Monthly Archives: March 2018

What is “scurvy?”

WHAT IS “SCURVY?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

Leviticus 22:22 says: “Blind, or broken, or maimed, or having a wen, or scurvy, or scabbed, ye shall not offer these unto the LORD, nor make an offering by fire of them upon the altar unto the LORD.” Just what exactly is “scurvy?”

We can look in The Oxford English Dictionary to discover the following: “a disease caused by a deficiency of vitamin C, characterized by swollen bleeding gums and the opening of previously healed wounds, which particularly affected poorly nourished sailors until the end of the 18th century.” The word originated from “the late Middle English (as an adjective meaning ‘scurfy’): from scurf + -y. [This] noun use (mid 16th century) is by association with French scorbut (see scorbutic).” “Scurf” is defined as “flakes on the surface of the skin that form as fresh skin develops below, occurring especially as dandruff.”

The underlying Hebrew word, (Strong’s H1618) garab, is found two other times in the Bible text:

  • Leviticus 21:20: “Or crookbackt, or a dwarf, or that hath a blemish in his eye, or be scurvy [garab], or scabbed, or hath his stones broken;….” (These outlined some of the traits Aaron’s sons needed to lack in order to serve as Israeli priests—see verses 16-24. They, being without blemish, pictured Jesus Christ in His flawless state as the ultimate High Priest. See Hebrews 7:26 at the end of this article.)
  • Deuteronomy 28:27: “The LORD will smite thee with the botch of Egypt, and with the emerods, and with the scab [garab], and with the itch, whereof thou canst not be healed.” (This was God’s warning to Israel if she failed to keep all His commandments. The “botch” here was a boil; the “emerods” were tumors—namely, hemorrhoids.)

Apparently, “scurvy” and “scab” are synonyms—they are used interchangeably. In summary, “scurvy” is a skin disease we cannot positively identify (scab, rash, itch of some type). As Leviticus 22:22 says, God did not want the animal to be sacrificed to Him if it had any blemishes or flaws (injuries, disabilities, sicknesses, et cetera). Why? These animals were types, or previews, of Jesus Christ, who would be the lamb “without blemish and without spot.” They had to be perfect in order to predict Him as the sinless blood sacrifice (only a sinless sacrifice could cover and cleanse sinners). Notice:

  • First Peter 1:18-21: “[18] Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; [19] But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: [20] Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, [21] Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.”
  • Second Corinthians 5:21: “For he [Father God] hath made him [Christ Jesus] to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”
  • Hebrews 4:15: “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.”
  • Hebrews 7:26: “For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;….”
  • First Peter 2:22: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:….”

Also see:
» What is a “wen?”
» Why did God demand blood sacrifices?
» Why did God reject Cain’s offering?

What is a “wen?”

WHAT IS A “WEN?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

Leviticus 22:22 says: “Blind, or broken, or maimed, or having a wen, or scurvy, or scabbed, ye shall not offer these unto the LORD, nor make an offering by fire of them upon the altar unto the LORD.” What exactly is a “wen?”

We can consult The Oxford English Dictionary: “a boil or other swelling or growth on the skin, especially a sebaceous [oily-secretions] cyst.” The Old English word was wen(n), from unknown origin. Although, interestingly enough, the Low German term wehne means “tumor, wart.” They may be related.

The English and underlying Hebrew words are found this one time in the Bible text, so we have no other verses for comparison. Hebrew can help us here. The word is Strong’s H2990—yabbel. Gesenius’ Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon defines it as: “flowing out, sc. [that is to say] with matter, suffering from ulcers.”

Tying this all together, a “wen” is some sort of lump on the skin—an oozing or festering sore, swelling, ulcer, blister, or wart. As Leviticus 22:22 says, God did not want the animal to be sacrificed to Him if it had any blemishes or flaws (injuries, disabilities, sicknesses, et cetera). Why? These animals were types, or previews, of Jesus Christ, who would be the lamb “without blemish and without spot.” They had to be perfect in order to predict Him as the sinless blood sacrifice (only a sinless sacrifice could cover and cleanse sinners). Notice:

  • First Peter 1:18-21: “[18] Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; [19] But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: [20] Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, [21] Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.”
  • Second Corinthians 5:21: “For he [Father God] hath made him [Christ Jesus] to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”
  • Hebrews 4:15: “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.”
  • Hebrews 7:26: “For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens;….”
  • First Peter 2:22: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:….”

Also see:
» What is “scurvy?”
» Why did God demand blood sacrifices?
» Why did God reject Cain’s offering?

What is “wantonness?”

WHAT IS “WANTONNESS?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

Turning to Romans 13:13, we read: “Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.” What exactly is “wantonness?”

Paired with “chambering,” “wantonness” is evidently sexual sin too. According to any English dictionary, “wantonness” is defined as: “sexually lawless or unrestrained; loose; lascivious; lewd.” If it helps, we could say it is wild and offensive un-chastity or promiscuousness. Or, to make it even plainer, notice this list—suggestive physical motions (vulgar dancing), provocative clothing, prostitution, fornication, adultery, pedophilia, homosexuality, masturbation, obscene sexual language, and pornographic material. Strong’s says the following: “G766 ἀσέλγεια asélgeia, as-elg’-i-a; from a compound of G1 (as a negative particle) and a presumed σελγής selgḗs (of uncertain derivation, but apparently meaning continent); licentiousness (sometimes including other vices):—filthy, lasciviousness, wantonness.”

Excluding Romans 13:13, the term aselgeia appears eight times in the King James Bible Greek text. Notice how it was handled:

  • Mark 7:22: “Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness [aselgeia], an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness:….”
  • 2 Corinthians 12:21: “And lest, when I come again, my God will humble me among you, and that I shall bewail many which have sinned already, and have not repented of the uncleanness and fornication and lasciviousness [aselgeia] which they have committed.”
  • Galatians 5:19: “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness [aselgeia],….”
  • Ephesians 4:19: “Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness [aselgeia], to work all uncleanness with greediness.”
  • 1 Peter 4:3: “For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness [aselgeia], lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries:….”
  • 2 Peter 2:7: “And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy [aselgeia] conversation of the wicked:….” (This is homosexual in nature.)
  • 2 Peter 2:18: “For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness [aselgeia], those that were clean escaped from them who live in error.”
  • Jude 4: “For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness [aselgeia], and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.”

The key to avoiding wantonness, lewdness, or indecency is to practice modesty and morality. For example, try 1 Timothy 2:9-10: “[9] In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; [10] But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.”

And, Ephesians 5:1-10: “[1] Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; [2] And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. [3] But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; [4] Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. [5] For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. [6] Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. [7] Be not ye therefore partakers with them. [8] For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: [9] (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth; ) [10] Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.”

Also, Colossians 3:1-11: “[1] If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. [2] Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. [3] For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. [4] When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. [5] Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: [6] For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: [7] In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them. [8] But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. [9] Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; [10] And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: [11] Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.”

