Posts by Robert


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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  “…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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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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Redeem The Time

Redeem The Time


Posted By on Sep 14, 2018

“See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”                                                             Eph. 5:15-16     There are ample exhortations in Scripture that indicate the Christian to be continuously fruitful–and that he or she is urged to “Be filled with the Spirit” (Eph. 5:18).  In fact, the original Greek of that clause in Eph. 5:18 is rendered, “Be being filled with the Spirit”; it’s to be a continuous, ongoing behavior in the life of a believer.  In other words, a believers duty is marked by life-long service to God, until he is called home to heaven and when the words “Well done, good and faithful slave“, are hopefully heard (Matt. 25:21, 23).  By perusing the Bible, one will see many stories regarding God’s servant’s service to Him, was a life-long endeavor that only terminated upon their death.  For example, God used Abraham and Sarah who were both well-advanced in years [100 and 90 years old–Gen. 17:15-16].  Although well past the childbearing age, God blessed Sarah with the capability to conceive and give birth to Isaac, the continuation of the promised “seed” (Gen. 17:9).  Abraham served God all the remaining years of his life and died at the age of one hundred and seventy five. Moses was eighty years old when God first appeared to him in the “burning bush.” (Ex. 3:2).  Obeying God’s call, Moses embarked on what would end up being a forty year “tour of duty”, as a faithful “servant of God”.  God choose him and his brother Aaron [also in his eighties], to deliver His people, the Israelites, from Egyptian slavery and subjugation.  Joshua, who faithfully served Moses, was forty years old when he spied out the “Promise Land” [Josh. 14:7] and was nearly eighty years old, when he had taken over leading the people [Moses died Deut. 34:5].  into the Promised Land.  David, God’s “chosen” king of Israel and “a man after God’s own heart” [1 Sam. 13:14, Ps. 89:20, Acts 13:22], fought and won many battles for God and His people.  He served God by loyally obeying His will until he died, having served as a great king of Israel for forty years (1 Kin. 2:10-11, Acts 13:22, 36). In the New Testament, Paul faithfully and diligently served God his entire life, until the time of his execution (cf. 2 Tim. 4:6).  During his first imprisonment he served the Lord by writing four inspired epistles [Ephesians, Philippians,...

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Peter: Forgiveness and Restoration

Peter: Forgiveness and Restoration


Posted By on Mar 23, 2018

  “But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.”                                                                                                           Luke 22:32                                                                                                       As Satan did with Job, he approached God to ask for permission to assail Peter: “And the Lord said, Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat.  But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.” (Luke 22:31-32–NKJ–brackets added).  Some liberal theologians believe that Jesus Christ’s prayer failed to accomplish what He had requested of His Father.  They surmise this because Peter denied Jesus three times, only moments after Jesus had prayed for him (Luke 22:55-60).  Their foolish conjecture [heresy], if it were true, certainly would place Christ’s deity and omnipotence in question.  It is true however, that Peter miserably failed by denying Jesus Christ in the ensuing moments leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion.  However, after the Lord’s resurrection and during His re-appearance, He mercifully and graciously restored Peter (Jn. 21:15-17).   Jesus instructed Peter to adorn self-sacrificing allegiance to Him and to encourage and instruct the brethren.  Thereafter, Peter’s faith proved to be a bedrock, in which believers can look to him [his epistles] for guidance and hope. In this article I plan to show that Jesus prayer was indeed effectual and was evidence of God’s forgiveness, because He restored Peter to a high level of trust shepherding many of God’s flock.   For instance, in the book of Acts, especially after Pentecost, when Christ had poured out the Holy Spirit upon Peter and 119 other disciples in the Upper Room (Acts 2:1-4, 17, 33), from that day on, Peter boldly preached the gospel of Christ, amidst extreme hostility and persecution.  He evidenced strong agapē love and faith in Jesus–the type of love Jesus sought, when He asked Peter three times, “Do you love Me?” (Jn. 21:15-17).   In fact, not only did Peter preach with power, but it’s obvious that he was given the authority [from above], to offer repentance and forgiveness.  The Bible records three separate occasions where Peter addressed the multitude, Jewish leaders and the Sanhedrin [Israel’s highest religious governing body].  He courageously indicted them for murdering Jesus.  But, he also offered them repentance and forgiveness (Acts 2:23, 39,...

