Why did multitudes follow Christ during His earthly ministry?


by Shawn Brasseaux

Matthew 4:25 reports: “And there followed him [the Lord Jesus] great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judaea, and from beyond Jordan.” Why did “great multitudes” follow Christ?

Recently, a commentator argued that preachers and Bible teachers who attract large crowds are not necessarily false. After all, did not the Lord Jesus have massive groups coming to listen to Him? Doubtless, over 5,000 people heard Him preach (Matthew 14:14-21). Then, a group of more than 4,000 attended another one of His Bible classes (15:29-38). These were His two famous miracles of feeding the multitudes with few fishes and bread loaves. While we certainly do not desire to be cynical, we must be honest: Scripture indicates that most of these people did not really seek the truth.

Consider John chapter 2, the very beginning of Christ’s ministry: “[23] Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did. [24] But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, [25] And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man.” Why did Jesus “not commit himself unto them?” It would seem there was no genuine faith on their part here, just a superficial awe in response to His miracles.

Upon first glance, we would think Jesus had tens of thousands of followers throughout His earthly ministry. However, that is not an accurate portrayal. As time passed, the number of true believers dwindled. We see that in the opening chapter of the Book of Acts. In Acts 1:15, after three years of earthly ministry, there are approximately 120 followers of Christ in Jerusalem! What had become of the multitudes from the two miraculous multiplications of food? What about the “many” who believed in His name in John chapter 2? It was nothing but shallow faith—nothing genuine or lasting.

Again, we should be direct here. Our (human) nature loves to be impressed. This is not necessarily wrong, although it oftentimes is more harmful than beneficial. For example, some “faith healer” can hold tent meetings today and people flock to them by the hundreds, thousands, or tens of thousands. Wanting to be amused and fascinated, they come from afar to experience “gifted worship leaders,” stirring “anointed” music, emotional highs, “signs and wonders.” Maybe they too will receive a “blessing from God” (“miracle money,” a healing, a word of knowledge, a feeling, et cetera). However, is there genuine faith in God’s Word? Are they really seeking the truth? Human nature has not changed since John chapter 2. “But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men, and needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man.”

Turn to John 6:26-28: “Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed. Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?” Based on these verses, the crowds were interested in having a free meal. They labored for the meat that perishes (physical food is nothing in light of eternity—spiritual food, God’s Word, lasts forever).

They enjoyed seeing Jesus heal the sick of (deliver them from) all sorts of dismal medical and spiritual difficulties. To witness the blind seeing once again, to discover the deaf could now hear, to see the lame and paralytic moving about normally, and to observe the dead now alive and well, those were unforgettable sights! These were not the works of a charlatan: they were healed, instantaneously and fully. Jesus Christ completely recovered them all from whatever ailed them. That is downright spectacular, dear friends! But, when it came time to embrace the truth, the hard facts, the crowds turned away. Carefully read all of John chapter 6. John 6:66 is the climax: “From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.”

When persecution came, when Jesus was finally arrested, the remaining disciples fled in fear (Matthew 26:56; Mark 14:50-52). Even the Apostle Peter thrice denied knowing Him (Matthew 26:69-75). To side with Christ was to become Rome’s enemy. Pontius Pilate would take their lives. King Herod would kill them. It was too costly. John the Baptist had already been put to death.

Friends, large crowds at Bible meetings are not necessarily bad—but they are not necessarily good either. Multitudes followed the Lord Jesus, but most were not genuine believers. It was “head knowledge,” “free lunches,” and “entertainment-seeking,” but not God-honoring faith. Hence, they fell away when the offensives doctrines were preached. Never should we side with the majority concerning spiritual matters. Our goal is not to get large crowds: we “preach the Word” (2 Timothy 4:2) “rightly divided” (2 Timothy 2:15) to whomever comes, no matter how few. As more sound Bible doctrine is preached, we should expect the crowds to diminish. Multitudes upon multitudes continuing to attend services are problematic. Any preacher or Bible teacher attracting the majority is someone to be watched with great suspicion—doctrine is being sacrificed for “unity” and popularity!

Also see:
» If dispensational Bible study is true, why do so few believe it?
» Has God’s Word failed?
» What are “instant” Christians?

As Christians, should we hate our parents?


by Shawn Brasseaux

Matthew 10:34-39 can be (and has been) greatly misconstrued. It therefore behooves us to reserve a study to make it as plain as possible.

To begin, we should point out that it is seldom realized that Matthew chapter 10 is the first installment of the Great Commission. The Lord Jesus Christ is issuing instructions to His 12 Apostles, as well as to all the Little Flock (instructions to bring them all the way to His Second Coming—see verse 23).

Here are some of Christ’s concluding remarks in Matthew chapter 10: “[34] Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. [35] For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. [36] And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. [37] He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. [38] And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me. [39] He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.”

Jesus Christ is surely not advocating physical violence when He says, “I am not come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.” Read the text above once more. There is an invisible, spiritual battle manifesting itself in an outward form. It is not believers in Christ waging war on unbelievers; it is unbelievers attacking believers in Christ. The man who trusts Christ as Saviour has automatically sided against Satan, thus causing a rift between the man and his family. When you look at the Bible record, it is not believers in Christ targeting unsaved people with violence. It is lost people slandering, beating, imprisoning, and executing Christ’s followers. (Be quite careful to note Matthew 5:38-48 and Romans 12:17-21!)(And, perhaps, read Genesis chapter 4 to see who killed whom!)

Matthew 10:37 again: “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” The issue here is priorities. If we have to choose between pleasing people and following the God of the Bible, we should be willing to “obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). We do not hate our parents or our children when we come to faith in Christ. Rather, we prefer to obey the God of creation than fear the possible hostile reaction of loved ones who are not Christians. We should be honored to partake in Christ’s rejection. (See 1 John 3:11-13, John 15:18-25, and John 16:1-3.)

