FORMAL WORSHIP, POWERLESS PRAYERS, PITIFUL LIVES
Marvin L. Weir
Great progress was being made regarding the rebuilding of the
temple in Jerusalem. The Jews had been punished for their rebellion
against God by being carried into Babylonian captivity. Bethel had
sent men to the priests and prophets in Jehovahs house asking,
Should I weep in the fifth month, separating myself, as I
have done these so many years (Zech. 7:3)? It appears this
particular fast day was a test case for several other
fast days the Jews had been observing. Coffman comments on this
situation as follows: Now the most important thing about all
of these fasts was that God had neither commanded nor authorized
any one of them! Only one day in the year, the Day of Atonement,
had God commanded His people to fast; yet they had added all these
others! In the times of the Pharisees, that class of bigots even
fasted twice in the week (Luke 18:12). At this point, we
anticipate the prophets answer, which in fact was
No! although it was stated in the form of some six
observations from which that was the obvious and mandatory
deduction. The primary reason for this was that all they were doing
was actually will worship, having nothing at all to do
either with what God commanded or authorized.
Let us break down Gods answer to the question that was
asked with the following points:
Formality In Worship! The concept of custom or ritual has
always seemed to infiltrate what God intended worship to be. Three
things that were problems for the Jews of Zechariahs day are
still problems today. They are:
Hypocritical Fasting! God asks: When ye fasted
and mourned in the fifth and seventh [month], even those seventy
years, did ye at all fast unto me, [even] to me (Zech.
7:5)? The fasting the Jews were engaged in was not designed to
produce a closer fellowship with God. It was rather for their own
glory and personal contentment and satisfaction.
The Lords church today is not exempt from such pretense.
What is the chief attraction in todays congregations? Is it an
elaborate building? Is it the gorgeous d‚cor that boasts of
success? Is it an eloquent preacher and elders who speak in such an
intoxicating way that you agree with what was said even though you
do not understand a word that was spoken? Is it the country
club atmosphere of rubbing elbows with the rich and
influential of the community? Is it the non-judgmental attitude
that bends over backwards to be tolerant of sin and worldly
The people of the Lords day appeared to be solemn and
sober as they fasted, but it was only for show and their own
personal glory (cf. Matt. 6:1-7, 16-18). Such actions have never
pleased the Lord!
Self-centeredness! God knew the peoples hearts
and thus said: And when ye did eat, and when ye did drink,
did not ye eat [for yourselves], and drink [for
yourselves] (Zech. 7:6)? Many today who profess to love
the Lord have neglected something that God will not allow to be
omitted. It is a simple but profound command: Whether
therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the
glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31).
Neglect Of The Word! The question that was asked so
long ago needs to be asked today. The question was: [Should
ye] not [hear] the words which the LORD hath cried by the former
prophets... (Zech. 7:7)? People who are impressed by
formality have no real need for the Word of God. A thus saith
the Lord is considered rather old fashioned and useless while
outward acts and traditions that appeal to the masses are praised
Powerless Prayers! Prayer is powerless for one
primary reason a disobedient and insincere heart (mind). Some
causes of the failure of prayer are listed by Zechariah. They are:
Lack Of Mercy And Compassion! God commanded mercy and
compassion to be shown every man to his brother
(Zech. 7:9). Our attitude toward our brother has much to do with
God hearing or rejecting our prayer. We are reminded that he who
loves God must love his brother also (1 John 4:21).
Oppression Of The Helpless! God has always been
concerned with the widow, the fatherless, and the poor (Zech.
7:10). To take unfair advantage of these people insults God. He
delights in compassion and mercy (Prov. 14:31).
Evil Thoughts! One who devises evil in his heart against
his brother will not incur Gods favor (Zech. 7:10). Evil
thinking will poison our prayers. The wise man said, For as
he thinketh in his heart, so [is] he (Prov. 23:7).
Refusal To Obey Gods Words! Zechariah was clear in
saying, it is come to pass, [that] as he cried, and they
would not hear; so they cried, and I would not hear, saith the LORD
of hosts (Zech. 7:13). Many people are concerned only with
their own lusts and thus their selfish prayers to fulfill such
lusts will not be heard by the Heavenly Father (cf. James 4:3).
Pitiful Lives! Religious formality and powerless prayers
will lead to living pitiful lives. God will not accept will
worship worship that comes from the mind of man and is
designed to please man! The Lord will not sanction His House being
turned into a den of thieves (Matt. 21:13).
