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WestHardinfan1

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  1. WestHardinfan1

    Daniel's Integrity

    Daniel’s Integrity By: Jim Crews Daniel was a young man when Judah was conquered by the Babylonians. He was among those who were carried off into exile. It was because of his intelligence and his abilities that Daniel rose to prominence in the Babylonian kingdom serving under the conqueror, Nebuchadnezzar, his son and his grandson. When the Medes and Persians conquered Babylon, Daniel had the unusual distinction of rising to power under this conqueror too. Daniel 5:30-6:2 Daniel was so good at governing, that Darius planned to put him in charge of the entire kingdom. Daniel 6:3 Daniel remained faithful to God in the times of his prosperity. We all expect difficult times to challenge our faith, to try us by fire, and to show our true character. Romans 5:3-5 Prosperity is also a challenge to the follower of God. Proverbs 30:7-9 When we lose sight of our need for God, it is so easy for us to fall off the straight and narrow path. Deuteronomy 32:15 There is a danger of thinking that what we have is because of our own ability. Deuteronomy 8:17 Daniel remained faithful to God even in his prosperity. Daniel had integrity that showed through for all to see. Daniel 6:4 Imagine this in our current government. How likely do you think it possible that if other politicians wanted to bring another down would not be able to find something somewhere to pin on the one they despised? They couldn’t find a single thing on Daniel, so they had to make something up. Daniel had integrity. Integrity means to be complete, upright, innocent of willful wrongdoing. A person with integrity is a person with a clear conscience. Job was like this. Job 1:1 Even when Satan tried to bring him down, he kept his integrity. Job 2:3 Job would not let go. Job 27:3-6 There are two other words that are closely related to the idea of integrity. They are “upright” and “blameless”. This does not mean that such a person lives a perfect life and never sins. What it does mean is that we are seeing an attitude or character of the person. They choose not to degrade themselves and walk the path of sin. David knew where he stood before God, he knew the direction he was heading, he had kept his innocence. Psalm 27 David was a man of integrity in both the eyes of God and of man. I Kings 3:6; 9:4 Yet we know about David’s sins. It isn’t a lack of sin that defines the upright man, but his attitude toward sin Too often we put more demands of perfection on ourselves and our fellow man than God requires. It is not that we tolerate or expect sin. But we should never expect or demand sinlessness. What we should demand is true integrity, true uprightness, and true blamelessness from ourselves and others. Philippians 2:14-16 Colossians 1:21-23 I Thessalonians 3:12-13 This is not some lofty goal that only elders obtain. It is a characteristic which ought to be displayed in every Christian Isaiah gives us a beautiful description of integrity. Isaiah 33:15-17 Notice also that the wicked don’t like those with integrity. Those with integrity become a target. Psalm 11:2; 37:14; 64:4 They don’t get along. Proverbs 29:27 There is hatred. Proverbs 29:10 Why? They don’t like the concept of sin, so they mock those who avoid sin. Proverbs 14:9 They don’t like being told they are wrong, even indirectly. Amos 5:10 In other words, they can’t stand that there is someone successful at living better than themselves. Having found no fault in Daniel, they turned to another scheme, they make being right a “wrong”. Daniel 6:5-9 Woe to those who call good evil. Isaiah 5:20 It is an abomination. Proverbs 17:15 Today society calls this “political correctness.” Something that once was right is declared to be wrong for political reasons, not moral reasons. Despite all this, Daniel maintained his integrity. Daniel 6:10 Integrity is not defined by others. It is not subject to what humanity thinks or feels. It is the choice of following God’s ways. Proverbs 10:29 Integrity guides a person into making the correct decisions. Proverbs 11:3 It is a level and straight highway. Proverbs 15:19 It is a highway that leads away from evil. Proverbs 16:17 There was no question as to how Daniel would respond. He did not compromise his principles simply because others declared them to be wrong. Daniel was reported, and the punishment handed down, but the king’s response is interesting. Daniel 6:14-16 Daniel’s integrity made an impression on the king. The king knew that Daniel constantly served God. The nature of walking in integrity influences people around you. Proverbs 20:7 This is why integrity is important for Christians. Titus 2:7-8 Daniel was saved because of his integrity. Daniel 6:17-23 Integrity is a source of security. Proverbs 10:9 It preserves a person. Psalm 25:21 Things didn’t work out so good for those who sought Daniel’s death. Daniel 6:24 This is the nature of our God. Daniel 6:25-28 Knowing this, is integrity the path you choose to walk? II Peter 3:13-14
  2. WestHardinfan1