Dear friends, whose do we seek—God’s praise, or man’s praise? “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). We should endeavor to please God, not men. Yet, since it is a tough predicament, most people wind up compromising to some degree. Some Christians are willing to give up sound Bible doctrine so as to “keep peace in the family.” They do not want to offend friends with the Scriptures. They stay quiet about the Bible. They refuse to witness to anyone. They prefer not to get involved with Bible distribution, Gospel preaching, and so on.

Turn to John chapter 12: “[42] Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: [43] For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.” Flip over to chapter 9: “[21] But by what means he now seeth, we know not; or who hath opened his eyes, we know not: he is of age; ask him: he shall speak for himself. [22] These words spake his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue.”

Whom do we serve—God or men? Galatians 1:10 says, “For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.” The Apostle Paul had already determined that he had served man long enough in Judaism. Now, a saved individual, he would not waste any more time with man-pleasing. He had become a servant of Christ Jesus!

If our parents (or any other relatives, or any friends) forbid us from trusting Christ, praying, going to church, reading the Bible, sharing the Gospel, and so on, then the choice is clear to “obey God rather than men.” There are those who say that they would rather die with their parents’ or grandparents’ religion, than believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved from sins and denominational error. If that is what they want to do, they may have at it. We will not discourage them from walking down the path they have decided. The time to convince them has come and gone. God values free will, and we will not deny them their right.

We should never make decisions simply to “stick out” or “be different.” We are not trying to draw attention to ourselves. We simply believe and obey God’s Word, and let it offend whomever it offends. Nevertheless, we should not be obnoxious, contentious, or haughty about it. We should be meek and gentle, but resolute in holding to the truth (2 Timothy 2:24-26).

One more verse. Turn to Luke 16:15: “And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.” One reason why people do not want to trust Christ as their personal Saviour is because they fear offending or “disrespecting” family members. Abandoning their relatives’ religion is unthinkable, far too costly. If they do manage to break away and become a member of the Body of Christ, they run the risk of being disowned, shunned, and considered a traitor. We are willing to have our parents (or children, or other loved ones) hate us for trusting Jesus Christ and following Him. In God’s eyes, we thus love Him more than we love them. We show that our loyalty is to Him, and not to them or any fallible creature.

Also see:
» Should we hate the denominational people who misled us?
» What does it mean to “Take up your cross?”
» Should Christians support wars or should they be pacifists?

Why did the Samaritan believers not receive the Holy Spirit upon believing in Acts 8?


by Shawn Brasseaux

Absolutely, Acts 8:14-17 is most unusual: “[14] Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: [15] Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: [16] (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) [17] Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.”

Some today take these verses to teach that after we trust Christ, we must obtain a “second blessing.” They say there is a mysterious, hair-raising “Holy Ghost” encounter to be experienced after the moment of salvation. Others will even go so far as to say that the Holy Spirit does not always immediately come to the believer upon faith in the Gospel of Grace. We can avoid all this confusion and disagreement if we just handle the Book of Acts as God designed it.

The events in Acts are not the standard way God always dealt with anyone or even how He deals with us today. Never forget that Acts is a transitional Book. Anyone who reads it in its entirety can see how it begins one way (chapter 1) and ends totally different (chapter 28). Why? God is gradually moving from Israel’s prophetic program to our (the Body of Christ’s) mystery program. The Dispensation of Law is fading and the Dispensation of Grace is rising. As for Acts 8:14-17, it does not concern us. It has nothing to do with the Lord’s current dealings with man. Though it is terribly abused, we do not have to fear it. We can learn from it if we are willing to hear it!

In short, Acts 8:14-17 is proof that the Samaritans must submit to Jerusalem. Why is this reconciliation even necessary? Samaria—central/northern Israel—had broken away from Judah (and capital city Jerusalem) after King Solomon’s death. Over 900 years prior to Acts, Solomon’s idolatry brought about this second course of chastisement (Leviticus 26:18-20). Study carefully 1 Kings chapters 11–12. The Northern Kingdom (frequently called “Samaria” or “Ephraim”) forsook David’s royal line and formed new dynasties of kings. Those 10 northern tribes were ultimately taken into Assyrian Captivity circa 722 B.C. David’s house continued ruling the Southern Kingdom, Judah and Benjamin, until the Babylonian Captivity beginning in 606 B.C. The divided kingdom—Israel (north) and Judah (south)—will be reunited under the New Covenant.

Look at Ezekiel chapter 37, God prophesying of the day when Israel and Judah would both again be merged under the political authority of the house of David: “[15] The word of the LORD came again unto me, saying, [16] Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim and for all the house of Israel his companions: [17] And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand. [18] And when the children of thy people shall speak unto thee, saying, Wilt thou not shew us what thou meanest by these? [19] Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand.

“[20] And the sticks whereon thou writest shall be in thine hand before their eyes. [21] And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: [22] And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all. [23] Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwellingplaces, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God. [24] And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them.” (Notice especially verses 22 and 24.)

Like the Jews, the Samaritans were descendants of Jacob, Abraham’s grandson (see John 4:4-6,12). However, the Samaritans were half Gentile by blood, the result of Jews and Assyrians intermarrying centuries before Christ. This explains the animosity between Jews and Samaritans that John chapter 4 highlights most vividly.

In Matthew chapter 10, when commissioning His 12 Apostles, the Lord Jesus said: “[5] These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: [6] But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” The 12 Apostles were instructed not to preach to Gentiles—and that included Samaritans. Later, in light of the Holy Spirit being poured out in Acts chapter 2, Jesus changed those orders: “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

With Acts chapter 8 opening, believing Jew Philip visits Samaria. He preaches Jesus Christ to them before Apostles Peter and John come from Jerusalem (pointing back to our opening passage and question). Philip preaching to Samaria is a rebuke to unbelieving Israel. Here, the despised Samaritans are trusting Jesus Christ and yet the full-blooded Jews are not! The Jews looked down upon the Samaritans because the Samaritans were part Gentile by blood. Samaritans being converted to Christ was God the Holy Spirit’s way of signaling to Israel that they—the full-blooded Jews—were most wretched (unbelieving).

