Can you explain “bethink?”


by Shawn Brasseaux

We spot “bethink” on just two occasions in the King James Bible, both of which are companion passages that record King Solomon’s lengthy dedicatory prayer regarding the Jerusalem Temple:

  • 1 Kings 8:47: “Yet if they shall bethink themselves in the land whither they were carried captives, and repent, and make supplication unto thee in the land of them that carried them captives, saying, We have sinned, and have done perversely, we have committed wickedness;….”
  • 2 Chronicles 6:37: “Yet if they bethink themselves in the land whither they are carried captive, and turn and pray unto thee in the land of their captivity, saying, We have sinned, we have done amiss, and have dealt wickedly;….”

“Bethink” is a formal word, sounding more majestic than “to think” or “come to think” (its meaning). Another definition is “consider, come to one’s senses, bring back to mind.” The Jerusalem Temple was where the LORD God manifested His presence or glory in and to Old Testament Israel. Since the Law of Moses was in effect, Solomon knew the high probability of his Jewish people sinning against God and thus being driven from the Promised Land via Gentile captivities (see Leviticus 26:27-46—see excerpt below). Israel could be recovered from those courses of chastisement by confessing their sins of breaking the Old Covenant. Whereas they had been spiritually insane (idolatrous) in the land of Palestine, once they would be deported to foreign terrains and realize just how sinful and foolish they had been, they would consider the LORD they had forgotten, think like His people (repent), and He would regather them into their land once more. See the prayers of Nehemiah 1:4-11, Nehemiah 9:1-3, Ezra 9:5–10:3, Daniel 9:3-20; also, read Matthew 3:6, Mark 1:5, and 1 John 1:9.

Leviticus 26:33,38-46: “And I will scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste…. And ye shall perish among the heathen, and the land of your enemies shall eat you up. And they that are left of you shall pine away in their iniquity in your enemies’ lands; and also in the iniquities of their fathers shall they pine away with them. If they shall confess their iniquity, and the iniquity of their fathers, with their trespass which they trespassed against me, and that also they have walked contrary unto me; And that I also have walked contrary unto them, and have brought them into the land of their enemies; if then their uncircumcised hearts be humbled, and they then accept of the punishment of their iniquity: Then will I remember my covenant with Jacob, and also my covenant with Isaac, and also my covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land. The land also shall be left of them, and shall enjoy her sabbaths, while she lieth desolate without them: and they shall accept of the punishment of their iniquity: because, even because they despised my judgments, and because their soul abhorred my statutes. And yet for all that, when they be in the land of their enemies, I will not cast them away, neither will I abhor them, to destroy them utterly, and to break my covenant with them: for I am the LORD their God. But I will for their sakes remember the covenant of their ancestors, whom I brought forth out of the land of Egypt in the sight of the heathen, that I might be their God: I am the LORD. These are the statutes and judgments and laws, which the LORD made between him and the children of Israel in mount Sinai by the hand of Moses.”

Also see:
» Must I confess my sins?
» What about repentance?
» Can you explain “cogitations?”
» Does God see us Christians as sinners?
» “If God peradventure will give them repentance…?”

What is a “sherd?”


by Shawn Brasseaux

“Sherd” is discovered twice in the King James text:

  • Isaiah 30:14: “And he shall break it as the breaking of the potter’s vessel that is broken in pieces; he shall not spare: so that there shall not be found in the bursting of it a sherd to take fire from the hearth, or to take water withal out of the pit.”
  • Ezekiel 23:34: “Thou shalt even drink it and suck it out, and thou shalt break the sherds thereof, and pluck off thine own breasts: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord GOD.”

One indication that can unravel the sense of this obscure expression is found in the Isaiah verse. A “sherd” is connected to a “potter.” More specifically, a “potter’s vessel” is under consideration. In fact, a potter’s broken vessel is even more precise. When a clay pot is smashed to bits, what results? Why, now there are shards (fragments). Another term would be potsherds (see Job 2:8, Psalm 22:15, Proverbs 26:23, and Isaiah 45:9). The two verses with which we opened describe the thoroughness or extensiveness of Divine judgment or wrath on apostate (idolatrous) Israel and Jerusalem.

Also see:
» What does “pernicious” mean?
» What does “bray a fool” mean?
» What does “had in abomination” mean?

What does “circumspect” mean?


by Shawn Brasseaux

Our Authorized Version twice makes use of this term.

