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blog-study:acts-revelation [BasicChristian.org]

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blog-study:acts-revelation

New Testament

THE

ACTS

OF THE APOSTLES

Background to the Book of Acts - The book of Acts has traditionally been called the Acts of the Apostles and this can be a bit confusing because the contents is not about all the apostles, but primarily on the life of Peter (Chapters 1-12) and Paul (Chapters 13-28) - Rather than a history book it is more in line with a biography - Luke gives a record of the life [of Jesus] and events of the early Church for a period of about sixty to sixty five years {About 35 years of Early Church History: The Ascension of Jesus Christ from Mount Olivet, Jerusalem in about 33 A.D. - The Jerusalem Council [1st Church Council] in about 50 A.D. (Acts 15) - until just before the Martyrdom of the Apostle Paul in Rome in about 67 A.D.}

The gospels end with the great commission. (Matthew 28:19-20). "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I will be with you always, to the very end of the age." The book of Acts opens with instructions to the Disciples to wait in Jerusalem for the Holy Spirit. These instructions become the theme of the book of Acts and give us a clue to how the spread of Christianity would take place. The purpose of Acts is to show the spread of the Gospel throughout the then known world. 'But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem , and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.' (Acts 1:1-8). The disciples were to be witnesses. In the first twelve chapters the focus is on the Gospel going forth under Peters direction in Jerusalem. There the ministry was directed mainly among the Jews in Jerusalem. Then the life and ministry of the Apostle Paul is stressed in his missionary activities outside of the boarders of Israel. He is known as the Apostle to the Gentiles. -- Jerusalem: Chapter 1-7: Jewish Christian Church which covers about the first fifteen years. Peter is the central character during this period which centers around Jerusalem. -- Judea and Samaria: Chapter 8-12: Gentile Christian Church takes in the next twenty-five years. Paul is the central character during this period which centers around Antioch. Paul takes the gospel to the Gentiles. Ends of the Earth: Chapter 13-28: Consolidation of the Church covers the last thirty years to the close of this period. John is the central character during this period which centers around Ephesus {though not really mentioned in the Book of Acts}. http://www.abu.nb.ca/ecm/Acts00b.htm

Footsteps of Paul (Photos)

According to the Acts of the Apostles, Paul made three separate missionary journeys and a journey to Rome. The biblical narrative ends there, but tradition has it that he was martyred in Rome around 67 AD. On the other hand, it is also possible that he was released in Rome following his appeal, and continued his missionary work in various places. Fortunately for modern travelers interested in biblical sites, Paul traveled in some of the most beautiful places around the Mediterranean! Below is an illustrated index of the 11 Footsteps of Paul profiled on Sacred Destinations so far. For photo credits, please see corresponding articles. ... Paul in Rome: According to early tradition, Paul was imprisoned in Rome in 53-62 AD and again in 64 AD. While in Rome he wrote the New Testament books of Ephesians, Colossians, Philemon, 1 and 2 Timothy and Titus. According to the 4th-century historian Eusebius, he (Paul) was beheaded in Rome in 67 AD. http://www.sacred-destinations.com/categories/footsteps-of-paul

A Chronological Study of Paul's Ministry

Why is Chronology Important? Chronology is the study of the sequence of events in an historical text, and the comparison of those events with other known events from other sources. The Bible is an historical document, and part of assessing the value of any historical narrative is the study of Chronology. When events in the Bible line up with known dates confirmed outside the Bible, is suggests a high level of reliability in the biblical text. Also, some areas of doctrine are based on chronological assertions, as we shall see in the case of Gal. 2. This outline explains in shortened form how scholars date the events in the ministry of Paul. A more complete study of this process is available in Jack Finnegan, A Handbook of Biblical Chronology. -- Sequential Outline of the Movements of Paul by Major Periods: The first step in studying chronology is to assemble a sequence of events along with all chronological notes. In other words, a narrator will say, "for over two years" or "in time for the Passover." These notes, when assembled, form a time chain, often with some missing spots. Here are the important events for Paul's ministry: http://www.xenos.org/classes/chronop.htm

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The Apostle [Paul] by John Pollock (Book - Paperback)

Product Description: Pollock brings Paul and his amazing story freshly alive, making it possible for you to know Paul much as Luke or Timothy did as they traveled with him. As you turn the pages, you'll sense Paul's motives, his aims and priorities what mattered to him and what he was willing to die for. http://www.christianbook.com/Christian/Books/product?item_no=4762424

Paul: The Emissary (DVD)

Product Description: How did the fiercest opponent of Christianity become one of its greatest advocates? This dramatic video shows you Paul's powerful conversion on the Damascus road, and his transformation from an angry zealot bent on exterminating the church into a messenger willing to pay any price---even death---to bring the message of salvation to the world. Paul's life changed the ancient world and still confronts our world today! Approx. 54 minutes. http://www.christianbook.com/paul-emissary-dvd/1563646366/pd/646366

Peter and Paul (DVD)

Product Description: Follow these two very different yet highly influential men over three world-changing decades. Beginning with the crucifixion, you'll see Paul on the road to Damascus, witness the day Peter met Paul in Jerusalem, and watch them clash later over Jewish law. Anthony Hopkins and Robert Foxworth star in this epic network television mini-series about early Christianity. Approx. 194 minutes. http://www.christianbook.com/peter-paul-dvd/1563646285/pd/646285

A.D. - The stunning sequel to Jesus of Nazareth - (DVD)

Product Description: The stunning sequel to Jesus of Nazareth, this captivating epic vividly re-creates the turbulent years following the crucifixion of Christ. Witness the growth of the fledgling church, from Peter's first bold sermon at Pentecost to the martyrdom of Paul. Filmed on location in the Middle East and Europe with an all-star cast. Includes a 12-session on-disk study guide. Two DVDs, 6 hours total. Abridged Edition. http://www.christianbook.com/d-dvd/pd/888926

Acts - Matthew, John & Acts, 6-DVD Set The Visual Bible Series (DVD)

Product Description: Journey back to first-century Palestine [Israel] and witness the extraordinary events that changed the world! Meet Matthew and John as they reflect on the events they witnessed as Jesus' disciples. Travel with Luke as he shares the struggles and triumphs of the early church. Shot on location, these vivid portrayals are adapted word-for-word from Scripture. Closed-captioned. Six DVDs, approx. 13 hours total. http://www.christianbook.com/matthew-john-acts-6-dvd/pd/050698

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Acts 1 - Luke a Gentile Physician-Doctor [a Greek background], historian, companion to the Apostle Paul, eyewitness and early Christian Church recorder/reporter continues his Ministry to the Christian Church with his follow up to the Gospel of Luke in his second and final Book of the Bible the Book of Acts -- 'Acts 1:1-3 The former treatise [Gospel of Luke] {A treatise is a formal and systematic written discourse on some subject, generally longer and treating it in greater depth than an essay, and more concerned with investigating or exposing the principles of the subject. - Wiki.com} have I [Luke] made [written], O Theophilus, *of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, Until the day in which He [Jesus] was taken up [Ascension at Mount Olivet, Jerusalem], after that *He [Jesus] through the Holy Ghost had given Commandments [Directions] unto the Apostles whom He had chosen: To whom also He [Jesus] shewed Himself alive [Resurrection] after His Passion [Passion to reunite God and mankind - Cross and Resurrection] *by many infallible [irrefutable] proofs, being seen [eyewitness] of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the Kingdom of God ...'

Acts 1:4-14 And, [Jesus] being assembled together with them [on the Mount of Olives - at the Ascension of Jesus], Commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for *the promise of the Father [to send the Comforter - the Holy Spirit as a companion], which, saith He, ye have heard of Me [John 14:6]. For John [the Baptist] truly baptized with water; but ye [already baptized by Jesus, with the Firstfruits of the Spirit (John 20:22) - Christians] shall be baptized [by the Father] with the Holy Ghost [for comfort, wisdom, truth, empowerment, etc. to be a witness of Jesus Christ to the world] not many days hence. When they therefore were come together, they asked of Him, saying, Lord, *wilt thou at this time restore again the Kingdom to Israel [from Rome]? And He said unto them, It is not for you (Christians) [before Pentecost] to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in His own power. *But ye [Christians] shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. *And when He [Jesus] had spoken these things, while they beheld, He was taken up; and a cloud received Him out of their [visible] sight. *And while they looked stedfastly [for His return] toward Heaven as He went up, behold, two men [Angels] stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, *why stand ye gazing up into Heaven [at this spot on Mount Olivet]? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven {but when Jesus visibly returns to Mount Olivet it will be to the Jews not the Church - the Church will already be in Heaven}. Then [departed Mount Olivet] returned they unto Jerusalem from the Mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a Sabbath day's journey. And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room [in the upper room - where the Passover, Last Supper was eaten], where abode [lived] both [Apostles and Disciples (brethren)] {Apostles} Peter, and James [brother of John], and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James [son of Alphaeus]. These all continued with one accord [combined purpose] *in prayer and supplication, with the women, *and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His {Disciples} brethren [Christians]. The Promise of the Father is to send the Comforter and the empower [the Holy Spirit] to those who acknowledge Jesus [John 14:16]. The Promise of Jesus is to give eternal life [John 14:6] to all that come to Him. - John 14:6-21 Jesus saith unto him [Apostle - Thomas], *I [Jesus] Am *the Way, *the Truth, and *the Life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me. ... If ye love Me, keep My Commandments [instructions]. And I will pray the Father, and He [Father] shall give you another (along with Jesus) Comforter [Holy Spirit], that He [Holy Spirit] may abide with you [eternally] forever; Even the [Holy] Spirit of Truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him [Father, Jesus, Holy Spirit] not, neither knoweth Him [God]: but ye know Him; for He [God] dwelleth with you, *and shall be in you [Firstfruits - Resurrection Day - birth of the Christian Church]. I [Jesus] will not leave you comfortless: I [Jesus] will come to you [Resurrection]. Yet a little while [death on the cross], and the world seeth Me no more; but ye see Me [Resurrection]: *because I live, ye shall live also. At that [Resurrection] day ye shall know that I Am in My Father, and ye in Me, *and I [Firstfruits] in you. He that hath My Commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me: and he that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father [who will baptize with the empowerment of the Holy Spirit], and I will love him, and *will manifest [show] Myself [Jesus] to him [Christian].

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Acts 2 - The Christian Church already individually (Luke 24:31) [by faith in the cross and resurrection of Jesus] having the 'born again' Firstfruits of the Spirit of Jesus - The Church corporately (all in one group) receives the 'experience' the promised Baptism of the Father the Comfort and empowerment of the Holy Spirit - Note: At Pentecost The Holy Spirit is poured out upon the entire world [John 16:8] - With Pentecost [empowerment for the Church, conviction for the world] comes the Baptism of Persecution (Fire) for the Church -- 'Acts 2:1-5 And when the Day of Pentecost [lit. 50 days - after the Feast of Firstfruits] [5th Levitical Feast - Leviticus 23:16] was fully come, they [Christians] were all with one accord in one place [in the upper room]. And suddenly there came a sound from Heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire [refinement, trials, persecution], and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled [empowered] with the Holy Ghost, and [experientially] began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, *out of [representing] every Nation under Heaven.' - 'John 16:7 Nevertheless I [Jesus] tell you the Truth; It is expedient for you that I go away [back to Heaven]: for if I go not away, the Comforter [Holy Spirit] will not come unto you [at Pentecost]; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you. And when He [Holy Spirit] is come, *He will reprove the *world [Pentecost is an outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the entire world] of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on Me [Jesus]; Of righteousness, because I go to My Father, and ye see Me no more [after the Ascension]; Of judgment, because the prince of this world [Satan - Devil] is judged.'

Acts 2:14-21 But Peter, standing up with the Eleven [Apostles - Judas has committed suicide], lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, *be this known unto you, and hearken to my words: For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour [9:00 A.M.] of the day. *But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel [Joel 2:28-32]; And it shall come to pass in the Last Days [days since - The Triumphal Entry of Jesus in to Jerusalem], saith God, I will pour out of My [Holy] Spirit *upon all flesh [the entire world]: and your [Jewish, Christian and Gentile - *the entire world] sons and your daughters shall prophesy [at times everyone (inside and outside of the Church) speaks for a prophetic truth about God, however (outside of the Church) it is often a corrupted message i.e. New Age message (Acts 16:17-18)], and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: And on My servants [Christians] and on My handmaidens [men and women] I will pour out in those days of My Spirit; and they shall prophesy: [including all days - even the days of Tribulation and Great Tribulation] And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke [Tribulation]: The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood [Great Tribulation], *before that Great and Notable Day of the Lord come [2nd Coming of Jesus]: *And it shall come to pass [at any day, at any time, at any moment, Last Days, Church Age, Tribulation, Great Tribulation], that *whosoever [any person] shall call [at any time] on the Name [Jesus] of the Lord [that person] shall be Saved. - Pentecost, empowerment, witness and persecution: In the few days before Pentecost the Christian Church gathered in the Jewish Temple and worshiped Jesus [Luke 24:53] without any incidents because the Church was without the [external upon] witness of the Holy Spirit. With Pentecost and the giving of the Holy Spirit upon the entire world, upon every individual and with the empowerment of the Christian Church by the Holy Spirit and now all of mankind with the increased presence of God among mankind the conflict between man and God has dramatically increased and the Christian Church is at the forefront of man's conflict with God. With Pentecost the desire for mankind to either accept or reject the Ministry of Jesus Christ has been heightened and those who reject God do so in a more violent manner. - Note: The Baptism of Fire (persecution) upon the Christian is a baptism directly enacted by Jesus [Matthew 3:11] therefore Jesus controls all aspects and intensities of the persecution (Baptism of Fire) in the life of each Christian. To receive the Baptism of Fire from Jesus is to be given the opportunity to grow in faith and trust in Jesus and it is to be trusted enough by Jesus to be able to endure in the Christian faith while continuing to be a witness of Jesus. - Also Note: With Pentecost and the global outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon all mankind [since the blood, cross and death of Jesus - the blood of Jesus has cleansed the entire world (Acts 10:15) - the world [system] is now a clean - however [unclean from within] unsaved mankind is working overtime to corrupt what Jesus has cleansed upon] with the Holy Spirit upon all mankind Christianity and the resurrection life of Jesus Christ that Christianity represents is not a philosophy nor just an idea of a select few but Christianity is the living Spirit, Blood and Word - Testimony of God and therefore because Christianity is a living Spirit that unsaved mankind then physically reacts out of proportion [sometimes in strong denial, rejection, even dangerously, etc.] to the Spiritual calling on their life by God in Jesus Christ.

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Acts 3 - The early Christian Church continually Worshiped and Served Jesus Christ even after His bodily Ascension back into Heaven - As a part of their Christian Devotion to Jesus their lives and the lives of those around them were dramatically altered being transformed by the Holy Spirit to conform within the Kingdom of God -- 'Acts 3:1-9 Now Peter and John went up together into the Temple at the hour of prayer [Christians went to the Temple only to pray and perform certain services but no longer to sacrifice (a lamb) as Jesus is our eternal sacrifice], being the ninth hour [3:00 P.M.]. And a certain man lame [unable to walk] from his mother's womb [physical birth] was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the Temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms (gifts) of them that entered into the Temple; Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the Temple asked an alms. And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us [make eye contact]. And he gave heed unto them [looked them in the eye], expecting to receive something of them. Then Peter said [worldly wealth], Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have [Heavenly wealth] give I thee: *In the Name [at Jesus' bidding] of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. And he [Peter] took him by the right hand [Christian fellowship], and lifted him up [cross and resurrection of Jesus]: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. And he leaping up stood [new life - resurrection], and walked [Christian walk], and entered with them [into fellowship] into the Temple [to pray to God], walking, and leaping, and praising God. And all the people saw him walking and praising God ...'

Acts 3:10-26 And they knew that it was he which sat for alms at the Beautiful gate of the Temple: and they were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened unto him. And as the lame man which was healed held Peter and John, all the people ran together unto them in the porch that is called Solomon's, greatly wondering. 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? *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 [Pontius] Pilate, when he was determined to let Him go. But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer [Barabbas] to be granted unto you; And killed [Jesus] *the Prince of life, whom God hath raised [resurrection] from the dead; *whereof we are witnesses. And His Name [Jesus] *through faith [cross and resurrection] in His Name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by Him [Jesus] hath given him [lame man] this perfect [complete] soundness [health] in the presence of you all. And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it [crucified Jesus], as did also your rulers. *But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth *of all His prophets, that Christ should suffer, He hath so fulfilled. *Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; And He [Father] shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: [Jesus] *Whom the heaven must receive [remain] {this is where the concept of the Church Rapture emerges as Jesus is to remain in Heaven and not to come physically to the earth until the end of the Book of Revelation and His 2nd Coming to the Jews, Jesus will have gathered His Christian Church together unto Himself in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:17) avoiding coming to earth until later} until the times of restitution [end of the Book of Revelation] of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all His Holy Prophets since the world began. *For Moses truly said (Deuteronomy 18:15) unto the fathers, A Prophet [who is God] shall the Lord your God raise up [resurrection] unto you of your brethren, [a leader of the people of Israel] like unto me [Moses]; Him [Jesus] 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 [Jesus], shall be destroyed from among the people. Yea, and all the Prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days. *Ye [redeemed of God] are the Children of the Prophets, and of the Covenant which God made with our fathers, *saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed [Jesus] shall all the Kindreds [Ethnicity] of the earth be Blessed. Unto you [Jews] first(,) God, having raised up [resurrection] His Son Jesus, sent Him to bless you [Jews, first], in turning away every one of you from his iniquities [inability to have a real meaningful relationship with God]. - The Apostles Peter and John demonstrate to the people both in their life and in their preaching that the Spiritual nature of the Kingdom of God in Jesus Christ though it has only partially arrived [Firstfruits] for mankind the partial Kingdom of Jesus Christ fully Triumphs over and supersedes the current fallen physical realm and predicament of mankind.

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Acts 4 - The Gospel of God in Jesus Christ has begun to be Preached (Proclaimed) to mankind first to the Jews in Jerusalem then to the mixed multitude [Jews and gentiles] in Samaria [the ancient (O.T.) Kingdom of Northern Israel] and ultimately to all the Gentiles of the world -- 'Acts 4:1-4 And as they [Apostles] spake unto the people, the Priests, and the Captain [of the guard] of the Temple, and the Sadducees, came upon them, *Being grieved [since Pentecost Christianity is a perceivable Spirit that men either rejoice in or are grieved by] that they taught the people, *and preached through Jesus *the resurrection [of just humans] from the dead. And they laid hands on them, and put them in hold unto the next day: for it was now eventide [lit. close of a regular day - G2703]. Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men [converts to Christianity] was about five thousand.'

Acts 4:5-31 And it came to pass on the morrow, that their rulers, and elders, and scribes, And Annas the High Priest [the Jewish appointed High Priest], and Caiaphas [the Roman appointed High Priest], and John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the kindred [Levitical Tribe] of the High Priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem. And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, By what power, or by what name, have ye done this? *Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost [the continuing empowerment and witness of Pentecost], said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel, If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole [lit. Salvation]; *Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised [resurrection] from the dead, even *by Him [Jesus] doth this man stand here before you whole. *This [Jesus] is the stone which was set at nought [aside - not used] of you [Temple] builders (Isaiah 28:16, Psalm 118:22), which is become the head of the corner. *Neither is there Salvation in any other: *for there is none other Name under Heaven *given among men, *whereby we must be Saved [eternal resurrection life in Jesus]. Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned [unschooled in ministry] and ignorant men [tradesmen], they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus. And beholding the man which was healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it. But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves, Saying, What shall we do to these men? for that indeed a notable miracle hath been done by them is manifest to all them that dwell in Jerusalem; and we cannot deny it. But that it spread no further among the people, let us straitly threaten them, that they speak henceforth to no man in this Name [Jesus]. And they called them, *and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the Name of Jesus. *But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. *For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard. So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding nothing how they might punish them, because of the people: for all men glorified God for that which was done. For the man [who was healed] was above forty years old [an adult], on whom this miracle of healing was shewed. And being let go, they went to their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said unto them. And when they [Christians] heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, *and said, *Lord, thou art God, *which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is: Who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against His Christ. For of a truth against thy Holy Child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done. And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the Name of thy Holy Child Jesus. And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, *and they [Christians] spake the word of God with boldness. - Now the Kingdom of God in Jesus Christ has been removed from the religious institutions and the Gospel News is to be brought directly to the people of the world directly from the Children of God.

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Acts 5 - With the presence and assistance of the Holy Spirit people are able to Trust and discern the Truth of Christianity and as a result the Christian Church realizes an enormous, explosive, unprecedented exponential growth in numbers of participants -- 'Acts 5:14 And [Christian] believers were the more added to the Lord [Jesus Christ], multitudes both of men and women.'