Focus now on Acts 8:14: “Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John:….” Peter and John were Apostles of the Jerusalem Church. They were to be (and will be) the rulers of Israel in the ages to come (see Matthew 19:27-28). Israel here is the Northern and Southern Kingdoms reunited (the second course of chastisement reversed). All Jews—even the Samaritans—must surrender to Jerusalem. Jerusalem is “the city of the great King” (Matthew 5:35). The political revolt of the 10 northern tribes must be overturned. They will come back under the head of Jerusalem (the Davidic line). By the Samaritans allowing two of the chief Jerusalem Apostles to impart the Holy Spirit to them, the Samaritans demonstrate that they have returned to David. Here is a foretaste of the New Covenant, the agreement that will be inaugurated at Christ’s Second Coming (Acts 3:19-21; Romans 11:25-29; Hebrews 8:8-13; Hebrews 10:15-17; Ezekiel 36:21-38)!

Also see:
» Who will be Israel’s King in the Millennium—Jesus Christ or David?
» Why does the Book of Acts end so abruptly?
» Could you explain Acts 19:1-7?

Does “not” belong in Isaiah 9:3?


by Shawn Brasseaux

Isaiah 9:3 says in the King James Bible: “Thou hast multiplied the nation, and not increased the joy: they joy before thee according to the joy in harvest, and as men rejoice when they divide the spoil.” Does the word “not” belong here?

Even though Dr. C. I. Scofield faithfully circulated basic dispensational truths in his eponymous study Bible (1909 and 1917), he was not without error concerning his center-column notes and footnotes. He walked in the spiritual light he had, and we are quite grateful (!) for his labor. However, he had his blind spots and we would do well to notice and avoid them. This is a case in point. The dear Brother actually recommended “not” be omitted from Isaiah 9:3, thereby removing the authority from the Bible! (Most textual critics today still agree with him.) In this brief study, we will lay out why we hold to the unaltered King James reading of Isaiah 9:3.

  • Reading #1, with “not:” “Thou hast multiplied the nation, and not increased the joy: they joy before thee according to the joy in harvest, and as men rejoice when they divide the spoil.” (This is the King James Bible wording.)
  • Reading #2, without “not:” “Thou hast multiplied the nation, and… increased the joy: they joy before thee according to the joy in harvest, and as men rejoice when they divide the spoil.” (The ellipsis […] is where the “not” appears in the KJB.)

Like the majority of modern translators today, Dr. Scofield preferred Reading #2. Reading #1 (the King James Bible) is said to be incorrect. Scan the two readings again. You will see why Reading #2 makes more sense to them. Reading #1 appears to be antithetical toward itself. So we can better see this discrepancy, we paraphrase both readings:

  • Reading #1: God has multiplied the nation, and not increased the joy: they joy before him…. (KJB verse speaks of no increased joy as well as joy—which is it then, joy or no joy?)
  • Reading #2: God has multiplied the nation, and increased the joy: they joy before him…. (altered KJB verse speaks of increased joy and joy—joy and joy are harmonious here)

The negation makes the King James Bible unpopular in Isaiah 9:3. Textual critics eagerly pounce on it. They will not submit to a Book, as they (sinful man) want to be the authority. Here is the problem. Usually, when people speak of a “King James error,” they look at the word or verse superficially. They do not investigate in-depth, only accuse. They have a limited understanding of a word or its definition. Therefore, if the King James Bible disagrees with their preconceived idea, the Bible (they claim) is wrong. They do not define the words according to Scripture; rather, they define the words according to their theology. When the Bible says otherwise, their theology takes precedence. They do not have enough experience in the Bible—for if they did, they would not go around correcting it. Instead of the Bible adjusting their view, they adjust the Bible to fit their view. We cannot agree to this mentality. Either the Bible is the foundation of our faith, or it is not. Either it is the final authority, or it is not. There is no middle ground!!

Reading #1 is correct, and we need not change the King James Bible by removing the word “not.” “Thou hast multiplied the nation, and not increased the joy: they joy before thee according to the joy in harvest, and as men rejoice when they divide the spoil.” There was a time when God did multiply the nation Israel. They prospered in the centuries leading up to Isaiah’s ministry. Then, God did not increase the joy. Finally, they do joy before Him. We must approach the verse dispensationally if we are to make sense of it. The whole verse is not applicable all at once. Part of the verse is true at one point on the Bible timeline and the other part of the verse is true at another point on the timeline. There is not joy throughout the verse; there is not uninterrupted joy as commonly assumed. There is sadness and then joy. In other words, the doleful Assyrian Captivity is followed by the glorious Millennium. Note that the colon ( : ) between the first “joy” and the “they” spans more than 2,000 years.

Look at the closing verse of the previous chapter (8:22). Then start at the beginning of the chapter we are investigating (9:1-2), reading all the way through to verse 7. There is judgment then restoration, captivity then kingdom. There is spiritual darkness followed by spiritual light. Messiah (Jesus) comes to bring light at His First Coming, to usher in God’s righteous earthly kingdom at His Second Coming. Compare these verses with Matthew 4:13-16. Look at Christ conquering Israel’s enemies and causing war to cease in Isaiah 9:4-5. (Connect that victory with the closing of verse 3.)

See Messiah’s birth and reign in Isaiah 9:6-7 (which itself is another timeline passage, not fulfilled all at once). Certainly, this timeline (8:22–9:7) spans from before the cross all the way to beyond the Second Coming. Isaiah 8:22 and 9:1 is Israel before Messiah’s birth; the next verses (9:2 and following) pick up from His birth onward. There is scene switching, of course, verses looping back to earlier ones. However, there is no mistake in the King James Bible. The “not” belongs in Isaiah 9:3, for that time of no increased joy (Captivity) is there to contrast with the time when God will increase their joy (yet future from us, when Christ returns to set His earthly kingdom and deliver Israel from their enemies and Captivity).

Read Isaiah 9:3 in that light now: “Thou hast multiplied the nation [pre-Captivity], and not increased the joy [Captivity]: [2,000-plus years later, Captivity lifted, Israel now in Kingdom] they joy before thee according to the joy in harvest, and as men rejoice when they divide the spoil.”