Finally, Galatians chapter 5: “[16] This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. [17] For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. [18] But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. [19] Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, [20] Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, [21] Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. [22] But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, [23] Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. [24] And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. [25] If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. [26] Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.”

Also see:
» What is “chambering?”
» Does “walking in the Spirit” mean the same thing as “living in the Spirit?”
» Does God see us Christians as sinners?

What is “chambering?”

WHAT IS “CHAMBERING?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

Turning to Romans 13:13, we read: “Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.” What exactly is “chambering?”

We start by reading its context: “[11] And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. [12] The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. [13] Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. [14] But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.” Whatever “chambering” is, we can at least see that it is in a negative setting. It is evil, something the Christian should avoid. Verse 13 says it is a “work of darkness,” and verse 14 calls it a “lust of the flesh” (sin).

“Chambering” is one of the King James Bible’s archaic words. However, there is no need to despair or throw up our hands in confusion and defeat! If we consult an English dictionary, we learn that “chamber” is an ancient word for a private room, especially a bedroom. Sometimes, in older contexts, we come across the related term “bedchamber.” Is this the proper interpretation of Romans 13:13? Well, it is close. We need to further refine our understanding though. This is where a Greek dictionary can assist us. Koite (κοίτη) is the term underlying “chambering.” Strong’s has the following entry: “G2845 κοίτη koítē, koy’-tay; from G2749; a couch; by extension, cohabitation; by implication, the male sperm:—bed, chambering, ×conceive.” In passing, we can comment that it is connected to the Greek word meaning, “to lie outstretched.”

Not counting Romans 13:13, koite occurs precisely three times in the King James Greek New Testament text:

  • Luke 11:7: “And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed [koite] I cannot rise and give thee.” (This, of course, would simply be a parent resting with his children. There is nothing inherently wrong with this.)
  • Romans 9:10: “And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived [koite] by one, even by our father Isaac;” (A sexual connection is certainly implied here—appropriate intimate relations between a husband and wife.)
  • Hebrews 13:4: “Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed [koite] undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.” (This too is a sexual connection, along the lines of Romans 9:10 above. There is nothing sinful here either, as it also is confined to marriage.)

It is in the case of Romans 13:13, however, that koite carries a sinful meaning. “Chambering,” as it sits in that verse, is outside of marriage. It is not an innocent resting on a couch or bed either (as in Luke 11:7). Instead of the proper term “chambering,” we would say, informally: “shacking up,” “bed-hopping,” “living together,” “sleeping around.” Fornication, adultery, and prostitution are related here. Additionally, the idea of chambering goes beyond women. Men can be guilty of it too. Consider the slang terms “baby momma” and “baby daddy” used in contemporary English. When a woman has children for a man who is not her husband or current partner, she is his “baby momma.” Or, when a man has children with a woman who is not his wife or current partner, he is her “baby daddy.” While not tasteful examples, they are all excellent illustrations of modern-day “chambering.”

Rather than jumping around from partner to partner—moving from “bedroom to bedroom”—the lustful Christian needs to find a spouse. The Christian man is to find and marry a Christian woman; the Christian woman is to find and marry a Christian man. First Corinthians chapter 7 goes into great detail about marriage in the Dispensation of Grace. Marriage and fidelity therein are the keys to avoiding sexual sins, including “chambering!”

“And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof”
(Romans 13:11-14).

Also see:
» What is “wantonness?”
» Does “walking in the Spirit” mean the same thing as “living in the Spirit?”
» Does God see us Christians as sinners?

Did Judas Iscariot have to betray Christ?

DID JUDAS ISCARIOT HAVE TO BETRAY CHRIST?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Was Judas Iscariot treated fairly in the whole “betrayal matter?” Did he have a choice in it at all? Or had God already specifically selected him to betray the Lord Jesus Christ? As we will see, it is an interesting combination of free will and God’s foreknowledge.

If we consider the Holy Bible in totality, we see that the Creator God is very generous. He is more than willing to be merciful and forgive, more than eager to be gracious, ready to be kind and longsuffering. Exodus chapter 34 testifies: “[6] And the LORD passed by before him [Moses], and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, [7] Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.” (The close of verse 7 shows that God also does not take sin lightly. Yes, He is loving, but He is righteous too. He will enforce a punishment when that righteous standard is not met.)

When we find someone in the Bible facing the wrath of a just God, or meeting some dire fate at the hands of a righteous God, we can be sure there was ample warning issued prior. God’s judgment does not simply fall on someone without notice. A clear Divine commandment was broken first: God’s Word was ignored and sin was pursued. When people die and go to Hell today, never can it be said that “they did not know” or that “they did not have a chance.” The Bible could not be clearer about the eternal death (Hell and the Lake of Fire) awaiting all sinners who do not trust Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour. All have been warned; it is not God’s fault if they refuse to hear His innumerable forewarnings! (This will be important later in our discussion.)

Returning to the issue of Judas Iscariot, let us consider the following. On the night of His betrayal, Jesus Christ quoted an Old Testament verse that predicted that betrayal. Read John chapter 13, noting especially verses 18 and 21-27:

“[18] I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen: but that the scripture [Psalm 41:9] may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me. [19] Now I tell you before it come, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am he. [20] Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me; and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me. [21] When Jesus had thus said, he was troubled in spirit, and testified, and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me. [22] Then the disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom he spake. [23] Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved. [24] Simon Peter therefore beckoned to him, that he should ask who it should be of whom he spake. [25] He then lying on Jesus’ breast saith unto him, Lord, who is it? [26] Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it. And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. [27] And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly. [28] Now no man at the table knew for what intent he spake this unto him. [29] For some of them thought, because Judas had the bag, that Jesus had said unto him, Buy those things that we have need of against the feast; or, that he should give something to the poor. [30] He then having received the sop went immediately out: and it was night.”

It is interesting that while the Lord Jesus referred to His betrayer, He never actually named him. Rather, He just said “one of you” (verse 21) would be the betrayer. He never commanded Judas, “You are the one whom God has chosen to betray Me.” Now, someone may say that Jesus giving Judas the sop (or moistened bread) influenced Judas to fulfill the prophecy. This argument is invalid, for Judas at this point had already contracted with the chief priests to betray Christ. Judas had already made up his mind.

John 13:18-30 parallels Matthew 26:20-25, which means that Matthew 26:14-16 preceded, came before, the Upper Room Passover we just read about in John. Notice Matthew 26:14-16: “[14] Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, [15] And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver. [16] And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him. Jesus never told anyone about His betrayer until later (that is, the passage we just read from John), so Jesus’ words on the subject in no way influenced Judas to betray Him. Judas had always been an idolater: he never had an interest in serving the one true God and His Son Jesus Christ. For three years, Judas Iscariot had played the hypocrite. He had pretended to be a disciple, and while he had fooled all the others, Jesus Christ was never deceived (check John 6:70-71, for example). From the time of Matthew 26:14-16, Judas began to try to find a convenient time to betray Christ. There was to be no uproar or commotion. It was to be done as clandestinely as possible.

