Category Archives: SIN

What is the “madness” of Luke 6:11?

WHAT IS THE “MADNESS” OF LUKE 6:11?

by Shawn Brasseaux

In the King James Bible, we read in Luke 6:11: “And they were filled with madness; and communed one with another what they might do to Jesus.” What is this “madness?”

Confusion surrounds the passage because modern English versions departed from the centuries-old standard English reading as found in the Authorized Version. According to the King James, Christ’s critics were “filled with madness.” However, modern translations read “filled with rage” (NKJV), “furious” (NIV), and so on. Is Luke stressing their anger here? We think not! By tampering with this word, modern versions have watered down a salient truth, removing the thrust of the verse.

The idea being carried with “madness” is insanity. In Greek, it is “anoia,” literally “without understanding or mind” (related to “paranoia”). The word is found one other time in the New Testament, and it is rendered “folly” (foolishness) in 2 Timothy 3:9: “But they shall proceed no further: for their folly shall be manifest unto all men, as theirs also was.” Whether the corrupt religionists in 2 Timothy 3:1-9, the Egyptian magicians opposing Moses in Exodus by counterfeiting God’s work, or Israel’s apostate religious leaders challenging Jesus, they are all spiritually senseless. They have been given over to the spiritual darkness and silliness they so preferred when they rejected God’s spiritual light and wisdom! Neither God nor His servants/preachers can reason with them.

As it was true of the Gentiles/nations at the Tower of Babel (Genesis chapter 10), as it is applicable of Bible-rejecters today, so Romans 1:20-25 is true of those unbelievers during Christ’s earthly ministry: “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.” (Verses 26-32 describe their additional nonsensical ideas and behaviors!)

Read the parallels of Luke 6:11. “Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against him, how they might destroy him” (Matthew 12:14). “And the Pharisees went forth, and straightway took counsel with the Herodians against him, how they might destroy him” (Mark 3:6).They are irrational, and cannot be reasoned with. While they have their major political and religious disagreements, Jesus’ critics can all concur He needs to be taken care of. Too willfully blind to see their need for the Saviour, they are opposing the God-Man to the point of murdering Him!

In Acts 26:9-11, when the Apostle Paul is sharing his testimony, he recounts how he as Saul of Tarsus was another unbelieving Judaistic fanatic hell-bent on imprisoning and/or killing Jesus’ followers (cf. Acts 7:54-60; Acts 8:1-4; Acts 9:1-22): “[9] I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. [10] Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them. [11] And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities.” Worse than Christ’s opponents in Matthew through John, Saul of Tarsus was also entangled with works-religion. Thankfully, Saul came to faith in Christ Jesus alone, throwing away his worthless self-righteousness and ridiculousness (Philippians chapter 3)!

For more information, refer to our “lunatick” companion study linked at the end of this article.

SUPPLEMENTAL: THE MADNESS OF MADNESS

Our English term “madness” can be traced back to the Middle English “medd, madd,” to the Old English “gemaed,” meaning “silly;” it is related to the Old High German word “gimeit,” meaning “foolish, crazy.” Although the Greek word is different (“mainomai”) from that used in Luke 6:11, the King James translators used “mad” to specify craziness as opposed to anger in five places:

  • John 10:20: “And many of them said, He [Jesus] hath a devil, and is mad; why hear ye him?”
  • Acts 12:15: “And they said unto her, Thou art mad. But she constantly affirmed that it was even so. Then said they, It is his angel.”
  • Acts 26:24: “And as he thus spake for himself, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad.”
  • Acts 26:25: “But he said, I am not mad, most noble Festus; but speak forth the words of truth and soberness.”
  • 1 Corinthians 14:23: “If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad?”

Also see:
» What is a “lunatick?” Is it an “epileptic?”
» What is a “demon?” Is that the same as “devil?”
» How could Jesus say His killers knew not what they were doing?
» Does the Bible teach that mental illness is really devil possession?

What is a “lunatick?”

WHAT IS A “LUNATICK?” IS IT AN “EPILEPTIC?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

The King James Bible employs the word “lunatick” in only two passages, both in the Book of Matthew.

  • Matthew 4:23-24: “[23] And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. [24] And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them.”
  • Matthew 17:14-16: “[14] And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a certain man, kneeling down to him, and saying, [15] Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatick, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water. [16] And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him.”

As the name implies, “lunatick” literally means “moonstruck.” It is not a mistranslation, as the Greek is “seleniazomai,” with “selene” meaning “moon.” This strange English name, dating back to the 14th century, was derived from the now-antiquated idea that the moon’s phases temporarily caused mental instability. Most modern English versions, however, retranslate it to mean “epileptics” (NKJV, HCSB, NASB, et cetera), “those having seizures” (NIV, ESV, et cetera), or the like. However, epilepsy seems unlikely because the ancient Greeks knew nothing of it. We should retain the King James reading and not change the Word of God, lest we lose the following insight.