  • Exodus 23:13: “And in all things that I have said unto you be circumspect: and make no mention of the name of other gods, neither let it be heard out of thy mouth.”
  • Ephesians 5:15: “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,….”

Looking closely at the word itself, and breaking it down into its individual components, there are clues as to its definition. Think of circle, circumference, spectacular, spectacle(s). “Circle,” “circumference,” and “circumspect” are partly derived from the Latin word “circum” meaning “around.” “Spectacular,” “spectacle,” and “circumspect” are based on the Latin term “specere” meaning “look.” Combining this information, to be “circumspect” carries the literal definition of “looking around.” In other words, we are aware of our surroundings and where we are going—the exact opposite of carelessness or foolishness (see Ephesians 5:15 above).

With regards to Exodus and the Mosaic Law, the nation Israel was to pay attention to all the commandments of God as they related to their daily life. To not be mindful of God’s revelation to them meant they were walking contrary to the Creator’s will, how He designed life to function. They were to take notice of all that He said to them through Moses, for it was literally the difference between obedience (blessing) and disobedience (curse).

Concerning us the Church the Body of Christ, Ephesians 5:14-17 exhorts: “[14] Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. [15] See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, [16] Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. [17] Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.” It is so sad that believers today often have no idea what God’s will is for them—and this should not be so. As the nation Israel was to be cognizant of God’s words to them through Moses, so we are to be aware of God’s words to us through the Apostle Paul. The Pauline epistles, Romans through Philemon, will impart to us Divine wisdom needed for victorious Christian living today. If we are not walking by faith in an intelligent understanding of God’s words to us, we have deviated or drifted away from the path He has laid out for us in this the Dispensation of Grace—and it should not surprise us that disaster is certain.

Also see:
» What does “sottish” mean?
» What does “brutish” mean?
» What does “gainsaying” mean?
» What does “amiss” mean?
» What does “cumbered” mean?

Can you explain “holden?”


by Shawn Brasseaux

Believe it or not, “holden” is a rather easy word. Think of “hand!” The dozen times the King James Bible uses “holden,” the sense is usually figurative instead of literal holding—but a literal truth is still conveyed in all situations.

  • 2 Kings 23:22-23: “Surely there was not holden such a passover from the days of the judges that judged Israel, nor in all the days of the kings of Israel, nor of the kings of Judah; But in the eighteenth year of king Josiah, wherein this passover was holden to the LORD in Jerusalem.” Obviously, no one is holding Passover in their hand—an impossibility. “Hold” can be used in the sense of participating in a meeting or gathering (as in religious assembly).
  • Job 36:8: “And if they be bound in fetters, and be holden in cords of affliction;….” These are people (sinners) trapped in the clutches of trouble! See Proverbs 5:22 below.
  • Psalm 18:35: “Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy right hand hath holden me up, and thy gentleness hath made me great.” Here is the LORD’S hand imparting strength to the believer.
  • Psalm 71:6: “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.” Again, the LORD’S hand gives power to the saint.
  • Psalm 73:23: “Nevertheless I am continually with thee: thou hast holden me by my right hand.” Once more, the LORD’S hand provides believers with might, guiding them into the truth.
  • Proverbs 5:22: “His own iniquities shall take the wicked himself, and he shall be holden with the cords of his sins.” These are people (sinners) enslaved in sin’s heavy chains, like a hand enclosed upon them! See Job 36:8 above.
  • Isaiah 42:14: “I have long time holden my peace; I have been still, and refrained myself: now will I cry like a travailing woman; I will destroy and devour at once.” Almighty God has kept His mouth shut for long enough. Now, He returns to Earth in judgment against sin, thundering forth from Heaven at Christ’s Second Coming!
  • Isaiah 45:1: “Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut;….” Cyrus, King of Persia, has received might from the LORD’S hand to destroy Babylon (which he did in Daniel 5:30-31—there, Cyrus is known as Darius the Median)!
  • Luke 24:16: “But their eyes were holden that they should not know him.” This is in the sense of God preventing their spiritual eyes from recognizing resurrected Jesus. Think of His hands covering their eyes.
  • Acts 2:24: “Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.” This is like Job 36:8 or Proverbs 5:22—except the trap here is physical death, which Christ escaped at His resurrection. Christ broke the grip of death’s hand!
  • Romans 14:4: “Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.” This passage is about immature believers walking in the spiritual light that they do have—God’s hand thereby supporting them with the sound Bible doctrine they know.

