The Lord turns a trivial deposit into a small fortune

POST OVERVIEW. An incident happened as I went to the bank to deposit a tiny check. A display of God’s providence.

Way back in the early 2000’s when I was living as a single man in a one-bedroom apartment in Alpharetta, GA, my electrical service was provided by Sawnee EMC. I did not choose this provider. In fact, I did not have a choice at all. The apartment complex chose this electrical co-op as the ones who would provide electricity to my apartment and I paid the bills. But what is curious about this is, because this is an electrical co-op, the customers are actually members of the co-op. “So what,” you say. Well, so if there are surplus funds in the co-op at the end of the year, then the surplus funds are distributed to the co-op members. I know, I can’t follow it either, but what happens in this arrangement is that every year toward the end of March, I receive a check from Sawnee EMC. Even though I have not been a “co-op member” (customer) since 2006, every year I receive a check. This year my check was for $6.18.

Thus, one of the errands I needed to do today was to deposit this check into our bank account. I intended to just shove the check into the ATM and be done with it, but as I drove up to the bank location, for some reason, there was an armored truck blocking the ATM access lane. “Oh, well,” I thought, “I guess I’ll have to go into the bank.”

I felt a little silly going into the bank to deposit a $6.18 check, but into the bank I went. I was the only customer in the bank. The teller was working both the counter, where I was, and the customers who were at the drive-through windows, and she was helping one particular man at the window as I walked up to the counter. As I waited for her to finish the transaction with this man, I noticed the bank’s advertising monitor as it told about bank products and services. One of these piqued my curiosity – a special offer of 3.50% interest for 6 months for select savings accounts. We were getting about 0.75% for a large amount of money in a savings account, so I asked another woman in the bank to tell me about this offer. She asked me if I had a savings account with the bank. I said I didn’t know, but when she checked our accounts, she said that we had a Platinum Savings account, which was the type of account that was eligible for the larger interest. We also had the necessary minimum balance of $100,000, so this bank employee flipped the needed switch that gave us the new 3.50% interest rate. By that time, the teller was free to help me deposit my tiny check.

As I did the calculations later, I realized that simple change of interest for our savings account was worth almost $8,000 to Lisa and me. So, I was going to make a $6.18 deposit, but God, in His providence, used an armored vehicle and a busy teller and a special interest rate offer at the bank to give us almost $8,000 in addition to the $6.18 deposit.

We serve an awesome God!

Soli Deo gloria            rmb                 4/26/2023                   #644

Evaluating the case for evolution – Part 2

POST OVERVIEW. The second in a series of posts evaluating the case for evolution from the perspective of a biblical creationist. (See also post #633 from 3/20/2023.)

My stated purpose in this series of posts is “to objectively explore the fundamental ideas of evolution and then to examine the validity and credibility of these ideas. My purpose for this exercise is to set up the situation where a person like me who holds to a biblical view of creation can examine the case for evolution and see if the evidence for evolution is persuasive.”

In the first post of the series (#633 on 3/20/2023), I presented three ideas that threaten the credibility of evolution: the origin of matter, evolution’s amazing abilities, and evolution’s curious improvements to the species. In this post, I will be asking questions about the nature of evolution and also about the body of knowledge that defines what exactly evolution is.

I will begin this post on evaluating evolution as I began the last one. As a Bible-believing disciple of Jesus Christ, I will present evidence for biblical creation.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. – Genesis 1:1

The Bible is the most popular, most influential book in the history of mankind, and the first verse of the Bible presents a clear statement about the origin of the universe, making a case for creation. As we evaluate the case for evolution, we should keep in mind that the Bible presents strong evidence for another view.