“Lunatic” (KJV, “lunatick”) is not a technical word, but it was once commonly applied to anyone suffering various mental illnesses. The lunatics Jesus healed represented spiritually-insane Israel: Israel is not thinking properly, as she has refused and still refuses to let God’s Word transform her mind. We are warned not to fall into the same trap! “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:1-2). Sound Bible doctrine—especially Romans through Philemon—will guard us against spiritual lunacy!

As touching Christ’s earthly ministry, for many centuries now, the Jews have focused on pagan idols, empty works-religion, materialism—anything and everything but JEHOVAH God and the revelation He gave them! They are “filled with madness,” Luke 6:11 reports, to the point of attempting to kill the Son of God. In fact, they are so insane they accused Jesus of craziness (John 10:20)! Saul of Tarsus, the Apostle Paul before salvation, was another “mad” man against Christ and His followers (Acts 26:11). For more information, see our Luke 6:11 companion study linked below.

Also see:
» What is the “madness” of Luke 6:11?
» What is a “demon?” Is that the same as “devil?”

» How could Jesus say His killers knew not what they were doing?
» Why could the disciples not cast out the devil in Matthew 17:14-21?
» Does the Bible teach that mental illness is really devil possession?

What is “palsy?”

WHAT IS “PALSY?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

We read of the condition in six different passages (half are the same miracle described from three perspectives).

  • Matthew 4:24: “And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them.”
  • Matthew 8:6: “And saying, Lord, my servant lieth at home sick of the palsy, grievously tormented.”
  • Matthew chapter 9: “[2] And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee…. [6] But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house.”
  • Mark chapter 2: “[3] And they come unto him, bringing one sick of the palsy, which was borne of four. [4] And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay. [5] When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee…. [9] Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk? [10] But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,)….”
  • Luke chapter 5: “[18] And, behold, men brought in a bed a man which was taken with a palsy: and they sought means to bring him in, and to lay him before him…. [24] But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins, (he said unto the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house.”
  • Acts 9:33: “And there he found a certain man named Aeneas, which had kept his bed eight years, and was sick of the palsy.”

Using context clues, we can surmise “palsy” is a physical illness the Lord Jesus healed; sufferers were bedridden or incapacitated. “Palsy” is simply paralysis, and it is actually not an archaic word. The medical community today uses “Bell’s palsy” to delineate slight weakness to total paralysis of facial muscles, a condition that leads to one side of the face drooping. In the Bible, as with other sicknesses, palsy is a picture of sin and its devastating effects. Sin weakens and debilitates the soul, to the point of helplessness and inability to function as the Lord planned. Christ healed physical palsy to show He could raise up Israel from her failure to be His people functionally, causing them to walk normally spiritually (Matthew 9:2,6; Mark 2:5,10; Luke 5:24; cf. Ezekiel 36:27).

Also see:
» How was there healing in touching Jesus’ garment hem?
» Why did Jesus Christ heal on the Sabbath day?
» Why did Christ need to heal the man in Mark 8 twice?

What is Paul’s “lie” in Romans 3:7?

WHAT IS PAUL’S “LIE” IN ROMANS 3:7?

by Shawn Brasseaux

How are we to understand Romans 3:7? “For if the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie unto his glory; why yet am I also judged as a sinner?” Just what is this “lie?” Did Paul tell a falsehood here?

For the context, start at verse 1 and continue through verse 7: “[1] What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? [2] Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God. [3] For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? [4] God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged. [5] But if our unrighteousness commend the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unrighteous who taketh vengeance? (I speak as a man) [6] God forbid: for then how shall God judge the world? [7] For if the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie unto his glory; why yet am I also judged as a sinner? [8] And not rather, (as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say,) Let us do evil, that good may come? whose damnation is just.”

Romans chapters 1–3 is the Holy Spirit skillfully outlining his legal case for the prosecution of sinful mankind. Whether Gentile/heathen (1:18-32) or Jew/religious (2:1-29), Romans 3:9 concludes, “…all [are] under sin.” Beginning at verse 21, the Holy Spirit reveals His solution to man’s sin problem: “[21] But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; [22] Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: [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.”

Getting back to the opening of chapter 3, “What advantage then hath the Jew? or what profit is there of circumcision? Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.” The Jews of the Old Testament economy (specifically, prior to Paul’s apostleship) understood their sin problem. They had the Hebrew Bible—our “Old Testament Scriptures”—whereas the Gentiles did not (Romans 3:1-2, cf. Romans 2:17-24; Romans 9:3-5). In this respect, Israel was aware of the words and will of the one true God. Contrariwise, the non-Jews (Gentiles) had been given over to the pagan idols and spiritual darkness they preferred (Acts 14:15-17; Acts 17:22-31; Ephesians 2:11-12).

