Restoration Promised for Israel and JudahJeremiah 30:1 The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 2 Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Write in a book all the words that I have spoken to you. 3 For the days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will restore the fortunes of my people, Israel and Judah, says the Lord, and I will bring them back to the land that I gave to their ancestors and they shall take possession of it.
4 These are the words that the Lord spoke concerning Israel and Judah:
5 Thus says the Lord:
We have heard a cry of panic,
of terror, and no peace.
6 Ask now, and see,
can a man bear a child?
Why then do I see every man
with his hands on his loins like a woman in labor?
Why has every face turned pale?
7 Alas! that day is so great
there is none like it;
it is a time of distress for Jacob;
yet he shall be rescued from it.
10 But as for you, have no fear, my servant Jacob, says the Lord,
and do not be dismayed, O Israel;
for I am going to save you from far away,
and your offspring from the land of their captivity.
Jacob shall return and have quiet and ease,
and no one shall make him afraid.
11 For I am with you, says the Lord, to save you;
I will make an end of all the nations
among which I scattered you,
but of you I will not make an end.
I will chastise you in just measure,
and I will by no means leave you unpunished.
12 For thus says the Lord:
Your hurt is incurable,
your wound is grievous.
13 There is no one to uphold your cause,
no medicine for your wound,
no healing for you.
14 All your lovers have forgotten you;
they care nothing for you;
for I have dealt you the blow of an enemy,
the punishment of a merciless foe,
because your guilt is great,
because your sins are so numerous.
15 Why do you cry out over your hurt?
Your pain is incurable.
Because your guilt is great,
because your sins are so numerous,
I have done these things to you.
16 Therefore all who devour you shall be devoured,
and all your foes, everyone of them, shall go into captivity;
those who plunder you shall be plundered,
and all who prey on you I will make a prey.
17 For I will restore health to you,
and your wounds I will heal,
says the Lord,
because they have called you an outcast:
"It is Zion; no one cares for her!"
18 Thus says the Lord:
I am going to restore the fortunes of the tents of Jacob,
and have compassion on his dwellings;
the city shall be rebuilt upon its mound,
and the citadel set on its rightful site.
19 Out of them shall come thanksgiving,
and the sound of merrymakers.
I will make them many, and they shall not be few;
I will make them honored, and they shall not be disdained.
20 Their children shall be as of old,
their congregation shall be established before me;
and I will punish all who oppress them.
21 Their prince shall be one of their own,
their ruler shall come from their midst;
I will bring him near, and he shall approach me,
for who would otherwise dare to approach me?
says the Lord.
22 And you shall be my people,
and I will be your God.
23 Look, the storm of the Lord!
Wrath has gone forth,
a whirling tempest;
it will burst upon the head of the wicked.
24 The fierce anger of the Lord will not turn back
until he has executed and accomplished
the intents of his mind.
In the latter days you will understand this.
The Joyful Return of the Exiles
Jeremiah 31:1 At that time, says the Lord,
I will be the God of all the families of Israel,
and they shall be my people.
2 Thus says the Lord:
The people who survived the sword
found grace in the wilderness;
when Israel sought for rest,
3 the Lord appeared to him from far away.
I have loved you with an everlasting love;
therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.
4 Again I will build you, and you shall be built,
O virgin Israel!
Again you shall take your tambourines,
and go forth in the dance of the merrymakers.
5 Again you shall plant vineyards
on the mountains of Samaria;
the planters shall plant,
and shall enjoy the fruit.
6 For there shall be a day when sentinels will call
in the hill country of Ephraim:
"Come, let us go up to Zion,
to the Lord our God."
7 For thus says the Lord:
Sing aloud with gladness for Jacob,
and raise shouts for the chief of the nations;
proclaim, give praise, and say,
"Save, O Lord, your people,
the remnant of Israel."
8 See, I am going to bring them from the land of the north,
and gather them from the farthest parts of the earth,
among them the blind and the lame,
those with child and those in labor, together;
a great company, they shall return here.
9 With weeping they shall come,
and with consolations I will lead them back,
I will let them walk by brooks of water,
in a straight path in which they shall not stumble;
for I have become a father to Israel,
and Ephraim is my firstborn.
10 Hear the word of the Lord, O nations,
and declare it in the coastlands far away;
say, "He who scattered Israel will gather him,
and will keep him as a shepherd a flock."
11 For the Lord has ransomed Jacob,
and has redeemed him from hands too strong for him.
12 They shall come and sing aloud on the height of Zion,
and they shall be radiant over the goodness of the Lord,
over the grain, the wine, and the oil,
and over the young of the flock and the herd;
their life shall become like a watered garden,
and they shall never languish again.
13 Then shall the young women rejoice in the dance,
and the young men and the old shall be merry.
I will turn their mourning into joy,
I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow.
14 I will give the priests their fill of fatness,
and my people shall be satisfied with my bounty,
says the Lord.
15 Thus says the Lord:
A voice is heard in Ramah,
lamentation and bitter weeping.
Rachel is weeping for her children;
she refuses to be comforted for her children,
because they are no more.
16 Thus says the Lord:
Keep your voice from weeping,
and your eyes from tears;
for there is a reward for your work,
says the Lord:
they shall come back from the land of the enemy;
17 there is hope for your future,
says the Lord:
your children shall come back to their own country.
18 Indeed I heard Ephraim pleading:
"You disciplined me, and I took the discipline;
I was like a calf untrained.
Bring me back, let me come back,
for you are the Lord my God.
19 For after I had turned away I repented;
and after I was discovered, I struck my thigh;
I was ashamed, and I was dismayed
because I bore the disgrace of my youth."
20 Is Ephraim my dear son?
Is he the child I delight in?
As often as I speak against him,
I still remember him.
Therefore I am deeply moved for him;
I will surely have mercy on him,
says the Lord.
21 Set up road markers for yourself,
make yourself guideposts;
consider well the highway,
the road by which you went.
Return, O virgin Israel,
return to these your cities.
22 How long will you waver,
O faithless daughter?
For the Lord has created a new thing on the earth:
a woman encompasses a man.
"The Lord bless you, O abode of righteousness,
O holy hill!"
25 I will satisfy the weary,
and all who are faint I will replenish.
Individual Retribution27 The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of humans and the seed of animals. 28 And just as I have watched over them to pluck up and break down, to overthrow, destroy, and bring evil, so I will watch over them to build and to plant, says the Lord. 29 In those days they shall no longer say:
"The parents have eaten sour grapes,
and the children's teeth are set on edge."
A New Covenant31 The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. 32 It will not be like the covenant that I made with their ancestors when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt—a covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, says the Lord. 33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 No longer shall they teach one another, or say to each other, "Know the Lord," for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, says the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more.
35 Thus says the Lord,
who gives the sun for light by day
and the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night,
who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar—
the Lord of hosts is his name:
36 If this fixed order were ever to cease
from my presence, says the Lord,
then also the offspring of Israel would cease
to be a nation before me forever.
37 Thus says the Lord:
If the heavens above can be measured,
and the foundations of the earth below can be explored,
then I will reject all the offspring of Israel
because of all they have done,
says the Lord.
Jerusalem to Be Enlarged38 The days are surely coming, says the Lord, when the city shall be rebuilt for the Lord from the tower of Hananel to the Corner Gate. 39 And the measuring line shall go out farther, straight to the hill Gareb, and shall then turn to Goah. 40 The whole valley of the dead bodies and the ashes, and all the fields as far as the Wadi Kidron, to the corner of the Horse Gate toward the east, shall be sacred to the Lord. It shall never again be uprooted or overthrown.
The Holy Bible: containing the Old and New Testaments with the Apocryphal / Deuterocanonical Books [New Revised Standard Version]
What I'm Reading
Why Shouldn’t We Trust the Non-Canonical “Gospel of Judas”?
By J. Warner Wallace 10/26/2017
The Gospel of Judas is an ancient text purportedly written by the disciple who knew Jesus personally. But is this non-biblical text reliable? Was it really written by Judas? There are four attributes of reliable eyewitness testimony, and the first requirement is simply that the account be old enough to actually be written by someone who was present to see what he or she reports. The Gospel of Judas was written too late in history to have been written by the disciple we know as Judas, and like other late non-canonical texts, this errant document was rejected by the Church. In spite of this, The Gospel of Judas still contains small nuggets of truth related to Jesus. Although it is a legendary fabrication written by an author who altered the story of Jesus to suit the purposes of his religious community, much can still be learned about the historic Jesus from this late text:
The Gospel of Judas (130-170AD) | The Gospel of Judas is a Gnostic text similar to other texts from the 2nd century and later. Like other Gnostic Gospels, it contains a conversation between Jesus and one of His disciples (in this case Judas) in which Jesus reveals secret, esoteric knowledge. It also describes the death of Jesus from Judas’ perspective. The text was discovered in the 1970’s near Beni Masah in Egypt, and was written in the Coptic language, similar to other Gnostic texts. Only one copy has ever been discovered and this copy is in very poor condition, missing large portions of text.
