Sunday, November 29, 2015

The Evidence That God Exists

As many of us know all too well, the leaders of America's academic society are quick to pronounce that God does not exist, and they use the tax-funded religion of Evolution to explain God away.  I do my best on this blog and in my work as an apologist to disprove evolution/atheism, and the reason I do that is because if evolution/atheism isn't true, then the only alternative is the Biblical worldview.  Even Richard Dawkins, the world's most famous atheist and evolutionist, agrees with me on page 230 of his book The Blind Watchmaker after he talked about how the major animal forms appeared out of nothing in an instant in the supposed "Cambrian era" without a trace of evidence of evolution having taken place:

"Both schools of [Evolutionary] thought agree that the only alternative explanation of the sudden appearance of so many complex animal types in the Cambrian era is divine creation, and both would reject this alternative."

In my book Another Inconvenient Truth, I show how the Cambrian Era problem supports the Young Earth Creation position, but I think at this time, it's important that we give an apologetical defense for how we know that the God of the Bible exists.

Growing up, I was always told that you can't use science to prove that God exists.  As you will see from watching the video below, we can prove that the God of the Bible exists through science because he has effects on this reality that we can detect through observational science.

In conclusion, please watch the pilot episode of my apologetics show, The Way, down below.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Did Dinosaurs Live on the Earth Millions of Years Before Man Did?

When I was growing up as a child, one of the supposed evidences disproving the Bible that atheists liked to use is the existence of dinosaurs; They told us that dinosaurs lived on the Earth millions of years before humanity came into existence.  Recently, I encountered someone else who tried to use that same argument on me.  It was at that moment that I knew that I needed to address this topic.

The Bible Talks About Dinosaurs

The first problem with this objection is that the Bible clearly talks about dinosaurs.  When you tell the average person that the Bible specifically talks about dinosaurs, they will look at you like you have three heads.  They might even say that the word "dinosaur" doesn't appear in the Bible, so the Bible can't possibly be talking about dinosaurs.  The first problem with that is that the word dinosaur didn't exist until the mid 1800s; before that they were called dragons.  Secondly, God describes two different dinosaurs at the end of the book of Job.  Let's start with a creature called Behemoth:

Job 40:15-24:  "Look at Behemoth, which I made along with you and which feeds on grass like an ox.  What strength it has in its loins, what power in the muscles of its belly!  Its tail sways like a cedar; the sinews of its thighs are close-knit.  Its bones are tubes of bronze, its limbs like rods of iron.  It ranks first among the works of God, yet its Maker can approach it with his sword.  The hills bring it their produce, and all the wild animals play nearby.  Under the lotus plants it lies, hidden among the reeds in the marsh.  The lotuses conceal it in their shadow; the poplars by the stream surround it.  A raging river does not alarm it; it is secure, though the Jordan should surge against its mouth.  Can anyone capture it by the eyes, or trap it and pierce its nose?"

The belly is the biggest part?  It has a tail like a cedar?  It has big bones?  It's the biggest creature that God made?  That sure sounds like the Brachiosaurus to me.

God describes another dinosaur-like creature in Job 41:

Job 41:  "Can you pull in Leviathan with a fishhook or tie down its tongue with a rope?  Can you put a cord through its nose or pierce its jaw with a hook?  Will it keep begging you for mercy?  Will it speak to you with gentle words?  Will it make an agreement with you for you to take it as your slave for life?  Can you make a pet of it like a bird or put it on a leash for the young women in your house?  Will traders barter for it?  Will they divide it up among the merchants?  Can you fill its hide with harpoons or its head with fishing spears?  If you lay a hand on it, you will remember the struggle and never do it again!  Any hope of subduing it is false; the mere sight of it is overpowering.  No one is fierce enough to rouse it.  Who then is able to stand against me?  Who has a claim against me that I must pay?  Everything under heaven belongs to me.

I will not fail to speak of Leviathan’s limbs, its strength and its graceful form.  Who can strip off its outer coat?  Who can penetrate its double coat of armor?  Who dares open the doors of its mouth, ringed about with fearsome teeth?  Its back has rows of shields tightly sealed together; each is so close to the next that no air can pass between.  They are joined fast to one another; they cling together and cannot be parted.  Its snorting throws out flashes of light; its eyes are like the rays of dawn.  Flames stream from its mouth; sparks of fire shoot out Smoke pours from its nostrils as from a boiling pot over burning reeds.  Its breath sets coals ablaze, and flames dart from its mouth.  Strength resides in its neck; dismay goes before it.  The folds of its flesh are tightly joined; they are firm and immovable.  Its chest is hard as rock, hard as a lower millstone.  When it rises up, the mighty are terrified; they retreat before its thrashing.  The sword that reaches it has no effect, nor does the spear or the dart or the javelin Iron it treats like straw and bronze like rotten wood.  Arrows do not make it flee; slingstones are like chaff to it.  A club seems to it but a piece of straw; it laughs at the rattling of the lance.  Its undersides are jagged potsherds, leaving a trail in the mud like a threshing sledge.  It makes the depths churn like a boiling caldron and stirs up the sea like a pot of ointment.  It leaves a glistening wake behind it; one would think the deep had white hair.  Nothing on earth is its equal—a creature without fear.  It looks down on all that are haughty; it is king over all that are proud.”

It lives in the water?  It has armor-like skin?  It has big teeth?  It has tightly-sealed scales on its back?  It leaves a trail in the mud?  Just the sight of it terrifies people?  According to AIG, that could either be Sarcosuchus imperator or Liopleurodon. 

On top of that, this creature could breathe fire.  That's right; fire-breathing dragons are not fictitious.  While Kent Hovind thinks that Leviathan was a T-rex (a position I disagree with), his seminar on Leviathan shows that fire-breathing dragons are not the products of science fiction. 

The most important thing to remember is that the same Bible that teaches that the Earth and universe are roughly 6,000 years old (read Just How Old Is The Earth & Universe? and watch the video at the end of this post to see why the YEC position is true.) is the same Bible that I'm pulling these descriptions of dinosaurs from.  This logically leads to the conclusion that dinosaurs and man lived together at the same time in the "recent" past.  Is there any evidence suggesting that this is true? 

Soft tissue in dinosaur bones shows that dinosaurs and man lived together in the recent past

Just over 10 years ago, the scientific community and academic world received a big shock when they found living tissue inside some dinosaur bones.  National Geographic wrote a story about it when it happened, and this is how they opened the article:

"A Tyrannosaurus rex fossil has yielded what appear to be the only preserved soft tissues ever recovered from a dinosaur. Taken from a 70-million-year-old thighbone, the structures look like the blood vessels, cells, and proteins involved in bone formation. Most fossils preserve an organism's hard tissues, such as shell or bone. Finding preserved soft tissue is unheard of in a dinosaur-age specimen.

'To my knowledge, preservation to this extent—where you still have original flexibility and transparency—has not been noted in dinosaurs before, so we're pretty excited by the find,' said Mary H. Schweitzer, a paleontologist at North Carolina State University in Raleigh.

The findings may provide new insights into dinosaur evolution, physiology, and biochemistry. They could also increase our understanding of extinct life and change how scientists think about the fossilization process.

'Finding these tissues in dinosaurs changes the way we think about fossilization, because our theories of how fossils are preserved don't allow for this [soft-tissue preservation],' Schweitzer said." 

Although the article would go on to talk about how this discovery would give new insights into evolution, their admission that there is no natural explanation for how the soft-tissue could survive for millions of years serves as strong evidence that dinosaurs and man lived together just a few thousand years ago.  What happens if you try to say that in the academic world?  This scientist and former teacher for California State University, Northridge found out the hard way a couple years ago:

"Attorneys for a California State University, Northridge scientist who was terminated from his job after discovering soft tissue on a triceratops fossil have filed a lawsuit against the university.

While at the Hell Creek Formation excavation site in Montana, researcher Mark Armitage discovered what he believed to be the largest triceratops horn ever unearthed at the site, according to attorney Brad Dacus of Pacific Justice Institute.

Upon examination of the horn under a high-powered microscope back at CSUN, Dacus says Armitage was 'fascinated' to find soft tissue on the sample – a discovery Bacus said stunned members of the school’s biology department and even some students 'because it indicates that dinosaurs roamed the earth only thousands of years in the past rather than going extinct 60 million years ago.'