Acts 5:17-42 Then the High Priest [Annas] rose up, and all they that were with him, which is the sect of the Sadducees [liberal sect of Judaism (Democrats) - Pharisees are the conservative sect (Republicans)], and were filled with indignation, And laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison. *But the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought them forth, *and said, Go, stand and speak *in the Temple [speak to the inner spirit of man] to the people all the words of this [eternal resurrection] life. And when they heard that, they entered into the Temple early in the morning, and taught. But the High Priest came, and they that were with him, and called the council [Sanhedrin - Jewish Supreme Court] together, and all the senate of the children of Israel and sent to the prison to have them brought. But when the [Jewish] officers came, and found them not in the prison, they returned, and told, Saying, The prison truly found we shut with all safety, and the keepers standing without before the doors: but when we had opened, we found no man within. Now when the High Priest and the Captain [of the guard] of the Temple and the Chief Priests heard these things, they doubted of them whereunto this would grow. Then came one and told them, saying, Behold, the men whom ye put in prison are standing in the Temple, and Teaching the people. Then went the Captain with the Officers, and brought them without violence: for they feared the people, lest they should have been stoned. And when they had brought them, they set them before the Council: and the High Priest asked them, Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this [Jesus] Name? and, *behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your *doctrine, and intend to bring this man's [Jesus'] blood upon us. *Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, *We ought to obey God [Jesus] rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him hath God exalted with His right hand to be a Prince [Son] and a Saviour, *for to give repentance to Israel, *and forgiveness of sins. *And we are His witnesses of these things; *and so is also *the Holy Ghost, *whom God hath given [in comfort, wisdom and empowerment] to them that obey Him. *When they heard that, they were cut to the heart, *and took counsel to slay [kill] them. Then stood there up one in the council, a Pharisee, named *Gamaliel [the Apostle Paul's teacher - Paul was a Pharisee], a doctor [teacher] of the law, had in reputation among all the people, and commanded to put the Apostles forth a little space [in another room]; And said unto them [Jewish Council], Ye men of Israel, *take heed [from God - pray first] to yourselves what ye intend to do as touching these men. For before these days rose up Theudas [a false christ], boasting himself to be somebody; to whom a number of men, about four hundred, joined themselves: who was slain; and all, as many as obeyed him, were scattered, *and [God] brought [it] to nought. After this man rose up Judas [false christ] of Galilee in the days of the taxing [about the time of the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem], and drew away much people after him: he also perished; and all, even as many as obeyed him, were dispersed [by God]. *And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: *for if this counsel or this work [of the Apostles] be of men [acting in the Name of God], it will come to nought: *But if it [ministry of the Apostles] be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God. And to him *they agreed: and when they had called the apostles, and *beaten them, *they commanded that they should not speak in the Name of Jesus, and let them go {they somewhat agreed}. And they [Apostles] departed from the presence of the Council, *rejoicing that they were counted worthy [by Jesus] to suffer shame for His Name. And daily in the Temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ. - Note: The famous teacher Gamaliel [his writings are still with us today - quoted in the Talmud] is who the Apostle Paul as a boy and as a young man received his instruction in the Torah (Bible) from before Paul (Saul) became a Christian. - [Gamaliel, also called Gamaliel I or Gamaliel the Elder was a first century authority on Jewish law who appears in the Acts of the Apostles. In Christian tradition, he was later considered to be a Christian saint (Saint Gamaliel). In Judaism he is a respected authority quoted in the Talmud referred to as Rabban Gamliel. - Wiki.com] (The title "Rabban," was borne only by presidents of the highest religious council, first prefixed to the name of Gamaliel - www.jewishencyclopedia.com).

Wikipedia.org - Gamaliel: However, there is no other record [than the writings of the Apostle Paul] of Gamaliel ever having taught in public, although the Talmud does describe Gamaliel as teaching a student who displayed impudence (The quality of being offensively bold - answers.com) in learning, which a few scholars identify as a possible reference to [the Apostle] Paul

As Rabban: In the Talmud, seven leaders of Hillel's school of thought, of which Gamaliel was the first, are given the title Rabban (master), a rabbinic title given to the Head of the Sanhedrin; although it is not doubted that Gamaliel genuinely held a senior position, whether he actually held this highest position has been disputed. Gamaliel holds a reputation in the Mishnah for being one of the greatest teachers in all the annals of Judaism: Since Rabban Gamaliel the Elder died, there has been no more reverence for the law, and purity and piety died out at the same time Gamaliel's authority on questions of religious law is suggested by two Mishnaic anecdotes, in which the king and queen ask for his advice about rituals; the identity of the king and queen in question is not given, but is generally thought to either be King Herod Agrippa I and his wife Cypris, or King Herod Agrippa II and his sister Berenice. However, as classical rabbinical literature always contrasts the school of Hillel to that of Shammai, and only presents the collective opinions of each of these opposing schools of thought - without mentioning the individual nuances and opinions of the rabbis within them - these texts do not portray Gamaliel as being knowledgeable about the Jewish scriptures, nor do they portray him as a teacher. For this reason, Gamaliel is not listed as part of the chain of individuals who perpetuated the Mishnaic tradition; instead, the chain is listed as passing directly from Hillel to Johanan ben Zakkai. Nevertheless, the Mishnah still mentions Gamaliel's authorship of a few legal ordinances on the subjects of community welfare and conjugal rights. He argued that the law should protect women during divorce, and that, for the purpose of re-marriage, a single witness was sufficient evidence for the death of a husband. The Mishnah also contains a saying it attributes to 'Gamaliel', though it is vague in this case about which particular 'Gamaliel' it means; the saying itself concerns religious scruples: Obtain a teacher for yourself, keep yourself [on religious questions] far from doubt, and only infrequently give a tithe using general valuation. Various pieces of classical rabbinic literature additionally mention that Gamaliel sent out three epistles, designed as notifications of new religious rulings, and which portray Gamaliel as the head of the Jewish body for religious-law. Two of these three were sent, respectively, to the inhabitants of Galilee and the Darom (southern Judea), and were on the subject of the Levite Tithe. The third epistle was sent to the Jews of the Diaspora, and argued for the introduction of an intercalary month. Since the Hillel school of thought is presented collectively, there are very few other teachings which are clearly identifiable as Gamaliel's; there is only a somewhat cryptic dictum, comparing his students to classes of fish: A ritually impure fish: one who has memorized everything by study, but has no understanding, and is the son of poor parents A ritually pure fish: one who has learnt and understood everything, and is the son of rich parents A fish from the Jordan River: one who has learnt everything, but doesn't know how to respond A fish from the Mediterranean: one who has learnt everything, and knows how to respond. -- Influence on the Christian Apostles: The author of Acts of the Apostles introduces Gamaliel as a Pharisee and celebrated scholar of the Mosaic Law. In this passage, Saint Peter and the other apostles are described as being prosecuted by the Sanhedrin for continuing to preach the Gospel, despite the Jewish authorities having previously prohibited it; the passage describes Gamaliel as presenting an argument against killing the apostles, reminding the Sanhedrin about previous revolts, which had been based on beliefs that individuals such as Theudas and Judas of Galilee were the prophesied messiah, and which had collapsed quickly after the deaths of those individuals. According to Acts, his authority with his contemporaries was so great that they accepted his advice, regardless of how unwelcome it was; Gamaliel's concluding argument to them had been that: if [the Gospel] be of men, it will come to naught, but if it be of God, ye will not be able to overthrow it; lest perhaps ye be found even to fight against God. The Book of Acts later goes on to describe Paul of Tarsus recounting that he was educated at the feet of Gamaliel about Jewish religious law, although no details are given about which teachings Paul adopted from Gamaliel - and hence how much Gamaliel influenced aspects of Christianity. However, there is no other record of Gamaliel ever having taught in public, although the Talmud does describe Gamaliel as teaching a student who displayed impudence in learning, which a few scholars identify as a possible reference to Paul. Helmut Koester, Professor of Divinity and of Ecclesiastical History at Harvard University, is doubtful that Paul studied under this famous rabbi, arguing that there is a marked contrast in the tolerance that Gamaliel is said to have expressed about Christianity, in contrast to the "murderous rage" against Christians that Paul is described as having prior to his conversion. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gamaliel

The Apostle Paul - When Paul became a Christian, his very thorough [Jewish] education was enormously helpful - He was able to assimilate Christian doctrines rapidly and relate them accurately to the Scripture teaching he had received - From his education, both from Gamaliel and in the desert [Saudi Arabia] from the Lord Jesus Christ, Paul developed a divine viewpoint attitude toward human history - *Paul knew that the existence of God [by the Holy Spirit since Pentecost] can easily be perceived by anyone, *that man can become aware of God, *but that many men's deliberate sin halted this good beginning [after becoming aware of God] by [continued] immoral activities which accompanied their [past] idolatry

The Apostle Paul - The apostle Paul was one of the most famous citizens of the Roman Empire and without question one of the most influential individuals in history. He was used by the Lord in his missionary and evangelistic activities to set in motion a great deal of the organization known as the Christian Church, the Body of Christ on earth, to the extent that billions of human beings have been directly or indirectly affected by his ministry. Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, he wrote the foundation documents for the Christian way of life, the Word of God which has changed the lives of millions. -- Paul's Education: Paul was educated by his mother until the age of five. From age five to ten he studied with his father in the Hebrew scriptures and traditional writings. At the same time, being a Roman citizen and living in a Greek and Roman environment, he received a thorough education in the Greek language, history, and culture. He was sent to Jerusalem at about the age of ten to attend the rabbinical school of Gamaliel, who was the son of Simeon the son of Hillel. Gamaliel was a most eminent rabbi who was mentioned both in the Talmud and in the New Testament (Acts 5:24-40; 22:3). Gamaliel was called Rabban - one of only seven teachers so called. He was a Pharisee, but he rose above party prejudice. He composed a prayer against the Christian "heretics". He lived and died a Jew. At this time, Herod was dead, and the Romans had complete control of Judea, hence, there was Roman money, language, and culture. The Jews, therefore, were inclined to cling more closely to their religion as the center of unity. [Refer to the topic: Judean History] There were two great rabbinical schools, those of Hillel and Schammai. Hillel, the grandfather of Gamaliel, held that tradition was superior to the Law. The school of Schammai despised traditionalists, especially when there teachings clashed with the writings of Moses. The religious school of Gamaliel (Hillel) was chiefly oral and usually had a prejudice against any book but Scripture. They used a system of Scriptural exegesis, and Josephus in his writings expressed the wish to have such a power of exegesis. When school was in session, learned men met and discussed scriptures, gave various interpretations, suggested illustrations, and quoted precedents. The students were encouraged to question, doubt, even contradict. -- When Paul became a Christian, his very thorough education was enormously helpful. He was able to assimilate Christian doctrines rapidly and relate them accurately to the Scripture teaching he had received. From his education, both from Gamaliel and in the desert from the Lord Jesus Christ, Paul developed a divine viewpoint attitude toward human history. Paul knew that the existence of God can easily be perceived by anyone, that man can become aware of God, but that many men's deliberate sin halted this good beginning by immoral activities which accompanied their idolatry. Therefore, Paul had an intense hatred of idolatry of any kind. Paul's teaching shows that the only reality is God. Idolatry distorts man's conception of the world and external nature. Idolatry is the enemy of mankind. Paul knew the law of growth of human nature. As a Roman, Tarsian, Hebrew, and culturally Greek, he knew of the many distortions of the life of his society. As a nation becomes unhealthy, development is halted. Societies errors as to the nature of God and the true relation of God to man prevented nations from getting rid of their besetting evil. The books of Acts is the chief authoritative record for the ministries of Paul and the other apostles. For a brief outline of Paul's ministry, see the Chronological Table of Paul's Ministry. The most thorough, accurate, and interesting secular work on Paul is The Life and Epistles of St. Paul, by Conybeare and Howson. http://www.realtime.net/~wdoud/topics/paul.html

JewishEncyclopedia.com - GAMALIEL I: Son of Simon and grandson of Hillel: according to a tannaitic tradition (Shab.15a), he [Gamaliel] was their successor as nasi and first president of the Great Sanhedrin of Jerusalem - The apostle Paul prides himself on having sat at the feet of Gamaliel

His Correspondence: Son of Simon and grandson of Hillel: according to a tannaitic tradition (Shab.15a), he was their successor as nasi and first president of the Great Sanhedrin of Jerusalem. Although the reliability of this tradition, especially as regards the title of "nasi," has been justly disputed, it is nevertheless a fact beyond all doubt that in the second third of the first century Gamaliel (of whose father, Simon, nothing beyond his name is known) occupied a leading position in the highest court, the great council of Jerusalem, and that, as a member of that court, he received the cognomen "Ha-Zaen." Like his grandfather, Hillel, he was the originator of many legal ordinances with a view to the "tiun ha-'olam" (= "improvement of the world": Gi. iv. 1-3; comp. also Yeb. xvi. 7; R. H. ii. 5). Gamaliel appears as the head of the legal-religious body in the three epistles which he at one time dictated to the secretary Johanan (account of Judah b. 'Illai: Tosef., Sanh. ii. 6; Sanh. 11b; Yer. Sanh. 18d; Yer. Ma'as. Sh. 56c). Two of these letters went to the inhabitants of Galilee and of the Darom (southern Palestine), and had reference to the tithes; the third letter was written for the Jews of the Diaspora, and gave notice of an intercalary month which Gamaliel and his colleagues had decided upon. That part of the Temple territory-a "stairway of the Temple mount"-where Gamaliel dictated these letters is also the place where he once ordered the removal of a Targum to Job-the oldest written Targum of which anything is known (report of an eye-witness to Gamaliel II., grandson of Gamaliel I.: Tosef., Shab. xiii. 2; Shab. 115a; Yer. Shab. 15a). -- His Relative Position: Gamaliel appears also as a prominent member of the Sanhedrin in the account given in Acts (v. 34 et seq.), where he is called a "Pharisee" and a "doctor of the law "much honored by the people. He is there made to speak in favor of the disciples of Jesus, who were threatened with death (v. 38-39): "For if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to naught: but if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it." He is also shown to be a legal-religious authority by the two anecdotes (Pes. 88b) in which "the king and the queen" (Agrippa I. and his wife Kypris; according to Büchler, "Das Synhedrion in Jerusalem," p. 129, Agrippa II. and his sister Berenice) go to him with questions about the ritual. Tradition does not represent Gamaliel as learned in the Scriptures, nor as a teacher, because the school of Hillel, whose head he undoubtedly was, always appears collectively in its controversies with the school of Shammai, and the individual scholars and their opinions are not mentioned. Hence Gamaliel is omitted in the chain of tradition as given in the Mishnah (Abot i., ii.), while Johanan b. Zakkai is mentioned as the next one who continued the tradition after Hillel and Shammai. Gamaliel's name is seldom mentioned in halakic tradition. The tradition that illustrates the importance of Johanan b. Zakkai with the words, "When lie died the glory of wisdom [scholarship] ceased," characterizes also the importance of Gamaliel I. by saying: "When he died the honor [outward respect] of the Torah ceased, and purity and piety became extinct" (Soah xv: 18). -- His Classification of His Pupils: Gamaliel, as it appears, did most toward establish-. ing the honor in which the house of Hillel was held, and which secured to it a preeminent position within Palestinian Judaism soon after the destruction of the- Temple. The title "Rabban," which, in the learned hierarchy until post-Hadrianic times, was borne only by presidents of the highest religious council, was. first prefixed to the name of Gamaliel. That Gamaliel ever taught in public is known, curiously enough, only from the Acts of the Apostles, where (xxii. 3) the apostle Paul prides himself on having sat at the feet of Gamaliel. http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?letter=G&artid=51

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Acts 6 - The early Christian Church and Church leaders in Jerusalem learn to handle the continual controversies and conflicts that arise both from within the Christian Church and from outside the Church -- 'Acts 6:1-7 And in those [early Church in Jerusalem] days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians [Greek Jews] against the Hebrews [Israel Jews], because their widows were neglected [not on the list] in the daily [food giving] ministration. Then the Twelve [the Eleven plus Matthias the (temporary) replacement for Judas - Paul in all likeliness became the Twelfth Apostle permanently replacing Judas] called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the [study and preaching] word of God, and serve tables [distribute food]. Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this [charity] business. But we [leaders] will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the Word [Bible]. And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a [Greek - Jewish convert] proselyte of Antioch: Whom they set before the Apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them. And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the [Levitical Temple] Priests were obedient [converts] to the [Christian] faith. - Note: The Grecian Christians issued the complaint and the early Church (primarily Hebrew) responded not in a compromise but by selecting all seven of the appointed charity workers from the Grecian group. The Greek [Greece the 5th Kingdom of the world - Revelation 17:10] nation ruled over Israel for about 200 years [336 B.C. - 149 B.C.] before Rome began to rule over Israel and the Greek culture was deeply implanted into Jewish society in Israel.'

Acts 6:8-15 And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people. Then there arose certain [Greek - Helenistic Jews] of the Synagogue, which is called the Synagogue of the Libertines, and Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and of Asia, disputing with Stephen. And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the [Holy] Spirit by which he spake. Then they suborned men, which said, We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses, and against God. And they stirred up the people, and the elders, and the scribes, and came upon him, and caught him [Stephen], and brought him to the council, And set up false witnesses, which said, This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this Holy place [Temple], and the law: For we have heard him say, that this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place [Temple], and shall change the customs which Moses delivered us. And all that sat in the council, *looking stedfastly on him, saw [observed] his face [with the presence of the Holy Spirit upon him] as it had been the face of an angel [in the very presence of God]. - Stephen living enough in the presence of God to become loving enough to witness to the people around him becomes bold enough to die for the Christian faith and becomes the first Christian martyr.

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Acts 7 - Stephen under arrest for blasphemy and on trial for his life in Jerusalem - Stephen uses as his defense the known fact that nearly every single prophet of importance to Israel throughout the history of Israel the people of Israel have first rejected the true Prophet before they ultimately accepted them and their ministry as being of God - Stephen is saying that Jesus was obviously God in the flesh though many people refused to believe it but then rejecting the true Prophets of God is the track record of mankind when it comes to interactions between man and God - Mankind has a propensity to reject the true interaction with God while at the same time embrace the false prophets of the world -- 'Acts 7:52-53 Which of the [true] Prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them [true Prophets] which shewed before [prophesied] of the coming of the Just One [Jesus Christ]; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers [their Jewish forefathers put to death the true prophets but they managed to go a step further and put to death the Messiah, Jesus the one prophesied about]: Who have received the law [the image of Jesus] by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it [because the law revealed the nature of Jesus].'

Acts 7:52-60 Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One [Messiah]; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers: Who have received the law [Divinely] by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it. When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart [enraged in their soul], and they gnashed on him with their teeth. *But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, *looked up stedfastly *into heaven, *and saw the glory of God, *and Jesus *standing [Jesus is standing as the Melchizedek High Priest ready to receive into Heaven the acceptable offering of the sacrifice and life of Stephen] on the right hand of God, And said, *Behold, I see the Heavens opened, and the Son of Man [Jesus] standing on the right hand of God [Father]. Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, And cast him out of the city [outside the city limits, probably at the dump], and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's feet, whose name was Saul [later the Apostle Paul] {Note: Saul (the Apostle Paul) although perfectly within his rights did not throw a stone himself - Paul was not the violent aggressor that the secular world wants to portray}. And they [not Saul] stoned Stephen, *calling upon God, and *saying [as Jesus said from His cross (Luke 23:46)], Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. *And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge [as Jesus had said from His cross (Luke 23:34)]. And when he had said this, he fell asleep [to the Christian death is as harmless as sleep and often in the Bible death is referred to simply as a [harmless] sleep for those who are saved and will awake in Heaven]. - Note: Normally in the Bible Jesus is represented as seated [enthroned]at the right hand of the Father Matthew 26:64)however Stephen describes Jesus as standing - standing is a part of the office of the High Priest - sitting is a part of the office of the King. Jesus preforms all three offices of God as King of the Universe, High Priest [Melchizedek] and True Prophet. The Christian Stephen lived his life with Jesus as his example, he preached his life with Jesus as his example and in his death (sleep) he departed with Jesus as his example and as such Stephen saw Jesus standing in Heaven and was received directly into Heaven receiving what the Apostle Paul would call the martyrs death the "better resurrection" (Hebrews 11:35).

wikipedia.org - St. Stephen's Day [December 26th]: Commemorates Saint Stephen, the first Christian martyr

St. Stephen's Day, or the Feast of St. Stephen, is a Christian Saint's day celebrated on 26 December in the Western Church and 27 December in the Eastern Church. Many Eastern Orthodox churches adhere to the Julian calendar and mark St. Stephen's Day on 27 December according to that calendar, which places it on January 9 according to the Gregorian calendar used in secular (and Western) contexts. It commemorates St Stephen, the first Christian martyr or protomartyr. -- Protomartyr (Greek "first" + "martyr") is a term for the first Christian martyr in a country. Alternatively, the phrase the Protomartyr (with no other qualification of country or region) can mean Saint Stephen, the first martyr of the Christian church. -- See also: Boxing Day [day after Christiams] - The name derives from the English tradition giving seasonal gifts (in the form of a "Christmas box") to less wealthy people. In the United Kingdom this was later extended to various workpeople such as laborers, servants, tradespeople and postal workers. ... Boxing Day is traditionally celebrated on 26 December, St. Stephen's Day, the day after Christmas Day. Unlike St. Stephen's Day, Boxing Day is a secular holiday and is not always on 26 December: the public holiday is generally moved to the following Monday if 26 December is a Saturday. If 25 December is a Saturday then both the Monday and Tuesday may be public holidays. However the date of observance of Boxing Day varies between countries. In Ireland - when it was part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland - the UK's Bank Holidays Act 1871 established the feast day of St Stephen as a non-moveable public holiday on 26 December. Since Partition, the name "Boxing Day" is used only by the authorities in Northern Ireland (which remained part of the United Kingdom). Their Boxing Day is a moveable public holiday in line with the rest of the United Kingdom. The Banking and Financial Dealings Act of 1971 established "Boxing Day" as a public holiday in Scotland. In the Australian state of South Australia, 26 December is a public holiday known as Proclamation Day. -- Calendar: In the countries that observe this holiday, 26 December is commonly referred to both as Boxing Day and as St. Stephen's Day, no matter what day of the week it occurs. However, in some countries, holidays falling on Saturday or Sunday are observed on the next weekday. Boxing Day cannot be on a Sunday, that day being the officially recognized day of worship, so traditionally it was the next working day of the week following Christmas Day, (i.e. any day from Monday to Saturday). In recent times this tradition has been either forgotten or ignored. Most people consider 26 December to be Boxing Day even when it falls on a Sunday. The last year 26 December was called Christmas Sunday in the United Kingdom and Canada was 1993. The next time the date fell on a Sunday (1999), it was known as Boxing Day. If Boxing Day falls on a Saturday, then Monday 28 December is declared a bank or public holiday. In the United Kingdom and some other countries, this is accomplished by Royal Proclamation. In some Canadian provinces, Boxing Day is a statutory holiday that is always celebrated on 26 December. As with most statutory holidays in Canada, if it falls on a Saturday or Sunday, compensation days are given in the following week. If Boxing Day falls on a Sunday then Christmas Day would be on a Saturday, so in countries where these are both bank or public holiday, the Statutory Holiday for Christmas is moved to Monday December 27 and the Statutory Holiday for Boxing Day is moved to Tuesday December 28. If Christmas Day falls on a Sunday, then Boxing Day is on Monday 26 December, and no Royal Proclamation is required. In such a circumstance, a 'substitute bank holiday in the place of Christmas Day' is declared for Tuesday 27 December, so the Boxing Day holiday occurs before the substitute Christmas holiday. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Stephen's_Day

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Acts 8 - The early Christian Church begins to experience wide scale opposition and persecution -- 'Acts 8:1-3 And Saul [later the Apostle Paul] was consenting unto his [Stephen's] death. *And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they [Christians - Disciples] were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, *except the Apostles [Apostle means 'sent out' at this point in the Church the Disciples basically fled while the Apostles remained calm]. And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him. As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to *prison [early Christians in Jerusalem were primarily sent to prison for a short time].'