Why Isn’t It Considered Reliable? | The surviving copy of The Gospel of Judas has been dated to the 4th century but scholars believe that it may be a Coptic translation of a Greek original created no earlier than the late 2nd century. The text is written in the same dialect and language as other Gnostic texts discovered at Nag Hammadi, and it was discovered as part of a larger text which included The Letter of Peter to Philip and the First Apocalypse of James, two other Gnostic documents also discovered at Nag Hammadi. The Gospel of Judas is a Gnostic text that appears far too late in history to have been written by Judas. Irenaeus of Lyons wrote Against Heresies (approximately 180AD) arguing against Gnosticism and mentioned The Gospel of Judas, describing it as “fictitious history”. Epiphanius of Salamis, the bishop of Cyprus, also wrote a document called Heresies in which he condemned The Gospel of Judas for its favorable treatment of Judas.
J. Warner Wallace is a Cold-Case Detective, a Christian Case Maker, and the author of:
By Andy Davis
Scripture Memorization Commanded | Welcome to the rich and challenging journey of extended memorization of Scripture! You are about to embark on one of the most searching and rewarding exercises of spiritual and mental labor anyone could ever attempt: the memorizing of whole chapters and books of the Bible. This effort will challenge you to the depths of your being. Not simply because memorizing is hard work (it is), but because the verses themselves will search your souls with the light of God’s perfect Word. Some days memorizing are harder than others, and it gets harder as you get older and busier. But the rewards of knowledge of God’s Word and of growing intimacy with Christ will make all your labor in the face of these challenges worthwhile.
As you face the challenges of extended memorization, it is good to know whether God is commanding you to do this. Scripture is very clear that God does not want us to innovate when it comes to pleasing Him: He wants simple obedience. “To obey is better than sacrifice.” (1 Samuel 15:22) Jesus said “If you love me, you will obey what I command.” (John 14:15) Now the incredible beauty of the Christian life is that we learn that the Lord will enable us to keep all His commands by the power of the Holy Spirit. Ezekiel 36:27 promises that God will put His Spirit in us and move us to follow His commands and be careful to keep His laws. If this is so, the amazing power of the New Covenant in Christ is that God’s commands become promises of what He will do in our lives by His Spirit.
So, has God commanded us to memorize Scripture? Yes, I believe He has in many places, and that Scripture encourages memorization in other places. Let’s look at some key passages.
In John 15, Jesus likens Himself to a vine and believers as branches that must abide (or live, dwell, remain) in Him in order to stay alive and be fruitful.
In John 15:7-8, Jesus gets even more specific, saying that if we remain in Him and His words (plural!) remain/live/dwell/abide in us, then we may ask whatever we wish and it will be given to us.
3 things John Calvin teaches us about writing
By Obbie Tyler Todd
Remarkably, when John Calvin became pastor in Geneva in 1536, he still lacked an official degree in theology from an academic institution. Neither had he submitted to any kind of ecclesiastical examination. Nevertheless, in addition to his studies in logic, languages, and civic law, the French Reformer was also a master of communication. His style was so fluid that many scholars have even identified him as the inventor of modern French sentence structure.
Like Luther’s Bible in German, Calvin’s Institutes were equally influential for the French language. In his book John Calvin: A Pilgrim's Life (2009), Herman J. Selderhuis described Calvin as a “sort of verbal decathlete modeled after the Old Testament prophet.”
As a civil leader, pastor, theologian, apologist, statesman, and ambassador, he wrote with concision and precision. Apart from his sublime theology, John Calvin’s writing remains a homiletic standard for those seeking to convey deep theological truths in a prosaic style. The following are three principles of theological writing pastors and theologians can glean from the man Wolfgang Musculus once described as a “bow always strung.”
1. WRITE WITH BREVITY | It was John Calvin’s belief that “the chief virtue of an interpreter lies in clear brevity.” The craft and skill of a theologian lies not in the length of an argument but in its content and persuasive power. Calvin’s language was rarely ostentatious. For this reason he once wrote to Zurich Reformer and Zwingli protégé Heinrich Bullinger, “I have always loved simplicity; and never cared much for cleverness.”
Calvin described his way of teaching as “too simple to be considered suspect, and at the same time too detailed for it to be called unclear.” This penchant for brevitas, however, did not imply that his discourses were also brief. Most of Calvin’s sermons lasted at least one hour, and their duration was measured using an hourglass. Short sentences did not mean short sermons. Still, Calvin was convinced that his purposes for the Institutes of the Christian Religion could be achieved without wordiness:
An NFL Hall of Famer’s Balanced Perspective on the NFL Controversy
By Joseph D'Hippolito 10/26/2017
An NFL Hall of Famer who devoted himself to civil rights after his playing career hardly fits the stereotype of a conservative.
Jim Brown, the NFL’s all-time leading rusher when he retired from the Cleveland Browns in 1966, organized the Negro Industrial Economic Union that year to stimulate investment in black businesses. (It was later renamed the Black Economic Union.)
In 1967, he organized a meeting with such athletes as Bill Russell and Lew Alcindor (now Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) to support Muhammad Ali, who cited religious reasons for refusing to join the military when drafted. In 1988, Brown founded the Amer-I-Can Foundation to teach marketable skills and emotional maturity to those susceptible to drugs and crime.
“I was fighting for freedom, equality and justice every day of my life,” Brown told the Cleveland Plain Dealer in 2013. “I was always active to create equal opportunity and to use whatever money or power I had to affect social change.”
‘This is my Country’ | But Brown’s opinion of quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s protest against police treatment of blacks by kneeling during the pre-game national anthem hardly fits the stereotype of a social activist.
Prisoner Number 2491 The Inspiring Story of the First Nazi Martyr
By Nathan Tarr 10/28/2017
Dietrich Bonhoeffer was in London when he heard of Paul Schneider’s death. He gathered his nieces and nephews to tell them.
“Children, you must never forget the name of Paul Schneider. He is our first martyr.”
Schneider, like Martin Niemöller and Bonhoeffer himself, were members of the Confessing Church, pastors who would not bow the knee to Nazism, but confessed allegiance to Christ at any cost.
And Schneider was the first of them to seal his gospel witness with his blood.
To Rebuild a Heartbroken Humanity | At the end of World War I, Paul Schneider returned from the western front to a Germany in ruins. It changed the trajectory of his life. He had entered the army with plans to become a doctor. Now he was confronted with a brokenness that went beyond a doctor’s skill to heal. He recorded,
Church Membership Has Left Me Relationally Jaded
By John Piper 10/27/2017
Today’s question comes from a listener named Barb. “Pastor John, hello! I’ve been blessed to be in the same local church for twelve years. It’s a very good church. Nevertheless, over those years, I have seen most of the congregation come and go. People who walked with me through difficult life circumstances have left, and I have started over. I feel more and more lonely as the time passes, mostly because I feel myself becoming more cynical, cautious, and superficial with new people. It is hard work getting to know them, and I know they will likely move on before long. What would you say to a Christian who is growing relationally jaded by membership turnover?”
I would love to help Barb overcome the drift because it is a sinful drift even if an understandable one. The drift toward cynicism or anger or low-grade bitterness is wrong if for no other reason than it won’t solve her problem but only make her life more sad and miserable. Her sense of abandonment will become a self-fulfilling prophecy because nobody wants to be around a bitter person. Several things come to my mind that might help. Let me just offer them to Barb and see if they might be of service.
While Waiting | First, keep a clear biblical view of this life — this earthly life, this church life, this family life. This earthly life is a season of partly joyful and partly painful waiting for the fulfillment of all God’s promises. We need a mindset of waiting in an imperfect situation. Much of our frustration (I speak for myself at least) comes from having wrong expectations about what this world and even this age of church life will be.
We expect a better church, a better marriage, better kids, better government, better health, better friends. And the reality falls short. The more it falls short of these expectations the more it will make us cynical and bitter. I know that God is willing to do great things for us, but most of the time we are dealing with people, including the one in the mirror, who fall short of what we hope for. Therefore, we need a mindset about this age that is sober and marked by the long view of patient waiting.
Like James says, “Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord.” That’s a long, long patience. It might be to the end of your life. “See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains. You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not grumble against one another” (James 5:7–9).