By the way, nearly all modern English translations eliminate “not” from Isaiah 9:3: American Standard Version, Amplified Bible, Contemporary English Version, English Standard Version, Good News Bible, Holman Christian Standard Bible, Living Bible, The Message, New American Standard Bible, New Century Version, New English Translation, New International Version, New Living Translation, New Revised Standard Version, New World Translation [Jehovah’s Witness “bible”], Revised Standard Version, The Voice). Please note that the NKJV departs from the KJB here, and is not a King James Bible at all!!

We often hear, “All versions say the same thing. The modern versions are no different from the King James Bible.” To say this is to do nothing but advertise Bible ignorance. Whoever says that has not done enough research to comment. No honest person could say that “not increased the joy” is the same as “increased the joy.” There is willful ignorance if someone cannot differentiate between a simple positive statement and a simple negative statement. “Yes” and “no” are not the same—unless you really do not care about facts and just want to vilify the (Protestant) King James Bible so you can promote some modern English translation (a Roman Catholic reading!).

Also see:
» Is “excellent” a King James “mistranslation” in Philippians 1:10?
» Is the King James word “borrow” a “mistranslation” in Exodus 3:22?
» Which belongs in Romans 8:16 and Romans 8:26 in the King James Bible—“the Spirit itself” or “the Spirit Himself?”

Can you explain Philippians 3:14?


by Shawn Brasseaux

Philippians 3:14: “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” What is the “mark?” The “prize?” The “high calling?”

Let us start at verse 1 and go through the entire chapter to get the context: “[1] Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe. [2] Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision. [3] For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. [4] Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: [5] Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; [6] Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. [7] But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.”

Verses 1-6 are the Apostle Paul’s background as Saul of Tarsus, when he was a Pharisee in the Jews’ religion. Verse 7 is his conversion in Acts chapter 9. He came to realize all his “good works” were nothing but “dung!” His impressive accomplishments in religion could not save his soul from Hell! Just as they cannot deliver us from Hell and make us Christians, religious works cannot help us overcome sin and keep us Christians either!! It is all about Jesus Christ and what He did at Calvary! Herein—and herein alone—lies the victory!!

Keep reading in Philippians chapter 3: “[8] Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, [9] And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: [10] That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; [11] If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.”

From verse 8 onward, Paul reflects on his Christian life. He aims to “win Christ” (verse 8). The verse itself qualifies this as, “I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord.” This is not a lost person getting saved, but rather a saved person maturing in God’s knowledge. Go on to verse 12: “Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.” In other words, the Christian asks, “Why did God save me? I want to capture that answer just like Jesus Christ seized me from Satan’s clutches!”

Even after 30 years of being a Christian, Paul himself had incomplete knowledge of grace living. Yes, he had greatly matured, but there was more growth to experience in his own Christian life. Even though he was an apostle, he was not sinless. He never erred in doctrine while functioning as an apostle—the Holy Spirit never let him make mistakes while writing Scripture or speaking God’s Word—but Paul certainly did not apply grace teaching to his own life 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Go look at his struggles with the Law in Romans chapter 7. He had forgotten the grace truths of chapter 6 and finally realized them again in chapter 8. Until the day he physically died and was taken up into Heaven, Paul battled with the flesh like the rest of us. Yet, he would not be discouraged or give up!

The Christian maturing in grace teaching will not return to the old mindset and lifestyle (works-religion). Even after three decades of being a Christian, Paul recognized his incomplete knowledge of grace living. Nevertheless, he was determined to move ahead in this thinking (progress) rather than return to the former mindset (regress).

Keep reading in Philippians chapter 3: “[12] Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. [13] Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, [14] I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. [15] Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. [16] Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing.”

Verses 15 and 16—as well as verse 17 (which we have not yet read)—are Paul urging the Philippians (and us) to follow his pattern of moving forward in spiritual growth. Whatever aspects of Christian living we do not understand, we need to advance instead of go backward. We should walk in the spiritual light we have. God the Holy Spirit will use the Bible rightly divided to provide us with whatever light we lack. Using what we have discussed, we can now identify the goal, the prize, and the high calling.

Reread Philippians chapter 3: “[13] Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, [14] I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” The “mark” is his goal, aim, ambition, or desire, as seen in verse 12: “…but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.” Paul wants to grow in God’s knowledge, that he may better understand why God saved him unto eternal life. He knows much grace doctrine, but in light of the totality, his spiritual eyesight is limited. His Christian life is not 100 percent grace-oriented because his flesh and the Law always pop up at some point (and that is true even of us).

The “winning Christ” (verse 8) is evidently “the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” of verse 14. Again, this is not being saved unto eternal life (justification). This is sanctification. We do not “win” Christ as unsaved people; we “win” Him after we become Christians (after believing the Gospel of Grace—1 Corinthians 15:3-4). “Winning Christ” here is Christian living, not salvation of sins. This is the maturation process of a member of the Church the Body of Christ living in the Dispensation of Grace. We possess Christ when we trust Him as our personal Saviour, but grace living is applying that identity every day. As with justification, sanctification is entirely about Christ’s righteousness—not ours. It is not religion but grace! It is our identity in Christ, not our identity in Adam! It is Christ thinking and living in and through us! This is the “Christ” to be won!

Moreover, the “high calling of God in Christ Jesus” is the heavenly vocation or job we have been given with the heavenly places in view. Father God has invited us members of the Body of Christ to walk a certain way—here is Christian or grace living. This can only happen in Christ. Our “in Christ” position (2 Corinthians 5:17) can become our “in Christ” practice. It is the prayerful application of grace teaching to daily life. It is the knowledge of Jesus Christ concerning the Dispensation of the Grace of God. That knowledge is all of Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon. The more basic information is found in Romans through Galatians; the advanced teachings are Ephesians through 2 Thessalonians. Timothy, Titus, and Philemon are grace living with respect to local church ministry. Philippians is part of the advanced doctrine, encouragement to move away from the fundamentals and get into the deeper things.