Also see:
» What does “had in abomination” mean?
» “Give strength to the LORD?”
» How did Satan “take” the Lord Jesus during His temptations?

What does “cumbered” mean?


by Shawn Brasseaux

“But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me” (Luke 10:40). The expression “cumbered” here should remind us of another—yet more familiar—English word. “Cumbersome” means “difficult to use, slow, complicated.” The general idea is a hindrance or burden, and it carries the same meaning in Luke 10:40.

Read the verse and term in context: “[38] Now it came to pass, as they went, that he [the Lord Jesus Christ] entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. [39] And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word. [40] But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me. [41] And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: [42] But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”

Martha is “careful” (verse 41) as in “full of care” or “worried;” the Lord also described her here as “troubled about many things.” To be “cumbered” means “obstructed, hindered, burdened.” Instead of being like her sister Mary and listening to Jesus teach, Martha was preoccupied or distracted with serving food. Similar to most of her nation, Martha was so concerned with worldly or carnal/fleshly affairs that she overlooked more important spiritual matters (God’s words). She was prevented from thinking like a woman of God is designed to think. In Greek, “cumbered” is “perispao,” literally meaning “to drag all around.” That is, “fretting about this and that and this and that and this and that!” Here is an apt depiction of Martha (an immature believer) and apostate Israel (unbelievers).

“Cumbersome” can also be defined as “slow or complicated and therefore inefficient.” That would be Israel spiritually during Christ’s three-year earthly ministry! See Luke chapter 13: “[6] He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none. [7] Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground? [8] And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: [9] And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.” This word “cumbereth” in verse 7 is the Greek “katargeo,” as in “to be idle or inactive.” Israel’s religion is a barren fig tree—having produced no faith or good works, only self-righteous lost people who refuse to recognize their need for the Saviour. Consequently, they cannot function as God’s earthly people to reach the Gentiles. The nation Israel was given a one-year extension of mercy to believe the Gospel of the Kingdom, and that was during the first seven chapters of the Book of Acts. Of course, unbelief continued to prevail amongst the Jewish people; thus, through Israel’s fall, the resurrected, ascended, and glorified Lord Jesus Christ saved and commissioned the Apostle Paul and turned to the Gentiles through his ministry (Romans 11:11-14).

Also see:
» What is the “one needful thing” in Luke 10:42?
» Why did Jesus curse the “poor” fig tree?
» Is Israel “cast away,” or not? Has Israel “fallen,” or not?
» Is God finished with the nation Israel?
» “All Israel shall be saved?”

What are “cracknels?”


by Shawn Brasseaux

“And take with thee ten loaves, and cracknels, and a cruse of honey, and go to him: he shall tell thee what shall become of the child” (1 Kings 14:3). Just what in the world are “cracknels?”

As you know, our King James Bible is belittled for its “archaic language.” Modern Bible translators and publishers, greatly endeavoring to recommend and $ell their product, remind us that our “old” King James is “irrelevant,” “obsolete,” and “hard-to-understand.” If we really want to learn what God has to say, they claim we need an “updated” Bible. If we want a “richer” Word of God, we must appeal to them with their “advanced” scholarship and “new” manuscript readings. The rank-and-file Bible reader (consumer) repeats these “scholarly words of wisdom,” and discourages other Christians from using the “old-fashioned” King James Bible. Yes, Christians launch an attack against the Bible!!!

The English language is a very rich pool of words, but, unfortunately, our vocabulary has become very limited in recent decades. There are countless words today that we English speakers no longer use. Elegant speech and majestic writing is largely “archaic.” People want to “dumb down” the Bible, having it speak the “language of the street.” Such mentality popularizes and $ells “contemporary Bible paraphrases.”

What does “cracknels” mean? We do not need a Hebrew dictionary or Bible commentary, which would probably contain the anti-KJV comment, “‘Cracknels’ is a poor translation!” Firstly, we can use some context clues. “Cracknels” is used in conjunction with “ten loaves [of bread]” and “a cruse of honey.” Perhaps “cracknels” are a grain-related food item? Secondly, we can find a decent English dictionary—for example, The Oxford English Dictionary or Webster’s 1828 English Dictionary—and… horror of horrors!!!!… learn a new word. Cracknel” is “a light, crisp, savory biscuit.” It can also be “small pieces of crackling.” Incidentally, here in southern Louisiana, we Cajuns are known for “cracklins,” or fried pork skins.