“For what if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God without effect? God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.” Even though individual Jews did not believe that aforementioned Divine revelation given to the nation Israel—culminating in the Jews’ crucifixion of Christ—that did not nullify or cancel the covenants JEHOVAH God made with the nation’s patriarchs centuries earlier (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, et cetera). Although man lies, God does not: He always keeps His promises, and man will never be able to justly accuse Him of being untrustworthy. The Lord would be (will) still be faithful in taking care of Israel’s sin problem and making them His earthly people via the New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-34; cf. Hebrews chapters 8 and 10).

“But if our unrighteousness commend the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unrighteous who taketh vengeance? (I speak as a man)” The Holy Spirit anticipates man’s objection, so He leads Paul to summarize that sinner’s “defense.” After unsuccessfully attacking God for allegedly being dishonest or unfaithful (Romans 3:4)—thereby failing to discredit God’s accusations against him—the sinner proceeds to want God to be lenient toward him. Unwilling to accept the penalty for his sin problem, he resorts to more excuses: “My unrighteousness, my sinful lifestyle, makes God’s righteousness look all the better. How can God condemn me so harshly if He is more glorious when compared to my sinful activities? Would He not be evil in punishing someone who makes Him look so good?” Paul promptly answered, “God forbid: for then how shall God judge the world?” God is not unrighteous or wicked, otherwise He would be in no position to judge sinners. Indeed, the Judge of all the Earth shall do right (Genesis 18:25) at the Great White Throne Judgment when He deals with unsaved sinners bound for the Lake of Fire (Revelation 20:11-15)!

“For if the truth of God hath more abounded through my lie unto his glory; why yet am I also judged as a sinner?” This amplifies the previous statements (Romans 3:5-6). Sinful man offers another lame justification for how he is not as bad as God’s testimony against him indicates. “When I tell a lie, I make God’s truth look even better. There is nothing like a good contrast to God so as to bring out His very best! How can God then find fault with me?! Without me, He would look worse off!” Paul is being philosophical here. He is not actually telling a lie but rather highlighting a difference that sinful man mentions so as to clear his name and/or make himself look less guilty.

“And not rather, (as we be slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we say,) Let us do evil, that good may come? whose damnation is just.” Paul’s critics had misconstrued his message of “salvation by grace through faith in Christ without our works” as meaning nothing more than “grace is a license to sin.” “Live however you want, for in doing so you emphasize God’s grace!” As the excuse “My lie makes God’s truth look better,” this too was wrong. Whether sinners trying to ease their conscience and save themselves from being labeled a “sinner,” or sinners who believe their evil deeds are their opportunity to display God’s grace, neither will be excused at the Great White Throne Judgment of Revelation 20:11-15. No matter how “clever” sinful man will be in the Day of Judgment, God is fully prepared to outsmart and answer him! (He already has in Romans!!)

Also see:
» “Thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege?”
» Is grace “a license to sin?”
» What is Romans 2:24 talking about?
» Was God “unfair” to punish us for Adam’s sin?
» Is “God forbid” a “poor translation?”
» How were Gentiles saved before our Dispensation of Grace?
» Why are lost people not judged for their works immediately after physical death?

What exactly is the “Fall” of man?

WHAT EXACTLY IS THE “FALL” OF MAN?

by Shawn Brasseaux

When we Christians speak of Adam’s “Fall” or man’s “Fall,” it is not to say we believe Adam/mankind literally fell.

For example, the Muslim prophet Muhammad misunderstood us—perhaps because Christians did not adequately express their beliefs to him. Whatever the case, he wrote in the Qur’an in Surah (chapter) 2: “34 When We told the angels, ‘Bow down before Adam,’ they all bowed. But not Iblis, who refused and was arrogant: he was one of the disobedient. 35 We said, ‘Adam, live with your wife in this garden. Both of you eat freely there as you will, but do not go near this tree, or you will both become wrongdoers.’ 36 But Satan made them slip, and removed them from the state they were in. We said, ‘Get out, all of you! You are each other’s enemy. On earth you will have a place to stay and livelihood for a time.’ 37 Then Adam received some words from his Lord and He accepted his repentance: He is the Ever Relenting, the Most Merciful.” (The Qur’an, M. A. S. Abdel Haleem translation, 2004-2005, page 7).