    A Study of Numbers

    Numbers 30 By: Jim Crews Numbers 30: 1 - 2 Moses told the heads of the tribes that if a man made a vow, he was never to break it. Numbers 30: 3 - 5 If a woman makes a vow in her youth, and her father knows about it and says nothing, then that vow is binding. If her father opposes it, the vow will not stand. God will forgive her because her vow was opposed by her father. Numbers 30: 6 - 9 If she marries while under a vow or some thoughtless oath she made, and her husband knows about it and doesn’t say anything, she is still under the vow or oath. If her husband knows about it and opposes it, the vow becomes null and void. God will forgive her because her husband opposed the vow. Widows and divorced women must keep their vows and oaths. Numbers 30: 10 - 15 If, after she has married, a woman makes a vow or an oath and her husband knows and doesn’t say anything, that vow will be in force. If her husband opposes, the vow will be null and void. Her husband voided the vow, and she will be forgiven by God. The husband can void any vow or oath made by his wife. If he makes them null and void after having ignored them when first hearing of them, the sin lies on the husband not the wife. Numbers 30: 16 These are commanded by God about oaths and vows by men and women in different situations.
  3. WestHardinfan1

    Plain Talk

    Vol.V No.IV Pg.6 June 1968 The Risk Of Bible Study Robert F. Turner Proponents of "official" church doctrines (creeds) and "authority of the church" to determine doctrines, have long contended that in the absence of such, churches will be fractured into numerous ineffective cells. This is not an observation to be ignored; for history has repeatedly demonstrated this possibility. Note the following from A. W. Fortune's history of The Disciples in Kentucky, pp. 53. "Their search for new truth and the fact that they had no creed to guide them made the Christians an easy prey to strange doctrines. Three Shaker missionaries from New York wrought havoc in their ranks. Three of the preachers who were associated with Mr. Stone -- Matthew Houston, Richard McNemar, and John Dunlavy -- put away their wives, acknowledged marriage as a sin, and joined the Shakers. This caused much confusion in the ranks of Stone's followers, and many went to the other communions. Because of the havoc wrought by the Shakers, and because of the controversy over baptism, Robert Marshall and John Thompson were convinced that the "Bible was too latitudinarian" ("tolerant of variations" or admitting of various interpretations.rt) and urged the formulation of a simple, doctrinal statement of a few fundamental truths. A meeting was called at Mount Tabor, near Lexington, to consider their proposition. It was decided to abide by the principle that the Bible should be their guide in religion and trust in God for the consequences." Today, as then, there are those who havemore faith in man than in God. They seem to think men can improve upon God's effort to set forth clearly a rule of faith and practice; that men may devise a charter for unity where God has failed. This writer has no such delusion. Neither a newly formulated "creed" nor the "status quo" long-standing faith and practice of an "established party" can take the place of "the rule which God hath distributed to us, a measure to reach even unto you." We are unwilling to trust either those men who met in Arlington (and I was one of them) or those who ignorantly surmise, assume, and suppose concerning that meeting. Our faith remains in Jesus Christ and His word. Fear of confrontation, with open Bible -- if such fear exists -- smacks of unwillingness to measure ourselves by God's Rule (2 Cor.10: 12-f) or a very sectarian conception of "church." How could anyone "represent" or "misrepresent" or "compromise" a party that does not exist??Answer that!! "When the Christians refused to adopt a simple doctrinal statement to hold them together and keep them steady" (ibid.,pp.54) Marshall and Thompson retired to the shelter of the Presbyterian confession of Faith. Here councils and synods could decide what they were to believe, and they were protected from the strange doctrines that prey upon those who study and think for themselves. God's blessings await those who "trust in God for the consequence."
  4. WestHardinfan1

    A Study of Numbers

    Numbers 29 By: Jim Crews Numbers 29: 1 - 6 On the first day of the seventh month they were to celebrate the Feast of Trumpets. No common labor was to be done. They were to blow trumpets and offer a burnt offering, a grain offering, and a drink offering as shown by God. Numbers 29: 7 - 11 On the tenth day of the seventh month, they were to afflict themselves and do no work at all. This was the day of atonement for their sins. They were to offer a burnt offering, a grain offering, a drink offering, and a sin offering as shown to them by God. Numbers 29: 12 - 34 On the fifteenth day of the seventh month they were to refrain from work and celebrate the Feast of Booths. This was to be a seven day celebration. They were to offer the sacrifices each day of the seven that God showed them to offer in the way God showed them to offer them. Numbers 29: 35 - 38 On the eighth day, they were to have a solemn assembly and do no work. They were to offer the sacrifices that God showed them in the way God showed them. Numbers 29: 39 - 40 These feasts days were to be celebrated as God revealed. They were to make the offerings on these days in addition to the regular offerings commanded by God. Moses told the people everything exactly as God had commanded.
  5. WestHardinfan1