  • Since evolution is about incremental improvements in a species, how does evolution identify the species that needs to be improved or changed?
  • If a species has existed for millions of years and countless generations, why would that species need to evolve? For example, why would a shark need to evolve or be improved? A shark seems to be remarkably well adapted for survival in its current environment. Or choose another species of animal and state the basis of a need for improvement.
  • How does evolution produce improvements and changes in species in a universe where the second law of thermodynamics also operates and everything is inevitably and irresistibly moving to greater disorder?
  • Is evolution a force? If so, how can its existence be measured?
  • Can evolution be seen? Heard? Felt? Detected? Does evolution have mass and occupy space? If not, how can its existence be proven in any way?
  • When did evolution come into existence? How did evolution come into existence? Since, according to proponents, evolution has existed for billions of years, is evolution effectively eternal?
  • Does evolution exist on other planets and in other galaxies, or is its existence limited to earth?
  • Why would evolution need to exist where there were no living species to be improved or that needed to evolve?
  • Is evolution responsible for creating from the Big Bang the order that we see throughout our visible universe? (If so, then evolution must be able to work with inanimate as well as animate material. From the unimaginably chaotic, lifeless explosion of the Big Bang, not only was evolution able to produce the astonishing beauty we see in the heavens over our heads, displayed in countless galaxies of stars, but evolution was also able to create from swirling, churning, lifeless cosmic debris all the existing living plant and animal and insect and bacteria species that we find on our inhabited planet called earth.)
  • How did evolution create life from the lifelessness of the Big Bang?
  • How did evolution create water from not-water?
  • How did evolution create two genders for each species, male and female?
  • How does an eye evolve?
  • How does an ear evolve?
  • How does a bird’s wing evolve?
  • How does a lung or a heart evolve?
  • How does a reproductive system evolve?
  • Is evolution itself a living thing?
  • Does evolution have intelligence? What is the source of evolution’s intelligence?
  • Who are the recognized experts on the subject of evolution? (national, international, historical)
  • Which colleges have majors in Evolution? Which colleges offer PhD’s in Evolution?
  • If I majored in Evolution, what career fields would be open to me?
  • What are the leading colleges and universities in the field of evolution?
  • What courses do they offer? Who teaches these courses?
  • Where is research being done to further our understanding of evolution?
  • What are the foundational principles of the field of evolution?
  • What are the best basic books for explaining the subject of evolution?
  • Are there conferences where evolutionists gather?

That is probably enough questions for now.

I am sure that some of these questions will be easier for the evolutionist to answer than others, but I think that, for me as a biblical creationist, hearing some of these answers would at least give us an opportunity for dialog.

Soli Deo gloria            rmb                 3/22/2023                   #635

A study of Christology in “Titus”

POST OVERVIEW. Paul’s letter to Titus contains some of the apostle’s strongest teaching about Jesus’ divine nature. In this article, we will examine specific passages in Titus that point to Jesus’ deity.

in the proclamation with which I was entrusted according to the commandment of God our Savior. – Titus 1:3

TITUS 1:3. Ever since Paul encountered the risen Lord Jesus Christ on the Damascus road (Acts 9; 20:24; 22:6-11; 26:12-23), he had been fully committed to preaching the gospel (“the proclamation with which I was entrusted”) to the Gentiles. Thus, “the proclamation” in this verse refers to the gospel. Paul was preaching the gospel “according to the commandment of God our Savior.”

Then we must ask the question, “Who gave Paul the commandment to preach the gospel?”       

Acts 9:15 – The risen Lord Jesus sends him to the Gentiles.

Acts 20:24 – Paul received from the Lord Jesus the ministry of preaching the gospel.

Acts 22:21 – The risen Jesus sends Paul far away to the Gentiles.

Acts 26:17-18 – The risen Jesus sends Paul to the Gentiles.

We have been very methodical in this analysis to make sure that our conclusion is consistent with Scripture. So, the answer to the question above, “Who commanded Paul to preach the gospel?” is, “Jesus did.”

Since Jesus gave Paul the commandment, and Paul writes that he received the commandment from “God our Savior,” we must conclude that Jesus is God.

Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior. – Titus 1:4

TITUS 1:4. In Titus 1:3, Paul used the phrase “God our Savior,” and here Paul writes “Christ Jesus our Savior.” The apostle intends for his readers to make the connection between 1:3 and 1:4 and to reach the obvious conclusion that Christ Jesus is God. This also confirms what we already determined by analysis in 1:3.

adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in every respect. – Titus 2:10

TITUS 2:10. Since Paul has already used the phrase “God our Savior” to refer to Jesus (1:3), it is almost certain that this usage of “God our Savior” also refers to Jesus. But let’s approach this phrase in another way to see if that is true. This section of Titus (2:1-10) instructs believers to behave in a way that will commend the gospel so that unbelievers will be open to hearing about Jesus. Therefore, the godliness of those who were formerly “liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons” (1:12) will “adorn the doctrine (commend the gospel) of God our Savior in every respect” (2:10). If this understanding is correct, then “the doctrine of God our Savior” would be interpreted as “the gospel of Jesus Christ,” and we would once again conclude that God our Savior is Jesus Christ, or “Jesus Christ is God.”

looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus. – Titus 2:13

TITUS 2:13. In my opinion, it is impossible to miss or to avoid the deity of Christ in this verse. If the apostle Paul had intended to communicate anything other than the fact that Jesus Christ is God, he surely failed. Paul was highly skilled at communicating very subtle doctrinal truth with great precision. But in this verse, all subtlety is abandoned and Paul is striving for unambiguous clarity. His message? Jesus Christ is our great God and Savior. Consider these points.

