Monday, December 31, 2012



Hebrews 4:3   ….although the works were finished from the foundation of the world.
works were finished. God’s works of creation were finished at the end of the six days of creation week (Genesis 2:1-3). He is not still creating, as the theistic evolutionist must allege. Thus the natural processes we can study in operation today are not processes of creation; rather, they are processes of conservation and disintegration, as enunciated in the universally applicable First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics, respectively. Furthermore, the works of creation were finished “from the foundation of the world,” not several billion years later, after the supposed geological ages took place. In effect, these completed works of creation actually constituted the foundation of the world. The idea of evolution, if regarded as God’s method of creation is thus a totally false doctrine and a destructive heresy.

Romans 1:20  “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:”
eternal power. It is God’s eternal power which is evidenced in the cosmos, the power which created it, not just the power which sustains it once it has been created. The remarkable significance of this fact is illuminated by the modern discovery of the two most basic and universal laws of science, known technically as the first and second laws of thermodynamics. More popularly, they can be understood, respectively, as the law of conservation in the quantity of all things God created, and the law of deterioration in the quality (or organized complexity) of all things God created.
The first law reflects the completion of creation in the past (Genesis 2:1-3), so that nothing is now being either created or annihilated; creation is being conserved.
The second law reflects the subsequent curse on creation because of sin (Genesis 3:17-19; Romans 8:20-22), so that everything now has a strong tendency to die—that is, to disintegrate back to the “dust” (the basic elements) which God had created in the beginning and from which He had made all the complex systems in the cosmos.
Thus, the completed and sustained, yet deteriorating, cosmos testifies powerfully to God’s eternal power. Since nothing is now being created, the universe could not have created itself by the “natural” processes which now function in it. Yet, since it is now disintegrating and dying, it must have been created at some finite time in the past; otherwise, if it were infinitely old, it would already be dead and completely disintegrated. If it must have been created, yet could not have been created by the temporal power contained in its existing processes, it must have been created by the eternal power of a transcendent Creator. The creation, therefore, eloquently testifies to the eternal power of its Creator. The only adequate Cause (by the scientific law of cause-and-effect) to produce an infinite, unending, power-filled, intelligible universe containing living creatures must be an infinite, eternal, omnipotent, omniscient, living, personal God.

Romans 8:20
vanity. “Vanity” is equivalent to “futility.” Because of sin, the creation was made to operate under a law which specifies a universal process of decay and death. This law of morpholysis is recognized by science as a basic principle pervading the whole universe. It is also called the law of increasing entropy (meaning turning inward) or the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Every system in the physical and biological worlds has a tendency to turn inward and “feed” on itself to maintain its structure and activity, but this simply causes it to run down, disintegrate and die, unless it somehow becomes opened to outside sources of energy, information, food, etc. Even if it does remain an open system, this internal tendency continues to act in opposition to the incoming energy. Since even the latter will eventually be exhausted, the whole creation is thus in bondage to this principle of futility, or “in-vainness.” But since this law has been imposed by God, He also can remove it, and so there still is “hope.”

Romans 8:21 ”Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.”
corruption. “Corruption” is equivalent to “decay,” and this is yet another way of stating the entropy principle. Everything tends to decay, running down from a created state of organized complexity to one of randomness and disorganized chaos. This law is thus called a “bondage;” the universe is enslaved by it, and there is no natural principle available to supersede it. Such a law is clearly the exact converse of the notion of evolution, which views the universe as gradually organizing itself over long ages by natural processes into its present state of high complexity and activity. The entropy law, which is supported without exception by all observation and scientific study, thus seems to stipulate that evolution on any significant scale is impossible. It also explains the fact that it has never been observed to occur in the present and the fact that there is no evidence it ever occurred in the past!

Romans 8:22 “For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.”
whole creation. The reference to “the whole creation” indicates that the divine curse extends through the entire created cosmos, not just to the earth. Scientific observation has apparently confirmed this. That is, the law of entropy operates throughout the cosmos. Since it was man’s sin that brought God’s curse on the ground—that is, the very elements of the created earth, the “dust of the ground” (Genesis 2:7) out of which all things were made by God—it may be that his sin had universal repercussions. On the other hand, it may be that Satan’s sin, which took place in the angels’ domain in the heavens, brought on the curse there.
groaneth and travaileth. The creation is now travailing like a woman about to deliver children. Its delivery into the glorious new age to come is thus associated with the manifestation of the children of God.

Matthew 14:20, 25. “And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full.” “And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea.”
were filled. To feed five thousand men plus women and children from five loaves and two fishes is obviously humanly impossible. Naturalistic skeptics have tried to explain away this miracle as resulting from the example of sharing his lunch by one lad (John 6:9), which supposedly stimulated others to share also. Such an artificial explanation could hardly account for the twelve baskets full of fragments after everyone was “filled!” This was nothing less than a mighty miracle of creation. Setting aside His own created law of mass conservation (i.e., no matter can be either created or annihilated, as implied by Genesis 1:31–2:3), Jesus supernaturally created a great amount of bread and meat, to feed the multitude. This was well within His ability, as Creator of all things in the beginning! Note John 1:1-3; Colossians 1:16; etc.
walking on the sea. In a further evidence of His power as Creator, Jesus must have created a special anti-gravity form of energy in order to walk on the sea, thus suspending or superseding His created law of energy conservation (First Law of Thermodynamics: no energy can be created or destroyed—only conserved).

Acts 3:21 “Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.”
times of restitution. “Restitution” is from a Greek word used only this one time in the New Testament, though it is closely related to a word meaning “restore.” The promise thus means that, when Christ comes again, He will restore all things to their primeval perfection, before sin and the curse came into the world. Compare Revelation 21:5; 22:3.
 since the world began. Note that God’s prophets have been prophesying the restoration of all things ever “since the world began,” not just beginning some four billion years after the world began, as evolutionists would allege. There is no Biblical basis whatever for the notion of vast ages since creation. Compare Mark 10:6: Luke 1:70. It should be recognized that there is no scientific proof that the world is older than the few thousand years of recorded history. All such age calculations that yield vast eons of time are based upon the premise of uniformitarianism, which is the belief that everything has been uniform from the beginning of time, and there has been no universal catastrophe such as the worldwide Flood. This is an invalid assumption in light of the records of special creation and the worldwide Flood in the days of Noah.



If you believe that you have a tremendous problem. For the attached verse declares that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, created all creatures in heaven and earth, included in those mentioned are the angels.

Col. 1:16  “For by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him, and for Him.”