    Plain Talk

    Vol.V No.IV Pg.5 June 1968 "God Gave Them Up" Robert F. Turner When man refuses to see the abundant proof of God's "eternal power and divinity" in the created world he "glorifies Him not as God, neither is thankful." (Rom. 1:19-21) This asserts that the Creator has so demonstrated Himself in His product that, even without the inspired word, we should be able to see that the "First Cause" must have always existed (arguing it always will exist) and is therefore "eternal." And this leads us forcibly to the conclusion that this "First Cause" is of a nature different from that of His creatures; has a divine nature. All who so recognize God "look up" to Him with the honor so justly due Him, and reckon themselves subject to Him. Such a respect for the Creator has a sobering effect upon mankind. We "live, move, and have our being" in His presence; aware that "all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do." (Heb. 4:13) Perhaps this is basis enough to conclude that except we walk circumspectly before Him, we "sin against Heaven" and must repent. (Acts 17:28f) When man denies the presence of the eternal and divine God, (does not like to retain God in his knowledge) God (1) gives him up to uncleanness; (2) gives him up unto vile affections; (3) gives him over to a reprobate mind. (Read Rom. 1:21-24-26-28) This seems to be another way of saying God allows man to "stew in his own juice" or reap the consequences of his own folly. Man is incomplete without God. It is "not in man that walketh to direct his steps." (Jer. 10:23) On this basis alone we should see that "righteousness exalteth a nation; but sin is a reproach to any people." (Prov. 14:34) A nation that tries to substitute fear of punishment, respect for law, patriotism, or even Emperor- worship to upgrade the state and its citizens, will fail. There is no satisfactory substitute for faith in and respect for the God of us all. Godless Evolution, and other materialistic concepts which enthrone human reason and seek to leave God out of the universe -- these must bear much of the blame for our a-moral and immoral society. Religions which place their stress upon social welfare seem, on the surface, to be so "relevant;" so intent upon solving current problems. But to the extent they divert the attention and resources of the church from its chief function -- the promotion of spiritual values -- faith in the real, personal God to whom belongs our full and complete allegiance -- to this extent these religions join hands with all other soul and nation wreckers. "God gave them up" "God gave them over" -- re-read those verses from the Roman letter. "Like a terrible refrain" says Lenski. "This is more than permission to fall into uncleanness, and it is less than causing the fall. God's action is judicial...Thus God uses sin to punish itself and the sinner." When man does recognize and respect His Creator, even as he sees Him in the universe, he is ready to hear God's word, and obey Him.
  6. WestHardinfan1

    A Study of Numbers

    Numbers 28 By: Jim Crews Numbers 28: 1 - 8 Now we begin with God restating and clarifying some of the Laws He commanded the Israelites to follow. They were to make sure they made their offerings to God at the required time. God then restated how the food offering and the drink offering were to be done on a daily basis. Numbers 28: 9 - 10 In addition to the regular offerings, they were to make a Sabbath Day offering of two one year old unblemished lambs. This was to be done along with a grain offering and a drink offering. All of these offerings were foreshadowing of the sacrificial offering of the Messiah for our sins. Numbers 28: 11 - 15 On the first day of each month, they were to make an offering consisting of two unblemished bulls, a ram, and two unblemished male lambs a year old. They were also to offer a male goat as a sin offering. The burnt offering, grain offering, and drink offering are also restated. Numbers 28: 16 - 25 God now restates how the Passover offering is to be done. The Passover was to be celebrated, beginning on the fourteenth day of the first month. It was to be a seven day celebration. They were to make the offerings as God had commanded, and on the seventh day of this celebration, no work was to be done at all. Numbers 28: 26 - 31 God now details how they are to make offerings at the Feast of Weeks. They were not to do any ordinary work during this feast. They were to offer burnt offerings, grain offerings, and drink offerings.
  7. WestHardinfan1