'Since some creationists, like [Armitage], believe that the triceratops bones are only 4,000 years old at most, [Armitage’s] work vindicated his view that these dinosaurs roamed the planet relatively recently,' according to the complaint filed July 22 in Los Angeles Superior Court.

The lawsuit against the CSUN board of trustees cites discrimination for perceived religious views.

Armitage’s findings were eventually published in July 2013 in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.

According to court documents, shortly after the original soft tissue discovery, a CSUN official told Armitage, 'We are not going to tolerate your religion in this department!'”

Since there was no natural explanation for how soft tissue could survive for millions of years, did that mean that the evolutionists wouldn't try to find some way to make it fit into the evolutionary paradigm?  Fat chance.

The new evolutionist fairy tale

The very same Mary Schweitzer who found the original soft tissue in the T-rex fossil in 2005 has given us the new evolutionary fairy tale to explain this away.  In a North Carolina State press release from the fall of 2013, we read the following:

"Mary Schweitzer, an NC State paleontologist with a joint appointment at the N. C. Museum of Natural Sciences, first announced the surprising preservation of soft tissues in a T. rex fossil in 2005. Her subsequent work identified proteins in the soft tissue that seemed to confirm that the tissue was indeed T. rex tissue that had been preserved for millions of years. But the findings remained controversial in part because no one understood the chemical processes behind such preservation.
Schweitzer’s latest research shows that the presence of hemoglobin – the iron-containing molecule that transports oxygen in red blood cells – may be the key to both preserving and concealing original ancient proteins within fossils. Her results appear in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
'Iron is necessary for survival, but it’s also highly reactive and destructive in living tissues, which is why our bodies have proteins that transport iron molecules to where they are needed but protect us from unwanted reactions at the same time,' Schweitzer says. 'When we die, that protective mechanism breaks down and the iron is turned loose on our tissues – and that destructive process can act in much the same way formaldehyde does to preserve the tissues and proteins.'”

The new evolutionary fairy tale, according to Schweitzer, is that iron provides the mechanism for soft tissues to be preserved for millions of years.  That seems kind of odd considering the destructive nature of iron, but in the right situation, iron acts as a preservative.

What is the observational evidence that iron can preserve soft tissue for millions of years?  The NC State press releases tells us the following:

"Schweitzer and her team noticed that iron particles are intimately associated with the soft tissues preserved in dinosaurs. But when they chelated – or removed the iron from – soft tissues taken from a T. rex and a Brachyolophosaurus, the chelated tissues reacted much more strongly to antibodies that detect the presence of protein, suggesting that the iron may be masking their presence in these preserved tissues. They then tested the preservation hypothesis by using blood vessels and cells taken from modern ostrich bone. They soaked some of these vessels in hemoglobin taken from red blood cells, while placing other vessels in water. Two years later, the hemoglobin-treated soft vessels remained intact, while those soaked in water degraded in less than a week.

'We know that iron is always present in large quantities when we find well-preserved fossils, and we have found original vascular tissues within the bones of these animals, which would be a very hemoglobin-rich environment after they died,' Schweitzer says. 'We also know that iron hinders just about every technique we have to detect proteins. So iron looks like it may be both the mechanism for preservation and the reason why we’ve had problems finding and analyzing proteins that are preserved.'”

So what we have here is a seemingly valid experiment where Schweitzer showed us that iron works as a preservation mechanism for up to two years.  That's all well and good, but there is absolutely nothing in this experiment that proves that this mechanism of preservation can last for millions of years.  It's one thing to see something be preserved for two years; it's a completely different matter to extrapolate that into saying that it could last for millions of years.

You see, the first step of the scientific method is that you have to observe the natural phenomenon in question happening in action.  Once you've seen it happen in action, then you make your hypothesis, set up experiments to test your hypothesis, analyze the results, and come to a conclusion.  The problem with the idea that iron can preserve soft tissue over millions of years is that NOBODY has ever witnessed it happen first-hand.  There isn't one person who can say, "I was here millions of years ago when this was first buried, I can see that the soft tissue is still there after millions of years, and I know that iron is a preservative in a hemoglobin-rich environment, so therefore iron has preserved this soft tissue for millions of years."  Such a person doesn't exist.

This isn't just true with dinosaur fossils; it applies to the entire theory of evolution.  Nobody has ever seen one family of animals evolve into another; nobody has ever seen life come from non-life; nobody has ever seen a planet or star form; nobody has ever seen the origin of elements higher than hydrogen, and no human being has ever seen the origin of time, space, and matter.

In fact, as I have stated in Another Inconvenient Truth and in other places, evolution violates the Law of Entropy.  The way evolution is taught today is that the entire physical universe and everything in it, when left to itself over time, will become more complex and ordered.  According to the Law of Entropy, the physical universe and everything in it, when left to itself over time, will wear down, break down, and fall into disorder. Since the Law of Entropy is the most established law in all of science (the need for food, water, and sleep are the effect of the Law of Entropy on human beings), evolution simply cannot be true.


The sad thing about this whole ordeal is that when Schweitzer's NC State press release came out in 2013, all the major media outlets picked it up and tried to convince everyone that Schweitzer had proven how soft tissue could be preserved for millions of years.  This was their sad attempt to convince people to keep believing in the lies of evolution and billions of years.

However, as I have shown by looking at Schweitzer's 2013 press release, she actually did not prove that soft tissues could be preserved for millions (and billions) of years, so the problem that was outlined in her original 2005 discovery still stands.

As Kent Hovind once said, one way to prove that the biblical worldview is true is to prove the impossibility of the alternative.  Since there is no evidence that evolution is true or that iron can preserve soft tissue for millions/billions of years, the existence of dinosaurs fits nicely into the Biblical worldview and doesn't present any problems for followers of Jesus.


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Review of "Audacity"

A couple of days before the Supreme Court gave their stamp of approval of homosexuality by declaring homosexual marriage to be legal in all 50 states by federal law, Ray Comfort and the Living Waters ministry released Audacity, a new film dealing with the issue of homosexuality.  Unlike the previous films done by Living Waters in the last couple of years, Comfort and his team decided to move away from creating a documentary, and they created a fictional story that was acted out using actors.  Since they haven't released the movie itself to YouTube yet, you can watch the movie trailer here.

From the technical side of things, this was a very well-done movie.  The high-definition of the cameras was very impressive, and the special effect used to show text messages on cell-phones was very top-of-the-line.  One thing I noticed, as someone who at one time used to watch a lot of the Living Waters videos on YouTube, is that they took a lot of footage from old street interviews that they have done, and they mixed it into the movie to serve as the witnessing tools along with some of Comfort's books.  Some people might see something wrong with that, but I see it as a smart move that saves money; no need to go out and buy a bunch of Christian books and shoot new interviews when you have plenty of it in storage.

The movie starts out with a bang as Peter (Travis Owens) has a dream where he talks with Dianna (Molly Ritter) briefly about homosexuality before going to an office building where he encounters a lesbian couple in an elevator who are on their way to become legally married.  After the couple leaves, the elevator has a malfunction where Peter is asked to stay and prevent anyone from getting on until it can get fixed.  After going away for a brief moment, the lesbian couple gets into the elevator and are plunged to their screaming death as Peter is seen running to the elevator door while screaming.  It is at this point where we realize that up until this dream, Peter is a new believer who doesn't know how to respond to the emotional attacks of homosexual advocates, and he's scared to share his faith.

Over the course of the movie, the story alternates between showing clips from Comfort's old street interviews with different people from the Living Waters YouTube channel, and what's going on with the characters.  At times, it honestly felt like we were observing the life of believers who follow the Living Waters ministry on a regular basis and uses their witnessing tools to witness to others; this added to the movie's believability. 

The movie was also very realistic in its portrayal of homosexuals and those who advocate for homosexuality as people who jump the gun and get very emotional when you bring up the topic of homosexuality.  As someone who has personally talked to homosexuals and their advocates in recent years, I can see the cultural brainwashing that occurs with these folks; they've been taught by our society that homosexuality is good and normal, and they've been taught that if anyone disagrees with that, they are to be silenced by any means necessary, regardless of how good the evidence that shows that homosexuality is detrimental to the human race is.   The methods of silencing dissent on homosexuality range anywhere from interrupting the dissenter and not letting them make their case for why they are dissenters, all the way up to calling them a bigot and hatemonger, and sometimes pursuing legal action against them.  