As per Acts chapter 1, the Old Testament prophets predicted the fall of one of Jesus’ disciples. With Jesus post-resurrection explaining the Old Testament Messianic verses to His disciples (Luke 24:44-48; Acts 1:1-4), they could interpret those ancient Scriptures once He ascended and return to Heaven. They gained information about Judas Iscariot.

Now we understand how the Apostle Peter had such tremendous Scriptural insight in Acts chapter 1: “[16] Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus. [17] For he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry. [18] Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out. [19] And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama, that is to say, The field of blood. [20] For it is written in the book of Psalms [Psalm 69:25], Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and [Psalm 109:8] his bishoprick let another take.

Take a few moments to read the original quotes in Psalms. “Let their habitation be desolate; and let none dwell in their tents” (Psalm 69:25). “Let his days be few; and let another take his office” (Psalm 109:8). Did you read here, or anywhere else in the Psalms, about a Judas Iscariot? There is nothing. The prophecy was specific in that Jesus’ betrayer would be His friend: “Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me” (Psalm 41:9; cf. John 13:18). Yet, it was also general in that the betrayer is unknown. By concealing the person’s identity, God the Holy Spirit was affording Judas Iscariot the opportunity to avoid it being true of him. God in His foreknew saw into the future. He knew it would ultimately be Judas, but He let Judas decide if he wanted to betray Christ. That is, God’s Word had not already selected Judas Iscariot to commit that dastardly deed. Judas had already determined to do it, and Jesus simply let him do it.

Yet, as that time of evil approaches, we can God’s grace being offered to Judas time and time again. If you search the Four Gospel Records—especially Matthew, Luke, and John—you will discover that Judas had many opportunities to turn around, to not go through with the betrayal. He refused them all because he was never a believer in Christ. Even though he had already made the decision, and had already accepted the 30 pieces of silver, God was still willing to be friendly toward His betrayer. Watch carefully.

Matthew 26:21-25: “[21] And as they did eat, he said, Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me. [22] And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto him, Lord, is it I? [23] And he answered and said, He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me. [24] The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born. [25] Then Judas, which betrayed him, answered and said, Master, is it I? He said unto him, Thou hast said.” (Judas had plenty of opportunity here to back out of the betrayal, as it had not yet occurred. He asked a rhetorical question in verse 25. He knew he had already promised to betray Christ—see verses 14-16 again! Jesus let Judas admit it.)

John 18:4-9 is another interesting passage on the subject: “[4] Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye? [5] They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith unto them, I am he. And Judas also, which betrayed him, stood with them. [6] As soon then as he had said unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground. [7] Then asked he them again, Whom seek ye? And they said, Jesus of Nazareth. [8] Jesus answered, I have told you that I am he: if therefore ye seek me, let these go their way: [9] That the saying might be fulfilled, which he spake, Of them which thou gavest me have I lost none.” (Judas could have turned back in these verses as well. He did not; he carried on through with the betrayal.)

Now, Luke 22:48: “But Jesus said unto him, Judas, betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?” (Here, during the betrayal, Jesus is asking a rhetorical question, prompting Judas to think about what he was doing. “Judas, are you really going to betray the Son of Man with a kiss? Is this how it is going to turn out?” Judas could have backed out again, the opportunity was there, but he was not about to take it.)

Try Matthew 26:49-50, the most startling of all: “[49] And forthwith he [Judas] came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and kissed him. [50] And Jesus said unto him, Friend, wherefore art thou come? Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus and took him.” (Here, after the kiss of betrayal, Jesus still addressed Judas as friend!!” Jesus was reminding Judas he was one of them, one of His most trusted Apostles. Even after it occurred, the Lord Jesus was willing to forgive and restore Judas to fellowship. “Friend, why are you come?” Can you hear the tenderness here? Using his free will, Judas bypasses this as well; he refuses to accept God’s invitation to friendship.)

CONCLUSION

Judas Iscariot did what he did because: (1) he was a sinner, (2) he was an idolater, (3) he was never a true follower of Christ, (4) he coveted 30 pieces of silver, and (5) he was a willing participant of Satan’s policy of evil. God is not to be blamed; He saw all outcomes but He never forced any one outcome! The Bible had already predicted a close friend of Jesus would betray Him, but God never singled out Judas until Judas had already covenanted for the 30 pieces of silver. Jesus did not reveal him until he had already determined what he was going to do. Judas alone made the choice—it was his wrong choice, yes, but it was his choice. God gave Judas plenty of opportunity to turn around, to not betray Christ, but the Bible never says Judas took advantage of any of those chances.

Also see:
» Why did Jesus select evil Judas Iscariot to be an apostle?
» Was Judas forgiven?
» Why does the Bible give two accounts of Judas’s death?

What did Jesus mean, “Take up your cross?”

WHAT DID JESUS MEAN, “TAKE UP YOUR CROSS?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

We find the expression four times in the text of the King James Bible. What is being communicated?

  • Matthew 16:24: “Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”
  • Mark 8:34: “And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”
  • Mark 10:21: “Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me.”
  • Luke 9:23: “And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.”

You may recall that we have a similar expression in the English language. “That is his cross to bear” is used to describe someone enduring a trial, difficulty, burden, or misfortune. However, this is not what the Bible means when speaking of taking up a cross. A cross does not symbolize a burden or trouble per se; rather it is an emblem of rejection and its accompanying shame.

The stage was already set for Matthew 16:24 in verse 21: “[21] From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day…. [24] Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” Did you notice the connection? While subtle here, the parallel verses make it clearer.

Before we get to Mark 8:34, we read in verse 31: “[31] And he began to teach them, that the Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders, and of the chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again…. [34] And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” Did you catch how Mark’s account emphasized the rejection of Christ? Jesus going to Calvary is the result of Israel refusing Him, saying they have no king but Caesar (cf. John 19:15).

Read Luke 9:23 with verse 22: “[22] [Jesus Christ was] Saying, The Son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be slain, and be raised the third day. [23] And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” Like Mark’s version, the context is Jesus Christ being disallowed, spurned, rejected.

Not only did Jesus Christ’s own people reject Him and then demand His death by crucifixion, He actually carried His cross for a time. The Book of John, chapter 19, verse 17: “And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called the place of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha.” For all the crowds to see, the Son of God—beaten, bruised, and bloody—literally carries the symbol of His rejection. That wooden structure on His shoulders, and His subsequent nailing to it, is the monument to the fact that God’s special people, the nation Israel, want absolutely nothing to do with their long-promised Messiah, His only begotten Son. It is in light of all that that Jesus Christ spoke of His disciples as bearing their cross behind Him.