John Piper Books:
- Reading the Bible Supernaturally: Seeing and Savoring the Glory of God in Scripture
- Don't Waste Your Life
- Desiring God, Revised Edition: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist
- When I Don't Desire God (Redesign): How to Fight for Joy
- A Peculiar Glory: How the Christian Scriptures Reveal Their Complete Truthfulness
- Future Grace, Revised Edition: The Purifying Power of the Promises of God
- When the Darkness Will Not Lift: Doing What We Can While We Wait for God--and Joy
- This Momentary Marriage: A Parable of Permanence
- Five Points: Towards a Deeper Experience of God's Grace
- Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ (Revised Edition)
- Living in the Light: Money, Sex and Power
- The Pleasures of God: Meditations on God's Delight in Being God
- Taste and See: Savoring the Supremacy of God in All of Life
- A Camaraderie of Confidence: The Fruit of Unfailing Faith in the Lives of Charles Spurgeon, George Müller, and Hudson Taylor
- A Camaraderie of Confidence: The Fruit of Unfailing Faith in the Lives of Charles Spurgeon, George Müller, and Hudson Taylor
- Let the Nations Be Glad!: The Supremacy of God in Missions
- God Is the Gospel: Meditations on God's Love as the Gift of Himself
- Rethinking Retirement: Finishing Life for the Glory of Christ
- The Legacy of Sovereign Joy: God's Triumphant Grace in the Lives of Augustine, Luther, and Calvin
- Doctrine Matters: Ten Theological Trademarks From a Lifetime of Preaching
- A Hunger for God (Redesign): Desiring God through Fasting and Prayer
- The Dangerous Duty of Delight: The Glorified God and the Satisfied Soul
- Battling Unbelief: Defeating Sin with Superior Pleasure
- Brothers, We Are Not Professionals: A Plea to Pastors for Radical Ministry, Updated and Expanded Edition
- The Supremacy of God in Preaching
- Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (Redesign): A Response to Evangelical Feminism
- Risk Is Right: Better to Lose Your Life Than to Waste It
- Filling Up the Afflictions of Christ: The Cost of Bringing the Gospel to the Nations in the Lives of William Tyndale, Adoniram Judson, and John Paton (The Swans Are Not Silent)
- A Godward Heart: Treasuring the God Who Loves You
- The Roots of Endurance: Invincible Perseverance in the Lives of John Newton, Charles Simeon, and William Wilberforce
- Don't Waste Your Cancer
- Bloodlines: Race, Cross, and the Christian
- The Hidden Smile of God: The Fruit of Affliction in the Lives of John Bunyan, William Cowper, and David Brainerd
- Seeing Beauty and Saying Beautifully: The Power of Poetic Effort in the Work of George Herbert, George Whitefield, and C. S. Lewis
- Suffering and the Sovereignty of God
- Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist
- The Justification of God: An Exegetical and Theological Study of Romans 9:1-23
- Finally Alive
- A Godward Life: Seeing the Supremacy of God in All of Life
- Spectacular Sins (Redesign): And Their Global Purpose in the Glory of Christ
- Pierced by the Word: Thirty-One Meditations for Your Soul
- God's Passion for His Glory: Living the Vision of Jonathan Edwards (With the Complete Text of The End for Which God Created the World)
- Life as a Vapor: Thirty-One Meditations for Your Faith
- Think: The Life of the Mind and the Love of God
- 50 Crucial Questions: An Overview of Central Concerns about Manhood and Womanhood
- What Jesus Demands from the World (Paperback Edition)
- What's the Difference?: Manhood and Womanhood Defined According to the Bible
- Contending for Our All: Defending Truth and Treasuring Christ in the Lives of Athanasius, John Owen, and J. Gresham Machen
- Finish the Mission: Bringing the Gospel to the Unreached and Unengaged
- John Calvin and His Passion for the Majesty of God
- A Hunger for God: Desiring God through Fasting and Prayer
- Does God Desire All to Be Saved?
- Preparing for Marriage: Help for Christian Couples
- The Dawning of Indestructible Joy: Daily Readings for Advent
- The Future of Justification: A Response to N. T. Wright
- The Satisfied Soul: Showing the Supremacy of God in All of Life
- Thinking. Loving. Doing.: A Call to Glorify God with Heart and Mind
- A Hunger for God (Redesign): Desiring God through Fasting and Prayer
- Quest for Joy (Pack of 25) (Proclaiming the Gospel)
- Ruth: Under the Wings of God
- Not a Day Care: The Devastating Consequences of Abandoning Truth
84 Confirmed Facts in the Last 16 Chapters of the Book of Acts
By Chab123 (Eric Chabot) 4/26/2012
In his book The Book of Acts in the Setting of Hellenistic History, the late classics scholar Colin Hemer identified 84 facts in the last 16 chapters of the Book of Acts that have been confirmed by historical and/or archaeological research.
They are as follows:
1. the natural crossing between correctly named ports [Acts 13:4-5]
2. the proper port [Perga] along the direct destination of a ship crossing from Cyprus [13:13]
3. the proper location of Lycaonia [14:6]
4. the unusual but correct declension of the name Lystra [14:6]
5. the correct language spoken in Lystra-Lycaonian [14:11]
6. two gods known to be so associated-Zeus and Hermes [14:12]
7. the proper port, Attalia, which returning travelers would use [14:25]
8. the correct order of approach to Derbe and then Lystra from the Cilician Gates [16:1; cf. 15:41]
9. the proper form of the name Troas [16:8]
10. the place of a conspicuous sailors’ landmark, Samothrace [12:14]
11. the proper description of Philippi as a Roman colony [16:12]
12. the right location fro the river [Gangites] near Philippi [12:13]
13. the proper association of Thyatira as a center of dyeing [16:14]
14. correct designations for the magistrates of the colony [16:22]
15. the proper locations [Amphipolis and Apollonia] where travelers would spend successive nights on this journey [17:1]
16. the presence of a synagogue in Thessalonica [17:1]
17. the proper term [“politarchs”] used of the magistrates there [17:6]
18. the correct implication that sea travel is the most convenient way of reaching Athens, with the favoring east winds of summer sailing [17:14-15]
19. the abundant presence of images in Athens [17:16]
20. the reference to a synagogue in Athens [17:17]
21. the depiction of the Athenian life of philosophical debate in the Agora [17:17]
22. the use of the correct Athenian slang word for Paul [spermologos, 17:18] as well as for the court [Areios pagos, 17:19]
23. the proper characterization of the Athenian character [17:21]
24. an alter to an “unknown god” [17:23]
25. the proper reaction of Greek philosophers, who denied the bodily resurrection [17:32]
26. Areopagites as the correct title for a member of the court [17:34]
27. A Corinthian synagogue [18:4]
28. the correct designation of Gallio as proconsul, resident in Corinth [18:12]
29. the bema [judgement seat], which overlooks Corinth’s forum [18:16ff.]
30. the name Tyrannus as attested from Ephesus in first-century inscriptions [19:9]
31. well-known shrines and images of Artemis [19:24]
32. the well attested “great goddess Artemis” [19:27]
33. that the Ephesian theater was the meeting place of the city [19:29]
34. the correct title grammateus for the chief executive magistrate in Ephesus [19:35]
35. the proper title of honor neokoros, authorized by the Romans [19:35]
36. the correct name to designate the goddess [19:37]
37. the proper term for those holding court [19:38]
38. use of plural anthupatori, perhaps a remarkable reference to the fact that two men were conjointly exercising the functions of proconsul at this time [19:38]
39. the “regular” assembly, as the precise phrase is attested elsewhere [19:39]
40. use of precise ethnic designation, beroiaios [20:4]
41. employment of the ethnic term Asianos [20:4]
42. the implied recognition of the strategic importance assigned to this city of Troas [20:7ff.]
43. the danger of the coastal trip in this location [20:13]
44. the correct sequence of places [20:14-15]
45. the correct name of the city as a neuter plural [Patara] [21:1]
46. the appropriate route passing across the open sea south of Cyprus favored by persistent northwest winds [21:3]
47. the suitable distance between these cities [21:8]
48. a characteristically Jewish act of piety [21:24]
49. the Jewish law regarding Gentile use of the temple area [21:28] [Archaeological discoveries and quotations from Josephus confirm that Gentiles could be executed for entering the temple area. One inscription reads: “Let no Gentile enter within the balustrade and enclosure surrounding the sanctuary. Whoever is caught will be personally responsible for his consequent death.”]
50. the permanent stationing of a Roman cohort [chiliarch]at Antonia to suppress any disturbance at festival times [21:31]
51. the flight of steps used by the guards [21:31, 35]
52. the common way to obtain Roman citizenship at this time [22:28]
53. the tribune being impressed with Roman rather than Tarsian citizenship [22:29]
54. Ananias being high priest at this time [23:2]
55. Felix being governor at this time [23:34]
56. the natural shopping point on the way to Caesarea [23:31]
57. whose jurisdiction Cilicia was in at the time [23:34]
58. the provincial penal procedure of the time [24:1-9]
59. the name Porcius Festus, which agrees precisely with that given by Josephus [24:27]
60. the right of appeal for Roman citizens [25:11]
61. the correct legal formula [25:18]
62. the characteristic form of reference to the emperor at the time [25:26]
63. the best shipping lanes at the time [27:5]
64. the common bonding of Cilicia and Pamphylia [27:4]
65. the principal port to find a ship sailing to Italy [27:5-6]
66. the slow passage to Cnidus, in the fact of the typical northwest wind [27:7]
67. the right route to sail, in view of the winds [27:7]
68. the locations of Fair Havens and the neighboring site of Lasea [27:8]
69. Fair Havens as a poorly sheltered roadstead [27:7]
70. a noted tendency of a south wind in these climes to back suddenly to a violent northeaster, the well-known gregale [27:13]
71. the nature of a square-rigged ancient ship, having no option but to be driven before a gale [27:15]
72. the precise place and name of this island [27:16]
73. the appropriate maneuvers for the safety of the ship in its particular plight [27:16]
74. the fourteenth night-a remarkable calculation, based inevitably on a compounding of estimates and probabilities, confirmed in the judgement of experienced Mediterranean navigators [27:27]
75. the proper term of the time for the Adriatic [27:27]
76. the precise term [Bolisantes] for taking soundings, and the correct depth of the water near Malta [27:28]
77. a position that suits the probable line of approach of a ship released to run before an easterly wind [27:39]
78. the severe liability on guards who permitted a prisoner to escape [27:42]
79. the local people and superstitions of the day [28:4-6]
80. the proper title protos tes nesou [28:7]
81. Regium as a refuge to await a southerly wind to carry them through the strait [28:13]
82. Appii Forum and Tres Tabernae as correctly placed stopping places on the Appian Way [28:15]
83. appropriate means of custody with Roman soliders [28:16]
84. the conditions of imprisonment, living “at his own expense” [28:30-31] 
Motivating God’s people to understand the need for outreach and apologetic training, contemporary issues in the culture, the need for Christians to engage the university, confronting the current intellectual crisis in the local congregation, philosophy of religion, epistemology, the resurrection, Christian origins, the relationship between early Christology and Jewish monotheism, the relationship between the Tanakh (acronym that is formed from the first three parts of the Hebrew Bible: Torah (the first five books of the Bible), Nevi’ im (the Prophets), and K’ tuvim (the Writings) and the New Testament, the relationship between Israel and the church, Christian theism and other worldviews, apologetic systems, historical method, the genre of the New Testament, the relationship between science and theology, and biblical hermeneutics.
