engaged in true Christianity?
What is true Christianity? How do the Scriptures define a Christian? Is there more to it than repeating the sinner’s prayer? Are you a true Christian, and how? Is it because of good works? If that is the case, so are atheists and humanists. The Scriptures in Ephesians 2:8-9 read,
8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Therefore, it takes more than good works to be a Christian. However, does that mean that God is against good works? Not according to the next verse, 10, which reads, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
Therefore, God expects good works from those who are saved through faith.
Are individuals Christian because of the observance of ritualistic or ceremonial laws, such as vain repetitions of memorized prayers? Galatians 2:16 reads, “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.”
Also, Acts 4:10 reads, “Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole.”
Therefore, the first sign of a true Christian is recognizing Jesus as the savior.
1 John 3:4 reads, “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.”
However, many believe that we no longer have to keep the Law because of the sacrifice of Christ and grace. Some passages of Scripture taken out of context are used to abrogate or nullify the Law. One of these is Galatians 2:16, which again reads,“Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.”
Was Paul advocating the abolition of the Law because of grace? Not by a long shot as we observe the following verses 17-19
17 But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid.
18 For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor.
19 For I through the Law am dead to the Law, that I might live unto God.
Being justified means the forgiveness of past sins. Therefore, as a result, a true Christian has faith in the sacrifice of Christ for the forgiveness of sin and recognizes the obligation to cease sinning, which entails keeping the Law of God.
Not keeping the Law of God, twisting the Scriptures, and making excuses for not doing so is ludicrous. What is the point in returning to committing the same sins that Christ was crucified to pay the penalty for our sake? A point made clear in verse 18. Also, Hebrews 6:6 Says,“If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.” The context of this Scripture addresses the result for those who have known the truth and then turned away from it.
Therefore, the second sign of a true Christian is keeping the Law of God.
How many individuals that are professing Christianity genuinely believe the teachings of Christ and walk or live as He lived? Believing in Christ and obeying Him are two different entities.
Many disregard the obedience aspect of Christianity. However, they are wise to pay attention to the Words of Jesus in Luke 6:46, “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?”
Lord means boss or master. Nevertheless, there is a difference between what Jesus commands and what individuals do in reality. This is found in Matt 5:17-18
17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
18 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.
Jesus went on to illustrate how the Ten Commandments are more obligatory than in the past by giving an example regarding adultery in Matt 5:27-28:
27 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:
28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.
James made it clear that when one command is broken, it is the same as breaking them all in James 2:10-11
10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.
11 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 is clearly addressing the Ten Commandments in their entirety. Christians cannot break one Command without being guilty of breaking them all. One of those Commands pertains to the Sabbath Day, the fourth Commandment to keep it holy.
We must follow Christ’s example when it involves keeping the Sabbath day. Will we walk in the footsteps of Jesus or the footsteps of apostate Christianity and the Roman Emperor Constantine in worshipping the sun?
The New Testament clarifies that Jesus kept the Seventh-day Sabbath as illustrated in many Scriptures. He declared Himself Lord of the Sabbath three times, Mark 2:28, Matthew 12:8, and Luke 6:5. No Scripture indicates Jesus as Lord of Sunday or the first day of the week.
While there are human justifications, reasonings, and twisted Scriptures taken out of context, there are examples of Jesus’ followers after His resurrection. For example, Paul kept the Sabbath with the Gentiles as found in Acts 13:42. There are others (1 Cor. 5:8, Acts 13:44, Acts 16:13, Acts 17:2), but the point is the followers of Jesus walked in His footsteps and kept the same laws as He. That is why the Apostle John wrote in 1 John 2:6, “Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.”NIV
In Rev 12:9, we are told that Satan has deceived the whole world, including the greater part of what is believed to be Christianity and Christendom]. This has been declared in the Scriptures by Jesus Himself, Paul, Peter, John, and Jude. Consequently, we must be careful to walk as Jesus walked.
Therefore, a third sign of a true Christian is that they walk in Jesus’ footsteps.
The next and final sign of a true Christian determines either eternal life or eternal death.
According to 1 John 3:4, “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.”
Even though Christ has paid the penalty for our sins and we are forgiven of them, does that mean we do not have to overcome our sinful nature? Jesus made it clear what we must do to have eternal life. In Matthew 19:17, he told the rich young ruler,“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.“
We must not only acknowledge the Commandments but also keep them to inherit eternal life.
In 1 Cor. 6:9-11, it reads:
9 Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders
10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. NIV
Here Paul described what the brethren were in the past, but they were washed and sanctified in the name of Jesus. They were Justified, forgiven, and free from their past sins. They had overcome their sinful lifestyle of the past. 2 Cor. 5:17 reads,“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
This new state of being must be maintained to attain eternal life.
At the end of the Scriptures, God clarifies that unrepented sins will keep individuals out of His kingdom and will reap the second death. This clarification does not apply to occasional sins of weakness that one has sincerely repented. Still, we must overcome our sinful weaknesses with God’s help.
Notice what Revelation 21:7-8 warns.
7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.
8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
We must overcome if we are going to be accepted into the Kingdom of God. True Christianity is a lifestyle of overcoming and following the footsteps of Jesus. We must put to death our old carnal selves.
Our old way of life, before we believed in Christ, is to be entirely in the past. We are not to be driven by desire and impulse. Eph 4:22-24 addresses this truth.
22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;
23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds;
24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. NIV
This principle is what our baptisms represent. Paul explains this in Romans 6:3-4
3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?
4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
This is what we do in reaction to the sacrifice of Jesus. In baptism, we figuratively die, are buried in a watery grave, and arise as a new person. [2 Corinthians 5:17]
Galatians 2:20 says,“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
We are crucified with Christ in baptism; nevertheless, we live. However, as we rise out of the water, we are not as our old selves, but Christ living in us by the power of the Holy Spirit. It is the faith of the Son of God that we live by; Christ living in us makes us true Christians. This transformation is a spiritual rebirth—born again.
Therefore, the last sign of a true Christian is the overcoming of sin.
Questions, comments, and concerns may be left below.
For countless Christians, Easter is one of the most revered holidays of the year. For others, it is popular as a time to wear a new outfit or possibly a hat or bonnet. For the children, it can be an exhilarating occasion to seek out vividly colored eggs that have been hidden in the garden or around the house. They are told stories about the Easter Bunny. But, is this what Easter is about? What is Easter about?
Does this have anything to do with Jesus Christ and His resurrection? That question can be answered with an unequivocal no! Nevertheless, most people consider such customs harmless fun for children. But are they? In reality, they are far from harmless because they mask the truth concerning the most critical event in the history of humanity: the life of Christ, His message, crucifixion, and resurrection.
What is Easter About?
Children are told many lies about holidays: Santa Clause, the tooth fairy (not a holiday), etc., and of course, the Easter bunny. These lies are contrary to the Word of God. Eph 4:25 reads, “Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.”
These neighbors include our children. Also, Revelation 21:8
states that “…all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”Should we set this example and lead our children to this demise? Not to mention the damage we are doing to our own souls. Perhaps these untruths are more severe than we might think. As God says in Hag 1:7, “Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways.”
When considering Easter, perhaps an excellent place to start is with the origin of these untruths beginning with the name of Easter.
Easter is another spelling for the Anglo-Saxon goddess Eostre. The origin of this goddess, as referenced in the New World Encyclopedia, proposes a connection between Eostre and Easter with the ancient goddess Ishtar. Similarly, scholars speculate that Eostre, the Anglo-Saxon goddess of Spring whose name later led to the current English name ‘Easter,’ may be ancestrally connected to Ishtar.