With all of this said, we can read the verses that follow the taking up of the cross:

  • Matthew 16:25-27: “[25] For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. [26] For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? [27] For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.”
  • Mark 8:35-38: “[35] For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it. [36] For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? [37] Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? [38] Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”
  • Luke 9:24-26: “[24] For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. [25] For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away? [26] For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels.”

The idea of taking up the cross means a follower of Jesus Christ is prepared to be rejected of men for His sake. Since Christ is in them, and this present world is under Satan’s control, the two are incompatible. This world system does not want to glorify Jesus Christ, and Christ’s followers do. There is an inherent controversy, contention, conflict, or battle. The Lord Jesus was telling His Jewish followers quite a mouthful when He instructed them to take up their cross and follow Him. If they truly followed Him, suffering was sure to come their way. They would be refused and hated too.

First John chapter 3 was written along those very lines: “[11] For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. [12] Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous. [13] Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.” James 4:4 is an interesting little bit of commentary here: “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.”

When Jesus spoke to the Little Flock about taking up their cross and following Him, He was speaking of the rejection and shame they would experience for aligning themselves with Him. As their Jewish brethren (unbelievers) refused to have anything to do with Him, their rightful King, the fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant, so they would have nothing to do with His followers. Families would be divided and believers in Jesus would be ridiculed and mistreated. The Jewish believers, the kingdom saints, the Little Flock, Israel’s believing remnant, would be unpopular with the rest of the nation. Notice the Lord Jesus Christ’s words:

  • John 15:18,24-25: “[18] If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you…. [24] If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both me and my Father. [25] But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law [Psalm 69:4], They hated me without a cause.”
  • Matthew 10:22: “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.”
  • Mark 13:13: “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.”
  • Luke 21:17: “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake.”

The Little Flock would have to not be attached to this evil world system: Jesus warned that whoever would gain the whole world, that person would lose his soul (Matthew 16:26; Mark 8:36; cf. Luke 9:25). He also promised that whoever would lose their life for His sake, they would find their life. They would be hated for His sake, but it would be worth it. He would reward them at His return (Matthew 16:27). Luke adds the little qualifier of taking up the cross “every day” (Luke 9:23). There is a daily rejection to be experienced, and shame to go with it.

To deny himself means to put his own desires aside. We naturally want to be accepted, but Jesus told His disciples to “deny [themselves] and take up [their] cross.” In other words, “I am being rejected, and if you want to come after Me—to be My follower—you will have to be rejected of men too. Take up your cross every day, and share in My shame!” For those Jews who do not want to suffer shame for Him, He warned His Jewish audience, “For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he shall come in his own glory, and in his Father’s, and of the holy angels” (Luke 9:26). “Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels” (Mark 8:38).

Luke 9:57-62 is a good summary of the issue of taking up the cross: “[57] And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. [58] And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.” This man wanted to “follow” Jesus wherever He went. Ultimately, Jesus said (paraphrased), “Israel does not want Me, and if you truly follow Me, they will not want you either!”

While the Apostle Paul never said anything along these lines of taking up a cross, we Christians in the Dispensation of Grace still face similar rejection and shame. Whether the Jewish kingdom saints or us in the Body of Christ, there is a common enemy. Satan’s goal is to silence us, discredit us, intimidate us however he can. There is a common sin nature working in all people as well: that wicked nature rebels against the works of God. These facts converge to cause the world to hate all those who follow the God of the Bible, regardless of the dispensation or time in human history.

SUPPLEMENTAL: DID JESUS CHRIST’S REJECTION SHOCK FATHER GOD?

Father God was not caught by surprise when Israel rejected His Son. Many centuries earlier, it was prophesied in the Psalms: “The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner” (118:22). The Lord Jesus quoted this very passage when predicting His rejection.

Matthew 21:42: “Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?” Mark 12:10: “And have ye not read this scripture; The stone which the builders rejected is become the head of the corner:….” Luke 20:17: “And he beheld them, and said, What is this then that is written, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner?” First Peter 2:4-7, also quoting the Psalms, says of Jesus Christ: “To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed [rejected] indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious,… Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed [rejected], the same is made the head of the corner,….”

You may also see Luke 17:25, which speaks of Christ’s suffering before His glorious Second Coming: “But first must he suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation.” John 1:11-12 is a fitting summary, highlighting both Jewish believers and Jewish unbelievers: “[11] He came unto his own, and his own received him not. [12] But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:….”

“For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake; having the same conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear to be in me”
(Philippians 1:29-30).

Also see:
» “The Son of man hath not where to lay his head?”
» Can we witness “too much” to family members?
» If suffering is sure to follow, why serve Jesus Christ?

How can God be “jealous” and not be guilty of sin?

HOW CAN GOD BE “JEALOUS” AND NOT BE GUILTY OF SIN?

by Shawn Brasseaux

“They [Israel] provoked him to jealousy with strange gods, with abominations provoked they him to anger. They sacrificed unto devils, not to God; to gods whom they knew not, to new gods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not. Of the Rock that begat thee thou art unmindful, and hast forgotten God that formed thee” (Deuteronomy 32:16-18).

Scripture uses the title “jealous God” six times for JEHOVAH:

  • Exodus 20:4-5: “[4] Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. [5] Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;”
  • Exodus 34:14: “For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God:”
  • Deuteronomy 4:24: “For the LORD thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God.”
  • Deuteronomy 5:8-9: “[8] Thou shalt not make thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the waters beneath the earth: [9] Thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me,”
  • Deuteronomy 6:15: “(For the LORD thy God is a jealous God among you) lest the anger of the Lord thy God be kindled against thee, and destroy thee from off the face of the earth.”
  • Joshua 24:19: “And Joshua said unto the people, Ye cannot serve the LORD: for he is an holy God; he is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins.”

Envy (not the same as “jealousy”) is a sin when we commit it (Romans 1:29; Romans 13:13; 1 Corinthians 3:3; Galatians 5:21; et al.). Wanting what others have—envy, coveting—is a sin. Jealously, however, involves wanting what belongs to you when someone else is using it for his or her pleasure.

Just as there is a godly anger (Matthew 5:22; Mark 3:5; Ephesians 4:26), there is a godly jealousy, God’s righteous jealousy. In the Old Testament, God continually reminded Israel that He was “jealous” over her. Prior to going into the Promised Land under Joshua, Moses warned Israel of her previous idolatrous ways. Once Israel went into that land, they were to destroy the pagan heathens and their idols (Exodus 34:11-17). Yet, even in God’s Promised Land, the Jews established pagan shrines to worthless idols (1 Kings 14:22-24; Psalm 78:58)! The LORD wanted Israel to Himself, and yet they ignored Him and adored vain, inanimate idols.