When watching the interview footage, the main point that Comfort seems to be communicating is that all homosexuals and those who advocate homosexuality are going to Hell on the basis of being lying, blaspheming thieves, regardless of their stance on homosexuality.  By showing them that, Comfort seems to be softening their heart to make them more receptive to what the scriptures teach about homosexuality and the Gospel message.  1 Corinthians 6:7-11 and Revelation 21:8 seems to be the strongest passages that Comfort uses in support of that:

1 Corinthians 6:7-11:  "The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated?  Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers and sisters.  Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.  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."

Revelation 21:8:  "But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”

It was after their hearts had been softened that Comfort would explain the good news of the Gospel to the folks being interviewed.  One lesbian in particular talked about how nice it was to talk with Comfort and not feel judged and disrespected. 

Later on in the movie, Peter saves a gay couple from being shot by a store robber, and they meet up at a restaurant to talk about why Peter saved them, and they talk briefly about homosexuality.  Peter explains to them about his dream that he had in the beginning of the movie, and he basically states that by not warning homosexuals about the consequences of their sexual lifestyle (going to Hell), he is not being loving.  Over the course of this conversation, we see Peter becoming a more confident and bold witness, which was the problem that he was having at the beginning of the movie.

There are actually two problems that I have with this particular part of the movie.  The first one is that Peter not only needed to tell the gay couple that not saying something would be incredibly unloving, but he needed to actually quote the scripture that states that if he didn't warn them about the consequences of their sexual lifestyle and they went to Hell, their blood would be on his hands.  I'm refering of course to Ezekiel 3:16-21:

Ezekiel 3:16-21:  "At the end of seven days the word of the Lord came to me: 'Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me.  When I say to a wicked person, "You will surely die," and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade them from their evil ways in order to save their life, that wicked person will die for their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood.  But if you do warn the wicked person and they do not turn from their wickedness or from their evil ways, they will die for their sin; but you will have saved yourself.

Again, when a righteous person turns from their righteousness and does evil, and I put a stumbling block before them, they will die. Since you did not warn them, they will die for their sin. The righteous things that person did will not be remembered, and I will hold you accountable for their blood.  But if you do warn the righteous person not to sin and they do not sin, they will surely live because they took warning, and you will have saved yourself.'"

I think the dream itself actually did a good job of subtly referring to Ezekiel 3:16-21; it just would have been nice if Peter had actually explained it to the gay couple.  The other problem I have with this scene is that there is something Peter could have done before talking to them about homosexuality.

Since the movie already established that lying, stealing, and blasphemy will get you to Hell just as quickly as homosexuality, I would have taken the time to crack out the lists from 1 Corinthians 6:7-11 and Revelation 21:8, and I would have told those gay people which of those items applied to me.  In my case, I would have pointed out to them that I am an adulterer at heart, that my flesh gravitates toward lusting after women regardless of their relationship status, and that even though I don't act out on those feelings, the lust in my heart will send me to Hell just as quickly as their homosexuality, and the only reason I'm not going to Hell is because I accepted Jesus' offer of forgiveness and submit to him.  I would then conclude by telling them that I'm not coming to them as a holier-than-thou person, but that I'm coming to them as an equally broken and fallen human being who needs a savior just as much as they do.  

That approach may seem extreme and bizarre to everyone, but the homosexuals need to know that we're not commenting as someone who is better than them.  It could also open the door for the homosexual to ask you why you would embrace a worldview that condemns your natural urges, and that could lead into an amazing discussion about Christian Apologetics. Of course, that's another matter for another time.

Don't get me wrong; the restaurant scene with Peter and the gay couple was good as it was.  I just think it could have been even better if Peter had done those two things, and I think it would have developed Peter's character even more if we could have known what his pet sins were before he became a believer. 


Considering that this was Comfort's first attempt at making a movie, it was very good.  The technical aspect of the film was top-notch, and the characters were portrayed in a very realistic manner; none of the movie felt cheesy in any way.  This movie would never convince a close-minded person, and the mainstream hates the message of this movie due to the fact that it goes against the societal narrative, but if you're looking for a Christian film that deals with the topic of homosexuality in a non-confrontational yet non-conformative manner, then watch Audacity.

Final Grade:  A


Saturday, July 25, 2015

Debunking the "36 Scriptures that clarify a pre trib rapture" Article

Recently, there has been an article from the website Prophecies of The End Times called 36 Scriptures that clarify a pre trib rapture that has been making its way through the Christian Facebook groups that I am a part of or see on my Facebook news feed; the idea is that this article is giving irrefutable evidence from the Bible that the rapture takes place before the Tribulation.  As anyone who has read Another Inconvenient Truth knows, the evidence for a pre-trib rapture in scripture is non-existent, and the evidence for a post-trib, pre-wrath Rapture is overwhelming.  Over the course of this post, I will explain the problem with each bullet point that the article makes.

Let's get started:

1.There are no passages in either the Old Testament or the New Testament that say the Church will go through the Tribulation Period.

This argument is so bad, it's pretty much grade-school level.  The word "Trinity" never appears in scripture, but when you look at what the Bible has to say about God the Father, the Holy Spirit, and Jesus, the doctrine of the trinity is the only thing that makes sense of what the scriptures teach (please read The Trinity: Biblical or Unbiblical?  and Debunking Steve Anderson About the Contradictions Between The NIV and KJV to see how the doctrine of the Trinity is biblical).  Also, Jesus never said the exact words "I am God; worship me", but everyone who studies the Gospels knows that Jesus said and did things that only God can do, and he was worshiped by many people, never once rebuking them for it.  In the same way, the Old and New Testaments do not have to specifically say that the church will go through the tribulation period in order to be teaching the concept.

2.The Tribulation Period is called the “Time of Jacob’s Trouble” [The time of unbelieving Israel’s Trouble], but it is never called the time of the Church’s Trouble (Jer. 30:7).

At the time that Jeremiah 30 was written, Israel was about to be taken into captivity by the Babylonians.  When you look at the context of Jeremiah 30, it becomes clear that this chapter is not talking about the Tribulation, but about the time when Israel will be rescued from their captivity in Babylon.    While this passage may have parallels with the Day of the Lord (which is not the same thing as the Tribulation) , this passage cannot possibly be talking specifically about the Tribulation. 

3. Gabriel told Daniel, “Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people [Daniel’s people are the Jews] and upon thy holy city” [The Holy City is Jerusalem] (Dan. 9:24). There is no mention of the Church.

The argument being put forth is that since the church isn't mentioned by name in Daniel 9:20-27, the church must therefore be raptured out before the 70th week of Daniel occurs. This is a silly claim to make because prior to Jesus ascending to heaven after he rose from the dead, the Church didn't exist.  Therefore, you wouldn't expect to find the Church in the Old Testament.

If you're going to make this argument to support the pre-trib rapture position, then either you're incredibly gullible, or you're being incredibly deceptive in order to get people to accept your position.

4.The Church had no part in the first sixty-nine weeks and it will have no part in the seventieth week [the Tribulation Period] (Dan. 9:24).

Much like point #3, this is a weak argument to make because the church didn't exist prior to Jesus, which makes finding them mentioned by name in the Old Testament as participants of the Tribulation a foolish thing to expect.  You have to be either gullible or deceptive to make this argument. 

5.In the Book of Revelation, the Rapture occurs at Rev. 4:1 which is before the Tribulation Period described in Rev. 6:1-19:21. In the sequence of events, the Rapture is before the seal, trumpet and bowl judgments.

The Revelation 4:1 argument is one of the most popular arguments that pre-trib rapture believers make to support their case, and it's a lousy one.  In 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:3 (which is the clearest, most detailed description of the Rapture), you have all believers who have ever lived and are living at that time having their physical bodies ascend up to the clouds, and they will all physically go to heaven with Jesus.  According to Revelation 4:2, everything that occurs from Revelation 4:1-22:5 is part of a vision that John had.  In other words, in Revelation 4:1, you have a single individual having a vision; this is clearly not the rapture described by Paul in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:3.

Also worth noting is the classic mistake of assuming that the Day of the Lord is part of the Tribulation.  The Bible teaches that tribulation is part of the life of a follower of Jesus and it brings God glory when we endure tribulation because of our submission to God, but we are not subject to God's wrath.

If all of scripture tells us that enduring tribulation for our faith in Jesus brings God glory, then why would we get a free pass and not have to experience the greatest tribulation in history that will come when the Anti-Christ is head of the one-world government and religion?

6.The Church is mentioned more than twenty times in the first three chapters of Revelation, but the Church is never mentioned in the description of the Tribulation Period between Rev. 4:1 and Rev. 19:1.