<by & for> Creations beginning and consummation.
The New Testament clearly teaches us that the entire universe was created through God's Son, the agent of the creation (John 1:3, 10; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:2). The New Testament further reveals that the works He performed during His brief earthly ministry were intended to reveal His true nature and glory (John 1:14; 2:11; 20:31). In the light of these truths, it is profoundly instructive to observe that all of Christ's miracles involved sudden transformations. Works only done by the Creator of this universe.



2 Chron. 6:20  Solomon having just built the Temple for prayer, in this great prayer of dedication, revealed his true understanding of the greatness of God, as he said: "Will God in very deed dwell with men on the earth? Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain Thee, how much less this house which I have built?" Realizing the inadequacy of any houses built by man to contain God he uttered this suggestive and beautiful petition that the watching eyes of God might ever rest upon the house he had built. It was the place where God had said He would put His name. It was the place to which the people would go to offer their petitions, in the regular exercises of worship, in special seasons of need through sin, in battle, in drought, in famine. (God uses secondary causes to get our attention). The vision of the king created his prayer. He saw the Temple perpetually watched by the eyes of God, so that whatever worshippers approached they were seen by the God Whose help they sought. That this might be so, he prayed. It was a figure of speech but one full of suggestive beauty. For us, the great ideal has found perfect fulfillment through "Jesus the Son of God," Who has "passed through the heaven"; "now to appear before the face of God for us." We "draw near with boldness unto the throne of grace," (Heb. 4:13-16) and we do so in Him, the Beloved. The boldness is caused by the intense need that is present. He alone can answer and the penitent sinner knows that fact. The eyes of God are always upon Him in satisfaction and delight; and so in our approach we are always seen, but we are seen in Him, and so accepted. A true knowledge of our thrice holy God finds answers.

2 Chron. 7:14 “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” This message came from heaven to Solomon who was to tell God’s people to sanctify themselves from their wickedness which was great, then would He hear from heaven (separated from earth because God cannot dwell with sin), forgive them with their sincere request which will finally happen after He takes them through intense suffering during the GREAT TRIBULATION, and then He will heal their land making it extremely productive.

Sanctification is a shallow word in the church today because men and women are not truly sorrowful for their wickedness and sin. No sooner do they pray when chastised, but immediately return to the same sin. God will not be mocked. He knows the heart before the words are spoken.

Sunday, December 30, 2012



Eph. 4:3 Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Eph. 4:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.

Rom. 16:17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.
18  For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.

1 Cor. 1:10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

It is noteworthy that the only references to Christian “unity” in the New Testament—in so far as the word itself is concerned—are here in this chapter. “The unity of the faith” (Ephesians 4:13) is vital, but so is “the unity of the Spirit.” There can be no real spiritual unity without doctrinal unity, and vice versa. In one sense, the two are synonymous, because sound doctrine includes the doctrine of the Holy Spirit and His “fruit” produced in the lives of true believers.

Unity of the faith is not achieved until we come to the knowledge of the Son of God, to perfection, to the fullness of the stature of Christ. Until then unity is a rare commodity in the Church today.

Eph. 4:4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;
5  One Lord, one faith, one baptism,
6  One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

<One> brings to mind the statement that "I" will build MY church. The ONE LORD is the OBJECT of the sinners faith, the ONE FAITH is centered upon the ONE LORD, and the ONE BAPTISM is of the Holy Spirit, Who always points Truth to the ONE LORD, (or maybe water) when the sinner becomes the Lord's which gives a new relationship when baptized. (If this speaks of water baptism then it tells us of the Trinitarian Godhead that it teaches.) This verse with the next is a Trinitarian statement.
Can we agree upon that? If not we will have to wait until we are all perfect as 1 Cor. 1:10 teaches, perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.



Col. 2:6 As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:
Eph. 4:1 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called.

Amos 3:3 says "Shall two WALK together, except they be agreed?"
Micah 6:8 says "And what does the Lord God require of you? But to do justice, to love kindness, and to WALK humbly with your God."

Communion proves agreement.
The effect demands and demonstrates a cause. God requires this of man, but the question arises, How can a man walk with God? How is the necessary agreement out of which such walk proceeds to be insured (to continue)?  Enoch walked with God in the Gen 5:22.
The conception is of God and a man moving together as a unit, in perfect time and perfect rhythm. Two lives, the life of God and the life of a man, united in their wills, united in effort, putting their strength toward the same end; united in direction, moving toward the same ultimate goal.
The destination towards what man moves is the Divine destination along the way of the Divine procedure in the power of the Divine fellowship.
And man ends up perfected in body, soul, and spirit.
What a journey!!!



Remember that one

Eph. 1:4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

“foundation of the world” God in Christ was the Creator of the space/matter/time universe, but before He began the world, in some way beyond our comprehension, we were chosen in Him. Note also the other events that were planned, and (since God does not change) in effect all consummated before the world began: (1) love within the Godhead (John 17:5, 24); (2) Lamb of God slain (1 Peter 1:20); (3) names written in Book of Life (Revelation 13:8; 17:8); (4) chosen ones saved by grace (2 Timothy 1:9); (5) saved ones given assurance of eternal life (Titus 1:2); (6) established hidden wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 2:7); (7) all God’s works known and planned (Acts 15:18). Even though our finite minds cannot really comprehend such truths, we can believe them since God has revealed them to us. He did not say we must understand the full depths of His gospel to be saved; we just have to believe!

I learned this next truth in seminary from the associate who began Grace Seminary right beside him.
The all-consuming purpose of God in creation was to establish a Kingdom on this earth in which He could display His glory in the Person of His Son. This display was to be made to creatures made in His image and likeness and therefore capable of appreciating, apprehending, and applauding that glory. This plan unfolds from Genesis to Revelation.
        Like phrases are given in Isa 14:26-27;Matt 13:35, Matt. 25:34; Luke 11:50; John 17:24, Eph. 1:4,  Heb. 1:10, Heb. 4:3, Heb. 9:26; 1 Pet. 1:20, Rev. 13:8, Rev. 17:8. Whatever application these passages may have to the future kingdom, we cannot rid ourselves of the plainly implied meaning that, in the mind of the Divine Architect and Purposer, the contemplated final use of this world was allied with its origin.