Robbery has occurred when the Lord has been stripped of the glory
that is rightfully His!
We are to assemble together to worship God. We are to praise
God. We are to glorify God. We are to stand in awe of God and
reverence His name. When man seeks attention for himself, God sees
one who is living a pitiful life!
484 CR 44700
Blossom, TX 75416
Table of Contents
MATTHEW, MARK, LUKE, JOHN
OLD TESTAMENT OR NEW TESTAMENT?
Garland M. Robinson
If you reject the Gospel records of Matthew, Mark,
Luke and John (including Acts 1) being any part of
the Lords New Testament, then you have to accept
the conclusion that nothing the Lord said or taught
while on earth is valid for the church today. That
makes everything the Lord and Savior said, null and
We received a letter that took issue with the Lords words
regarding divorce and remarriage which was discussed in the April
2015 issue of Seek The Old Paths. In part it reads:
Just to keep it simple I ask, do you believe we
are under the old law? I know you will say No.
Matthew through Acts 1 is old law given before the
church was established on Pentecost. We are not bound
by these teachings thus your article of Divorce,
Baptism, Eunuch is not valid.
In reply, please consider the following.
Jesus the Christ lived and died during the Old Testament
era. Therefore, He was amenable to the Law of Moses. However, the
Scriptures teach that the New Testament replaced the Old Testament.
Who among the Lords people would deny it? Is there anyone out
there who would disagree? His life and teaching was to take
away the first that he may establish the second (Heb.
WHERE did the second (new) Testament law come from?
It came from God and was delivered by Jesus, the
apostles and other inspired writers such as Mark, Luke,
James, and Jude. Those who delivered and recorded the
new covenant (testament, law) were infallibly guided by the Holy
Spirit (2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21).
Will you deny that Jesus delivered any part of New Testament
doctrine? If you reject the Gospel records of Matthew, Mark, Luke
and John (including Acts 1) being any part of the Lords New
Testament, then you have to accept the conclusion that nothing the
Lord said or taught while on earth is valid for the church today.
That makes everything the Lord and Savior said, null and void. That
leaves the entirety of the Christian Age without any words that
Jesus spake (while living on this earth) that are relevant to the
world today. Therefore, nothing the Lord said or taught has
anything to do with how we live! Who can imagine such a devilish
and disastrous doctrine?
Are we to understand the apostle Paul (even though
guided by the Holy Spirit) did not know the Lords words did
not pertain to New Testament doctrine? That cannot be so because he
certainly knew they applied to the church. He told the elders of
the church at Ephesus that we are ...to remember the words
of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to
receive (Acts 20:35). He was an inspired apostle, I choose
to believe brother Paul who had no problem recognizing the words of
Jesus, though spoken before the church began, had application to
the church and the world.
Moses prophesied that when Jesus came into the world,
we were to hear his words. For Moses truly said unto the
fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of
your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things
whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass, [that]
every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be
destroyed from among the people (Acts 3:22-23; cf.
Deut. 18:15,18-19). If people today do not hear the words of Jesus,
they will be destroyed.
When Philip went down to Samaria, Acts 8:5 says he
preached Christ unto them. Are we to believe that Philip
preached Christ but refused to teach anything the Lord
taught? Shall we believe in Jesus but not believe that anything he
said applies to the church? The point is this, you cant preach
Christ without preaching Christs Words.
Luke 16:16 is very clear. It records Jesus saying,
The law and the prophets [were] until John: since that
time the kingdom of God is preached... (Luke 16:16;
cf. Matt. 11:13). From the beginning of Johns preaching and
continuing through the teaching of Jesus, the words of the
New Testament were in the process of being delivered. John
began preparing the way for Jesus and the New Testament era (Matt.
3:3; 11:10; Isa. 40:3-4). The WORDS of the kingdom (regarding
the New Testament church) did not start or begin to be given
(delivered) in Acts two. They started with John, but did not become
effective (made law, ratified, probated) until Acts two and then
continued with the inspired apostles and writers through the
delivery of the rest of the New Testament. Its also worthy of
note that even though the events recorded in the books of Matthew,
Mark, Luke and John occurred before Acts two, they were not
actually written until after Acts two.