Ministry Experience: Campus outreach minister since 2004.
Founder and Director of Ratio Christi, an apologetics ministry at the The Ohio State University. Website: http://ratiochristi.org/. We have had several well known speakers to the campus such as William Lane Craig, Frank Turek, Michael Licona, Michael Brown, Paul Nelson and others. We have also done students debates on the campus.
By R.C. Sproul
“The sinfulness of sin” sounds like a vacuous redundancy that adds no information to the subject under discussion. However, the necessity of speaking of the sinfulness of sin has been thrust upon us by a culture and even a church that has diminished the significance of sin itself. Sin is communicated in our day in terms of making mistakes or of making poor choices. When I take an examination or a spelling test, if I make a mistake, I miss a particular word. It is one thing to make a mistake. It is another to look at my neighbor’s paper and copy his answers in order to make a good grade. In this case, my mistake has risen to the level of a moral transgression. Though sin may be involved in making mistakes as a result of slothfulness in preparation, nevertheless, the act of cheating takes the exercise to a more serious level. Calling sin “making poor choices” is true, but it is also a euphemism that can discount the severity of the action. The decision to sin is indeed a poor one, but once again, it is more than a mistake. It is an act of moral transgression.
In my book The Truth of the Cross I spend an entire chapter discussing this notion of the sinfulness of sin. I begin that chapter by using the anecdote of my utter incredulity when I received a recent edition of Bartlett's Familiar Quotations. Though I was happy to receive this free issue, I was puzzled as to why anyone would send it to me. As I leafed through the pages of quotations that included statements from Immanuel Kant, Aristotle, Thomas Aquinas, and others, to my complete astonishment I came upon a quotation from me. That I was quoted in such a learned collection definitely surprised me. I was puzzled by what I could have said that merited inclusion in such an anthology, and the answer was found in a simple statement attributed to me: “Sin is cosmic treason.” What I meant by that statement was that even the slightest sin that a creature commits against his Creator does violence to the Creator’s holiness, His glory, and His righteousness. Every sin, no matter how seemingly insignificant, is an act of rebellion against the sovereign God who reigns and rules over us and as such is an act of treason against the cosmic King.
Cosmic treason is one way to characterize the notion of sin, but when we look at the ways in which the Scriptures describe sin, we see three that stand out in importance. First, sin is a debt; second, it is an expression of enmity; third, it is depicted as a crime. In the first instance, we who are sinners are described by Scripture as debtors who cannot pay their debts. In this sense, we are talking not about financial indebtedness but a moral indebtedness. God has the sovereign right to impose obligations upon His creatures. When we fail to keep these obligations, we are debtors to our Lord. This debt represents a failure to keep a moral obligation.
The second way in which sin is described biblically is as an expression of enmity. In this regard, sin is not restricted merely to an external action that transgresses a divine law. Rather, it represents an internal motive, a motive that is driven by an inherent hostility toward the God of the universe. It is rarely discussed in the church or in the world that the biblical description of human fallenness includes an indictment that we are by nature enemies of God. In our enmity toward Him, we do not want to have Him even in our thinking, and this attitude is one of hostility toward the very fact that God commands us to obey His will. It is because of this concept of enmity that the New Testament so often describes our redemption in terms of reconciliation. One of the necessary conditions for reconciliation is that there must be some previous enmity between at least two parties. This enmity is what is presupposed by the redeeming work of our Mediator, Jesus Christ, who overcomes this dimension of enmity.
- 1 The Consequences of Ideas: Understanding the Concepts that Shaped Our World
- 2 The Holiness of God
- 3 Chosen by God
- 4 Essential Truths of the Christian Faith
- 5 What Is Reformed Theology?: Understanding the Basics
- 6 Knowing Scripture
- 7 The Donkey Who Carried a King
- 8 Defending Your Faith: An Introduction to Apologetics
- 9 Be Still, My Soul: Embracing God's Purpose and Provision in Suffering
- 10 Romans
- 11 Everyone's A Theologian
- 12 John (St. Andrew's Expositional Commentary)
- 13 Classic Teachings on the Nature of God: The Holiness of God; Chosen by God; Pleasing God—Three Books in One
- 14 The Priest with Dirty Clothes
- 15 Are We Together? A Protestant Analyzes Roman Catholicism
- 16 The Work of Christ: What the Events of Jesus' Life Mean for You
- 17 The Barber Who Wanted to Pray
- 18 God's Love: How the Infinite God Cares for His Children
- 19 The Prince's Poison Cup
- 20 Mark: St. Andrews Expositional Commentary
- 21 The Mystery of the Holy Spirit
- 22 Does Prayer Change Things? (Crucial Questions)
- 23 The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version Hardcover
- 24 Now, That's a Good Question!
- 25 The Intimate Marriage: A Practical Guide to Building a Great Marriage
- 26 O Love That Will Not Let Me Go: Facing Death with Courageous Confidence in God
- 27 The Prayer of the Lord
- 28 After Darkness, Light: Distinctives of Reformed Theology: Essays in Honor of R. C. Sproul
- 29 The Last Days according to Jesus: When Did Jesus Say He Would Return?
- 30 The Lightlings
- 31 Who Is the Holy Spirit? (Crucial Questions)
- 32 Classical Apologetics
- 33 Surprised by Suffering: The Role of Pain and Death in The Christian Life
- 34 Faith Alone: The Evangelical Doctrine of Justification
- 35 What is the Trinity? (Crucial Questions)
- 36 The King Without a Shadow
- 37 Reason to Believe: A Response to Common Objections to Christianity
- 38 Unseen Realities: Heaven, Hell, Angels and Demons
- 39 Ultimate Issues
- 40 Can I Be Sure I'm Saved? (Crucial Questions )
- 41 How Should I Think about Money? (Crucial Questions)
- 42 What is Repentance? (Crucial Questions)
- 43 Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus: Experiencing the Peace and Promise of Christmas
- 44 Does God Control Everything? (Crucial Questions)
- 45 Feed My Sheep: A Passionate Plea for Preaching
- 46 Can I Know God's Will? (Crucial Questions)
- 47 Getting the Gospel Right: The Tie That Binds Evangelicals Together
- 48 Who Is Jesus? (Crucial Questions)
- 49 Can I Trust the Bible? (Crucial Questions)
- 50 Holy Bible: New Geneva Study Bible, NKJV
- 51 Sola Scriptura: The Protestant Position on the Bible
- 52 What is Baptism? (Crucial Questions)
- 53 A Walk With God: Luke
- 54 Cómo defender su fe (Una Introduccion a La Apologetica)
- 55 Saved from What?
- 56 What Is Faith? (Crucial Questions)
- 57 Lifeviews
- 58 What Does It Mean to Be Born Again? (Crucial Questions)
- 59 Grace Unknown: The Heart of Reformed Theology
- 60 The Invisible Hand: Do All Things Really Work for Good?
- 61 Can I Have Joy in My Life? (Crucial Questions (Reformation Trust))
- 62 Knowing Scripture (First) (1/26/09)
- 63 The Truth of the Cross
- 64 Justified by Faith Alone
- 65 The Gospel of God: Romans
- 66 Pleasing God: Discovering the Meaning and Importance of Sanctification
Apologetics: Why is the world broken?
By Rob Phillips 10/13/2017
Nearly everyone admits the world is broken, at least to some extent. There’s a disconnect between “what is” and “what ought to be.”
People pursue happiness, only to die sad and alone.
Our stuff wears out, loses its luster, or gets stolen.
Buses run late, baristas can’t make a decent latte, and the wrong team wins the Super Bowl.
Worse, evil runs rampant. ISIS bombs innocent concert-goers. Governments starve their people, even in resource-rich countries. Twitter wars trash reputations.
The Story of Reality
By Tim Challies 1/10/2017
I was wrong. I read the opening words of The Story of Reality: How the World Began, How It Ends, and Everything Important that Happens in Between and thought, “Here we go again.” Over the past few years we’ve been inundated with books that tell the story of the world, the story of history, through what we might call a biblical-theology lens. You are probably familiar with the standard categories: creation, fall, redemption, consummation, and new creation. Through these headings we can trace and tell the story of what God is accomplishing in this world. It’s helpful, it’s good, and it’s been done a lot recently to the benefit of the church. But this book is not that book. Not quite.
Greg Koukl’s The Story of Reality: How the World Began, How It Ends, and Everything Important that Happens in Between is, indeed, a telling of the story of the world through a five-part wide-angle lens. The subtitle nicely fills it out: “How the World Began, How it Ends, and Everything Important that Happens in Between.” But what sets his book apart is that instead of serving primarily as a theology text, it serves primarily as an apologetic text. Koukl tells this big story for the benefit of new believers who haven’t yet assembled the various components of the faith into a coherent whole. He tells it also for unbelievers who are approaching the Christian faith as skeptics or seekers.