When teaching the King James Bible, one does not need to remove the “archaic” words (that generates doubt concerning the Bible text). He should leave the archaic words in the text and then define the word for his students. Fellow Bible teachers, that is how we expand our vocabulary and generate faith in the Bible!

Also see:
» What is a “cruse?”

» What are “dregs?”
» What are “old cast clouts?”
» What is a “bolster?”
» What are “phylacteries?”
» What are “swaddling clothes?”
» What is a “charger?”

What is a “cruse?”


by Shawn Brasseaux

This word is found nine times in a King James Bible:

  • 1 Samuel chapter 26: “[11] The LORD forbid that I should stretch forth mine hand against the LORD’S anointed: but, I pray thee, take thou now the spear that is at his bolster, and the cruse of water, and let us go. [12] So David took the spear and the cruse of water from Saul’s bolster; and they gat them away, and no man saw it, nor knew it, neither awaked: for they were all asleep; because a deep sleep from the LORD was fallen upon them…. [16] This thing is not good that thou hast done. As the LORD liveth, ye are worthy to die, because ye have not kept your master, the LORD’S anointed. And now see where the king’s spear is, and the cruse of water that was at his bolster.”
  • 1 Kings 14:3: “And take with thee ten loaves, and cracknels* [*see our study linked at the end of this article], and a cruse of honey, and go to him: he shall tell thee what shall become of the child.”
  • 1 Kings chapter 17: “[12] And she said, As the LORD thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse: and, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die…. [14] For thus saith the LORD God of Israel, The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the LORD sendeth rain upon the earth…. [16] And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake by Elijah.”
  • 1 Kings 19:6: “And he looked, and, behold, there was a cake baken on the coals, and a cruse of water at his head. And he did eat and drink, and laid him down again.”
  • 2 Kings 2:20: “And he said, Bring me a new cruse, and put salt therein. And they brought it to him.”

A “cruse” is basically an earthenware pot, jug, or jar used to hold water, olive oil, honey, or even salt (as in the passages cited above). Apparently, the English is from the German “krause,” as in “pot with lid.”

Also see:
» What are “cracknels?”
» What are “dregs?”
» What are “old cast clouts?”
» What is a “bolster?”
» What are “phylacteries?”
» What are “swaddling clothes?”
» What is a “charger?”

Is the United States of America in Bible prophecy?


by Shawn Brasseaux

“And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent (Revelation 12:14). Who or what is this “great eagle?”

Friend, read that verse in context: “[1] And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: [2] And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. [3] And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads. [4] And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born. [5] And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne. [6] And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.

“[7] And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, [8] And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. [9] And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him…. [13] And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child. [14] And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.”

Long ago, when this author was just entering the ministry, a Christian asked him, “Do you think those ‘two wings of a great eagle’ refer to American armed forces flying helicopters to rescue Jews from Satan’s wrath?” Well, let us search the Scriptures to discover the answer.

God the Holy Spirit designed the Scriptures with their own built-in dictionary. When a particular word or phrase appears, the Bible has defined it either in the immediate/situational context (the same passage) or the remote context (a passage elsewhere in the Bible canon). Sound Bible study is exegesis—literally, “to lead out.” When exegetic, we explain the meaning of Scripture by simply letting the Bible speak. This is in contradistinction to eisegesis—that is, “to lead in.” We are eisegetic when we express our own opinions or denominational biases. Exegesis is to let the Bible say what it says and mean what it says, to draw out its meaning; on the other hand, eisegesis is to force into the Bible text a meaning the Holy Spirit never intended. Oftentimes, what is passed off as “Christianity” is merely eisegesis.

Here is an example of exegesis: “And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he [Jesus] expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself” (Luke 24:27). Christ took the meaning out of the Hebrew Bible; He avoided a distorted view by simply letting the Scriptures speak. Compare this to the eisegesis here: “And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction” (2 Peter 3:15-16). These Bible corrupters (members of Christendom!) are “wresting” God’s words—twisting them all out of shape, obscuring their pure meaning.

The bald eagle is known for its majesty, strength, and longevity. Consequently, in 1782, it was chosen as the symbol for the United States of America. However, is this the key to unlocking the meaning of Revelation 12:14? Let us use the Bible’s built-in dictionary to determine if this is exegesis or eisegesis. If curious about the meaning of the eagle in Revelation 12:14, we simply look up the word “eagle” in a Bible concordance and see related verses. These passages will then shed light on the verse about which we have a question. Remember, the Bible features its own built-in dictionary: we let it interpret itself. Obviously, though, it requires effort to find and read cross-referenced verses. However, the common church member is accustomed to being shallow in the Scriptures; therefore, Bible study is frequently dismissed as “boring,” and is thus rare. Yet, study and subsequent meditation is the only way to grow spiritually. Still, we are usually tempted to let someone else (preacher, priest, teacher, professor, church father, et cetera) study and think for us. Until we break ourselves of that bad habit, false teachers will continue to master us and we will remain in darkness and childishness.