Saturday, December 29, 2012



Gal. 3:8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed. (Gen. 12:3)

Sounds strange to a N.T. believer to hear words like the gospel and salvation by faith for those in the O.T.
Everyone that was saved in the O.T. was saved by grace. Always by grace through faith whether O.T. or N.T.
Salvation means, according to Christ and as He taught it, was first the forgiveness of a man for failure to fulfill responsibility; secondly the liberty then of a man in that he had become the slave of sin and Satan; and finally power in the man, denying, breaking up the fixity of sin, and bringing him into a glorious liberty.
The very purpose of Christ's coming was to seek and save the lost.
Abraham had the gospel preached to him {Gal. 3:8; Heb. 4:2}. Only faith can make you righteous. Only those who share in his saving faith are counted as his children {Gal. 3:6-7}.
To save, in the Christian sense, is to deliver out of the danger, and to rescue from all the harm which has already been wrought.
The story of Zachaeus is one of salvation. The Pharisees saw him receiving sinners and eateth with them. He was in their midst for the very purse of saving them. This account happened on His way to Jerusalem. Zachaeus did not invite Him, He invited Himself.

God’s original promise to Abraham, quoted here from Genesis 12:3, required the coming of Christ into the world to redeem the world for its fulfillment. Since the promise was with reference to “all nations,” and due to the fact that this was long before Israel became a nation, Abraham surely understood the promise to be of universal scope. Abraham thus believed this very early form of the gospel and was justified by faith many years before God gave him the sign of circumcision as a token of the covenant (Genesis 17:9-14).

Abraham didn’t know how long it would take God to do this but he accepted the promise by faith.



The prophet Isaiah was surely the greatest "Christmas Prophet" of the Old Testament. Let us briefly consider two of his most famous Christmas sermons.
Isaiah Chapter 7
One of the great marvels surrounding Jesus' birth was the fact of His virgin conception. But how could a virgin be with child and bear a son? Luke explains: "The Holy Spirit will come upon you (Mary), and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God" (Luke 1:35). Was this impossible? No, "For with God nothing will be impossible" (Luke 1:37).
Not only was it not impossible, it was predicted 700 years before by Isaiah. He received the message that Christ, the Messiah, would be one Person with two natures - divine and human.
At a time of great crisis for Israel, the house of David was given a great promise. "Then he said, 'Hear now, O house of David! Is it a small thing for you to weary men, but will you weary my God also? Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son (i.e., fully human), and shall call His name Immanuel (i.e., God with us, fully divine)" (Isa. 7:13, 14). In the very next chapter, the prophet is told that the God of Israel is "Immanuel" (Isa. 8:8; cf. v. 10).
Notice that God told Israel that He would give them a great sign. The coming of the Messiah/Christ would be so great that "the depth" of Sheol or "the height" of heaven could not compare (cf. Isa. 7:11.)! That is a measure of God's love for the world.
Our Lord Jesus Christ is called Immanuel. What does that mean? It means that Jesus is not merely a man - He is also God. Otherwise, He could not have paid for all of our sins on the cross. What a Person, and what a gift!
Without Immanuel, Israel could never have survived. To all of her enemies, God said: 'Take counsel together, but it will come to nothing; Speak the word, but it will not stand, For God is with us (Hebrew: Immanuel)' (Isa. 8:10). That is still true for Israel today and they shall discover Who Immanuel the Savior really is.
Sadly, Ahaz, the ancient king of Israel, refused to believe in Immanuel, the Savior. And when He finally came, the vast majority of Jews rejected Him - and still do. But someday soon, thank God, the nation of Israel will acknowledge Him, and will 'be grafted into their own olive tree' (Rom. 11:24) of divine blessing. God is merciful!
Isaiah Chapter 9
The dual nature of our Savior was also revealed to Isaiah in Isa. 9:6: "For unto us a Child is born (i.e., human nature), Unto us a Son is given (i.e., divine nature); And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."
Where would Jesus, the Light of the world, perform His first miracle? "In Galilee of the Gentiles" (Isa. 9:1; cf. John 2:11) - despised by Judean Jews! Thus, Nathaniel asked Philip, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" (John 1:46). But Isaiah had long since written: 'The people who walked in darkness (i.e., Galileans) Have seen a great light; Those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, Upon them a light has shined" (Isa. 9:2).
Who was this great Light? "Unto us a Child is born (His true human nature), Unto us a Son is given (His divine nature)" (Isa. 9:6). The Second Person of the eternal Godhead - Who added a sinless human nature to His divine nature - is now and forever one Person with two distinct natures, in order that He, Jesus Christ, might be able to die for our sins.
Does Christ truly possess the qualities that would be essential to be our Savior? God, the Holy Spirit, who is the ultimate author of the Bible (cf. 2 Pet. 1:21), lists His qualifications: "And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father (see Isa. 63:16), Prince of Peace" (Isa. 9:6). What more could sinful humanity ask for?
The Lord Jesus is not only our Savior; He is also our coming King. Yes, 'The government (of the entire world) will be upon His shoulder" (Isa. 9:6). He will rule the world all by Himself? Yes, "For the LORD is our Judge (i.e., Supreme Court), The LORD is our Lawgiver (i.e., Congress), The LORD is our King (i.e., executive branch); He will save us" (Isa. 33:22).
When our Savior becomes our King, He will be so forever! "Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end," for He will "order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever." But how can this occur? May all mankind hear the answer: "The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this" (Isa. 9:7).



Gal. 2:21  I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.

...then Christ died in vain Dr. Rendel Harris has aptly described this letter of the great Apostle to the Gentiles as an "explosive epistle." Its force lies more in the truths it declares than in the way in which they were stated; yet the method of statement is most arresting. Perhaps in the course of the whole argument, nothing ls more tremendous in the impact made upon the mind than this outstanding declaration. If the Law, which does reveal righteousness, is able to produce righteousness, then the death of Christ was a mistake, it was unnecessary; He died to accomplish something which might have been accomplished in some other way. Those then who hold that a man may reach righteousness through the Law are compelled either to get rid of the whole conception of the atoning death of the Lord, or to say that God was mistaken. Moreover, if the Law could not make righteous, and the death of Christ is able to do so, then why superimpose upon faith in that which is able, the rites and ceremonies of that which is without force? That is the whole case of the letter, and it is that truth, so forcefully stated, which has made this letter the high explosive which more than once in the history of the Church has shattered false doctrine as to the way of salvation. It was Martin Luther's weapon. Because the heart of man is always prone to add something of human device to the Divine provision, it is best to keep this writing at hand, for its power is as great as ever.

“Not of works, lest any man shall boast.”



James 1:26 If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain.

The Greek word for “religious” is used only here in the New Testament. It refers to an outward show of piety, and does not necessarily refer to Christianity.