Acts 8:4-25 Therefore they [Christian - Disciples] that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the [Gospel] Word. Then Philip [one of the seven servants as was Stephen] went down to the city of Samaria [ancient capital of Northern Israel], and preached Christ unto them. And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed. And there was great joy in that city. But there was a certain man, called Simon [the Sourcer - Warlock], which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one: To whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God. And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries. *But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the Kingdom of God, and the Name of Jesus Christ, *they were baptized, both men and women. *Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done. Now when the Apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God [but not yet the actual Kingdom of God], they sent unto them *Peter and John: Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost [Jesus instructed that the Christian Church would expand orderly and with the participation of Peter (Matthew 16:17-19) the leading Apostle]: For as yet He [Holy Spirit] was fallen upon none of them [Pentecost empowerment]: only they were baptized [Firstfruits] in the Name of the Lord Jesus. Then laid they [Peter, John] their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost [i.e. the 2nd Pentecost of the Church "Samaritans" - with the 3rd Pentecost household of Cornelius (Acts 10) Romans-Gentiles yet to come]. And when Simon saw that through laying on of the Apostles' hands the Holy Ghost was given {actually a new mission field was opened up}, he offered them money, Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost. *But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee [Peter did not consider Simon the Sourcer to be saved], because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. *Thou [unsaved] hast neither part nor lot in this matter: *for thy heart is not right in the sight of God. *Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee. *For I perceive [discern] that thou art in the gall of bitterness [against Jews and Christians], and in the bond of iniquity. Then answered Simon [unwilling to go to God himself], and said, Pray ye to the Lord for me, that none of these things which ye have spoken come upon me. And they, when they had testified and preached the Word of the Lord, returned to Jerusalem, and preached the Gospel in many villages [in the now open mission field] of the Samaritans. - The spread of Christianity being a work of God ordained in the Holy Spirit was spread only through the opening of opportunities by the Holy Spirit.

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Acts 9 - The Pharisee Saul of Tarsus while traveling the road to Damascus experiences a divine encounter with the resurrected Jesus Christ of Nazareth and instantly converts to Christianity eventually becoming the Apostle Paul the permanent 12th Apostle (replacing Judas), the leader and human standard for putting forth Christian doctrine and the writer of the majority of the Holy Bible's New Testament -- 'Acts 9:1-4 And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the [Christian] disciples of the Lord, went unto the High Priest, And desired of him letters [of authority] to Damascus to the Synagogues, that if he found any of this way [Christianity], whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem. *And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: *and suddenly there shined round about him *a light from Heaven: And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me?'

Acts 9:5-22 And he [Saul] said, *Who [Father, Son Jesus or Holy Spirit] art thou, Lord? *And the Lord said, *I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks [the prodding of God to become a Christian]. And *he trembling and astonished *said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do. And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice [but unable to hear the words (Acts 22:9)], but seeing no man. And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus. *And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink. And *there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord [Jesus] in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord [Jesus]. And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth, And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive [through confirmation] his sight. Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy Saints at Jerusalem: And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy Name. *But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: *for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear My Name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for My Name's sake. And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house [of Judas]; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. *And immediately there fell from his eyes [Jewish blindness (Romans 11:7)] as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, *and arose, *and was baptized. And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus. *And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, *that He [Jesus] is the Son of God. But all that heard him were amazed, and said; Is not this he that destroyed them which called on this Name in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, that he might bring them bound unto the Chief Priests? But Saul increased the more in strength [Holy Spirit empowerment], and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving [Biblically] that this [Jesus] is very Christ. - Saul of Tarsus had a Divine encounter with the resurrected Jesus Christ and instantly Saul rejected his past and embraced his future realizing the high calling on his life in Jesus Christ. Note: Saul of Tarsus heard the voice of God from Heaven and in one of the great moments of mankind proclaimed "Who art thou, Lord?" Saul knew instantly that God was speaking to Him and he knew just as instantly that God consisted of the Father, the Son Jesus and the Holy Spirit just as all of the Christian Disciples had been claiming and teaching all along. Saul of Tarsus [later the Apostle Paul] grasped and seized his moment of destiny with God in the same way that other great men of God had been able to grasp the enormity of their encounter with the living God of Heaven and earth. Saul understood his moment with God just as much as Abraham understood his moment with God when Abraham on the Mount of Sacrifice (Genesis 22:8-14) declared "Abraham said, my son, God will provide Himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together ... And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah-jireh: as it is said to this day, In the Mount of the LORD it shall be seen." King David understanding the greatness of his Divine moment with God at the Holy entrance of God into His Holy city Jerusalem King David worshiped God not as a King of men but simply as a man of God stripped naked and worshiping in the presence of the Holy God of Israel (2 Samuel 6:14). The Prophet Isaiah grasping the moment (Isaiah 37:14-35) that both the city of Jerusalem and the Temple of God were about to be conquered by the invading Assyrian army, Isaiah rushed into the Temple of God and among the Holy Scrolls spread the letter of defeat before God in the Temple and in a prayer of intercession saved the city of Jerusalem, the Temple and the people of God from the impending attack. The Apostle Peter seized his moment of Divine destiny and Preached to the gathered crowd at Pentecost (Acts 2:14-41). Saul of Tarsus after hearing the voice of God would rise from the ground and without any disputing or questioning of God's providence and unlike Moses (Exodus 4:10), Jeremiah (Jeremiah 1:6) and Elijah (1 Kings 19:9) the new convert Saul would immediately set his life to fulfill God's calling on his life and with his life as a living sacrifice to God [God the Father, the Son Jesus and the Holy Spirit] Saul became Paul the Apostle and fulfilled one of the greatest destinies presented by God to a worshiping mankind.

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Acts 10 - Acts Chapter 10 - The birth of the Gentile Christian Church -- 'Acts 10:1-7 There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a Centurion [soldier - company commander] of the band [unit] called the Italian band, A devout [Gentile] man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the [Jewish and Gentile] people, and prayed to God alway. He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour [3:00 pm] of the day an Angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius. And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he [Angel] said unto him, *Thy prayers and thine alms [giving] are come up for a memorial [eternal remembrance] before God. And now send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surname is [Apostle] Peter He lodgeth with one Simon a tanner, whose house is by the sea side: he [Peter] shall [open the doors for the Christian Church to now receive Gentile members] tell thee what thou oughtest to do. ...'

Acts 10:7-48 And when the angel which spake unto Cornelius was departed, he called two of his household servants, and a devout soldier of them that waited on him continually; And when he had declared all these things unto them, he sent them to Joppa. On the morrow, as they went on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour ... And the voice [of God] spake unto him [Peter] again the second time, *What God hath cleansed [with His blood on the cross], that call not thou common [unclean]. ... Now while Peter doubted in himself what this vision which he had seen should mean, behold, the men which were sent from Cornelius had made enquiry for Simon's house, and stood before the gate, And called, and asked whether Simon, which was surnamed Peter, were lodged there. While Peter thought on the vision, the Spirit said unto him, Behold, three men seek thee. Arise therefore, and get thee down, and go with them, doubting nothing: for I have sent them. ... Now therefore are we all here present [back at the house of Cornelious in Caesarea] before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee [Peter] of God. Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons [Jew or Gentile]: But *in every Nation he that feareth Him [God], and worketh righteousness, is accepted with Him. The word which God sent unto the Children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: He is Lord of all: That Word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea [Israel], and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached; *How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with Him. *And we are witnesses of all things which He [Jesus] did both in the land of the Jews, and in [Holy Week] Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree: Him God raised up the third day, and shewed Him openly [visibly]; *Not to all the people [only Christians (Firstfruits) those haven received the born again' Spirit of Jesus witnessed the Resurrection of Jesus], but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us [Apostles], who did eat and drink [feasting] with Him after He rose from the dead. And He commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is He which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick [living] and dead. To Him give all the prophets witness, that *through His Name *whosoever believeth in Him *shall receive remission of sins. While Peter yet spake these words, *the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word [the 3rd and final ethnic Pentecost globally opening the Christian Church to Gentiles]. And they of the circumcision [Jewish Christians] which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, Can any man forbid [Baptism] water, that these should not be Baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? *And he commanded them to be Baptized in the Name of the Lord [Father, Son Jesus, Holy Spirit]. Then *prayed [communicated] they him to tarry certain days. - Note: By this time in history with the move of the Holy Spirit to allow Gentiles into the Christian this is about 48 A.D. with the cross, resurrection and Pentecost occurring in about 33 A.D. the Christian Church has been firmly established and is about 15 years old when Gentiles are brought into Christian Fellowship with God. The as a result of Gentiles coming directly into the Christian Church in about 51 A.D. the Christian Church will have its first council the Council of Jerusalem to decide the validity and positioning of Gentiles in the already well-established Christian Church. The decision will be that Gentiles who have also been bought by the blood of Jesus Christ are to be welcomed into the Christian Church as full and equal members in the one universal Church body of the resurrected Jesus Christ.

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Acts 11 - The Christian Church in Jerusalem is told by Peter that he was instructed by God to go to Caesarea to preach to the Gentiles and that the Holy Spirit had descended upon the Gentiles and that now through the acceptance of God the Gentiles are converting from Paganism and are now entering into their true Church of God -- 'Acts 11:1-4 And the Apostles and brethren [disciples] that were in Judaea [Israel - Jerusalem] heard that the Gentiles had also received the Word of God. And when Peter was come up to Jerusalem, they that were of the circumcision [Jewish Christians] contended [argued] with him, Saying, Thou wentest in to men uncircumcised, and didst eat [fellowship] with them. But Peter rehearsed the matter [how it was intended by God] from the beginning, and expounded it by order unto them, saying, ...'

Acts 11:19-30 Now they [Jewish Christians] which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen travelled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the Word to none but unto the Jews only. And some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene, which, when they were come to Antioch, spake unto the Grecians [Gentiles], preaching the Lord Jesus. *And the hand of the Lord was [also] with them: and a great number [of Gentiles] believed, and turned unto the Lord [Father, Son Jesus, Holy Spirit]. Then tidings [news] of these things came unto the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem: and they sent forth Barnabas [Mark's Uncle - Gospel of Mark], that he should go as far as Antioch. Who, when he came, *and had seen the Grace of God [among the Gentiles], *was glad, and *exhorted [encouraged] them all [Jewish Christians and Gentile Christians], that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord [Father, Son Jesus, Holy Spirit]. For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and much people was added unto the Lord. *Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul [Apostle Paul]: And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that *a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and *taught much people. *And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch. *And in these days came prophets from Jerusalem unto Antioch. And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the Spirit that there should be great dearth [famine] throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of [Roman Emperor] Claudius Caesar. Then the disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in Judaea [Israel]: Which also they did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul. - The early Christian Church exercised great diversity in the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Every person within the congregation participated and contributed in some acceptable form or fashion. Barnabas encouraged the people, Saul (Paul) taught the people, others as watchmen prophesied coming events while everyone contributed to the welfare of the grater Christian Church mainly at that time in Jerusalem. - Note: The book of Acts mentions several local prophets and prophecies that at local in scope, composed mainly of events of concern to that day, location or situation. The Book of Acts in regards to Church prophecy seems to be recording a transition the transition from the Old Testament Office of Prophet [given to only a select few] for example Isaiah to the New Testament Gift of Prophecy [given and available at times to every Christian] for example Agabus and the four daughters of Philip (Acts 21:9).

Acts 11 (Part 2) - The early Christian Church in Jerusalem

The early Christian Church in Jerusalem was an important witness and an important part of all the things that Jesus did and taught in His earthly Ministry especially regarding the events of Holy Week including the cross, resurrection and 40 days later the Ascension of Jesus back into Heaven from Mount Olivet (near Jerusalem). However the early Church leaders in Jerusalem actually seemed early on to begin to hinder the broader plans and purposes of God that He has for His entire bride of Jesus Christ the Christian Church. The Christian Church in Jerusalem suffered a disproportionate amount of hardships compared to other early Christian Churches including several rather sever famines and eventually in 70 A.D. with the rest of Jerusalem the Christian Church in Jerusalem [what was left of it] ceased to exist and now for almost 2,000 years of Christian Church history there has been no Jerusalem centered leadership for the Christian Church a function that for all practical purposes has emanated from Rome and Catholicism. The Book of Revelation (Revelation 2:5) reveals how Jesus is determined to remove His presence from individual Churches and denominations that cease to be a work of God and instead become a humanistic work of man [glorifying pastors] much as the functioning of the Church in Jerusalem appeared to be. Today in modern Christianity we have a very similar set of circumstances in the Evangelical Church where the leaders, pastors, teachers and organizations of Evangelical Christianity have ceased [or have severely curtailed] to represent God and are now more inclined to represent the agendas and councils of men and as a result the modern broad-based current Evangelical system seems to have come under the judgment of God. This immediately brings up two important points. 1. We as individual Christians do not want to be trapped into a judgment that is upon an unfaithful segment of the Christian Church and therefore we should scatter [like the disciples from Jerusalem] from among the Evangelical establishment so as not to hinder the corrective work of God and by doing so becoming a partaker of their justly deserved plagues. 2. It is notable that God will first judge His Church (1 Peter 4:17) before the great and terrible Revelation judgment of the entire earth and so it seems that Evangelical Christianity is being judged and removed and with a severe judgment upon the Church the global judgment of Revelation may not be far behind. [If many particularly major Evangelical ministries start collapsing and dissolving *consider that primarily it is a judgment from God and do not even consider assisting them either financially or emotionally (to enable them to remain unrepentant) in what will probably be a much lamented and very public time for them but instead come outside of a system that has become corrupted by men and worship God outside the gates of the past Evangelical-Jerusalem failed Church system. - Note: It seems that modern day Evangelical Christians are at the same place where early Jerusalem Christians found themselves just prior to 70 A.D. where they were at one time a part of something that for a moment was unique and spectacular but had failed to move along with the broad-based and determined plans of God so therefore their system was to be upended by God and being in a system that was more of men than of God many of the early disciples in Jerusalem chose to vacate the Jerusalem Church and by doing so saved themselves from much hardship [even from destruction] and were therefore much more able to continue on with their lives and the lives of their family in a much better unhindered and untangled environment and were able with pure hearts to lift up clean and simple hands in complete worship and adoration to God.

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Acts 12 - The Apostle James the representative of [and Apostle to] the redeemed group of Martyred Saints of Revelation is himself Martyred -- 'Acts 12:1-2 Now about that time Herod [Antipas] the king [the son of King Herod the Great of Matthew 2:1] stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church. And he killed James the brother of John with the sword.' Note: Jesus only allowed the Disciples Peter, John and James [each representing a distinct group of redeemed - saved people] to witness and participate at the Mount of Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1) and in the Garden of Gethsemane (Mark 14:33) while the other disciples were excluded.' - Peter the Apostle representing the Jews (Galatians 2:7), the Disciple John representing the Christian Church (Revelation 4:1) and James the Apostle representing the Martyred Saints of Revelation (Acts 12:2) - John and James were brothers as the Christian Church and the future [primarily Gentile] Martyred Saints of Revelation (Revelation 6:9) are brothers (Revelation 13:7) but are not the same group - The 144,000 (Revelation 7:4) Jewish witnesses of Revelation are also Martyred (Revelation 14:1) during the tribulation period.

The death of Herod Antipas (who put John the Baptist to death) - Herod the Tetrarch (Matthew 14:1): Acts 12:20 And Herod was highly displeased with them [the cities] of Tyre and Sidon: but they came with one accord to him, and, having made Blastus the king's chamberlain their friend, desired peace; because their country was nourished by the king's country. And upon a set day Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat upon his throne, and made an oration [speech] unto them. *And the people gave a shout, saying, It is the voice of a god, and not of a man. *And immediately the angel of the Lord smote [stricken] him [Herod], *because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and [five days later] gave up the ghost. *But the Word of God grew and multiplied. And Barnabas and Saul [Apostle Paul] returned from Jerusalem, when they had fulfilled their ministry [delivering contributions], and took with them John [Mark John - writer of the Gospel of Mark - nephew of Barnabas], whose surname was Mark.

Jewish historian Josephus (Born: 37 AD - Died: 100 AD) on the Death of Herod [Antipas] (Born: 20 BC - Died: 39 AD) - when he had been quite worn out by the pain in his belly [infection from worms] for five days, he departed this life

Josephus on the Death of Herod: By Nathan Busenitz - In Acts 12:20-24, Luke records the remarkable account of the death of Herod Agrippa I (who reigned from A.D. 37-44). Below is the same event described by the historian Josephus. It's fascinating stuff. "Now when Agrippa had reigned three years over all Judea, he came to the city Caesarea. . . . . There he exhibited shows in honor of the emperor. . . . On the second day of the festival, Herod put on a garment made wholly of silver, and of a truly wonderful contexture, and came into the theater early in the morning; at which time the silver of his garment was illuminated by the fresh reflection of the sun's rays upon it. It shone out after a surprising manner, and was so resplendent as to spread a horror over those that looked intently upon him. At that moment, his flatterers cried out . . . that he was a god; and they added, 'Be thou merciful to us; for although we have hitherto reverenced thee only as a man, yet shall we henceforth own thee as superior to mortal nature.' Upon this the king did neither rebuke them, nor reject their impious flattery. But as he presently afterward looked up, he saw an owl sitting on a certain rope over his head, and immediately understood that this bird was the messenger of ill tidings, as it had once been the messenger of good tidings to him; and he fell into the deepest sorrow. A severe pain also arose in his belly, and began in a most violent manner. He therefore looked upon his friends, and said, 'I, whom you call a god, am commanded presently to depart this life; while Providence thus reproves the lying words you just now said to me; and I, who was by you called immortal, am immediately to be hurried away by death. But I am bound to accept of what Providence allots, as it pleases God; for we have by no means lived ill, but in a splendid and happy manner.' After he said this, his pain was become violent. Accordingly he was carried into the palace, and the rumor went abroad that he would certainly die in a little time. But the multitude presently sat in sackcloth, with their wives and children, after the law of their country, and besought God for the king's recovery. All places were also full of mourning and lamentation. Now the king rested in a high chamber, and as he saw them below lying prostrate on the ground, he could not himself forbear weeping. And when he had been quite worn out by the pain in his belly for five days, he departed this life, being in the fifty-fourth year of his age, and in the seventh year of his reign." (Flavius Josephus, Jewish Antiquities 19.343-350). http://www.shepherdsfellowship.org/pulpit/posts.aspx?ID=4375

Herod Antipas who put John the Baptist to death, son of Herod the Great - was Born: 20 BC - Died: 39 AD - Cause of death: unspecified [infected with worms]

Herod Antipas, son of Herod the Great by the Samaritan Malthace, and full brother of Archelaus, received as his share of his father's dominions the provinces of Galilee and Peraea, with the title of tetrarch. Like his father, Antipas had a turn for architecture: he rebuilt and fortified the town of Sepphoris in Galilee; he also fortified Betharamptha in Peraea, and called it Julias after the wife of the emperor. Above all he founded the important town of Tiberias on the west shore of the Sea of Galilee, with institutions of a distinctly Greek character. He reigned 4 BC to 39 AD. In the gospels he is mentioned as Herod. He it was who was called a "fox" by Christ (Luke 13:32). He is erroneously spoken of as a king in Mark 6:14. It was to him that Jesus Christ was sent by Pilate to be tried. But it is in connection with his wife Herodias that he is best known, and it was through her that his misfortunes arose. He was married first of all to a daughter of Aretas, the Arabian king; but, making the acquaintance of Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip (not the tetrarch), during a visit to Rome, he was fascinated by her and arranged to marry her. Meantime his Arabian wife discovered the plan and escaped to her father, who made war on Herod, and completely defeated his army. John the Baptist condemned his marriage with Herodias, and in consequence was put to death in the way described in the gospels and in Josephus. When Herodias's brother Agrippa was appointed king by Caligula, she was determined to see her husband attain to an equal eminence, and persuaded him, though naturally of a quiet and unambitious temperament, to make the journey to Rome to crave a crown from the emperor. Agrippa, however, managed to influence Caligula against him. Antipas was deprived of his dominions and banished to Lyons, Herodias voluntarily sharing his exile. http://www.nndb.com/people/901/000103592/