    Plain Talk

    Vol.V No.IV Pg.4 June 1968 Growing Pains? Robert F. Turner When sectarianism begins to put on fruit, and a denominational status is developing, problems multiply. These are apparent in struggling young denominations about us -- they are apparent among our own brethren. Early signs of denominationalism are: (1) "we" and "us" and "our" begin to denote a party concept that is larger than a local church, smaller than the whole body of Christ; (2) the "brotherhood" is no longer a "hood" of "brethren" but becomes a "churchhood" in reality; (3) this "churchhood" begins to own schools, "homes", and other institutions; and (4) to act collectively in their operation (5) As these developments are taking place, a peculiar "brotherhood" (?) doctrine is being formed -- the consensus of opinion, or "great middle-ground of the majority. At this stage it is not written -- and it may have to survive by the same rules as "baptist usage" -- but it is a denominational "creed" none-the-less. One of the first "problems" of a young and tender denomination is nomenclature -- the"words" to use. How does one speak or write of "our" work or instittantns, when in the recent past the single local church was regarded as the largest functional unit among "us"? The older members still recall our sermons on "no earthly headquarters" "elders over one flock only" etc. How does one change "Bible authority" to "Church of Christ doctrine" without arousing the ire of a few remaining old-fogies? Another problem is "consulting the brotherhood." When the "churchhood" needs (?) to be consulted about something, how does one go about this -- until the time comes "we" can have an honest-to- goodness conference. These "area-wide" meetings help, and a well-organized series of such can "feel out" the situation, but it is still a sticky business. And how can "brethren at large" be represented, as to doctrine or desire? Once we openly acknowledge denominational status the machinery can be set up and this problem will vanish; but how can the "brotherhood" churchhood speak, while we still claim to have "independent autonomous" congregations only? It's a real sweat. How does the "brotherhood" churchhood own property -- such as schools, camps, orphan homes, etc? This shook the brethren of Kentucky in 1875, who thought they owned the school in Lexington, but found such was easier said than done (See Search for Ancient Order, West; Vol.2). "Progressive" brethren then found the solution in a United Society, after some years and tears. But how does a tender beginning denomination, not yet ready to acknowledge a "headquarters," handle this? Is this why the "board" arrangement is so embarrassing to some? The"alms" to-a-(sponsoring)-"church-in-need" argument is getting rather thin, brethren!! Restructuring is a long way off -- or is it? Anyhow, "we" have enough problems for -- chief among them being to open our eyes to the existence of this young fledgling denomination, and cease to feed and encourage its growth and development.
  8. WestHardinfan1

    The Meaning of Life: Where are you Going?

    The Meaning of Life: Where Are You Going? By: Jim Crews People are always asking the meaning of life. Solomon told us the meaning of life. Ecclesiastes 9:1-10 Having a goal in mind gives direction to the choices that you must make. The meaning of life is more than what you are doing with your life right now. It is also where you are letting life take you. Only one thing is certain, we are all going to die. Hebrews 9:27 Charlton Heston said, “The world is a tough place. You’re never going to get out of it alive.” Atheism and some other belief systems view death as the end. If so, then meaning to life would revolve around getting the most out of life. However, the verse we just read says there is more than just death awaiting for us. There is a certainty of judgment as well. What does judgment mean? Judgment means we are accountable for how we live our life. Such a belief permeates all religions. The criteria for the judgment varies, but there is always an understanding that what happens after death is determined by how life is lived. God has a purpose for His creation and we are responsible for meeting that purpose. Everyone will be judged by what we have done. II Corinthians 5:10. Everything we have done will be judged, even the things we have done in secret that no one else knows about. Ecclesiastes 12:13-14 How we live our lives will determine our eternal destiny. John 5:28-29 The criteria we will be judged by is how we live our life. Romans 2:6-11 Judgment also means there is more to existence than just this physical life. The righteous will inherit a kingdom prepared for them. Matthew 25:34 Eternal life is included in this promise to the righteous. Romans 2:7 The wicked also have a place prepared for them. Matthew 25:41 This place is also eternal. Matthew 25:46 How do we know what is after death? Because someone has died and has returned to tell us. Acts 17:30-31 His death and resurrection is firmly proven. I Corinthians 15:1-8 If it were not true, then there would be no hope at all for any of us. I Corinthians 15:12-19 Since it is true, then the one who returned from the dead is our judge. I Corinthians 4:3-5 The preaching of this is done at Christ’s command. Acts 10:42 A day has been appointed for the judgment. II Timothy 4:1 It is not a question of “if” the judgment is coming, but of “when” is it coming? So where are you going? We’ve all sinned. Romans 3:23 We are all guilty of sin. I John 1:8, 10 If that were the end of the story then each of our destinies would be sealed. Romans 6:23 Jesus, however, came for the purpose of offering eternal life. We can be reconciled to God by Jesus’ death. Romans 5:6-10 This was the entire purpose for Him to come to earth and live among His creation. John 3:16 The work was done, but how do you respond to the offer? Listen to God’s teachings. Romans 10:14-17 Believe the message. John 8:24 Romans 5:1-2 Conform your life to that teaching by repenting of your sins. Acts 3:19 Be bold in your belief by publicly confessing your faith that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of the Living God. Matthew 10:32-33 Access the gift of Grace by obeying His command. Mark 16: 16 Acts 2:38 Romans 6:3-7 It is time to find purpose and meaning in our lives. We’ve all seen cheap goods sold. They sit on the shelves, bright and shiny on the surface, covering the cheap materials underneath. How do you know? You check it out. You investigate it quality. Satan offers a cheap life of pleasure that appears bright and shiny on the surface, but it has no worth. Matthew 7:16-20 Investigate for yourselves. What makes life better? What makes it worth living? What follows you into eternity? God has given the answer in His Word. Have you believed Him?
  9. WestHardinfan1

