Moneychangers

Jesus Christ in the last year of his life uses physical force to throw the money changers out of the temple. This was the only time during the the life of his ministry in which he used physical force against anyone.

When Jews came to Jerusalem to pay their Temple tax, they could only pay it with a special coin, the half-shekel. This was a half-ounce of pure silver, about the size of a quarter. It was the only coin at that time which was pure silver and of assured weight, without the image of a pagan Emperor, and therefore to the Jews it was the only coin acceptable to God.

Unfortunately these coins were not plentiful, the money changers had cornered the market on them, and so they raised the price of them to whatever the market could bear. They used their monopoly they had on these coins to make exorbitant profits, forcing the Jews to pay whatever these money changers demanded.

Jesus threw the money changers out as their monopoly on these coins totally violated the sanctity of God’s house.

Images

Even though we might justify our actions through reason or logic, if we are violating God’s clear commands, we are sinning against Him, and He will hold us accountable for those sins. God is not to be worshiped with images, because any image we make will draw more attention to the work of our hands than the God who made all things. Also, there is no way we can ever fully represent the holiness and awesomeness of God through an image. To attempt to do so will always fall short. On top of this, God is a spirit (John 4:24), and we cannot form an image of a spirit. We worship God by believing His Word, obeying it, and declaring His greatness to others.

Time

Awhile back while studying, the Scriptures I came across a couple of passages that on the surface would appear to be a contradiction. I’ve come to find out that by researching the historical and cultural context is necessary for complete understanding of God’s Word. Knowing that Christianity’s opponents will find every reason to charge the Scriptures with contradiction, we as believers in a Sovereign God must be prepared to give a defense for the hope that is in us by understanding contextually, historically and culturally why we believe what we believe. So here you have it.  Mark 15:22-25 They brought Him to the place called Golgotha, which means, “Place of a Skull.” They gave Him wine mingled with myrrh to drink, but He did not take it. When they had crucified Him, they divided His garments, casting lots for them, to decide what each man should take. Now it was the THIRD HOUR, and they crucified Him.  Notice in the passage above Mark states that Jesus was crucified on the third hour, which according to the Jewish timetable the beginning of a day started at 6am (sun up), so by doing the math we see that the third hour is 9am in the morning when they crucified Jesus.  Sounds simple enough, but let’s take a look at John’s account.  John 19:13-15 When Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called The Pavement which in Hebrew is Gabbatha. It was the Day of Preparation of the Passover and about the SIXTH HOUR. He said to the Jews, “Here is your King!” But they shouted, “Away with Him! Away with Him! Crucify Him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar!”  Now how is it that Jesus according to the Gospel of Mark is being crucified on the THIRD HOUR but according to John’s Gospel He is standing before Pilate being condemned to death on the SIXTH HOUR? Shouldn’t Jesus already be nailed to the cross? The reason I’m writing this is to give us a proper understanding of God’s Word. To understand what the apostle John is saying we must understand who his audience is that he’s writing his gospel account to. We know contextually that John wrote his gospel to Gentile believers. How do we know that? Because when we read John’s account, we see that he had to explain Jewish customs, translate Jewish names, and locate Palestinian sites. These facts suggest that he was writing for Gentile readers who lived primarily outside Palestine. Therefore, the timetable in which they would understand is the Roman timetable which operates equally to ours today. So John’s sixth hour is referring to 6am in the morning, which is identical to the time that Jesus was standing before Pilate in the synoptic Gospel’s (Mark 15:1-2). Three hours later Jesus would be nailed to the cross.  

Death

God is sovereign. Everything that happens must at least have been allowed by Him. At the outset, we must recognize that we cannot fully understand God’s purposes and ways.  The book of Job deals with this issue. Job was a righteous man (Job 1:1) yet he suffered much. God allowed Satan to do everything he wanted to Job except kill him (Job 13:15). Job did not understand why God allowed these things to happen but he did know God was good and continued to trust in Him.

Bad things may happen to good people in this world but this world is not the end. God uses those bad things for ultimate lasting good. 

These scriptures will help you with this. 

John 11:25: Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live,

Psalm 115:16: Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.

Romans 14:8: For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.

Psalm 34:18: The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.

James 4:14: Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.

Psalm 23:1-6: A Psalm of David. The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. …

There are many more verses on this website. I would suggest that you go to this website and read the many verses. https://www.openbible.info/topics/death_of_a_loved_one                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Another good article to read is at https://www.gotquestions.org/bad-things-good-people.html

Matthew 16:18: an explanation

Matthew 16:18 “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

“Upon this rock”: The word for “Peter”, “Petros, means a small stone (John 1:42). Jesus used a play on words here with petra which means a foundation boulder (7:24-25).