  • All believers have, as an anchor for the soul (Hebrews 6:19), the blessed hope of the appearing (ἐπιφάνεια Greek) of Jesus. Thus, Jesus is our great God.
  • Our blessed hope is that, when He appears, Jesus will be in “glory,” and we will be glorified with Him (Col. 3:4; 1 John 3:2). Thus, Jesus is our great God.
  • In the entire New Testament, the only one anticipated to appear in glory is Jesus. Thus, Jesus is our great God.

We must conclude that Christ Jesus is our great God and Savior since everything in this verse and in orthodox theology requires this conclusion. This is Paul’s clearest teaching on this doctrine and expresses the biblical truth.

But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared – Titus 3:4

TITUS 3:4. Once again we encounter the phrase “God our Savior,” but in this instance, a close examination of the context reveals that “God our Savior” refers to God the Father, not to Jesus, so we will skip over this.


In the New Testament, the Savior is Jesus Christ, but in this study in Titus, we have also seen that this Savior who appeared and who “became flesh and dwelt among us” was God in human likeness. The Bible teaches that this “Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11), this Jesus, this King of kings and Lord of lords (Rev. 19:16) is our great God.

Soli Deo gloria            rmb                 2/12/2023                   #620

So great a cloud of witnesses (Hebrews 12:1)

POST OVERVIEW. Meditations on Hebrews 12:1-2.

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. – Hebrews 12:1-2

All disciples of Jesus have the great cloud of witnesses of Hebrews 11 and we also all have the faithful men and women who have preceded us in obedience to the Lord and then into glory, but each disciple should also seek to be gathering their own cloud of witnesses, saints that we have known personally who have faithfully run the race to the end. For me, two that leap immediately to my mind are Jill Britton and Edye Caldwell. These, even though dead, still speak (Hebrews 11:4) into my life.

Jill Britton is my mother, a woman who modeled for me what it means to live a humble, faithful, simple, God-surrendered life. Mom came to faith at 50 years old and walked with Jesus for her last 30 years. She regularly spent over an hour in prayer each morning as she went through prayer cards and missionary letters and thought about her children. As soon as she came to faith, she began praying for her wayward second son, who was spending his life is worthless pursuits and dissipation far from the Lord. Four years later, the Lord answered those prayers and this prodigal entered the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ and was saved. From that point on, my mother and I were sister and brother in Christ. On Friday morning May 12, 2017, my mom quietly went to heaven to spend eternity with her Lord. Her work was done, so her Savior called her home.

I was new to my church when Mom died, but I had already become acquainted with a senior saint named Edye Caldwell. I told Edye about Mom’s death and she said, “I am sorry to hear about your loss, but that is the way I would like to go.” Even though Edye was 92 years old when she went home, our pastor said he never saw her eyes closed when he was preaching. “I may put some of you to sleep, but not Edye! She wanted to hear every word.” Edye had been a member of Oakhurst for 64 years. She had faithfully prayed for the church when the membership hovered around 40 and attendance was around 30. She lived to see the church replanted and attendance rise to about 400 with more than 300 baptized members and many children all over the place. Now in heaven, Edye Caldwell still speaks by her perseverance in the race and her hunger for the things of the Lord over a lifetime. She and my mom both finished the race at full speed.


Turning back to Hebrews 12, we read, “Let us ALSO lay aside every weight. . .” Notice the word “ALSO.” The Lord has placed us in the body of Christ and therein we have examples and role models who have run and are running the race and who have finished strong. And, as these role models “laid aside every weight and the sin which so easily entangles” them, so we ALSO are to lay aside every weight and lay aside every sin that entangles us. The purpose of these godly role models in this cloud of witnesses is NOT ADMIRATION BUT IMITATION. Having a hero to admire is of dubious value in the life of a disciple, because we, as fallen humans, are so prone to become spectators, mere admirers impressed by the personal success of others. Because of our flesh, we are all beset with a “groupie tendency,” the urge to watch our heroes rather than imitate the godly, spectate rather than do the hard work of discipleship and repentance and obedience and hungering and thirsting for righteousness. Because I know I am flawed and broken and insignificant, I tend to seek out the “great” so that, by my association with them, I can become significant. This is worldly and is the exact opposite of benefiting from our great cloud of witnesses. The gospel declares that we are already significant because Jesus has died for us on the cross and the Holy Spirit has ushered us into new life in the kingdom of God. We are followers of the King of kings, so who else matters?