By the way, pay attention to how Philippians chapter 3 ends. You can see the progression of some saints and the regression of others. Some Christians here have gone back to the Law system, self-living, ignoring grace: they mind earthly things in that they are carnal, fleshly, habitually dominated by sin (Romans chapter 7). The grace life that God Himself wants to live in and through us believers now, it anticipates the day when we (in glorified bodies) will be the expression of that life in the heavenly places throughout the endless ages to come.

“[17] Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. [18] (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: [19] Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.) [20] For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: [21] Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.”

Also see:
» What does it mean to “mind earthly things?”
» How do we not live after the flesh if we live in bodies of flesh?
» How did the Law kill Paul?

Why did Ezekiel, in Babylon, warn of Jerusalem’s fall?


by Shawn Brasseaux

Ezekiel chapter 1 reports the Prophet-Priest Ezekiel is in Babylon. He, along with other Jews, had been taken from Jerusalem some four or five years prior: “[1] Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I was among the captives by the river of Chebar, that the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God. [2] In the fifth day of the month, which was the fifth year of king Jehoiachin’s captivity, [3] The word of the LORD came expressly unto Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar; and the hand of the LORD was there upon him.”

Is it not bizarre that Ezekiel preached to Jews in Babylon about Jerusalem’s fall? His audience was not living in Jerusalem, so why did his ministry focus on its sacking? In other words, why did Ezekiel not go to Jerusalem and preach there? Why speak to Jews already in Babylon, who had left Jerusalem when he did years earlier? “For what saith the Scriptures?”

We find the answer in Jeremiah chapter 29. Jeremiah wrote this letter to those who left Jerusalem to go to Babylon with Ezekiel and King Jeconiah/Jehoiachin (cf. Ezekiel 1:2 and Jeremiah 29:1-2):

“[1] Now these are the words of the letter that Jeremiah the prophet sent from Jerusalem unto the residue of the elders which were carried away captives, and to the priests, and to the prophets, and to all the people whom Nebuchadnezzar had carried away captive from Jerusalem to Babylon; [2] (After that Jeconiah the king, and the queen, and the eunuchs, the princes of Judah and Jerusalem, and the carpenters, and the smiths, were departed from Jerusalem; ) [3] By the hand of Elasah the son of Shaphan, and Gemariah the son of Hilkiah, (whom Zedekiah king of Judah sent unto Babylon to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon) saying,

“[4] Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, unto all that are carried away captives, whom I have caused to be carried away from Jerusalem unto Babylon; [5] Build ye houses, and dwell in them; and plant gardens, and eat the fruit of them; [6] Take ye wives, and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons, and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; that ye may be increased there, and not diminished.

“[7] And seek the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray unto the LORD for it: for in the peace thereof shall ye have peace. [8] For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Let not your prophets and your diviners, that be in the midst of you, deceive you, neither hearken to your dreams which ye cause to be dreamed. [9] For they prophesy falsely unto you in my name: I have not sent them, saith the LORD. [10] For thus saith the LORD, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place.”

False prophets active during the ministries of Jeremiah and Ezekiel lied that while some Jews had been taken to Babylon, the city Jerusalem would not fall or be destroyed. These deceivers also claimed it would not be long before the displaced Jews would return to Jerusalem. Jeremiah penned his letter (chapter 29)—and really his whole Book—to make sure God’s Word was fully known concerning the matter. The exiled Jews would spend “seventy years” in Babylon (Jeremiah 29:10; cf. Jeremiah 25:11-12). They were encouraged to settle there, submit to the Babylonian government, and seek Babylon’s peace. It would be quite a long time before they would return to Jerusalem.

The false prophets claimed there would be no destruction of Jerusalem. They claimed “peace, peace” for Jerusalem. These claims were in stark contrast to what the Holy Spirit was proclaiming through His spokesmen Ezekiel and Jeremiah.

See Ezekiel chapter 13: “[10] Because, even because they have seduced my people, saying, Peace; and there was no peace; and one built up a wall, and, lo, others daubed it with untempered morter:…. [16] To wit, the prophets of Israel which prophesy concerning Jerusalem, and which see visions of peace for her, and there is no peace, saith the LORD God.” (You should read these verses in context to get their full impact.)

Also, Jeremiah 6:14: “They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace.” Jeremiah 8:11: “For they have healed the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace.” Jeremiah 14:13: “Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! behold, the prophets say unto them, Ye shall not see the sword, neither shall ye have famine; but I will give you assured peace in this place [Jerusalem].” Jeremiah 23:17: “They say still unto them that despise me, The LORD hath said, Ye shall have peace; and they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you.” (You should read these verses in context as well.)

Ezekiel conducted his ministry in Babylon while Jeremiah’s latter ministry was underway in Jerusalem. Ezekiel had no reason to go teach God’s Word in Jerusalem because the LORD God already had Jeremiah there. God commissioned Ezekiel to preach to Jews in Babylon about Jerusalem’s fall to show them they would not be returning to Jerusalem anytime soon. The false prophets were exposed. Jerusalem would be destroyed (see Jeremiah chapter 52; cf. 2 Chronicles chapter 36; Ezekiel 24:1-2), and would be rebuilt many decades later. In fact, God through Jeremiah provided an exact timeframe of 70 years (Jeremiah 25:10-11; Jeremiah 29:11). Those 70 years are found in Daniel 9:2, terminating when Persian King Cyrus allowed the first group of Jews to leave Babylon to rebuild the Jerusalem Temple under the leadership of Zerubbabel and Joshua the High Priest (cf. 2 Chronicles 36:19-23; Ezra 1:1-4).

Also see:
» How did the Israeli patriarchs resist the Holy Ghost?
» Was King Nebuchadnezzar a saved man?
» “But what if they read the Bible at my church?!”

What does the Bible say about fatherhood?


by Shawn Brasseaux

God’s Word says plenty about fatherhood. (Do we care to listen?)