Herod the Great (Matthew 2:1) [Father of Herod Antapas] - This revised chronology dates the capture of Jerusalem to 43 B.C., the rebuilding of the Temple to 32 B.C., and Herod's death to 8 B.C. - Some of the evidence for this revised chronology is summarized below

Herod the great captured Jerusalem for the Romans in the first century B.C. He rebuilt the Second Temple of Jerusalem, the Temple where Christ later taught. Herod tried to kill the Christ-Child, by killing the male children 2 years of age or younger in Bethlehem and the surrounding area. Not long before his own death, Herod put to death about forty Jews who studied at the Temple, "and that very night there was an eclipse of the moon." Biblical chronologists generally date the capture of Jerusalem by Herod to 37 B.C., the rebuilding of the Temple as beginning in 20 B.C., and Herod's death to either 4 B.C. or 1 B.C. This revised chronology dates the capture of Jerusalem to 43 B.C., the rebuilding of the Temple to 32 B.C., and Herod's death to 8 B.C. Some of the evidence for this revised chronology is summarized below. For details and references, please see chapter 12 of the book. 1. According to Josephus, the year in which Herod captured Jerusalem was both a Sabbatical year (which must include the summer before the capture of the city) and a year in which Tishri 10 fell in September. To determine the year of the capture of Jerusalem, we must take both these factors into consideration. Notice, in the Table above, that the usual date for the capture of Jerusalem is ruled out, because Tishri 10 did not fall in September in that year. So far, we have three possible dates for the capture of Jerusalem: 44 B.C., 43 B.C. and 36 B.C. Examining the length of Herod's reign and the year of his death will help us decide between them. http://www.biblicalchronology.com/herod.htm

Pontius Pilate (Matthew 27:2) - Eusebius quoted some early Apocryphal (the general term 'Apocryphal' is usually applied to the books that were considered by the Church as useful, but not divinely inspired - wiki.com) accounts which he did not name, that said Pilate suffered misfortune in the reign of Caligula (AD 37-41), was exiled to Gaul (present day France and Belgium) and eventually committed suicide there in Vienne - There is an old tradition linking the birthplace of Pilate with the small village of Bisenti, Samnite territory, in today's Abruzzo region of Central Italy. There are ruins of a Roman house known as "The House of Pilate" - [Eusebius born 263 AD - died 339 AD - became the Bishop of Caesarea [home of Cornelius (48 A.D.) - Acts 10:1], in Palestine (Israel), about the year 314 A.D. - wiki.com]

Etymology of the name Pilatus: There are several possible origins for the cognomen Pilatus. A commonly accepted one is that it means "skilled with the javelin". The pilum (= javelin) was five feet of wooden shaft and two feet of tapered iron. When the point penetrated a shield, the shaft would bend and hang down, thus rendering it impossible to throw back. Another definite origin of Pilatus was the name given to a hat worn by the devotees of the Dioskouroi. The Castorian cult was well established throughout the empire and persisted well into the 5th Century AD particularly among the Dacian and Sarmatian soldiers throughout the frontiers of the empire. The name Pileatus was used as a cognomen by the descendants of Burebista of Dacia whose descendants are known to have been soldiers who were stationed in Judea, Britain, Spain, Gaul, and Germany. -- Birth, life and death in legend: Pilate's date and place of birth are unknown. An 1899 article in the New York Times references a Scottish legend that Pilate's father was an ambassador to the Caledonians and that he was born in Fortingall in Glen Lyon, Perthshire; this legend is quite common in Highland Perthshire. The 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica article on Pilate said that Pontius suggested a Samnite origin-among the Pontii-and his cognomen Pileatus, if it derived from the pileus or cap of liberty, implied that he was either descended from, or had been himself a freedman. It is also commonly believed that the name 'Pontius' implies that he was descended from Gaius Pontius, the Samnite General. One tradition relates that he married Claudia Procula, daughter of illegitimate birth to Julia, Augustus' only natural offspring and adopted by Tiberius who had previously been married to Julia. Eusebius quoted some early apocryphal accounts which he did not name, that said Pilate suffered misfortune in the reign of Caligula (AD 37-41), was exiled to Gaul and eventually committed suicide there in Vienne. There is an old tradition linking the birthplace of Pilate with the small village of Bisenti, Samnite territory, in today's Abruzzo region of Central Italy. There are ruins of a Roman house known as "The House of Pilate." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pontius_Pilate

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Acts 13 - The Missionary efforts of the Christian Church primarily to Gentiles begins with Saul [Apostle Paul] and Barnabas being sent out (Apostle) by the Holy Spirit on the first of three Missionary trips undertaken by the Apostle Paul and recorded in the book of Acts -- 'Acts 13:1-4 Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen [a childhood friend of Herod], which had been brought up with Herod the Tetrarch, and Saul [Apostle Paul]. *As they ministered to the Lord [Father, Son Jesus, Holy Spirit], and fasted, *the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the [Missionary] work whereunto I have called them. And when they [Church fellowship] had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away. So they, *being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia [in modern Syria]; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus.' - Note: Where Jesus is the head and authority of the Christian Church it is primarily the work of the Holy Spirit that is in charge of gathering, assembling and orchestrating the Christian Church into becoming the one assembled Bride of Jesus Christ.

Acts 13:43-52 Now when the [Jewish synagogue] (redeemed - Jewish redemption) congregation was [concluded for the Saturday] broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God. And the next Sabbath day [Saturday] came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God. But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming. Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the Word of God [for salvation] should first have been spoken to you [Jews the redeemed of God]: but seeing ye put it [Salvation] from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life [here and now], lo, *we turn to the Gentiles. *For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for *salvation [eternal life] unto the ends of the earth. *And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed. And the word of the Lord was published throughout all the region. But the Jews stirred up the devout and honorable women, and the chief men of the city, and raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them [evicted] out of their coasts. But they shook off the dust of their feet against them, and came unto Iconium. And the disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost. - Note: What is being offered to the Jews is salvation. The [observant obedient - Synagogue] Jews are already redeemed (in the presence of God) and for the redeemed Jews salvation comes *after death. Jesus is offering Salvation [eternal life] here and now. The Gentiles [us]do not have redemption as the observant Jews do, some Gentiles are (saved) in that their conscience was a witness to them that there is a God but they were saved (also after death) not directly knowing God and not being in the presence of God as the redeemed Jews are. Gentiles who become Christians receive instantly both the Redemption (without sin in the presence of God) and Salvation (eternal life). Where the Jews have Jewish redemption and eventually (after death) eternal life (Salvation) a redeemed Jew can become a Christian and then also receive Salvation already having redemption but the Gentiles coming into the Christian Church only have the option of Salvation and with Christian Salvation comes redemption.

PAUL [the Apostle] has been called the greatest Christian who ever lived

PAUL has been called the greatest Christian who ever lived. He also suffered greatly for the name of Jesus Christ. When Paul defended his calling to the Church, he defined suffering as a major proof of his spiritual office. 'I have worked much harder,' he insisted, 'been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again' (2 Corinthians 11:23). Strength in Weakness: But Paul's many trials did not deter him from living the Christian life. Neither did they restrict his preaching the gospel. To the contrary, suffering seemed to impel Paul to even greater spiritual service. The apostle Paul said something remarkable about his adversities: 'For Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong' (2 Corinthians 12:10). We shouldn't, however, think of Paul as bigger than life or an indestructible superman. There were times when the tremendous hardships he confronted were far beyond his human endurance. After suffering one rather malicious incident of persecution, Paul admitted he and his companions 'despaired even of life' (2 Corinthians 1:8). But Paul had faith in the living God to see him through his trial. 'On him we have set our hope,' wrote Paul, 'that he will continue to deliver us' (verse 10). But as Paul's life demonstrates, God usually delivers us out of troubles we are already in, not necessarily from troubles before they begin. Yet, as we must, Paul was able to rise above all his many afflictions. How did he do it? And how can we surmount our trials and troubles? Paul certainly didn't overcome by his own strength or will. He never took personal credit for being able to bear his painfully heavy cross. He attributed his spiritual muscle to its true source - Jesus Christ. Paul said: 'I can do everything through him who gives me strength' (Philippians 4:13). He exulted, not in his own will and courage, but in the power of Christ in him. By his example we know that we, too, have access to the same spiritual power and courage. http://www.towards-success.com/dejnarde_files/life_of_paul_the_apostle.htm

Seleucia [near Antioch (Syria)] - Seleucia was the seaport from which Paul and Barnabas left [from the Church in Antioch] with John Mark [Mark who the departed from the mission at Pamphylia] for their first missionary journey (in approximately 49 A.D.) (Photos)

Seleucus I Nicator of Syria founded Seleucia Pieria in 301 B.C. as a port for his capital in Antioch. The city became one of the "Syrian Tetrapolis," designed to promote Hellenistic culture in Syria. It was then an important political, military, and economic game piece in the Ptolemaic-Seleucid wars. In 63 B.C. Rome made Seleucia a free city and then in 70 A.D. made it the base for the imperial fleet. ... see Acts 13:4). Part of the ancient (manmade) harbor can still be seen, although it has since silted up. This harbor caused continual problems and required frequent maintenance. ... Titus' Tunnel: A stream which led into the harbor was so threatening during the flood season that the Romans built a water channel north of the city to divert it. Legionaries, sailors, and Judean prisoners provided the work for the project. Titus' tunnel, as it is called today, cuts through the solid rock of the mountain in two places. ... Vespasian Inscription: The tunnel is dated based on two inscriptions. The inscription shown here was dedicated to Vespasian and Titus, so construction of the tunnel probably began in 70 A.D. However it was not finished until the second century. http://www.bibleplaces.com/seleucia.htm

Map of Paul's First [of Three] Missionary Journeys - [Paul made a fourth documented trip - as prisoner in his first visit to Rome] - This map reveals the areas in Asia Minor where Paul visited in his first missionary journey around 48 AD (Map - List of Bible Verses)

This map reveals the areas in Asia Minor where Paul visited in his first missionary journey. Around 48 AD, in the springtime, Paul and his companions Barnabas and Mark were sent on a mission from the church in Antioch. This would be the first of Paul's Missionary Journey's. They had been gone for a year and a half planting churches and appointing elders. They had traveled approximately 1,250 miles. When they [Paul and Barnabas] returned they reported to the Church [in Antioch and later in Jerusalem] all that had happened. http://www.bible-history.com/maps/maps/map_pauls_first_missionary_journey.html

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Acts 14 - The first Missionary Journey continues and the Apostles [Paul and Barnabas] continue to experience and to witness firsthand both the events of miraculous conversions to Christianity from some and from others outright hostile opposition against Christianity -- 'Acts 14:3-7 Long time therefore abode [in the city of Iconium] they speaking boldly in the Lord, which gave Testimony unto the Word of His [Jesus'] Grace, and granted [miraculous] signs and wonders to be done by their hands. But the multitude of the city was divided: and part held with the Jews, and part with the Apostles. And when there was *an assault made *both of the *Gentiles, and also of the *Jews with their rulers, to use them despitefully, and to stone them, They were aware of it, and fled unto Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and unto the region that lieth round about: And there they [also] preached the gospel.'

The first Missionary Journey is successfully concluded: Acts 14:21-28 And when they had preached the gospel to that city [Derbe], and had taught many, they *returned again to Lystra [where Paul was taken outside the city and stoned to death - and also where the Disciple Timothy (1st and 2nd Timothy) was from who joined Paul on the 2nd Missionary Journey], and to Iconium, and Antioch (Pisidia)[now modern central Turkey], *Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God. And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed. And after they had passed throughout Pisidia, they came to Pamphylia [where Mark left them and the Missionary Journey (a journey Mark was not originally called by the Holy Spirit to be a part of) and went back to Jerusalem]. And when they had preached the Word in Perga, they went down into Attalia: And thence sailed to Antioch (Syria - now modern costal Turkey) [North of Israel - near the port of Seluecia where they originally left from], from whence they had been recommended to the grace of God for the work which they fulfilled. And when they were come, and had gathered the church [in Antioch] together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles. And there they abode long time with the disciples.

Ancient Syrian Antioch (Modern Antakya in Turkey): Seventeen ancient cities in present day Turkey were named Antioch but only two are remembered today in a historical sense - One is modern day Antakya (located in ancient Syria) and the other is Antioch in Pisidia (Central Turkey)

Overview: A city of southern Turkey on the Orontes River near the Mediterranean Sea. Seventeen ancient cities in present day Turkey were named Antioch but only two are remembered today in a historical sense. One is modern day Antakya (located in ancient Syria) and the other is Antioch in Pisidia ... The plain of Antioch was occupied from the Neolithic onwards but the city itself was not founded until 300 B.C. by the Greek General Seleucus I after the death of Alexander the Great. Antioch was one of the two capitals of the Parthian Empire and was populated by indigenous groups and Greek colonists. It became a Roman city in 64 B.C. and was made the administrative capital of the Roman Province of Syria. http://ancientneareast.tripod.com/Antioch.html

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Acts 15 - The 1st Church Council takes place about 52 A.D. at the Church in Jerusalem - The 1st Church Council was specifically in regard to the major number of Gentiles that were now joining the Christian Church daily [predominantly through Missionary efforts] and whether or not the Gentiles would have to be circumcised and observe any of the Jewish customs or take part in any of the established laws of Moses -- 'Acts 15:6 And the Apostles and [Church] Elders [including James the ½ brother of Jesus] came together for to consider of this matter.'

Acts 15:6-22 And the Apostles and Elders came together for to consider of this matter. And when there had been much disputing [arguing], [Apostle] Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago [Cornelius and his household at Caesarea] God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe. And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, *giving them the Holy Ghost, even as He did unto us; And put no difference between us and them, *purifying their hearts by faith. Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke [law of Moses] upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? *But we believe that through the Grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we [Jews who are Redeemed] shall be Saved, even as they [Gentiles who are now being Saved - Salvation]. Then all the multitude kept silence, and gave audience to Barnabas and Paul, declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them. And after they had held their peace, James [the ½ brother of Jesus - Church leader in Jerusalem] answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me: Simeon [Apostle Peter] hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, *to take out of them a [Christian] people for His Name. And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written, After [Gentile Christian Church] this I [Messiah] will return [2nd Coming], and will build again the Tabernacle [House - Dwelling] of [the Throne of King] David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: That [during the Christian Church Age] the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom My Name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things. *Known unto God are all His works *from the beginning of the world. Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God [those who have the Holy Spirit]: But that we write unto them, *that they abstain from pollutions of [Gentile] idols, and from [Gentile] fornication, and from things strangled [Jewish law], and from blood [Jewish law]. *For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him [abstain from idols and fornication because it is un-Christian, abstain from unclean food and blood only if it offends the local Jewish population], being read in the synagogues every Sabbath day. Then pleased it the apostles and elders, with the whole Church [in Jerusalem], to send chosen men of their own company to [the Church in] Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; namely, Judas surnamed Barsabas, and Silas, chief men among the brethren ... - Note: The early Church recognized that God was active in calling Gentiles into His Christian Church and they also recognized that the Gentiles would have to conduct their new life in a manner consistent with Biblical Christianity and finally they concluded that it is important for Christians not to openly offend those that have remained Jewish. Also Note: All food including blood is now clean because the eternal blood of Jesus Christ has cleansed the world. Eating animal blood and probably human blood if it were obtained in a legal manner does not make a person unclean. Satan has devised a scheme that the world is unclean however it is not. It is unprofitable to do questionable things and germs and disease might be involved but if someone for example drank pig blood thinking it is an evil act the act itself is not but the intentions of their heart might be. - Some cultures eat blood foods and if the Jews are simply notified that it is a custom and not a slight on Moses then they are free to eat their blood food of course not offering any of it to a devout Jewish person because that would be terribly offensive. The 1st Church council was saying to the Gentiles to have our Christian Gentile liberties but also to be mindful and respectful of the [Redeemed] Jews who do still follow the laws of Moses. http://basicchristian.org/blog_biblestudy.html

Acts 15 (Part 2) - Christian Church Councils - All of the Church Councils throughout history have dealt specifically with the issues of God's Redemptive and Salvation plan for mankind and in light of God's plan for mankind the councils have also attempt to explain who God is to mankind - A Note of Encouragement: Participation in the blog Bible Study has been going extraordinarily well since the start of the study and it continues as one of the most active projects on the Basic Christian website. I'm encouraged and blessed daily by the numbers of people who are so actively studying the Bible and seeking a direct relationship with God in Jesus Christ. Continue with prayer, study and fellowship! Continue the good work in Jesus Christ!

A brief background note on the blog Bible Study and a summary of Redemption and Salvation: The Bible is about the Redemption and Salvation plan of God for mankind therefore the blog Bible Study is attempting to be about the Redemption and Salvation of mankind in examining the predetermined plan of God in Jesus Christ for mankind. - Summary: Adam and his wife [later named Eve] were both a part of the original creation of God and were both created possessing Redemption [in the visible, perceivable presence of God] and Salvation [eternal life]. With the fall of Adam and Eve by disobedience to God that directly resulted in sin against God then Adam and Eve lost their Redemption and Salvation and as a result of not having Redemption and Salvation they were then unable to pass along Redemption and Salvation to any of their descendants including us at our present day. The very children of Adam and Eve were without God in any form except in the brief [redemptive] knowledge of God that their parents Adam and Eve were able tell them about from their experiences and for a few corrective and punitive [redemptive] measures from God. It seems we fail to realize how complete the sin separation was for mankind and how devastating the results were. Adam and Eve were a part of the original creation of God and then their immediate children [Cain, Abel, Seth, etc.] composed a group of individuals separated from God but were able through the instructions of their parents to follow substitutional sacrificial practices. This group highly separated from God consisting of individuals and families were known as the 'sacrificing righteous Gentiles' a group of disorganized individuals that encompassed the highly personally [self] esteemed Job and it finally the system spun completely out of control and came to an end in the folly of Balaam the last of the sacrificing Gentiles. God chose the man Abram (Abraham) and his wife Sarai (Sarah) from among the sacrificing Gentiles to become the father of the Jewish Nation of further redeemed of God. Jewish Redemption was to bring mankind through the laws, customs and representation of God into a more direct and more Redeemed presence of God [as an example for all of mankind] than any of mankind had previously been since the fall of mankind. God Redeemed the Jewish Nation of Israel through Covenants (Promises), Laws (Society), Kings (representation of God), Priests (access for the people to God), Prophets (access from God to the people) all a direct representation of the one coming Jesus Christ the Messiah of all mankind. With the now accomplished Redemption and Salvation for all mankind in the Messiah Jesus Christ the finalized Christian Salvation and Redemption provided in the Virgin birth, atoning Redemption blood and eternal Salvation resurrection life of Jesus Christ is the completed work of God among mankind however not everyone is yet at the completed Christian work of God in mankind. The work of God in convicting Gentiles [in remote areas who have not heard the Gospel] through their conscience about the Holy God and through the enormity and splendor of God's creation continues. Also the Redemption of the Jewish people and Nation of Israel continues and soon another group of Redeemed the End Time Martyred Saints of Revelation will be established and quickly joined by the Redeemed 144,000 [Jewish Firstfruits (Revelation 14:4), Jews who acknowledge Jesus and remain Jewish] Jewish Witnesses of Jesus Christ the Messiah. Then after the return of Jesus Christ and during His 1,000 year Righteous Kingdom reign here on earth there will be another group of Redeemed 'Millennial Saints' to continue to fulfill and establish the Redemption and Salvation plan of God in Jesus Christ existing for all of mankind throughout every age and into all of eternity.