There is no benefit from idolatrously admiring a hero from a great distance. Rather, what I need are flesh and blood examples who live nearby and who will run the race with me. My cloud of witnesses shows me, by their example, how to lay aside every weight. And where do I find this “cloud of witnesses,” these flesh and blood examples? I find them in my local church! Here among the pews I find those who will help me define “every weight,” then identify what my “weights” are, then pray with me and walk with me as I lay aside these weights. And my brothers in my church do the same thing with “the sin that so easily entangles” me.

You may ask, “What is the primary source of my personal ‘cloud of witnesses’?” What if the Lord provided me with a large, multi-generational group of committed disciples of Jesus who are accessible to me and who have covenanted together with me to walk the godly path as we grow in holiness and usefulness? If God provided me with such a group, it would seem that I would be very likely to grow as a follower of Jesus. Of course, the name for the group I have just described is the local church.


The main take-away here is that we are to actively imitate this great cloud of witnesses and to work hard to be like our role models in the faith. Our culture is all about having us find “great” people to worship and then reducing us to spectators who blindly follow our heroes. Yes, this can easily happen even among believers in good churches. But the disciple is to reject the “admire and spectate” mentality of the world and is, instead, to fix their eyes on the perfecter of faith, the Lord Jesus, as they imitate the godly cloud of witnesses.

Soli Deo gloria            rmb                 2/2/2023                     #618

Waging war with the saints (Dan. 7:21; Rev. 11:7; 13:7)

POST OVERVIEW. (1st post) A detailed examination and comparison of three portions of end-times Scripture. OBJECTIVE. To discover interpretive clues for better understanding end-times literature in general and understanding these passages in particular. The passages under consideration are Daniel 7:21-27, Revelation 11:3-12, and Revelation 13:1-10.

In this season, I am spending a lot of time reading Revelation and studying how this fascinating final book of the Bible relates and connects to other Scripture. That is partly because I am preparing for a short teaching on Revelation on February 9, but mostly because, the more I study the book of Revelation, the more amazing and interesting the book becomes. This fascination with the beauty of Revelation is further heightened by the state of our world and by the collapsing and disintegration and destruction that we see happening all around us. As we see the chaos ever-accelerating, I cannot help but think that the last trumpet is getting ready to sound and soon we will see the Rider on the white horse (Rev. 19:11).

As I was again reading through Daniel and Revelation earlier this week, I discovered some fascinating connections.

In chapter 7 of his prophecy, Daniel relates to us visions that he saw about four beasts, but also in this chapter there is “a little horn” that appears, and it is this horn that I want to consider. Daniel 7:21 says, “I kept looking and that horn was waging war with the saints and overpowering them.” The little horn here is a manifestation of the antichrist.


Let’s pause here for a second to give some background about the antichrist. (see “Antichrist” section for further information) The antichrist appears at the end of the age as the human embodiment of all wickedness. He is manifested at least seven times in the Scriptures, first in Ezekiel 38, 39 as Gog prince of Magog, but then again here in Daniel 7 as the little horn, in Daniel 8 (the small horn), in Daniel 9:26 (the prince who is to come), in Daniel 11:21ff (the despicable person), in 2 Thess. 2:3 (the man of lawlessness), and then finally as the beast in Revelation.


Daniel 7:21 – “The (little) horn was waging war with the saints and overpowering them.”

Rev. 11:7 – “The beast that comes up out of the abyss will make war with them (two witnesses) and will overcome them and kill them.”

Rev. 13:7 – “It was given to him (the beast) to make war with the saints and to overcome them.”

The fact that these three verses describe, in almost identical words, the actions of the little horn and the beast leads to the logical conclusion that the little horn and the beast are the same person. Not only this, but we can also conclude that, because they are described almost identically, the events of Daniel 7:21 are the same events described in Revelation 11:7 and 13:7 and that they occur at the same time in history. Finally, since the beast will make war with the two witnesses (11:7) and the beast will make war with the saints (13:7), it can be determined that the “two witnesses” of Revelation 11:3-12 is a figurative expression for “the saints” (Dan. 7:21 and Rev. 13:7).


We have just made three conclusions based on a careful study of these three verses (Dan. 7:21, Rev. 11:7; 13:7), but now we will apply these conclusions to the texts around these three verses to establish a more detailed framework for interpreting these passages. That work will be continued in the next blog post.

Soli Deo gloria            rmb                 1/27/2023                   #615

Jesus has options we don’t have (Luke 7:11-17)

INTRODUCTION. A post appreciating Jesus’ divine ability to perform miracles as evidence of His identity.