    A Study of Numbers

    Numbers 27 By: Jim Crews Numbers 27: 1 - 4 The daughters of Zelophehad of the tribe of Manasseh came to Moses with a concern. Their father had died in the wilderness, and had not been one of the rebels who had followed Korah. There were no male heirs, and they were concerned that his possession in the Promised Land would be taken away from them. Numbers 27: 5 - 11 Moses brought their case before God, who said the daughters were correct. They should receive the inheritance that would have gone to their father. God then made a statute that if a man dies with no male heirs, his daughters shall inherit his possessions. If he has no children at all, his inheritance shall go to his brothers. If he has no brothers, his inheritance shall go to his uncles. If he has no uncles, his inheritance shall go to the person closest of kin to him. Numbers 27: 12 - 23 God told Moses to go into the mountain and look upon the Promised Land. When he saw it, he was to be gathered to his people like Aaron had been, because of their sins at the well. Moses asked God to appoint a good man over the congregation. God told Moses to show that Joshua had been chosen to replace Moses after his death. Moses did this in front of the entire congregation.
  10. WestHardinfan1

    Plain Talk

    Vol.V No.IV Pg.3 June 1968 At Jesus' Feet Robert F. Turner As Joshua fought the Amorites, in taking the land of Canaan for Israel, five kings were trapped in a cave and captured. Joshua had the men brought forth, and said unto his chief men of war, "Come near, put your feet upon the necks of these kings" (Josh. 10:22-f) It was a graphic symbol of triumph and submission. Later, Ruth lay at the feet of Boas (Ruth 3:1-f), giving herself to him. Mary sat at Jesus feet, and Paul was brought up "at the feet" of Gamaliel (Lk. 10:39; Acts 22:3) meaning; they submitted themselves for instruction. When the early Christians sold their possessions they "brought the money, and laid it at the apostles' feet" -- giving them control of the fund -- putting it at their disposal (Acts 4:34-f) (Incidentally, here is a pooled fund, with control, by which the Jerusalem church acted as one -- collectively.) So, it came as no surprise when we read that God "put all things under His (Christ's) feet, and gave Him to be the head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him that filleth all in all." (Eph. 1:22-f) The church at Christ's feet, means He has the control -- we constitute His church only to the extent we submit ourselves to Him. The submission must be complete. Though our submission is an act of our free will, it is as complete as that of the kings to Joshua. Paul writes, "Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." (1 Cor. 6:19-f) We must "sit at His feet" to receive instructions. In this there is submission of our will to His. Like Mary, we develop a "singleness" of heart; knowing "one thing is needful" rather than the multiple cares and distractions of this life. None who "hunger and thirst" for righteousness, "at His feet," will go unfilled. (Matt. 5:6) But the "oncer attender"--"seldom-get-to-class" "never-study-at-home" kind of church member, makes a mockery of sitting "at Jesus' feet." The meaning of the figure is completely lost on such. When we are truly "at His feet" we consign our soul to His power and keeping. We are His to use, a "living sacrifice" (Rom. 12:1) a "bond-servant" (slave) of Christ. (1 Cor. 7:22) But we are also His to keep. "Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon Him; for He careth for you." There is security at the feet of Jesus, and "peace that passeth all understanding." (1 Pet. 5:6-7 Phil. 4:7) Christ's ultimate victory will see "all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death." (1 Cor. 15:25-26) And there is a triumph for Christians too, with all things "under his feet." (Heb. 2:6-f) But we can attain unto this high plane intended for us by our Maker, only as we submit to the Lord. Obedience is freely rendered by those who truly "sit at Jesus' feet.
  11. WestHardinfan1