The Council of Jerusalem Acts 15:6-31 (Approx. 52 A.D.): where we read of the first General Church Council - A serious question of doctrine arose, and "the apostles and the presbyters came together to consider this matter" - The decree of the Council of Jerusalem went on, then, to establish a binding obligation upon all Christians in the local churches of Antioch, Syria and Cilicia: "that you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality" (Acts 15:29) - Did the local churches bristle at this imposition of doctrine and practice from the ecclesiastical leadership of the whole Church? Not at all, but rather they "rejoiced over its encouragement" (Acts 15:31) {The 50 A.D. Jerusalem Council decision was yes, Gentiles can become Christians and then simple directions and reminders were given so that the new Gentile Christians would not offend God. The food (abstain from eating blood) decision was given so that Christians would not offend the Jews. Christians can eat any food however God is still protecting the Jews and He does not want them offended by others even Christians. Acts 15:21 For Moses of old time hath in every city them (Jews) that preach (law) him, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath day.}

The Council of Jerusalem: We may prove this quite readily by turning to Acts 15:6-31, where we read of the first General Church Council. A serious question of doctrine arose, and "the apostles and the presbyters came together to consider this matter" (Acts 15:6). After hearing the arguments and testimony of Peter, Paul and Barnabas, the leader of the Council, James [half brother of Jesus, writer of the book of James], then passed a decree with the words, "Therefore I judge" (Acts 15:19, 'dio ego krino'). This passage describes no truly democratic process, but rather it describes submission to the judgment of a central ecclesiastical authority [an authority completely submitted to Jesus Christ]. -- After receiving the judgment of James, "it pleased the apostles and presbyters together with the whole Church" (Acts 15:22: 'apostolois kai tois presbyterois syn hole ekklesia') to dispatch delegates with a letter promulgating the decree of the Council. The council then drafted a letter in the name of "the apostles and the brother-presbyters" (Acts 15:23: 'hoi apostoloi kai hoi presbyteroi adelphoi'). This phrasing, and especially the apposition of 'presbyteroi' and 'adelphoi', is quite precise in establishing the authority of the decision of the Council in the office of the ministers who serve and lead the Church, as opposed to a democratic process. -- Does the phrase "whole Church" here refer to the universal Church, or merely to the entirety of the congregation at Jerusalem. Recalling that the leadership of the Council was comprised of the apostles who were planting local churches in the Hellenistic world, delegates of the Hellenistic churches, and the presbyters of the church at Jerusalem, we can only rightly conclude that they spoke in the name of the universal Church. Indeed, the letter explicitly states that the authors speak in the authority of the Holy Spirit (Acts 15:28); since Paul tells us that it is by one Spirit that we were baptized into one body (1 Cor. 12:13) which is Christ (1 Cor. 12:27) and over which Christ is the head (1 Eph. 1:22-23), when Luke writes in Acts 15:22 of the leadership of the whole Church assenting to the decree of James which is binding on all Gentile Christians, he is necessarily speaking of the Church in its universal or catholic sense. -- The Council then sent the letter to the local churches in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia. This letter remarks that the false doctrine which the council repudiated was in fact discernibly false because "we gave no such commandments" (Acts 15:24). Hence, the Bible tells us that right doctrine is subject to the discernment of the leadership of the whole Church. The decree of the Council of Jerusalem went on, then, to establish a binding obligation upon all Christians in the local churches of Antioch, Syria and Cilicia: "that you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality" (Acts 15:29). Did the local churches bristle at this imposition of doctrine and practice from the ecclesiastical leadership of the whole Church? Not at all, but rather they "rejoiced over its encouragement" (Acts 15:31). Clearly, the Bible itself sets a precedent for the government of the universal Church by means of General Councils. http://members.aol.com/uticacw/baptist/church1.html

wikipedia.org: First Council of Nicaea by the Roman Emperor Constantine I in 325 AD - The First Council of Nicaea is commonly regarded to have been the first Ecumenical [representing the whole Christian Church] council of the Christian Church [that is if neglecting the Council of Jerusalem in 52 AD] - Most significantly, it resulted in the first uniform Christian doctrine, called the Creed of Nicaea

History: The purpose of a creed is to act as a yardstick of correct belief. The creeds of Christianity have been drawn up at times of conflict about doctrine: acceptance or rejection of a creed served to distinguish believers and deniers of a particular doctrine or set of doctrines. For that reason a creed was called in Greek a word that meant half of a broken object which, when placed together with the other half, verified the bearer's identity. The Greek word passed through Latin "symbolum" into English "symbol", which only later took on the meaning of an outward sign of something. The Nicene Creed was adopted in the face of the Arian controversy. Arius, a Libyan preacher, had declared that although Jesus Christ was divine, God had actually created him, and there was a time when he was not. This made Jesus less than the Father and contradicted the doctrine of the Trinity. Arius's teaching provoked a serious crisis. The Nicene Creed of 325 explicitly affirms the divinity of Jesus, applying to him the term "God". The 381 version speaks of the Holy Spirit as worshipped and glorified with the Father and the Son. The Athanasian Creed describes in much greater detail the relationship between Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Apostles' Creed, not formulated in reaction to Arianism, makes no explicit statements about the divinity of the Son and the Holy Spirit, but, in the view of many who use it, the doctrine is implicit in it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Council_of_Nicaea

Nicene Creed of 325 A.D. - Constantinople Creed of 381 A.D.

First Council of Nicea (325 A.D.) We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begotten of the Father the only-begotten; that is, of the essence of the Father, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father; By whom all things were made both in heaven and on earth; Who for us men, and for our salvation, came down and was incarnate and was made man; He suffered, and the third day He rose again, ascended into heaven; From thence he shall come to judge the quick (living) and the dead. And in the Holy Ghost. -- First Council of Constantinople (381 A.D.) We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible. And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds (eons), Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father; by whom all things were made; who for us men, and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost of the Virgin Mary, and was made man; He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered, and was buried, and the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures, and ascended into Heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of the Father; from thence He shall come again, with glory, to judge the quick (living) and the dead; *whose kingdom shall have no end. And in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of life, who proceedeth from the Father, who with the Father and the Son together is worshiped and glorified, who spake by the prophets. In one holy catholic and apostolic Church; we acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins; we look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicene_Creed#Comparison_between_creed_of_325_and_creed_of_381

4 Great Church Councils Part 1 & 2 (Mp3s) {Note: The Council of Jerusalem Acts 15:6-31 (Approx. 52 A.D.) is the original and first Christian Church Council. All of the later Church Councils are modeled after the first Jerusalem Council.}

Excellent!!! http://www.sermonaudio.com/search.asp?speakerWithinSource=&subsetCat=speaker&subsetItem=Trevor+Hammack&mediatype=&keyword=vbc&keyworddesc=Victory+Baptist+Church+%28Reformed%29&currsection=sermonssource&AudioOnly=false&SourceOnly=true&keywordwithin=council&x=12&y=12 title=“sermonaudio.com

The Bible and The Creeds - Sermon Series: An Introduction to the Creeds (Mp3s)

Brian Borgman is the founding pastor of Grace Community Church. He earned a B.A. in Biblical Studies from Biola University (La Mirada, CA), a Master of Divinity from Western Conservative Baptist Seminary (Portland, OR) and a Doctor of Ministry from Westminster Seminary (Escondido, CA). http://www.sermonaudio.com/search.asp?sourceOnly=true&currSection=sermonssource&keyword=gracenevada&keyworddesc=Grace+Community+Church&subsetcat=series&subsetitem=An+Introduction+to+the+Creeds

Book of Common Prayer (1662) - "I believe there is no Liturgy in the world, either in ancient or modern language, which breathes more of a solid, scriptural, rational piety than the Common Prayer of the Church of England" John Wesley (PDF)

The 1662 Book of Common Prayer of the Church of England (you can download it by clicking the picture to the left or the link below) is still technically the only "official" prayer book of the Church of England, the mother church (for the moment at least) of the Anglican Communion. It itself is the result of more than a century of liturgical development through a turbulent time in British history. Its literary and theological influence is immense; this alone makes it an important document. http://www.vulcanhammer.org/anglican/bcp-1662.pdf

Westminster Confession of Faith (1647) - Downloadable Documents (Doc)

The Westminster Catechism was completed in 1647 by the Westminster Assembly and continues to serve as part of the doctrinal standards of many Presbyterian churches. http://www.valleypresbyterian.org/study/what_we_believe.html

The Westminster Confession of Faith (1647) - Downloadable Documents (PDF)

In 1643, during a period of civil war, the English "Long Parliament" (under the control of Presbyterian Puritans) convened an Assembly of Divines (mostly Puritan ministers, including a few influential Scottish commissioners) at Westminster Abbey in London. Their task was to advise Parliament on how to bring the Church of England into greater conformity with the Church of Scotland and the Continental Reformed churches. The Westminster Assembly produced documents on doctrine, church government, and worship that have largely defined Presbyterianism down to this day. These documents included a Confession of Faith (1646), a Larger Catechism (1647), and a Shorter Catechism (1647), often collectively called "the Westminster standards." Parliamentary efforts to reconstitute the established Church of England along Presbyterian lines were soon thwarted by the rise to power of Cromwell (who favored Independency) and the expulsion of Presbyterians from Parliament in 1648, and then the restoration of the monarchy in 1660, which quickly led to the reinstitution of Episcopacy and the suppression of Puritanism. -- But things were different in Scotland. The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland adopted the Confession of Faith in 1647 and the Catechisms in 1648. The Scottish Parliament ratified them in 1649 and again (after a time of political and religious strife) in 1690. The Presbyterian character of the Church of Scotland was safeguarded when Scotland and England were united under one crown in 1707. Numerous Presbyterian bodies have been formed since then, both in the United Kingdom and around the world, and they have always been constituted on the basis of the Westminster standards (although declension from them has sometimes followed). -- When the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America was formed in 1788, it adopted the Westminster standards, as containing the system of doctrine taught in the Holy Scriptures. However, it revised chapters 20.4, 23.3, and 31.2 of the Confession, basically removing the civil magistrate (i.e., the state) from involvement in ecclesiastical matters. http://www.opc.org/confessions.html

The Westminster Confession of Faith 1648 - The Westminster Confession of Faith (WCF) and its related documents are the greatest of all the creeds of the Christian church (Mp3s)

"As truly as in the cases of the Nicene and Chalcedonian formularies, the Westminster Standards mark an epoch in the history of human reflection on the truths of the gospel--an epoch in the attainment and registry of doctrinal truth; and as truly in the one case as in the other the statements they give of the truths that fall in their sphere are scientifically final. All attempts at restatement must either repeat their definitions or fall away from the purity of their conceptions or the justness of their language." (Benjamin B. Warfield, "The Significance of the Westminster Standards as a Creed," 1897). http://www.sermonaudio.com/search.asp?SpeakerOnly=true&currSection=sermonsspeaker&Keyword=Westminster^Divines

Historic Baptist Documents - Confessions, Catechisms, Creeds

Many contemporaries have a deep-seated suspicion of catechisms. In our own Baptist denomination, many would consider the words "Baptist catechism" as mutually exclusive. A popular misconception is that catechisms are used in times and places where inadequate views of conversion predominate or the fires of evangelism have long since turned to white ash. If the Bible is preached, they continue, no catechism is necessary; catechisms tend to produce mere intellectual assent where true heart religion is absent. This concern reflects a healthy interest for the experiential side of true Christianity. Concern for conversion and fervor, however, should never diminish one's commitment to the individual truths of Christianity nor the necessity of teaching them in a full and coherent manner.~An Encouragement to Use Catechisms, Tom Nettles. http://www.reformedreader.org/ccc/hbd.htm

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Acts 16 - The Apostle Paul departs for his 2nd of three Missionary Journeys - Barnabas and Paul have divided company so Paul takes Silas on his second journey -- 'Acts 15:35 Paul also and Barnabas continued in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, *with many others also. And some days after Paul said unto Barnabas, Let us go again [on a 2nd Missionary Journey] and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they do. And Barnabas determined to take with them [Mark] John, whose surname was Mark. But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work. *And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder [split] one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus; And Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren [fellow Christians] unto the grace of God. And [starting] he went through Syria and Cilicia [local existing Churches], confirming the Churches.'

Acts 16:1-4 Then came he to Derbe and Lystra [where Paul was stoned to death on the first trip]: and, behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timotheus [Timothy, 1st and 2nd Timothy], the son of a certain woman, which was a Jewess [Jewish], and believed; but his father was a Greek [Gentile]: Which was well reported of by the brethren that were at Lystra and Iconium. *Him [Timothy, ½ Jewish - ½ Gentile] would Paul have to go forth with him; *and took and circumcised him because of the Jews which were in those quarters: for they knew all that his father was a Greek [but that his mother was Jewish so Timothy should have been circumcised as an infant - Paul was trying to right a previous wrong - and most importantly Paul was trying to find a way for Christianity and Judaism to exist side by side an effort that will almost get Paul killed and will lead to his arrest and being sent to Rome]. And as they [Paul, Silas, Timothy and soon Luke (Acts 16:11)] went through the cities, *they delivered them the decrees [New Testament writings - book of James - probably Gospel of Matthew - and possibly the Didache (extra-Biblical material)] for to keep, that were ordained of the Apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem. ... Acts 16:5-10 And so were the Churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily. Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of *Galatia [book of Galatians], *and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia [even though the Holy Spirit had previously directed the Apostle Peter to open up Christianity to all ethnicities there are still barriers that remain in preaching and spreading the Gospel], After they were come [diverted] to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not [again more barriers and another closed door]. And they passing by Mysia came down to Troas. *And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a [contact] man of Macedonia, and prayed [asked] him, saying, Come over into Macedonia [Greece], and help us. And after he had seen the vision, *immediately we endeavored to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us [the door was open] for to preach the gospel unto them. ... Acts 16:16-32 And it came to pass [in the city of Philippi, later the book (letter) of Philippians], as we went to prayer, a certain damsel [young lady] *possessed with a spirit of divination [lit. python] [knowledge of Satan's plans or intentions for people, always bondage, usually false hope and often evil - i.e. tragedy, death, illness] met us, which brought her masters much gain [money] by soothsaying [fortunetelling]: *The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which show unto us the way of salvation {she has the Holy Spirit of God upon here (since Pentecost - Acts 2:17) and an conflicting evil spirit inside of her}. And this did she many days [Paul took a while to assess and discern the spirits at work through and around her] {not outright confusion but a grey (foggy) area of Christianity and of the world - the events of the world and of the spiritual realm are not always just black and white and we do need to pray and to exercise and use Biblical discernment}. *But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit [of divination], I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her [stop possessing her]. And he came out the same hour [hour - with concern, patience and discernment]. And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains [the evil spirit] was gone, they caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the marketplace unto the rulers, And brought them to the magistrates [city officials], saying, These men, being Jews [early Christianity until Rome's edict was still considered a sect of Judaism], do exceedingly trouble our city, And teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans. And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them. And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailer to keep them safely: Who, having received such a charge, thrust them into the inner [most escape proof part of the] prison, *and made their feet fast in the stocks [wooden handcuffs]. *And at midnight [the darkest hour] Paul and Silas *prayed, *and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. And suddenly there was a great [actual] earthquake [God intervened], so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one's bands were loosed. And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled [escaped]. *But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here [we value your life and have not fled]. Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas [grateful they did not flee], 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 [Christianity is available to everyone, male, female, young, old, etc.]. And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. - The life changing message of Christianity continues to be given to a grateful mankind!

The Didache [lit. The Teachings] - The Didache is also called the "Teaching of the Twelve Apostles" - It was possibly written around 65 - 80 A.D. {possibly 52 A.D. about the time of the letter from the 1st Church Council in Jerusalem} and is supposed to be what the twelve apostles taught to the Gentiles concerning life and death, church order, fasting, baptism, prayer, etc. - There is debate as to its authenticity - The work is cited by Eusebius who lived from 260 - 341 [A.D.] and Athanasius (293-373 A.D.) It seems to be referenced by Origen who lived from 185-254 [A.D.] - In the Didache, 16:2-3 is quoted in the Epistle of Barnabbas in 4:9, or vice versa - The Epistle of Barnabbas was [possibly] written in 130-131 A.D. - The Didache is not (purely) inspired {extra-Biblical}, but is valuable as an early church document

A total of 16 Chapters: CHAPTER 1 1:1 There are two paths, one of life and one of death, and the difference is great between the two paths. 1:2 Now the path of life is this -- first, thou shalt love the God who made thee, thy neighbor as thyself, and all things that thou wouldest not should be done unto thee, do not thou unto another. 1:3 And the doctrine of these maxims is as follows. Bless them that curse you, and pray for your enemies. Fast on behalf of those that persecute you; for what thank is there if ye love them that love you? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? But do ye love them that hate you, and ye will not have an enemy. 1:4 Abstain from fleshly and worldly lusts. If anyone give thee a blow on thy right cheek, turn unto him the other also, and thou shalt be perfect; if any one compel thee to go a mile, go with him two; if a man take away thy cloak, give him thy coat also; if a man take from thee what is thine, ask not for it again, for neither art thou able to do so. 1:5 Give to everyone that asketh of thee, and ask not again; for the Father wishes that from his own gifts there should be given to all. Blessed is he who giveth according to the commandment, for he is free from guilt; but woe unto him that receiveth. For if a man receive being in need, he shall be free from guilt; but he who receiveth when not in need, shall pay a penalty as to why he received and for what purpose; and when he is in tribulation he shall be examined concerning the things that he has done, and shall not depart thence until he has paid the last farthing. 1:6 For of a truth it has been said on these matters, let thy almsgiving abide in thy hands until thou knowest to whom thou hast given. CHAPTER 2 2:1 But the second commandment of the teaching is this. 2:2 Thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not commit adultery; thou shalt not corrupt youth; thou shalt not commit fornication; thou shalt not steal; thou shalt not use soothsaying; thou shalt not practice sorcery; thou shalt not kill a child by abortion, neither shalt thou slay it when born; thou shalt not covet the goods of thy neighbour; 2:3 thou shalt not commit perjury; thou shalt not bear false witness; thou shalt not speak evil; thou shalt not bear malice; 2:4 thou shalt not be double-minded or double-tongued, for to be double tongued is the snare of death. 2:5 Thy speech shall not be false or empty, but concerned with action. 2:6 Thou shalt not be covetous, or rapacious, or hypocritical, or malicious, or proud; thou shalt not take up an evil design against thy neighbour; 2:7 thou shalt not hate any man, but some thou shalt confute, concerning some thou shalt pray, and some thou shalt love beyond thine own soul. CHAPTER 3 3:1 My child, fly from everything that is evil, and from everything that is like to it. 3:2 Be not wrathful, for wrath leadeth unto slaughter; be not jealous, or contentious, or quarrelsome, for from all these things slaughter ensues. 3:3 My child, be not lustful, for lust leadeth unto fornication; be not a filthy talker; be not a lifter up of the eye, for from all these things come adulteries. 3:4 My child, be not an observer of omens, since it leadeth to idolatry, nor a user of spells, nor an astrologer, nor a travelling purifier, nor wish to see these things, for from all these things idolatry ariseth. 3:5 My child, be not a liar, for lying leadeth unto theft; be not covetous or conceited, for from all these things thefts arise. 3:6 My child, be not a murmurer, since it leadeth unto blasphemy; be not self-willed or evil-minded, for from all these things blasphemies are produced; 3:7 but be thou meek, for the meek shall inherit the earth; 3:8 be thou longsuffering, and compassionate, and harmless, and peaceable, and good, and fearing alway the words that thou hast heard. 3:9 Thou shalt not exalt thyself, neither shalt thou put boldness into thy soul. Thy soul shall not be joined unto the lofty, but thou shalt walk with the just and humble. 3:10 Accept the things that happen to thee as good, knowing that without God nothing happens. CHAPTER 4 4:1 My child, thou shalt remember both night and day him that speaketh unto thee the Word of God; thou shalt honour him as thou dost the Lord, for where the teaching of the Lord is given, there is the Lord; 4:2 thou shalt seek out day by day the favour of the saints, that thou mayest rest in their words; 4:3 thou shalt not desire schism, but shalt set at peace them that contend; thou shalt judge righteously; thou shalt not accept the person of any one to convict him of transgression; 4:4 thou shalt not doubt whether a thing shall be or not. 4:5 Be not a stretcher out of thy hand to receive, and a drawer of it back in giving. 4:6 If thou hast, give by means of thy hands a redemption for thy sins. 4:7 Thou shalt not doubt to give, neither shalt thou murmur when giving; for thou shouldest know who is the fair recompenser of the reward. 4:8 Thou shalt not turn away from him that is in need, but shalt share with thy brother in all things, and shalt not say that things are thine own; for if ye are partners in what is immortal, how much more in what is mortal? 4:9 Thou shalt not remove thine heart from thy son or from thy daughter, but from their youth shalt teach them the fear of God. 4:10 Thou shalt not command with bitterness thy servant or thy handmaid, who hope in the same God as thyself, lest they fear not in consequence the God who is over both; for he cometh not to call with respect of persons, but those whom the Spirit hath prepared. 4:11 And do ye servants submit yourselves to your masters with reverence and fear, as being the type of God. 4:12 Thou shalt hate all hypocrisy and everything that is not pleasing to God; 4:13 thou shalt not abandon the commandments of the Lord, but shalt guard that which thou hast received, neither adding thereto nor taking therefrom; 4:14 thou shalt confess thy transgressions in the Church, and shalt not come unto prayer with an evil conscience. This is the path of life. ... http://www.carm.org/christianity/miscellaneous-topics/didache

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Acts 17 - The 2nd Missionary Journey continues to take the Gospel of Jesus Christ into further reaches of mankind -- 'Acts 17:1-4 Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica [1st and 2nd Thessalonians], where was a synagogue of the Jews: And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three Sabbath days *reasoned {now the Book of Hebrews} with them out of the scriptures, Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and *risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ [Messiah]. And some of them believed ...'

Paul's sermon in Athens Greece at the Mars Hill outdoor Auditorium: Acts 17:16-34 Now while Paul waited for them [Silas and Timothy] at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry. *Therefore disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews, and with the devout persons, *and in the market daily with them [Gentiles] that met with him. Then certain philosophers of the Epicureans [pleasure seekers - food, wine, music, sex, adventure, etc.], and of the Stoicks (Stoicism) [pleasure deniers - no emotions, submit the body to the mind, overcome all obstacles in life with no emotions], encountered him. And some said, What will this babbler say? other some, He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods: because *he [Paul] preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection. *And they took him, and brought him unto Areopagus [Mars' Hill], saying, May we know what this new doctrine, whereof thou speakest, is? For thou bringest certain strange things to our ears: we would know therefore what these things mean. For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing. Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars' hill, and said, *Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are *too *superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, Him declare I [starting with God's creation] unto you. God that made [created] the world and all things therein, seeing that He is Lord [owner - authority] of Heaven and earth, *dwelleth not in temples made with hands; *Neither is worshipped with men's hands [abilities, accomplishments], as though He [God] needed anything [for His existence from man], seeing He [God] giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; *And hath made of one blood [Adam and Eve] *all Nations of men [everyone] for to dwell on all the face of the earth, *and hath determined the times [generations] before appointed, and the bounds [city, state, nation - Limits] of their habitation; [restrictions] That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel [with their conscious] after Him, and find Him, though he be not far from every one of us [God is always close]: *For in Him [in God's created realms] we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own [Greek] poets have said, For we are also His offspring. Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead [Father, Son Jesus, Holy Spirit] is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man's device. *And the times of this ignorance [before Pentecost] God winked at [allowed mankind to rebel]; *but now [after the cross, resurrection, Pentecost] commandeth all men everywhere to repent [in the Church age]: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which He will judge the world in righteousness by that man [Son of Man] whom He hath ordained; whereof *He hath given assurance unto all men, *in that he hath raised [resurrection] Him [Jesus - Son of God - Son of Man] from the dead. *And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, *some mocked: and *others said, We will hear thee again of this matter. So Paul departed from among them. *Howbeit certain men clave unto him, and believed [became Christians]: *among the which was *Dionysius the Areopagite, and a woman named *Damaris, *and others with them.