Jesus went about preaching the gospel of the
kingdom (Matt. 4:23; 9:35; 24:13; Mark 1:14). What does
that mean? What is the gospel of the kingdom? Jesus said
he would build his church and give unto the apostles the
keys of the kingdom (Matt. 16:18-19). The church and the
kingdom are one and the same. Since the kingdom is the church and
the church is the kingdom, Jesus was preaching the Gospel of the
church. According to Acts 1:3, He was preaching things
pertaining to the kingdom of God the church
of Christ. The Lords preaching (teaching) was concerning
things that would be a part of the teaching of the New Testament.
Does Luke 16:16 mean nothing? Are they just words taking up space?
If nothing recorded in Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and Acts 1
is a part of the New Testament, then we dont have to listen to
anything Jesus said. Isnt it interesting that God anticipated
such foolishness and recorded the account of Jesus on the mount
of transfiguration when he met with Moses and Elijah (Matt.
17:1-5)? Moses represented the Old Law and Elijah represented the
prophets in other words, the entirety of the Old Testament.
What did God tell Peter, James and John and, by extension, the
whole world to do regarding Moses, Elijah, and Jesus?
...This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased;
hear ye him (Matt. 17:5). What does God tell us to
do concerning the Lord and his words? HEAR HIM. But, if nothing He
said is the doctrine of the New Testament (church), then we have a
major dilemma between what man would have us believe and what God
tells us to do. Will we believe the teaching of MEN or will we
believe the teaching of JESUS? In keeping with what Joshua said in
the long ago (Josh. 24:15), for me and my house, we will
accept the teaching of Jesus.
Hebrews 1:1-2 is very clear concerning the words of
the Lord the words he spoke while walking the earth.
God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in
time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last
days spoken unto us by [his] Son, whom he hath appointed heir
of all things, by whom also he made the worlds. We will
have to take these verses out of the Bible if Matthew, Mark, Luke
and John are not a part of the New Testament.
These two verses tell us plainly that God has spoken to the
whole world, this Christian Dispensation, by his only begotten Son,
Jesus the Christ.
John 12:48 is certain. If the New Testament does not
start until Acts two, then why did Jesus say, He that
rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that
judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall
judge him in the last day (John 12:48). Which is it?
Either his words mean nothing, being spoken while living under the
Old Testament and cannot be a part of the New Testament, OR they
are a part of the New Testament because all men in the Christian
Age will be judged by his words. I think Ill believe and teach
Jesus words. What about you?
No less than seven parables spoken by Jesus in
Matthew 13 are specifically pertaining to the kingdom, the
church. By these parables the apostles were to know the mysteries
of the church (v.11) and the word of the church (v.19). The
kingdom/church would last until the end of the world (v.40). This
is not true of the Old Testament, but it is true of the church of
Christ. These parables were the fulfillment of Old Testament
prophecies concerning the kingdom/church: such as Matthew 13:13
from Jeremiah 5:21; verse 14 from Isaiah 6:9; and verse 35 from
Psalm 78:2. They teach of the great value, treasure and importance
of the Lords church. We are to forfeit all that we have in
this world in order to be a faithful member of the church (vs.44-
50; cf. Matt. 6:33). These parables apply to the Christian Age, not
the Mosaic Age.
WHEN did the words of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John
(historically part of the New Testament) become effective? It was
on the day of Pentecost when the church began (Acts 2). The
Lords last will and testament was in the process of being
given (delivered) in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John while he was on
earth, but would not become effective until preached on Pentecost
in Acts 2.
Hebrews 9:15-17 tells us when the Lords
words in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John those things pertaining
to the kingdom (Acts 1:3) became effective. And for
this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means
of death, for the redemption of the transgressions [that were]
under the first testament, they which are called might receive the
promise of eternal inheritance. 16For where a testament [is], there
must also of necessity be the death of the testator. 17For a
testament [is] of force after men are dead: otherwise it is of
no strength at all while the testator liveth.
While we live we have the opportunity to write our own
last will and testament. As long as we live we can change
and modify it add to and take from. While we are living, the
stipulations of our will are null and void. It is only after our
death that our will can be probated in a court of law. At that
time, the executor(s) of our will has the power to administer the
estate. This is exactly what we read in Hebrews 9. While the Lord
was alive, he was speaking/teaching his will. Thats what we
read in Luke 16:16. After his death, his will was preached.