The first “eagle” appears in a King James Bible in Exodus chapter 19, the LORD addressing Moses as touching Israel’s rescue from Pharaoh’s (Satan’s) bondage: “And Moses went up unto God, and the LORD called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel; Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself” (verses 3-4). Four decades later, just before he dies physically, Moses reminds Israel of that marvelous escape: “As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings: So the LORD alone did lead him [Israel], and there was no strange god with him” (Deuteronomy 32:11-12). Notice the striking parallels to Revelation 12:14. Were American troops present to deliver Israel from Egypt? No! That was over 3,000 years before the United States existed! Let us continue searching the Scriptures and forming our chain of “eagle” Bible cross-references.

The eagle is noteworthy in Scripture because it is swift or powerful when attacking its prey (Deuteronomy 28:49; 2 Samuel 1:23; Job 9:26; Jeremiah 4:13; Lamentations 4:19; Habakkuk 1:8). Also, it flies overhead and lives in the heavens or air/atmosphere (Job 39:27; Proverbs 23:5; Proverbs 30:19; Jeremiah 49:16; Obadiah 4). These are actually quite illustrious of the LORD God’s behavior, are they not? Consequently, regarding His mighty power in delivering Israel from Egypt, and His supremacy in rescuing Israel in Revelation 12:14, we read in Isaiah chapter 40: “[28] Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. [29] He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. [30] Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: [31] But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

As touching the Bible’s symbol for God, it is the eagle—majestic, heavenly, formidable. The four “cherubim” (spirit creatures) surrounding His throne have four faces: a lion’s face, an ox’s/calf’s face, a man’s face, and an eagle’s face (Ezekiel 1:10; Ezekiel 10:14; Revelation 4:7). These four images correspond to the Four Gospel Records, four different perspectives or portrayals of the Lord Jesus Christ: Matthew (lion, King), Mark (ox/calf, Servant), Luke (man, Man), and John (eagle, God). Incidentally, it was the Apostle John who also wrote Revelation 12:14. As the Antichrist threatens believing Israel in Jerusalem and Judaea (cf. Matthew 24:15-21; Mark 13:14-19; Luke 21:20-28), God Himself—the “great eagle”—rescues them and hides them out in the wilderness until Christ returns. Satan and the Antichrist cannot harm them (Revelation 12:15-17).


As Israel’s believing remnant endures awful persecution under the Antichrist, she also rejoices like tormented yet believing King David of old. History repeats itself indeed! “Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings, From the wicked that oppress me, from my deadly enemies, who compass me about” (Psalm 17:8-9). “How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings (Psalm 36:7). “Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast” (Psalm 57:1). “Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice (Psalm 63:7). Once more, the LORD Himself is the great eagle of Holy Writ—whether in time past or the ages to come.

Alas, courtesy of carnal, greedy, non-dispensational prophecy preachers and teachers forever peddling their ostentatious, nonsensical books and distributing their “tabloid” radio and television programs; the general Christian public is so unbelievably and woefully ignorant of eschatological events. (I experienced it all too often in my own life for over a decade.) Moreover, Christendom has utterly failed to appreciate the fact the Bible is totally silent regarding the United States of America in prophecy. The mishandling of Revelation 12:14 is one prime example. Beware!

Will America be present when the Antichrist arises? That we do not know, and we dare not conjecture. Perhaps this superpower the world has known for centuries as “the United States” will cease to exist by the time the prophetic timeline resumes. Whatever the case, prophecy involves the Middle East, not North America! Although Scripture has been repeatedly sacrificed on the altar of idle speculation and vain sensationalism, we durst not impose Western thoughts onto Divine oracles.

Also see:
» What about a six-year Tribulation?
» Is the Antichrist alive right now?
» Who or what are the 10 “toes” or “horns” or “crowns” associated with the Antichrist?
» Are we “doom and gloom” Bible-prophecy believers?

» Is the United States’ recent embassy move to Jerusalem a fulfillment of Bible prophecy?