This is also a stupid argument; in Revelation 1:17-3:22, Jesus is speaking the whole time; according to Revelation 2:1, 2:8, 2:12, 2:18, 3:1, 3:7, and 3:14, Jesus is instructing John to write those letters to each of the churches in the province of Asia.  Revelation 4:1 tells us that after Jesus had John write down these letters, John proceeded to have a vision whose details are recorded in Revelation 4:1-22:5.

Much like I pointed out in points 1-4, the Bible doesn't specifically have to say that the church will go through the Tribulation; it only matters if the concept is taught.  Also, as I pointed out in point 5, why would we get a pass on the biggest tribulation in history if enduring tribulation is what brings God glory?

7.The Tribulation Period is called a Day of Wrath in the Bible (Zeph 1:15), but the Bible says, “God hath not appointed us [the Church] to wrath” (I Thess. 5:9).

Once again, they are asserting that the Day of the Lord is part of the Tribulation when the Bible clearly teaches that they are not the the same thing.  As you will see in the video at the end of this article, the Day of the Lord is kick-started by the Rapture, and that only happens after the Tribulation.

8.The Tribulation Period is called a Day of Wrath in the Bible (Zeph. 1:15), but the Bible says, Jesus has “delivered us from the wrath to come” [delivered the Church from the Tribulation Period] (I Thess. 1:10).

Just read my response to point 7.

9.The Tribulation Period is called the Day of the Lord in the Bible (Zeph. 1:14). The Bible says, “the day of the Lord [the Tribulation Period] so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they [the unbelievers] shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them [upon the unbelievers], as travail upon a woman with child; and they [the unbelievers] shall not escape” (I Thess. 5:2-3). It clearly teaches that the Tribulation Period will come upon lunbelievers, but it does not include believers.

See point 7 again

10.Concerning the Rapture, the Bible says, “Comfort one another with these words” (I Thess. 4:18). There’s no comfort in the teaching that the Church will go through part or all of the Tribulation Period.

this point is the real heart of the matter for people that cling to the pre-trib rapture position; the idea that they don't have to experience the greatest tribulation in history tickles their ears, and they will embrace it even though all of scripture teaches that believers will endure tribulation at some point because it brings glory to God when we endure tribulation for his sake, and there is not one promise anywhere in scripture that believers won't have to endure tribulation.

In one sense, this point is right because our sinful flesh doesn't like the idea of enduring tribulation for the sake of the Lord.  On the other hand, it's very comforting to know that the Lord told us in advance that we're going to have to endure the greatest tribulation in history, and that he's giving us an opportunity to get ready for it.

11.Jesus told the Church at Philadelphia, “Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation [the Tribulation Period], which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth” (Rev. 3:10). God promised to keep the obedient Church members out of the Tribulation Period.

see point 7 to understand what's wrong with this point.

12.According to the Bible, the marriage of the Lamb will take place in heaven before Jesus comes back to fight the Battle of Armageddon at the end of the Tribulation Period (Rev. 19:7-21). This means the Church will go to heaven [be Raptured] for the marriage of the Lamb before the Second Coming.

I actually don't disagree with this point; the problem I have with it is that it supports the post-trib, pre-wrath position just as much as it supposedly supports the pre-trib position.  It doesn't prove anything. 

13.The end of the age will be like the days of Noah (Matt. 24:37). Noah and his family were removed from the earth [got on the ark] before the flood. Some believe this means that the Church will be removed from the earth before the judgment of God [Raptured before the Tribulation Period] (Gen. 7:23).

I don't really disagree much with this point; the problem I have with it is that it once again teaches that the Tribulation and the Day of the Lord are the same thing when according to the scriptures, they clearly aren't.  See point 7.

14.The end of the age will be like the days of Lot (Luke 17:28). Lot and his family were removed from Sodom before the judgment of God [before the fire and brimstone fell] (Gen. 19:16). Some believe this means that the Church will be removed from the earth before the judgment of God [Raptured before the Tribulation Period].

See point 7.

15.Jesus was talking about the Tribulation Period when He said, “Pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass” (Luke 21:36). It seems unreasonable to believe Jesus would tell the Church to pray for something He is unwilling to grant.

When you read Luke 21 in it's entirety, and you compare it to Matthew 24 (as well as the scriptures presented in my video at the end of the article), it becomes clear that Jesus is referring to the Day of the Lord in Luke 21:36, not the Tribulation. 

16.The Bible says, “For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming” (II Thess. 2:7-8). The most common interpretation of this is that the Antichrist can’t be revealed until the Restrainer [who most commentators say is both the Holy Spirit and the Church] is removed. If the Restrainer is the Church only, this means the Church will be removed before the Antichrist is revealed [that’s the Pre-Trib. Rapture]. If the Restrainer is the Holy Spirit only so that the Holy Spirit is removed without the Church, this means believers will cease to be indwelt with the Holy Spirit. It also means the Church will be left behind to go through the worst time the earth has ever seen [the Tribulation Period] without the help of the Holy Spirit. This would contradict the teaching of Jesus when He said, “I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever” (John 14:16). And, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Heb. 13:5).

When you read 2 Thessalonians 2:1-2, you will realize that people had forged a letter in Paul's name that declared that the rapture had already happened, and that they were now in the Day of the Lord.  Paul was simply reminding his readers that neither event had happened yet.  Also, as you will see in the video at the bottom of this post, Paul clearly taught in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-5:3 that the rapture is the event that would kickstart the Day of the Lord, and you will see that the Day of the Lord occurs after that Tribulation. 

17.Isaiah wrote that God said, “Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead. Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast. For, behold, the LORD cometh out of his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity: the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain” (Isa. 26:19-21). Notice, that the dead rise first [that’s the Rapture], next God’s people are summoned to enter into His chambers for a short while until the indignation [a name of the Tribulation Period] is past. God will raise the dead and summon His people because He intends to punish the inhabitants of the earth [send the Tribulation Period].

When you go to the beginning of Isaiah 26, you will realize that the entire chapter is a song that will be sung by the land of Judah during the Day of the Lord.  In other words, this is yet another instance where the Tribulation is confused with the Day of the Lord.

18.Malachi wrote that God said, “They shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not” (Malachi 3:17-18). Pre-Tribulation teachers believe God is saying He will come for His Church [the Rapture] and then He will return with His Church [the Second Coming] to judge between the righteous and wicked.

The "day" being referred to is the Day of the Lord, which as I show in the video at the end of the post takes place AFTER the Tribulation.  Therefore, the Tribulation and the Day of the Lord are not the same thing. 

19.In the Rapture, Jesus comes for His Church (I Thess. 4:16-17; John 14:3). When He comes at the end of the Tribulation Period, He will come with His Church (I Thess. 3:13; Rev. 19:14).

I actually agree with this point, but once again, you need to refer to point 7 to see what's wrong with it.

20.Concerning the Second Coming, Jesus said, “But of the day and the hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only” (Matt. 24:36). But if the Church goes through the Tribulation Period, some will know the day because it will be seven years from the signing of the seven-year covenant. Some will know the day because it will be 1260 days from the day the Antichrist defiles the Temple (Rev. 12:6).

this point is supposed to be an objection to the post-trib, pre-wrath position, but it fails.  The reason that it fails is because even though some people will know the day once they reach certain points in the seven-year period, NOBODY knows when the seven-year period actually starts.  It also fails because it doesn't take into account the fact that most believers are not looking for the signs that Jesus and scripture told us to look for, so they won't know the day or hour anyway. 

21.Concerning the Antichrist, many scholars believe the Bible teaches he won’t be revealed until after the Church is gone (II Thess. 2:6-8), but if the Church goes through the Tribulation Period, some will know who he is because he will sign the seven-year covenant (Dan. 9:24-27), he will head up the world government (Rev. 13:1-10), he will try to force multitudes to worship him, and to receive his mark, receive his name or his number (Rev. 13:15-17). Many of those who are here and being forced to worship him and take his name or die will know who he is.

I am just at a loss; Don't these pre-trib people realize that if the church goes through the tribulation, they'll be the ones who know exactly what is happening while it is going on, and people will be looking to them for the answers because the Church will have them?   I can't even begin to tell you how exciting it will be in those days to be able to look scared unbelievers in the eye and point out to them that the man in charge of the New World Order is the anti-Christ, and how exciting it will be to accurately tell them what he's going to do next because you have God's Word telling you what he's going to do. 

