En Gedi's Gate

Always Employing Biblical Truth and Discernment!


Why Christians Should Carry A Bible

Why Christians Should Carry A Bible


Posted By on Aug 12, 2019

“ Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”                                                                                                                                                                (Matt. 5:16).  It is my concern that the vast majority of Christians will soon completely eliminate carrying a physical Bible to worship services.  Technological advancements are culpable of aiding and abetting, the expedition of this reality coming to fruition.  One look around at worship services today and you will see many Christians utilizing their phones [or other electronic devices], in place of Bibles in book form to access God’s Word.  Sadly, Christians have become deeply entrenched in this “hi-tech” age, where Bible apps are the predominant method chosen to reference Holy Writ.  In fact, I have heard believers revel in the countless biblical tools available digitally.  In defense of their exuberance, they contend that it’s beneficial to be able to instantly access numerous Bible resources–to conveniently swipe to a verse, tap on it to locate cross-reference(s), and tap on a word to view original language.  One hi-tech proponent asked me: “If a physical Bible is cumbersome to lug around, out-dated, and lacking all the Bible tools designed to make my Christian life easier; why then should I abandon those modern helps?”  Then added, “We need to move forward with the times and not straggle behind.”     Before I address that position, I want to make a personal observation and also express a growing concern that I have.  In the recent past, the Lord’s day gathering was a beautiful sight to behold, because all my fellow brothers and sisters were carrying Bibles.  I felt a strong sense of unity and oneness with them, because I could see they possessed God’s Word.  It’s disappointing to witness so many professing Christians entering the house of God without carrying Bibles.  I am often left wondering if they have “electronic Bibles” buried in their pockets or purses.  it is further disillusioning not knowing if the person sitting beside me, even possesses God’s Word.   The Christian faith is not a private faith as some erroneously practice, Jesus said: “What I tell you in the darkness, speak in the light; and what you hear whispered in your ear, proclaim upon the housetops.” (Matt. 10:27, cf Matt. 5:14, 16).    The Apostle Paul who was in perfect harmony with the teaching of the Lord, wrote: “that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world” (Phil. 2:15). There are some professing Christians who make it a point to appear indistinguishable from those of the world. ...

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Shake the Dust From Your Feet

Shake the Dust From Your Feet


Posted By on May 21, 2019

“Even the dust of your city which clings to our feet, we wipe off in protest against you…”  Luke:10:11 “Shaking the dust off the feet” was a common display of contempt toward Gentiles by the Jews.  So ardently was their hatred of Gentiles, that even the dust that clung to the bottom of their sandals from Gentile territories was removed, as to not pollute their own “holy” land upon re-entering it.   The Jews vaingloriously believed they were far better than Gentiles (all non-Jews) and presumed them to be unworthy of God’s attention.  Perhaps their haughty behavior grew from the fact that they are God’s “chosen people” (Deut. 7:6, Isa. 14:2, 43:20); a “special treasure, above all peoples on the face of the earth” (Deut. 14:2);”…to whom belongs the adoption as sons and the glory and the covenants and the giving of the Law and the temple service and the promises...entrusted with the oracles of God.” (Rom. 9:4, 3:2b); and “…the apple of His eye.” (Zech. 2:8).  Furthermore, God made a covenant with their father Abraham, an unconditional promise to make them a great people and give them and land and blessings  (Gen. 12:1-3, 15:18-21).  Israel was required to be lights to Gentile nations and to glorify the God of Israel. (Ex. 19:5-6).  However, they behaved disobediently and miserably failed to represent God’s holiness to the pagan nations, often refraining from setting foot in Gentile cities.  They even despised half-breed Jews; Jews and Samaritans who intermarried.  If for instance, a Jew had to travel on foot from Judah to Galilee (approximately ninety miles), many times they bypass the significantly shorter route through the city of Samaria and trekking around it, would walk the extra distance.  As with Gentiles, the Jews believed that setting foot in Samaria would defile them.   Jesus, on the other hand ascribed a different meaning to the act of “shaking the dust off the feet”.  He turned the Jews act of derision toward Gentiles, into a testimony and condemnation upon themselves for their rejection of Him as their Messiah.  For example, when Jesus sent out His disciples to the lost sheep of Israel, He gave them the command: “…Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans.  But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel…And any place that does not receive you or listen to you, as you go out from there, shake off the dust from the soles of your feet for a testimony against them.” (Matt. 10:5b-6, 14).  Luke’s Gospel adds Jesus stating: “Even the dust of your city which clings...