How are the LORD God and His works “terrible?”


by Shawn Brasseaux

We regularly use the adjective “terrible”as in “extremely bad; unpleasant.” Yet, the Holy Scriptures frequently refer to the LORD God and His works as “terrible.” What meaning do these passages carry? The idea here is generating or exciting terror, reverential awe, or godly fear. His Person and acts are formidably great. Our English word “terrible” comes from the Latin “terrere” (meaning “frighten”). When you see “terrible” in the verses below, think of terrify.

  • Exodus 34:10: “And he said, Behold, I make a covenant: before all thy people I will do marvels, such as have not been done in all the earth, nor in any nation: and all the people among which thou art shall see the work of the LORD: for it is a terrible thing that I will do with thee.”
  • Deuteronomy 7:21: “Thou shalt not be affrighted at them: for the LORD thy God is among you, a mighty God and terrible.”
  • Deuteronomy 10:17: “For the LORD your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward:….”
  • Deuteronomy 10:21: “He is thy praise, and he is thy God, that hath done for thee these great and terrible things, which thine eyes have seen.”
  • Deuteronomy 26:8: “And the LORD brought us forth out of Egypt with a mighty hand, and with an outstretched arm, and with great terribleness, and with signs, and with wonders:….”
  • 2 Samuel 7:23: “And what one nation in the earth is like thy people, even like Israel, whom God went to redeem for a people to himself, and to make him a name, and to do for you great things and terrible, for thy land, before thy people, which thou redeemedst to thee from Egypt, from the nations and their gods?”
  • 1 Chronicles 17:21: “And what one nation in the earth is like thy people Israel, whom God went to redeem to be his own people, to make thee a name of greatness and terribleness, by driving out nations from before thy people, whom thou hast redeemed out of Egypt?”
  • Nehemiah 1:5: “And said, I beseech thee, O LORD God of heaven, the great and terrible God, that keepeth covenant and mercy for them that love him and observe his commandments:….”
  • Nehemiah 4:14: “And I looked, and rose up, and said unto the nobles, and to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, Be not ye afraid of them: remember the Lord, which is great and terrible, and fight for your brethren, your sons, and your daughters, your wives, and your houses.”
  • Nehemiah 9:32: “Now therefore, our God, the great, the mighty, and the terrible God, who keepest covenant and mercy, let not all the trouble seem little before thee, that hath come upon us, on our kings, on our princes, and on our priests, and on our prophets, and on our fathers, and on all thy people, since the time of the kings of Assyria unto this day.”
  • Job 37:22: “Fair weather cometh out of the north: with God is terrible majesty.”
  • Psalm 47:2: “For the LORD most high is terrible; he is a great King over all the earth.”
  • Psalm 65:5: “By terrible things in righteousness wilt thou answer us, O God of our salvation; who art the confidence of all the ends of the earth, and of them that are afar off upon the sea:…”
  • Psalm 66:3: “Say unto God, How terrible art thou in thy works! through the greatness of thy power shall thine enemies submit themselves unto thee.”
  • Psalm 66:5: “Come and see the works of God: he is terrible in his doing toward the children of men.”
  • Psalm 68:35: “O God, thou art terrible out of thy holy places: the God of Israel is he that giveth strength and power unto his people. Blessed be God.”
  • Psalm 76:12: “He shall cut off the spirit of princes: he is terrible to the kings of the earth.”
  • Psalm 99:3: “Let them praise thy great and terrible name; for it is holy.”
  • Psalm 106:22: “Wondrous works in the land of Ham, and terrible things by the Red sea.”
  • Psalm 145:6: “And men shall speak of the might of thy terrible acts: and I will declare thy greatness.”
  • Isaiah 64:3: “When thou didst terrible things which we looked not for, thou camest down, the mountains flowed down at thy presence.”
  • Jeremiah 20:11: “But the LORD is with me as a mighty terrible one: therefore my persecutors shall stumble, and they shall not prevail: they shall be greatly ashamed; for they shall not prosper: their everlasting confusion shall never be forgotten.”

Nearly 200 times, the Hebrew word (“yare,” pronounced “yaw-ray”) was rendered “fear” in our King James Bible. For example, see Genesis 15:1, Numbers 14:9, Deuteronomy 13:11, 2 Kings 17:25, Psalm 56:4, Psalm 96:4, Isaiah 35:4, Jonah 1:16, and Micah 7:17. It was translated “afraid” nearly 80 times. For instance, see Genesis 3:10, Exodus 3:6, 2 Chronicles 20:15, Psalm 112:8, Isaiah 40:9, Jeremiah 42:11, and Habakkuk 3:2.