In the pages of the gospels, the Lord Jesus displays His deity in a continuous stream of divine miracles. Our Savior casually does what only God can do, and He does these things without fanfare or pretense, and He does them repeatedly, and He performs these miracles in the presence of many witnesses. These attesting signs point to one obvious conclusion: Jesus is God in human flesh.

I have been particularly struck by Jesus’ miracles in the gospel of Luke and over the next several weeks I hope to write my impressions of those events. But before we look at the Lucan miracles, I want to share a few thoughts about Jesus’ earthly ministry and how plainly His entire ministry attests to His identity.


By His regal demeanor, Jesus assumes His full authority over every situation. Jesus is the King, and He is fully aware of His royalty. As King, He is always the One directing the action and He is always the unrivaled focus of attention. In every scene, He is the most important person, and around Him mere mortals, both righteous and unrighteous, revolve.

Without the slightest trace of pride or condescension, Jesus reigns over all other men. Sinners appropriately fall before Him in worship, seeking His compassion and His forgiveness of their sins, and Jesus accepts their worship as His due while giving them the divine compassion and forgiveness they seek.

Even in the days of His flesh, when He had “taken the form of a bond-servant and been made in the likeness of men” (Phil 2:7), Jesus reigns. Jesus Christ wears His divine authority as an eagle wears its flight. As the eagle gives no thought to his flight, so Jesus gives no thought to His sovereignty. As the eagle soars because soaring is the essence of what it means to be an eagle, so Jesus reigns over all because sovereignty is the essence of being God.

Jesus reigns over His enemies and adversaries. While perfectly knowing His enemies’ vicious intentions, Jesus nevertheless directly confronts the Pharisees and the scribes and passes divine judgment on them. Without a trace of vengeance or hatred, Jesus condemns the self-righteous and warns them of the coming judgment. Jesus condemns and passes judgment because, as God, He has the authority to do so (Romans 9:18).

Jesus is God, and His miracles and demeanor and words consistently attest to that fact.


Since Jesus is divine and has authority over the normal operations of nature, He has options that we don’t have. As God, Jesus always has at His disposal the option to perform a miracle to remedy a situation. This post explores one of those situations from Luke 7:11-17.

LUKE 7:11-17. This event takes place early in Jesus’ Galilean ministry. Jesus is going along with His disciples and a large crowd, and as He is approaching a city called Nain, He and the crowd are met by a funeral procession coming out of the city. It turns out that the man who had died was the only son of a widow from Nain. That is the context for this story.

Given this context, we would all agree that there are no options for the widow. Humanly speaking, the only possible outcome for this scene is that the dead man will be buried and will be mourned and then his widowed mother will need to find some means of survival, since all the men in her life who could provide for her are dead. In a funeral, there simply are no options. Death is final and it eliminates all human options. There may be burial options, but there are no outcome options.

So, no one in the crowd around Jesus or in the funeral procession was expecting anything but a burial. The widow’s only son was dead and it was a sad day. Jesus may witness the funeral and He may experience the sadness of the day, but like all other human beings, He had to bow before the finality and the power of death. Or did He?

13 When the Lord saw her, He felt compassion for her, and said to her, “Do not weep.”

“He felt compassion for her.” It is amazing to think that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, feels compassion for wretched human beings like us, but here the Lord feels compassion for this woman He has never met before. He is emotionally moved and feels her pain and sorrow.

But what Jesus does next is what is truly astounding. For Jesus not only feels compassion for this destitute widow, but He also decides to act. We mentioned before that Jesus has options that mere mortals do not. For us, death eliminates options. Death always has the final word and all funerals end in burials. But Jesus is no mere human. Jesus is God veiled in human flesh and as God, death is subject to Him. He decides when death gets the final word. And on this occasion, Jesus chose to deny death its usual victory.

14 And He came up and touched the coffin; and the bearers came to a halt. And He said, “Young man, I say to you, arise!” 15 The dead man sat up and began to speak. And Jesus gave him back to his mother.

It is hard to imagine a more unexpected set of circumstances. Jesus walks up to the coffin to stop the funeral procession, then issues a command to the dead man. When was the last time you were at a funeral and someone issued a command to the dead person? You would have to assume that the person speaking to the corpse was out of their mind. But Jesus, in front of a vast crowd, commands the corpse to get up, and the corpse obeys! Upon hearing the voice of God, death releases its hold on the dead man and the man sits up in the coffin and begins to speak. Then Jesus, in an act of compassion, gives the revived son back to his mother.