According to the Muslim holy book, Satan (Iblis) sinned in that he did not bow before Adam as Allah commanded. Furthermore, since Adam and his wife sinned, Allah punished them by throwing them out of Heaven and sending them to Earth. That is, Adam and Eve allegedly lived in Heaven before being banished to Earth. In other words, the Qur’an teaches they “fell” to Earth. Is this what the Bible teaches? Of course not! Adam and Eve lived on planet Earth from the very beginning of their existence, as we will see in Genesis. They resided in the Garden of Eden in the Middle East, in the vicinity of modern Iraq (Genesis 2:4-17, especially verses 10-15). Now, falling from Heaven down to Earth is true of Lucifer/Satan (Luke 10:18), but not of man/Adam. When we Christians speak of the “Fall” of man, we are using the word in a figurative or non-literal way. Nevertheless, we are conveying a literal truth.

Immediately after his creation, Adam was the glory of God. He was the full expression of all that God was and is. Thus, he was able to commune with Him, represent Him, and worship Him without any hindrances or barriers to interfere. Remember, Genesis 1:26-28 in the King James Bible: “[26] And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. [27] So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. [28] And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.”

Now, go to Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;….” Something changed in man between Genesis chapter 1 and Romans chapter 3. Mankind is no longer an adequate representative of God. All that God was and is, man cannot reflect it. Man cannot worship his Creator because man has a sin problem. The Greek word rendered “come short” is “hystereo,” translated various other ways in Scripture. Briefly examining these passages will help us understand the drastic change that occurred in man to negatively affect him:

  • The word is “lack” in Matthew 19:20, “The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack [hystereo] I yet?” Also, Luke 22:35, “And he said unto them, When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye [hystereo] any thing? And they said, Nothing.”
  • Another way the word is used is “come behind:” “So that ye come behind [hystereo] in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:….” (1 Corinthians 1:7).
  • In Philippians 4:12, it is “suffer need:” “I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need [hystereo].”
  • The word is translated “destitute” in Hebrews 11:37: “They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute [hystereo], afflicted, tormented;….”
  • Finally, Hebrews 12:15: “Looking diligently lest any man fail [hystereo] of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;….”

The idea, then, is deficiency, something absent, a need, or inferiority. Man has fallen, no longer bearing God’s image. Adam passed on this corrupt identity to all of us: “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:…” (Romans 5:12). God’s righteousness—His standard of rightness—is therefore high above us. No matter how hard we try in religion, we cannot “measure up.” In this sense we are come short of the glory of God. We are devoid of all that He is, or of all that He originally made Adam (the first man).

Our only remedy is the Gospel of the Grace of God: “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:21). “For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 6:23).

Romans 3:23-28: “[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.”

Romans 4:1-5: “[1] What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? [2] For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. [3] For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. [4] Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. [5] But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”

“And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house” (Acts 16:30-31).

Also see:
» Was God “unfair” to punish us for Adam’s sin?
» Are we created in “the image of God?”
» Does God see us Christians as sinners?
» Is grace a “license to sin?”

» Why did God place a curse on creation?
» Can you explain “knowing” good and evil with respect to the Garden of Eden?
» Was an apple the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil?

What is “lasciviousness?”

WHAT IS “LASCIVIOUSNESS?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

The King James Bible uses the word only six times.

  • Mark 7:22: “Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness:….”
  • 2 Corinthians 12:21: “And lest, when I come again, my God will humble me among you, and that I shall bewail many which have sinned already, and have not repented of the uncleanness and fornication and lasciviousness which they have committed.”
  • Galatians 5:19: “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,….”
  • Ephesians 4:19: “Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.”
  • 1 Peter 4:3: “For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries:….”
  • Jude 4: “For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.”

As these passages bear out, the term has a negative implication. Lasciviousness is a sin. In Greek, it is “aselgeia” (literally meaning “without continence; no restraint or self-control”). The English word actually came from the Latin “lascivia” (lustfulness). Our 1611 translators also rendered “aselgeia” as “wantonness” and “filthy.” “Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying” (Romans 13:13). “And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked:…” (2 Peter 2:7).

For additional clarity, we will mention some synonyms—licentiousness, recklessness, shamelessness, to name a few. In certain contexts, lasciviousness has a sexual connotation (especially Romans 13:13, 2 Corinthians 12:21, Galatians 5:19, and 2 Peter 2:7). This is simply wild or unbridled activities. In fact, lasciviousness is one of the two extremes of the human sin nature; the other is asceticism. An individual engaged in lasciviousness is loose or uncontrollable with respect to human evil—thievery, gluttony, greediness, and so on. One who is engrossed in asceticism is bound in human good—strictness and religiosity (fasting, long prayers, almsgiving, rites, rituals, ceremonies, giving up all worldly pleasures, and so on). God wants neither human good nor human evil: both cannot substitute Jesus Christ’s righteousness.

Also see:
» What is the “evil eye” of Mark 7:22?
» What is “wantonness?”
» What does “concupiscence” mean?
» What is “chambering?”