Areopagus (Mars Hill), Athens [Greece] - The Areopagus or Mars Hill is a bare marble hill next to the Acropolis in Athens - It is especially popular with travelers for its connections with a speech made by Paul the Apostle (Photos)

History: In pre-classical times (before the 5th century BC), the Areopagus was the council of elders of the city, like the Roman Senate. Like the Senate, its membership derived from those who had held high public office, in this case that of Archon. In 462 BC, Ephialtes put through reforms which deprived the Areopagus of almost all its functions except that of a murder tribunal. In classical times, the Areopagus functioned as the chief homicide court of Athens. At the foot of the Areopagus was a temple dedicated to the Erinyes, where murderers could find sanctuary. -- In the Bible: The Areopagus, like most city-state institutions, continued to function in Roman times, and it was then that the Apostle Paul delivered his famous speech about the identity of "the Unknown God." According to the biblical account (Acts 17) ... http://www.sacred-destinations.com/greece/athens-areopagus-mars-hill

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Acts 18 - The eventful, far reaching and highly successful 2nd Missionary Journey of the Apostle Paul concludes as Paul visits the seaport city of Corinth in Greece and then after a brief visit to Ephesus [in modern Turkey] he quickly makes his way back to the Church at Antioch hoping first to make it to Jerusalem in time to celebrate the Passover [Holy Week] in Jerusalem - After a very short visit in Jerusalem possibly during Holy Week [it's not mentioned if Paul made it in time] and then on to Antioch and after spending a short time in Antioch he soon departed for his 3rd and final Missionary Journey -- 'Acts 18:9-10 Then [while in Corinth] spake the Lord [Jesus] to Paul in the night by a vision, *Be not afraid [of persecution], but speak, and hold not thy peace: *For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city.'

Acts 18:18-23 And Paul after this [put on trial before Gallio] tarried [stayed] there [at Corinth] yet a good while [longer], and then took his leave of the brethren, and [beginning to conclude the 2nd Missionary Journey] sailed thence [in the direction] into Syria [back to Antioch], *and with him Priscilla and Aquila [friends from Corinth]; having shorn his head in Cenchrea: for he had a [Nazarite] vow. And he came to [the Church in] Ephesus [in the modern day Nation of Turkey], and left them [Priscilla and Aquila] there [in Church]: but he himself entered into the Synagogue, and reasoned with the Jews. When they [Christians] desired him to tarry [stay] longer time with them, he consented not; But bade them farewell, saying, I must by all means keep this feast {Passover?} that cometh in Jerusalem [now Holy Week]: but I will return again unto you, if God will. And he sailed from Ephesus. And when he had landed at Caesarea [an ancient seaport in Turkey - not Caesarea Philippi in Israel near Mount Hermon], and gone up, and saluted the church [in Jerusalem], he went down to Antioch. [--- End of the 2nd Missionary Journey] And after he had spent some time there [Antioch], he departed [--- Start of Paul's 3rd and probably final Missionary Journey (though disputed - there might have been a fourth Missionary Journey after Paul was released from prison in Rome)], and went over all the country of Galatia and Phrygia in order, strengthening all the disciples. - The second Missionary Journey concludes and the Apostle Paul now with a permanent passion [and even a fever] for Missionary life shortly begins another Missionary Journey.

Drive Thru History :: Ancient Greece - A TV Series DVD Promo (YouTube)

In the first episode Dave hops on a car ferry and ends up where you could once find the Oracle at Delphi. After some weird fun Dave looks at the origin of the Olympics, follows the conquests of Alexander the Great, and begins a look at the Apostle Paul. It's in this episode, Drive Thru History presents what is perhaps the most thorough, yet condensed, (about 15 minutes) story of Paul's missionary journeys ever produced for television. In Athens, Dave will take you to the Acropolis and the Parthenon and provides a quick lesson in Greek philosophy learning about Plato, Aristotle and Socrates. In the last episode Dave visits the ruins of ancient Corinth. He examines the decadence of the Corinthians during the Roman era. Corinth sits near an isthmus, and you will see why understanding the geography of Corinth was so important to understanding the people of Corinth. Lastly, Dave will examine the Apostle Paul's life in Corinth and his writings to the church there-writings that forever changed history. Visit the Drive Thru History Website: http://www.drivethruhistory.com. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SxLWYDh8xJs

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Acts 19 - With the 3rd Mission Journey the Apostle Paul makes more of a concerted effort to clean up loosened doctrines that are still around, to deepen and instruct the disciples in the correct Church doctrines of Jesus Christ and to strengthen the faith of the new leaders and new disciples by having a faith based solely on the living resurrected Jesus Christ -- 'Acts 19:10 And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.' - 'Acts 19:21 After these things were ended, Paul purposed *in the Spirit, [that later] when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia [Greece], to go to Jerusalem, saying, After I have been there, I must also see Rome.'

Acts 19:1-7 And it came to pass, that, while Apollos [a disciple from Alexandria, Egypt - he was a disciple of an early disciple of John the Baptist] was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism. Then said Paul, John [the Baptist] verily baptized with the baptism of repentance [renewed heart], saying unto the people, that they should believe on Him [Jesus] which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. *When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied. And all the men were about twelve. ... Acts 19:13-20 Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth. And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so. And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye? And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the Name of the Lord Jesus was magnified. And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds. Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. So mightily grew the Word of God and prevailed. - Other people even Jewish people were trying to use the Name of Jesus to command evil spirits however Jesus is not a Name to be thrown around like an incantation instead Jesus is the Name above every name and in His name He is to be worshiped!

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Acts 20 - By the 3rd Missionary Journey of the Apostle Paul the Christian Church much as we know it today [with weekly Sunday worship] was firmly established and in operation throughout most of the Roman world -- 'Acts 20:7-11 And upon the first day of the week [Sunday], when the disciples came together to break bread [regular Christian Church day], Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight. ... When he [injured man was healed] therefore was come up again, and had broken bread, and eaten, and [Paul] talked a long while, even till [the] break of day [sunrise], so he [Paul then] departed.'

Acts 20:16-38 For Paul had determined to sail by Ephesus, because he would not spend the time in Asia: for he hasted, if it were possible for him, to be at Jerusalem the day of Pentecost. And *from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the Church. *And when they were come to him, he said unto them [a farewell sermon], Ye know, from the first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have been with you at all seasons, Serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews: *And how I kept back nothing [all Christian doctrines were publically taught] that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you [every doctrine], and have taught you publickly (publically), and from house to house, Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. And now, behold, I go bound in the Spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, *so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more. *Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. *Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock [Christian Church], over the which the *Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the *Church of God, *which He [Jesus] *hath purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous *wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of His Grace, *which is able to build you up, and to give you an *inheritance among all them which are sanctified. I have coveted no man's silver, or gold, or apparel. Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me. I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how He [Jesus] said, *It is more blessed to give than to receive. And when he [Paul] had thus spoken, he kneeled down, and prayed with them all. And they all wept sore, and fell on Paul's neck, and kissed him, Sorrowing most of all for the words which he spake, that they should see his face no more. And they accompanied him unto the ship [to continue on his way to Jerusalem].

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Urbana 09 is intended for anyone interested in missions. The target audience is college-aged women and men between the ages of 18 and 30. But every Urbana draws people from all over North America who want to learn more about global realities, current missions issues, and their place in God's mission. ... Register here at www.urbana09.org. A minimum $100 non-refundable, non-transferable deposit must accompany your registration. The remaining balance should be paid by credit card, e-check, or check by December 15, 2009. http://www.urbana09.org/inviteothers.videos.cfm

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Acts 21 - The Apostle Paul goes once again to the Church in Jerusalem and once again the Apostle Paul attempts to reconcile Christianity with Judaism and this time the events are disastrous and nearly fatal for the Apostle as Paul ends up arrested and in the custody of Rome no longer a freeman but a prisoner of Rome -- 'Acts 21:4 And finding disciples, we tarried there [in Tyre] seven days: who said to Paul through the Spirit, *that he should not go up to Jerusalem.' - Note: Christian laity prophecy, those exercising the gift of prophecy [forth telling] often simplify and under complicate the prophecy message they are intended to give. The many disciples who prophesied to the Apostle Paul did so in oversimplified black and white terms [don't go to Jerusalem]. The Apostle Paul correctly identified the prophesies as more complex and as a warning from the Holy Spirit, intending that Paul should go to Jerusalem but not to go there unprepared for the unsuspected and disasters events that were about to occur mainly the wholesale and universal rejection of Paul's Gospel message by his Jewish brethren in Jerusalem.

Acts 21:17-24 And when *we [Luke was among the disciples with Paul in Jerusalem] were come to Jerusalem, the brethren received us gladly. And the day following Paul went in with us unto James [½ brother of Jesus - leader of the Church in Jerusalem - book of James]; and all the elders were present. And when he [Paul] had saluted them, he declared particularly what things God had wrought among the Gentiles by his Ministry. And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord, and said unto him, Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe; and they are all zealous of the law [of Moses]: And they are informed [misinformed] of thee, that thou teachest all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children, neither to walk after the customs. What is it therefore? the multitude [Christians in Jerusalem] must needs come together [be in agreement regarding the customs and laws of Moses for Jewish Christians]: for they [Jewish Christians] will hear that thou art come. *Do therefore this that we say to thee: We have four men [Jewish Christians] which have a [Temple] vow on them; Them take, and purify thyself with them [at the Temple], *and be at charges with them, that they may shave their heads: *and all may know that those things, whereof they were informed concerning thee, are nothing; but that thou thyself also walkest orderly, and keepest the law [of Moses]. - The Apostle Paul arrived in Jerusalem and with the advanced knowledge of Paul's pending arrival the Christian Church in Jerusalem just happened to have four men who were in dire need of a Temple ritual service and of someone to accompany them in their ritual Temple Service. The Christian leaders in Jerusalem being concerned for their own customs didn't even bother to ask Paul what his message was but instead insisted that Paul participate in their customs regardless of any circumstances that might occur. The Apostle Paul attempted to appease the Church in Jerusalem and while following and participating in their manmade localized customs disaster ensued.

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Acts 22 - The Apostle Paul complies with the desires of the leaders of the Christian Church in Jerusalem - The results are a disaster as once in the Temple area Jews of Asia [modern Turkey] recognized Paul and immediately sought to kill him - Being arrested by the Roman authorities the Apostle Paul requested to speak to the crowd of Jews - The Jews of Jerusalem [many previously friends of Paul (Saul)] completely rejected the Apostle and more disheartening refused even to hear his message in its entirety -- 'Acts 22:24 The chief [Roman] Captain commanded him [Paul] to be brought into the castle [into the jail cell], and bade that he should be examined by scourging; that he [Rome] might know wherefore they [Jews] cried so against him [Paul].' - Note: Even though the Apostle Paul was unexpectedly imprisoned in a Roman jail and facing death with charges of treason and riotousness the disciples who accompanied Paul used their precious time in Jerusalem wisely. Luke used the time to research and to write his Gospel of Luke while Paul even though in jail he used the time to write his letter to his Jewish Christian brethren in Jerusalem his book of Hebrews.

Acts 22:25-30 And as they [Roman guards] bound him [Paul] with thongs [leather ropes], Paul said unto the Centurion that stood by, Is it lawful for you to scourge a man that is a Roman, and un-condemned? When the centurion heard that, he went and told the chief captain, saying, Take heed what thou doest: for this man is a Roman [citizen]. Then the chief captain came, and said unto him [Paul], Tell me, art thou a Roman? He said, Yea (yes). And the chief captain answered, With a great sum [money] obtained I this freedom. And Paul said, But I was free born [Paul has family that can come to his defense in the Roman courts]. Then straightway they departed from him which should have examined [scourged] him: and the chief captain also was afraid, after he knew that he was a Roman, and because he had bound him. On the morrow [next day], because he would have known the certainty wherefore he was accused of the Jews, he loosed him from his bands, and commanded the [Jewish] Chief Priests and all their Council (Jewish Supreme Court) [Sanhedrin] to appear, and brought Paul down, and set him before them. - The Apostle Paul, the disciples, the Church in Jerusalem, the Jews, the Romans and all the world are trying to initiate their plan to get things to go their way by bringing in their customs, preferences, laws, rituals and their order however everyone is about to find out that there is a new plan being established in the universe and that it is not the plans and desires of man but instead the predetermined purposes and plans of God in Jesus Christ.

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Acts 23 - Paul goes on trial both in Jewish and Roman courts - Ultimately in Rome Paul is acquitted and released from prison - However after a brief period of freedom in Rome Paul was rearrested, being a well-known Christian leader and during the continued persecution of Nero the Apostle Paul was put to death while in his second prison stay - A short time late the Apostle Peter was also executed in Rome during the same persecution of Christians by Caesar Nero -- 'Acts 23:1-5 And Paul, earnestly beholding the [Sanhedrin] Council, said, Men and brethren, I have lived in all good *conscience before God until this day. And the High Priest Ananias commanded them that stood by him to smite him [Paul] on the mouth [being struck Paul becomes a type of Jesus (John 18:22)]. Then said Paul unto him, God shall smite thee, thou whited wall: for [because] sittest thou to judge me after the law, and commandest me to be smitten contrary to [against] the law? And they that stood by said, Revilest thou God's high priest? *Then said Paul, I wist (lit. perceived) not, brethren, that he was the high priest [Paul is saying that the only High Priest is Jesus Christ]: for it is written [Exodus 22:28], Thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people.'

The letter (epistle) that accompanied Paul written by the Chief army Captain of Rome in Jerusalem to the Roman Governor Felix in Caesarea: Acts 23:25-35 And he [Roman army Captain] wrote a letter (epistle) after this manner: [army Captain] Claudius Lysias unto the most excellent Governor Felix sendeth greeting. This man [Paul] was taken of the Jews, and should have been killed of them: then came I with an army, and rescued him, having understood {well actually later} that he was a Roman. And when I would have known [uncertain of their accusations] the cause wherefore they accused him, I brought him forth into their council [to clarify their charges against him]: Whom I perceived to be accused of questions of their law, but to have nothing laid to his charge worthy of death or of bonds. And when it was told me how that the Jews laid wait for the man, I sent straightway to thee, and gave commandment to his accusers also to say before thee [clearly] what they had against him. Farewell [end of letter]. Then the soldiers, as it was commanded them, took Paul, and brought him by night to Antipatris. On the morrow they left the horsemen to go with him, and returned [the foot soldiers] to the castle [back in Jerusalem]: Who, when they [the horse soldiers] came to Caesarea, and delivered the epistle (letter) to the Governor [Felix], presented Paul also before him. And when the Governor had read the letter, he asked [why do I have to deal with this mess] of what province he was. And when he understood that he [Paul] was of Cilicia [Tarsus of Cilicia]; I will hear thee, said he, *when thine accusers are also come. And he commanded him to be kept in Herod's judgment hall. - The Apostle Paul entered the often clear but sometimes murky Roman judicial system. Paul was kept in prison in Caesarea and not forwarded to Rome in the hopes of Governor Felix that Paul would pay him a large bribe or ransom to obtain his freedom (Acts 24:26) but the Apostle Paul had been told in a vision that this was to take Paul to Rome to testify of Jesus in Rome so the Paul didn't even consider paying money for his release.

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Acts 24 - The Apostle Paul would now spend over two years' time in jail in Caesarea - The Apostle Paul having already written the book of Hebrews [while in jail in Jerusalem] could have written his famous 'confinement' (prison) Epistles [the Bible books - Colossians, Philemon, Ephesians, Philippians] while in jail in Caesarea though Church tradition holds that the four Epistles were written by Paul while under house arrest in Rome after having left Caesarea and having traveled by ship to Rome -- 'Acts 24:27 But after two years Porcius (Procurator) [High Roman official - 2nd in command to the Emperor - wiki.com] Festus came into [Governor] Felix' room: and Felix, willing to shew the Jews a pleasure, left Paul bound [in jail]. - Note: Besides the four common Prison Epistles of Paul the book of Hebrews is a prison Epistle [Hebrews 13:19] (from Paul's imprisonment in Jerusalem) and the book of 2nd Timothy [2nd Timothy 1:8] is a prison Epistle from Paul's second imprisonment in Rome and was written possibly just days before Paul was executed as a prisoner of Rome

Acts 24:24-27 And after certain days, when [Governor] Felix came with his wife Drusilla, which was a Jewess, he sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ. And as he [Paul] reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come *Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee. He hoped also that [bribe] money should have been given him of Paul, that he might loose him: wherefore he sent for him the oftener, and communed with him. But after two years Porcius (Procurator) Festus came into Felix' room: and Felix, willing to shew the Jews a pleasure, left Paul bound. - The Apostle Paul navigates the many and varied ramifications of being a prisoner of not only of Rome and Jerusalem but also of the many and varied administrative officials of the Roman Empire.

The Epistles of Paul by C.I. Scofield - The Two Silences: Two periods in the life of Paul after his conversion are passed over in a silence which is itself significant--the journey into Arabia, from which the Apostle returned in full possession of the Gospel explanation as set forth in Galatians and Romans; and the two silent years in prison in Caesarea, between his arrest in the Temple at Jerusalem and his deportation to Rome - It seems most congruous [harmonious] with the events of Paul's life to suppose that these great revelations [Paul's Epistle books of the Bible] came during the silent years at Caesarea--often spoken of as wasted

The Two Silences: Two periods in the life of Paul after his conversion are passed over in a silence which is itself significant--the journey into Arabia, from which the Apostle returned in full possession of the Gospel explanation as set forth in Galatians and Romans; and the two silent years in prison in Caesarea, between his arrest in the temple at Jerusalem and his deportation to Rome. It was inevitable that a trained intellect like that of Paul, a convinced believer in Mosasism, and, until his conversion on the Damascus road, an eager opponent of Christianity, must seek the underlying principles of the Gospel. Immediately after his conversion he preached Jesus as the Messiah; but the relation of the Gospel to the Law, and, in a lesser degree, of the great Jewish promises, needed clear adjustment if Christianity was to be a reasonable faith, and not a mere dogma. In Arabia Paul sought and found that adjustment through revelation by the Spirit. Out of it came the doctrinal explanation of salvation by grace through faith, wholly apart from the law, embodied in Galatians and Romans. But the Gospel brings the believer into great relationships--to the Father, to other believers, to Christ, and to the future purposes of God. It is not only a salvation from sin and the consequences of sin, but into an amazing place in the Divine counsels. Furthermore, the new thing, the church in its various aspects and junctions, demanded clear revelation. And these are the chief themes of the Epistles written by Paul from Rome, and commonly called the Prison Epistles--Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians. It is contrary to the method of inspiration, as explained by Paul himself, to suppose that these crowning revelations were made apart from deep meditation, demanding quietness, and earnest seeking. It seems most congruous with the events of Paul's life to suppose that these great revelations came during the silent years at Caesarea--often spoken of as wasted. - Article from Scofield Reference Notes (1917) (Public Domain) For over 90 years people have relied on this reference work in their daily study of God's Word. Written originally in 1909, C. I. Scofield's intent was to provide a concise but complete tool that would meet the need of someone just beginning to read the Bible. http://www.christianity.com/Christian%20Foundations/The%20Bible/11541689/

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Acts 25 - The Apostle Paul famously appeals his case to Caesar and Procurator Festus [now interim Governor for Felix] famously unaware of the Spiritual matters that the case involves grants Paul's appeal and agrees to send Paul on to Rome to be tried by Caesar himself -- 'Acts 25:10-12 Then said Paul, I stand at Caesar's judgment seat, where I ought to be judged: to the Jews have I done no wrong, as thou very well knowest. For if I be an offender, or have committed any thing worthy of death, I refuse not to die: but if there be none of these things whereof these accuse me, no man may deliver me unto them. *I appeal unto Caesar. Then Festus, when he had conferred with the council, *answered, Hast thou appealed unto Caesar? unto Caesar shalt thou go.'

Acts 25:24 And Festus said, King Agrippa, and all men which are here present with us, ye see this man [Paul], about whom all the multitude of the Jews have dealt with me, both at Jerusalem, and also here, crying that he ought not to live any longer. *But when I found that he had committed nothing worthy of death, and that he himself hath appealed to Augustus [Caesar], I have determined to send him. [But] Of whom I have no certain thing to write unto my lord [Caesar]. Wherefore I have brought him forth before you, and specially before thee, O king Agrippa, that, after examination had, *I might have somewhat to write [in an epistle to Rome]. For it seemeth to me unreasonable [and unlawful] to send a prisoner [to Rome], and not withal to signify the crimes laid against him. - Festus found himself in a predicament of having an extremely hot button issue on his hands. An issue that was not going to resolve itself or go away by itself and after several attempts Festus was still unable to grasp or understand the exact nuances and the nature of the differences of the event that was creating such a great and catastrophic disturbance in Jerusalem.

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Acts 26 - The Apostle Paul gives his Testimony to King Agrippa, the King's wife Bernice and to Festus - While the Apostle Paul is speaking - Festus then has his famous 'I didn't know Christianity was about that' moment and in a loud outburst Festus publically challenges what he sees as the absurdity of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ -- 'Acts 26:1-2 Then [King] Agrippa said unto Paul, Thou art permitted to speak for thyself. Then Paul stretched forth the hand, and answered for himself ...'