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Israel is Real

Israel is Real


Posted By on Feb 12, 2018

“For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.  And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: ‘The Deliverer will come out of Zion, and He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; for this is My covenant with them, when I take away their sins.’  Concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers.  For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.”                                                        Rom. 11:25-29   Many scholars and theologians consider the book of Romans in the New Testament to be the Mount Everest of theology and chapter 8 as its peak.    In the church not many would disagree with such a majestic assessment.  A believer can peruse through Romans and be comforted by its profound truths and assured of the permanency of their salvation.  In fact, there is not a clearer verse in the N.T. of salvific assurance, than the familiar: “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”. (Rom. 8:1). Briefly summarizing the doctrinal portion of Romans [chapters 1-11], one is instructed on man’s inherent depraved nature [Rom. 1-3], justified by faith [4], Christ’s incredible and selfless sacrifice on behalf of undeserving sinners [Rom. 5], free from sin’s slavery [6], free from the Law [7], and the guarantee of salvation and God’s inseparable love [Rom. 8].  In the ensuing chapters [9-11], Paul provides a powerful example of that inseparable love, by writing that God will save and restore Israel in the future.  I find it to be perplexing and disillusioning, why this straight-forward truth is difficult for many in the church to accept. Tragically, Romans 9-11 is rarely preached or taught in context and as a complete unit, emphasizing the salvation of national Israel.  Those chapters [9-11] must be taken in succession in order to understand correctly Israel’s relationship and standing with God.  In brief, chapter 9 addresses Israel’s sovereign election; chapter 10, focuses on their rejection of their Messiah and their refusal to heed the gospel.  Chapter 11, culminates with God’s steadfast faithfulness to the promises He made to Israel’s patriarchs: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Gen. 12:1-3, 15:18-21, 26:2-5, 28:10-17). Unfortunately, many pastors utilize only a few selected verses extracted from chapters 9 and 10 and preach them in a topical fashion.  Typically these verses are utilized to explain individual election, salvation, or evangelism; and are always applied to the church.  Worse...

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God bestows “common grace” to all men.  That is because God loves all of mankind.  God provides the necessities of life, including the way of salvation (Jn. 3:16).  Scripture speaks frequently to the concept of God’s common grace.  However, there are instances which only God knows, when He withholds the providing of certain necessities.  Scripture does say that God works all things together for good to those who love Him (Rom. 8:28).  All Christians must accept this fact, for it’s His sovereign will to do as He pleases.  Mercifully, God provides for all of mankind, whether they love Him or not and believe in Him or not. Uniquely, Christians receive God’s “special” love, a love that will not only manifest itself physically, but will inevitably carry over into heaven–His love will never cease (Jn. 6:40, 1 Jn. 2:24-25, 4:9, Rom. 5:8, 1 Cor. 13:8, 13).  All people have the opportunity for God’s special love, but, an obstacle which hinders most of them, has been the same obstacle for last 2,000 years: “…Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block, and to Gentiles foolishness.” (1 Cor. 1:23, and also Acts 4:12).  “That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.” (Rom. 10:9).  If only all people would clear this hurdle [belief in Jesus Christ alone], God’s temporal common grace, would turn into eternal love. So what is God’s “common grace”?  To put it concisely, Pastor John MacArthur  defines it as: “…a term theologians use to describe the goodness of God to all mankind universally.” 1  That “goodness” of God is manifested in several ways.  For instance, 1) God provides for mankind the necessities of life and daily sustenance (Matt. 5:45, Acts 14:15-17, 17:25). 2) He allows them to make independent decisions, even many that are ungodly and displeasing to Him.  3) He  allows them to enjoy His creation; its beauty and splendor (Ps. 50:2). 4) He gives talents, knowledge, and physical prowess to all people–many for prosperous purposes.  5)  He sets a government and leadership over the people (Rom. 13:1-5)  6) He restrains sin and evil (Rom. 2:15).   And there are many more ways God is kind  to all of humanity. In this article, I want to focus on one particular way God displays common grace, which is provisionally.  God’s graciously and mercifully bestows goodness to mankind equally: “”The LORD is good to all, and His mercies are over all His works.” (Ps. 145:9). . In Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, He said; “…for He [God] causes His sun to rise on the evil...

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We are pleased to be announcing this book! “The Bible Expositor’s Handbook -Old Testament Digital Edition, by Dr. Greg Harris” There isn’t a book we recommend more highly than this, for every Christian expositor of God’s Word; whether male or female, regardless of age, station in life–every expositor will be blessed by the this book’s unique ability to guide the reader through Scripture, illuminating the interwoven history and redemptive plan God has provided through His Son, the Messiah Jesus.   Each chapter brings forth the reader’s ability to understand Scripture in a deeper, richer and worshipful manner, producing joy.   A special thanks to Dr. Greg Harris and B&H Academic for this rare and needed book, which continues to enrich our daily studies. This book can be purchased online at B&H Academic. New book by Dr. Greg Harris, The Bible Expositor’s Handbook—Old Testament Digital Edition    ...

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