Thats what was done in Acts 2 and the rest of the New
Testament. Whats so hard to understand about that? Men need
help to misunderstand it and there is plenty of this kind of help
Those who believe and teach the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and
John are a part of the Old Testament and not a part of the New
Testament, often do so in order to avoid (dismiss) what Jesus said
in Matthew 5:32 and 19:9. In these two passages,
Jesus gives only one reason for a divorce and remarriage that meets
Gods approval. Jesus said, Whosoever shall put away
his wife, except [it be] for fornication, and shall marry
another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put
away doth commit adultery (19:9). Why did Jesus talk about
eunuchs in verse 12? What was the point? The point is, those who
have an unscriptural divorce cannot marry again. They must live as
a eunuch not married. Going to heaven is far more important
than marriage. Those who are divorced, but did not divorce their
spouse because of their spouses fornication, have to make a
choice: marriage or heaven, they cant have both.
To remove the passages of Matthew 5:32 and 19:9 from the New
Testament does not help their case whatsoever. Instead, if
theyre looking to be able to divorce and remarry, it makes
their situation even worse. If you take away these two verses,
there is NO passage from Acts 2 throughout the rest of the New
Testament that authorizes a divorce and remarriage. Consequently,
there is NO authority whatsoever for one to divorce their spouse
and enter another marriage. If one does so, theyre living
in adultery and cannot be saved unless they repent and get out
of the adulterous marriage in which they are living.
Ive heard some say you cant live in
adultery; that committing adultery is simply a one time
event. You just repent of your divorce and then youre free to
enter another marriage. However, they conveniently ignore the words
of Matthew 5:32 and 19:9 where Jesus made clear that whoever enters
another marriage committeth adultery. The verb tense is
continuous action you keep on committing adultery as
long as you continue in that marriage. In Colossians 3:5-7, the
Holy Spirit actually makes application of Matthew 5:32 and 19:9 by
reminding some of the members of the church at Colosse that before
they became Christians, they had lived in fornication,
uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and
covetousness. You cant just wish or ignore these passages
An attempt to so desperately do away with Matthew 5:32 and
19:9 has left such individuals in dire straits with no Bible
authority for divorcing and remarrying whatsoever. By the way, is
what Jesus said in these verses so despised they must be dismissed,
discredited and disposed of? If so, then youre left with
absolutely NO passage that authorizes a divorce and remarriage!
Romans 7:2-3 provides authority for another marriage, not
because of divorce, but because of the death of your spouse.
For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to
[her] husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she
is loosed from the law of [her] husband. So then if, while [her]
husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called
an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that
law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another
Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the
doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the
doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. 10If
there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him
not into [your] house, neither bid him God speed: 11For he that
biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds (2
John 9-11). If all Jesus said belongs to the Old Testament era,
then we need to inform the apostle John he missed it in these
The way of the transgressor is hard! (Prov. 13:15)
Table of Contents
GODS BASIC MATH
We learned in grade school the basic operations of mathematics:
addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. There is no
doubt we use this knowledge every day of our lives. When we read
the Bible we find that God also employs these functions as He deals
THE LORD ADDS
Jesus taught His disciples to put the kingdom of God first with
the promise that every necessity will be added to ones life
(Matt. 6:31-33). The Lord adds saved souls to the church (Acts
2:41,47). At the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were
performed and believers were the more added to the Lord,
multitudes both of men and women (Acts 5:12-14). When
Barnabas came to Antioch a great number of people were added to the
Lord (Acts 11:21-24).
THE LORD SUBTRACTS
The Bible makes mention of the book of life. This
book contains the names of faithful Christians (Phil. 4:3). How did
their names get there? The answer is not stated explicitly.
However, it is obvious to conclude that names are added to this
magnificent ledger when a person is baptized (obeys the Gospel,
becomes a Christian). Hebrews 12:23 in the KJV (King James Version)
speaks of the firstborn, which are written in
heaven. The ASV (American Standard Version) says
enrolled while the NKJV (New King James Version)
says registered. To be enrolled or registered
means a persons name was added to the list in writing.
There is another sense in which the Lord speaks of addition.
It is not a pleasant thing for the one on the receiving end. Four
verses from the end of Gods word (Rev. 22:18) the reader is
warned that, If any man shall add unto these things
(what is written in the book of Revelation in particular and the
whole Bible in general, -gmr), God shall add unto him the
plagues that are written in this book.
To subtract means to take away or remove. Paul spoke of the new
covenant as the time when God takes away sins (Rom. 11:27). Jesus
was manifested to take away our sins (1 John 3:5).