What is the “evil eye” of Mark 7:22?

WHAT IS THE “EVIL EYE” OF MARK 7:22?

by Shawn Brasseaux

In Mark 7:20-23, we find the Lord Jesus listing 13 specific sins that originate from the human heart. One is “an evil eye.” To what is this a reference?

“[20] And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. [21] For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, [22] Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: [23] All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.” Of course, the eye is our organ of sight. Thus, just by using this clue, we see (pun not intended!) “an evil eye” involves seeing something. Now, please understand, the eye in and of itself is not evil; Scripture implies the eye is being used to commit evil.

An “evil eye” appears two other times in the King James Bible. Proverbs 28:22 is one such occurrence: “He that hasteth to be rich hath an evil eye, and considereth not that poverty shall come upon him.” An “evil eye” is connected to wealth or materialism, a speedy endeavor to gain a fortune. This is nothing more than a gambler or lottery player.

The “evil eye” is also seen in Proverbs 23:6. Read it in context now: “[1] When thou sittest to eat with a ruler, consider diligently what is before thee: [2] And put a knife to thy throat, if thou be a man given to appetite. [3] Be not desirous of his dainties: for they are deceitful meat. [4] Labour not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom. [5] Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not? for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven. [6] Eat thou not the bread of him that hath an evil eye, neither desire thou his dainty meats: [7] For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.”

As we can discern from the context, again, the “evil eye” is associated with affluence or material prosperity. In short, “evil eye” is a euphemism for envy—seeing what advantages or possessions others have, and longing for them. It is an obsession with wealth, to the point of competing so you can equal or outdo others. The attitude could be summarized as, “I see how much wealth you have, and I can gain that and more! I see how much you spent, and I can spend that and more! I see how much popularity you have, and I can become as famous than you and more!”

Also see:
» What is “lasciviousness?”
» What does “concupiscence” mean?
» What is “purloining?”

Why did Jesus offer Himself to Israel if He knew they would reject Him?

WHY DID JESUS OFFER HIMSELF TO ISRAEL IF HE KNEW THEY WOULD REJECT HIM?

by Shawn Brasseaux

We can offer three reasons.

Firstly, it was to render the Jews “without excuse” (Romans 1:20). Unless they had been given opportunity to sin, God could not have rightly condemned them for sinning. He ensured Israel would not be able to argue, “If only we had been afforded a chance to accept the Son of God, we would have!” Israel, when put to the test, failed. She proved beyond any shadow of a doubt that she would not have Jesus Christ rule over her. Turn to John chapter 19: “[14] And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he saith unto the Jews, Behold your King! [15] But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar. [16] Then delivered he him therefore unto them to be crucified. And they took Jesus, and led him away.”

God can point to this specific, historical sin, and doom Israel. It is in the irrefutable record of Scripture forever. There can be no denying what Israel intentionally did to her Messiah. Peter the Apostle preached on the day of Pentecost: “Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it” (Acts 2:22-24).

Now, chapter 3 of Acts: “[12] And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk? [13] The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go. [14] But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; [15] And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses. [16] And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all. [17] And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers. [18] But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled.”

It is no different today, when people hear the Gospel of Grace and outright refuse it. God will hold them accountable for declining to trust His Son as their personal Saviour, but He could not have done so without them first being given a chance to refuse Him. “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). All of us, having read and heard that Gospel message, are also “without excuse.”

Secondly, although national Israel rejected Him, there was a believing remnant of individual Jews. Without sending Jesus Christ to Israel, Father God would have had no way to attract believers. The Little Flock grew as more Jews came to faith in Jesus. See John 1:11-13: “[11] He came unto his own, and his own received him not. [12] But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: [13] Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”

Also, Hebrews chapter 2: “[9] But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. [10] For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. [11] For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren, [12] Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee. [13] And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me.

Lastly, it was because of Israel’s rejection of Jesus Christ that He shed His blood on Calvary’s cross to pay for our sins. We see that in Romans chapter 3: “[21] But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; [22] Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: [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.” While God did not force Israel to reject His Son, He did allow her to reject His Son so His sinless blood would be shed for our redemption. As we see in Hebrews chapters 8 and 10, in God’s wisdom, even Israel, through the New Covenant, will be cleansed of her sins because of Christ’s shed blood.

Also see:
» How do God’s foreknowledge and our free will work together?
» Did God give angels free will as He gave to mankind?
» Does the New Covenant take away Israel’s free will?
» If God knows who will serve Him and who won’t, why witness?

Provided we do not hurt anybody, may we do what we want?