James 1:27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

Pure religion. The word for “religion” is related to the word for “religious” (see above note). This word is used only in James 1:26-27, with one significant exception. In Colossians 2:18 it is translated “worshipping,” but in connection not with worshipping God, but angels. Since angels who receive worship are actually fallen angels following Satan, it follows that “religion” and “religious” are used in the Bible only in relation to pagan religions.

The Christian faith is never called a religion in Scripture. Most people haven’t studied that term in its context so they would care to argue but truth is hard to accept for a lot of people who read the scriptures. Statements like that affect their religion.

Pure religion as stated in James verse above involves both worship and service as Romans 12:1 teaches. It involves accepting Scripture as truth and the following of the leadership of the Holy Spirit as He teaches the true meaning of Christ’s words and works. Little kids and widows are high on His list. Woe to the one who treats those two mentioned not as He desires.

Divorce, abortion, etc. He hates all mentioned. Religion dances around these issues. God doesn’t.

Friday, December 28, 2012



Luke 11:50 That the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation;
51 From the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, which perished between the altar and the temple: verily I say unto you, It shall be required of this generation.
52 Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered.

Israel had religious experts that utterly failed in their presentation of the meaning of the scriptures. Many and I mean many today are in the pulpits making disgusting statements of God’s wisdom He left us. One denomination is not to blame for Satan knew the task at hand. Back then there were called lawyers (Scribes). They were to present the key of knowledge to the needy people of Israel. The outcome of their messages or sermons were evidenced by the declining numbers of true worshipers  They resorted to false systems to stymie those decline in numbers. Here are some verses which typify what we see today going on in the churches.

Luke 11 above tells of our modern day science movement that denies the first 11 chapters of Genesis denying its knowledge and wisdom.
“foundation of the world” It is important to note that the blood of God’s prophets (beginning with Abel) has been shed “from the foundation of the world,” not beginning four billion years after the foundation of the world. This is an incidental, yet striking, confirmation that the world was created from start to finish in six literal days. See also Mark 10:6, etc. Isn't it interesting how He says they mistreated His words concerning His account of Creation in the first 11 chapters of Genesis and is still being treated in the same manner today. The passage here is paraphrased from 2 Chronicles 36:15-16.
2 Chron. 36:15 And the LORD God of their fathers sent to them by his messengers, rising up betimes, and sending; because he had compassion on his people, and on his dwelling place:
16 But they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the LORD arose against his people, till there was no remedy.
Twisting scripture is accomplished by many. Many just mock the importance of His wisdom thereby identifying their beliefs. Lawlessness treats His words as useless and without authority. His wrath was displayed in their day and in the Great Tribulation will be the completed display of playing foolishly with His wisdom. There will be no remedy in that day for their utter folly with His wisdom He left them. They are without excuse.

This misuse and mistrust is being accomplished both in the pulpit and the pew today. Many, especially the kids, have left the Church because of what they have both witnessed and heard. Nothing in the Church fills the vacancy they know they possess. So what has the Church today done to attract those diminishing numbers? They attempt to entertain them, feed them, or just make false displays of God’s great powers.

2 Chron. 30:10  So the posts passed from city to city through the country of Ephraim and Manasseh even unto Zebulun: but they laughed them to scorn, and mocked them.
A true saint takes a sincere message out to people in need and this is the same response they get. Laughed at and scorned. God knew this day was coming and is a part of His plan. Nothing takes Him by surprise.
Not much difference today as in Israel’s great day.