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The “Thief” [Robber] on the Cross

The “Thief” [Robber] on the Cross


Posted By on Apr 15, 2019

When  I contemplate the account of the “thief on the cross”[Luke 23:39-43], It usually is about the orthodox theology within the passage: “absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.” (2 Cor. 5:8).  And this theological belief would be absolutely correct.  However, what I failed to understand [because I never heard it taught] was the proper identity of the newly redeemed criminal.  Upon conducting further research on the passage, I discovered that the converted criminal crucified alongside Jesus 1 was not a “thief” [kléptés]as he is commonly referred, But instead he was actually a “robber” [léstés], which carries a significantly different meaning.  R.C. Trench defines:   When  I contemplate the account of the “thief on the cross”[Luke 23:39-43], It usually is about the orthodox theology within the passage: “absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.” (2 Cor. 5:8).  And this theological belief would be absolutely correct.  However, what I failed to understand [because I never heard it taught] was the proper identity of the newly redeemed criminal.  Upon conducting further research on the passage, I discovered that the converted criminal crucified alongside Jesus 1 was not a “thief” [kléptés]as he is commonly referred, But instead he was actually a “robber” [léstés], which carries a significantly different meaning.  R.C. Trench defines:   “kléptés and léstés…both appropriate what is not theirs. But the kléptés does so by fraud and in secret, the léstés does so by open violence.  The former is a ‘thief’ and the latter is a ‘robber’…No passage has suffered more seriously by confusing thief and robber than Luke 23:39-43 [“the thief on the cross”].  The previous moral condition of the penitent thief, is obscured by the associations that clings to his name.  Both malefactors crucified with Jesus, (one was inflexible, the other penitent) probably belonged to the band of Barabbas who had been cast with his fellow insurgents into prison for murder and insurrection (Mark 15:7).  Barabbas was a léstés (John 18:40), not a common malefactor but a ‘notorious prisoner.” 2 In closing, by understanding that the “thief [robber] on the cross”, was a flagrant and villainous criminal, rather than a furtive and non-violent one, adds profundity to the forgiveness Jesus held out to him: “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43).  Although he received a physical death sentence, Jesus granted him spiritual clemency.  Instead of receiving eternal condemnation, he was provided heavenly accommodation.   Prior to conversion, we were all “robbers on the cross”.  We were flagrant sinners against God, who mercifully received God’s saving grace: “But you were washed, but...

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Noah: The First Biblical Counselor

Noah: The First Biblical Counselor


Posted By on Apr 12, 2019

When Christians are asked to name the first biblical counselor recorded in the Bible, Noah is usually not considered.  When most believers think of Noah, they imagine his feat of constructing an immense Ark (Gen. 6:13-16), his collecting and stowing two of every animal species (Gen. 6:19), and the six months he was adrift while God destroyed the entire human race with a global flood (Gen. 7:24, cf. 7). During the time of Noah, God’s judgment fell upon the earth because mankind was utterly evil: “Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.“(Gen. 6:5, cf. 6:5-7). Despite the ubiquitous evil generation that inundated Noah, he remained untarnished: “…Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD…was a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time, and he walked with God.” (Gen. 6:8-9b–NIV).    Amazingly, only eight people survived the Great Flood while residing aboard the Ark Noah had built and all eight of those people were members of Noah’s family, including himself (Gen. 6:18, 7:1).  Incredibly not only did God ordain Noah to be a master ship builder, zookeeper, and commissioned seafarer; he was also called to be a preacher and shepherd to the people (2 Pet. 2:5).  Furthermore, Noah lived a total of 950 years; 600 years prior to the flood and 350 years after (Gen. 9:28-29), so he would have had the unique opportunity to minister to mankind, both before and after the flood. However, before the historic flood took place; “Now he [Lamech who begot Noah] called his name Noah, saying, ‘This one will comfort us concerning our work and the toil of our hands, because of the ground which the LORD has cursed.'”(Gen. 5:29-NKJ).  The effects of God’s curse upon the land (Gen. 3:17-19) weighed heavily upon mankind so men sought relief–Noah provided that relief.  Dr. Allen Ross notes: The name Noah is also the basis for the motif of resting, in the next tól edόt section of the book.  Life under the curse was very painful for those early bearers of the curse, and so Lamech hoped for relief and comfort through this man Noah.  Human life under the curse was also painful to God, and so God used Noah as part of His plan to relieve the world of pain, but not as Lamech thought, 1 Though we do not know the specific details of just how Noah provided comfort and rest to those who labored in that generation, yet the prophetic words of his father Lamech; “This one will comfort us...