The Apostle Paul, filled with the Holy Ghost, warned members of the Body of Christ in Corinth about provoking the Lord to “jealousy” by fellowshipping with devils (1 Corinthians 10:20-22). Paul was “jealous” over the Body of Christ, instructing us to avoid satanic deception by holding to the doctrine in his epistles. Second Corinthians 11:1-4: “[1] Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed bear with me. [2] For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. [3] But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. [4] For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.”

Throughout the Holy Scriptures, we see references to God as “jealous:”

  • Deuteronomy 32:16: “They provoked him to jealousy with strange gods, with abominations provoked they him to anger.”
  • Deuteronomy 32:21: “They have moved me to jealousy with that which is not God; they have provoked me to anger with their vanities: and I will move them to jealousy with those which are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation.”
  • Ezekiel 8:3: “And he put forth the form of an hand, and took me by a lock of mine head; and the spirit lifted me up between the earth and the heaven, and brought me in the visions of God to Jerusalem, to the door of the inner gate that looketh toward the north; where was the seat of the image of jealousy, which provoketh to jealousy.”
  • Ezekiel 36:5: “Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Surely in the fire of my jealousy have I spoken against the residue of the heathen, and against all Idumea, which have appointed my land into their possession with the joy of all their heart, with despiteful minds, to cast it out for a prey.”
  • Ezekiel 36:6: “Prophesy therefore concerning the land of Israel, and say unto the mountains, and to the hills, to the rivers, and to the valleys, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I have spoken in my jealousy and in my fury, because ye have borne the shame of the heathen:”
  • Ezekiel 39:25: “Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Now will I bring again the captivity of Jacob, and have mercy upon the whole house of Israel, and will be jealous for my holy name;”
  • Nahum 1:2: “God is jealous, and the LORD revengeth; the LORD revengeth, and is furious; the LORD will take vengeance on his adversaries, and he reserveth wrath for his enemies.”

God wants His people all to Himself—He does not want us mingling with the world’s idols (crucifixes, statues, religious paintings, selfishness, materialism, et cetera). In His omnipotence and omniscience, God is justified in being jealous over us because He alone deserves our praise, worship, dedication, and honor. After all, He is our Creator and our Saviour (if we have trusted in Him for salvation!).

SUPPLEMENTAL: THE LAW OF JEALOUSIES

In Numbers 5:11-31, part of the Mosaic Law, we read about something called “The Law of Jealousies.” To better understand how God being “jealous” is justified and not sin, we see what the (non-sinning) “jealous” husband was to do in the Mosaic system when he suspected his wife as being unfaithful.

Numbers chapter 5: “[11] And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, [12] Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, If any man’s wife go aside, and commit a trespass against him, [13] And a man lie with her carnally, and it be hid from the eyes of her husband, and be kept close, and she be defiled, and there be no witness against her, neither she be taken with the manner; [14] And the spirit of jealousy come upon him, and he be jealous of his wife, and she be defiled: or if the spirit of jealousy come upon him, and he be jealous of his wife, and she be not defiled: [15] Then shall the man bring his wife unto the priest, and he shall bring her offering for her, the tenth part of an ephah of barley meal; he shall pour no oil upon it, nor put frankincense thereon; for it is an offering of jealousy, an offering of memorial, bringing iniquity to remembrance.”

Numbers chapter 5: “[16] And the priest shall bring her near, and set her before the LORD: [17] And the priest shall take holy water in an earthen vessel; and of the dust that is in the floor of the tabernacle the priest shall take, and put it into the water: [18] And the priest shall set the woman before the LORD, and uncover the woman’s head, and put the offering of memorial in her hands, which is the jealousy offering: and the priest shall have in his hand the bitter water that causeth the curse: [19] And the priest shall charge her by an oath, and say unto the woman, If no man have lain with thee, and if thou hast not gone aside to uncleanness with another instead of thy husband, be thou free from this bitter water that causeth the curse: [20] But if thou hast gone aside to another instead of thy husband, and if thou be defiled, and some man have lain with thee beside thine husband: [21] Then the priest shall charge the woman with an oath of cursing, and the priest shall say unto the woman, The LORD make thee a curse and an oath among thy people, when the LORD doth make thy thigh to rot, and thy belly to swell; [22] And this water that causeth the curse shall go into thy bowels, to make thy belly to swell, and thy thigh to rot: And the woman shall say, Amen, amen. [23] And the priest shall write these curses in a book, and he shall blot them out with the bitter water: [24] And he shall cause the woman to drink the bitter water that causeth the curse: and the water that causeth the curse shall enter into her, and become bitter.”

Numbers chapter 5: “[25] Then the priest shall take the jealousy offering out of the woman’s hand, and shall wave the offering before the LORD, and offer it upon the altar: [26] And the priest shall take an handful of the offering, even the memorial thereof, and burn it upon the altar, and afterward shall cause the woman to drink the water. [27] And when he hath made her to drink the water, then it shall come to pass, that, if she be defiled, and have done trespass against her husband, that the water that causeth the curse shall enter into her, and become bitter, and her belly shall swell, and her thigh shall rot: and the woman shall be a curse among her people. [28] And if the woman be not defiled, but be clean; then she shall be free, and shall conceive seed.”

Numbers chapter 5: “[29] This is the law of jealousies, when a wife goeth aside to another instead of her husband, and is defiled; [30] Or when the spirit of jealousy cometh upon him, and he be jealous over his wife, and shall set the woman before the LORD, and the priest shall execute upon her all this law. [31] Then shall the man be guiltless from iniquity, and this woman shall bear her iniquity.”

Also see:
» Was God unfair to punish us for Adam’s sin?
» Was God unfair in striking Uzzah dead?
» Why did God get angry with Balaam in Numbers 22?

Neither make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead nor print any marks on you?

NEITHER MAKE ANY CUTTINGS IN YOUR FLESH FOR THE DEAD NOR PRINT ANY MARKS ON YOU?

by Shawn Brasseaux

What exactly is the LORD God trying to communicate to Israel here? Leviticus 19:28 commands: “Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD.” Since we live in a time and culture far removed from Moses’ day, these are indistinct instructions. God seems “nitpicky” here, but if we study the context, we will see His reasons.

Leviticus 18:24-30 sits in the chapter just prior to the passage under consideration: “[24] Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things: for in all these the nations are defiled which I cast out before you: [25] And the land is defiled: therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants. [26] Ye shall therefore keep my statutes and my judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations; neither any of your own nation, nor any stranger that sojourneth among you: [27] (For all these abominations have the men of the land done, which were before you, and the land is defiled; ) [28] That the land spue not you out also, when ye defile it, as it spued out the nations that were before you. [29] For whosoever shall commit any of these abominations, even the souls that commit them shall be cut off from among their people. [30] Therefore shall ye keep mine ordinance, that ye commit not any one of these abominable customs, which were committed before you, and that ye defile not yourselves therein: I am the LORD your God.”