Also see:
» How can God have “horns” coming out of His hand?
» How can God be “jealous” and not sin?
» How does the LORD “dwell in the thick darkness?”
» How could God forbid Jeremiah to pray for His people?

What is an “earnest” in Scripture?


by Shawn Brasseaux

On three occasions in the Authorized Version, we find the term “earnest.” God the Holy Spirit appears in all those passages. Before we expound the verses, we will read them.

  • 2 Corinthians 1:21-22: “[21] Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; [22] Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.”
  • 2 Corinthians 5:1-5: “[1] For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. [2] For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: [3] If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. [4] For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. [5] Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.”
  • Ephesians 1:12-14: “[11] In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: [12] That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. [13] In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, [14] Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.”

Having read the pertinent passages, we can now proceed to learn one of the most important roles the Holy Spirit plays in our lives as Christians.

One effectual way Satan’s policy of evil vexes Christians is to cause them to doubt they are truly saved and bound for Heaven. It is thus frequently stated, “But I do not feel saved!” (Emotions deceive.) Entire denominational systems teach their members, “‘Once saved, always saved’ is a lie!” (Traditions of men deceive.) People even twist Bible verses to challenge the security of the member of the Church the Body of Christ. (Non-dispensational Bible study deceives.) As always, Satan and sinful man go to great lengths to defy whatever the God of Scripture says and does.

Paul the Apostle wrote 1 Corinthians to provide carnal believers with Divine insight, that these fleshly or worldly saints reform their thoughts and behaviors to fit grace doctrine. Spiritual conditions were so deplorable in Corinth, to the point where Paul intended to visit them in person again to reprove them. Yet, he decided not to go. Instead, he would let them resolve their problems by using his written communication. Read 2 Corinthians 1:15-24 for his explanation. Since Paul had a change of plans—saying he would come but did not—the Corinthians wondered if he had been dishonest concerning Jesus Christ. The Apostle reassured them: his preaching of the Lord was reliable, worthy of their faith or trust.

Let us return to 2 Corinthians chapter 1: “[20] For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us. [21] Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; [22] Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.” Firstly, Father God “stablisheth” (stabilizes) us in Christ. Secondly, He has “anointed” us, appointed us to the office of functioning as His children. Thirdly, He has “sealed” (preserved) us, marked us as His own. Lastly, He has “given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.” We use other verses to amplify this latter concept.

Moving to the final verses of chapter 4 of 2 Corinthians, and reading into chapter 5: “[4:16] For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. [4:17] For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; [4:18] While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

“[5:1] For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. [5:2] For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: [5:3] If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. [5:4] For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. [5:5] Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.”

Friend, do you have the same strength and energy you had when you were younger? In case you have not noticed, your physical body is wearing down with age. You can no longer do what you used to do. Also, you do not feel as good as you once did. The aging process is not pleasant, for the body daily grows frailer and more susceptible to disease, injury, and limitation. Finally, death occurs. How depressing! Thankfully, the good news is we are not perpetually bound to this “earthly house of this tabernacle.” In Christ, we are guaranteed new glorified bodies. At the resurrection, we will receive bodies immune to all sickness and debility. Yea, we have “the earnest of the Spirit” to prove it!

Read this excerpt from Ephesians chapter 1, which is really three colossal sentences in Greek (!): “[3] Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: [4] According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: [5] Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, [6] To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

“[7] In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; [8] Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; [9] Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: [10] That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: [11] In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: [12] That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.

“[13] In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, [14] Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.” Again, the Holy Spirit has “sealed” us, permanently making us—and marking us as—God’s own. We have a destiny in the Heavenly Places, sure to arrive at that inheritance because of “the earnest of the Spirit.”

In business terms, “earnest money” is a percentage of the purchase price the buyer pays the seller, as a gesture that the buyer will eventually pay the full amount to complete the transaction. Even more succinctly, it is “part of the purchase-money or property given in advance as security for the rest.” This deposit or pledge can also be seen as a down-payment that the entire amount will be subsequently paid.

The Greek word is “arrabon,” transliterated from the Old Testament Hebrew “`arabown.” Greeks and Romans evidently borrowed the term from the Phoenicians, the inventors of traffic or trade. In the Greek New Testament, the word is found thrice—the very three passages now familiar to us here. Before we deal with the “earnest of the Spirit” any further, we turn to the Old Testament for the equivalent idea. While a rather distasteful context, a deal between Judah and his daughter-in-law Tamar amplifies Paul’s usage of the term.