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Two Overlooked Acts of Forgiveness


Posted By on Mar 13, 2019

“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.”                                         Isa. 55:9 When many Christians ponder the account of the “thief on the cross” [actually “robber”], 1 they might overlook a powerful truth regarding the amazing nature of God’s forgiveness (Luke 23:39-43).  Attention is typically given to the thief’s immediate presence with the Lord in heaven upon his death: “absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.” (2 Cor. 5:8).  Although this is a crucial truth to comprehend regarding the believer’s soul immediately upon death, another certain truth that could be drawn from the passage (Luke 23:39-43)–God’s profound pardoning of a sinner!  All four Gospels record Jesus crucified between two criminals, one on His right and the other His left (Matt. 27:38, Mark 15:27, Luke 23:32, John 19:18).  During the initial hours of the crucifixion, both robbers hurled insults at  Jesus (Matt. 27:44), but as their life blood drained from their dying bodies one of them was converted and believed in Jesus as Savior.  Because the unregenerate robber continued to “blaspheme” Jesus [Luke 23:39], the newly redeemed one rebuked him:”…Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.”(Luke 23:40-41).  Only moments prior he was an unbelieving condemned criminal, but as a newly transformed saint he affirmed Jesus’ innocence rightly “fearing” God.   Turning to his merciful Savior he humbly pled: “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” (Luke 23:42).  When he uttered these words, Jesus revealed His compassionate heart.  Even as Jesus was enduring His Father’s infinite wrath for the weight of the world’s sin, He mercifully said to the penitent sinner: “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43).  Would it not be comforting to have Jesus personally assure your salvation?  Think of the mercy and grace Jesus had for that criminal despite having the knowledge that his entire life up until that point consisted of violent lawlessness.  This example defies human reasoning (cf. Jer. 34:34, Heb. 8:12, Rom. 5:8).  To Jesus, the robber’s wretched past did not matter–He had wiped his slate clean.  This incredible promise is indeed true for “all” who put their faith in Christ (cf. Jn. 6:37, 40).  God’s grace is truly amazing!    Another potentially overlooked act of God’s forgiveness occurred the moment Jesus died on the cross, Scripture reads: “…the veil of the temple was torn in two from...

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The Jewish Leaders Futility

The Jewish Leaders Futility


Posted By on Mar 1, 2019

The Jewish Leader’s Vain Attempts to Silence Jesus’ Resurrection.       who by the mouth of Your servant David have said: ‘Why did the nations rage, And the people plot vain things? The kings of the earth took their stand, And the rulers were gathered together Against the LORD and against His Christ.’  Acts 4:25-26 . When Jesus was taken down from the cross, laid in a tomb and a large stone rolled in front sealing the entrance (Matt. 27:57-60), a time of monumental folly and futility from the Jewish leaders ensued: Now on the next day [the Sabbath], which is the one after the preparation, the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered together with Pilate, saying ‘Sir, we remember that when He was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I am to rise again.’  Therefore, give orders for the grave to be made secure until the third day, lest the disciples come and steal Him away and say to the people, ‘He has risen from the dead,’ and the last deception will be worse than the first. Pilate said to them, ‘You have a guard; go, make it as secure as you know how.’ (Matt. 27:62-65–brackets added).  However, the flagitious plot of the chief priests [Sadducees] and Pharisees backfired.  They were so concerned about Jesus’ disciples proclaiming to the nation “He [Jesus] has risen from the dead”, that they grossly underestimated the power of God.  For after three days God raised Jesus from the dead and He appeared not only to His disciples, but to over five hundred witnesses over a forty day period, as recorded in Scripture (Acts 1:3, 1 Cor. 15:5-8).  Furthermore, God made certain many more would testify to the power of the resurrection: “the tombs were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the tombs. After His resurrection they entered the holy city and appeared to many.” (Matt. 27:52-53).  God’s omnipotence was demonstrated in that supernatural event, when hundreds, if not thousands witnessed the truth of the resurrection.  Meanwhile, the women went out to the tomb to anoint Jesus’ body with spices, but were astonished to see that it was empty; for an angel from heaven had rolled away the stone from the entrance revealing an empty tomb.  Speaking to the women the angel said: “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified.  He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying.  And go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen...