One of the greatest blessings of the new covenant is having
ones sins blotted out (Acts 3:19). This is subtracting, not a
part, but the whole. It is zeroed out! Thus, there is no
condemnation to those whose sins have been forgiven (Rom. 8:1,2; 1
THE LORD MULTIPLIES
The Lord told the church at Ephesus that He would take away
their candlestick (lampstand) if they did not repent (Rev. 2:5).
Those who do not overcome sin in their life, but is overcome by it,
will have their name blotted out of the book of life (Rev. 3:5).
When will this subtraction (blotting out) happen? Ultimately
and finally it will be on the day of Judgment. Overcoming
(faithfulness) requires making it to the end of the race. It is
there that one will receive the crown of righteousness that fadeth
not away (2 Tim. 4:7,8).
Those whose names are not written in the book will be cast
out (Rev. 20:15). Revelation 22:19 warns that if anyone takes
away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take
away his part from the Book of Life. This indicates a final
subtraction at the Judgment.
God told Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply (Gen. 1:27,28;
cf. 9:1,7). However, it is the Lord who gives conception (Ruth
4:13; cf. Gen. 29:31; 30:22). Adam and Eve had their part in
reproduction but it was God who blessed them to have children (Psa.
127:3). Multiplication occurs as God and man do their respective
parts (Gen. 6:1).
THE LORD DIVIDES
In like manner the church has been given the task of
preaching the Gospel to a lost world. This is spiritual
reproduction that brings forth souls that have been born again
(John 3:3-7; 1 Peter 1:23). When sinners hear and obey Gods
word, it accomplishes a great work (Rom. 1:16,17).
It is the power of the Gospel and obedience to it that leads
to the multiplication of souls being saved (Rom. 1:16; Rom. 10:8-
17; John 6:44-45). The early church went about preaching the word
and reaped the harvest of multiplied souls (Acts 5:42; 9:31;
12:24). And in those days, when the number of the disciples
was multiplied. ... And the word of God increased; and the number
of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great
company of the priests were obedient to the faith (Acts
The Lord was behind all this growth as Paul explained,
I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the
increase (1 Cor. 3:6; cf. 2 Cor. 9:10).
Students often struggle with long division. The Lord, on the
other hand, has no difficulty dividing the sheep from the goats
Generally speaking, the Lord hates division (Prov. 6:16-19).
Yet Jesus foretold that His disciples would experience division. He
taught, Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth?
I tell you, Nay; but rather division (Luke 12:51).
Unity in the church is the divine ideal (Eph. 4:1-6). But
Satan works hard against that end. He loves to divide the kingdom
of God knowing such leads to its downfall (Matt. 12:25). When Paul
learned of division in the church at Corinth (1 Cor. 1:11), that
issue was the first thing he addressed in his first epistle to
them. The first four chapters are devoted to resolving the problem
of division by addressing the underlying cause.
Later in the same letter Paul once more touches on the
trouble of division within the congregation. He said, ...I
hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it.
For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are
approved may be made manifest among you (1 Cor. 11:18,19).
Clearly, some were approved while others were not. In this case,
mans sin was the cause of the division but the Lord recognized
one of the factions as being right regarding the matter.
The Lord tells us to separate (divide ourselves) from
sinners. Be ye not unequally yoked together with
unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with
unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And
what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that
believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of
God with idols (2 Cor. 6:14-16)? Blessed [are]
they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree
of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. For
without [are] dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers,
and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie (Rev.
Christians have the responsibility to rightly
divide the word of truth (2 Tim. 2:15). What does this mean?
The ASV says handling aright. It literally means to make
a straight cut, that is, to dissect. The imagery conveys the idea
of correctly expounding and understanding Gods word.
Young students may struggle to learn basic math. Sometimes they
do not understand the concepts and therefore get wrong answers.
However, the Lord has none of those problems. He knows exactly when
and how to add, subtract, multiply and divide. He always gets the
proper results too.
Has your name been added to the Lambs book of life
(Rev. 21:27)? If not, obey the Gospel to be saved (Acts 2:38).
Then, live faithfully to the Lord and His word and you will receive
the crown of life (Rev. 2:10). This requires adding certain
qualities to our faith (2 Peter 1:5-11).