In Genesis chapter 38, Judah (one of Jacob’s 12 sons) had three children with a Canaanite woman. The first boy (Er) was evil, so God killed him and left his wife (Tamar) childless. Judah married Tamar to his second son (Onan), but Onan too was wicked so God slew him. Tamar is still childless. Judah’s last son (Shelah) is too young for marriage, but Judah promises Tamar she can have Shelah when he has matured. Unfortunately, as the years pass, Judah fails to give Shelah to Tamar, so she connives to bear a child with Judah’s bloodline directly. Disguised as a harlot, she renders “services” to unwitting Judah, producing twins Zerah and Pharez. (Pharez was Jesus’ ancestor through both Mary [Luke 3:23,33] and Joseph [Matthew 1:3,16].) Judah ultimately paid his daughter-in-law in the form of a lamb, but he used his signet (seal ring), his bracelets, and his staff as a “pledge” until he paid in full with the sheep (Genesis 38:17,18,20).

Ephesians 2:8-10: “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” God does not justify us based on our good works. However, He wants to do good works in and through us. We are His “workmanship”—His “poiema” (Greek), poem, creature. He has wrought such a mighty deed in rescuing us from the penalty of sin (Hell and the Lake of Fire).

Walking by faith in our position in Christ—we are dead to sin but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 6:11)—we are delivered from the power of sin. Daily victorious Christian living is Titus 2:11-12: “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;….” Now, there is one more type of salvation, which we await. It is deliverance from the presence of sin (leaving this sin-cursed world to enter Heaven).

Romans chapter 8 speaks of this future bodily, or physical, redemption: “[20] For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, [21] Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. [22] For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. [23] And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. [24] For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?”

As believers in Jesus Christ, we have the indwelling Holy Ghost, the third Member of the Godhead. Remember 2 Corinthians 1:21-22: “God; Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.” Ephesians chapter 2 closes: “In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” Also, Romans 5:5: “And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.First Corinthians 3:16: “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” Now, chapter 6, verse 19: “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” Finally, 2 Timothy 1:14: “That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.”

We thrice read about the Holy Spirit being the “earnest”—2 Corinthians 1:21-22, 2 Corinthians 5:5, and Ephesians 1:13,14. Recall the Ephesians reference: “Ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.” Father God gave us the indwelling Holy Spirit to show us He will one day finish His transaction in securing us from sin. We have been redeemed soul and spirit—Christ’s blood bought us out of sin’s slave market (Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14). Yet, we are waiting to receive a physical redemption; this is the bodily resurrection in Romans 8:18-25, Ephesians 1:14, and Ephesians 4:30 (“And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.”). Just as “earnest money” in the business world anticipates the full purchase, so the Holy Spirit is our “earnest” in expectation of our whole redemption.


Although Father God has wrought a mighty work in us believers in Christ, we are actually a “work in progress.” Indeed, our souls and spirits have been redeemed, purchased out of sin’s slave market with Christ’s shed blood.

Romans chapter 3: “[23] For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; [24] Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: [25] Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; [26] To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. [27] Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. [28] Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.”

However, we are not yet redeemed physically: we are still in these mortal bodies of flesh and blood. Since God is still operating the Dispensation of Grace, He has left the Church the Body of Christ on Earth. To delay His wrath another day—so more people trust His Son and escape the coming judgment this present evil world deserves—He keeps us here. The Apostle Peter learned this from the Apostle Paul: “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

We have been justified (made right in God’s sight). We are being sanctified (daily set apart unto His plan and purpose). We will be glorified (brought into the heavenly places). The indwelling Holy Spirit is our “earnest”—or “taste” (“arrabon” in Hebrews 6:5)—that what mighty work God started in us He will also finish. The eternal life we are promised in Heaven can be ours now… and the indwelling Spirit of God guarantees it!

Saints, please remember us in your monthly giving—these websites do cost money to run! 🙂 You can donate securely here:, or email me at Do not forget about Bible Q&A booklets for sale at Thanks to all who give to and pray for us! By the way, ministry emails have really been backed up this year. I am handling them as much as humanly possible. Thanks for your patience. 🙂

Also see:
» Does “once saved, always saved” entitle us to abuse God’s grace?
» Is grace “a license to sin?”
» Does “walking in the Spirit” mean the same thing as “living in the Spirit?”
» What are some tips for faster spiritual growth?