Koukl means to show that the Bible makes sense of the entire world, that it forms the basis for a cohesive, coherent, satisfying worldview. In her foreword, Nancy Pearcey says it like this: “The Bible is not a fairy tale crafted by ancient people to give a sense of meaning to life. It is an account of reality. [Koukl] calls it a story only because, amazingly, it turns out that reality itself is structured like a great drama: It has a beginning and an end; it features a struggle between good and evil; it reaches a climax and then resolves into denouement and a finale. The cosmos is not just a succession of brute facts. It is the plotline of a grand story that God is telling through the verifiable events of history.”
Koukl structures his telling of the story of reality around five themes: God, Man, Jesus, Cross, and Resurrection. Under the heading of God, he distinguishes between theism and two of the major contemporary challenges: Matter-ism and Mind-ism—that there is no God or that everything is god. He defends theism and the Christian understanding of God as a real, personable, eternal being. Under Man he describes humanity as beautiful, broken, lost, and evil and shows why God must express wrath toward those who defy him.
Then he turns to Jesus, defending him as a historical figure and showing that he came to rescue those beautiful, broken objects of God’s wrath. Cross tells of the great transaction that occurred at the cross which allows us to take advantage of a great exchange through which we give Christ our sin and he gives us his righteousness. Resurrection tells of the resurrection of Jesus and shows how his rising from the dead offers hope that we, too, can and will rise forever. It tells also of the devastating reality of an eternal judgment and calls on the reader to turn to Christ in repentance and faith. “You have one of two choices. You can bend your knee to the Sovereign, beg for mercy because of Christ, be welcomed into his family as a son or daughter, and belong to him. Or you can reject the gift, stand alone at the judgment, and pay for your own crimes against God, such as they are.”
Tim Challies: I am a Christian, a husband to Aileen and a father to three children aged 10 to 16. I worship and serve as an elder at Grace Fellowship Church in Toronto, Ontario. I am a book reviewer, co-founder of Cruciform Press, and have written five books:
I began my web site in 2002 and have been writing there daily since 2003. It is my place to think out loud and in public while also sharing some of the interesting things I’ve discovered in my online travels.
Tim Challies Books:
Devotionals, notes, poetry and more
Words to Live By in Troubled Times (2)
(Oct 30) Bob Gass
‘The word of our God stands forever.’
(Is 40:8) 8 The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever. ESV
Are you ready for more of God’s wonderful promises? 1) ‘Let all those who…put their trust in You rejoice…because You…defend them; let those also who love Your name…be in high spirits’ (Psalm 5:11 AMPC). 2) ‘The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms; He will thrust out the enemy from before you’ (Deuteronomy 33:27 NKJV). 3) ‘The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him’ (Nahum 1:7 KJV). 4) ‘Fear not…for I am with you…I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties, yes, I will help you…I will hold you up…with My [victorious] right hand’ (Isaiah 41:10 AMPC). 5) ‘You protect them by your presence from what people plan against them. You shelter them from evil words’ (Psalm 31:20 NCV). 6) ‘Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the LORD forever’ (Psalm 23:6 NLT). 7) ‘The Lord stood at my side and gave me strength…The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom’ (2 Timothy 4:17-18 NIV 2011 Edition). 8) ‘Those who know your name trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you’ (Psalm 9:10 NIV 2011 Edition). 9) ‘This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness’ (Lamentations 3:21-23 NKJV).10) ‘In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, LORD, make me dwell in safety’ (Psalm 4:8 NIV 2011 Edition).
(Ps 5:11) 11 But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you. ESV
(Dt 33:27) 27 The eternal God is your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms. And he thrust out the enemy before you and said, ‘Destroy.’ ESV
(Na 1:7) 7 The LORD is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble; he knows those who take refuge in him. ESV
(Is 41:10) 10 fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. ESV
(Ps 31:20) 20 In the cover of your presence you hide them from the plots of men; you store them in your shelter from the strife of tongues. ESV
(Ps 23:6) 6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever. ESV
(2 Ti 4:17–18) 17 But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. 18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen. ESV
(Ps 9:10) 10 And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you. ESV
(La 3:21–23) 21 But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: 22 The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; 23 they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. ESV
(Ps 4:8) 8 In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety. ESV
UCB The Word For Today
by Bill Federer
John Adams was born this day, October 30, 1735. He signed the Declaration of Independence, was Vice-President under George Washington and was elected the second President of the United States. Later in life, John Adams wrote to Thomas Jefferson: “Have you ever found in history, one single example of a Nation thoroughly corrupted that was afterwards restored to virtue?… And without virtue, there can be no political liberty…. Will you tell me how to prevent luxury from producing effeminacy, intoxication, extravagance, vice and folly?… I believe no effort in favour of virtue is lost.”
by C.S. Lewis
Reflections on the Intimate Dialogue
Between Man and God
But every novelty prevents this. It fixes our attention on the service itself; and thinking about worship is a different thing from worshipping. The important question about the Grail was "for what does it serve?" "'Tis mad idolatry that makes the service greater than the god."
A still worse thing may happen. Novelty may fix our attention not even on the service but on the celebrant. You know what I mean. Try as one may to exclude it, the question "What on earth is he up to now?" will intrude. It lays one's devotion waste. There is really some excuse for the man who said, "Wish they'd remember that the charge to Peter was Feed my sheep; not Try experiments on my rats, or even, Teach my performing dogs new tricks."
Thus my whole liturgiological position really boils down to an entreaty for permanence and uniformity. I can make do with almost any kind of service whatever, if only it will stay put. But if each form is snatched away just when I am beginning to feel at home in it, then I can never make any progress in the art of worship. You give me no chance to acquire the trained habito dell’arte.
It may well be that some variations which seem to me merely matters of taste really involve grave doctrinal differences. But surely not all? For if grave doctrinal differences are really as numerous as variations in practice, then we shall have to conclude that no such thing• as the Church of England exists. And anyway, the Liturgical Fidget is not a purely Anglican phenomenon; I have heard Roman Catholics complain of it too.
And that brings me back to my starting point. The business of us laymen is simply to endure and make the best of it. Any tendency to a passionate preference for one type of service must be regarded simply as a temptation. Partisan "Churchmanships'' are my bete noire. And if we avoid them, may we not possibly perform a very useful function? The shepherds go off, "everyone to his own way," and vanish over diverse points of the horizon. If the sheep huddle patiently together and go on bleating, might they finally recall the shepherds? (Haven't English victories sometimes been won by the rank and file in spite of the generals?)
Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer
Compiled by Richard S. Adams
We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness.
God is the friend of silence.
See how nature - trees, flowers, grass- grows in silence;
see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence…
We need silence to be able to touch souls.
--- Mother Teresa
Rightly understood, faith is not a substitute for moral conduct but a means toward it. The tree does not serve in lieu of fruit but as an agent by which fruit is secured. Fruit, not trees, is the end God has in mind in yonder orchard; so Christ-like conduct is the end of Christian faith.
A.W. Tozer The Size of the Soul: Principles of Revival and Spiritual Growth by A. W. Tozer (2010-08-02)
... from here, there and everywhere
In Our Lord's Blood
Jesus was teaching about the purpose of his death. According to Paul and Matthew, Jesus’ words about the cup referred not only to his ‘blood’ but to the ‘new covenant’ associated with his blood, and Matthew adds further that his blood was to be shed ‘for the forgiveness of sins’. Here is the truly fantastic assertion that through the shedding of Jesus’ blood in death God was taking the initiative to establish a new pact or ‘covenant’ with his people, one of the greatest promises of which would be the forgiveness of sinners. What did he mean?
Many centuries previously God had entered into a covenant with Abraham, promising to bless him with a good land and an abundant posterity. God renewed this covenant at Mount Sinai, after rescuing Israel (Abraham’s descendants) from Egypt. He pledged himself to be their God and to make them his people. Moreover, this covenant was ratified with the blood of sacrifice: ‘Moses...took the blood, sprinkled it on the people and said, “This is the blood of the covenant that the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words.”’ Exod. 24:8. See also the covenant references in Isa. 42:6; 49:8; Zech. 9:11 and Heb. 9: 18–20 Hundreds of years passed, in which the people forsook God, broke his covenant and provoked his judgment, until one day in the seventh century bc the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah, saying:
‘The time is coming,’ declares the Lord,
‘when I will make a new covenant
with the house of Israel
and with the house of Judah.
It will not be like the covenant
I made with their forefathers
when I took them by the hand
to lead them out of Egypt,
because they broke my covenant,
though I was a husband to them,’
declares the Lord.
‘This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel
after that time,’ declares the Lord.
‘I will put my law in their minds
and write it on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.
No longer will a man teach his neighbour,
or a man his brother, saying, “Know the Lord,”
because they will all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest,’
declares the Lord.
‘For I will forgive their wickedness
and will remember their sins no more.’
More than six more centuries passed, years of patient waiting and growing expectancy, until one evening in an upper room in Jerusalem a Galilean peasant, carpenter by trade and preacher by vocation, dared to say in effect:
‘this new covenant, prophesied in Jeremiah, is about to be established; the forgiveness of sins promised as one of its distinctive blessings is about to become available; and the sacrifice to seal this covenant and procure this forgiveness will be the shedding of my blood in death.’
Is it possible to exaggerate the staggering nature of this claim? Here is Jesus’ view of his death. It is the divinely appointed sacrifice by which the new covenant with its promise of forgiveness will be ratified. He is going to die in order to bring his people into a new covenant relationship with God.