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Marble, PA 16334
Table of Contents
HEROD THE KING
Victor M. Eskew
May God help us to seek good, honest, wise,
and righteous men and women to lead our
nation. May they have a fear of God and a
deep respect for His holy Word.
In Matthew two we are introduced to a king named Herod. In fact,
his name appears ten times in this one chapter. Herod was the king
over Judea, a province of the Roman Empire. In reality, he was a
puppet king of the Roman Emperor. Herod began his reign 34 years
before the birth of Jesus. He was known by many as Herod the
Great because he had distinguished himself in the wars
with Antigonus and his other enemies, and because he had evinced
great talents in governing and defending his country, in repairing
the temple, and in building and ornamenting the cities of his
kingdom (e-sword, Barnes).
Herod was known to be a cruel king. This aspect of him is
manifested in Matthew 2. Many lessons are to be learned about this
brutal ruler. Lets look at some things we learn about him.
Herod is said to be a king. Now when Jesus was born
in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of Herod the king...
(Matt. 2:1). As a king, he received his power from the Almighty
God. In Daniel 2:21, we learn that the God of heaven
removeth kings, and setteth up kings. In Romans
13:1, we are taught that there is no power but of God: the
powers that be are ordained of God. In this position of
power, Herod was accountable to God. He was supposed to be a terror
to evil works (Rom. 13:3) and a revenger to execute wrath
upon him that doeth evil (Rom. 13:4). Sadly, this king
forsook his responsibilities. His wrath was directed upon innocent
children and toward the sinless Son of God.
Herod became a troubled king when he heard that wise men
were inquiring about the birthplace of the King of the
Jews. When Herod the king heard these things, he was
troubled, and all Jerusalem with him (Matt. 2:3). The word
troubled means to be agitated and disturbed in
mind. Herod was anxious and distressed by the news of this
newborn King. His spirit was filled with fear and dread.
Herods response was a natural reaction. Kings of that day did
not like rivals. They were not tolerant of anyone who would oppose
their rule. Note, Jesus is called the King of the Jews. The Jews
were in Roman bondage at the time. The Romans had taken control of
Judea in 63 B.C. If a Jewish king arose, he might seek to rebel
against the Roman authorities. Herod did not want this to happen.
Therefore, his troubled reaction was quite natural. The problem,
however, is that Herod was ignorant of the nature of the kingdom
Jesus came to establish. It was to be a spiritual kingdom and not
a physical kingdom (John 18:36).
The Hebrew Scriptures had predicted the birth of a Governor
(Micah 5:2). They also foretold the name of the town wherein the
ruler would be born, Bethlehem Ephratah. Herod only needed one more
piece of information. He needed to know the approximate age of the
child. To make this determination, he called a private meeting with
the wise men, and inquired of them diligently what time the
star appeared (Matt. 2:7). The term diligently
means to know assuredly. Once Herod knew this, he knew
the childs approximate age. He knew the child was a male, that
he was born in Bethlehem, and that he was under 2 years old. This
information armed him against his adversary.
To make his plan to destroy the child easier, he gave an
order to the wise men before they left Jerusalem. ...Go and
search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him,
bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also
(Matt. 2:8). If the wise men complied with this order, Herods
search for the child would be easier. We do not realize it at this
point in the narrative, but Herods words were a lie. He had no
intention of worshiping this baby. The only intent he had was to
kill him. Evil men will use any and all tactics necessary to carry
out their evil schemes.
The wise men made their journey to find the Christ. As they
started home, they were warned of God in a dream that they
should not return to Herod (Matt. 2:12). The men obeyed
the voice of God and departed into their own country
another way (Matt. 2:12). Herod waited for the return of
the sages, but they did not come. Then Herod, when he saw
that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth
(Matt. 2:16). Herod did not like being disobeyed. Too, he appears
to have been a man with a hot and heavy temper. Anger is a very
dangerous thing. It is an emotion, which, if left unchecked, can do
horrible things to others. In Proverbs 27:4, the wise penman tells
us wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous. In
this case, when Herods evil schemes combined with his anger,
a tragedy of mass proportions occurred.
We have seen the evil of Herod in his scheming, his lying,
and his hot temper. His evil now erupts upon the most innocent of
society, babies and toddlers. Then Herod, when he saw that
he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth,
and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in the coasts
thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which
he had diligently inquired of the wise men (Matt. 2:16).