AN UNCONCERNED FATHER. King David, a saint of the Most High God, was nevertheless a mostly terrible father. Amnon, his firstborn son, raped his sister Tamar (David’s daughter), but David neither consoled Tamar nor punished Amnon (2 Samuel 13:1-21). When David’s younger son Absalom murdered his brother for assaulting his sister, Absalom fled to a foreign land for three years (verses 23-39). Only after being pressurized did David finally send for Absalom from exile (2 Samuel 14:1-24). Nevertheless, when Absalom returned to Jerusalem, David did not see him in-person for two years (2 Samuel 14:28). After meeting his father, Absalom eventually incited a coup and David had to flee his throne (2 Samuel chapters 15–17).

In 2 Samuel chapter 18, David commanded his servants to bring Absalom alive (verses 5,12). Instead, they killed the young man! It was such a terrible, heart-wrenching life that David could have caused his son to avoid. Absalom’s many transgressions could have been minimized had his father taken the opportunity to follow Deuteronomy 6:7 and Deuteronomy 11:19. We find similar wording in Ephesians 6:4: “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture [care] and admonition [instruction] of the Lord.” (Colossians 3:21: “Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.”) Upon hearing of Absalom’s slaying, David probably reflected on his parental shortcomings that had led up to this most disastrous outcome. Indeed, he had not been a decent father to any of his children here. It is no different today when men let anything and everything evil go on in their household, unable or unwilling to do anything about it. Their legacy depends on much time they had for their children when it counted the most!

A CONCERNED FATHER (BUT STILL ANOTHER COMPROMISER). Let us read 1 Samuel chapter 2: “[12] Now the sons of Eli were sons of Belial; they knew not the LORD…. [22] Now Eli was very old, and heard all that his sons did unto all Israel; and how they lay with the women that assembled at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. [23] And he said unto them, Why do ye such things? for I hear of your evil dealings by all this people. [24] Nay, my sons; for it is no good report that I hear: ye make the LORD’S people to transgress. [25] If one man sin against another, the judge shall judge him: but if a man sin against the LORD, who shall intreat for him? Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto the voice of their father, because the LORD would slay them.”

The Priest-Judge Eli discouraged his priestly sons from following Satan (Baal worship), but they disregarded his words. Yet, God censures Eli for not doing more, accusing Eli of thus: “[thou] honourest thy sons above me” (verse 29). Perhaps Eli was late in his rebukes of their waywardness. He obviously should have barred them from the priesthood, and based on Deuteronomy 13:6-18, they really should have been executed for their idolatry! Yet, he let them continue to live and serve as priests. Hence, God killed those two sons in battle, and promised to remove Eli’s other descendants from the priestly line. Samuel and his sons would form a new line of priests (see verses 27-36; cf. 1 Samuel 4:1-22).

A NURTURING STEPFATHER. Joseph, the husband of Jesus’ mother Mary, was a great stepfather, as Matthew chapter 1 shows: “[18] Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. [19] Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. [20] But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. [21] And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins. [22] Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, [23] Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. [24] Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: [25] And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.”

Joseph took care of His wife and her Boy the Christ Child. He followed the Lord’s instructions and did not abandon them. In fact, Joseph made sure they safely escaped into Egypt when King Herod began slaughtering the Jewish children (Matthew 2:13-23). We are not entirely sure what happened to Joseph after this, for Scripture never again mentions him directly. He was definitely a good financial provider for his family. A carpenter by profession, Joseph taught young Jesus that same trade (Matthew 13:55; cf. Mark 6:3).

A FALSE-RELIGION FATHER. Unbelieving Cain is distinguished for slaying his righteous brother Abel (the very first murder!). Most do not realize that Cain was a wicked father as well. As punishment for killing Abel, the LORD God commanded Cain to be a wanderer, a vagabond in the earth (Genesis 4:14). Cain, a farmer, was not to settle in one particular area: he was to be a nomad, moving constantly. Yet, he rebelled: “[16] And Cain went out from the presence of the LORD, and dwelt in the land of Nod, on the east of Eden. [17] And Cain knew his wife; and she conceived, and bare Enoch: and he builded a city, and called the name of the city, after the name of his son, Enoch.” Interestingly, Cain, with his false works-religious system (see verses 1-13), founded a city. He did the exact opposite of what the LORD told him! Instead of drifting, he permanently settled in a specific geographic region. Moreover, he began a culture—a religious (!) culture—that opposed the one true God. It continues even today, for its members persecute and kill Christians (see 1 John 3:11-13; cf. Luke 11:47-51). They were the religious leaders of Israel who crucified Jesus, and will be followers of the Antichrist beyond our day. As we saw from Genesis, Cain named the city after his son Enoch. Cain was not a good father. He polluted his family with false religion, and the whole world since.

A WISE FATHER. Dying David counsels young King Solomon, somewhat redeeming himself from his previous parental failures: “[1] Now the days of David drew nigh that he should die; and he charged Solomon his son, saying, [2] I go the way of all the earth: be thou strong therefore, and shew thyself a man; [3] And keep the charge of the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and his testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, that thou mayest prosper in all that thou doest, and whithersoever thou turnest thyself: [4] That the LORD may continue his word which he spake concerning me, saying, If thy children take heed to their way, to walk before me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul, there shall not fail thee (said he) a man on the throne of Israel” (1 Kings chapter 2).

Around this time, David also advised Solomon: “[20] And David said to Solomon his son, Be strong and of good courage, and do it: fear not, nor be dismayed: for the LORD God, even my God, will be with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee, until thou hast finished all the work for the service of the house of the LORD. [21] And, behold, the courses of the priests and the Levites, even they shall be with thee for all the service of the house of God: and there shall be with thee for all manner of workmanship every willing skilful man, for any manner of service: also the princes and all the people will be wholly at thy commandment” (1 Chronicles 28:20-21).

ANOTHER WISE FATHER. The Holy Spirit used King Solomon to write most of the Book of Proverbs. Here is how the first chapter opens: “[1] The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel; [2] To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding; [3] To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity; [4] To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion. [5] A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels: [6] To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings. [7] The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction. [8] My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother: [9] For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck. [10] My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not….” The wise father—in this case, Solomon (writing to Rehoboam; 1 Kings 11:43)—cautions his son to walk in true wisdom. Fearing the God of the Bible, revering Him and believing His Word, is key to avoiding sinful thoughts and deeds.

