En Gedi's Gate

Always Employing Biblical Truth and Discernment!


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

Introduction 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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Election of Israel by God

Election of Israel by God


Posted By on Dec 5, 2018

What I find most fascinating is that God has elected people who can be traced back to the descendants of Noah, hence Semites or Hebrews. (Gen. 10-11). From the Hebrew lineage God elected Abraham to receive salvation by grace through faith. (Gen. 15:6, cf Eph:2:8). Then in God’s perfect preordained timing He made Abraham the father of the nation of Israel. “No longer shall your name be called Abram, But your name shall be Abraham; For I will make you the father of a multitude of nations.” (Gen. 17:5). One immutable act of God was to uniquely and permanently elect the nation of Israel as His covenant nation.  “… you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation…” (Ex. 19:5, 6, c.f. Deut. 7:6-7). The Divine Creator of the vast and measureless universe is the same God who elects people for His divine purpose and glory. What is election?  “The decree of election is the free and sovereign choice of God, made in eternity past, to set his love on certain individuals, and, on the basis of nothing in themselves but solely because of the good pleasure of his will, to choose them to be saved from sin and damnation and to inherit the blessings of eternal life through the mediatorial work of Christ.”  (A Systematic Summary of Bible Truth, Biblical Doctrine, MacArthur and Mayhue, 2017, pg. 493). The word “elect” in the Hebrew language is “bahar” or “bachar” pronounced “baw-kar”.   It is found nearly 170 times.  In this context, it is God’s divine examination, a deliberate choice, well thought out, with exhaustive scrutiny from beginning to end, of deep theological consideration. (Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, Harris, Archer, Waltke). In short it is God’s omniscient and sovereign choice of a person or nation, for His purpose and glory.  In fact the world “elect” is found in Deuteronomy 30 times alone as Scripture delineates God’s divine election of Israel. There is no other nation which God has elected; Israel has been set aside, to become a distinct people. “For you are a holy people to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.”The LORD did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any of the peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples” (Deut. 7:6-7). Out of all people, God set His unending love on Israel. After years of Egyptian slavery, through God’s miraculous intervention He brought the children of...

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  “…and you, being a wild olive, were grafted in among them and became partaker with them of the rich root of the olive tree.”                                                                                                              Rom. 11:17     I am a “Gentile” [non-Jewish] who is considered a son of the God of Israel, adopted into His family and an heir of promise, held tightly to His bosom forever (cf. Rom. 8:17, 35).  By God’s sovereign mercy and amazing grace, I was called and granted the faith to believe in His Son, Jesus Christ.  It is because of His [free] gift of grace that I’m exceedingly grateful.  As a Gentile, I am considered a “wild olive branch”, 1 that has been supernaturally “grafted” 2 into the natural “olive tree”,3 to share in the “richness” 4 of God’s covenant blessings. Supported by the olive tree’s “root”, 4 I, like all elect non-Jewish believers, add to the countless spiritual descendents of Abraham God promised to bless (Rom. 11:17, Gen. 12:2, 15:5, 17:4-5, Gal. 3:7-8, 29). Astonishingly, I’m like one of those innumerable stars in an evening sky, that God challenged Abraham to calculate (Gen. 15:5). In the covenant God made with Abraham, He promised through Abraham’s “seed”, that all of mankind would be blessed (Gen. 12:3, 22:18): “And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, ‘All the nations shall be blessed in you.'” (Gal. 3:8). God has kept that promise, for all Gentiles [and all men] who have faith in Jesus Christ, are considered “spiritual” descendants of Abraham: “And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise.” (Gal. 3:29, cf. 3:8, 25-28). However, one day in the future, Abraham’s “physical” seed “all” Israel, will believe in the Messiah Jesus and become God’s “spiritual” children as well (Rom. 11:26-27). The nation of Israel was uniquely chosen by God to receive His “special” love and set apart from other nations, requiring them to remain faithful and obedient only to Him (Deut. 7:6-8, Ex. 20:3-6).  Tragically, Israel failed miserably to keep God’s commandments and repeatedly tested His patience by their rebelliousness and idolatry, thus provoking Him to anger (Deut. 32:21).  One of the ways God brought judgment against Israel, was by demonstrating mercy to the Gentiles.  He offered them salvation and through prophets informed Israel of His intentions (Deut. 32:20-21, Isa. 65:1-3a). Therefore, I am grateful for Israel’s disobedience and subsequent judgment by God, realizing it’s because of their disobedience that I have obtained God’s mercy.  Not that I sinisterly exult in Israel’s punishment because of their sin against God, as many nations had done–for example...