To protect his throne from this one child, Herod was willing to
commit genocide and kill all the innocents in the region, perhaps
hundreds of little ones. Remember, his duty to God was to protect
the innocent and to punish the evil. He acted completely contrary
to his divine duty.
The story is not finished. There are two phrases about Herod
that are often overlooked. Matthew 2:19 records one of these
phrases: But when Herod was dead.... The other is
found in verse 15: ...and was there until the death of
Herod. Herod did not live to see that his evil scheme was
a flop. He did not live long enough to hear the words of Gods
anointed, Jesus the Christ, the Savior. He died. He suffered the
fate that eventually comes to all men. And as it is
appointed unto men once to die, but after this the
judgment (Heb. 9:27). Herod passed into the hadean realm.
He learned there the seriousness of his actions
here. The fate of this evil king was sealed.
Sadly, Herods legacy of evil continued in his son
Archelaus. After Herods death, Herods kingdom was divided
into three sections. Archelaus ruled in Judea and was as
blood-thirsty as his father. On one passover, he had three thousand
people put to death in the temple and in the city of Jerusalem.
Matthew hints of his murderous disposition in Matthew 2:22.
But when he (Joseph) heard that Archelaus did reign
in Judea in the room of his father, he was afraid to go thither:
notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside
into the parts of Galilee. Sadly, in these two men, Herod
and Archelaus, the phrase like father like son, came to
Not all men get the privilege to reign in the kingdoms of
men. Those who do, need to recognize the awesome and solemn
responsibility they have. It is deeply troubling when evil rulers
take the throne. Their evil dispositions and evil behaviors lead to
actions that bring great harm to the innocents under their rule.
Sometimes this evil continues in their children.
May God help us to seek good, honest, wise, and righteous
men and women to lead our nation. May they have a fear of God and
a deep respect for His holy Word.
60 Cobblestone Dr.
Springville, TN 38256
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BUT THINK OF ALL THE GOOD
IT COULD DO!
I think the first time I heard the line in the title was during
the rage over a new version called Good News for Modern
Man. This Good News Bible was a mass marketed
version of the New Testament that came out in the late 1960s. It
was supposed to be more appealing to that age. It was illustrated
with artful sketches, but in my youth I thought they were cartoons
and they seemed out of place in a Bible. As I recall it was
supposed to read like a newspaper, which I suppose it did, and
which is probably why people soon tired of reading it. It lacked
the simple elegance we had come to expect from the Bible. I have
not seen one for years.
Being dynamic in their approach, the translators
preferred to call Mary a girl rather than a
virgin. They thought the apostles choice of the word
blood was too graphic so they created substitutes. They
freely incorporated their own ideas into key verses like Acts 2:38
where they wrote ...you will receive Gods gift, the Holy
Spirit, which is what they believed, but which is not what the
Good News For Modern Man was part of a new
translation precedent that broke from the careful Tyndale tradition
and gave the translators more freedom to express themselves. Some
preachers exposed its errors, but others dismissed their warnings
saying, But think of all the good it could do.
Those words have been heard many times before and since.
They were heard when a Christian celebrity took up with
Oral Roberts and started speaking in tongues. They were
heard when celebrity preachers were holding Campaigns for
Christ and telling the crowds to accept Jesus as their
personal savior, pray the sinners prayer, sign a card, and
join the church of their choice. They were heard when people were
reading rapture books like, The Late Great Planet Earth.
They are still heard when Hollywood incorporates their own brand of
cultural correctness into their stories of Noah and Moses. I
recently heard these words in defense of a young lady from David
Lipscomb University who was preaching before a church in
Franklin, Tennessee; But think of all the good she could
do, they said, dismissing 1 Timothy 2:12. The use of the word
but as a contrasting conjunction is revealing in that
line. It could do a lot of good in contrast to what? In
contrast to all the evil it could do? Verily! What shall we say?
Let us do evil that good may come? Perhaps we should go back and
chew on Romans 3:8 a while.
When Paul and his companions were preaching in Philippi,
there was a slave girl with a spirit of divination following them
and crying out, These men are the servants of the most high
God, which shew unto us the way of salvation (Acts 16:17).
She was preaching the truth, and she was good at what she did. She
had already brought her masters great gain by her soothsaying. But
Paul was not thinking about all the good she could do. He was
grieved. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the
spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of
her. And he came out the same hour (Acts 16:18). Remember
this story the next time you hear someone talking about all the
good that error can do.
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Morrison, TN 37357
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