It is further believed that the correct spelling of Ishtar is Istra, the Norse goddess of fertility, which was symbolized by a rabbit, thus the connection between Easter and rabbits. Rabbits are well known for their fast breeding capabilities. For many, Easter is recognized with fertility images, for example, the Easter Egg, the Easter Lily, and the Easter Rabbit.
A sufficient amount of historians chart the origin of the Easter egg to the Babylonian fable of a large egg drifting from the sky and landing in the Euphrates River, and the goddess Astarte was hatched. But who was Astarte? According to historians, Astarte is only another name for Ishtar.
In early times, it was believed that the rabbit was a hermaphrodite, which is an animal that could reproduce without losing its virginity. This fallacy led to a connection between the alleged virgin rabbit and the Virgin Mary, characterized by the painter Titian’s Madonna of the Rabbit.
When the goddess-worshipers of the past were exposed to Christianity, it was easy for them to take their old reverence to a goddess and transfer it to Mary, in opposition to Scripture and genuine Christianity. As a result, the various myths increased and triumphed.
Does it Matter to God?
Naturally, there are disparities between these myths in the different world cultures, just as there are concerning worship. But as long as we celebrate Jesus Christ’s resurrection, does it really matter? It absolutely does!
Through Moses, God made it clear that the Israelites weren’t even to mention other gods.
In Exodus 23:13 it reads:
13 And in all things that I have said unto you be circumspect: and make no mention of the name of other gods, neither let it be heard out of thy mouth.
Despite this, Christians all over the world celebrate a holiday named after other gods, namely Easter. There are many who will reason that this reproach applied only to the Jews at that time. However, we must remember through His prophet Malachi; God said in Mal 3:6, “For I am the LORD, I change not…” and Heb 13:8 says, “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.”So then, why would it be permissible to celebrate or even mention the names of other gods today?
Understand that neither Christ nor the Apostles left us an example of observing such a festival. It is no wonder Jesus said in Luke 6:46, “Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” He is undoubtedly asking the same question today.
One of the things for which Jesus condemned the religious leaders of His day was that they discarded God’s Commandments and replaced them with their own traditions. Mark 7:6-8 quotes Jesus as saying:
6 “…Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written: ‘This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me.
7 And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’
8 For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men…” NKJV
One of God’s commandments is that His people are not to borrow pagan ideas and blend them with His observances. We are explicitly told not to think about how to serve other gods (Deuteronomy 12:30–32). However, this is precisely what traditional Christianity does!
Israel was severely punished and taken into exile for idolatrous worship, as was Juda, and we are directly following in their footsteps.
In the days of the prophet Elijah, the major problem entailed combining paganism with worshipping the true God. After Elijah prayed that it would not rain for three-and-a-half years to make the people aware of their sins, Elijah and King Ahab gathered the people to settle the issue. Elijah’s question to the people was most practical: “How long will you falter between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him” (1 Kings 18:21).
This central question denotes a combination of the worship of the true God with heathen Baal worship.
The Christian church took many worship forms from pagan ideas and images. For example, celebrating the birth of Christ on the twenty-fifth of December in actuality came from a celebration of the sun god Saturn, the agriculture god. This celebration was known as Saturnalia, which ran from December 17-23 near the winter solstice, comprised of merriment, gift giving, and candles typically of our Christmas holidays. At the time when the Roman Empire supposedly converted to Christianity, Saturnalia became a Christian holiday honoring the birth of Jesus. In addition, greetings of “io Saturnalia!” were replaced with “Merry Christmas.” Christmas has pagan roots. For more information on Christmas, please read the article, Christmas Holidays Pagan on this website.
The pagan roots of Easter are a central problem for professing Christians. What’s more, by combining pagan customs and traditions into the worship of the true God, contrary to His command, the part of Easter that purportedly comes from the Scriptures is dreadfully flawed.
This fact is made clear in the next segment.
When was Jesus Resurrected?
Most believe that Jesus was crucified on a Friday, hence good Friday. However, more biblically knowledgeable individuals understand from Scripture that He was crucified on a Preparation Day leading up to a Sabbath. In Luke 23:52-54, it reads:
52 This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.
53 Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a tomb that was hewn out of the rock, where no one had ever lain before.
54 That day was the Preparation, and the Sabbath drew near. NKJV
As most know, the weekly Sabbath commences at sunset on Friday and concludes at sunset on Saturday. Therefore, on the surface, it might appear that Jesus was crucified Friday morning and put in the grave very late Friday afternoon; however, this is not how it happened.
Without question, Jesus was crucified on the Preparation day for a Sabbath; however, which Sabbath? Was it the weekly Sabbath which began Friday evening at sunset and ended Saturday evening at sunset? Or is it possible it was a High Day, an annual Sabbath?
A good place to start would be how long did Jesus lay in the tomb. A more excellent place to start is how long did Jesus say He would be in the tomb? In Matt 12:39-40 Jesus responded to the Scribes and Pharisees asking Him for a sign.
39 But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:
40 For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. [cf. Matthew 16:21]
Jesus said that the only sign that would be given was the sign of Jonah. As Jonah was in the belly of the whale, so will the Son of man for “three days and three nights.“ It is not possible to count three days and three nights from Friday afternoon to Sunday morning.
According to Scripture, Jesus was placed in the tomb right at sunset. However, some count a few minutes before sunset as day one. Friday night would be night one; the daylight segment of Saturday would be the second day, and Saturday night would make the second night. If Jesus had risen on Sunday morning after sunrise, that might be considered day three, but what about the third night? It’s not there! That is being liberal by counting a few minutes of daylight at the beginning and end as two of the three days. Christ was resurrected Saturday after sunset!
In summary, He was crucified on Wednesday and resurrected on Saturday. This summarization is how the three days and three nights are fulfilled that Jesus prophesized.
These facts can be unclear since the way we begin and end days today are different, changed by man, but perhaps the chart below helps.
What is commonly known as the Lord’s Supper, or the Last Supper, was actually the Passover. However, some scholars deny plain scriptures and assert otherwise. Matthew, Mark, and Luke all call Jesus’ final supper with His disciples the Passover.
Here is Luke’s account in Luke 22:7-16
7 Then came the day of unleavened bread, when the passover must be killed.
8 And he sent Peter and John, saying, Go and prepare us the passover, that we may eat.
9 And they said unto him, Where wilt thou that we prepare?
10 And he said unto them, Behold, when ye are entered into the city, there shall a man meet you, bearing a pitcher of water; follow him into the house where he entereth in.
11 And ye shall say unto the goodman of the house, The Master saith unto thee, Where is the guestchamber, where I shall eat the passover with my disciples?
12 And he shall shew you a large upper room furnished: there make ready.
13 And they went, and found as he had said unto them: and they made ready the passover.
14 And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him.
15 And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer:
16 For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God.
Further evidence is found in Matthew 26:17–20, where the Passover is mentioned three times in connection to His final meal. Additionally, Mark 14:12–17 mentions the Passover four times. The three (3) synoptic gospels combined (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) refer to the Passover at least twelve (12) times in relation to what is commonly called the Last Supper! There should not be any doubt that the last supper was undeniably the Passover.