The crowd is understandably stunned.

16 Fear gripped them all, and they began glorifying God, saying, “A great prophet has arisen among us!” and, “God has visited His people!”

In the face of this astonishing miracle, fear grips the crowd. They have just witnessed the impossible and such power in their midst is frightening. Perhaps they grasp the truth of their own words, “God has visited His people!”

SDG                 rmb                 6/25/2022                   #548

Saying goodbye

INTRODUCTION. Considering the sadness and inevitability of “goodbye.”

We waved goodbye the same way we had always waved goodbye, with Mom standing under the small wooden plaque that hung above the gate of her picket fence, “To God be the glory.” She was smiling and waving as we drove slowly past, with our windows down, smiling and waving as we yelled, “We love you,” out the window. There was a familiar ache in my chest as this woman who had loved me for fifty-seven years disappeared from the rearview mirror, knowing that she would again be alone in her small home, just her and the Lord and her thoughts. But we would come back soon and again spend time together and then again poignantly and painfully wave goodbye. We would see her again.

But we didn’t. Five days later my brother called to tell me that Mom had died. She was suddenly gone, beyond the reach of another hello. That last goodbye waving out of the car window was THE last goodbye.


This is the nature of the human condition. Every hello is paired with its corresponding goodbye. If there is a first meeting, there will be a final meeting. A relationship begun is a relationship that will end. My mom greeted me on August 2, 1959, as her second son, still umbilically tied, was placed on her stomach. She remembered that beginning of our relationship, even treasuring the memory of the details, but I, of course, could not remember that beginning. Then, more than fifty-seven years later, after loving me for my entire lifetime, on May 12, 2017, my mom’s earthly relationship with me ended. I remember the end of our relationship, but she, of course, could not.

The older I get, the more experience I have with goodbye. This, too, is part of the human condition, for goodbyes never stop. They keep coming until our death, and no amount of practice makes them any easier.

This morning we said goodbye to dear friends who had visited us for the weekend. We hugged each other several times, wanting to delay the inevitable departure. We saw in each other’s eyes a loving affection for one another created by our love for Jesus Christ and the anticipation of separating weighed on our hearts. Then finally, begrudgingly, with a mixture of joy and sadness, we said goodbye, hoping there would be a future hello.


There is no cure for goodbye in this world. Goodbye is a result of Adam’s sin in the Garden and a consequence of the fall of man. In a fallen world, there is sin and separation and death. Until there is a cure for sin and death, there is no answer for goodbye. As long as man is helpless before sin and death, man is hopeless before the pain of goodbye.

But now, for the follower of Jesus Christ, the power of goodbye has been forever broken. The good news is that, when a person says hello to Jesus and confesses Him as Lord (Romans 10:9), there will never be a goodbye. No one can snatch the believer out of Jesus’ hand (John 10:28). Jesus has promised to be with His disciples to the end of the age (Matt. 28:20). God has promised to never leave His people, but rather to be with us forever (Joshua 1:5, 9; Hebrews 13:5). God is with us by His indwelling Holy Spirit from the moment of justification (Eph. 1:13; Col. 2:13) to the instant of our death, and at death we are at home with Him (2 Cor. 5:8; Phil. 1:23). So, with Jesus there is only hello. For His followers, King Jesus has conquered the kingdom of goodbye.


But more than that, for believers in Jesus even our earthly “final goodbyes” are only temporary. We are not those who grieve like the rest who have no hope (1 Thess. 4:13). We worship the God of the living (Matt. 22:32), and, through faith in Jesus, we have been made alive in Christ (Eph. 2:4; Col. 2:13). That means that even if we die physically, we will never die (John 11:25-26). So, while my mom’s physical death ended our earthly relationship and we will never again relate to one another as mother and son, in Christ we will forever relate to one another as worshipers of the Lord Jesus, together with a great multitude of worshipers which no one could count before the throne and before the Lamb (Rev. 7:9). Death and all goodbyes will be no more (Rev. 21:4) and we will be with Christ forever and ever.

SDG                 rmb                 6/6/2022                     #539

The Discipline of the Lord – Part 2 (Hebrews 12:5-11)


Hebrews 12:5-11 is the classic passage in the Bible about “the discipline of the Lord.” This is the second post in a series of studies covering this section of Scripture. The last post established a basic interpretation of the passage, but also revealed that there is still work to do to see how this interpretation works itself out in life. What I mean is that we understand what the discipline of the Lord does, but we have not yet made clear what the discipline of the Lord is. This part of our study will dig deeper into the meaning of the passage.

and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons,

“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,
Nor faint when you are reproved by Him;
For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines,
And He scourges every son whom He receives.”