22.The Antichrist is not suppose to be revealed until after the Church is gone (II Thess. 2:6-8), but if the Church goes through the Tribulation Period, the Church will know who the Antichrist is because he will put a statue of himself in the rebuilt Temple (Dan. 11:31; Dan. 12:11; Matt. 24:15).

See point 21

23.If the Church goes through the Tribulation Period, the Church will know who the Antichrist is because he will head up the world government and receive a deadly wound to his head that will be healed (Rev. 13:3). Some think he will be raised from the dead or at least fake the resurrection.

See point 21

24.If the Church goes through the Tribulation Period, the Church will know who the Antichrist is because he will head up the world government and be supported by the head of the world religion called the False Prophet (Rev. 13:11-18).

See point 21

25.If the Church goes through the Tribulation Period, the Church will know who the Antichrist is because he’s the one that will kill the Two Witnesses (Rev. 11:7).

Once again, see point 21

26.Many people don’t think the Church will go through the Tribulation Period because of verses of Scripture that say things like, “The Lord preserveth all them that love him: but all the wicked he will destroy” (Psa. 145:18-20). Many believe God will preserve the Church from the Tribulation Period or keep the Church out of the Tribulation Period, not destroy the Church in the Tribulation Period.

See the YouTube video at the end of this article to understand what the problem with this is.

27.There are verses of Scripture that say things like, “Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it” (Deut. 4:2; Prov. 30:5-6; Rev. 22:18-19). Some believe people have to throw away verses of Scripture to believe the Church will go through the Tribulation Period.

Seriously?!  Watch the video at the end of this post, and look at what I've said in this post:  I don't throw out scriptures in order to believe that the Church will go through the Tribulation period that comes before the Day of the Lord; in fact, I find that when I present the scriptures I use in the video at the end of the post to people to support my position, they tend to ignore what I present and go on continuing to believe the lie of the pre-trib rapture.  If anything, you have to throw out scripture to believe that the rapture WON'T occur after the Tribulation and before the Day of the Lord.

28.In the seven letters to the seven churches, Jesus said, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches” seven times (Rev. 2:7,11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22). When we get to the Tribulation Period, Jesus said, “If any man have an ear, let him hear” (Rev. 13:9). He left out, “what the Spirit saith unto the churches” because there are no churches on earth to go through the Tribulation Period. The Church will be in heaven.

This is just a lousy argument!  As I pointed out already in point 6, everything in Revelation 2 and 3 is Jesus dictating to John what he wants written in letters to each of the churches in the province of Asia; it only makes sense that the phrase "what the Spirit saith unto the churches" would be included in that section. 

Also, as I pointed out in point 6, everything that occurs in Revelation 4:1-22:5 is part of a single vision that John had AFTER Jesus had finished dictating to John what he wanted to say in those letters to those churches in the province of Asia.  I wouldn't expect Jesus to single out the Church at that point.  Not only that, but when you read a red-letter Bible like mine, you will find that Revelation 13:9 is not in red ink, meaning that those aren't direct words from Jesus.  Since there are no quotation marks around the sentence, we can only assume that those are the words of John, the author of Revelation.

This argument does not prove that the Church will be raptured out before the Tribulation begins.

29.When the Rapture happens the Church goes up to meet Jesus in the air (I Thess. 4:13-18), but at the end of the Tribulation Period the Church will come down to the earth with Jesus to witness what He does at the Battle of Armageddon (Rev. 19:14-21).

How many times can you confuse the Tribulation with the Day of the Lord in one article?! 

30.The Pre-Tribulation Rapture is more consistent with God’s grace, love, mercy, compassion, etc. The Mid and Post-Tribulation Rapture is more consistent with God’s wrath.

Seriously?!  On page 162 of my book Another Inconvenient Truth, I wrote the following:

"According to the pre-trib rapture theory, there will be no signs that the rapture is coming; we'll all just be going about our normal, every-day lives when all the Christians on the planet will just magically disappear: Cars and planes will be crashing all around us, there will be screaming and fires, and everyone will have to piece together what just happened while the Anti-Christ and the one-world government and religion come together at once, just before the seals are opened. God is given no glory, and one could rightfully question why God didn't give anybody any signs that the rapture was about to happen; on top of that, as William Frederick rightly pointed out, that would mean that the persecution of the followers of Jesus described in the fifth seal was done by God as a wrathful judgment, which contradicts all the scripture that tells us that we're not appointed to God's wrath as followers of Jesus."

How is it graceful, loving, merciful, or compassionate of God to not give any warnings or signs that the rapture is about to happen when throughout the entire scripture, he gives people warnings and signs that important things are about to happen?!  It seems that the God of the pre-trib rapture theory is lacking in those qualities compared to the God of the Bible.

31.If the Rapture takes place at the end of the Tribulation Period, and all the wicked are removed from the earth at that time (Matt. 13:24-30, 47-50; 25:41), no one will be left to re-populate the earth during the Millennium. If all of the saved are Raptured and all the lost are removed from the earth at the end of the Tribulation Period, no one will be left to re-populate the earth.

Seriously?!  how many times are these guys going to confuse the Tribulation with the Day of the Lord? 

32.The Antichrist will prevail against the saints during the Tribulation Period, but the gates of hell won’t prevail against the Church (Rev. 13:7; Matt. 16:18). Therefore, the Church won’t go through the Tribulation Period.

Oh wow.  I can't believe that poor reasoning like this even exists.  Just because the Anti-Christ will kill many believers during his brief reign on the Earth doesn't mean that he's prevailing against the church; Jesus specifically promises in Matthew 24:22 and Mark 13:20 that he's going to come back and rapture the Church before the Anti-Christ wipes out every last believer.  Because Jesus is going to do that, the gates of Hell will not overcome the Church.  

33.The twenty-four elders [representatives of the Church] will be in heaven before the seven-sealed scroll is broken (Rev. 4:4; 6:1-17).

There is not one passage in all of scripture that clearly shows that the 24 elders are representatives of the Church; this assertion by the author of the article is dependent on the reader/listener not questioning them on how they got to that conclusion.

34.Jesus was talking about the Tribulation Period when He said, “Pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass” (Luke 21:36). He didn’t say, “Pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to endure some or all of these things that shall come to pass.”

This is at least the 14th time that the author of this article has confused the Tribulation with the Day of the Lord.  This only confirms what I wrote in Another Inconvenient Truth

35.There are no signs of the Rapture, but if the Rapture takes place during the Tribulation Period, it would have to be after the seven-year covenant is signed by the Antichrist, and perhaps after several other things depending upon what a person believes about Mid-Trib, Post-Trib, etc.

See point 30

36.  Jesus said, “When these things [the signs] begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads for your redemption draweth nigh” (Luke 21:28).  He didn’t say, “After all these things have happened your redemption draweth nigh.” He said, “When these things begin to come to pass it’s close.”

Ok, this is at least the 15th time that the author is confusing the Tribulation with the Day of the Lord. 


Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Examining The Sermon on The Mount

Last year when I was managing a Facebook group called Scripture Truth, I posted an 8-part series examining what Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:1-7:29.  I was looking over it again, and I decided that I wanted to re-share all 8 parts on one blog post.  The thing I want you guys to take note of  is how Jesus constantly referred to and affirmed the Old Testament, and I want you to notice how the writers of the New Testament letters referred back to what Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount.  


As we begin a series of posts going through the Sermon on The Mount, I want to make it clear that this sermon that Jesus gives has the feel of an inaugural address; you should notice the authority in which Jesus speaks as the posts go along. All I will do in each post is point out all the Old Testament references that Jesus makes, and if there are no Old Testament references in a particular section, I will point out other new testament passages that refer to that section.

Let's get started.

Matthew 5: 3-12: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you."

In verse 4, Jesus refers to Isaiah 61:1-3:

Isaiah 61:1-3: "The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor."

In verse 5, Jesus makes a reference to Psalm 37:

Psalm 37:10-11: "A little while, and the wicked will be no more; though you look for them, they will not be found. But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy peace and prosperity."

In verse 6, Jesus makes another reference to Isaiah:

Isaiah 55:1-2: "Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare."

Verse 8 refers to four different passages in Psalms:

Psalm 24:3-4: "Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god."

Psalm 73:1: "Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart."

Psalm 17:15: "As for me, I will be vindicated and will see your face; when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness."

Psalm 42:1-2: "As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?"