Now that it has been established that the Lord’s Supper was the Passover, what is the significance? God counts each day from sunset to sunset (Genesis 1:3–5). Therefore, on the day of His crucifixion, Jesus observed the Passover with the disciples in the evening. Then, He was taken into custody that night and was crucified during the daylight portion of the Passover day. While the Passover is exceedingly special, it is not a Sabbath day.
For a bit of history of the Passover, according to Exodus 12:6-11, on the tenth day of the month, the Israelites were to set aside a male lamb or goat and keep it until the fourteenth day and follow the Lord’s instruction.
Again, the Bible counts time from sunset to sunset; the fourteenth day began that year on a Tuesday evening after sunset (actually Wednesday). The firstborn in every household had death pass over them if they were in a house marked by the blood of a sacrificed lamb or goat—this evening became known as the Passover.
In the daylight hours of Nisan 14, the fourteenth day of the month, the children of Israel “plundered” the Egyptians and traveled to the city of Rameses. This location is where the Exodus began after sunset at the beginning of Nisan 15. It took the Israelites seven days to go from Rameses to the other side of the Red Sea, and this period was commemorated as the Days of Unleavened Bread since the Israelites were journeying and did not have time for their bread to rise.
The Passover and the Days of Unleavened Bread were strongly associated, such that “Passover” is sometimes used to indicate both festivals together. The distinction between the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread is unmistakably defined in Leviticus 23:5–7
and Numbers 28:16–18. In both accounts, we learn that Nisan 15, the first day subsequent to the Passover, is a day to assemble and rest from our day-to-day work. It is an annual Sabbath—a High Day—a little-understood fact with considerable significance.
John 19:31 reads:
31 The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.
It proves challenging to comprehend the New Testament account without knowing that the Sabbath following Christ’s crucifixion was an annual Sabbath. However, with this knowledge, the picture becomes clear. The day subsequent to the Passover was a high day, an annual Sabbath where work was not to be done.
Jesus observed the Passover with His disciples at the day’s commencement soon after sunset. He was tried and crucified, then was placed in the grave late in the afternoon at the end of the Passover day. When the sunset arrived that evening, the first day of Unleavened Bread, an annual Sabbath day, had begun. These facts are addressed by the Apostle John in John 19:31 above: “…therefore, because it was the Preparation Day, that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the Sabbath (for that Sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.”
Of course, the Scripture in verse 33 (John 19:33) clarifies that the legs of Jesus were not broken. This fact also fulfills the Old Testament prophecy in Psalm 34:20.
The Scripture confirms that it was not the preparation for a weekly Sabbath. Furthermore, Passover is also the Preparation day for the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread for a high day Sabbath—an annual Sabbath, not the weekly Sabbath! Therefore, the day on
What is commonly overlooked is that the Scriptures record two Sabbaths involving the time Jesus was in the tomb! Scripture indicates that the women rested on the Sabbath and then bought spices. Mark 16:1 reads:
1 And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him. KJV
Notice that this took place after a Sabbath!
However, Luke 23:54-56 reads:
54 That day was the Preparation, and the Sabbath drew near.
55 And the women who had come with Him from Galilee followed after, and they observed the tomb and how His body was laid.
56 Then they returned and prepared spices and fragrant oils. And they rested on the Sabbath according to the commandment. NKJV
It is important to note that Mark states that they did not purchase the spices until after the Sabbath. However, Luke states that they prepared them and rested on the Sabbath. Therefore, these passages indicate that these women rested on the High day (the annual Sabbath), bought and prepared the spices the next day, and rested on the weekly Sabbath.
Since the Scriptures never contradict themselves, there obviously were two Sabbaths with an ordinary day in between. It is the only way to harmonize these two passages of Scripture.
So what happened on Sunday? Why is it commonly believed that Jesus was resurrected Sunday morning? It is universally from tradition. However, we must remember that Scripture must take priority over tradition. Therefore, a thorough reading discloses that the women arrived at the tomb around dawn on the first day of the week.
Dawn on the first day of the week is when most people erroneously think resurrection occurred. However, observe what it states (even more significantly, what it does not state) in Luke 24:1–6. Notice that it does not read that He rose that morning; it merely states that He was not there when they arrived—already resurrected! Christ was resurrected Saturday after sunset!
However, some will question, “Doesn’t the Bible say that Jesus rose on Sunday morning?” The answer is not really. Notice this in Mark 16:9,“Now when He rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had cast seven demons.”
On the surface, this appears with certainty that Jesus rose Sunday morning. However, this contradicts the other evidence we have seen that contradicts this observation. However, remember, the Bible never contradicts itself. So, which is correct? John tells us: “the Scripture cannot be broken” (John 10:35). Therefore, we must look at this verse more closely.
First, we must understand that the New Testament Greek texts did not have any punctuation as we know it today. All the letters were written in all capital letters. Texts were later written in small cursive letters. All of the words were run together with no space between them. For example, Mark 16:9 would like the example below, except instead of English letters, they were Greek letters:
Thankfully, translators and publishers made Bible reading more manageable by adding capitalization and punctuation. While this has been a blessed work, we must realize that, unfortunately, their partialities have crept into our translations, and this verse is a prime example.
The verse Mark 16:9 can be punctuated in at least two different ways. The New King James Version and many other modern translations have punctuated it according to traditional beliefs, focusing on Jesus rising early on the first day of the week. It is an apparent mistranslation. There would be a significant discrepancy regarding when the women bought and prepared the spices, and the whole course of actions as specified in the Bible would be erroneous.
Although the Bible was inspired by God and without errors in its original writings, no translation is without errors. Many of these variations do not introduce significant misunderstandings, but King James, as well as the NKJV, and other modern translations of Mark 16:9, does. It is only a matter of punctuation that makes the difference.
If we change the punctuation, it would be in harmony with the rest of Scripture; it would read this way: “Now, when He rose, early on the first day of the week He appeared first to Mary Magdalene.”
As opposed to “Now when He rose early on the first day of the week, He appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom He had cast seven demons.” NKJV Notice the change in the comas. By repositioning the commas, we see that the emphasis is not on when He rose but on when He first appeared to Mary Magdalene.
The only way to know how it should be punctuated is to read it in both its immediate context and the context of Scripture overall. Given the proper order of events as shown above, It is clear now that the emphasis in this verse is not
on when Jesus rose but on when He appeared to Mary. Punctuating it this way is legitimate and is the only way to synchronize this verse with the rest of Scripture.
So, we celebrate a holiday with pagan roots, contrary to God’s Word and based on a doctrine that is dreadfully flawed scripturally. How do you suppose God sees this? Through His prophet, Hosea, He said in Hos. 4:6:
6 “my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. “ Because you have rejected knowledge, I also reject you as my priests; because you have ignored the law of your God, I also will ignore your children.” NIV
Therefore, let us seek and hold on to the truth; Ignorance is no excuse!
For us to counter the sign Jesus gave (Matt 3:20) is to deny Jesus as our Savior. Hoards of heartfelt individuals have done so without recognizing that they have been misled by traditions passed from generation to generation and propagated in mainstream Christian churches.
We must follow what Paul commanded in 1 Thessalonians 5:21, “Test all things; hold fast what is good,” instead of going along with quaint sentimental customs involving rabbits, eggs, lilies, and pagan deities and days.
Some will say that it is the thought that counts. Since we are celebrating the resurrection of Jesus, it is okay. But notice what Jesus said regarding worship in John 4:23: “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.“
To worship the Lord sincerely is essential, but we must also worship Him truthfully, “in truth!”
Questions, comments, and concerns may be addressed below. You will receive a response.