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Creation: Six Twenty-Four Hour Days

Creation: Six Twenty-Four Hour Days


Posted By on Oct 26, 2018

“Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.” Jn. 20:29   The question many Christians wrestle with is did God create the universe, in billions of years or in six twenty-four hour days, according to Genesis chapter one?  The various answers given to this query have been the subject of theological debates for numerous years.  Many who are fastidious to the veracity of Scripture, surprisingly balk at God’s claim to the creation account in Genesis one.  Moreover, it is especially disturbing to learn that a vast majority of Christian teaching institutions, have abandoned the ostensive teaching of Genesis 1-3. Dr. John MacArthur, president of The Master’s Seminary observed:  “I recall reading a survey a few years ago which revealed that in one of America’s leading evangelical accrediting associations, whose membership boasted scores of evangelical Bible colleges and universities, only five or six college-level schools remain solidly opposed to the old-earth view of creation. The rest are open to a reinterpretation of Genesis 1-3 that accommodates evolutionary theories.” That said, if you interpret the creation account of Genesis literally and in context, you will unquestionably end up with a six twenty-four hour day creation: “And there was evening and there was morning, one day.”  The wording in the Bible is not only crystal clear, but fundamental  regarding God’s miraculous creation account.   The following points in this short article are for  the student of Scripture’ consideration,  to help determine the feasibility and probability of a six-day creation.   Yom “…And there was evening and there was morning, one day.”       Gen. 1:5 When the creation account in Genesis one is taken in context, the Hebrew word yom [day], clearly means a twenty-four hour period: “And there was evening and there was morning, one day.” (Gen. 1:5, also see 1:8, 13, 19, 22, 31).  One needs not be a Hebrew scholar, in order to understand that God communicated much of Scripture, especially the creation account, in a  simplistic manner.  Interestingly, He also employed a similar simplicity [in the New Testament Greek word construction] in the Gospel of John, so that there would not be any doubt as to Jesus Christ’ deity (Jn. 1:1-4).  However, despite the unambiguous translation from Hebrew to our English versions of Genesis one, many professing Christians deny, that the Bible claims a six twenty-four hour day creation.  For instance, they interpret yom [day], in Genesis one, to mean exceedingly long periods of time e.g., millions and millions of years. Dr. Allen P. Ross commenting on yom [day] made this assertion: “The meaning of the term “day” [yom]…can…mean a longer general period of time (Isa. 61:2)…however, it [yom], in...

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Fellowship and Suffering

Fellowship and Suffering


Posted By on Oct 7, 2018

It was one of the deepest, richest, and most wonderful days I had ever shared with my friend, and yet all we did was share our hearts with one another.  One beautiful summer morning my best friend came to pick me up so that we could enjoy brunch at a local restaurant.  We were eager to try their famous cinnamon rolls.  Yet, from the moment I got into her car, until the moment she dropped me off, seven hours later our conversation was nonstop.  It was an unusually focused and concentrated time, as if we had not been together for a very long time, and yet we had monthly craft time dates–making cards. At one point during our conversation, she surprised me as she began to discuss the millennial kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ.  It wasn’t the topic which surprised me, as we always enjoyed our frequent theological discussions, rather her sheer delight on this topic.  Knowing my sister’s suffering, I listened closely as her focus and hope was Christ.  With a child like eagerness, she excitedly detailed wonders of Jesus earthly kingdom.  In fact, I will never forget her expression, as an angelic glow completely washed over her face, seemingly filled with a heavenly peace and joy.  Though she was oblivious, I could not stop gazing at her, as she vivaciously described what she looked forward to.  What joy our fellowship brought to us as we enjoyed the inexplicable “oneness” we have in Christ. Sadly, that was the last day I would see my sister in Christ, as God called her home, only a few short months after our extraordinary brunch date.  The horror, grief and shock felt almost debilitating for my inability to grasp the idea that my dearly and deeply loved friend was gone brought tremendous sorrow.  As I tried to go about each day, my friend was everywhere I turned, meaning that her influence and blessings were woven into the very fabric of my life.  Even now as I turn to craft time, I see her “fingerprint” as she was instrumental in getting me started making cards.  As time passed, I began to realize that I was not yet rejoicing as I believed I ought, knowing my beloved sister was in the very presence of our Lord Jesus.  Recognizing that grieving loved ones takes a long time, I knew I needed to balance my perspective.  So, I sought perspective in the Bible and found the most amazing hope, which I would like to share what I discovered with my sister’s in Christ. The first point I would like to make is the fellowship we...