PROVIDED WE DO NOT HURT ANYBODY, MAY WE DO WHAT WE WANT?

by Shawn Brasseaux

In this world of people attempting to redefine cultural norms and standards, various slogans have been invented and offered as justification. For example, here is a convenient method of excusing homosexuality today: “I can be gay and marry whomever I want. After all, I am not hurting anyone.” It is really possible to break from such social ideals and not be injurious to some degree? (NO!) How should we respond to this argument? “For what saith the Scriptures?”

Man is doubtless an intelligent, rational being. However, he does not use his impressive mental faculties to arrive at the truth. Actually, he will intentionally suppress the truth. See Romans chapter 1: “[18] For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; [19] Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. [20] For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: [21] Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. [22] Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, [23] And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.”

In fact, Jeremiah 17:9 is another most “inconvenient” verse: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Mark chapter 7 adds: “[20] And he [Jesus] said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. [21] For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, [22] Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: [23] All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.”

The human heart—our heart—is evil beyond comprehension. Unless the Bible told us of our sin problem, we would have never known it. The heart would not have indicated it to us. In fact, without the Scriptures to set the standard and define boundaries, we would have thought of ourselves as “pretty good.” Romans 3:23 makes that famous, all-encompassing statement: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” Compared to one sinner, we do not look that bad. Then, compared to another sinner, we appear wicked. Now, let us take up God’s righteous standard and look at it: everyone is equally evil. That leveling removes all pride. Sin is not measuring up to a life that worships the Creator God. It is conduct that does not match His life. Sin is a departure from the path that God intended man (us) to follow when He put Adam in the Garden of Eden. See 1 John 3:4: “Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.”

Isaiah 53:6 defines sin as follows: “All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way.” In addition to man “doing his own thing,” he also concocts defenses to rationalize his wicked behavior. This is the case with each and every sin, not just homosexuality. If we study Genesis chapter 3, we see the defense of blame-shifting: “[9] And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? [10] And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself. [11] And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat? [12] And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat. [13] And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.”

When God asked Adam why he sinned, verse 12 says Adam blamed Eve (rather, Adam accused God of wrongdoing for giving him Eve!). Eve, when asked why she sinned, blamed Satan (verse 13). So, we see these three excuses even in our modern world. When the sinner is caught doing wrong, he cries out in his own defense, “It is not my fault! He made me do it! She made me do it!” Or, the sinner finds relief in two other people. Firstly, it is: “God made me do it, for He made me this way!” Secondly, it is: “Satan made me do it, for he tempted me!” Respectively, these are repetitions of Adam’s excuse and Eve’s excuse of long ago.

“As long as I am not hurting anyone, I can do whatever I want.” If we reduce the severity of our sinful actions to this clever expression, then we have truly failed to comprehend the magnitude of sin itself. When we recall Adam and Eve sinning in the Garden of Eden, their actions really do not seem that evil. All they did was eat forbidden fruit. Yet, it was a colossal problem, as found in Genesis chapter 2: “[15] And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. [16] And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: [17] But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”

Now, chapter 3 of Genesis: “[1] Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? [2] And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: [3] But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. [4] And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: [5] For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. [6] And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. [7] And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.”

There is nothing morally wrong in eating fruit, but if God said not to do it, then it is a sinful act. In God’s sight, Adam consuming the forbidden fruit was just as serious as murder. We may not agree with that, we may not see it that way, but that is the way it is. Any and every deviation from God’s path is repulsive to Him. Whether angels or people, if they live contrary to how the Creator designed life to function, they are guilty of sin. They all fall short of God’s glory, for they all fail to conduct themselves as He intended them to live.

When someone claims they can live however they want as long as they do not harm anyone, the idea that underlies that defense is deceitful. They may not be intentionally dishonest, but they really are untruthful. When someone defends homosexual marriage with, “I can be in a romantic relationship with whomever I want, provided I do not harm anyone,” they have no idea what they are actually saying. At the very minimum, they are harming themselves because they are living contrary to the way they have been designed to live. They are also harming their partner, encouraging that soul to also live contrary to the way he or she has been designed to live. Furthermore, they both are disrespecting the Creator who designed them to live in the way they refuse to live. In the case of homosexual relationships, the Bible’s attitude has never changed and will never change.

“Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination” (Leviticus 18:2). “If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them” (Leviticus 20:13). Someone will surely reply, “But that is the Old Testament, the Mosaic Law.” We reply, “Certainly. Now, let us see that the New Testament affirms God is still opposed to gay relationships.”

Romans 1:26-28: “[26] For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: [27] And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.” Verse 27 condemns homosexuality as sin.

First Corinthians 6:9-11: “[9] Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, [10] Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. [11] And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” Verse 9 condemns homosexuality as sin.

First Timothy 1:8-11: “[8] But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; [9] Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, [10] For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; [11] According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.” Verse 10 condemns homosexuality as sin.