Verse 11 contains yet another reference to the prophet Isaiah:

Isaiah 51:7-8: "Hear me, you who know what is right, you people who have taken my instruction to heart: Do not fear the reproach of mere mortals or be terrified by their insults. For the moth will eat them up like a garment; the worm will devour them like wool. But my righteousness will last forever, my salvation through all generations.”

Verse 12 contains references to both Psalms and 2 Chronicles:

Psalm 9:1-2: "I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds. I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing the praises of your name, O Most High."

2 Chronicles 36:15-19: "The Lord, the God of their ancestors, sent word to them through his messengers again and again, because he had pity on his people and on his dwelling place. But they mocked God’s messengers, despised his words and scoffed at his prophets until the wrath of the Lord was aroused against his people and there was no remedy. He brought up against them the king of the Babylonians, who killed their young men with the sword in the sanctuary, and did not spare young men or young women, the elderly or the infirm. God gave them all into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar. He carried to Babylon all the articles from the temple of God, both large and small, and the treasures of the Lord’s temple and the treasures of the king and his officials. They set fire to God’s temple and broke down the wall of Jerusalem; they burned all the palaces and destroyed everything of value there."

Here is the next part of my series of the Sermon on The Mount:

Matthew 5:13-20: "You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven."

In verse 13, we see a similar teaching found in Mark 9 and Luke 14:

Mark 9:50: "Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt among yourselves, and be at peace with each other.”

Luke 14:34-35: "Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out.

Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”

In verse 14, we see a similar statement made by Jesus in John 8:

John 8:12: "When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, 'I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.'”

In verse 15, we have a reference to Mark 4

Mark 4:21-23: "He said to them, 'Do you bring in a lamp to put it under a bowl or a bed? Instead, don’t you put it on its stand? For whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed is meant to be brought out into the open. If anyone has ears to hear, let them hear.'”

In verse 16, we see that Paul referred to this verse in 1 Corinthians 10, Philippians 1, and Titus 2:

1 Corinthians 10:31: "So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God."

Philippians 1:9-11: "And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God."

Titus 2: 11-14: "For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. It teaches us to say 'No' to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good."

Verse 17 is something that Paul referred to in Romans 3:

Romans 3:27-31: "Where, then, is boasting? It is excluded. Because of what law? The law that requires works? No, because of the law that requires faith. For we maintain that a person is justified by faith apart from the works of the law. Or is God the God of Jews only? Is he not the God of Gentiles too? Yes, of Gentiles too, since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith. Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law."

In verse 18, we have a reference to Psalms and two to Isaiah:

Psalm 119:89-96: "Your word, Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens. Your faithfulness continues through all generations; you established the earth, and it endures. Your laws endure to this day, for all things serve you. If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction. I will never forget your precepts, for by them you have preserved my life. Save me, for I am yours; I have sought out your precepts. The wicked are waiting to destroy me, but I will ponder your statutes. To all perfection I see a limit, but your commands are boundless."

Isaiah 40:6-8: "A voice says, 'Cry out.' And I said, 'What shall I cry?'

'All people are like grass, and all their faithfulness is like the flowers of the field. The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the Lord blows on them. Surely the people are grass. The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.'”

Isaiah 55:8-13: "'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,'
declares the Lord. 'As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. Instead of the thornbush will grow the juniper, and instead of briers the myrtle will grow. This will be for the Lord’s renown, for an everlasting sign, that will endure forever.'”

James, the brother of Jesus, refers to verse 19 in his book:

James 2:8-11: "If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, 'Love your neighbor as yourself,' you are doing right. But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it. For he who said, 'You shall not commit adultery,' also said, 'You shall not murder.' If you do not commit adultery but do commit murder, you have become a lawbreaker."

Verse 20 contains a reference to Isaiah 26:

Isaiah 26:1-6: "In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah:
We have a strong city; God makes salvation its walls and ramparts. Open the gates that the righteous nation may enter, the nation that keeps faith. You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal. He humbles those who dwell on high, he lays the lofty city low; he levels it to the ground and casts it down to the dust. Feet trample it down—the feet of the oppressed, the footsteps of the poor."

As we can see from just this part of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus had an uncanny ability to consistently refer back to the Old Testament, and the apostles letters in the new testament had a habit of referring back to the teachings of Jesus in their own letters. Isn't it amazing how internally consistent the Bible is?!

Here is part three of my series of posts on the Sermon on The Mount:

Matthew 5:21-32: "You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.

Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.

Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.

You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.

It has been said, ‘Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.’ But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery."

In verse 21, Jesus is clearly referring to Exodus and Deuteronomy:

Exodus 20:13: “You shall not murder."

Exodus 21:12-14: "Anyone who strikes a person with a fatal blow is to be put to death. However, if it is not done intentionally, but God lets it happen, they are to flee to a place I will designate. But if anyone schemes and kills someone deliberately, that person is to be taken from my altar and put to death."

Deuteronomy 5:17: "You shall not murder."

In verse 22, Jesus refers to King Solomon, and James the brother of Jesus refers back to verse 22 in his book:

Ecclesiastes 7:8-9: "The end of a matter is better than its beginning, and patience is better than pride. Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools."

James 1:19-21: "My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you."

In verse 27, Jesus refers once again to Exodus and Deuteronomy:

Exodus 20:14: "You shall not commit adultery."

Deuteronomy 5:18: "You shall not commit adultery."

In verse 28, Jesus refers to Solomon once again:

Proverbs 6:25: "Do not lust in your heart after her beauty or let her captivate you with her eyes."

Paul refers back to verse 29 in 1 Corinthians and Romans:

1 Corinthians 8:9-13: "Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak. For if someone with a weak conscience sees you, with all your knowledge, eating in an idol’s temple, won’t that person be emboldened to eat what is sacrificed to idols? So this weak brother or sister, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge. When you sin against them in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother or sister to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause them to fall."

Romans 14:19-21: "Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a person to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother or sister to fall."

In verse 31, Jesus makes another reference to Deuteronomy:

Deuteronomy 24:1-4: "If a man marries a woman who becomes displeasing to him because he finds something indecent about her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house, and if after she leaves his house she becomes the wife of another man, and her second husband dislikes her and writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house, or if he dies, then her first husband, who divorced her, is not allowed to marry her again after she has been defiled. That would be detestable in the eyes of the Lord. Do not bring sin upon the land the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance."

As we can see, Jesus isn't giving us any new laws; he is simply correcting the interpretations of the old laws that the pharisees and religious leaders had.

Here is part four of my series on The Sermon on The Mount:

Matthew 5:33-48: "Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but fulfill to the Lord the vows you have made.’ But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.

You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect."

In verse 33, Jesus refers to Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy:

Leviticus 19:12: "Do not swear falsely by my name and so profane the name of your God. I am the Lord."

Numbers 30:1-2: "Moses said to the heads of the tribes of Israel: 'This is what the Lord commands: When a man makes a vow to the Lord or takes an oath to obligate himself by a pledge, he must not break his word but must do everything he said.'"

Deuteronomy 23:21-23: "If you make a vow to the Lord your God, do not be slow to pay it, for the Lord your God will certainly demand it of you and you will be guilty of sin. But if you refrain from making a vow, you will not be guilty. Whatever your lips utter you must be sure to do, because you made your vow freely to the Lord your God with your own mouth."

In verse 34, Jesus makes a reference to Isaiah:

Isaiah 66:1-2: "This is what the Lord says:

'Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. Where is the house you will build for me? Where will my resting place be? Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?' declares the Lord."

In verse 35, Jesus makes a reference to the Psalms:

Psalm 48:1-3: "Great is the Lord, and most worthy of praise, in the city of our God, his holy mountain.

Beautiful in its loftiness, the joy of the whole earth, like the heights of Zaphon is Mount Zion, the city of the Great King. God is in her citadels; he has shown himself to be her fortress."

In verse 38, Jesus quotes from Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy:

Exodus 21:22-25: "If people are fighting and hit a pregnant woman and she gives birth prematurely but there is no serious injury, the offender must be fined whatever the woman’s husband demands and the court allows. But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise."

Leviticus 24:17-22: "Anyone who takes the life of a human being is to be put to death. Anyone who takes the life of someone’s animal must make restitution—life for life. Anyone who injures their neighbor is to be injured in the same manner: fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth. The one who has inflicted the injury must suffer the same injury. Whoever kills an animal must make restitution, but whoever kills a human being is to be put to death. You are to have the same law for the foreigner and the native-born. I am the Lord your God.”