    The Man of Sin

    The Man of Sin By: Jim Crews Have you noticed about Scripture that when not very much is said on a particular topic that it generates more discussion than when a lot is said? Of course, when not very much is said the range of possibilities is wide open. It generates strong opinions, not truths, just opinions, which cannot be shaken because my opinion is worth just as much as yours. And to me it is worth more. We could easily apply these statements to gossiping, and they do apply, but I would like us to focus on the speculations made in one particular passage of Scripture. II Thessalonians 2:1-12 Just who is the man of sin? Since his is “of sin,” it is fairly clear that we are talking about a wicked person. He is also called a man of destruction, or perdition in the KJV. Perdition means ruin, loss, destruction, or waste. It is what Judas was called. John 17:12 He opposes God. He is without law. He is acting in accord with Satan. No, he is not a nice man. The passage also mentions that he sits as God in the temple of God. Other passages tell us the temple of God is the church. Ephesians 2:20-22 Still other passages tell us the temple of God is all Christians. I Corinthians 3:11-17 So who is this man of sin? One thought is that the man of sin is the papacy in the Roman Catholic Church, not any one particular Pope, but the institution as a whole. The problem with this, though, is that Catholicism is not the only apostasy which developed from the first century church. The Gnostics also apostatized from the first century church. Gnostics believed that all came from one of two Gods or states, good or bad, and that everything physical was sin. They based their teachings on secret knowledge that seemed to be known only to them and to no one else. There were also the Ebonites, who accepted Jesus as the Messiah, but denied that he was God. There were the Judaizers, who wanted Christianity to be just a sect of Judaism. Acts 15:1 There were the Nicolaitans, who encouraged God’s people to follow sexual pleasures and idolatry, as did Balaam of old. Revelation 2:6, 14-15 There was also Montanism, who believed in continuing revelation and ecstatic utterances which superseded what the apostles taught. The papacy didn’t start until A.D. 606 when the current bishop of Rome accepted the title of Pope. But by this time the branch that he led no longer resembled the early church. It is difficult to say that he sat in the temple of God. They sat in an apostate church, but not in the church itself. So the man of sin, despite some modern interpretations of this passage of Scripture, is not referring to the Catholic pope. Keying off the phrase that he called himself God, another line of thought is that Paul was referring to the Roman emperors. These men established themselves as the head of a state religion and demanded that incense be burnt each year in their honor. Worse, they accepted the title “Lord God Caesar.” Domitian was probably the worst of the lot. However, none of these men were in the church. Keying off the opposition to God, some today see the man of sin as being the Antichrist, because the passage talks about the man of sin’s destruction at the return of Christ, a large body of beliefs, largely contradictory, but loosely similar, has arisen from this error. Their thought is that just before Christ returns, a man will arise representing all that Christ opposes. Christ then will come to destroy him and establish an earthly kingdom that will last a thousand years. To highlight their contradictory teachings, some of them have the rise of the Antichrist at the end of the thousand year kingdom. Their main problem, ignoring all their other contradictions, is that the Bible does not speak of a single Antichrist. Instead, it speaks of many antichrists who are already in the world with more to come. I John 2:18 Anyone who denies Christ is an antichrist. I John 2:22 Anyone who denies that Christ came in the flesh is an antichrist, and those were already in the world when John wrote his letters. I John 4:3 II John 1: 7 Yes, antichrist is sometimes used in the singular form, but since other verses tell us there are many, we know that it is a literary technique where the one represents the many. It is a form of personification. Taking that last thought leads a very reasonable explanation. The man of sin could personify many people’s actions of lawlessness. The man of sin, then, is the disrespect for truth, represented by a man who usurps the rule of the church and leads God’s people into apostasy. Such a man of sin is always present. He is seen in men who oppose Christ, men who alter the truth, men who speak presumptuously, men who go beyond what has been written, men who bring in innovations, or men who ignore the teachings of God. Paul is concerned that in regards to Christ’s second coming that the faith of Christians would be shaken by ideas, presented as if coming from the apostles, that Christ’s coming is near, or has already happened. He didn’t want anyone to be shaken or tossed by false doctrine. Ephesians 4:14 He was worried because the teaching that the second coming had already happened was going on in that time. II Timothy 2:18 Paul points out that there are things which must first take place before the second coming of Christ. There would be a falling away from the truth. I Timothy 4:1-2 The sedition must be revealed for what it is, usurping the God’s place of authority in the church. Ephesians 2:2 Ephesians 5:6 Colossians 2:8 Colossians 3:6 The difference between these warnings and the one in II Thessalonians is that the disobedient are stated in the plural and in II Thessalonians they are in the singular. Jesus had warned about false Messiahs who would show up before the fall of Jerusalem. Matthew 24:24 John warns about false prophets spreading through the church. I John 4:1-3 When someone makes judgment on God’s word, they are setting themselves up above God. James 4:11-12 At that moment the man of sin, also known as the sons of disobedience, is being restrained until the appropriate time. Exactly what this restraint is wasn’t mentioned. We are only told that Paul had discussed it with the Thessalonians when he was with them. It is thought that Paul couldn’t put it down in writing because it wasn’t time to tip God’s hand. We only know that whatever is restraining it is in the neuter, referring to a thing. Yet in verse 7 we are told that God is doing the restraining. In other words, God is using something to keep the apostasy from spreading too quickly, to keep it from being completely overwhelming. I Corinthians 10:13 Whatever this restraint is, it will continue until the Lord returns. It will continue until the brightness of the appearing of the Lord. I Timothy 6:14 II Timothy 4:1 That coming will be a time of destroying the destructive forces in the world. II Thessalonians 1:8-9 It will be a time for revealing hidden things. I Corinthians 4:5 Why is it happening? In order to illustrate this, look at David’s sin in numbering the people. Satan was behind it. I Chronicles 21:1 God was behind it. II Samuel 24:1 It is not a contradiction. Satan is unable to do anything without God’s permission. God limits Satan. Job 1:8-12 Yet, God will even make use of wicked Satan to accomplish an end. Satan is behind the lawlessness revealed in the New Testament. II Thessalonians 2:9-10 Satan is using every deception in his arsenal to keep people from being saved, and people are falling prey to him because they do not have a love of the truth. God is allowing it to happen. II Thessalonians 2:11-12 God wants people to be saved. II Peter 3:9 However, salvation has never has been unconditional. There is a type of person God wants. God permits Satan’s deception to weed out those who do not love the truth. This deception happened against lying prophets. Ezekiel 14:9 It happens against those who want to sin. Romans 1:24 Are you on guard against deception? Satan hasn’t given up yet. The man of sin, thus still remains. It is our love of truth that leaves God on His throne in our hearts.
  12. WestHardinfan1