It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. 11 All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. – Hebrews 12:5-11


What is the “discipline” in the discipline of the Lord? This is a crucial question for understanding this teaching, and so we will take some time to consider the meaning and the definition of this “discipline.” Here is our approach:

  1. What can we learn about “discipline” from the passage itself?
  2. Find dictionary definitions for the Greek and English words.
  3. How is “discipline” been understood by other Christians?


By carefully reading these verses, we can learn a lot about what “discipline” is and what it is not.

  • The Lord loves those whom He disciplines (12:6). We can therefore conclude that the Lord does not discipline in anger and that the Lord’s discipline is not intended to punish. (See 1 John 4:18.)
  • All believers will receive the discipline of the Lord as evidence that they are His children (12:6, 7, 8). But if all the Lord’s children receive His discipline, then the discipline of the Lord is not sent to correct or punish specific occurrences of sin or misbehavior in particular believers. Instead, the Lord’s discipline is sent, at the Lord’s discretion and providence, upon all believers universally to bring about the same result in all; namely, that they would share the Lord’s holiness (12:10) and would produce the peaceful fruit of righteousness (12:11).
  • Discipline is “sorrowful” (12:11). The disciple must “endure” the discipline of the Lord (12:7). The quote from Proverbs tells us “not to faint” and declares that the Lord “scourges” (The Greek word is understood figuratively, but literally means “beat with a whip.”) every son He receives. Thus, we conclude that the discipline of the Lord involves pain and affliction and suffering.
  • The discipline of the Lord has a purpose. The Lord “disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness” (12:10). This discipline is for training in holiness and has no retributive component.


Just by studying the passage carefully we have gained a good understanding of what this discipline of the Lord is. The Lord disciplines in love all believers so that they will be trained to walk in greater holiness and to produce the fruit of righteousness. Nevertheless, this discipline of the Lord requires endurance (or “perseverance”) because it is administered by the Lord through suffering and pain and affliction.


Now that we have grasped the meaning of “discipline” from the context of the passage, our next task will be to learn what we can from dictionary definitions for the Greek and English words. That will be tomorrow’s post.

SDG                 rmb                 2/17/2022                   #489

For the Son of Man is coming (Matthew 16:27)

This is the final post in the short series, “A life spent for the King,” based on Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 16:24-27. The one who desires to come after Jesus must willingly take up his cross and follow Jesus (16:24; October 26). The one who would find meaning and peace and joy in life must lose his life for Jesus’ sake (16:25; October 31). Every person faces the choice of deciding they will live for this life, or they will live for eternity. What will you give in exchange for your soul? (16:26; November 5)

“For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father with His angels and will then repay every man according to his deeds.” – Matthew 16:27

This verse is the fitting culmination of Jesus’ teaching, for He now reveals the reason for His implicit warnings and exhortations. Jesus offers salvation now because there is coming a day of recompense and judgment when there will be no place to hide. Soon Jesus will be crucified (Matt. 16:21) as an atoning sacrifice for sinners and His death will finish and accomplish His work of redemption (John 19:30; 17:4). Then He will be raised up on the third day and will ascend to heaven to await His triumphal return.

So, if you desire to be protected from “that day,” then deny yourself now, and take up your cross and follow Jesus (Matt. 16:24). Learn today what it means to carry your cross so that you will not be forever judged on that day when the Son of Man comes.

“For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father.”

Make no mistake about it. The Son of Man is certainly coming on the Last Day in power and “in the glory of His Father” to judge all the unrighteous (Psalm 96:13). It is futile for you to try to save your own life (Matt. 16:25) because you do not have the power. If you try to save your life, you will certainly be consumed in the judgment. But if you surrender your life to Christ, then He will save you and you will find life indeed.

“For the Son of Man is going to come and will then repay every man according to his deeds.”

Yes, He is surely coming to judge the earth. He will tread out the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty (Rev. 19:15). Jesus will judge the living and the dead (2 Timothy 4:1). And how can you be spared this terrifying judgment? For, “It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31). The prophet Micah considered offering rams and rivers of oil, even his firstborn. “Does the LORD take delight in thousands of rams, in ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I present my firstborn for my rebellious acts, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul” (Micah 6:7)? Elsewhere, the writer of Psalm 49 acknowledges that he knows of no suitable ransom for redemption. “No man can by any means redeem his brother or give to God a ransom for him. For the redemption of his soul is costly, and he should cease trying forever.” Where then is the answer? What is a man to do on the day of judgment?