Leviticus 20:22-26 sits in the chapter just after the passage under consideration: “[22] Ye shall therefore keep all my statutes, and all my judgments, and do them: that the land, whither I bring you to dwell therein, spue you not out. [23] And ye shall not walk in the manners of the nation, which I cast out before you: for they committed all these things, and therefore I abhorred them. [24] But I have said unto you, Ye shall inherit their land, and I will give it unto you to possess it, a land that floweth with milk and honey: I am the LORD your God, which have separated you from other people. [25] Ye shall therefore put difference between clean beasts and unclean, and between unclean fowls and clean: and ye shall not make your souls abominable by beast, or by fowl, or by any manner of living thing that creepeth on the ground, which I have separated from you as unclean. [26] And ye shall be holy unto me: for I the LORD am holy, and have severed you from other people, that ye should be mine.

According to Leviticus 18:3-4, chapters 18 through 20 are the sins of the Egyptians and the Canaanites. Israel was surely introduced to at least some of these practices while in Egypt. They were customs in the land of Canaan. God did not want Israel, His special people, to continue the wicked deeds they had learned during the time of their Egyptian captivity. Furthermore, He did not want Israel to repeat the sins of the Canaanites. After all, God was replacing the inhabitants of Canaan with the Israelites. God did not want His land to be defiled any longer, and it did not make sense for Israel to keep committing those sins. If Israel repeated those iniquitous acts, the land would vomit them out as well. Cutting the flesh to mourn for the dead and printing marks on the skin—tattooing—were evidently pagan acts of worship. The Gentiles committed them in Egypt and Canaan, but the Israelites were forbidden to engage in them. It was nothing but Satan worship!

After Leviticus, with the re-issuing of the Law of Moses in Deuteronomy, we read God’s commands to Israel in Deuteronomy 14:1: “Ye are the children of the LORD your God: ye shall not cut yourselves, nor make any baldness between your eyes for the dead.” Notice the connection to funerals. God did not want Israel to repeat heathen burial practices.

Making gashes in the flesh, cutting the flesh, was a sign of mourning. We can see this in the Book of Jeremiah: “[16:6] Both the great and the small shall die in this land: they shall not be buried, neither shall men lament for them, nor cut themselves, nor make themselves bald for them:…. [41:5] That there came certain from Shechem, from Shiloh, and from Samaria, even fourscore men, having their beards shaven, and their clothes rent, and having cut themselves, with offerings and incense in their hand, to bring them to the house of the LORD…. [48:37] For every head shall be bald, and every beard clipped: upon all the hands shall be cuttings, and upon the loins sackcloth.”

Outside of mourning, cutting of the flesh was also done as a form of penance, to try to appease the gods by suffering and giving a blood offering. The prophets of Baal, a pagan god, did just this in 1 Kings 18:28 to try to gain his attention: “And they cried aloud, and cut themselves after their manner with knives and lancets, till the blood gushed out upon them.”

Tattooing was a custom to identify members of a pagan cult, as well as to ward off the spirits of the dead. It was nothing but vain superstition and false religion, which is why God commanded Israel to stay away from it.

“And ye shall be holy unto me: for I the LORD am holy, and have severed you from other people, that ye should be mine.”
(Leviticus 20:26)

Also see:
» Why did God command Israel to keep such strange laws?
» Seethe not a kid in its mother’s milk?
» Neither round the corners of your heads nor mar the corners of your beard?

Neither round the corners of your heads nor mar the corners of your beard?

NEITHER ROUND THE CORNERS OF YOUR HEADS NOR MAR THE CORNERS OF YOUR BEARD?

by Shawn Brasseaux

What exactly is the LORD God trying to communicate to Israel here? Leviticus 19:27 commands: “Ye shall not round the corners of your heads, neither shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard.” Since we live in a time and culture far removed from Moses’ day, these are indistinct instructions. God seems “nitpicky” here, but if we study the context, we will see His reasons.

Leviticus 18:24-30 sits in the chapter just prior to the passage under consideration: “[24] Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things: for in all these the nations are defiled which I cast out before you: [25] And the land is defiled: therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants. [26] Ye shall therefore keep my statutes and my judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations; neither any of your own nation, nor any stranger that sojourneth among you: [27] (For all these abominations have the men of the land done, which were before you, and the land is defiled; ) [28] That the land spue not you out also, when ye defile it, as it spued out the nations that were before you. [29] For whosoever shall commit any of these abominations, even the souls that commit them shall be cut off from among their people. [30] Therefore shall ye keep mine ordinance, that ye commit not any one of these abominable customs, which were committed before you, and that ye defile not yourselves therein: I am the LORD your God.”

Leviticus 20:22-26 sits in the chapter just after the passage under consideration: “[22] Ye shall therefore keep all my statutes, and all my judgments, and do them: that the land, whither I bring you to dwell therein, spue you not out. [23] And ye shall not walk in the manners of the nation, which I cast out before you: for they committed all these things, and therefore I abhorred them. [24] But I have said unto you, Ye shall inherit their land, and I will give it unto you to possess it, a land that floweth with milk and honey: I am the LORD your God, which have separated you from other people. [25] Ye shall therefore put difference between clean beasts and unclean, and between unclean fowls and clean: and ye shall not make your souls abominable by beast, or by fowl, or by any manner of living thing that creepeth on the ground, which I have separated from you as unclean. [26] And ye shall be holy unto me: for I the LORD am holy, and have severed you from other people, that ye should be mine.

According to Leviticus 18:3-4, chapters 18 through 20 are the sins of the Egyptians and the Canaanites. Israel was surely introduced to at least some of these practices while in Egypt. They were customs in the land of Canaan. God did not want Israel, His special people, to continue the wicked deeds they had learned during the time of their Egyptian captivity. Furthermore, He did not want Israel to repeat the sins of the Canaanites. After all, God was replacing the inhabitants of Canaan with the Israelites. God did not want His land to be defiled any longer, and it did not make sense for Israel to keep committing those sins. If Israel repeated those iniquitous acts, the land would vomit them out as well. Rounding the corners of the head and marring the corners of the beard were evidently pagan acts of worship. The Gentiles committed them in Egypt and Canaan, but the Israelites were forbidden to engage in them. It was nothing but Satan worship!

After Leviticus, with the re-issuing of the Law of Moses in Deuteronomy, we read God’s commands to Israel in Deuteronomy 14:1: “Ye are the children of the LORD your God: ye shall not cut yourselves, nor make any baldness between your eyes for the dead.” Notice the connection to funerals. God did not want Israel to repeat heathen burial practices.

To “round the corners [edges, sides] of [the] heads” and “mar [ruin] the corners of the beards” meant to cut a person’s hair so as to then offer it as a sacrifice to an idol or pagan god. One Bible authority says the following: “Offerings of hair were presented in the Astarte-Tammuz religion of Syria and among various Arabian tribes. The unceasing growth of hair was thought to result from the presence of a mysterious vital force within it, and it was thus considered an effective means for influencing the will of the deity.” Cutting the hair was also a sign of mourning in heathen circles.