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Nearly twenty years ago when my husband and I found our church it was in a remote Midwest country area. The chapel’s architecture was traditional, lovely and peaceful.  We quickly learned the believers were of strong reformed and Calvinistic traditions. This church was closely knit, loved the Lord Jesus and one another deeply. We were quickly woven into the fabric of this little family, as we were blessed each Lord’s Day with old and classic hymns (no instruments), an hour long sermon, followed with a pot luck meal, while concluding the day with an evening service.  We formerly came together for Wednesday extended prayer service followed by Friday Bible study, as we also eagerly sought to serve one another, especially during times of suffering; all of which kept the body unified.  My husband and I wouldn’t have traded these beginning years for anything; we were blessed in profound and sustaining ways.  It was during those early years that I learned to appreciate the Doctrines of Grace, church history as well as many aspects of reformed Christianity. However, having been raised in a strict Roman Catholic family I had many deeply embedded traditions and beliefs which I needed to examine.  Because my mother encouraged us children to read the Bible (which is rare for a Roman Catholic) and study church history, I had some vestiges of truth to separate from the Romish traditions. As a new believer, I determined to sort out, what theological and historical elements were truths. I believe because I had to wrestle with such a complex thing, it enabled me to later (years later) discern an even more complicated matter as a maturing Christian. Undoubtedly through God’s sovereign care and blessing He has richly blessed Christians with the work and writings of the church fathers and Reformers.  In fact, I strongly believe the study of church history is a needed rudimentary foundation for all Christians to enrich their understanding of the Christian faith.  However, I do believe one must be cautious and discerning while reading any extra-biblical source, as these great men (like all men) are flawed and have presuppositions and traditions.  The church fathers and Reformers can be a true blessing if read with a solid and complete understanding of Scripture.  I advise caution because this is the area in which years later that I discovered I had acquired a “tradition” which needed to be examined. It was in God’s perfect timing, my attention was brought to a “tradition” I had acquired during my early years as a Reformed Christian.  I believed I had vigilantly guarded myself from error, yet through God’s amazing providence, my...

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The Significance of John the Baptist

The Significance of John the Baptist


Posted By on Jan 1, 2019

n Regarding John the Baptist Jesus earnestly declared, “Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist… [Matt. 11:11], yet there is very little written exclusively on this “great” man and the significance of his ministry.  When the angel Gabriel appeared to Zacharias, he declared that his son John [the Baptist], was to be a Nazirite 1 and forerunner of the incarnate Christ–the herald for the coming of God to earth. (Luke 1:13-17, Jn. 1:6, 14).  In other words, John was to pave the way for the Lord Jesus Christ.  Amazingly, in eternity past Christ was in full glory and equal with the Father, but He emptied Himself, took on flesh and humbly ministered to mankind on earth. (Jn. 17:5, Phil. 2:6-7, Jn. 1:14, Luke 4:17-18).  It’s mind-boggling to contemplate, that the God of the universe employed a mere man [John the Baptist], to be the precursor for His Son, Jesus Christ.  In the prologue 2 to the John’s Gospel  [the first eighteen verses], John the Baptist is referenced four times (Jn. 1:6, 7, 8, 15).  The prologue is very important to John’s Gospel, because it outlines: 1) The eternal Christ (vv. 1-3); 2) the incarnate Christ (vv. 4-5); 3) the forerunner of Christ (vv. 6-8); 4) the unrecognized Christ (vv. 9-11); 5) the omnipotent Christ (vv. 12-13); and the glorious Christ (vv. 14-18). 3   Interestingly, the heretical system of Roman Catholicism deifies Jesus’ mother Mary and she sparsely appears in Scripture.  John the Baptist on the other hand, is referenced numerous times in Scripture, yet there is little recognition of his greatness in the sphere of Christianity.  This seems antithetical to the teachings of Jesus, who frequently gave strong testimonies to John and his ministry.  For example He proclaimed: “You have sent to John, and he has borne witness to the truth  But the witness which I receive is not from man, but I say these things that you may be saved. He was the lamp that was burning and was shining and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light.” (Jn. 5:33-35).   Jesus also declared: “But why did you go out? To see a prophet? Yes, I say to you, and one who is more than a prophet.” (Matt. 11:9).  And: “For John came to you in the way of righteousness and you did not believe him; but the tax-gatherers and harlots did believe him; and you, seeing this, did not even feel remorse afterward so as to believe him”.  (Matt. 21:32).  In John chapter five Jesus names John the Baptist as...

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