Acts 26:21-32 21 For these [preaching the resurrection of Jesus Christ the Messiah to the world] causes the Jews caught me in the Temple, and went about to kill me. Having therefore obtained help of God [not of Rome, the Roman Captain], *I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come: That Christ [Messiah] should suffer, and that He should be *the first *that should *rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles. *And as he thus spake for himself, Festus [came undone and] said with a loud voice, Paul, thou art [crazy] beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad. But he said, I am not mad, most noble Festus; but *speak forth the Words of Truth and soberness. For the king [Agrippa] knoweth of these things, before whom also I speak freely: for I am persuaded that none of these things are hidden from him; *for this thing [cross and resurrection of Jesus] was not done in a [secret] corner. King Agrippa, *believest thou the prophets? I know (lit. perceive) that thou believest. Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a *Christian. *And Paul said, I would to God, that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether such as I am, except these bonds [chains]. And when he had thus spoken, the King rose up, and the Governor, and Bernice, and they that sat with them: And when they were gone aside, they talked between themselves, saying, This man [Paul] doeth nothing worthy of death or of bonds. Then said Agrippa unto Festus, This man might have been set at liberty [freed], if he had not appealed unto Caesar. - Festus has his famous 'I didn't know Christianity was about that' moment. Festus had though that Jesus was just some guy that some people though he was dead and some other people though he was alive because they had seen him and that the confusion and the controversy was over whether or not the man was dead or alive. When Festus realized that the controversy is about the Lord Jesus Christ who is God in the flesh and was killed before the eyes of many and was buried in a sealed, stone tomb but then Resurrected back to life three days later to interact with and to be witnessed by many eyewitnesses then Festus realizing that he was being told of spiritual life overcoming the physical death of mankind and of eternal life in the resurrection of Jesus Christ for the human as the doctrine of Christianity, for the moment at least Festus had gone beyond the scope of what he was capable of retaining and Festus publically could hear no more of the concept of Christianity. Did Festus later come to grips with and understand the reality of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ and himself become a Christian, we don't know at least not at the moment.

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Acts 27 - The Apostle Paul is finally sent on to Rome and after surviving a major shipwreck will eventually make it into Rome -- 'Acts 27:1-2 And when it was determined that we should sail into Italy [and go to Rome the capital city of Italy], they delivered Paul and certain other prisoners unto one named Julius, a Centurion of [Caesar] Augustus' band [unit]. And entering into a ship of [the city of] Adramyttium, we launched, meaning to sail by the coasts of Asia; one Aristarchus, a Macedonian of Thessalonica, being with us.'

Acts 27:13 And when the south wind blew softly, supposing that they had obtained their purpose, loosing thence, they sailed close by Crete. But not long after there arose against it a tempestuous wind, called Euroclydon. And when the ship was caught, and could not bear up into the wind, we let her drive. And running under a certain island which is called Clauda, we had much work to come by the boat: Which when they had taken up, they used helps, undergirding the ship; and, fearing lest they should fall into the quicksands, strake sail, and so were driven. And we being exceedingly tossed with a tempest, the next day they lightened the ship; And the third day we cast out with our own hands the tackling of the ship. And when neither sun nor stars in many days appeared, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope that we should be saved was then taken away. But after long abstinence Paul stood forth in the midst of them, and said, Sirs, ye should have hearkened unto me, and not have loosed from Crete, and to have gained this harm and loss. And now I exhort you to be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man's life among you, but of the ship. *For there stood by me this night the Angel of God, *whose I am, *and whom I serve, Saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, *lo, God hath given [with] thee [to safety] all them that sail with thee. Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me. Howbeit we must be cast upon a certain island [the island of Malta]. - The Apostle Paul is shipwrecked onto the mysterious island of Malta.

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Acts 28 - The Apostle Paul finally arrives in Rome and discovers that no charges have been forwarded from Jerusalem to Rome -- 'Acts 28:16-21 And when we came to Rome, the centurion delivered the prisoners to the captain of the guard: but Paul was suffered [allowed] to dwell by himself with a soldier that kept him. And it came to pass, that after three days Paul called the chief of the Jews together: and when they were come together, he said unto them, Men and brethren, though I have committed nothing against the people, or customs of our fathers, yet was I delivered prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans. Who, when they had examined me, would have let me go, because there was no cause of death in me. But when the Jews spake against it, I was constrained to appeal unto Caesar; not that I had ought to accuse my nation of. For this cause therefore have I called for you, to see you, and to speak with you: because that for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain. And they said unto him, We neither received letters out of Judaea [Israel] concerning thee, neither any of the brethren that came shewed or spake any harm of thee.'

The book of Acts concludes: Acts 28:22-31 But we [Jews of Rome] desire to hear of thee what thou thinkest: for as concerning this sect [Christianity], we know that everywhere it is spoken against. And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the Kingdom of God [God's perceivable (discernible) presence on earth - the Kingdom of Heaven, the eternal Visible Kingdom of God], persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening. And some [Jews] believed the things which were spoken, and some [Jews] believed not. And when they agreed not among themselves, they departed, after that Paul had spoken one word, Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias [Isaiah] the prophet unto our fathers, Saying, Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive: For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted [become Christians], and I should heal [lit. make whole - Salvation] them. Be it known therefore unto you, that *the Salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it. And when he had said these words, the Jews departed, and had great reasoning among themselves. And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him, Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him. - Note: The redemption of the Jews is not disputed by the Apostle Paul or by anyone what is at issue is the Salvation of the Jews. The Jews as redeemed are a part of the eternal Kingdom of Heaven and receive their Salvation later in the Kingdom of Heaven while the Christians are a part of the Kingdom of God on earth and we receive our Salvation [eternal life] while still on the earth having received the 'born again' - 'born from above' Spirit given by Jesus Christ. As is presented through the interaction of the Apostle Paul with his own Jewish brethren the difference between Jewish redemption and Christian salvation is immense and though both groups [Jews and Christians] are redeemed by God, the one and only God, the differences are still vast. Therefore historically and Biblically Jews and Christians are two distinct groups of People, however Jesus as the firstborn of the Resurrection receives both the Jews and the Christian Gentiles and with Jesus receiving as His firstborn [double portion] both the Jews and the Gentiles it is imperative that the Jews and the Gentiles assist each other at a certain level or at least it is imperative that the Christians give every bit of understanding, compassion and consideration to the "Jewish Sect" in order to please God and to fulfill our Biblical demands as given in alms from the House of Cornelius to the decrees of the 1st Church Council in Jerusalem and as they are presented throughout the entire Bible in both the Old and New Testaments of God.

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THE EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE TO THE

ROMANS

The Books of Romans, Galatians and Hebrews are being grouped together and presented as a Trilogy of Systematic Theology by the Apostle Paul

The three books were written by the Apostle Paul with the primary audiences being the Roman Empire, the remaining Gentile world and all Hebrew/Jewish Christians. -- Romans --> Roman Empire, Galatians --> remaining Gentile world, Hebrews --> Jewish Christians in Jerusalem and scattered throughout the world. --- The Apostle Paul in part built his Trilogy written to the empowered Gentiles (Rome), the Gentiles (Galatia) and to the Christian Jews (Hebrews) off of a verse from the Old Testament prophet Habakkuk. "Habakkuk 2:4 ... but the just shall live by his faith." Habakkuk 2:4 appears only three times in the New Testament and it is in each of the three Trilogy epistles of the Apostle Paul to the Nations. 'Romans 1:17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.' - 'Galatians 3:11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.' - 'Hebrews 10:38 Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, My soul shall have no pleasure in Him.' --- Romans --> who are *the just [the just are in a right relationship with God, the people who acknowledge God in the living resurrection of Jesus Christ and believe in His promise the free gift of eternal salvation available to all mankind]. Galatians --> how the just *shall live [the just shall live in the Holy Spirit, not after the law and not after physical self-serving, worldly desires]. Hebrews --> the just shall live *by faith [the just shall live by faith - Hebrews chapter 11 with its examples of faith in the lives of believers is known as the Bible's Hall of Faith].

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Romans 1 - Paul a servant (bond slave) of Jesus Christ - At the writing of his letter to the Christian Church at Rome the Apostle Paul had not yet been to Rome - It would be three more years before Paul would make it to Rome - It would not be as a free person that the Apostle Paul would take his first steps into Rome but as a prisoner of Rome that the Apostle Paul would enter into Rome -- 'Romans 1:3-6 Concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the [physical] seed of David according to the flesh; And declared to be the Son of God with [Spiritual] power, according to the Spirit of Holiness [Holy Spirit], by the resurrection from the dead: By (Jesus) whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all Nations, for His Name: Among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ'

'Romans 1:18-21 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men [mankind], who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest [conscience] in them; for God hath shewed it [spiritually] unto them. For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made [creation], *even His eternal power and Godhead; so that they [all mankind] 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.' - The Apostle Paul is making the point to the people in Rome [the center of world power and domination] that citizenship in Rome does not constitute access into heaven and that slavery in Rome does not constitute a denial of access into Heaven. The Apostle Paul makes the deliberate point that all people have sinned and are separated from God whether they are Romans in Rome, slaves in Rome, Jews in Jerusalem or anyone anywhere at any place or time in the world. The Apostle Paul makes the point that the whole world is in a lost and sinful condition and that everyone; man, woman and child is in need of the free gift of the salvation of Jesus Christ.

Xenos.org: Background of the Book of Romans - Scholars also agree upon the date and place of authorship, believing [Apostle] Paul wrote this letter while in Corinth (Acts 20), between A.D. 55 and 58 A.D. (Teachings - Mp3s, Video, PowerPoint)

History of the church: The origin of the Roman Church is historically obscure. There is no indication when or by whom the church in Rome was founded. Scholars theorize the founders were part of the Diaspora (Acts 8). This church already had a world-wide reputation by the time of Paul's writing (1:8). Because Paul had been unable to visit the church, he writes a letter stating his intentions (1:13-15). Authorship of the Epistle: There is no doubt the author of Romans is Paul. He clearly states this in the opening verse, and the style and content is identical to Paul's other letters. His primary theme is the gospel; God's plan of salvation; and righteousness for all mankind, Jew and Gentile alike (1:16-17). Scholars also agree upon the date and place of authorship, believing Paul wrote this letter while in Corinth (Acts 20), between A.D. 55 and 58. http://www.xenos.org/teachings/nt/romans/background.htm

Drive Thru History :: Ancient Rome - A TV Series DVD Promo (YouTube)

In this series Dave takes you through the ancient history of Rome. Dave doesn't just talk about history either; he lives it in fast, easy-to-digest road trips. Like the trip to the Coliseum in Rome where Dave accidentally picks a fight with one of those cheesy "Roman Guards" who'll pose for a picture for a couple of Euros. Topic Summary: Episode 1: Lost in Rome, The Forum & Palatine Hill, the Emperors during the time of Christ, the Arch of Titus, and the destruction of Jerusalem. Episode 2: the Circus Maximus, chariot racing, the great fire of Rome, Nero's persecution of Christians and the Roman Pantheon. Episode 3: Hannibal invades Rome, the Coliseum, the Gladiators and the early Christian influence. Visit the Drive Thru History Website: http://www.drivethruhistory.com. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nc3gfOMox-g

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Romans 2 - As the Apostle Paul stated "The wrath of God is going to be revealed from Heaven" now the Apostle Paul makes clear that we are all under that wrath - this is self-evident in that no person has even met their own standards they set for themselves let alone God's standards set for all mankind -- 'Romans 2:33 And thinkest thou this, O man, that judgest [others] them which do such [evil] things, and doest the same [one sin is just as evil as another and we all sin], that thou shalt escape the judgment of God?'

Romans 2:14-16 For when the Gentiles, which have not the law [of Moses], do by nature [created in the image of God] the things contained in the law [image of God], these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts [soul, intellect, conscience], *their [Gentile] conscience also bearing witness [to God's intentions for all mankind], and their thoughts the mean while accusing [convicting in wrong thoughts] or else excusing [exhorting in godly thoughts] one another [each thought]; In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ [Jesus is the standard set for all mankind] according to my gospel. This is explaining that all of mankind has within each individual a conscience placed there by God that provides a witness and a testimony about the nature and image of God. There is a right and a wrong and a difference between the two and there is also a certain higher power and authority [God] that will judge each individual for the right and wrong thoughts and actions that they commit. - This concept that God is in contact with every single human who has ever existed is the Biblical concept that God has created each individual in the womb and that God is intimately in contact and knowledgeable about every thought and intention of every human. God is not far-off and away from His creation. God is very close and intimate to His creation regardless of anyone's location or industrial standard on the earth. Clearly someone even in modern times on some remote island who has never heard the name of Jesus is still well within fellowship with God as their conscience testifies between right and wrong and of the existence of God though they may not know God by Name or know the love that God has for them in going to the cross for them they know of God's existence and are a 'law unto themselves' until the day of God's judgment. Having accepted in their conscience the authority of God in the universe they are not condemned on judgment day but receive eternal salvation because their conscience desires to obey God and to fellowship with God. Note: Part of what the Apostle Paul is saying is that before the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ all mankind had a conscience to direct their thoughts, intentions and actions but since the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ the Holy Spirit has been poured out [from Pentecost] upon all mankind so since the cross and resurrection of Jesus the knowledge of God has increased among mankind from just the conscience to the conscience plus the conviction and directing of the Holy Spirit. It is at the leading of the Holy Spirit that one ultimately becomes a Christian by accepting the Spirit of God inside of them to become a 'born again' Spiritual person, a Child of God now in the family of God.

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Romans 3 - The Apostle Paul continues to reveal God's plan of salvation for mankind through Jesus Christ - 'Romans 3:29-30 Is He the God of the Jews only? is He not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also: Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the [Jewish] circumcision by ["a seal of the righteousness of the faith" - sign of circumcision] faith, and [Gentile] uncircumcision through [resurrection] faith.' - 'Romans 4:9-11 9 Cometh this blessedness [sins are covered] then upon the circumcision [Jews] only, or upon the uncircumcision [Gentiles] also? for we say that faith (belief) was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness. How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision. And he received *the sign of circumcision, *a seal of the righteousness *of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe [Jews and Gentiles], though they [Gentiles] be not circumcised [Jews]; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also:'

Romans 3:20-26 Therefore by the deeds [works] of the law there shall no flesh be justified [made right] in His sight: *for by the law is the knowledge of sin [not salvation from sin]. But now the righteousness [Jesus] of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 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: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified [made right] freely by His grace through the redemption [cross] that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation [full payment of sins] through faith in His blood, to declare His righteousness for the remission of {our} sins that are past, through the forbearance [patience] of God; To declare, I say, at this time His righteousness: that He might be just [God], and the justifier [imputing His righteousness onto the believer] of him which believeth in Jesus. - The Apostle Paul is pointing out that no unrighteousness is allowed into the direct presence of the Holy God. Therefore God has to give [impart] of His righteousness onto humans in order to allow us humans into His presence. The way we receive the righteousness of God from God is for us to acknowledge that Jesus Christ came to mankind and died for our sins, all of our sins and that there was nothing we could do but that Jesus did it all for us and in His doing it all for us we can freely receive of His righteous standing that He is freely offering to us if we will just accept that He died for our sins and is resurrected [shown to be righteous] for our righteousness.

Romans Road - Program Download Available (Mp3)

The Romans Road is a series of verses from the New Testament book of Romans, written by the Apostle Paul. These verses describe God's plan to redeem men's hearts and to give us eternal hope in the person of Jesus Christ. The Romans Road has been used by Christians over the centuries as a tool to share the good news of the gospel in an easy and effective way. http://www.shareromans.com/

Question: "What is the Romans Road to salvation?"

Answer: The Romans Road to salvation is a way of explaining the good news of salvation using verses from the Book of Romans. It is a simple yet powerful method of explaining why we need salvation, how God provided salvation, how we can receive salvation, and what are the results of salvation. http://www.gotquestions.org/Romans-road-salvation.html

The Romans Road to salvation - Let me take you down the path of the Roman Road to Salvation and the gate of eternal life with Jesus Christ

Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life, nobody comes to the Father except through Me (John 14:6). I have only two choices either Jesus' statement is true or false. Think about this statement what does it mean? I either accept that Jesus is the way for salvation or I reject it. When people say all religions lead to the same path that is obviously wrong. How could that be true with Jesus above statement. It does not work. If we look at Matthew 7:13-14 Jesus says the following, "Enter the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. You may be asking yourself what is this narrow gate and how do I get through it? The Bible clearly tells us how to find this gate. Let me take you down the path of the Roman Road to Salvation and the gate of eternal life with Christ. http://www.theobjectivetruth.com/RomansRoad/RomansRoad.html

Take the Romans Road to salvation

Take the Romans Road to salvation: --> Who is good? ~Romans 3:10~ As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one. --> Who has sinned? ~Romans 3:23~ For all have sinned and come short of the Glory of God. --> Where sin came from. ~Romans 5:12~ 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. --> God's price of sin. ~Romans 6:23~ For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. --> Who paid The price? ~Romans 5:8~ God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. --> The only way out. ~Romans 10:9-10~ That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth, the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart God hath raised Him from the dead thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, whosoever believeth on Him shall not be ashamed. --> Take God at His word and claim His promise for your salvation. ~Romans 10:13~ For whosoever shall call upon the Name of the Lord shall be saved. http://romansroad.org/

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Romans 4 - The Apostle Paul continues and now uses examples in the lives of Abraham and King David to illustrate how consistent the word of God is - how reliable the word of God is - and also how long ago it was that the promises of God were given [the original promise of the redeemer was given to Adam and Eve] and are still in use by God today [in the book of Hebrews Moses will be contrasted to Jesus] - 'Romans 4:3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God [that God has the power and authority of life over death], and it was counted unto him for righteousness.' -- 'Romans 4:6-8 Even as [King] David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin [because of a faith like Abraham].'

'Romans 4:5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on Him (Jesus) that justifieth the *ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.' Romans 4:17- As it is written, I (God) have made thee (Abraham) a father of many nations, before Him whom he believed, even God, *who quickeneth [makes alive] the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were. Who against hope [against all odds] believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations; according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. And being not weak in faith [the life giving power of God], he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah's womb: He staggered not at the promise of God [to be the father of many] through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what He had promised, He was able also to perform. And therefore it [faith - that God 'quickeneth the dead'] was imputed to him for righteousness. Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it [justification - righteousness] was imputed to him; But for us also, to whom it [faith] shall be imputed, *if we believe on Him that raised up [eternal life] Jesus our Lord from the dead; Who was delivered [to the cross] for our offences, and was raised again [resurrection] for our justification. - The faith of Abraham, the faith of King David and the faith of the Christian is that God is the giver of life and as the giver of life God has the power and authority of life over death. In Abraham God demonstrated His ability to give life in the two bodies that were completely beyond the capability of childbirth and yet Isaac was born when Abraham was 100 years old and Sarah was 75 years old. -- King David had grievously sinned with Bathsheba and then later had her husband Uriah killed in a battle. When the prophet Nathan came to King David [2 Samuel 12] and told of a sin in the land King David said that person who sinned shall be put to death. It turned out that King David was that person who was to be put to death however "2 Samuel 12:13 And [King] David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD and Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die" because King David had a righteousness imputed by God not of works but by faith, the same faith that his forefather Abraham had in the faith that God will make right our wrongs and that God will give life even when death is required.

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Romans 5 - The Apostle Paul now declares that once justified [in a right relationship with God] that we do in fact and in actuality have access into the presence of God and being in the presence of God we receive the blessings of God notably Peace and Grace -- 'Romans 5:1-3 Therefore being justified by faith, we have Peace [no longer at war] with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this Grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the Glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations [we are still in this world] also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience ...'

'Romans 5:5-6 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts *by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. For when we were yet without strength, in due time *Christ died for the ungodly.' - 'Romans 5:10-11 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled [cross] to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved [resurrection] by His [resurrection] life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom *we have now received the atonement.' - 'Romans 5:21 That as sin hath reigned [lit. kingdom of sin] unto death, even so might grace reign [lit. kingdom of grace] through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.' Note: Jesus gave His life for the "ungodly" it is in our condition of a sinner that we become saved by Jesus and by Jesus we are transformed into a Saint. The clear message of Christianity is that God came to mankind to save mankind not that mankind somehow in some vague way went to God. There is no way to make a saint out of ourselves for we are "without strength" and even if we could, though we can't, make ourselves into a saint it would be rejected by God. We as humans just do not have righteousness or godliness in and of ourselves. Jesus gave His life for the ungodly so that through the righteousness of Jesus the ungodly can receive of His righteousness and with His righteousness and the Holy Spirit now "in our heart" we become an authentic, genuine and valid godly person.

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Romans 6 - The Apostle Paul reveals to us that having received the righteousness of Jesus Christ and with the Holy Spirit in our heart we now have a "newness of life (eternal)" -- 'Romans 6:4 Therefore we are buried with Him (Jesus) by baptism [identifying ourselves with Jesus - also represented in our actual water baptism] into death [cross]: that like as Christ was raised up [resurrection] from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.'

Romans 6:5-14 5 For if we (Christians) have been planted [baptized] together in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection: *Knowing this, that our old [physical nature] man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead [to sin] is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe [faith] that we shall also [eternal life] live with Him: Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over Him. For in that He died, He died unto sin once: but in that He liveth, He liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members {talents} as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: *but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members {talents} as instruments of righteousness unto God. For sin shall not have dominion [authority] over you: for ye are not under the law [of sin], but under [the law of] grace. - Note: in order for us to live eternally in the righteousness of Jesus Christ we have to first identify with the cross of Jesus Christ and with our need for His going to the cross for us in order for Jesus to completely remove [make dead] sin. But then with sin dead on the cross and removed from us we do now have eternal life through the eternal resurrection life of Jesus Christ. -- 'Romans 6:23 For the wages [works] of sin is death; but the [free] gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.'