EVIL, UNGODLY FATHERS. Ahaz, King of Judah and father of Hezekiah, was certainly not a virtuous parent. No different from the pro-abortion fathers of today, he actually offered at least one of his sons in a human sacrifice to pagan idols. “But he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, yea, and made his son to pass through the fire, according to the abominations of the heathen, whom the LORD cast out from before the children of Israel” (2 Kings 16:3). Manasseh, Hezekiah’s son, continued his grandfather Ahaz’s idolatry: “And he made his son pass through the fire, and observed times, and used enchantments, and dealt with familiar spirits and wizards: he wrought much wickedness in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger” (21:6). Second Chronicles 33:6 says of Manasseh: “And he caused his children to pass through the fire in the valley of the son of Hinnom: also he observed times, and used enchantments, and used witchcraft, and dealt with a familiar spirit, and with wizards: he wrought much evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger.” Ahaz and Manasseh polluted their families and nations with pagan idolatry. There was no Bible doctrine in either man’s life, and many suffered because of it. Manasseh was one of the primary reasons why God used Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar to destroy Jerusalem (read 2 Kings chapter 21)!

GODLY FATHERS. Titus chapter 2: “[1] But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine: [2] That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience…. [6] Young men likewise exhort to be sober minded. [7] In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, [8] Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.” These traits are for Christian men in general, but they should especially be true of husbands and fathers. They are to be examples to women and children!!

MORE GODLY FATHERS. One of the most central passages about fatherhood is actually found among the qualifications for bishops and deacons. Titus chapter 1: “[6] If any be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of riot or unruly. [7] For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; [8] But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; [9] Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.”

First Timothy chapter 3: “[2] A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; [3] Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; [4] One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; [5] (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) [6] Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. [12] Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well.”

Bishops and deacons should be the spiritual leaders in their home: the husband-father is head of the wife as Christ is Head of the Body (Ephesians 5:23-24). This is how all Christian men should function, bishops or not, deacons or not. According to God’s Word, if these men cannot lead their own family—especially their children—into spiritual maturity, they have proven themselves not to be capable of bringing a whole congregation to appropriate Christian thought and behavior! They should therefore not be appointed bishops or deacons (1 Timothy 3:4-5,12)! Let this author say something personal and frank. It is graphic but it must (!!!) be stated. If the Christian man is unwilling to bring his wife and children to spiritual maturity, sound grace teaching (Pauline theology, Romans through Philemon), he should not (!!!) marry any woman or father any children with her or anyone else! More societal and spiritual damage will result than good if the Christian man desires to function as nothing but a “legal partner” and a “sperm donor.” Think on that long and hard, my friends, think on it long and hard!!! (Women need to be quite careful about with whom they get involved romantically. Beware, beware, beware!!)


My dear brothers in Christ, if you endeavor to be fathers in and through whom the Holy Spirit will work mightily, you must give heed to and believe these verses. As we saw, the Bible features respectable fathers and depraved fathers. Some were flagrant idolaters; others trusted and loved the God of creation. Some were caring whereas others were dreadfully inhumane. Some taught their children God’s Word; others led their progeny to worship Satan. Some fathers were hardworking, and the rest were slothful.

Having read these passages of Scripture, you know exactly what mistakes not to repeat. You saw precisely what temptations our male ancestors faced long ago. You have already been given counsel in the Holy Bible as to how you are to think and conduct yourselves if the Lord Jesus Christ is to be glorified. It is up to you now to make the choice. You can either take your stand by faith in these verses, or you can just continue “doing your own thing.” Just remember the disasters that resulted when fathers failed to believe God’s Word. Just remember the benefits that came when fathers trusted God’s Word. Choose life… choose the grace life! 🙂

“Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee” (Exodus 20:12).

“Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth” (Ephesians 6:1-3).

“By thee have I been holden up from the womb: thou art he that took me out of my mother’s bowels: my praise shall be continually of thee” (Psalm 71:6).

Also see:
» What does the Bible say about motherhood?
» Can you explain the “Corban” tradition?
» Is it normal for me to be too busy for daily Bible reading?

What is “purloining?”


by Shawn Brasseaux

Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again; Not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things (Titus 2:9-10). What exactly is “purloining?”

According to The Oxford English Dictionary, “purloin” is the formal term for “to steal.” Another English dictionary says, “to appropriate wrongfully and often by a breach of trust.” When used in the context of “servants” and “masters” (as in Titus), it acquires the sense of stealing from one’s employer or boss. The legal term is “embezzlement” (misuse of entrusted money or property). (The English word is from the French purloigner “put away,” from pur- “forth” + loign “far.”) What is most painful is the identity of the purloiner—usually it is the most trusted member of the team!

Experts tell us that theft in the workplace causes American businesses to lose an estimated $50 billion annually! Whether stealing parts from inventory, taking money from cash registers, using company equipment and accounts for personal gain, check fraud, swiping so much as ink pens and pencils, it costs the company. Over many years, a worker can siphon and remove the merchandise or funds little by little. It is difficult to notice. The median age for purloiners at the workplace is the late 40s (both men and women). Women are more often guilty of it.

Rather than stealing from the company, the Christian worker is to “shew all good fidelity.” Faithfulness or trustworthiness should be demonstrated, “that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things.” The purpose of a Christian’s on-the-job honesty is to make God’s doctrine attractive. If the Christian employee talks about how Satan lies and Jesus Christ is “the Truth,” but then steals from his company, he will lose both his job and his testimony! Rather than being attractive, the Bible will be hideous before the eyes of lost men. They will not care to hear from hypocrites who say one thing and do something else. Let us always bear this in mind when on the job!

Also see:
» What is “shamefacedness?”
» What is “chambering?”
» What does “concupiscence” mean?