Cutting the hair of the beard and/or head was a sign of mourning. We can see this in the Book of Jeremiah: “[16:6] Both the great and the small shall die in this land: they shall not be buried, neither shall men lament for them, nor cut themselves, nor make themselves bald for them:…. [41:5] That there came certain from Shechem, from Shiloh, and from Samaria, even fourscore men, having their beards shaven, and their clothes rent, and having cut themselves, with offerings and incense in their hand, to bring them to the house of the LORD…. [48:37] For every head shall be bald, and every beard clipped: upon all the hands shall be cuttings, and upon the loins sackcloth.”

It was nothing but vain superstition and false religion, which is why God commanded Israel to stay away from it.

“And ye shall be holy unto me: for I the LORD am holy, and have severed you from other people, that ye should be mine.”
(Leviticus 20:26)

Also see:
» Why did God command Israel to keep such strange laws?
» Seethe not a kid in its mother’s milk?
» Neither make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead nor print any marks on you?

What is the “Apocalypse?”

WHAT IS THE “APOCALYPSE?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

We hear the term quite frequently, but what is the “Apocalypse?”

THE CONFUSION

“Apocalypse” is a terribly abused word. Outside of the Holy Bible, it is used to convey the idea of catastrophic destruction or devastation. The Oxford English Dictionary identifies the problem: “1 (often the Apocalypse) the complete final destruction of the world, as described in the biblical book of Revelation: ▪ (the Apocalypse) (especially in the Vulgate Bible) the book of Revelation. 2 an event involving destruction or damage on a catastrophic scale.”

Due to the common sloppy usage of the term, “Apocalypse” is greatly misunderstood. For example, people speak of a “retail apocalypse” to refer to a large number of stores permanently closing. (This is actually a gross distortion of the word.) Others talk about the “Apocalypse” as being the end of the world. Such fallacies are then fed back into the Bible, thus greatly distorting God’s Book. All will be crystal clear when we ask and answer, “For what saith the Scriptures?”

THE CORRECTION

You do not find the word “apocalypse” in the English Bible, but you do find the idea. Being a Greek word, it is in the Greek Bible. For example, the first word in the Greek version of the Book of the Revelation is “apocalypsis.” Hence, in “scholarly” circles, you will find people referring to the Book of Revelation as “The Apocalypse.” “Apocalypse” is not exclusive to the Book of the Revelation though. It appears throughout the Greek New Testament. Before we read those verses, however, we want to analyze the word itself.

Strong’s Greek Dictionary has the following entry for apokalypsis: “G602 ἀποκάλυψις apokalypsis, ap-ok-al’-oop-sis; from G601; disclosure:—appearing, coming, lighten, manifestation, be revealed, revelation.” The word “apokalysis” is derived from “apokalypto,” meaning “to take off the cover; reveal; disclose.” (“Apo” is “off, away;” “kalupto” means “cover, hide.”) Our King James translators rendered apokalypsis as follows: “revelation” (12 times), “be revealed” (2 times), “to lighten” (with G1519) (1 time), “manifestation” (1 time), “coming” (1 time), and “appearing” (1 time). In total, the word appears 18 times in the Authorized Version:

  • Luke 2:32: “A light to lighten [apokalypsis] the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.” (The Gentiles are in spiritual darkness, but through Jesus Christ, spiritual light will be brought to all the world. See Genesis 12:1-3 and Galatians 3:16, speaking of the future 1000-Year Reign of Christ.)
  • Romans 2:5: “But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation [apokalypsis] of the righteous judgment of God;….” (This “revelation” is the Second Coming of Christ, when He pours out His wrath on His enemies. See 2 Thessalonians 1:7 and Revelation 1:1.)
  • Romans 8:19: “For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation [apokalypsis] of the sons of God.” (This “manifestation” is the Rapture, when Jesus Christ appears in the clouds to return for the Church the Body of Christ, to thus take us into the third heaven and close this Dispensation of Grace. See 1 Corinthians 1:7.)
  • Romans 16:25: “Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation [apokalypsis] of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,….” (This “revelation” is Paul’s special insight into the plan of God. See 1 Corinthians 14:6; 2 Corinthians 12:1,7; Galatians 1:12; Galatians 2:2; Ephesians 3:3. Peter referred to Paul’s “wisdom” in 2 Peter 3:15-16.)
  • 1 Corinthians 1:7: “So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming [apokalypsis] of our Lord Jesus Christ:….” (This “manifestation” is the Rapture, when Jesus Christ appears in the clouds to return for the Church the Body of Christ, to thus take us into the third heaven and close this Dispensation of Grace. See Romans 8:19.)
  • 1 Corinthians 14:6: “Now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation [apokalypsis], or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine?” (This “revelation” is Paul’s special insight into the plan of God. See Romans 16:25; 2 Corinthians 12:1,7; Galatians 1:12; Galatians 2:2; Ephesians 3:3. Peter referred to Paul’s “wisdom” in 2 Peter 3:15-16.)
  • 1 Corinthians 14:26: “How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation [apokalypsis], hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.” (This is someone claiming to have a revelation from God but is not. For our purpose here, we need not concern ourselves with this verse.)
  • 2 Corinthians 12:1: “It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations [apokalypsis] of the Lord.” (This “revelation” is Paul’s special insight into the plan of God. See Romans 16:25; 1 Corinthians 14:6; 2 Corinthians 12:7; Galatians 1:12; Galatians 2:2; Ephesians 3:3. Peter referred to Paul’s “wisdom” in 2 Peter 3:15-16.)
  • 2 Corinthians 12:7: “And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations [apokalypsis], there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.” (This “revelation” is Paul’s special insight into the plan of God. See Romans 16:25; 1 Corinthians 14:6; 2 Corinthians 12:1; Galatians 1:12; Galatians 2:2; Ephesians 3:3. Peter referred to Paul’s “wisdom” in 2 Peter 3:15-16.)
  • Galatians 1:12: “For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation [apokalypsis] of Jesus Christ.” (This “revelation” is Paul’s special insight into the plan of God. See Romans 16:25; 1 Corinthians 14:6; 2 Corinthians 12:1,7; Galatians 2:2; Ephesians 3:3. Peter referred to Paul’s “wisdom” in 2 Peter 3:15-16.)
  • Galatians 2:2: “And I went up by revelation [apokalypsis], and communicated unto them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to them which were of reputation, lest by any means I should run, or had run, in vain.” (This “revelation” is Paul’s special insight into the plan of God. See Romans 16:25; 1 Corinthians 14:6; 2 Corinthians 12:1,7; Galatians 1:12; Ephesians 3:3. Peter referred to Paul’s “wisdom” in 2 Peter 3:15-16.)
  • Ephesians 1:17: “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation [apokalypsis] in the knowledge of him:….” (This “revelation” has to do with us reading the Bible and gaining insight. It is not to be confused with direct revelation as Paul received it.)
  • Ephesians 3:3: “How that by revelation [apokalypsis] he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words,….” (This “revelation” is Paul’s special insight into the plan of God. See Romans 16:25; 1 Corinthians 14:6; 2 Corinthians 12:1,7; Galatians 1:12; Galatians 2:2. Peter referred to Paul’s “wisdom” in 2 Peter 3:15-16.)
  • 2 Thessalonians 1:7: “And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed [apokalypsis] from heaven with his mighty angels,….” (This “revelation” is the Second Coming of Christ, when He pours out His wrath on His enemies. See Romans 2:5 and Revelation 1:1.)
  • 1 Peter 1:7: “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing [apokalypsis] of Jesus Christ:….” (This “revelation” is the Second Coming of Christ, when He meets with Israel’s believing remnant. See 1 Peter 1:13 and 1 Peter 4:13.)
  • 1 Peter 1:13: “Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation [apokalypsis] of Jesus Christ;….” (This “revelation” is the Second Coming of Christ, when He meets with Israel’s believing remnant. See 1 Peter 1:7 and 1 Peter 4:13.)
  • 1 Peter 4:13: “But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed [apokalypsis], ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.” (This “revelation” is the Second Coming of Christ, when He meets with Israel’s believing remnant. See 1 Peter 1:7 and 1 Peter 1:13.)
  • Revelation 1:1: “The Revelation [apokalypsis] of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:….” (This “Revelation” is the Second Coming of Christ, when all the world sees Him.)