Jesus was an excellent teacher. Actually, He was far more than a teacher. Nevertheless, He was the most awesome teacher the world has ever encountered. His earthly ministry was a teaching ministry from beginning to end. One of the tools He used most effectively was the parable. There are over 30 Parables in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. This article focuses on one such parable, the parable of the sower. In this article, you will find the parable of the sower explained.
What is a Parable?
A parable is a short allegorical (symbolic) story intended to illustrate or teach some truth, religious principle, or moral lesson.
Why did Jesus use Parables?
When the disciples asked Jesus why He used parables, He said in Matthew 13:11, 13, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. (13) Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.”
Jesus revealed that understanding the truth of the gospel came as a gift of God to those He had chosen. The “you” to whom Jesus referred was the group of his true and faithful followers, including the twelve disciples and others who believed in him. God had gifted them a special gift. The fact that this knowledge was given discloses that both grace and judgment are God’s choices. God gave this knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven to these disciples as a permanent possession, a distinguishing mark of discipleship. They understood, though only in part, the “secrets” that God’s kingdom had arrived among them in the person of Jesus. Those who have not been given this knowledge where the Scripture reads “not to them”include those who willfully rejected the gospel message.
When speaking in parables, Jesus was not hiding the truth from sincere seekers because those receptive to spiritual truth understood the illustrations. To others, they were only stories without meaning. This circumstance allowed Jesus to give spiritual food to those who hungered for it while preventing his enemies from trapping him sooner than they might otherwise have done.
Therefore, When Jesus spoke in parables, He was not concealing the truth from genuine inquirers because those searching for spiritual truth understood the illustrations. To others, not so much.
The Parable of the Sower Explained
This parable, the parable of the sower, is contained in three of the gospels. However, we only need to look at one. Luke 8:5-8
5 A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it.
6 And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture.
7 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it.
8 And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold. And when he had said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
In verse 5, we see that a sower went out to sow his seed. This sower, in this instance, represents God, and the seed represents the Word of God (the gospel). The farmer sows the seed on all kinds of soil, apparently randomly. After all, no sensible farmer would sow seed in thorns or on a path. So what’s the story? Is it that he is simply careless, wasteful, or perhaps unskilled? Hardly, the farmer is fully aware that some of the soil is unproductive; however, he willingly scatters the seed on it anyway. God is like this farmer, allowing his words and love to fall on many who will not welcome them. And yet he is still willing to pour out his mercies upon them. Romans 2:4 tells us that God’s goodness is to lead us to repentance.
God knows the high potential of this seed. Sometimes we Christians tend to pull back from those who are uninterested or different, but God does not. Therefore, we must seek to replicate His generous love for the seemingly resistant.
Notice that as He sows, some immediately “fell” by the wayside. In verses 11 & 12, Jesus explains:
11 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.
12 Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.
Now, they hear the Word, and immediately before it can take root, the devil comes and takes it away, preventing the seed from germinating and growing. Some individuals will sit in the church and hear the Word, and as soon as they walk out the church doors, it is gone. If they are asked what the message was about, they cannot say.
Additionally, Satan is a master at distraction, and the media is one of his most potent tools. Television, movies, sports, sports heroes, and superheroes are all part of his arsenal. He is truly “the prince of the power of the air” (Eph. 2:2). Satan will use anything he can to take the Word out of the hearts of those who, as Jesus said, “should believe and be saved.”
Verse 6 shows that some seed fell “upon a rock.”Jesus explains in verse 13.
13 “They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.”
The stony soil is deceptive because it has some soil. It represents the superficial hearer who appears interested but soon fades away. Those on the rock are the ones that receive the Word with enthusiasm when they hear it initially. Something in the gospel message hits a central part of their being, and they joyfully accept what it offers. However, Jesus said they “have no root.”
A seed needs soil to root and grow; without a root, there is no growth. Likewise, Christians need soil to root. For a Christian, the soil is the Word of God. Christians must be “rooted and grounded”in the Word. The Word provides the soil and the fertilizer by which we grow. We are required to grow (2 Peter 1:5-10); however, without a root, the Word, there is no growth for a Christian, and they will lose interest as fast and as enthusiastically as they gained it. This type of individual will return to the world as soon as trials and temptations arrive.
Now, these are the ones who will say—I don’t have time to read the Bible; I believe, but the Bible is old-fashioned; I try to read it, but I fall asleep, or I try, but I don’t understand it, and a host of other excuses.
Without the Word, Jesus said they, “which for a while believe.”In other words, they are not in it for the long haul; they are not ready to be a disciple in the time of testing when their believing leads to persecution. They fail to count the cost, to consider the obligation, the self-denial, the sacrifice, the study, the learning, the hours, and the effort required. They do not apply themselves to learn Christ; therefore, they do not become rooted and grounded in the Word. They are only superficial believers.
These individuals believe for a while, but as Jesus explained, they have no root, and when trials and temptations come, they fall away.
In verse 7, we see that some seed fell on thorns. Jesus explains in verse 14.
14 And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.
These are individuals who hear and accept the Word allowing it to take root in their hearts. However, as time goes on, something happens — thorns grow up and choke out the growing seed. Thorns deprive newly sprouting seeds of nourishment, moisture, daylight, and area to grow. Jesus described such people as being choked by life’s “cares, riches, and pleasures.”
This statement of Jesus describes a worldly individual who cannot shake the world. These individuals are too preoccupied with the world to focus on spiritual things (1 Cor. 2:14). As a result, their spiritual growth and life are choked and terminated. If we don’t feed our souls with the Word of God, they will be starved and will not grow.
They live double lives, attempting to live for Christ yet still living out in the world. They keep growing amid the thorns, giving their minds and attention to the cares, riches, and pleasures of this world.
They are in a word: carnal—carnal minded The Scriptures state the status of the carnal-minded without any ambiguity.
Rom 8:6-8 reads:
6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
The thorns of life: worldly cares (no matter how important or how minor), the false sense of security brought on (or merely promised) by riches, and the desire for pleasure and material possessions (including anything that serves to distract a person), choke out the Spirit of a new believer or even a matured believer. We never outrun the threat of being overcome by our circumstances. This reality is why Scripture warns in 1 Cor. 10:12, “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!” NIV
This threat is why growth is so crucial. A plant must either grow or die. We cannot be stagnant. In the Christian walk, we are either moving forward or falling backward. Stagnation is deadly to the spirit! Stagnation leads to damnation.
This condition plagued first-century disciples as they do believers today (e.g., Luke 10:41; 12:15, 19; 14:26; 16:19; 21:34). These diversions and conflicts rob new Christians of growth because they do not spend adequate time in God’s Word or with God’s people. Although the seed may have grown somewhat, it does not mature. Daily routines overcrowd, and materialistic quests sidetrack believers, choking out the Word of God so that it yields nothing.
Jesus said they “bring no fruit to perfection.”They bear fruit. Fruit does appear but never ripens; it can never be harvested because the thorns choke the life out of it. It never lives to be used.
In verse 8, we see that some seed fell on “good ground.”Jesus explains in verse 15
15 But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.
So we see that good ground can be found. This conclusion is what makes the sowing worthwhile. The good ground represents the hearts open to the gospel message wherever the seed of God’s Word is sown. Those with hearts like “good soil” hear the word, retain it, and by persevering, produce a crop. These individuals have truly believed and are eager to let Jesus make a difference in their lives. Because of this, they also, as Jesus said, “bring forth fruit” because they are willing to share what Jesus has done for them.