Was Jesus justified in destroying “private property?”


by Shawn Brasseaux

Read Matthew chapter 8: “[28] And when he [the Lord Jesus] was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way. [29] And, behold, they cried out, saying, What have we to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time? [30] And there was a good way off from them an herd of many swine feeding.

“[31] So the devils besought him, saying, If thou cast us out, suffer us to go away into the herd of swine. [32] And he said unto them, Go. And when they were come out, they went into the herd of swine: and, behold, the whole herd of swine ran violently down a steep place into the sea, and perished in the waters. [33] And they that kept them fled, and went their ways into the city, and told every thing, and what was befallen to the possessed of the devils. [34] And, behold, the whole city came out to meet Jesus: and when they saw him, they besought him that he would depart out of their coasts.”

The Lord Jesus has been faulted here for “destroying private property.” After all, when He cast out the devils, He granted them their request to enter the herd of swine. The swine, now devil-possessed, ran into the nearby sea and drowned. (Mark 5:13 gives the estimate of 2,000 pigs!) How could Jesus allow these animals to perish when they belonged to someone else?

Before we denounce Christ here, perhaps we should read the whole Bible. Notice Leviticus 11:7: “And the swine, though he divide the hoof, and be clovenfooted, yet he cheweth not the cud; he is unclean to you.” And, Deuteronomy 14:8: “And the swine, because it divideth the hoof, yet cheweth not the cud, it is unclean unto you: ye shall not eat of their flesh, nor touch their dead carcase.” The Law of Moses demanded that Israel not eat pork or touch a dead pig’s body. In Christ’s earthly ministry, however, pigs are being kept in God’s land. Moses’ kosher food laws are being ignored. These devil-possessed pigs dying was one way of God purging His people and real estate of spiritual uncleanness. They should not have owned pigs anyway!

We must remember that, ultimately, Jesus Christ is the Creator God (Ephesians 3:9; Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:2). Everything belongs to Him: “The earth is the LORD’S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein” (Psalm 24:1). If He wants to do something with His creation, He does not have to ask anyone’s permission concerning anything… any creature… any place!

Also see:
» Why did Israel have to observe so many “strange” laws?
» How does Satan operate today?
» Should we use the word “demons?” Are they the same as devils?

Were the King James translators justified in adding the word “quarters” in Acts 9:32?


by Shawn Brasseaux

Acts 9:32 says, “And it came to pass, as Peter passed throughout all quarters, he came down also to the saints which dwelt at Lydda.” If you look in a printed King James Bible, the term “quarters” is italicized, meaning there is no corresponding Greek term to that English word. To signify this, the 1611 scholars placed the word in italics. They are often vilified for adding such words, yet (strangely) the people who criticize italicized words usually add or remove words from the English Bible themselves. Indeed, there is quite a difference between a translator adding a word to complete the thought in the new language, and a teacher assuming his job involves questioning and changing the Bible because he has limited insight. The former is the King James Bible translator; the latter is the King James Bible critic.

The Greek Textus Receptus reads thus in Acts 9:32: “Egeneto_de Petron dierchomenon dia panton, katelthein kai pros tous agious tous katoikountas Luddan.” As even the layman could likely discern, “dia panton” is “throughout all.” The word “katelthein” is “came down.” There is indeed no Greek word for “quarters.” Unless that English word is added, the verse would read, “And it came to pass, as Peter passed throughout all, he came down….” This could read smoother. Peter visited “all” what? Well, our 1611 translators elected to insert “quarters” to clarify the sense—“all quarters.” While they are no longer here for us to ask why they chose that of all English words (as opposed to “regions” or “territories,” for example), we can study the rest of their work to arrive at the simplest—and therefore, most likely—explanation.

Here are other occurrences of the term “quarters” in the Authorized Version:

  • Jeremiah 49:36: “And upon Elam will I bring the four winds from the four quarters of heaven, and will scatter them toward all those winds; and there shall be no nation whither the outcasts of Elam shall not come.”
  • Revelation 20:8: “And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog, and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.”

Similar terminology is found elsewhere in the King James Scriptures:

  • Isaiah 11:12: “And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.”
  • Ezekiel 7:2: “Also, thou son of man, thus saith the Lord GOD unto the land of Israel; An end, the end is come upon the four corners of the land.”
  • Revelation 7:1: “And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.”

Why did the King James scholars insert “quarters” in Acts 9:32 even though there is no corresponding Greek? It was to make the resultant translation read clearer. Furthermore, they likely picked that particular word so as to indicate the four cardinal directions—north, south, west, and east. “Regions,” “territories,” and “lands,” would not have been descriptive enough. The word “quarters” prompts the reader to think of four regions or quadrants, not any one particular direction but all directions. From where does Peter’s ministry radiate though? It is Jerusalem (the last place where he was seen before arriving in Lydda—Acts 8:25). Peter is going north, south, west, and east of Jerusalem, but he always eventually returns to Jerusalem (read Acts chapters 1–12, 15). Lydda is about 25 miles (40 kilometers) northwest of Jerusalem. After Peter visited it, he went on to Joppa (northwest) and Caesarea (northeast), before ultimately heading south to go back to Jerusalem (Acts 11:2).

If we just give the King James Bible the benefit of the doubt, we understand that it does not contain mistakes. Rather than deriding it and attempting to correct it (as a Roman Catholic is taught to criticize this the Protestant Bible), we should study it to see why it says what it does. Conditioned by the modern-version sales pitches, we have been trained to quickly pounce on the Authorized Version and falsely accuse it of so-called “numerous errors” and “inferior translations.” It is far better to let the Holy Bible be the authority than endeavor to change it. Simply put, the word “quarters” in Acts 9:32 is likely being used to refer to the four primary directions. The text reads clearer with it. Leave it there and just believe it!

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Also see:
» Is there a geographical error in 2 Kings 2:2?
» Is “excellent” a King James “mistranslation” in Philippians 1:10?
» Which belongs in Romans 8:16 and Romans 8:26 in the King James Bible—“the Spirit itself” or “the Spirit Himself?”