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Right Hand of Fellowship

Right Hand of Fellowship


Posted By on Oct 7, 2018

“…James and Cephas and John, who were reputed to be pillars, gave to me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, that we might go to the Gentiles…”  Gal. 2:9   It’s amazing how the Gospel of Jesus Christ unites people of various ethnicities, genders, cultures, and social statuses, into one equal organism the church (Eph. 4:16).  It’s also fascinating to witness a congregation made up of those distinctions, worshipping the same God through Christ.  Apart from the unifying blood of Christ, it would be highly unlikely that such a diverse group of people, would assemble under the same roof and of one accord.  That is because God shows partiality to no man and recognizes no distinctions (Acts 10:34, Rom. 2:11, Gal. 2:6, Eph. 6:9, Col. 3:25).  All who believe in Him sins are forgiven and stand perfectly equal in the eyes of God. Perhaps no group of people experienced the transforming power of the Gospel, more than the believing Jews of the early church.  Throughout biblical history Israelites despised Gentiles and had a deep-seated hatred for them, commonly referring to them as “dogs”.  During biblical times dogs were not kept as pets and were filthy animals that roamed the streets as scavengers; they were considered “unclean” by Jewish people.  To further illustrate their prejudice, if a Jew had to travel [on foot] from Judah to Galilee [approximately ninety miles], they would bypass taking the significantly shorter route through the city of Samaria (Samaritans were Jews and Gentiles mixed through marriage).  Because Jews despised the “half-blooded” Samaritans so vehemently, they believed setting foot in Samaria would defile them. Even Gentiles who became proselytes [converts to Judaism], had a designated area in the temple courtyard, known as the “court of the Gentiles”.  Gentiles, under no circumstance were allowed inside the temple.  Looking to bring charges against the Apostle Paul, the Jews [falsely] accused him of bringing Gentiles into the temple (Acts 21:28).  This was the main reason why a riot over Paul in Jerusalem and was attacked and severely beaten in the process.  These Jews considered Paul to be a traitor.  He most likely would have been killed, if not for the intervention of Roman soldiers who came to his rescue.  Under the soldiers protection, Paul was able to speak to the hostile mob.  He almost persuaded them with his words, for they intently listened to what he had to say, until he mentioned the Lord sent him to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles (Acts 22:21-23).  When he mentioned the Gentiles, the multitude again began to furiously threaten him with violence, while screaming “…’Away with such a fellow from...

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“Away with the Atheists!”

“Away with the Atheists!”


Posted By on Sep 29, 2018

“Now the chief priests and the whole Council kept trying to obtain false testimony against Jesus, in order that they might put Him to death”                              Matt. 26:59     The year was 155 A.D. when Polycarp, the bishop of Smyrna, (the same church as found in the book of Revelation), at eighty-six years of age, was martyred for his faith.  Moreover, he was a devout disciple of the Apostle John, who himself was one of the twelve disciples of Jesus Christ.  Polycarp was brought before the Roman Proconsul,1 who sternly warned him to renounce his belief in Jesus Christ.  He was strongly advised to repent from his alleged “atheism” and to audibly proclaim, “Swear by the fortune of Caesar; repent, and say ‘Away with the atheists!'” [indicating the Christians].  Polycarp gazed intently at the godless, bloodthirsty and pagan multitude that filled the arena, and gesturing towards them, he said, “Away with the Atheists!”  The proconsul insisted; “Swear and I will set you free – revile Christ!”  Polycarp answered, “Eighty and six years I served Him and he has done me no wrong.  How can I blaspheme my King and my Savior?”  Polycarp displayed bold allegiance to Christ, in both his interrogation and in his martyrdom–while they attempted to burn him alive at the stake, they plunged a spear into him when the flames did not kill him quick enough.  Polycarp, more godly then all present including the proconsul, was accused of the most heinous form of evil that a Christian could be accused of, “atheism”.   In essence, Satan himself could not have written a better script. There never was a man as innocent as Jesus Christ and never will be, yet He was unjustly arrested, brutally beaten, and sentenced to be crucified.  Why, because the Jewish leaders hated Him and were envious of Him: “For he [Pontius Pilate] knew that because of envy they [Jewish leaders] had delivered Him up.” (Matt. 27:18–brackets added).  In the darkness of the night, Jesus was hurriedly subjected to a mock trial before the Sanhedrin [the highest Jewish court] and falsely accused of committing evil–even though no formal legal charges were brought against Him.  Two false witnesses were brought in to testify against Him and perjuring themselves, claimed: “This fellow said, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and to build it in three days.’ “ (Matt. 26:61).  Incomprehensibly, Jesus was accused of committing evil, when He was actually teaching the “good news” of God’s kingdom–for that He was executed! A few years after Jesus was crucified, Stephen, a devout follower of Jesus, was martyred by being stoned to death...

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