Thursday, December 27, 2012



Extremes have characterized the treatment, which the Mother of our Lord has received at the hands of the Christian Church.
 On the one hand she has been worshipped, and on the other, largely neglected. In the rebound of Protestantism from Mariolatry we have been terribly in danger of relegating the Virgin Mother to a position far inferior to that which she really holds in the counsel and purpose and power of God, and in the work of God in human history and human life.
 I am not proposing to debate this matter, but make the statement as an introductory affirmation. There is no authority whatever in Scripture for worshipping her; but there is equally no authority for neglect. She certainly ought to occupy the place in our thinking that she does in Scripture. In the New Testament Mary is never presented as the principal figure. There is only One such, and that is the Lord Himself. All the appearances of Mary are directly connected with Him, and form part of the background, flinging Him up into brighter and dearer relief. Nevertheless the very fact that she is thus always associated with Him, gives her a place of prominence and importance. It is impossible, necessarily, to read all that is written concerning her, but we may, having familiarity with the New Testament, pass over the ground.
 Let it be remembered that our purpose in this study is exactly not to see Mary herself, but to watch our Lord's dealing with her. In the Gospel narrative she is presented to us as a virgin of the house of David, betrothed to a man named Joseph. Luke gives us her genealogy as descended from David, and consequently the genealogy of Jesus after the flesh, through her. In passing it may be said that much has been written concerning the difference between the genealogies of Matthew and Luke. Personally I cannot see any difficulty. Matthew has given us the legal genealogy of Jesus, due to the fact that He was legally adopted by Joseph, and consequently in Jewish archives, according to Jewish law, He was entered in Joseph's line as his adopted Son. In Luke, on the other hand, as we have said, we have the genealogy traced through His Mother.
We see her then as a quiet, simple village maiden. Her parentage is obscure. We learn the name of her father through Luke's genealogy, where it is said that Joseph is the son, which means in this case the son-in-law of Heli. In this connection it is illuminative to remember that in Jewish writings concerning her subsequent to our Lord's life, she is referred to as the Mother of Jesus, and named directly as the daughter of Heli. Through this line of descent the royal blood of David was flowing in her veins. Joseph was also of that line, but coming from David through Solomon, while Mary descended through Nathan.
 She is seen, dwelling in Nazareth, with all its limitations, its perils, and its advantages. Its limitations are self-evident. Nazareth was at that time a town of perhaps about ten to twenty thousand inhabitants. It was therefore a busy town, but a small one, and as distances then counted, suffering the limitation of being far removed from Jerusalem. The perils of the town were undoubted. Careful investigation during recent years has shown that Nazareth was a hotbed of corruption. This is what Nathanael meant unquestionably when he asked, "Can any good thing come out of Nazareth? " When I speak of its advantages, I am referring to the fact that it is advantageous to live in a small town in many ways. In the smaller towns people think more, personally and individually, than they do in a great city, where life is in danger of becoming too busy for any such activity.
The character of Mary is immediately revealed in the angel's address to her. This commenced with the word "Hail." This is a translation of the Greek verb Chairo. We have a similar word Cheer; but the Greek word meant more than we do when we use the word. We have understood by the "Hail," a word of adoration, as for instance in the lines: "Hail to the Lord's Anointed, Great David's greater Son." Now from the standpoint of strict etymology, Hail is right as a translation of Chairo, but it should be spelled Hale. It is a part of the old Anglo-Saxon word halig, which means whole. Hale therefore really means "Good health to you." It is a wish expressed that the one addressed may know the blessings of health in every form and fashion. Thus the angel addressed Mary.
 The following words reveal her character. Here, again, our rendering is at fault. "Thou art highly favored." This would suggest that the angel was referring to the fact that a great favor was being conferred upon her. Now while that was true, the true rendering is, "Thou art endued with grace," which was a declaration of a fact concerning her. To this he added the further illuminating statement, "The Lord is with thee." A careful consideration will show how in this address of the angel we have a remarkable presentation of truth concerning this maiden in Nazareth. In that city, with its limitations, its perils, its advantages, lived this maiden of Jewish and royal blood. Living in the midst of impurity she was pure. Living in the midst of limitations she triumphed over them. Living in the midst of disadvantages she had the highest advantage of walking in fellowship with the God of her fathers.
 As we follow the story, incidentally we are brought face to face with another fact revealing her character. Luke tells us that she was troubled at the saying of the angel, that is, perplexed by it, wondering what manner of salutation this could be. Mary was not alarmed or perplexed by the vision of the angel, but she was perplexed that the angel addressed her in this way. He had said to her, "Thou art endued with grace," and she was quite unconscious of the fact. This, in itself, is a revelation full of suggestive beauty.
 We come then to the announcement made to her, and this was introduced by the words: "Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found favor with God."
 The word rendered "favor" here is the same as the one already used, when the angel said, "Thou art endued with grace". With perfect accuracy therefore, we may read so, "Thou hast found grace with God." "Thou art endued with grace," his declaration concerning her character. "Thou hast found grace with God" introduces the statement concerning her high office in the economy of God. That office was then declared in the words: "And behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a Son, and shalt call His name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David; and He shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of His Kingdom there shall be no end." Every sentence, every phrase in that declaration is full of suggestive meaning. To summarize it all we may say that the angel told Mary that there fell to her the honor of becoming the Mother of the long-looked-for Messiah. It was a tremendous and almost overwhelming announcement.
 Still further looking at Mary, we are brought face to face with her complete honesty. She said to the angel: "How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?"
 In that question she expressed the biological difficulty, which, by the way, men are still discussing. It is best that we bear in mind when we hear such discussions, that it was Mary, according to the record, who herself first raised the difficulty.
 She was answered with great simplicity, and awe-inspiring decisiveness as the angel said: "The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee."
 That is the one and only answer to this biological problem. It is an answer removing all difficulty to those who believe in the God of the Bible.
 There was however another question that she did not ask, but which was involved. It is as to how the Child of a sinning woman could Himself be sinless. The angel messenger answered that deeper problem, even though Mary had not expressed it, as he said: "Wherefore also that which is to be born shall be called Holy, the Son of God."
 That is to say that by this self-same power and activity of the Most High, Jesus should be immaculately conceived. (Therefore no need to make a church doctrine that she was also sinless.)
To these stupendous statements of the angel, Mary replied, as bowing her head she said: "Behold, the; bondmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word."
 In this saying she submitted herself to the Divine purpose, program, and power.
 In the development of the story we may now follow her a little further as she took her journey into the hill country, a journey of at least a hundred miles. Why that hurried visit to Elisabeth? The whole activity of human salvation has been wrought out through pain and misunderstanding. Imagine this maiden in Nazareth, with this awe-inspiring secret, tremendous in its significance, but which could by no means be explained to Nazareth. To recognize this is to understand why, for those first three months, she found refuge with someone else who knew something of the deep secrets of God.
 There can be no escape from the conviction that Mary lived all her life under suspicion. The fact comes out more than once in the story. One day they said of Jesus, We know this Man, we know His father, and His mother. On another occasion they said, when putting themselves into contrast with Him, "We were not born of fornication." It was impossible for Mary to explain. There are things which are beyond the realm of explanation, except to those of like spiritual capacity.