The Cross of Christ
Thanks to Meir Yona
Concerning The Sabbatic River Which Titus Saw As He Was Journeying Through Syria; And How The People Of Antioch Came With A Petition To Titus Against The Jews But Were Rejected By Him; As Also Concerning Titus's And Vespasian's Triumph.
1. Now Titus Caesar tarried some time at Berytus, as we told you before. He thence removed, and exhibited magnificent shows in all those cities of Syria through which he went, and made use of the captive Jews as public instances of the destruction of that nation. He then saw a river as he went along, of such a nature as deserves to be recorded in history; it runs in the middle between Arcea, belonging to Agrippa's kingdom, and Raphanea. It hath somewhat very peculiar in it; for when it runs, its current is strong, and has plenty of water; after which its springs fail for six days together, and leave its channel dry, as any one may see; after which days it runs on the seventh day as it did before, and as though it had undergone no change at all; it hath also been observed to keep this order perpetually and exactly; whence it is that they call it the Sabbatic River 7 that name being taken from the sacred seventh day among the Jews.
2. But when the people of Antioch were informed that Titus was approaching, they were so glad at it, that they could not keep within their walls, but hasted away to give him the meeting; nay, they proceeded as far as thirty furlongs, and more, with that intention. These were not the men only, but a multitude of women also with their children did the same; and when they saw him coming up to them, they stood on both sides of the way, and stretched out their right hands, saluting him, and making all sorts of acclamations to him, and turned back together with him. They also, among all the acclamations they made to him, besought him all the way they went to eject the Jews out of their city; yet did not Titus at all yield to this their petition, but gave them the bare hearing of it quietly. However, the Jews were in a great deal of terrible fear, under the uncertainty they were in what his opinion was, and what he would do to them. For Titus did not stay at Antioch, but continued his progress immediately to Zeugma, which lies upon the Euphrates, whither came to him messengers from Vologeses king of Parthia, and brought him a crown of gold upon the victory he had gained over the Jews; which he accepted of, and feasted the king's messengers, and then came back to Antioch. And when the senate and people of Antioch earnestly entreated him to come upon their theater, where their whole multitude was assembled, and expected him, he complied with great humanity; but when they pressed him with much earnestness, and continually begged of him that he would eject the Jews out of their city, he gave them this very pertinent answer: "How can this be done, since that country of theirs, whither the Jews must be obliged then to retire, is destroyed, and no place will receive them besides?" Whereupon the people of Antioch, when they had failed of success in this their first request, made him a second; for they desired that he would order those tables of brass to be removed on which the Jews' privileges were engraven. However, Titus would not grant that neither, but permitted the Jews of Antioch to continue to enjoy the very same privileges in that city which they had before, and then departed for Egypt; and as he came to Jerusalem in his progress, and compared the melancholy condition he saw it then in, with the ancient glory of the city, and called to mind the greatness of its present ruins, as well as its ancient splendor, he could not but pity the destruction of the city, so far was he from boasting that so great and goodly a city as that was had been by him taken by force; nay, he frequently cursed those that had been the authors of their revolt, and had brought such a punishment upon the city; insomuch that it openly appeared that he did not desire that such a calamity as this punishment of theirs amounted to should be a demonstration of his courage. Yet was there no small quantity of the riches that had been in that city still found among its ruins, a great deal of which the Romans dug up; but the greatest part was discovered by those who were captives, and so they carried it away; I mean the gold and the silver, and the rest of that most precious furniture which the Jews had, and which the owners had treasured up under ground, against the uncertain fortunes of war.
3. So Titus took the journey he intended into Egypt, and passed over the desert very suddenly, and came to Alexandria, and took up a resolution to go to Rome by sea. And as he was accompanied by two legions, he sent each of them again to the places whence they had before come; the fifth he sent to Mysia, and the fifteenth to Pannonia: as for the leaders of the captives, Simon and John, with the other seven hundred men, whom he had selected out of the rest as being eminently tall and handsome of body, he gave order that they should be soon carried to Italy, as resolving to produce them in his triumph. So when he had had a prosperous voyage to his mind, the city of Rome behaved itself in his reception, and their meeting him at a distance, as it did in the case of his father. But what made the most splendid appearance in Titus's opinion was, when his father met him, and received him; but still the multitude of the citizens conceived the greatest joy when they saw them all three together, 8 as they did at this time; nor were many days overpast when they determined to have but one triumph, that should be common to both of them, on account of the glorious exploits they had performed, although the senate had decreed each of them a separate triumph by himself. So when notice had been given beforehand of the day appointed for this pompous solemnity to be made, on account of their victories, not one of the immense multitude was left in the city, but every body went out so far as to gain only a station where they might stand, and left only such a passage as was necessary for those that were to be seen to go along it.
The War of the Jews: The History of the Destruction of Jerusalem (complete edition, 7 books)
by D.H. Stern
along with the grain being crushed;
yet his foolishness will not leave him.
Complete Jewish Bible : An English Version of the Tanakh (Old Testament) and B'Rit Hadashah (New Testament)
A Daily Devotional by Oswald Chambers
Without faith it is impossible to please Him.
--- Hebrews 11:6.
Faith in antagonism to common sense is fanaticism, and common sense in antagonism to faith is rationalism. The life of faith brings the two into a right relation. Common sense is not faith, and faith is not common sense; they stand in the relation of the natural and the spiritual; of impulse and inspiration. Nothing Jesus Christ ever said is common sense, it is revelation sense, and it reaches the shores where common sense fails. Faith must be tried before the reality of faith is actual. “We know that all things work together for good,” then no matter what happens, the alchemy of God’s providence transfigures the ideal faith into actual reality. Faith always works on the personal line, the whole purpose of God being to see that the ideal faith is made real in His children. For every detail of the commonsense life, there is a revelation fact of God whereby we can prove in practical experience what we believe God to be. Faith is a tremendously active principle which always puts Jesus Christ first—‘Lord, Thou hast said so and so’ (e.g., Matthew 6:33), ‘it looks mad, but I am going to venture on Thy word.’ To turn head faith into a personal possession is a fight always, not sometimes. God brings us into circumstances in order to educate our faith, because the nature of faith is to make its object real. Until we know Jesus, God is a mere abstraction, we cannot have faith in Him; but immediately we hear Jesus say—“He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father,” we have something that is real, and faith is boundless. Faith is the whole man rightly related to God by the power of the Spirit of Jesus Christ.
My Utmost for His Highest: Quality Paperback Edition
the Poetry of R.S. Thomas
It was the eloquence of the unsaid
thing, the nobility of the deed
not performed. They looked sideways
into each other's eyes, met casually
by intention. It was the significance
of an absence, the deprecation
of what was there, the failure
to prove anything that proved his point.
Richness is in the ability
of poverty to conceal itself.
After the curtains deliberately
kept drawn, his phrases were servants moving
silently about the great house of his prose
letting in sunlight into the empty rooms.
the Poetry of R.S. Thomas
Not for long.
After the dark
After the first light
After the calm the wind,
Creasing the water.
After the silence
Sound of the wild birds,
The fox and the hare.
And all these at one,
Part of the tearless content
Of the eye's lens.
But over the sunlight
Of the first man.
THE BREAD OF TRUTH
Maimonides: Torah and Philosophic Quest
Allegiance to community and to its recognized authorities may be the source of man’s understanding of the world and of God if it can be shown that tradition-based convictions are never in discord with the proven truths of reason. This procedure makes it possible for the individual to participate in two “communities”: With the universal community of rational men, he shares truths which are established through demonstrative reason, while retaining his particular community’s beliefs based upon loyalty to its authorities. Acceptance of beliefs based upon communal authority does not entail that one must doubt the capacity of reason to establish truth. The tradition will always agree with reason when the problem is within the domain in which reason is completely competent, e.g., in demonstrating that God is non-corporeal. Demonstrative arguments are never susceptible to refutation by claims based upon authority.
A similar approach to the Halakhah has been established by Maimonides. Just as a prophet cannot argue from his authority in law matters derived from hermeneutic reasoning, so does Maimonides insist that he cannot argue from authority about truths that are based upon demonstrative reason. The prophet must cast off his mantle of authority in both the academies of legal and demonstrative reasoning.
In discussing the first two commandments of the Decalogue, Maimonides writes:
Now with regard to everything that can be known by demonstration, the status of the Prophet and that of everyone else who knows it are equal; there is no superiority of one over the other. Thus these two principles are not known through prophecy alone.
The first two commandments, since they are capable of being demonstrated by reason, are logically independent of the category of authority. All of Israel—in fact all rational men—can, in principle, share with Moses the same certainty regarding the truths of God’s unity and non-corporeality.
Another similarity between legal and speculative argumentation is noticeable from statements in the Mishneh Torah and the Guide. In both cases, disagreement with men of authority need not imply rejection of their authority.
In Halakhah, one may disagree with the statements of an authority without being accused of disloyalty to him if his claim is based upon legal reasoning.
In Hilkhot Mamrim, Maimonides stipulates the conditions required for the abrogation of legislation enacted by previous courts. In a case where the legislation was based solely on the authority of the courts, he writes:
If the Supreme Court instituted a decree, enacted an ordinance, or introduced a custom, which was universally accepted in Israel, and a later Supreme Court wishes to rescind the measure, to abolish the ordinance, decree, or custom, it is not empowered to do so, unless it is superior to the former both in point of wisdom and in point of number. If it is superior in wisdom but not in number, or in number but not in wisdom, it is denied the right to abrogate the measure adopted by its predecessor, even if the reason which prompted the latter to enact the decree or ordinance has lost all force.