Since the New Testament makes it abundantly clear that Christ is both the foundation (Acts 4:11-12; 1 Cor. 3:11), and the head (Eph. 5:23), of the church, it is a mistake to think that here He is giving either of those roles to Peter. There is a sense in which the apostles played a foundational role in the building of the church (Eph. 2:20), but the role of primacy is reserved for Christ alone, not assigned to Peter.

So Jesus’ words here are best interpreted as a simple play on words in that a boulder-like truth came from the mouth of one who was called a small stone. Peter himself explains the imagery in his first epistle. The church is built of “living stones” (1 Peter 2:5), who, like Peter, confess that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Christ Himself is the “corner stone” (1 Pet. 2:6-7).

The word “church” is a translation of ekklesia, meaning “called out” or “assembly.” In the New Testament, it usually refers to a local group of Christians.

In this sense a church is an assembly of baptized believers under the discipline of the Word of God. They are organized to carry out the Great Commission, the administration of New Testament ordinances, and the exercise of spiritual gifts.

When a group of Christians today follows this example, it is a church in the biblical sense of the word. In the New Testament, Christians assembled as churches for fellowship, instruction, and worship and to carry out the Great Commission.

Perhaps the best-known New Testament churches were at Jerusalem, Antioch, Thessalonica, Philippi, Corinth, Ephesus, and the other six cities mentioned (in Revelation 2 and 3).

Every Christian should follow the example of New Testament believers by identifying with a local church, and getting involved in its ministry.

In this, Jesus was telling Peter that His church would be built on the foundational rock of truth, which had just issued from Peter’s mouth. All the blessed (believers in the Lord Jesus Christ), have this truth from the Father.

Jesus promises that the gates of hell shall not prevail against the church. The phrase “shall not prevail”, should be understood as meaning “shall not stand against.” The imagery would then picture the church as being on the offensive against the gates of hell.

While Jesus’ resurrection certainly will overcome the sting of death, it will also enable His church to aggressively and offensively attack the gates of hell (usage as Satan’s kingdom in Job 38:17; Isa. 38:10; Psalm 107:18); by snatching out victims from darkness into His glorious kingdom of light. The church is on the offensive here and hell is on the defensive.

Verses 19-20: The Lord promises to Peter and the other apostles “the keys of the kingdom.” This means that Peter will have the right to enter the kingdom himself, and preaching the gospel would be the means of opening the kingdom of heaven.

The Book of Acts shows us this process at work. By his sermon on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:14-40), Peter opened the door of the kingdom for the first time. The expressions “bind” and “loose” were common in Jewish legal phraseology, meaning to declare forbidden or to declare allowed.

Peter and the other disciples (see 18:18), were to continue on earth the work of Christ in preaching the gospel and declaring God’s will to men, and were armed with the same authority He Himself possessed.

Psalm 32:1-11

Most scholars agree that this Psalm and Psalm 51 were responses to David’s sin with Bathsheba (2 Samuel ch. 11). For a while, David did not ask God to forgive him. When he asked forgiveness from God, and He forgave David. David repented to God. 

David uses three words to describe disobeying God: Disobedience, sin, and doing bad things. These three words describe all the ways we disobey God. 

Next, David uses three words for what God does: God forgives, God covers, and He does not hold our sin against us: He will save us from going to hell for doing it. 

In verses 3-5 we see where David asks God’s forgiveness. A burden was lifted from David when he asked for forgiveness from God and he was once again happy. God always forgives us if we ask Him no matter what we have done. 

In verses 6-7 we see that David now feels different. He now feels free from sin. He tells everyone “Pray to God” He means if you sin ask God to forgive you; do not wait”. God was David’s hiding place. God will hide us from the bad times that are sure to come. He will keep us safe. 

Verses 8-9 is God speaking now. God will always show us what we should do if we will ask Him. We should be people God can talk to, not like the animals.

In verses 10-11 we see that the people who trust God will not be sad. The only real way to be happy is to ask God to forgive you for your sin. You will have a clean heart then. It will be as though you have never sinned. 