    A Study of Numbers

    Numbers 26 By: Jim Crews Numbers 26: 1 - 4 After the plague, God told Moses and Eleazar to take another census of all the men 20 years old and up who were able to go to war. They did this on the plains of Moab by the Jordan at Jericho. Numbers 26: 5 - 11 From the tribe of Reuben, there were 43,730. We are told that Dathan and Abiram led a rebellion against Moses and Aaron. They, along with 250 others were swallowed up and burned. Numbers 26: 12 - 14 There were 22,200 from the tribe of Simeon. Numbers 26: 15 - 18 There were 40,500 from the tribe of Gad. Numbers 26: 19 - 22 From the tribe of Judah we are told that Onan and Er died when they made it to Canaan. There were 76,500 from the tribe of Judah. Numbers 26: 23 - 25 There were 64,300 from the tribe of Issachar. Numbers 26: 26-27 There were 60,500 from the tribe of Zebulun. Numbers 26: 28 - 34 From the sons of Joseph, there were 52,700 in the tribe of Manasseh. Numbers 26: 35 - 37 From the other son of Joseph, there were 32.500 from the tribe of Ephraim. Numbers 26: 38 - 41 There were 45,600 from the tribe of Benjamin. Numbers 26: 42 - 43 There were 64,400 from the tribe of Dan. Numbers 26: 44 - 47 There were 53,400 from the tribe of Asher. Numbers 26: 48 - 50 There were 45,400 from the tribe of Naphtali. Numbers 26: 51 There were 601,730 men over the age of 20 able to fight in a war. Numbers 26: 52 - 56 God told Moses that large tribes would get a large inheritance, and small tribes a smaller inheritance when they arrived in the Promised Land. Their inheritance was to be given in proportion to their population. What land they got was to be divided by lot. Numbers 26: 57 - 62 We are now given the count of Levites, after being reminded that Nadab and Abihu died because they offered unauthorized fire to God. There were 23,000 males listed from one month old and upward. The Levites were not listed among the people because they were to receive no inheritance in the Promised Land. Numbers 26: 63 - 65 These are the ones left after the preceding generation had died off. No one counted in the original census was left alive except for Joshua and Caleb because God had said not a one of those who were afraid to go on into Canaan would live to see the Promised Land.
  13. WestHardinfan1