Because they have an honest and good heart, when they hear the Word, they keep it. That means they do not permit the devil to snatch it, neither the trials and temptations of life singe it, nor the cares or riches or pleasures of this life stifle it. Jesus said they “bring forth fruit with patience.” That means they tolerate and study—learn, grow, and serve more and more. They constantly water and pluck the weeds and thorns and continue to do so until the fruit is fully developed and plucked so that it can be taken home to the Master of the house.
Now there are two things to note about the sower.
First, although we have seen four different results of his sowing, he never changed seeds. He always sowed the same seed. What made the difference was the ground upon which it landed. The seed’s success depends on one thing and one thing alone; the condition of the soil (the heart) to receive the seed (the Word). If the ground (the heart) is soft and rich, full of the right minerals (spiritual qualities), and cleared of all junk and brush, plowed and turned over, then it is ready to receive the seed.
Second, he never stopped sowing—no matter what ground it landed on, he kept sowing. The Lord never stops sewing. Look at what Jesus is quoted as saying in Rev 3:20-21
21 “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.”
21 “To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.”
We are rewarded if we allow the seed of the sower to grow in our hearts. No matter where the seed lands, the wind can blow it onto the “good ground”. We must allow the wind of the Holy Spirit to lead us in being and remaining the good seed that “brings forth fruit with patience.”
The question we all must ask ourselves is—which seed are we? Are we the seed that fell by the wayside, the seed that fell on the rocky soil, the seed that fell among thorns, or the seed that fell on good ground and bringing forth fruit? Are we continuing to sow seed as the sower?
Which seed are we?
Any questions, comments, and concerns may be left below.
Despite all the denials, all signals point to America on the decline. What is the root and reason for this decline? What can Americans do to check it? This article will shed light on the answers to these questions.
The Importance of Family
America and Britain rose to be superpowers, and the family was the fundamental block of their strength. Family is the concrete base on which a country’s superpower strength is built. However, the family in America as a priority is waning drastically.
The family is the foundation of society. It provides the building blocks of society and plays a crucial role in social development. It is the principal responsibility for the education and socialization of children, in addition to inspiring the values of citizenship and fitting into society.
Therefore, strong families are crucial for developing and preserving strong, quality societies.
How does this compare to the attitude of indifference toward the family today in America? We have become self-indulgent and narcissistic to the point that the family has been pushed to the wayside in place of self-interest and convenience.
This wave of self-indulgence has manifested itself in several ways in America’s culture and is leading to America’s decline.
The Attack on Marriage
The attack on the family began in the 1960s with the women’s liberation and sexual revolution movements. While the women’s liberation movement began with good intentions, Satan turned it into a weapon against the family by causing colossal division within marital relationships.
Over time, these divisions have eroded the value and respect for marriage and family, and a new morality has emerged. Today, divorces are astoundingly easy to obtain. According to the American Psychological Association, approximately 40-50% of first unions of marriages terminate in divorce. The divorce rate for second marriages is yet higher, with roughly 60-67% of second marriages terminating in divorce.
Marriage and family were the priority at one time based on biblical principles. However, the Bible has become part of the cancel culture of today’s society in America. Marriage is no longer favored; many avoid entering marriages and having families because it infringes on their freedom. For more information on the Bible and cancel culture, please see the article The Bible and Cancel Culture on this website.
The thirst for freedom and the canceling of the Bible has led to a turning away from God and to the reliance on man—namely, the government. The government is now leading the way in contempt of God’s institution of marriage by passing the so-called Respect for Marriage Act. The law requires the federal government to fully recognize same-sex unions. Further, it repeals and replaces provisions that define, for the purposes of federal law, marriage as between a man and a woman and a spouse as a person of the opposite sex. This law enables the government to engage in legal action against any individual who objects to this marriage perversion. This bill is more of a disrespect for marriage than anything else.
God has a strong position concerning marriage. He authored it and married the first man and woman. Gen 2:24 reads, “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” NIV However, this law is a flagrant rejection of traditional and biblical morality. The government has presumptuously redefined marriage to appease an amoral public. A September 2022 Grinnell College National Poll found that 74 percent of Americans believe same-sex “marriage” should be a right.
Even more audacious is that the Episcopal Church and over forty other faith organizations supported this anti-God bill. A bill that treads on religious freedom and promotes homosexuality, a sin God called “an abomination”(Lev. 18:22), an abhorrence. Homosexuality is a sin that is a stench in God’s nostrils. Imagine the church partaking in ruining the sanctity of marriage and a direct disregard for God’s Word.
God gave humans the ability to reproduce so that every child has a father
and a mother. Both responsibilities are vital, and they are different. The two-parent household, children growing up in a home with their own two biological parents, who are married—has been the way to raise children since the beginning.
However, in the post-modern thinking of today, this truth is not accepted. This thinking insists that divorce does not affect children or that having two mothers or two fathers is perfectly normal. The transgender movement talks about “pregnant people” instead of mothers because the thinking is women who think they are men are men! Some birth certificates now read “Parent 1” and “Parent 2” rather than father and mother! This thinking is irrefutable nonsense!
Single parenthood is an accepted way of life today, but it is not what God intended.
According to Pew Research Center, four in ten children are born out of wedlock in post-modern America. Today about half of all nonmarital births are to a cohabiting couple; 15 years ago, only about a third were. This trend is heading in the wrong direction. Additionally, cohabiters are unsure about marriage, with just under half (44%) saying they want to marry; a nearly equal portion (41%) say they are unsure.
Society has moved so far from God’s will that it is no wonder that the nations, America in particular, are experiencing its decline.
Another way the attack on the family has manifested itself is through the pro-choice movement. Women demand the right to legally terminate human life other than to save the mother’s life. How humane is this? To terminate—sacrifice life for convenience?
What does God think about the sacrificing of children? Lev 18:21 quotes God as saying, “‘Do not give any of your children to be sacrificed to Molech, for you must not profane the name of your God. I am the Lord. “ NIV But does that matter? After the Supreme Court reversed Roe v. Wade, numerous states passed laws assuring legal abortions. Citizens in Montana even rejected a bill that, in the words of the state representative who introduced it, was intended “to protect infants who have survived abortions from being denied medical care and being left to die.” Another editor wrote, “Montana has voted to let babies die on operating tables if they survive an abortion attempt.” This is infanticide!
In some states, a woman who kills a dog faces fines and imprisonment. However, it is perfectly legal to terminate a human life! Is the life of a dog more valuable than a human life? Why do we have such a disregard, an indifference for life?
Rome in America
True is the saying; history repeats itself, and America is making it more truthful than ever before.
The Roman Empire was a superpower, just as America is one. It was affluent and had the most powerful military on earth—impenetrable. However, it did fall, and the actions that led to its demise are the same ones in action in America today.
A famous Roman philosopher named Seneca predicted that Rome would fall, but he was ignored. He even told them why. He stated that the family breakdown would destroy Rome. Still, it fell on deaf ears.
Like the United States, Rome’s development was based on strong, stable families in which the father was accepted as the chief authority in the home.
The father was the core of the early Roman family. He directed his sons and daughters and was an example of the qualities they were to cultivate. The man was the head of the home.
Children who grow up in strong, solid families learn to respect authority and obedience, which generates law-abiding, valuable citizens and cultivates leadership qualities in the future generation. It further teaches children to exercise authority with wisdom, moderation, and justice—how to command and also how to obey.