As was easily proved above, various “Apocalypses” are presented in Scripture. In order to make that material more digestible, this author took the above 18 verses, categorized them into their respective “manifestations,” and listed those “uncoverings” in chronological order below:

  1. The Apostle Paul’s special insight into God’s plan for the ages was a series of direct revelations to Paul by Jesus Christ Himself (Romans 16:25; 1 Corinthians 14:6; 2 Corinthians 12:1,7; Galatians 1:12; Galatians 2:2; Ephesians 3:3). These have been preserved in the Pauline epistles, Romans through Philemon.
  2. We gain “revelation,” or better see Jesus Christ through Bible doctrine, as we study the verses that have been revealed to the Bible writers, which words the Holy Spirit inspired and now explains to us (Ephesians 1:17; 1 Corinthians 2:9-16).
  3. The Rapture of the Church the Body of Christ, our resurrection as believers in Christ in the Dispensation of Grace, are described as a “manifestation” or “coming” of Christ (Romans 8:19; 1 Corinthians 1:7). Here, not only is Jesus Christ Himself manifested, but He is manifested in and through us as we receive our new glorified bodies!)
  4. The glorious Second Coming of Christ to Earth, future beyond our day, is both an appearance of His wrath to His enemies (Romans 2:5, 2 Thessalonians 1:7) and an exhibition of His Person to Israel’s believing remnant (1 Peter 1:7,13; 1 Peter 4:13). As its first Greek word shows, the entire Book of the Revelation is an uncovering of Jesus Christ’s glory, the presentation of all that He is through a vision given to the Apostle John (Revelation 1:1). What John saw in a prophetic vision, will be literally brought to pass after our Dispensation of Grace.
  5. Israel’s Messiah “lighting,” or showing Himself to, the Gentiles as per the Abrahamic Covenant (Luke 2:32; cf. Genesis 12:1-3) in the Millennium (after the Second Coming).

THE CONCLUSION

As you saw for yourself, friend, in the Bible, contrary to popular belief, “the Apocalypse” is not the end of the world—although in one sense it leads to the end of this present evil world system. “Apocalypse” refers to the manifestation or unveiling of Jesus Christ in some manner. It is a Greek word that simply means, “to uncover.” (I like the illustration of a total solar eclipse here. When the Moon passes between the Earth and the Sun, and temporarily blocks the sunlight, the Moon continues orbiting before “uncovering” the Sun. What was impossible to see, the Sun and its light, is now visible.)

The Bible’s “uncoverings” or “manifestations” can be in the form of divine doctrine revealed directly to Paul, the insight we gain by reading Scripture, the exhibition of Jesus Christ at the Rapture and then through us at our subsequent resurrection, His Second Coming in fiery wrath, and God showing Himself to Gentiles in the Millennium through Christ.

Usually, when people speak of “the Apocalypse” in a Bible sense, they are referring to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ (Revelation 1:1, for example). We want to take a few brief moments to elaborate on that. Today, Jesus Christ is hidden, living in the third heaven, far beyond the edges of our universe. Human eyes have not seen Him in 2,000 years! All this time, God has been silent. There have been no angelic visitations, no visions, no audible voice of God heard. The heavens have been totally quiet. One day, though, that will change. Jesus Christ’s literal face will appear one day. He will be physically present on Earth.

In the Book of the Revelation, we see the capstone of Bible prophecy. Embodied in that last piece of the prophetic puzzle, there is one concise summary of how the end-times scenario will play out. It is the culmination of everything God’s prophets have spoken since the world began. There will be at least seven years of trouble, the rule and the reign of the Antichrist—commonly called “the Tribulation period.” Jesus Christ will return to conclude those seven years—“the Second Coming of Christ” (as opposed to His First Coming to be rejected and die on Calvary’s cross). This Second Coming is “the Revelation” spoken of in the first verse of the Book of the Revelation. The door between the second heaven (outer space) and the third heaven (God’s throne) is opened for the first time in 20 centuries. Jesus Christ has returned to be the rightful heir of Earth’s governments (see Hebrews 1:1-4; Colossians 1:16-20; Revelation 11:15). This is the consummation, when God’s original goal in creation is finally brought to fulfillment.

In secular contexts, the word “apocalypse” means “disaster; catastrophe devastation.” Scripture, however, uses it in the sense of a revelation, uncovering, or unveiling of “hidden” Jesus Christ in one of the following ways: (1) in the form of divine insight committed first to the Apostle Paul, (2) at the Rapture, (3) instruction gained through reading the Scripture, (4) His manifestation at the Second Coming to appear to both save believing Israel and consume His enemies, or (5) Him showing divine truth to Gentiles via the Abrahamic Covenant in the Millennium. In all these instances, Jesus Christ is showing more and more of Himself. His wrath is being shown, His face is being seen, His wisdom is being shared, and so on.

1 Timothy 6:14-16
“That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: Which in his times he shall shew [as in reveal!], who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.”

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Also see:
» Are we “doom and gloom” prophecy believers?
» Is Revelation 4:1 a preview of the Rapture?
» What does 2 Peter 3:8 mean?