 When she arrived, Elisabeth greeted her as the Mother of the Lord, and she at once broke out into song. As we study the Magnificat, we find that it is pure Hebrew poetry. It was a weaving together of sentences found in the Psalms. In that hour they merged in her thinking, and she poured them forth in this great song.
 The next view we have of Mary is in Bethlehem in the hour of the birth of Jesus. In that utmost hour we see her away from all that is dear and precious to the heart of motherhood; and so in the very circumstances of travail, she was in fellowship with the suffering of the One to be born. The appalling loneliness of it fills the heart with brooding sorrow. Away from home, no room in the inn, no woman by to help, she brought forth her First-born, she wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, she laid Him in the manger. Nevertheless the brightness and the joy and gladness of it is equally evident. The first sound of the voice of the Child turned all the discords of the wayside into harmonies for that Mother. The first gleam of light from His eyes as He looked up into her face caused the shadows to merge into the infinite light. I shall always believe that Jesus was thinking of His own Mother very near to the end, when He said that unutterably beautiful thing: "A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come; but when she is delivered of the child, she remembers no more the anguish, for the joy that a man is born into the world."
 (MARY DID YOU KNOW) The shepherds arriving told of the song they had heard and the chorus that accompanied it, and of Mary it is said, she pondered these things in her heart. Here we have the first revelation of Mary's imperfect understanding. She had submitted herself to the will of God as the bond-maid of Jehovah. Nevertheless when she heard this story from the shepherds, she pondered these things.
 She is next seen in the home when the rite of her people was administered in the case of her Son, and she gave Him the name which the angel had declared. We have no details of that ceremony, but simply the statement of the fact.
 Next she is seen in the Temple, when Simeon took the Child in his arms, and uttered his great Nunc Dimittis. She heard him declare that a sword should pierce through her own soul; and again her limitation is revealed in the declaration that she was marveling.
 In sequence there follows the story of the visit of the Magi, the flight into Egypt, the return to Nazareth; and then we know how for twelve years her life was devoted to the nursing and training of that Child, the little one, in Hebrew language, the taph, learning His first lessons in Scripture from her teaching.
 When we turn to examine our Lord's dealings with her, we find that the first thing we are told is that after His presentation in the Temple at twelve years of age, He went down to His home, and was subject to His parents. He having now arrived at the age of twelve, and having become legally a Son of the law by His own choice, yielded Himself in submission to her, and to His adopted father.
 In the Temple He had uttered to her the first words of which we have any record as falling from His lips: "Wist ye not that I must be in the things of My Father?"
 In that sentence He would seem to have been largely correcting something she had said, namely; "Thy father and I sought Thee sorrowing." While He was the adopted Son of Joseph, He evidently knew His true relationship, and revealed His sense of responsibility.
 He is next seen in contact with her at Cana! Eighteen years had passed, and we have no account of anything that transpired during that period except that He "Advanced in wisdom and in stature, and in grace by the side of God and men."
 When we see Him at Cana we realize that the relationship between them had changed. He was not subject to her now in any sense. It was here that she said to Him, "They have no wine"; and to understand Mary we must come to a recognition of her meaning in the light of what He Himself said to her in answer to her declaration. Addressing her tenderly as "Woman," He said to her quite literally, "What is there to thee and to Me?" By which He evidently was reminding her that there were things which they had nothing in common. It is perfectly evident that when she told Him they had no wine, she was hoping for some action through which the profound secret of His Personality might be manifested in glory. To that He replied, "Mine hour is not yet come." It is evident that He did not mean that His hour was not come for a supernatural act, for He turned the water into wine revealing a Truth about Him being the Creator of this world. There was a deeper significance in the statement than that. He was declaring to her that not by the working of Creator power in such a way as would accomplish this turning of water into wine would the true glory be manifested concerning Himself. The story of Mary at this point ends very beautifully as she said to the servants, trusting Him completely, even though she did not understand: "Whatsoever He saith unto you, do it."
 A later story concerning her, the full significance of which can only be gained by the study of it as it appears in Matthew and Mark, is a further revelation of her misunderstanding. They were crowded days. He was so busily occupied that He hardly had time to eat. She at the time, was evidently in Nazareth, and heard of these activities, and with a mother's heart, became anxious about Him. She had an awful fear that He was going out of His mind, and she journeyed from Nazareth to Capernaum to find Him, in order to take Him home, and this for very love of Him.
 His dealing with her at this point may appear rough, but it was not really rough. Told that she was there, and seeking Him, He said, Who is My Mother, and My brethren and My sisters? that is, My real kinsfolk; and He declared in answer to His own question, They that do the will of God, My Father Who is in heaven. He revealed by that statement that there was a higher relationship than that which existed between Him and His Mother on the level of the physical. It was the kinship of those who were with Him in consecration to the Will of God. By this statement He was still dealing with her, rebuking an affection which would interfere with His own Divine purpose, and yet by the rebuke calling her into a higher kinship than that of Mother and Son on the earthly level.
 We see her again in that unutterable hour when He hung upon His Cross. I sometimes am inclined to say that only a mother can understand that sorrow of Mary watching at the Cross. As she looked at Him, probably with breaking heart and in amazement, suddenly she saw His eyes rest upon her, and heard Him say, "Woman, behold thy son." Quite evidently His hands were transfixed, and only by the glance of His eye did He communicate the one to whom He was referring, as then looking at him, He said, "Behold thy mother." Thus in all the mystery of that hour of unfathomable pain, Mary found Him thinking of her on the earthly level, and providing for her for all the years to come.
 We see her once more, on the day of Pentecost, mingling with the others of His waiting disciples. In that great hour when the Spirit fell upon all of them, Mary was one of the number, and in that act He enfolded her in His own life in a closer relationship than she had ever known, even though she had kept Him under her heart, and had been the instrument through which a body was prepared for Him, in which to carry out the mighty enterprises of God. She would surely remember in that hour how that long ago the angel visitor had said to her: "The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee; wherefore also that which is born shall be called holy, the Son of God." Now again, that self-same Spirit came upon her, and He Who had formed in her womb the body of Jesus, now united her to Him forever in spiritual life, and thus she came into the closest and final union with Him.
 The personal values of such a story are in some senses difficult and unique, because the fact is lonely and unique. There are nevertheless great principles underlying the story. First of all it is a revelation of the fact that personal character does count with God. It was a woman endued with grace that was chosen for this high and lofty office.
 Again we learn that highest service for God in this world must always involve pain. And finally, all such service is eventually in order to the glory of Christ, and His crowning. Mary is never named in the Apocalypse. (Revelation)
 Perhaps the chief value of all this is its revelation of the sanctity of motherhood and childhood. It shows also that Christ can only be understood by the interpretation of the Spirit. Not even the Mother who bore Him ever understood Him until the Spirit came to her on the day of Pentecost. (MARY DIDN'T KNOW UNTIL PENTECOST)
 We may fittingly close this meditation by the quotation of words which Dr. Burton wrote concerning her.
 "The Virgin Mother takes her place in the focal point of all the histories. Through no choice, no conceit or forwardness of her own, but by the grace of God and by an inherent fitness she becomes the connecting link between earth and heaven. And, throwing as she does, her unconscious shadow back within the paradise lost, and forward through the Gospels to the paradise regained, shall we not "magnify the Lord" with her? Shall we not "magnify the Lord" for her, as, with all the generations we "call her blessed"? The blessed Virgin!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012