Sources: https://www.easyenglish.bible/psalms/psalm032-taw.htm

Attention seeking and fake Christians

Some of the so-called Christians are seeking attention from man and not God (Matthew 6:2; John 5:44; Philippians 2:21; James 4:6). Some believe that crying while singing Hymns or during church service guarantees them a place in heaven. They also believe if they recite a prayer or go to the altar call every time that also will guarantee them a place in heaven. They complacently remain convinced they are true Christians. The reason these people believe they are true Christians are many but certainly, one reason is False teaching. When churches do not teach sound doctrine the end result will be those who do not know the true word of God.

Sources:https://www.gotquestions.org/fake-Christians.html

https://www.openbible.info/topics/fake_christians

https://www.openbible.info/topics/attention_seekers

Avoid arguments

Some people just want to argue about everything. People who like to argue are not looking for solutions to a problem. They just want to win. Win at what you may ask. They just want to win at arguing. It does not matter what the subject is they just want to win. They want to win because it makes them feel superior. They do this because they learned early in life this is how to solve conflicts, (or what they perceive to be conflicts) this way and never outgrew it. How does one handle people like this? Here are a few suggestions.

Speak with respect to others. The Bible says that we should speak to others with love. Our speech should be kind but firm (Ephesians 4:15; Proverbs 15:1; Clossains 4:6).                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Tell them what Jesus has done for you. Nobody can argue with your own story. People won’t usually get defensive when you are talking about yourself.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Sometimes it is best to just walk away from an argument. There are things that are not worth your time. They can spoil your relationship with the Lord. Allow the Lord to give you direction on how to deal with different problems. Before David took the throne of Israel he had to deal with Saul. David allowed God to fight on his behalf. David had wisdom to know when to fight and when to walk away (1 Samuel 24:10).

You are accountable to God for your actions, not the other person’s actions. God will hold you responsible for you act towards them (Proverbs 28:13; Romans 14:10-13).

Pray for them (1 Corinthians 1:3-4; 1Corinthians 16:23-24; Matthew 5:44-45).

Sometimes you just have to agree to disagree. Ignoring a problem will not make it go away. The apostle Paul had a disagreement with his mentor Barnabas. These two men could not avoid conflict. They were able to deal with conflict by agreeing to disagree (Acts 15:37-49).

The day of our Lord

“For you yourselves know very well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night” (1 Thessalonians 5:2).We don’t know when Christ Jesus will return, but we do know that when He comes again, it will be sudden and swift. Therefore, we must prepare for His return by maintaining a constant awareness that He could return at any moment.

To what nation does Jeremiah 50-51 refer?

by John Holbrook Jr.
A Biblical View, Blog #006 posted August 22, 2016, edited March 9.

Jeremiah has been called “the prophet to the nations.” In the Book of Jeremiah, he devotes the first forty-five chapters to Israel (Judah & Jerusalem). In chapters forty-six through fifty-one, however, he focuses on Israel’s neighbors – Egypt, Gaza (Phillistia), Jordan (Moab, Ammon, & Edom), Syria (Damascas), Saudi Arabia (Arabia), Iran, (Elam), and Iraq (Babylon) – and prophesies concerning what will befall them in the end times. The United States of America does not seem to be among them – or is it?

The original explorers and settlers of America were European Christians. Christopher Columbus, whose name means “Christ bearer,” sailed westward with the belief that he had been given a divine mission to extend Christendom to a new world. Spanish Franciscan and Dominican friars moved into the southwest and French Jesuits moved into the northeast with the common mission of bringing the gospel of Christ to the natives, often suffering gruesome deaths at the hands of demon possessed savages.[1] Their sacrificial lives and martyr deaths planted the seeds for the spiritual phenomenon to come.  A lust for gold motivated the first settlers of Virginia, but the mission to build a New Jerusalem impelled the Pilgrim Separatists who left Holland aboard the Mayflower – the latter entered into a covenant with God and one another to establish a new society that would honor the biblical God and live according to biblical principles. They were followed by the Puritan Separatists led by John Winthrop, whose vision of this society as “a city on a hill” captured the imagination of countless of his followers in the next four centuries.

The founders of the new nation, most of whom were Christians, but all of whom were serious students of the Bible, took care to craft the foundational documents of the new nation according to biblical principles. The powers of the federal government would be limited to protecting society from outside invasion (using a citizens’ militia) and inside criminality (using an appeals court judicial system), punishing evil-doers, maintaining just commercial standards (particularly money, weights, and measures), regulating interstate commerce, and exercising stewardship over the public infrastructure.