Deuteronomy 19:16-21: "If a malicious witness takes the stand to accuse someone of a crime, the two people involved in the dispute must stand in the presence of the Lord before the priests and the judges who are in office at the time. The judges must make a thorough investigation, and if the witness proves to be a liar, giving false testimony against a fellow Israelite, then do to the false witness as that witness intended to do to the other party. You must purge the evil from among you. The rest of the people will hear of this and be afraid, and never again will such an evil thing be done among you. Show no pity: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot."

In verse 42, Jesus is referring to Deuteronomy again:

Deuteronomy 15:7-11: "If anyone is poor among your fellow Israelites in any of the towns of the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward them. Rather, be openhanded and freely lend them whatever they need. Be careful not to harbor this wicked thought: 'The seventh year, the year for canceling debts, is near,' so that you do not show ill will toward the needy among your fellow Israelites and give them nothing. They may then appeal to the Lord against you, and you will be found guilty of sin. Give generously to them and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to. There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your fellow Israelites who are poor and needy in your land."

In verse 43, Jesus is referring to passages in Leviticus, Deuteronomy, and Psalms:

Leviticus 19:18: “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord."

Deuteronomy 23:3-6: "No Ammonite or Moabite or any of their descendants may enter the assembly of the Lord, not even in the tenth generation. For they did not come to meet you with bread and water on your way when you came out of Egypt, and they hired Balaam son of Beor from Pethor in Aram Naharaim to pronounce a curse on you. However, the Lord your God would not listen to Balaam but turned the curse into a blessing for you, because the Lord your God loves you. Do not seek a treaty of friendship with them as long as you live."

Psalm 139:21-22: "Do I not hate those who hate you, Lord, and abhor those who are in rebellion against you? I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies."

In verse 44, Jesus is referring to Exodus and Psalms:

Exodus 23:4-5: “If you come across your enemy’s ox or donkey wandering off, be sure to return it. If you see the donkey of someone who hates you fallen down under its load, do not leave it there; be sure you help them with it."

Psalm 35: 11-14: "Ruthless witnesses come forward; they question me on things I know nothing about. They repay me evil for good and leave me like one bereaved. Yet when they were ill, I put on sackcloth and humbled myself with fasting. When my prayers returned to me unanswered, I went about mourning as though for my friend or brother. I bowed my head in grief as though weeping for my mother."

In verse 45, Jesus refers to Job:

Job 25:2-3: “Dominion and awe belong to God; he establishes order in the heights of heaven. Can his forces be numbered? On whom does his light not rise?"

In verse 48, Jesus refers to Leviticus:

Leviticus 19:1-2: "The Lord said to Moses, 'Speak to the entire assembly of Israel and say to them: "Be holy because I, the Lord your God, am holy."'"

Next time, we will start in Chapter 6, where Jesus moves away from correcting the Jewish religious leader's interpretations of the Old Testament laws, and moves into his own ethical teachings.

Part Five of my Sermon on The Mount series:

Matthew 6:1-18: "“Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.

So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. 8 Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.

This, then, is how you should pray:

‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.’

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you."

In verse 6, Jesus refers to 2 Kings:

2 Kings 4:32-35: "When Elisha reached the house, there was the boy lying dead on his couch. He went in, shut the door on the two of them and prayed to the Lord. Then he got on the bed and lay on the boy, mouth to mouth, eyes to eyes, hands to hands. As he stretched himself out on him, the boy’s body grew warm. Elisha turned away and walked back and forth in the room and then got on the bed and stretched out on him once more. The boy sneezed seven times and opened his eyes."

In verse 7, Jesus refers to Ecclesiastes and 1 Kings

Ecclesiastes 5:2-3: "Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few. A dream comes when there are many cares, and many words mark the speech of a fool."

1 Kings 18:25-29: "Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, 'Choose one of the bulls and prepare it first, since there are so many of you. Call on the name of your god, but do not light the fire.' So they took
the bull given them and prepared it.

Then they called on the name of Baal from morning till noon. 'Baal, answer us!' they shouted. But there was no response; no one answered. And they danced around the altar they had made.

At noon Elijah began to taunt them. 'Shout louder!' he said. 'Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened.' So they shouted louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until their blood flowed. Midday passed, and they continued their frantic prophesying until the time for the evening sacrifice. But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention."

In verse 9, Jesus refers to Jeremiah and Malachi:

 Jeremiah 3:19-20: "'I myself said,

"How gladly would I treat you like my children and give you a pleasant land, the most beautiful inheritance of any nation." I thought you would call me "Father" and not turn away from following me. But like a woman unfaithful to her husband, so you, Israel, have been unfaithful to me,' declares the Lord."

Malachi 2:10: "Do we not all have one Father? Did not one God create us? Why do we profane the covenant of our ancestors by being unfaithful to one another?"

Jesus expands on verse 12 later on in Matthew:

Matthew 18:21-35: "Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, 'Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?'

Jesus answered, 'I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.

Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.

At this the servant fell on his knees before him. "Be patient with me," he begged, "and I will pay back everything." The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.

But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. "Pay back what you owe me!" he demanded.
His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, "Be patient with me, and I will pay it back."

But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.

Then the master called the servant in. "You wicked servant," he said, "I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?" In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.

This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.'”

James refers back to verse 13:

James 1:13-15: "When tempted, no one should say, 'God is tempting me.' For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death."

In verse 16, Jesus refers to Leviticus, Isaiah, and Zechariah:

Leviticus 16:29-33: "This is to be a lasting ordinance for you: On the tenth day of the seventh month you must deny yourselves and not do any work—whether native-born or a foreigner residing among you—because on this day atonement will be made for you, to cleanse you. Then, before the Lord, you will be clean from all your sins. It is a day of sabbath rest, and you must deny yourselves; it is a lasting ordinance. The priest who is anointed and ordained to succeed his father as high priest is to make atonement. He is to put on the sacred linen garments and make atonement for the Most Holy Place, for the tent of meeting and the altar, and for the priests and all the members of the community."

Leviticus 23:26-32: "The Lord said to Moses, 'The tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. Hold a sacred assembly and deny yourselves, and present a food offering to the Lord. Do not do any work on that day, because it is the Day of Atonement, when atonement is made for you before the Lord your God. Those who do not deny themselves on that day must be cut off from their people. I will destroy from among their people anyone who does any work on that day. You shall do no work at all. This is to be a lasting ordinance for the generations to come, wherever you live. It is a day of sabbath rest for you, and you must deny yourselves. From the evening of the ninth day of the month until the following evening you are to observe your sabbath.'”

Isaiah 58:1-5: "Shout it aloud, do not hold back. Raise your voice like a trumpet. Declare to my people their rebellion and to the descendants of Jacob their sins. For day after day they seek me out; they seem eager to know my ways, as if they were a nation that does what is right and has not forsaken the commands of its God. They ask me for just decisions and seem eager for God to come near them. ‘Why have we fasted,’ they say, 'and you have not seen it? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you have not noticed?’

Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please and exploit all your workers. Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists. You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high. Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for people to humble themselves? Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed and for lying in sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord?"

Zechariah 7:4-7: "Then the word of the Lord Almighty came to me: 'Ask all the people of the land and the priests, "When you fasted and mourned in the fifth and seventh months for the past seventy years, was it really for me that you fasted? And when you were eating and drinking, were you not just feasting for yourselves? Are these not the words the Lord proclaimed through the earlier prophets when Jerusalem and its surrounding towns were at rest and prosperous, and the Negev and the western foothills were settled?”'"

Zechariah 8:19: "This is what the Lord Almighty says: 'The fasts of the fourth, fifth, seventh and tenth months will become joyful and glad occasions and happy festivals for Judah. Therefore love truth and peace.'"

Isn't scripture wonderful? looking forward to part six!

Here is part six of my Sermon on The Mount series:

Matthew 6:19-34: "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!

No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."

Jesus refers to Proverbs in verse 19, and James refers back to verse 19 in his letter:

Proverbs 23:4-5: "Do not wear yourself out to get rich; do not trust your own cleverness. Cast but a glance at riches, and they are gone, for they will surely sprout wings and fly off to the sky like an eagle."

James 5:1-3: "Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days."

Paul referred back to verse 20 in his first letter to Timothy:

1 Timothy 6:17-19: "Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life."

In verse 26, Jesus refers to Job and the Psalms

Job 38:39-41: "Do you hunt the prey for the lioness and satisfy the hunger of the lions when they crouch in their dens or lie in wait in a thicket? Who provides food for the raven when its young cry out to God and wander about for lack of food?"