What a difference it makes in the life of a youth to have a father who is involved and provides a solid personal example of uprightness! Children growing up in a home with a man who exemplifies manliness, valor, and courage is far likelier to take on these qualities themselves.
This etiquette was the way of life for the Roman family. Although Rome never had a biblical family model nearly as strong as early America’s biblical family model, the family was the independent unit that sustained society. The republic grew in power when fathers fed and educated their children.
Unfortunately, the Romans, like Americans today, embarked on a turn to a different morality that did not value marriage and the family. This turn triggered them to neglect and disrespect the institution that had undergirded the Republic at its peak in the second century B.C.
This change occurred after winning the long, 17-year war with Carthage. This major victory yielded Rome’s control over the western Mediterranean. However, it came with a cost. Will Durant, the historian, wrote about the enduring consequences of that conquest. He wrote: “It began the transformation of Roman life and morals by hurting agriculture and helping trade; by taking men from the countryside and teaching them the violence of battle and the promiscuity of the camp. … It was a pivotal event for almost every phase of Roman history.” This breakdown of the family continued tenaciously after the Republic was transformed into an Empire.
Divorce became progressively more common. E.B. Castle, the well- known author, wrote how the rapidly increasing trade, wealth, and prosperity took husbands away from their homes on business trips for long extended periods of time. He wrote, “Added to this initial cause of family disruption, was the consequent easy attitude to the marriage tie,the increasing frequency of divorce, and growing freedom and laxity in women’s morals, all of which ended in a loosening of the old family unit in which the best in Roman character had its roots.”
History clearly indicates that this was the initial reason for the end of the Republic and the later fall of the mighty Roman Empire.
As marriages fell out of favor in Rome, prostitution and homosexuality became more widely accepted and practiced. Affluence and materialism made individuals scarcely interested in the thought of having children. Starting initially with the educated classes, who saw children as a burden, increasing numbers of individuals could not be concerned with family life. Motherhood became less desirable, and women wanted independence.
There were attempts to stem the drift. Caesar Augustus approved laws supporting marriage and reproving celibacy and adultery. In a.d. 9, he inquired, “How can the commonwealth be preserved if we neither marry nor produce children?” It is hard to argue his point; it isn’t rocket science. However, the citizens were too attached to their self-indulgent standard of living to desire children to get in their way. Thus, Tacitus, the Roman historian, wrote in his Archives,“Childlessness prevailed.”
The fact of the matter is throughout the history of humanity, waning fertility has been a clear indicator of cultural collapse. When citizens lack purpose in life, they have little to no incentive to perpetuate it by generating more life.
Rome also became well known for how cheaply it valued the life of its offspring. It developed into a civilization roughed by violence, widely practiced abortion, and even infanticide.
The families in Rome that did have children stopped nurturing them. In the book Daily Life in Ancient Rome, Jérôme Carcopino wrote that by the beginning of the second-century a.d., Roman fathers had “yielded to the impulse to become far too complaisant. Having given up the habit of controlling their children, they let the children govern them, and took pleasure in bleeding themselves white [financially] to gratify the expensive whims of their offspring. The result was that they were succeeded by a generation of idlers and wastrels.”
Therefore, it is no wonder that the Roman Empire peaked in power and might in the second century a.d.
This result is the consequence of not following God’s rules on raising children. Scripture says in Prov. 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” We are to train our children the right way for their sake and the sake of the nation. The children are not to rule the parents nor the wives to rule the husbands.
As this segment on Rome closes, does this sound like America today? It is a rare commodity for the man to be the real head of the household today. We live in a society that continuously weakens the role of the father. Children today, especially teenagers, as well as wives, are ruling the home. Our society has become so materialized that the mother has removed herself from the home and the children to help the father earn a living. This action has caused much confusion in the home and led to a lack of direction for children.
This sad picture is so much against the will of God. The postmodern thinking of today regarding the family is completely out of divine order.
In Isaiah 3, the prophet Isaiah warned Israel of the impending judgment upon them for their apostasy. He also described how this would come to pass:
Isa 3:1-5, 12 reads:
1 See now, the Lord, the Lord Almighty, is about to take from Jerusalem and Judah both supply and support: all supplies of food and all supplies of water,
2 the hero and warrior, the judge and prophet, the soothsayer and elder,
3 the captain of fifty and man of rank, the counselor, skilled craftsman and clever enchanter.
4 I will make boys their officials; mere children will govern them.
5 People will oppress each other — man against man, neighbor against neighbor. The young will rise up against the old, the base against the honorable.
12 Youths oppress my people, women rule over them. O my people, your guides lead you astray; they turn you from the path. NIV
If we take a good look around, we will notice that, without any doubt, children and teenagers rule over adults and dominate society and culture. Children can now choose their own gender identity without their parent’s knowledge or permission, and in some states, teachers are legally forbidden to inform the parents!
This prophecy reveals a sobering lesson of history: This prophecy was originally for Israel. However, as mentioned in the article Biblical Prophecy and Current Events on this website, prophecies can have more than one fulfillment because they contain a universal principle. This prophecy is no exception, for it contains the principle that a nation’s success or failure centers on the strength or weakness of its families.
This truth is what God is telling us in Isaiah 3, and that is what ancient Rome also teaches us. Therefore, the breakdown of the family will be a significant issue in America and Britain before Christ returns. After all, America and Britain are extended birthright nations of Israel. This blessing is explained in the article The Rise and Fall of America on this website.
In Isaiah’s prophecy, the family is so dysfunctional, and the father is so feeble that he isn’t even mentioned.
In this prophecy, the women rule, even though the children dominate them. Actually, the children were leading, as they were in ancient Rome before its gruesome fall.
Rome’s history confirms what the Bible teaches about marriage and family!
If we continue to disregard this history, we do so at our own risk.
Any nation or kingdom that separates from the principles of Scripture will face sheer devastation.
France is another example. The French Revolution consummated combat against the Bible and God for Three and a half years. Although the supposed ideology of the revolution was liberty, equality, and fraternity, the result was total repression to terror and ruin.
The Ancient Roman Empire was a superpower, and as it goes with superpowers, it crumbled from within rather than without—from the outside (i.e., war). The U.S. is also a superpower, and it is crumbling from within as it falls into apostasy because of our stubborn hubris.
What happens in the natural first occurs in the spiritual. The United States of America is spiritually in disfavor with God because it is so drastically turning from God, and the consequences are becoming more apparent.
The answer, the country needs to repent. 2 Chron. 7:14 quotes God as saying: “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. NIV
We as a nation and as individuals have an open invitation to turn from wicked ways and back to God—for now. But we can wait too late, which is why we are encouraged in Isa 55:6-7 “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.” NIV
What a blessing it would be if we had a true Christian leader leading the nation to repentance.
We must seek the Lord while we can, for it will soon be too late. May we not allow history to repeat itself.
Questions, comments, and concerns may be left below.
Approximately 27 percent of the Bible is prophecy, which is more than one-quarter of its content. As a minimum, one-half of all biblical prophecies have been fulfilled exactly as God had affirmed. So, what about biblical prophecy and current events?
Fulfilled prophecy proves the authenticity of the Scriptures. Anyone who pays attention to the Scriptures and events in our society today can observe prophecy being fulfilled before our very eyes.
When Nations Forget God
The Western culture is changing drastically and with haste. Shared faith in the God of the Bible is declining, as revealed in several studies.