In the 19th Century, America’s citizens set about building local communities from the Atlantic to the Pacific that were most notable for the number of their churches, which were filled with God-fearing and Bible-believing worshipers each Sunday. As a result, God blessed and protected the nation as he promises to do for a nation that honors him and his commandments in Deuteronomy 28:1-14, and it became that “city on a hill” of which John Winthrop spoke: the freest, richest, most powerful nation ever to exist – and the envy of the world.

In the last 100 years, the nation has undergone such a startling transformation that it would be unrecognizable to its pioneers, founders, and early citizens. The federal government has become a leviathan – the epitome of the Beast-out-of-the-Sea in Revelation. Both its bureaucracy[2] and its budget[3] have become bloated beyond belief. Its currency has been debauched.[4] It has inexorably extended its control over the lives of its citizens. Its professional military forces consume more money than the military forces of all other nations combined, maintain posts in 146 other countries, and engage in aggressive violent actions that extend its hegemony over peoples who do not welcome the presence of either its soldiers and its merchants on their soil or the cultural pollution that inexorably follows from that presence. Worst of all, it has purged the honoring of the biblical God from its public spaces and institutions and extended legal protection to behavior that is abhorrent to God: the worship of false gods and idols; blasphemy; the neglect of parents; abortion and euthanasia; fornication, adultery, and homosexuality and the destruction of the family that follows there from; gambling and theft; and covetousness. State and municipal governments are no better, having merely followed in the federal governments wake and emulated all its sins.

Not surprisingly, God has begun withdrawing his blessings and protection from the country,[5] For example, on January 28, 1986, hundreds of millions of people watched America’s space shuttle Challenger blow up with seven persons aboard, including a teacher. Yet few understood the lesson. At the time, the space shuttle was the pinnacle of American managerial, industrial, and technological achievement and represented America’s attempt, in President Reagan’s words, “to reach for the stars.” A similar attempt was made over four thousand years ago in Babylon when they said, “Let us build us a city and a tower whose top may reach unto heaven” (Genesis 11:4). But “…the heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord’s: but the earth hath he given to the children of men” (Psalm 115:16). He “…hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and hath determined the bounds of their habitation” (Acts 17:26). And “…though they climb up to heaven, thence will I bring them down” (Amos 9:2).

In Jeremiah 50-51, “the prophet to the nations” wrote about the fate that awaits Babylon the Great. I wonder about the identity of the nation which Jeremiah is addressing. Many of the nation’s characteristics do not fit the Babylon of the 1st millennium BC, but they do fit the United States of the 21st century AD.

Ancient Babylon did not have a mother that was “sore confounded” (Jeremiah 50:12), whereas the US’s mother, England, has been “sore confounded” ever since the end of World War II.

Ancient Babylon was not “the hindermost of the nations” (Jeremiah 50:12) – it was the first – whereas the US is the hindermost (last or most recent) of the great nations.

Ancient Babylon was not “the hammer of the whole earth” (Jeremiah 50:23), whereas at the start of the 21st century the US is – to quote Madeleine Albright and many others after her, including President Obama – “the indispensable nation.”

Ancient Babylon was not inhabited by “mingled peoples” (Jeremiah 50:37), whereas the US is a mixture of immigrants from every other nation in the world.

Although Ancient Babylon enjoyed a measure of wealth and power, she was not “a golden cup in the Lord’s hand” (Jeremiah 51:7), whereas the US is far and away the richest and most powerful nation the world has ever seen.

Ancient Babylon did not make “all the earth drunken…[and]…mad” (Jeremiah 51:7), whereas the US has exported its commercialism and debased culture to every nation on the globe.

Ancient Babylon did not ‘dwell on many waters’ (Jeremiah 51:13) – only a small portion of it touched the Persian Gulf – whereas the US sits amidst the Great Lakes to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the east, the Gulf of Mexico to the south, and the Pacific Ocean to the west.

In my opinion, Jeremiah was addressing the USA of the 21st Century. If he was, the USA will be destroyed suddenly and utterly.[6]

© 2016 John Holbrook Jr.

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[1] The myth of the noble savage is just that – a myth.

[2] By 2006, national, state, and municipal governments employed over 40% of workers in the country, most of whom earned more and possessed better pensions than their counterparts in the private sector.

[3] Over $2.5 trillion a year and growing.

[4] The dollar is worth 1% of what it was worth in 1913  when congress delivered it into the hands of the Federal Reserve, a private corporation owned and operated for the benefit of the country’s largest banks.

[5] Compare the curses in Deuteronomy 28:15-68 with what is happening in the U.S. today.

[6] Jeremiah 51:8.