It is a fundamental fact of creation that has never changed and will never change. Reproduction is impossible with homosexual relations. Heterosexual relationships are the only way we can fulfill the commission of Genesis chapter 1: “[27] So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. [28] And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” Unless heterosexual unions are encouraged and embraced, the human race will go extinct! This is simple common sense.

While we insult the Creator and parade our sin before Him, accumulating His wrath against the day of judgment (Romans 2:5), we voice our slogan, “We are hurting no one!” Little do we know we are chipping away at our own personhood, what it means to be a human—and our species ultimately suffers. We are openly and unashamedly strutting around, daring God to respond. Here is the deceitfulness of sin, the desperately-wicked heart of man. Not only does sin harm others, including the Creator; it harms us! Let us never forget it.

CONCLUSION

Someone once said, “Each of us has a short ride on this earth and as long as we stay in our lane, and don’t affect someone else’s ride, we should be allowed to drive as we see fit.” Herein is the problem: “we see fit” is misleading because it is selfish living. It is not living as the LORD God sees fit, but living as we see fit. This is sin, us doing our own thing. Destruction and disaster are sure to follow. Looking beyond all the slogans and arguments man has devised to justify his wickedness, we can see sin laid bare. Allowing the Scriptures to speak, the fact is inescapable: we are all sinners, all fallen short of God’s glory. He has set the standard, not we ourselves. What He says is right, not we ourselves. Sin is we disregarding His purpose and plan for creation. It goes beyond homosexual behavior. If the activity is not in accordance with sound Bible doctrine, it is sin. Period.

The good news—literally, the Gospel—is that “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). Jesus Christ went to Calvary’s cross to shed His sinless blood, that He may pay for everything that is wrong with you. All your sins, whatever they are, however many they are, can be forgiven this very moment. God’s love and grace can overcome anything and everything you have done wrong. Will you trust Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour, thereby receiving God’s righteousness and an eternal home in Heaven? If you have not, you are strongly urged to do so, friend!

Let us make one more closing remark. Even as Christians, we can be poor examples to others. The activities in which we engage may be a stumblingblock to those around us who do not engage in those activities (but may do so now that they see us doing them). Romans 14:13 says, “Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.” First Corinthians 8:9: “But take heed lest by any means this liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak.” If we have trusted Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour, then we need to be careful to think and walk as Christians (paying special attention to the Apostle Paul’s writings, Romans through Philemon). Our unruly behavior is an occasion for others to be encouraged to follow our poor pattern. Not only does sin harm us; it harms others! Be vigilant!

Also see:
» Exactly what is eternal life?
» Can an atheist be moral without any influence from any higher power?
» What advice can be given to homosexual Christians?
» Can you explain knowing good and evil with respect to the Garden of Eden?

Why do Amos 4:4 and Amos 5:5 give opposite commands?

WHY DO AMOS AMOS 4:4 AND AMOS 5:5 GIVE OPPOSITE COMMANDS?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Amos chapter 4 says: “[4] Come to Bethel, and transgress; at Gilgal multiply transgression; and bring your sacrifices every morning, and your tithes after three years: [5] And offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving with leaven, and proclaim and publish the free offerings: for this liketh you, O ye children of Israel, saith the Lord GOD.”

Now, we go to chapter 5: “[4] For thus saith the LORD unto the house of Israel, Seek ye me, and ye shall live: [5] But seek not Bethel, nor enter into Gilgal, and pass not to Beersheba: for Gilgal shall surely go into captivity, and Bethel shall come to nought. [6] Seek the LORD, and ye shall live; lest he break out like fire in the house of Joseph, and devour it, and there be none to quench it in Bethel.”

Two unexpected points are worth making. Firstly, the LORD God instructs Israel to come to Bethel and “transgress” (sin), and “multiply” that evil in Gilgal. Why is God encouraging rebellion against Him? Secondly, in the next chapter, He tells them not to be interested in Bethel, and not to go to Gilgal and Beersheba.

Never, ever forget that the God of creation, the God of Israel, values free will. No matter the dispensation, He always wants people to obey Him. However, we sinners want to do what we want to do. Through the Prophet Amos, God offers two choices. Israel can follow Him by faith, or they can ignore His words and do something else! He does not force them to behave one way or the other. It is entirely up to them.

Read Amos chapter 4 again: “[4] Come to Bethel, and transgress; at Gilgal multiply transgression; and bring your sacrifices every morning, and your tithes after three years: [5] And offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving with leaven, and proclaim and publish the free offerings: for this liketh you, O ye children of Israel, saith the Lord GOD.” The Israelites love to be religious in Bethel and Gilgal. What exactly entices them to have pilgrimages to these towns? Chapter 3 already revealed the answer: “[13] Hear ye, and testify in the house of Jacob, saith the Lord GOD, the God of hosts, [14] That in the day that I shall visit the transgressions of Israel upon him I will also visit the altars of Bethel: and the horns of the altar shall be cut off, and fall to the ground.” How did these altars wind up in Bethel?