Psalm 104:19-23: "He made the moon to mark the seasons, and the sun knows when to go down. You bring darkness, it becomes night, and all the beasts of the forest prowl. The lions roar for their prey and seek their food from God. The sun rises, and they steal away; they return and lie down in their dens. Then people go out to their work, to their labor until evening."

Psalm 145:13b-16: "...The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does. The Lord upholds all who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down. The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time. You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing."

Psalm 147:8-9: "He covers the sky with clouds; he supplies the earth with rain and makes grass grow on the hills. He provides food for the cattle and for the young ravens when they call."

In verse 27, Jesus refers once again to the Psalms:

Psalm 39:4-5: "Show me, Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is. You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Everyone is but a breath, even those who seem secure."

In verse 29, Jesus refers to the account of Solomon found in 1 Kings:

1 Kings 10:1-9: "When the queen of Sheba heard about the fame of Solomon and his relationship to the Lord, she came to test Solomon with hard questions. Arriving at Jerusalem with a very great caravan—with camels carrying spices, large quantities of gold, and precious stones—she came to Solomon and talked with him about all that she had on her mind. Solomon answered all her questions; nothing was too hard for the king to explain to her. When the queen of Sheba saw all the wisdom of Solomon and the palace he had built, the food on his table, the seating of his officials, the attending servants in their robes, his cupbearers, and the burnt offerings he made at the temple of the Lord, she was overwhelmed.

She said to the king, 'The report I heard in my own country about your achievements and your wisdom is true. But I did not believe these things until I came and saw with my own eyes. Indeed, not even half was told me; in wisdom and wealth you have far exceeded the report I heard. How happy your people must be! How happy your officials, who continually stand before you and hear your wisdom! Praise be to the Lord your God, who has delighted in you and placed you on the throne of Israel. Because of the Lord’s eternal love for Israel, he has made you king to maintain justice and righteousness.'”

In verse 33, Jesus refers again to the Psalms:

Psalm 37:3-4: "Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart."

We've come down to the home stretch! Only two more posts to go in the series!

Here is part seven of the Sermon on The Mount series:

Matthew 7:1-14: “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it."

Paul referred to verse 1 in both Romans and 1 Corinthians, and James referred to it in his letter:

Romans 14:10-12: "You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. It is written:

'As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.’

So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God."

1 Corinthians 5:9-13: "I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people—not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.

What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. 'Expel the wicked person from among you.'"

James 4:11-12: "Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?"

In verse 2, Jesus refers to Ezekiel:

Ezekiel 35:10-15: "‘Because you have said, “These two nations and countries will be ours and we will take possession of them,” even though I the Lord was there, therefore as surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, I will treat you in accordance with the anger and jealousy you showed in your hatred of them and I will make myself known among them when I judge you. Then you will know that I the Lord have heard all the contemptible things you have said against the mountains of Israel. You said, “They have been laid waste and have been given over to us to devour.” You boasted against me and spoke against me without restraint, and I heard it. This is what the Sovereign Lord says:

While the whole earth rejoices, I will make you desolate. Because you rejoiced when the inheritance of Israel became desolate, that is how I will treat you. You will be desolate, Mount Seir, you and all of Edom. Then they will know that I am the Lord.'"

Jesus refers to 1 Kings in verse 7:

1 Kings 3:4-5: "The king went to Gibeon to offer sacrifices, for that was the most important high place, and Solomon offered a thousand burnt offerings on that altar. At Gibeon the Lord appeared to Solomon during the night in a dream, and God said, 'Ask for whatever you want me to give you.'”

Jesus refers to Proverbs and Jeremiah in verse 8:

Proverbs 8:12-21: "I, wisdom, dwell together with prudence; I possess knowledge and discretion. To fear the Lord is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech. Counsel and sound judgment are mine; I have insight, I have power. By me kings reign and rulers issue decrees that are just; by me princes govern, and nobles—all who rule on earth. I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me. With me are riches and honor, enduring wealth and prosperity. My fruit is better than fine gold; what I yield surpasses choice silver. I walk in the way of righteousness, along the paths of justice, bestowing a rich inheritance on those who love me and making their treasuries full."

Jeremiah 29:10-14: "This is what the Lord says: 'When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my good promise to bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,' declares the Lord, 'and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you,' declares the Lord, 'and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.'"

James refers back to verse 11 in his letter:

James 1:16-18: "Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created."

Paul refers back to verse 12 in his letter to the church in Rome:

Romans 13:8-10: "Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments, 'You shall not commit adultery,' 'You shall not murder,' 'You shall not steal,' 'You shall not covet,' and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law."

Coming up soon: The final part of the Sermon on The Mount series! The final three teachings of Jesus in this sermon are very powerful, and one of them should scare the pants off all of us. Stay tuned!

Here is the conclusion to the Sermon on The Mount series:

Matthew 7:15-29: "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.

When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law."

In verse 15, Jesus is referring to Jeremiah and Ezekiel:

Jeremiah 23:16-22: "This is what the Lord Almighty says:

'Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you; they fill you with false hopes. They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord. They keep saying to those who despise me, "The Lord says: You will have peace." And to all who follow the stubbornness of their hearts they say, "No harm will come to you." But which of them has stood in the council of the Lord to see or to hear his word? Who has listened and heard his word? See, the storm of the Lord will burst out in wrath, a whirlwind swirling down on the heads of the wicked. The anger of the Lord will not turn back until he fully accomplishes the purposes of his heart. In days to come you will understand it clearly. I did not send these prophets, yet they have run with their message; I did not speak to them, yet they have prophesied. But if they had stood in my council, they would have proclaimed my words to my people and would have turned them from their evil ways and from their evil deeds.'"

Ezekiel 22:23-29: "Again the word of the Lord came to me: 'Son of man, say to the land, "You are a land that has not been cleansed or rained on in the day of wrath." There is a conspiracy of her princes within her like a roaring lion tearing its prey; they devour people, take treasures and precious things and make many widows within her. Her priests do violence to my law and profane my holy things; they do not distinguish between the holy and the common; they teach that there is no difference between the unclean and the clean; and they shut their eyes to the keeping of my Sabbaths, so that I am profaned among them. Her officials within her are like wolves tearing their prey; they shed blood and kill people to make unjust gain. Her prophets whitewash these deeds for them by false visions and lying divinations. They say, "This is what the Sovereign Lord says"—when the Lord has not spoken. The people of the land practice extortion and commit robbery; they oppress the poor and needy and mistreat the foreigner, denying them justice.'"

James refers back to verse 16 in his letter:

James 3:9-12: "With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water."

In verse 21, Jesus refers back to the prophet Hosea:

Hosea 8:1-6: "Put the trumpet to your lips! An eagle is over the house of the Lord because the people have broken my covenant and rebelled against my law. Israel cries out to me, 'Our God, we acknowledge you!’ But Israel has rejected what is good; an enemy will pursue him. They set up kings without my consent; they choose princes without my approval. With their silver and gold they make idols for themselves to their own destruction. Samaria, throw out your calf-idol! My anger burns against them. How long will they be incapable of purity? They are from Israel! This calf—a metalworker has made it; it is not God. It will be broken in pieces, that calf of Samaria."

Paul refers back to verse 22 in his first letter to the church in Corinth:

1 Corinthians 13:1-3: "If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing."

In verse 23, Jesus refers to Psalm 119:

Psalm 119:113-120: "I hate double-minded people, but I love your law. You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word. Away from me, you evildoers, that I may keep the commands of my God! Sustain me, my God, according to your promise, and I will live; do not let my hopes be dashed. Uphold me, and I will be delivered; I will always have regard for your decrees. You reject all who stray from your decrees, for their delusions come to nothing. All the wicked of the earth you discard like dross; therefore I love your statutes. My flesh trembles in fear of you; I stand in awe of your laws."

As we can see from all eight parts of this Sermon on The Mount series, Jesus had a habit of quoting and reaffirming the Old Testament, which is to be expected since he claimed to be God in human form. We can also see that some of the most interesting passages in the letters of the apostles refer back to teachings of Jesus found here in the Sermon on The Mount.

On top of reaffirming the Old Testament, we can also see that Jesus was clearly an ethical genius, giving us a standard to live by that is so high that not only can nobody live up to it, but all the teachings on ethics in the 2,000 years since feel like footnotes for his teachings.

I hope you enjoyed following along with this series, and I hope that you learned something new from it.