But how is it possible for any Supreme Court to exceed another in number, seeing that each Supreme Court consists of seventy-one members? We include in the number the wise men of the age, who agree to and accept without demur the decision of the [contemporaneous] Supreme Court.
When, however, the legislation was derived from the application of the hermeneutic principles, the above requirements for legal charge do not apply:
If the Great Sanhedrin, by employing one of the hermeneutical principles, deduced a ruling which in its judgment was in consonance with the Law and rendered a decision to that effect, and a later Supreme Court finds a reason for setting aside the ruling, it may do so and act in accordance with its own opinion, as it is said: “[and appear before] the magistrate in charge at the time” (Deut. 17:9); that is, we are bound to follow the directions of the Court of our own generation.
In the former case, abrogation of the law would imply disloyalty to the authority of the previous court since the legislation was grounded solely in its authority to enact new legislation. In the latter case, however, since the enactment of law was based upon reasoned argument, the later court need not be greater in number and wisdom; in disagreeing with the decision of the previous court it was not questioning its superior legal authority. Similarly, about speculative truths, one may disagree with talmudic authorities when their arguments do not emanate from their positions of authority but from reason:
You should not find it blameworthy that the opinion of Aristotle disagrees with that of the Sages, may their memory be blessed, as to this point. For this opinion, I mean to say the one according to which the heavenly bodies produce sounds, is consequent upon the belief in a fixed sphere and in stars that return. You know, on the other hand, that in these astronomical matters they preferred the opinion of the sages of the nations of the world to their own. For they explicitly say: “The sages of the nations of the world have vanquished.” And this is correct. For everyone who argues in speculative matters does this according to the conclusions to which he was led by his speculation. Hence the conclusion whose demonstration is correct is believed.
Maimonides: Torah and Philosophic Quest
None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. --- 1 Corinthians 2:8
If Judas in [his] blundering way meant well, thinking that he knew better than his Master and—because he could not wait for him and his unhurried ways—sought to force his hand, God pity us! The Galilean Accent - Being Some Studies in the Christian Life For are we not all apt to do just that? Is the church ever quite free from a half-bewildered, half-fretful impatience that can’t trust to the steady drip, drip of the weekly services soaking into people’s souls; that is irritated by the seeming lack of results of his appointed methods; that must have the kingdom break in with a rush and a loud noise and all people taking note of it; that keeps seeking for a swift, immediate revival not at God’s time but now, in ours? Devising desperate expedients, trying to whistle up the winds of God! And they won’t come. And these futilities we thought so wise and good and clever end in nothing except robbing people of their hopes and so delaying what was in God’s mind to give us, what was coming and might have been here by now, had we not rushed in with our silly nothings, our machine-made revivals, our grotesque improvings on Christ.
It is not this way that real revivals rise, but, says Christ, like the winds. We hear the sound of them but cannot tell from where they come or where they go. A miner coming home from work is greeted in a courteous fashion by a friendly stranger, and somehow there on the road there rises up in his heart a passion of affection for other people that makes him give his life for them and sweeps them by the thousands into the kingdom!
God works in his own time, in his own ways. And if we try to dictate, to demand it must be now and in this fashion, only confusion comes of that. If we would cease our cunning engineering, our hot organizing, our continual talking and conferring, of which nothing ever seems to come but more conferring, if we would sit quiet and reverent in God’s presence and worship him and wait and give his voice a chance of reaching people—instead of ours—how much more we might see! For does our fussiness and cleverness do anything except this? Like Judas, we get in Christ’s way and hinder him, we who had meant to help were so sure we could help and had found the very way to do it! It was impatience with his methods, it was thinking he knew better than his Master, it was running on ahead of him, that, think some, was the sin of Judas, and that brought Christ to his cross. And who of us is not guilty of that?
--- Arthur John Gossip
Take Heart: Daily Devotions with the Church's Great Preachers
October 31, 1517 is the best-known date in Protestant history—the day Martin Luther nailed his convictions to the Wittenberg door. But an incident that happened 16 years before helps us understand Luther’s boldness. Rodrigo Borgia was named a cardinal in 1456, and “no sooner had he donned his red hat than he removed it, together with the rest of his raiment, for a marathon romp with a succession of women whose identity is unknown to us and may well have been unknown to him.”
His immorality only increased when, in 1492, he became Pope Alexander VI.
On October 30, 1501 Pope Alexander presided over the infamous “Ballet of the Chestnuts.” Guests approaching the papal palace saw living statutes of naked, gilded young people in erotic poses. Inside, after the dishes were cleared from the banquet hall, the city’s most beautiful prostitutes danced with the guests, shedding their clothes a bit at a time. Eventually the pope and his sons became judges of a contest in which guests stripped and performed with one another. Alexander awarded prizes to the men.
The corruption of the papacy continued under Alexander’s successor, Julius II, and when Luther visited Rome in 1510, he was shocked to find the papal court served by “twelve naked girls.” Down to his old age, Luther remembered seeing and hearing of sexual abominations taking place in the name of Christ by those who were thought to be spiritual leaders. He later wrote, “I would not have missed seeing Rome for a hundred thousand florins. If I did I should ever had been uneasy lest I might have done injustice to the pope.”
It was the demoralized nature of the papacy as much as its doctrinal failure that convinced Luther to risk prosecution and excommunication with fortitude. Holy living—personal purity—Luther knew, is married to pure doctrine, and the union is inseparable … for “the just shall live by faith.”
You are God’s people, so don’t let it be said that any of you are immoral or indecent or greedy. Don’t use dirty or foolish or filthy words. Instead, say how thankful you are. Being greedy, indecent, or immoral is just another way of worshiping idols.
--- Ephesians 5:3-5a.
On This Day 365 Amazing And Inspiring Stories About Saints, Martyrs And Heroes
Daily Readings / CHARLES H. SPURGEON
Morning - October 30
“I will praise thee, O Lord.” --- Psalm 9:1.
Praise should always follow answered prayer; as the mist of earth’s gratitude rises when the sun of heaven’s love warms the ground. Hath the Lord been gracious to thee, and inclined his ear to the voice of thy supplication? Then praise him as long as thou livest. Let the ripe fruit drop upon the fertile soil from which it drew its life. Deny not a song to him who hath answered thy prayer and given thee the desire of thy heart. To be silent over God’s mercies is to incur the guilt of ingratitude; it is to act as basely as the nine lepers, who after they had been cured of their leprosy, returned not to give thanks unto the healing Lord. To forget to praise God is to refuse to benefit ourselves; for praise, like prayer, is one great means of promoting the growth of the spiritual life. It helps to remove our burdens, to excite our hope, to increase our faith. It is a healthful and invigorating exercise which quickens the pulse of the believer, and nerves him for fresh enterprises in his Master’s service. To bless God for mercies received is also the way to benefit our fellow-men; “the humble shall hear thereof and be glad.” Others who have been in like circumstances shall take comfort if we can say, “Oh! magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together; this poor man cried, and the Lord heard him.” Weak hearts will be strengthened, and drooping saints will be revived as they listen to our “songs of deliverance.” Their doubts and fears will be rebuked, as we teach and admonish one another in Psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. They too shall “sing in the ways of the Lord,” when they hear us magnify his holy name. Praise is the most heavenly of Christian duties. The angels pray not, but they cease not to praise both day and night; and the redeemed, clothed in white robes, with palm-branches in their hands, are never weary of singing the new song, “Worthy is the Lamb.”
Evening - October 30
“Thou that dwellest in the gardens, the companions hearken to thy voice: cause me to hear it.” --- Song of Solomon 8:13.
My sweet Lord Jesus remembers well the garden of Gethsemane, and although he has left that garden, he now dwells in the garden of his church: there he unbosoms himself to those who keep his blessed company. That voice of love with which he speaks to his beloved is more musical than the harps of heaven. There is a depth of melodious love within it which leaves all human music far behind. Ten of thousands on earth, and millions above, are indulged with its harmonious accents. Some whom I well know, and whom I greatly envy, are at this moment hearkening to the beloved voice. O that I were a partaker of their joys! It is true some of these are poor, others bedridden, and some near the gates of death, but O my Lord, I would cheerfully starve with them, pine with them, or die with them, if I might but hear thy voice. Once I did hear it often, but I have grieved thy Spirit. Return unto me in compassion, and once again say unto me, “I am thy salvation.” No other voice can content me; I know thy voice, and cannot be deceived by another, let me hear it, I pray thee. I know not what thou wilt say, neither do I make any condition, O my Beloved, do but let me hear thee speak, and if it be a rebuke I will bless thee for it. Perhaps to cleanse my dull ear may need an operation very grievous to the flesh, but let it cost what it may I turn not from the one consuming desire, cause me to hear thy voice. Bore my ear afresh; pierce my ear with thy harshest notes, only do not permit me to continue deaf to thy calls. To-night, Lord, grant thine unworthy one his desire, for I am thine, and thou hast bought me with thy blood. Thou hast opened mine eye to see thee, and the sight has saved me. Lord, open thou mine ear. I have read thy heart, now let me hear thy lips.