For example, Don Federer, a freelance writer and media consultant, in a March 29, 2022, Washington Times opinion piece wrote, “the study by the Prestigious American Enterprise Institute Titled, Generation Z and the Future of Faith in America realized on March 24 shows a steady erosion of religious affiliation and the corresponding rise of atheism and agnosticism.”
Some may have reservations as to whether this trend is harmful to our modern nations, but what Mr. Federer warned is that this just-published survey of the decline of religion in America should cause warning bells to go off in our souls.
This survey should cause alarm because this is a progressive trend in the US and the West. To illustrate, Generation X, born between the 1960s and the late 1970s, 25% reported that they were not affiliated with a church, synagogue, or any religious domination. Of the millennials represented by those born between the early 1980s and the late 1990s, 29% reported that they were not affiliated with a church, synagogue, or any religious affiliation. Generation Z represents those born between 1997 to 2012 and is the least religious in our history, with 34% reporting that they aren’t affiliated with a church, synagogue, or any religious affiliation. That is nine percent higher than Generation X and five percent higher than millennials.
There is no current reason to deem that this trend will not continue. The moral fiber based in our churches has become progressively more silenced. Unfortunately, not only are religious connections waning but atheism and agnosticism are increasing. Generation Z takes the lead again with the highest percentage of 18%, the highest in our history.
There is no doubt that the nation is forgetting God. This trend sadly is the current trend with reaches from the government to our schools to Hollywood; religion is taking a back seat. This situation is not limited to the United States but is a worldwide trend, including Canada, the UK, New Zealand, and Australia.
So does it really matter if a nation turns away from God? Indeed, it does matter. On the secular level, when a nation turns away from God, there is an all-encompassing awareness of aloneness and lack of community that sweeps through society. Social media puts this isolation on steroids. This isolation increases, and society becomes increasingly narcissistic. It is all about self, to the point that marriage, children, and family become words of disdain, and morality takes a back seat.
These same issues plagued the society of the ancient Roman Empire, and we know what happened to that superpower.
What Does the Bible Say?
This condition is addressed in the Scriptures. Eccl 3:11 reads: “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”NIV
God has “set eternity in the hearts of men.” What this means is that we can in no way be wholly fulfilled with earthly pleasures and quests. Because we are created in the image of God, we have a spiritual thirst and eternal value, and nothing but the eternal God can truly satisfy us. God has built in us a restless yearning for the type of perfect world that can only be found in his perfect rule. Therefore, in our limited wisdom, we turn from God and attempt to fill this void on our own. We also turn to the government as the master deliverer of our concerns.
However, we ourselves can only fill the void with earthly, temporal things that yield only limited satisfaction and even more consequences. 2 Cor. 4:18 advises, “While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” Oh, how we lust after the temporal things!
When we turn from God, we shut off the eternal flow and leave ourselves only with the temporal. Nothing in this life lasts forever.
God, in His Word, has clearly defined what happens when a nation forgets God. In the US, we are witnessing some of these consequences presently.
The situation intensifies when all we seek has been fulfilled, and we forget about God. Deut. 8:10-14, 17-20 says:
10 When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you.
11 Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, laws, and decrees that I am giving you this day.
12 Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down,
13 and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied,
14 then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.
17 You may say to yourself, “My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.”
18 But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your forefathers, as it is today.
19 If you ever forget the Lord your God and follow other gods and worship and bow down to them, I testify against you today that you will surely be destroyed.
20 Like the nations the Lord destroyed before you, so you will be destroyed for not obeying the Lord your God.
God warned His nation Israel that when He blessed them that they should not forget from where their blessings came, namely from Him. They should not be filled with pride as though they had done it on their own.
He also told them unambiguously what the consequences would be for such actions; they would be destroyed.
Lev 26:19-22 contains some of the details of this destruction.
19 I will break down your stubborn pride and make the sky above you like iron and the ground beneath you like bronze.
20 Your strength will be spent in vain, because your soil will not yield its crops, nor will the trees of the land yield their fruit.
21 “‘If you remain hostile toward me and refuse to listen to me, I will multiply your afflictions seven times over, as your sins deserve. NIV
There are other consequences contained in the chapter. Natural disasters such as severe and exceptional droughts would be the result. God prophesied that these things would occur, and the prophecy was fulfilled.
Biblical Prophecy and Current Events
Many will say, well, that’s Old Testament, but we are living under grace in the New Testament, while others will ask, what does this have to do with us today? It is essential to know that prophecy has more than one fulfillment.
These prophecies contain a principle that applies perpetually; if a nation turns away from God, it will suffer dire consequences. Scripture is clear; Prov. 14:34 reads, “Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.” The Canaanites were driven out of their land by Israel because of their terrible sins. Remember Deut. 18:20, “Like the nations the Lord destroyed before you, so you will be destroyed for not obeying the Lord your God.”
As time passed, Israel committed the same sins and was driven out also (Leviticus 18:24-30). Each time a nation turns from God, the consequences are the same. This principle applies to the nations of today.
Have we turned away from God? The statistics prove that to be true. Are we suffering consequences? —unequivocally.
God said in Deuteronomy 8:19, “If you ever forget the Lord your God and follow other gods and worship and bow down to them, I testify against you today that you will surely be destroyed.”
Can it be any clearer?
Now, we may not bow down before statues these days, but we certainly have our idols. The West is immersed in secularism, which rejects God and manifests itself in the abovementioned areas. Anything that takes us out of the will of God, and away from God is an idol and yields consequences that we are witnessing today. Eph 5:5 states:
5 For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person — such a man is an idolater — has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. NIV
Now, this applies individually, but if widespread throughout a nation, it becomes a national issue.
The prophet Amos made it clear how God dealt with His people at an earlier time; rainfall would not be evenly balanced. Amos 4:7 reads, “I also withheld rain from you when the harvest was still three months away. I sent rain on one town, but withheld it from another. One field had rain; another had none and dried up.” NIV
Today, some areas suffer massive flooding while others have no rain.
According to an article in the Washington Post, “The last three water years — which run from Oct. 1 to Sept. 30 — have been the driest in California’s history. Several other Western states — Arizona, Nevada, Washington, Idaho, and Utah — are entirely in drought.”
The map below illustrates the drought areas in the U.S.
We are suffering other natural disasters as Jesus prophesied in Matt 24:6-8
6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.
8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.
These are only the beginning of the sorrows that we are bringing upon ourselves.
Whenever a society collectively grows to be thoroughly corrupt, God uses these natural forces to wake us—to get our attention. Occasionally it is simply a painful loss, but on the other hand, the loss of life is to teach others the calamitous consequences of a world without God.
On a secular level, experiencing natural disasters are the result of living on the planet earth. However, on a spiritual level, we encounter them because the human race en masse has said to God, Don’t bother us. We can decide for ourselves how to live.” God says, “Thou shalt not commit adultery,” society says, “It’s all right as long as you don’t get caught. It can even be healthy for your marriage.” When God says, “Thou shall not murder,”society says, “War is just another means of diplomacy.” God says, “’Do not give any of your children to be sacrificed to Molech, for you must not profane the name of your God. I am the Lord in Lev 18:21NIV. Yet, tens of millions of the most innocent among us, the unborn, are murdered-sacrificed because we believe “it is a woman’s right to choose.” The Bible says, “flee fornication” (1 Cor. 6:18). Yet, Sex prior to marriage (fornication) is so widespread in the Western nations that we, by design, presume two people dating each other regularly are sleeping together. In addition, when a child comes into the world, we are now so bewildered that we cannot tell if the child should be deemed male or female.