About two centuries prior to Amos, King Jeroboam the son of Nebat reigned over Israel (not to be confused with Jeroboam the son of Joash, Israel’s king at the time of Amos’ ministry). We start in 1 Kings chapter 12: “[25] Then Jeroboam built Shechem in mount Ephraim, and dwelt therein; and went out from thence, and built Penuel. [26] And Jeroboam said in his heart, Now shall the kingdom return to the house of David: [27] If this people go up to do sacrifice in the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, then shall the heart of this people turn again unto their lord, even unto Rehoboam king of Judah, and they shall kill me, and go again to Rehoboam king of Judah.

“[28] Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold, and said unto them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. [29] And he set the one in Bethel, and the other put he in Dan. [30] And this thing became a sin: for the people went to worship before the one, even unto Dan. [31] And he made an house of high places, and made priests of the lowest of the people, which were not of the sons of Levi.

“[32] And Jeroboam ordained a feast in the eighth month, on the fifteenth day of the month, like unto the feast that is in Judah, and he offered upon the altar. So did he in Bethel, sacrificing unto the calves that he had made: and he placed in Bethel the priests of the high places which he had made. [33] So he offered upon the altar which he had made in Bethel the fifteenth day of the eighth month, even in the month which he had devised of his own heart; and ordained a feast unto the children of Israel: and he offered upon the altar, and burnt incense.” (See also chapter 13 in full. It was here predicted that a King of Judah, Josiah, would destroy Jeroboam’s idol in Bethel. This came to pass centuries later in 2 Kings chapter 23, after Amos’ ministry concluded.)

Jeroboam the son of Nebat created a counterfeit religious system in the Northern Kingdom of Israel. It was designed to keep against God’s religious system down south in Jerusalem (Solomon’s Temple, the Mosaic Law, and the Levitical priesthood). Jeroboam constructed altars, he devised a religious calendar, and he founded a new priesthood. These idols were in Bethel (southernmost part of northern Israel) and Dan (northernmost part). Here is the evil religious system in existence during Amos’ day.

What about Gilgal? The Prophet Hosea was a contemporary of Amos. Listen to Hosea’s words: “Though thou, Israel, play the harlot, yet let not Judah offend; and come not ye unto Gilgal, neither go ye up to Bethaven, nor swear, The LORD liveth” (4:15). “All their wickedness is in Gilgal: for there I hated them: for the wickedness of their doings I will drive them out of mine house, I will love them no more: all their princes are revolters” (9:15). “Is there iniquity in Gilead? surely they are vanity: they sacrifice bullocks in Gilgal; yea, their altars are as heaps in the furrows of the fields” (12:11). False religion has crept into Gilgal as well… in addition to another Jewish town, “Bethaven” (“House of Wickedness,” God’s preferred name for “Bethel” [“House of God”]).

Back to Amos chapter 4 one last time: “[4] Come to Bethel, and transgress; at Gilgal multiply transgression; and bring your sacrifices every morning, and your tithes after three years: [5] And offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving with leaven, and proclaim and publish the free offerings: for this liketh you, O ye children of Israel, saith the Lord GOD.” This is sarcasm rooted in truth. Paraphrased, Almighty God exhorts them, “You know you want to get involved with the heathen nonsense in Bethel and Gilgal, so come on and flock to these worthless idols!” We find parallel situations in 1 Samuel 8:1-22, Matthew 23:1-39, Romans 1:18-32, 1 Corinthians 14:37-38, and 2 Thessalonians 2:8-12. The God of the Bible gives people over to what they want!

However, Amos chapter 5 was God’s original plan for Israel: “[4] For thus saith the LORD unto the house of Israel, Seek ye me, and ye shall live: [5] But seek not Bethel, nor enter into Gilgal, and pass not to Beersheba: for Gilgal shall surely go into captivity, and Bethel shall come to nought. [6] Seek the LORD, and ye shall live; lest he break out like fire in the house of Joseph, and devour it, and there be none to quench it in Bethel.” For those Jews who wanted to believe in the God of Abraham, He invites them to fellowship with Him. He would like them to commune with Him instead of those pagan idols. Again, though, it is a free will choice!

Saints, please remember us in your monthly giving—these websites do cost money to run! 🙂 You can donate securely here: https://www.paypal.me/ShawnBrasseaux, or email me at arcministries@gmail.com. Do not forget about Bible Q&A booklets for sale at https://arcgraceministries.org/in-print/booklets-bible-q-a/. 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:
» Why did Paul not give the Gospel of Grace in Acts 17?
» Has God’s Word failed?
» Why did God give Israel King Saul if Saul turned out to be evil?