    Plain Talk

    Vol.V No.IV Pg.2 June 1968 It's A Busy World Robert F. Turner This is being written in a little cabin, high in the Bradshaw mountains near Prescott, Arizona. To be honest, I would prefer to be out climbing in the forest, but "dead-line" is on me. Since Apr. 6, I have been in meetings in Beaumont, Tex.; Madrid, Iowa; Indianapolis, Ind. ; Baltimore, Md.; Piscataway, N. J.; Canoga Pk., and Long Beach, Calif. Two days hence I begin preaching in Flagstaff, Ariz., and thence to northern Calif., Oregon, and so -- on to late November. Meetings and special lectures in places unable to fully support such work, are made possible by arrangement with the Oaks West church of Christ in Burnet, Tex; the church that continues to make PLAIN TALK possible. This little church of about one-hundred members now supports bro. Joe Fitch in Burnet local work, helps to support bros. Payne, in Commanche, and Kercheville, in El Paso, Texas, and bro. Arreola, in Mexico. The courage and faith of these saints - most of them low to medium salaried workers -- and the "vision" of their good elders, is truly heart-warming. Their course is not an easy one, and not without opposition. I will help them all possible by making full use of time, watching expenses carefully so as to operate economically, and make my way as far as possible on support received from these meetings. Plans are to continue this type of work in 1969, the Lord, health, and taxes permitting, and meetings are already scheduled in Arizona, California, Missouri, Indiana, Alabama, Texas and Florida. My permanent mailing address is 1608 Sherrard Street, Burnet, Texas -- 78611, as all mail will be forwarded. ---------------------- In This Busy Whirl It is good to hear about the old Arizona sheep herder who spoke longingly of the "good ol' days." He said he only had two decisions to make each year: when to take the sheep up the mountains in the spring, and when to bring them down in the fall. Ate the same thing all the time; wore the same clothes. Again, "Me and my partner never wasted no words. I'd ask him a question at breakfast, and he'd answer at supper, the next day." Reminds me of the fellow who lived so far back in the sticks he had to go toward town to pick up firewood. Grand 0l' Opera didn't get there 'til Tuesday. When he first came to that country " thu Sun wuz jest a little bitty thang, and they warn't no moon a-tall." If I don't run out of space soon this could get worse.............
  14. WestHardinfan1

    A Study of Numbers

    Numbers 25 By: Jim Crews Numbers 25: 1 - 5 While Israel was camped in that region, they began to have relations with the women of the area. They began to worship the baal that they people of that area worshiped. This angered God greatly because they were unfaithful to Him. He told Moses to hang the chiefs of the people who had bowed down to baal. Moses told the judges to kill everyone who had worshiped baal. Numbers 25: 6 - 9 God had evidently struck the people with a plague for their idolatry. The people brought a Midianite woman who had apparently married an Israelite man. When Aaron’s grandson Phineas saw it, he took a spear and killed them both. This ended the plague, but not before 24,000 had died. Numbers 25: 10 - 13 God told Moses that Phineas would be rewarded for his zeal in serving Him. Phineas and his descendants would be priests forever because of his zeal. His zeal in defending the faith caused God to relent from wiping Israel off the face of the planet. Numbers 25: 14 - 15 The Israelite man killed was Zimri, of the tribe of Simeon. The Midianite woman killed was named Cozbi, daughter of Zur, a tribal chief. Numbers 25: 16 - 18 God told Moses to strike down the Midianites because of their seduction of Israel to idolatry.
  15. WestHardinfan1

    Plain Talk

    Vol.V No.IV Pg.1 June 1968 "First Love" Robert F. Turner A tap at the study door announced a timid and frightened young couple. Their marriage was "coming apart" -- or so they thought -- and since I had "performed their ceremony," they had come to me for help. The timid approach fooled me. What should have been an easy "patch-up" job, grew more complicated as we discussed the details. Recalling each incident of friction led to charges of blame, efforts to justify, defense of pride. The situation was growing steadily worse when, in desperation, I tried the magic of "first love." "Please arise, and stand here," I requested, indicating the exact spot where they had made their vows. Picking up my Bible, I stepped into place before them. "And now, will you join right hands." Then, as they grew silent with their memories, I reminded them of the pledges they had made "before God and to one-another" on that eventful day some months earlier. Before my little speech was finished -- maybe I was over-playing my part in the drama they interrupted to thank me, and hurried out of the room, hand in hand. Perhaps they had heard little of what I said, but they recalled their own hopes and determinations of first love, and that was enough. The Hebrew writer urged faithfulness by saying, "Call to remembrance the former days, in which, after ye were illuminated, ye endured a great fight of afflictions...." (Heb.10:32-) When we "leave our first love" (Rev. 2:4-f) this must be restored if our union with Christ is to survive. When brethren "go a-gadding" after strange doctrines, human institutions, the social gospel, etc., they have neglected their first love -- their espousal to Christ. (2 Cor.11:1-3) They profit little by tongue-lashings, ridicule, or even sound high-powered argumentation -- especially if they are so self-willed as to be no longer interested in the Bible pattern. Unless their love for and determination to serve Jesus Christ can be rekindled, all else is vain. Please join hands -- with the Lord!
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