Morning and Evening: A New Edition of the Classic Devotional Based on The Holy Bible, English Standard Version
HOLD THE FORT
Words and Music by Philip P. Bliss, 1838–1876
Only hold on to what you have until I come. (Revelation 2:25)
God’s call to each believer is to be obedient and faithful—not to seek a life of earthly success. Difficulties and defeats are a normal part of every Christian’s life. Our response to negative situations can either shatter us or they can intensify our perseverance and confidence in a sovereign God. It has been said that a mark of a champion athlete is not how he/she responds to a victory, but how a difficult loss on a previous day has been met.
As was true of so many of Philip P. Bliss’s Gospel songs, this stirring hymn was inspired by an illustration used by Major Whittle, an officer in the American Civil War, while addressing a YMCA meeting on the text from Revelation 2:25. Major Whittle’s illustration was about a small Northern force of soldiers in charge of guarding a great quantity of supplies. They were being hard pressed by greatly superior Confederate forces. Finally, the Confederate general, General French, commanded the Federal troops to surrender. At that moment the troops saw a signal from their leader, General Sherman, on a hill some miles away, which said, “Hold the fort, I am coming. Sherman.” The story so captivated Bliss’s interest that he could not retire that Evening until he had completed both the text and the music for this rousing Gospel song. It later became a great favorite in the Moody-Sankey campaigns both in Great Britain and in the United States.
We too have a commander now in heaven who has promised to return for us. Victory is certain! Our responsibility is to faithfully “hold the fort” and to “occupy till He comes” (Luke 19:13 KJV).
Ho, my comrades, see the signal waving in the sky! Reinforcements now appearing, victory is nigh.
See the mighty host advancing, Satan leading on; Mighty men around us falling, courage almost gone!
See the glorious banner waving! Hear the trumpet blow! In our Leader’s name we triumph over ev’ry foe.
Fierce and long the battle rages, but our help is near; Onward comes our great Commander—cheer, my comrades, cheer!
Chorus: “Hold the fort, for I am coming,” Jesus signals still; wave the answer back to heaven, “By Thy grace we will.”
For Today: Matthew 10:22; Romans 5:3; 2 Timothy 2:10; Hebrews 12:2, 6, 7; James 1:12
Reflect seriously on these lines: “Christ’s cause is hindered everywhere, and people are dying in despair. The reason why? Just think a bit—The church is full of those who quit.” Carry this musical truth with you ---
Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions
Monday, October 30, 2017 | After Pentecost
Proper 25, Monday
Psalms (Morning) Psalm 41, 52
Psalms (Evening) Psalm 44
Old Testament Zechariah 1:7–17
New Testament Revelation 1:4–20
Gospel Matthew 12:43–50
Index of Readings
Psalm 41, 52
41 To The Choirmaster. A Psalm Of David.
1 Blessed is the one who considers the poor!
In the day of trouble the LORD delivers him;
2 the LORD protects him and keeps him alive;
he is called blessed in the land;
you do not give him up to the will of his enemies.
3 The LORD sustains him on his sickbed;
in his illness you restore him to full health.
4 As for me, I said, “O LORD, be gracious to me;
heal me, for I have sinned against you!”
5 My enemies say of me in malice,
“When will he die, and his name perish?”
6 And when one comes to see me, he utters empty words,
while his heart gathers iniquity;
when he goes out, he tells it abroad.
7 All who hate me whisper together about me;
they imagine the worst for me.
8 They say, “A deadly thing is poured out on him;
he will not rise again from where he lies.”
9 Even my close friend in whom I trusted,
who ate my bread, has lifted his heel against me.
10 But you, O LORD, be gracious to me,
and raise me up, that I may repay them!
11 By this I know that you delight in me:
my enemy will not shout in triumph over me.
12 But you have upheld me because of my integrity,
and set me in your presence forever.
13 Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel,
from everlasting to everlasting!
Amen and Amen.
52 To The Choirmaster. A Maskil Of David, When Doeg, The Edomite, Came And Told Saul, “David Has Come To The House Of Ahimelech.”
1 Why do you boast of evil, O mighty man?
The steadfast love of God endures all the day.
2 Your tongue plots destruction,
like a sharp razor, you worker of deceit.
3 You love evil more than good,
and lying more than speaking what is right. Selah
4 You love all words that devour,
O deceitful tongue.
5 But God will break you down forever;
he will snatch and tear you from your tent;
he will uproot you from the land of the living. Selah
6 The righteous shall see and fear,
and shall laugh at him, saying,
7 “See the man who would not make
God his refuge,
but trusted in the abundance of his riches
and sought refuge in his own destruction!”
8 But I am like a green olive tree
in the house of God.
I trust in the steadfast love of God
forever and ever.
9 I will thank you forever,
because you have done it.
I will wait for your name, for it is good,
in the presence of the godly.
44 To The Choirmaster. A Maskil Of The Sons Of Korah.
1 O God, we have heard with our ears,
our fathers have told us,
what deeds you performed in their days,
in the days of old:
2 you with your own hand drove out the nations,
but them you planted;
you afflicted the peoples,
but them you set free;
3 for not by their own sword did they win the land,
nor did their own arm save them,
but your right hand and your arm,
and the light of your face,
for you delighted in them.
4 You are my King, O God;
ordain salvation for Jacob!
5 Through you we push down our foes;
through your name we tread down those who rise up against us.
6 For not in my bow do I trust,
nor can my sword save me.
7 But you have saved us from our foes
and have put to shame those who hate us.
8 In God we have boasted continually,
and we will give thanks to your name forever. Selah
9 But you have rejected us and disgraced us
and have not gone out with our armies.
10 You have made us turn back from the foe,
and those who hate us have gotten spoil.
11 You have made us like sheep for slaughter
and have scattered us among the nations.
12 You have sold your people for a trifle,
demanding no high price for them.
13 You have made us the taunt of our neighbors,
the derision and scorn of those around us.
14 You have made us a byword among the nations,
a laughingstock among the peoples.
15 All day long my disgrace is before me,
and shame has covered my face
16 at the sound of the taunter and reviler,
at the sight of the enemy and the avenger.
17 All this has come upon us,
though we have not forgotten you,
and we have not been false to your covenant.
18 Our heart has not turned back,
nor have our steps departed from your way;
19 yet you have broken us in the place of jackals
and covered us with the shadow of death.
20 If we had forgotten the name of our God
or spread out our hands to a foreign god,
21 would not God discover this?
For he knows the secrets of the heart.
22 Yet for your sake we are killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.
23 Awake! Why are you sleeping, O Lord?
Rouse yourself! Do not reject us forever!
24 Why do you hide your face?
Why do you forget our affliction and oppression?
25 For our soul is bowed down to the dust;
our belly clings to the ground.
26 Rise up; come to our help!
Redeem us for the sake of your steadfast love!
7 On the twenty-fourth day of the eleventh month, which is the month of Shebat, in the second year of Darius, the word of the LORD came to the prophet Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, son of Iddo, saying, 8 “I saw in the night, and behold, a man riding on a red horse! He was standing among the myrtle trees in the glen, and behind him were red, sorrel, and white horses. 9 Then I said, ‘What are these, my lord?’ The angel who talked with me said to me, ‘I will show you what they are.’ 10 So the man who was standing among the myrtle trees answered, ‘These are they whom the LORD has sent to patrol the earth.’ 11 And they answered the angel of the LORD who was standing among the myrtle trees, and said, ‘We have patrolled the earth, and behold, all the earth remains at rest.’ 12 Then the angel of the LORD said, ‘O LORD of hosts, how long will you have no mercy on Jerusalem and the cities of Judah, against which you have been angry these seventy years?’ 13 And the LORD answered gracious and comforting words to the angel who talked with me. 14 So the angel who talked with me said to me, ‘Cry out, Thus says the LORD of hosts: I am exceedingly jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion. 15 And I am exceedingly angry with the nations that are at ease; for while I was angry but a little, they furthered the disaster. 16 Therefore, thus says the LORD, I have returned to Jerusalem with mercy; my house shall be built in it, declares the LORD of hosts, and the measuring line shall be stretched out over Jerusalem. 17 Cry out again, Thus says the LORD of hosts: My cities shall again overflow with prosperity, and the LORD will again comfort Zion and again choose Jerusalem.’ ”
4 John to the seven churches that are in Asia:
Grace to you and peace from him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven spirits who are before his throne, 5 and from Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth.
To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood 6 and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father, to him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. 7 Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen.
8 “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”
9 I, John, your brother and partner in the tribulation and the kingdom and the patient endurance that are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. 10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet 11 saying, “Write what you see in a book and send it to the seven churches, to Ephesus and to Smyrna and to Pergamum and to Thyatira and to Sardis and to Philadelphia and to Laodicea.”
12 Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. 14 The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow. His eyes were like a flame of fire, 15 his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many waters. 16 In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength.
17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, 18 and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades. 19 Write therefore the things that you have seen, those that are and those that are to take place after this. 20 As for the mystery of the seven stars that you saw in my right hand, and the seven golden lampstands, the seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands are the seven churches.
43 “When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, but finds none. 44 Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes, it finds the house empty, swept, and put in order. 45 Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there, and the last state of that person is worse than the first. So also will it be with this evil generation.”
46 While he was still speaking to the people, behold, his mother and his brothers stood outside, asking to speak to him. 48 But he replied to the man who told him, “Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?” 49 And stretching out his hand toward his disciples, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 50 For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother.”
The Book of Common Prayer: And Administration of the Sacraments and Other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church