Did Jesus really have long hair? We obviously have no pictures to substantiate that idea that most portray Him as having. But scripture says no to that false picture.
1 Cor. 11:14 “Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?”

My Redeemer is not shameful. And as far as that goes the 2nd commandment discourages any false portraits of Him.

The shameful portraits that commonly we see are fictional and typical of those who have no idea what scripture has recorded.

The common depiction of Jesus with long flowing hair must, therefore, be incorrect. In fact, Josephus and other writers of that day indicate that most men, both Jewish and Roman, were usually beardless and short-haired.


Darkness Before the Dawn

Over and over again, God told Daniel that "the saints of the Most High" (Dan. 7:18; Jewish believers and their Gentile converts) would be crushed by the Antichrist (the "little horn" of Daniel 7:8 and "the king [who] shall do according to his own will" of Dan. 11:36). Verses 21 and 25 describe this further and summarize: "the saints shall be given into his hand" (Dan. 7:25b).
This was very hard on Daniel - and should be on us! "As for me, Daniel, my thoughts greatly troubled me, and my countenance changed" (Dan. 7:28). But, thank God, the spiritual darkness of the Great Tribulation will soon be followed by the Light of the World, our Lord Jesus Christ, who will rescue His people and inaugurate the Kingdom! Someone has said that the darkness is deepest just before the dawn, and so shall it be at the Second Coming.
The Great Tribulation
But how long will this time of incomparable global darkness continue? Daniel heard two angels ask the Lord, "How long shall the fulfillment of these wonders be?" (Dan. 12:6). The answer? "It shall be for a time, times, and half a time; and when the power of the holy people has been completely shattered, all these things shall be finished" (Dan. 12:7). That means three and one-half years, as explained in Dan. 9:24-27 and Rev. 11:2, 3. It will be the last half of the seven-year transition period that follows the resurrection and rapture of the church and it will end with the glorious Second Coming of Christ.
Daniel's last question would surely be ours as well: "My lord, what shall be the end of these things?" (Dan. 12:8). God's answer was, "Many (saints) shall be purified, made white, and refined, but the wicked (especially Antichrist) shall do wickedly; and none of the wicked shall understand, but the wise shall understand" (Dan. 12:10).
The 1,290 Days and the 1,335 Days
Now comes a special revelation, taught nowhere else in the Bible! After the Antichrist establishes his "abomination of desolation" (Dan. 12:11) in the middle of that seven-year period (cf. Dan. 9:27; Matt. 24:15-22), a period of 1,290 days takes place (cf. Dan. 12:11). We know that the Lord will return after 1,260 days (cf. Rev. 12:6; 13:5). Instead of 1,260 days, however, we are told that there will be 1,290 days. Could the answer be that the Lord will set aside those 30 days to purge and purify the Temple for His people to use during the Kingdom age?
Godly King Hezekiah postponed the Passover one month (cf. 2 Chron. 30:2, 15) in order "to cleanse the house of the LORD" (2 Chron. 29:15) and "because a sufficient number of priests had not consecrated themselves" (2 Chron. 30:3) following the abominations committed by his father Ahaz.
"Likewise, Judas Maccabaeus and his army went to great lengths to cleanse the Jerusalem Temple of the abominations of Antiochus Epiphanes in 164 B.C." (John C. Whitcomb, Daniel, Chicago: Moody Publishers, 1985, p.168).
But now, the last detail. "Blessed is he who waits, and comes to the one thousand three hundred and thirty-five days" (Dan. 12:12). Here is another 45 days. Before the Kingdom can officially begin, all unbelievers must be removed. How awesome!
When the 371 days of the Genesis flood finally ended, only believers were alive. Indeed, as our Lord explained, the unbelievers "did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be" (Matt. 24:39).
The very first to be removed from the world will be the Antichrist and his demonic team at Armageddon (Rev. 19:17-20:3). Next, the unbelieving leaders of all Gentile nations - "the goats" (Matt. 25:32; cf. vss. 31-46; cf. Joel 3:1-3) - will follow.
Then, any Jews who are still "rebels" (Ezek. 20:38; cf. vss. 33-38; Mal. 3:1-6) will be removed. And finally, by the 1,335th day, any man "in the field," and any woman "grinding at the mill," who still rejects the Savior "will be taken (to judgment)" (Matt. 24:40, 41; cf. Luke 17:34, 35) - the opposite of what will have happened at the rapture of the church seven years earlier.
Thus, what the Lord Jesus Christ said will finally be accomplished: "But he who endures to the end (1,335 days after Antichrist's great blasphemy) shall be saved" (Matt. 24:13).
Daniel had heard enough. "But the wicked shall do wickedly" - especially the Antichrist - however, praise God, "but the wise shall understand" (Dan. 12:10).
Darkness before the dawn! Antichrist is coming, yes, but then the true Christ. The Father will give Him "an everlasting dominion, Which shall not pass away" (Dan. 7:14).

Tuesday, December 25, 2012



1 Tim. 2:13 “For Adam was first formed, then Eve.”

“then Eve”  There is no conceivable way in which some process of evolution could first form men, and then women. According to theistic evolution, both male and female human beings evolved simultaneously from a population of hominids, and this verse, as well as many others, flatly contradicts this notion.

Note also 1 Corinthians 11:8-9. “For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.”  “not of the woman”  Ever since Adam, men (and women) have been born of women. But the first woman was made from man (Genesis 2:21-24). Here (as in Romans 5:12-19, and other passages) the New Testament draws important doctrinal inferences from a literal acceptance of the creation record in Genesis. The standard evolutionary scenario for the origin of men and women makes no sense whatever in this context. The man and the woman were uniquely created by God, not evolved by chance from ape-like progenitors.