Gal 5:17 reads,“For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.” NKJV The flesh represents the worldly desires to please the self—our base nature. The Spirit represents what God desires and leads us to please Him. These two forces battle for our souls, and this is known as Spiritual Warfare. For more on Spiritual Warfare, please see the article “All about Spiritual Warfare” on this website.
As a result of this spiritual battle, if we are led by the flesh, no matter what God says, we do to the contrary. He says the Sabbath, the seventh day, is a day of rest. We say it doesn’t make any difference. We like the first day of the week, Sunday, the day sun-worshiping Roman Emperor Constantine chose. The catalog of our differences with God is endless, and the catalog of “God’s acts” is also endless. Each year, floods, tornadoes, earthquakes, and famines ravage parts of the earth. [For more detail, see the article “Saturday vs. Sunday Worship” on this website]
A segment of Amos’ prophesy was referenced earlier, but we must reflect on all it has to say. God gave that warning through Amos to ancient Israel, and—as we have witnessed—much of Bible prophecy is dual; it has more than one fulfillment. This prophecy will be our future except and until we repent:
If we think it won’t happen? If we believe it can’t happen? It behooves us to think again and realize that God is not playing games. As our loving Father, He will get our attention!
Please feel free to leave any comment, question, or experience with prophecy below.
Enter through the narrow gate. This phase is from one of Jesus’ well-known discourses. But what does it mean? This article will examine this wisdom from the Lord.
What is the Narrow Gate?
A gate is a means of entrance or exit to a dwelling or city. Jesus used the gate symbolically in His discourse known as the Sermon on the Mount. Let’s look at this passage in Matt 7:13-14:
13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.
14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. NIV
In this passage, Jesus used the gate to describe the entrances to two paths of life. There is the narrow gate that leads to a narrow road and to life—eternal life, and there is the wide gate that leads to a broad road that leads to destruction—eternal damnation, and He made the point that only a few enter the narrow gate and follow the road to life.
In verse 13, Jesus encouraged his listeners to “enter through the narrow gate.”
What is the Wide Gate?
The wide gate is the gate that leads to destruction. The gate and the road are wide in order to accompany the large number of individuals that travel through it and upon it. The wide gate and road and the narrow gate and road are complete opposites because they represent different paths of life for those who saunter upon them—more on this to follow.
Broad Gate vs. Narrow Gate
The narrow gate is narrow for a good reason: only a few are willing to walk through it, and only a few perpetually walk the narrow way once they arrive on it. Walking the narrow path of life requires total sacrifice. Jesus makes this clear in Matt 10:37-38.
37 “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; Anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me;
38 and Anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. NIV
Jesus draws a line in the sand with this passage.
In verse 37, we see that our relationship with Jesus must take precedence over all of our other relationships. Relationships can interfere with our relationships with our Lord. This fact holds especially true for the worldly ones who do not follow Christ.
Sometimes we have to let go of other relationships as well, such as friends, coworkers, etc. It is dangerous to be in close relationships with unbelievers. Scripture says in 2 Cor. 6:14-16, “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? (15) What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?” NIV
This wisdom includes all unbelievers.
Passing through the narrow gate and walking the narrow road requires transformation. Rom 12:2 reads, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed
by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing, and perfect will.” NIV
We cannot be transformed by doing the same things, living the same as we have always before. The only way to know and live in the will of God is to be transformed from the, as the Scripture reads, “pattern of this world.”
This transformation is not an easy exercise. To distance ourselves from our families as well as our friends and associates whom we may have known for quite some time can be complex and disturbing. However, we must not allow that to interfere with our relationship with Christ.
In verse 38 of Matthew 10, we see the narrow way involves suffering. Jesus says to be worthy of Him; one must “take up his cross and follow me.”The cross represents much suffering, heartache, and pain. The narrow way—the walk with Christ is not an easy one to travel. In order to remain on it, one must take up the cross—daily (Luke 9:23). It is a constant effort to stay on the course.
The main reason it takes such an effort is that Satan makes walking the narrow way unattractive. Deception is his game; he shows all the alluring aspects but never the consequences. He never presents the complete picture. Only enough to cause us to doubt God and choose to serve him instead.
The broad gate is the gate that leads to the broad way. This gate is one that is very easy to walk through and opens to a road that is very easy to travel but is not in the will of God. It is a road that represents a worldly lifestyle, a sinful, carnal lifestyle. When one walks this road, they are walking as an enemy of God. James 4:4 reads, “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.”
This reality is because Satan is the ruler of the world until Jesus returns (John 12:31). Satan is referred to as “… the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:” [Eph 2:2] and is in control of the world unless we choose Jesus as our Lord and Savior. Doing so can save us from the destruction that this path can lead us to suffer ultimately.
To walk the broad road, the carnal road, one must have a carnal mind, and the Scripture reflects how God views a carnal mind. Rom 8:6-8 reads,
6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.
7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.
There is no way God is pleased with a carnal individual because they cannot submit to God’s Law. They are “in the flesh,”meaning that their fleshly—sinful ways are leading them.
The broad way is a much easier way because it requires no sacrifice. The worldly influences are so strong that all we have to do is go with the flow of the current on the broad road. It is the path of least resistance
The broad way is a much easier way because it is most often the most pleasurable way. There is plenty of pleasure when traveling on the broad path. The sex, drugs, revelry, the clubs, and all of the pleasurable material rewards await the traveler of the broad road. The further the travel, the greater the chance of obtaining these rewards. The force pulls one along the way.
One pungent identifying feature of the broad road is that it goes against God’s laws and the teachings of Scripture. The broad road is, in a word—Sin.
This road is so easy to walk on. In fact, all of us walk through this narrow gate when we are born. We are born with a sinful nature. The writer of Ps 51:5, David, reads,“Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.”NIV
We are all born in sin, which is why Jesus said, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”[John 3:3]
The next most pungent feature of all concerning the broad way is that it requires us to reject Christ. There is no middle path. We are on either the broad way or the narrow way. Jesus said in Matt 6:24, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” We cannot serve both God and the world.
The Scriptures describe how the sinful nature manifests itself in Gal 5:19-21
19 The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery;
20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions
21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. NIV
Again, we see that those who walk the broad way, those who are led by their sinful nature, “will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
The Scriptures also describe how the Spirit manifests itself in Gal 5:22-25
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.
25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. NIV
If we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior and belong to Christ, we are to live by the Spirit, and as the Scripture reads, “keep in step with the spirit.”
Walking the narrow road is to walk in the Spirit of Christ, the Holy Spirit, and to walk the broad road is to walk in the flesh—the world—the sinful nature. These two paths are in direct conflict with each other. Gal 5:17 reads: “For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other so that you do not do what you want.” NIV
Many may attempt to walk both paths, known as “on the fence.” However, we can only walk in one way: the broad way or the narrow way, the flesh or the Spirit.
Again— “no man can serve two masters.”
Eccl 12:13-14 reads:
13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.
14 For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.
The fact of the matter is that the only way to walk through the narrow gate and walk the narrow way is to revere God, obey His Laws and the teaching of the Scriptures in the Holy Bible. It requires us to submit to the Laws of Christ.
Every work we perform will be judged—the good and the evil.
It behooves us to consider our ways, choose the right path that leads to life, and stay off the broad way that will lead us to eternal destruction.
In 1 Kings 13:1-27, there is an example of one who chose the broad way and experienced the consequence. I pray that we receive wisdom from this passage.
Any questions, comments, concerns, or experiences of walking either path can be left below.