The apostle Peter proclaims that there is salvation in Jesus, and in Jesus alone.

“Jesus Christ the Nazarene He is the stone which was rejected by you, the builders, but which became the chief corner stone12 And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” – Acts 4:11-12

Peter declares the good news that on the Last Day, at the coming of the Son of Man, there are those who will be rescued. But that salvation must be put into effect now in this life. Therefore, Paul says, “Behold, now is ‘the acceptable time,’ behold, now is ‘the day of salvation’” (2 Cor. 6:1-2). The apostle is urging one and all to come to faith in Christ now.

Thus, Jesus tells us what it is to spend our life for the King. We will take up the cross that Christ gives us, and we will follow Him where He leads. We will give our life away for His sake. We will forfeit the treasures and pleasures of this world for the joys and riches of the Kingdom of heaven. And we will do this knowing that, when the Son of Man comes in the glory of His Father with all His angels, He will repay us with all the riches of heaven.

SDG                 rmb                 11/12/2021                 #454

The two witnesses and Christ’s ministry – Part 2

This is the second post on the interpretation of Revelation 11:3-12 about the two witnesses. Yesterday (Nov. 1), I presented an exegesis of this passage that revealed the meaning of the events at the end of the age. In this post, I want to demonstrate how the persecution of these “two witnesses” (the faithful church) at the end of the age parallels the life, death, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus in His earthly ministry.


In Revelation 11:3-6

The two witnesses, representing the faithful church, “will prophesy for 1,260 days, clothed in sackcloth” (Rev. 11:3). Notice first that the duration of their prophesying is about three and a half years. Second, the expression “clothed in sackcloth” speaks about the pain and the difficulty of their ministry. The church will prophesy at the end of the age[i] in the face of persecution and opposition. The world will be actively antagonistic to their message and will hate the witnesses (see Rev. 11:10).

From His baptism in the Jordan by John the Baptist to His ascension to heaven following His resurrection, the duration of Jesus’ earthly ministry was about three years. Also, from His rejection at Nazareth to His opposition by the Pharisees and religious leaders to His betrayal, arrest, and crucifixion, Jesus’ ministry was conducted in the face of persecution and opposition. The world hated Jesus (John 15:18) and was actively antagonistic to His message.

In Revelation 11:7

When the two witnesses, representing the faithful church, “have finished their testimony” (see Acts 1:8; Matthew 24:14), “the beast will make war with them and overcome them (see Rev. 13:7; 16:14; 20:8) and kill them.” When the faithful church has accomplished the mission given to her by her King, then the beast will be allowed to overcome and kill the church.

When Jesus had accomplished the work of redemption that the Father had given Him to do (John 17:4), when His time had come (see John 12:23; 13:1), only then were Jesus’ enemies allowed to rise up against Him and kill Him.

In Revelation 11:9

After the two witnesses (the faithful church) are killed, “those from the peoples and tribes and tongues and nations will look at their dead bodies for three and a half days” (11:9).

After Jesus died on the cross, He was buried and “the Son of Man was three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matthew 12:40).

In Revelation 11:10

When the dead bodies of the two witnesses lie in the street, “those who dwell on the earth rejoice over them and celebrate.” The world is glad to finally be rid of the faithful church.

Speaking of His death, Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice” (John 16:20).

In Revelation 11:11

After the defeat at the hands of the beast, the faithful church will be resurrected in glory. “But after the three and a half days, the breath of life from God came into them, and they stood on their feet.” As was explained in the earlier post, this is the Resurrection at the end of the age.

As is proclaimed many times in the New Testament as the main message of the New Testament, after three days, Jesus was raised from the dead in His glorious resurrection.

In Revelation 11:12

After their Resurrection, the faithful church ascends from the earth to meet the Lord in the air (1 Thess. 4:17). “And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, “Come up here.” Then they went up into heaven in the cloud” (Rev. 11:12).

Forty days after His resurrection, Jesus ascended to heaven while His disciples watched. “And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight” (Acts 1:9).


What we have seen in this exploration of Revelation 11:3-12 is that the ministry of the faithful church at the end of the age, “the two witnesses” of this passage, unfolds in a very similar way to the earthly ministry of Jesus the Messiah. The ministries of both face opposition and hostility. Thinly veiled hatred from the world eventually erupts in violence and destruction. Christ is crucified, while the faithful church is annihilated, and the world rejoices in apparent victory. Then comes the Resurrection and the ascension, and defeat of the Messiah and of His church is immediately turned into victory.

SDG                 rmb                 11/02/2021                 #450