The Jewish Wedding

Our Lord was Jewish and He did things like a Jew.  So often, if we consult the Jewish law and custom, we find many of the motivations for particular actions of our Lord in John 14.
          Obviously, wedding customs varied from nation to nation and from time to time.  Even in today's world we see different traditions of marriage taking place at the same time in different countries.  The Jews had their own peculiar ways, based on the Old Covenant, and the Lord, as we shall see, followed those traditions in choosing a bride.
          We should appreciate that the Jews had no dating or courtship as we now think of those things.  Marriage to them was a practical legal matter, established by contract and carried through by exacting procedure.  These customs exist in a form today in the Jewish wedding ceremony, and in Jesus' time they were most fascinating and complex.
          When the young man of Israel in Jesus' time saw the girl he wanted (or the girl his father said he wanted), he would approach her with a marriage contract.  He would come to her house with a covenant - a true legal agreement - giving the terms by which he would propose marriage.  The most important consideration in the contract was the price the bridegroom would be willing to pay to marry this particular bride.
                   The "bride price" is still utilized today in parts of the Mediterranean and African worlds and while it seems most archaic to us now, it had some useful purposes.  First of all, if the bridegroom was willing to sacrifice hard cash for his bride, he was showing his love in a most tangible way. Secondly, it was a favor to his future father-in-law. We must recall that in those days of farming and heavy labor, it was something of a liability to raise a daughter.  A family with sons would prosper more because of the built-in workforce; but a family with daughters would expect to "consolidate their losses" when the girls were mature enough to attract bridegrooms.  And so the father of the bride was more or less paid off for his earlier expenses and for his patience and skill in raising a girl to be good marriage material.
                   The bridegroom would present himself to the bride with this agreement, offering to pay a suitable price for her, and she and her father would consider his contract.  If the terms were suitable, the bride and groom would drink a cup of wine together and this would seal the bargain.  This cup was most significant.  It signified the bridegroom's willingness to sacrifice in order to have this bride. It was offered as a toast to the bride, and of course, it showed the bride's willingness to enter into this marriage.
                   Then the groom would pay the price.  It should be said that this price was no modest token but was set so that the new bride would be a costly item - that was the idea. The young man had no delusions that he was getting something for nothing. He would pay dearly to marry the girl of his choice.
                             When that matter was settled the groom would depart.  He would make a little speech to his bride, saying, "I go to prepare a place for you," and he would return to his father's house.[John 14:1]  Back at his father's house, he would build her a bridal chamber, a little mansion, in which they would have their future honeymoon.
          We should appreciate that this was a complex undertaking for the bridegroom.  He would actually build a separate building on his father's property, or decorate a room in his father's house. The bridal chamber had to be beautiful - one doesn't honeymoon just anywhere; and it had to be stocked with provisions since the bride and groom were going to remain inside for seven days. This construction project would take the better part of a year, ordinarily, and the father of the groom would be the judge of when it was finished. (We can see the logic there - obviously, if it were up to the young man, he would throw up some kind of modest structure and go get the girl!) But the father of the groom, who had been through this previously and was less excited, would be the final judge on when the chamber was ready and when the young man would go to claim his bride.[Mat 24:36]
          The bride, for her part, was obliged to do a lot of waiting.  She would take the time to gather her trousseau and be ready when her bridegroom came.  Custom provided that she had to have an oil lamp ready in case he came late at night in the darkness, because she had to be ready to travel at a moment's notice. During this long period of waiting, she was referred to as "consecrated", "set apart", "bought with a price".  She was truly a lady-in-waiting, but there was no doubt that her groom would return.  Sometimes a young man would depart for a very long time indeed, but of course he had paid a high price for his bride; even though there were other young women available, he would surely return to the one with whom he had made a covenant.
          The bride would wear her veil whenever she stepped out of her house so that other young men would realize she was spoken for and would not try to approach her with another contract. (Today, the Bride of Christ wears a veil those not understanding of our covenant try to make other contracts with us that would violate the one we have with our Bridegroom. We are to resist those other offers and wait only for the One Who paid for us.)
          As the year went on, the bride would assemble her sisters and bridesmaids and whoever would go with her to the wedding when the bridegroom came, and they would each have their oil lamps ready.  They would wait at her house every night on the chance that the groom would come, along with his groomsmen, and sweep them all away to a joyous and sudden wedding ceremony.
          Meanwhile, the bridegroom would be building and decorating with all that he had.  His father would inspect the chamber from time to time to see if it were ready.  If we came along the road at this point and saw the young man working on his bridal chamber, we might well ask, "When's the big day?" But the bridegroom would answer, "Only my father knows that." [Mat 24:36]
          Finally, the chamber would be ready and the bridegroom would assemble his young friends to accompany him on the exciting trip to claim his bride.  The big moment had arrived and the bridegroom was more than ready, we can be sure.  He and his young men would set out in the night, making every attempt to completely surprise the bride.
          And that's the romantic part - all the Jewish brides were "stolen".  The Jews had a special understanding of a woman's heart.  What a thrill for her, to be "abducted" and carried off into the night, not by a stranger but by one who loved her so much that he had paid a high price for her.
                   Over at the bride's house, things had better be ready! To be sure, the bride would be surprised since the groom would try to come at midnight while she was sleeping.  But the oil lamps were ready and the bride had her veil.  And while she might be sleeping in her wedding dress, she was definitely surprised.  It's a wonder she would sleep at all as the year went on!
          Now there were rules to be observed in consideration of a woman's feelings.  The groom couldn't just rush in on her.  After all, her hair might be in rollers! Actually, as the excited party of young men would get close to her house, they were obliged to give her a warning.  Someone in the wedding party would shout.
          When the bride heard that shout, she knew her young man would be there momentarily.  She had only time to light her lamp, grab her honeymoon clothing and go.  Her sisters and bridesmaids who wanted to attend also had to have their lamps trimmed and ready, of course.  No one would try to walk through ancient Israel, with its rocky terrain, in the dark of night without carrying a lamp.
          And so the groom and his men would charge in, grab the girls and make off with them! The father of the bride and her brothers would took the other way - perhaps just making one quick check to see that this was the young man with the contract - and the wedding party would be off.  People in the village might be awakened from their sleep by the happy voices of the young people carrying the oil lamps through the streets, and that's how they knew a wedding was going on.  Today, we hear car horns - back then, they saw the lamps late at night.  Those looking on would not know who the bride was because she was still wearing a veil, of course.  But she would be returning through these same streets a week later with her groom and then her veil would be off.  At the return of the bride with her bridegroom, all the people would know just who got married and they would realize the total significance of this wedding.
          When the wedding party reached the house of the groom's father, the bride and groom would go into their chamber and shut the door.  No one else would enter.  The groom's father, meanwhile, would have assembed the wedding guests - his friends - and they would be ready to celebrate the new marriage.  Since the wedding was actually going to take seven days (until the appearance of the bride and groom out of the chamber), it was hard to plan for.  Occasionally, the host would run out of wine, as we can well imagine.  The Lord Himself graced a wedding at Cana with His presence and replenished the wine for the celebrants as told in John 2.
          But the celebrating wouldn't start right away.  First, the marriage had to actually be consummated.  The Jews were a most law-abiding people and the law provided that the bride and groom become one before their marriage was recognized.  Thus, the friend of the bridegroom - the individual we might refer to as "the best man" - would stand near the door of the bridal chamber, waiting to hear the bridegroom's voice.  When the marriage was consummated, the bridegroom would tell his friend through the door and the friend would then go to the wedding guests and announce the good news.  The celebration would then begin and it would continue for an entire week!
          At the end of the week, the bride and groom would make their long awaited appearance to the cheers of the crowd.  There would then be a joyous meal - a marriage supper, which we might refer to as the wedding reception to honor the new couple.  At this point, the bride would have discarded her veil, since she was now a married woman, and all would see exactly who it was the bridegroom had chosen.  The new couple and the guests would enjoy a magnificent feast to conclude the entire matrimonial week.
          After the marriage supper, the bride and groom would depart, not remaining any longer at the home of the groom's father.  They would go instead to their own house, which had been prepared by the bridegroom. (The Bride of Christ will spend seven years in heaven at the home of the groom's Father, and then we shall return with our Bridegroom to occupy the Kingdom He has prepared for us.)
          As the bride and groom would travel back through the village, it would be appreciated by all onlookers just who the couple was and where their permanent home would be.
          And that was a complete Jewish wedding in Jesus' time, in all its glory.  Readers of the Gospel can easily see the beautiful analogies between this complex procedure and the manner in which the Lord Himself called out His chosen Bride.