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Romans 7 - The Apostle Paul makes clear that our emotions and intentions are not to be just reformed and made a little better but are actually to be renewed and made new into the Spiritual image and presence of God in His Spirit inside of us - 'Romans 7:24 O wretched [dual nature - physical and spiritual (actually - body, soul, spirit)] man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death [and limitation]? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord {that His resurrection Spirit life delivers me from limitations that limit and distance me from God}. So then with the mind [my new unlimited Spiritual intentions] I myself serve [obey] the law [image] of God; but with the flesh [I still unwillingly and regretfully serve] the law of sin.'

'Romans 7:9-14 For I was alive [in the conscience] without the law [of Moses] once: but when the commandment [laws of Moses][Bar Mitzvah at 13 years of age] came, [knowledge of] sin revived, and I died [saw myself as the sinner I am]. And the commandment [law of Moses], which was ordained to [spiritual] life [image of God], I found to be unto [revealing physical and spiritual] death. For sin, taking occasion [in part before knowledge of the commandment] by the [absence of the] commandment, [sin] deceived me, and by it slew me. Wherefore the law [of Moses] is Holy, and the commandment [of Moses] Holy, and just, and good {but the law of sin and death is unholy}. Was then that which is good [law of Moses - image of God] made death unto me? God forbid. But sin [is death], that it might appear [reveal] sin, working death [physical and spiritual] in me by that which is good [law of Moses - image of God]; that sin by the commandment [laws of Moses] might become exceeding [obviously] sinful. *For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal [physical], sold [by Adam and Eve] under sin.' - The Apostle Paul is explaining how the spiritual law is both needed and able to give spiritual life where sin and death took away life and that the renewing ability of the Holy Spirit of God is completely capable of overcoming the sin, death and destruction that have ravaged mankind for such a long time. - In a sense there are no works involved in receiving the Holy Spirit because there is no struggle [no works] between the Holy Spirit and death as the Holy Spirit has a complete victory over sin and death no human works are required or needed. The concept that the Holy Spirit is a good start in overcoming sin and death but that then a person needs to add to it to overcome sin is an incorrect concept. As Paul will go on to say we do struggle and sometimes we struggle immensely in our Christian walk but that is because of our new dual nature in being still physical but now also having the Holy Spirit within us. This internal struggle is not an indication that the Holy Spirit is struggling to overcome it is an indication that our old nature is struggling to overcome and the remedy to this battle is to trust, rest and rely on the victory that the Holy Spirit has already accomplished over both sin and death. It is in the trusting, resting and relying on the Holy Spirit through seeking after the relationship with God that is now available to us that we are transformed and renewed though never to the point of ceasing from struggles because as long as we live in our physical body we will struggle. However along with our struggles we also now have hope and with hope the knowledge that one day through the victory of Jesus Christ we will escape this limited physical body of struggle and receive a new heavenly body that will not struggle against us, a new spiritual body that will correctly match our new spiritual nature that we now have in Jesus Christ.

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Romans 8 - The Apostle Paul reminds us that with all the condemnation in the world and it is a world of condemnation that Jesus is one person who is not condemning us - Jesus Christ died for us, Jesus is for us and certainly not against us - Jesus is our biggest supporter and in fact the support of Jesus Christ is the complete opposite of the condemnation of the world - His support for us is confirmation and affirmation at the highest level that God does love us and that God does want us to have eternal life and a relationship with Him - 'Romans 8:34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even [acceptable] at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession [mediation] for us.'

Romans 8:2-13 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law [of Moses] could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending [incarnating] His own Son (Jesus) in the likeness of sinful [human] flesh, and for sin, *condemned sin in the flesh: That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled *in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the [Holy] Spirit. For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be [Holly] spiritually minded is [eternal] life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity [at war] against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. *So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. But ye are not in the flesh, but in the [Holy] Spirit, *if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His. And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the [Holy] Spirit is life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him [Father, Holy Spirit] that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken [make alive] your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die [eternally]: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live [eternally]. - Throughout the book of Romans and with all of his writing about the ease and certainty of receiving the free gift of the Holy Spirit of God and our becoming a new creation in God the Apostle Paul is revealing to the Gentile Empire a Spiritual and Personal Truth about God. It is that God is the God of Life and that God is so much the God of life that it is actually easier to receive Salvation Life from God then it is to receive damnation from God. God is for us and has not condemned us, He died for us, it is we who condemn ourselves. Those who do receive eternal damnation will have done it at their own hands by their own conduct with their own strenuous hard work and mortal striving in order to receive the damnation that they so diligently sought for so long. Had they sought the righteousness of Jesus Christ they could receive it instantly and freely however it has taken them a lifetime to turn from God and to reject the eternal life and goodness of God.

Romans 8 (Part 2) - The Apostle Paul now having established the transition from our mortality in earthy sin to immortality in Jesus Christ - now begins to explain more about the heavenly realm and more about eternal Christian concepts and principles -- 'Romans 8:11 But if the [Holy] Spirit of Him (God) that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in [inside] you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken [make heavenly aware] your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you.'

'Romans 8:14-17 For as many (Christians) as are led by the [Holy] Spirit of God, they [looking ahead to the adoption in heaven] are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are [now while on earth] the children of God: And if children, then [after the adoption in heaven] heirs [sons]; heirs [sons in heaven] of God, and joint-heirs [a living inheritance in heaven] with Christ; if so be that we suffer [on earth] with Him, that we may be also glorified [in heaven - accomplished and in our new heavenly spiritual body] together [the Christian Church and Jesus].' - The Biblical concept of adoption is that a child when mature enough (adulthood) is then adopted and once adopted becomes a son and as a son receives an inheritance from the father. Abraham was a father of many Nations however Isaac was his only son, his only child to be adopted by Abraham and his only child to receive the inheritance of the promises, covenants and land in the Promise Land given by God to Abraham. Isaac would later adopt his child Jacob and give Jacob the inheritance over his brother Esau. Jacob then would adopt all twelve of his male children (Joseph via his children) as Jacob would even adopt two of his grandchildren Ephraim and Manasseh to give his son Joseph a double inheritance in his portion of land in the Promise Land. Ephraim and Manasseh are grandchildren of Jacob but because of their adoption by Jacob [Genesis 48:5-6] Jacob told Joseph that he would adopt his first two children but if Joseph had any more children Jacob would not adopt them, they would not get a same sized portion of the Promise Land as their uncles they become equal to and receive and equal portion of land in the Promise Land that their Uncles the children of Jacob received. Part of the adoption and inheritance process on earth and in heaven is then to receive glorification the fine robes, family ring, finances, authority and recognition by others as a son. A child cannot make decisions regarding the family wealth and possessions but an adopted son now has authority that a child doesn't have and a son is able to make decisions and do things a child is not permitted to do. Joseph in the Bible is the only person besides Jesus to be glorified. Joseph as a type of Jesus was glorified twice. First [Genesis 37:3] as a Jew by his father Jacob with the coat [robe] of many colors of glorification and second [Genesis 41:42] as a gentile when he received raiment and a ring from the Pharaoh of Egypt. Jesus was actually bodily temporarily glorified [Matthew 17:2] meaning that Jesus had no sin as sin will not be glorified in the presence of God. It is because sin will not be glorified in the presence of God [1 Corinthians 1:29] that the adoption as sons and the inheritance as sons has to take place in heaven after we have physically died and separated from our physical body were sin [Romans 8:3] has been confined.

Romans 8 (Part 3) - The Apostle Paul concludes his section on Christian heavenly spirituality by proclaiming the spiritual truth that absolutely nothing can separate us from the love of God in Jesus Christ - 'Romans 8:38-39 For I am persuaded, that neither [physical] death, nor [events of] life, nor angels, nor principalities [fallen angels], nor [demonic] powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height [success], nor depth [failure], nor any other [i.e. unexplained UFOs (Note: UFOs are either manmade objects, or fallen angels manifesting or just demons manifesting)] creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.'

'Romans 8:28-30 And we know that all things [for the believer] work together for good to them that love [agape, highest love] God, to them who are the called [all are called] according to His [election] purpose. For whom He did foreknow [those who answer His call like Abraham did], He also did predestinate [eternal destination] to be conformed [glorified] to the image of His Son (Jesus), that He [His Son Jesus] might be the firstborn [inheritance with a double portion - both the Jews and the (Gentile) Nations] among {very, very} many brethren. Moreover whom He did predestinate [eternal destination], them He also called [i.e. Abraham]: and whom He called, them he also justified [i.e. Jacob]: and whom he justified, them he also glorified [i.e. Joseph].' - The predestination of the Bible is that the people who answer the call of God and enter into a relationship with God like Abraham answered the calling of God are then after answering the call predestined to be completed [eventually in Heaven] by being changed into the glorious resurrection image of Jesus Christ. What this is saying in part is that God will complete what He has begun in us and that God will never leave us or abandon us part way but that He will guaranteed get us safely into Heaven. With predestination we can also know in advance a little of what our completed process will be like because we will be somewhat similar to the resurrected Jesus Christ in that we will be able to belong in Heaven and to interact in the Heavenly realm among God and among the Angels of Heaven. - The predestination is only after the calling and everyone is called so it isn't that some are predestined to heaven and others are predestined to hell. Eternity is our own freewill decision a decision that we all have to make and in our decision we all have the same opportunity in Jesus Christ to go to heaven. Lastly predestination rules out a variety of false teachings that would allude to different heavens or different levels of heavens or vastly different appearances in heaven based on individual rewards because with predestination we are all predestined to the same place and into about the same image though there will be slight variations because we remain individuals and do not become clones but we do become Sons of God transfigured into the glorious image of Jesus Christ.

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Romans 9 - The Apostle Paul in continuing his systematic approach to theology now changes topics from sin and justification to the current standing of his fellow Jews - Paul expresses his regrets that the Jews are not partakers with the Christian Church in salvation [though the Jews still have the promises of God and are partakers of the adoption in the eternal Kingdom of God] - 'Romans 9:4-5 Who are Israelites (Jews); to whom pertaineth the adoption [heavenly adoption as Sons of God], and the glory [earthly glory and heavenly glorification], and the covenants [including the New Testament], and the giving of the law [of Moses], and the service [producing the Holy Scriptures, bringing in the Messiah, the 144,000 witnesses of Revelation, the Second Coming, etc.] of God, and the promises [of God]; Whose are the fathers [Abraham, Isaac, Jacob (Israel)], and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ [the Messiah] came, who is over all, God blessed forever. Amen.'

'Romans 9:27-28 Esaias (Elijah) also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved [become Christians]: For He (God) will finish the work [among the Gentiles and the Jews], and cut it short [make His work effective] in righteousness: because a short [effective] work will the Lord make upon the earth.' - A Summary of the righteous effective 'short work' of the Lord upon the earth: After the fall of mankind in the Garden of Eden mankind has been separated from God and dispersed from one another. In re-gathering a separated and dispersed mankind unto Himself God has used segments of groups and epochs of time to re-gather His Kingdom. After the fall of Adam and Eve the first group of Biblical redeemed people were the Ancient Sacrificing Righteous Gentiles, this group had to sacrifice their own animals in order to have the blood covering for their sins and to be in a relationship with the Holy God. The Ancient Sacrificing Righteous Gentiles as a group and as individuals had little knowledge of God who they were sacrificing to and in fact they primarily had a physical relationship with God and they thought the blessing of God were physical in wealth and status and that curses from God were physical as well in poverty and sickness, this group also understood that to see God was to die that a sinful human could not enter the presence of the Holy God and live. Job was one of the later Sacrificing Gentiles [Job 1:5] and in the book of Job it is revealed that Job had some knowledge of God but really no idea how to fellowship with God and later Balaam possibly the last Sacrificing Gentile the system of Gentile sacrifice has become so misrepresented that Balaam just goes completely off course in serving God and Balaam becomes one of the Bibles primary examples in how not to conduct your life. From the Ancient group of Sacrificing Gentiles, a system that was spinning out of control, God called Abraham [Genesis 12:1] and created the Jewish Nation. Through Abraham and His Jewish Nation descendants especially through the giving of the Law to Moses and of the teachings of the Prophets that God was able to correct many of the misconceptions that persisted during the Ancient Sacrificing Righteous Gentile era. The Jews with their improved knowledge of who God is were able to get closer to God in their relationship with God. To the Jews God sent Himself the Redeemer and the Savior [Jesus Christ] of all mankind. The Christian Church was started from the midst of the Jewish Nation chosen of God and with the Churches advanced knowledge of God, knowledge [Romans 5:5-8] that God loves mankind so much that God was willing to die for mankind in order to reconcile mankind back to Himself the Church is in a much more intimate relationship with God then the Jews are able to be in. After the Christian Church has been completed and is taken (raptured) into Heaven there is another group after the Church called the Martyred Saints of Revelation [Revelation 6:9] and this group having missed out on the Church age but coming to the realization of their desire to fellowship with God they will be put to death by the world for their love of God. The Martyred Saints of Revelation will have been forgiven much for their sins and because they have been forgiven much they will love God much [Luke 7:47], even more than the Church loved God and the Martyred Saints with their love for God will be close to God in Heaven [Revelation 7:15] even in His Temple. The group that will become the closest to God in love and knowledge will be the 144,000 Jewish Witnesses of Revelation they will follow God continually in Heaven and they sing a song [Revelation 14:3] that no other group knows. However no group of people or person gets to know God completely as Jesus will have on Him a Name [Revelation 19:12] that no one knows.

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Romans 10 - The Apostle Paul continues His teaching making the absolute irrefutable proof that direct access to God through Jesus Christ is now also available to the Gentiles as well as to the Jews - For about the first 10-15 years the Christian Church was entirely Jewish and there was some concern whether or not Gentiles could enter into the promises of God as a Gentile - Paul reveals that yes, because the death of Jesus on the cross finalized the physical earthly system and that Christianity is a new Heavenly Spiritual resurrection system that yes the Gentiles can enter into the new Heavenly system of Christianity and receive the promises and blessings of Christianity without first becoming Jewish -- 'Romans 10:10-13 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on Him (Jesus) shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord (Jesus) over all is rich unto all that call upon Him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord (Jesus) shall be saved (Salvation - Soteria).'

'Romans 10:1 Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel (Jews) is, that they might be saved (Soteria).' - 'Romans 11:2 God hath not cast away His people [the Jews] which He foreknew.' - 'Romans 11:26 And so all Israel shall be saved (Soteria): as it is written, There shall come out of Sion (Zion) the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:' - Soteria - Salvation (healing) in Jesus Christ. The name Jesus actually means God is Salvation. - In a sense the Jews have redemption from God the Father [and ultimatly Jesus] however Salvation at this moment is only from Jesus and they do not yet have a relationship with Jesus and are not yet experiencing the healing Salvation work of Jesus Christ. Salvation in Jesus is the primary difference between the Jews and the Christian Church. The Christian Church has emotional and spiritual Salvation healing while the Jews have not yet received their salvation healing. Note: All of the Jews includes all of the redeemed Jews; the Jewish forefathers [Abraham, Isaac and Jacob], the Jews in slavery in Egypt, those that died in the desert wandering, those in the Promise Land and those outside the Promise Land {Reuben, Gad and the ½ Tribe of Manasseh as an example}, those with a Temple and those without a Temple, those in Captivity in Babylon, those who returned to rebuild Jerusalem, those in the 2000 years of Diaspora, those who have returned, those who have not returend and those who are in the Tribulation of the End Times and it also includes the Jewish subset the 144,000 called out Jewish Witness of Revelation. -- 'Romans 11:2 God hath not cast away His people [the Jews] which he foreknew. [The Jews have stumbled over Jesus but have not fallen and are not cast away.]' - 'Romans 11:26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion [Greek Sion, Hebrew Zion -- there is also a Hebrew 'Sion' though not to be confused with the Greek 'Sion' (Zion)] the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:' -- 'Revelation 19:1 And after these [End Time, Great Tribulation] things I heard a great voice of *much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; *Salvation, and glory, and honor, and power, unto the Lord our God:' This is the Host of Heaven, it includes all the saved people from Adam and Eve (the 'Mother of all living' - saved) until the last redeemed person; this includes the ancient Righteous Sacrificing Gentiles [i.e. Job], all the redeemed Jews [from Abraham until the Second Coming], those saved in the Christian Church era, the Righteous Gentiles in remote areas who do not hear the Name or Gospel of Jesus Christ but their conscience is a witness to them, the Martyred Saints of Revelation who die for their faith and the 144,4000 Jewish Witnesses of Revelation.'

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Romans 11 - Having made clear that Gentiles now have access into the originally all Jewish Christian Church the Apostle Paul goes on to contrast the new [particularly in Rome] predominantly Gentile Christian Church customs with the old Jewish customs in Israel - Paul is saying to the Gentiles in Rome that it isn't enough to just boast that God is their Savior as the Jews had done in Israel in the past - But that God requires more than boasting and like the Jews the Gentiles will have to seek after, obey and follow God in order to remain Children of God - The Jews in a sense were set aside as the primary work of Salvation has gone to the Gentiles however Paul warns the Gentiles that just as God was under no manmade mandate or obligation to the Jews God remains under no manmade mandate or obligation to the Gentiles - Any Gentile can find themselves removed from the Church and from the promises of God by God just any branch can be removed from a plant and the branch is dead or dies yet the plant with the good healthy root continues to grow and flourish -- 'Romans 11:20-21 Well; because of unbelief they [Jews] were broken off [from Salvation], and thou standest by faith. Be not high-minded, but fear: For if God spared not the natural [Jewish] branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.'

The Jews have redemption and those Jews who do not become Christians (Salvation) their Jewish salvation is postponed until they enter into heaven. To the Gentiles however Salvation is a package deal and both redemption and salvation begin at the same moment. The Apostle Paul goes on to explain in the Book of Hebrews to the Jewish Christians that for those Jews who do become Christians and receive the Salvation but then later reject their Christian (Salvation) that there is no ability to fall back into the redemption of Judaism. Anyone who has the blood covering of Jesus and later rejects the blood of Jesus and tramples it underfoot [Hebrews 10:29] is guilty of the blood of Jesus and will be condemned. At this point the Jews as a Covenant Nation do not yet have the blood of Jesus and therefore have not trampled underfoot the blood of Jesus. The Jews not yet having the blood of Jesus Christ are entitled to and do need our encouragement, our cooperation, our support and most important of all our Christian compassion and mercy. -- 'Romans 11:30-36 For as ye (Gentiles) in times past have not [faith] believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their [Jewish] unbelief: Even so have these also now not believed, that through your (Christian) mercy they also may obtain mercy. For God hath concluded them all [Gentiles and Jews] in unbelief, that He might have mercy upon all. O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out! For who hath known the Mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counselor? Or who hath first given to Him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of Him (Jesus), and through Him, and to Him, are all things: to whom be glory forever. Amen.'

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Romans 12 - Having established beyond a doubt that Gentiles do belong and have a home in the Christian Church the Apostle Paul goes on to instruct the Romans in Christian living and in Christian conduct -- 'Romans 12:21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.'

Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you (Christian) 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 [live outwardly] what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. - Christianity is a living relationship with God. Sometimes it is thought that God is far away from us or that Christianity doesn't actually start until after we die and go to heaven but the truth is that God is intimately close to us and with God being intimately close to us here and right now in our physical body that Christianity does have just as much meaning, significance and practice while we are still alive on earth as Christianity has once we enter into our eternal condition in Heaven.

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Romans 13 - The Christian Church in Rome specifically and throughout the world generally is being instructed to obey civil authorities because ultimately it is God is in control and in charge - God has permitted each civil authority to receive their position of authority - 'Romans 13:5 Wherefore ye must needs be subject [to government authorities], not only for wrath [the wrath of God is upon those who disobey], but also for [our] conscience sake.'

'Romans 13:10-14 Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. And that, knowing the time [End Times], that now it is high time to awake out of [spiritual] sleep: for now is our salvation [the return of Jesus Christ] nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering [sexual perversion] and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.' - The ability to have a successful Christian walk and a meaningful Christian life is going to come by focusing on and looking to Jesus Christ. As we place our attention and desires on the return of Jesus and on His Divine Heavenly Kingdom our earthly physical desires will be replaced with godly, spiritual, Heavenly desires. Mankind was originally created to be in fellowship with God by being eternally heavenly focused however our sin nature does now distract us from our desired heavenly focus. Because of sin our emotions have been damaged and are now incomplete so a relationship with God and even a relationship with others is something that is not entirely natural to us so we do have make the effort to overcome sin in order to have a godly relationship with God and to be in fellowship with others. It is however only in the resurrection of Jesus Christ that we will be able to overcome our sin and to have our desired meaningful, godly relationship with God and to also be able to participate in our desired godly fellowship with others.

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Romans 14 - The Apostle Paul instructs that Christianity is about encouragement, edification and building up of each other in Jesus Christ and that it is not like the ways of the world where tearing down, manipulating and even destroying one another are the norm -- 'Romans 14:18-19 For he (Christian) that in these things [consideration of others] serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men. Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify [encourage and build up] another.'

'Romans 14:11-13 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me (Jesus), and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. Let us not therefore judge one another anymore: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother's way.' - The Apostle Paul is saying that everyone Christian and non-Christian is going to have to give an account of their life that God gave to them to God. However for the Christian the account that we give to God is going to be a pleasing account it is an account of our intimate relationship with God and of our blessed fellowship with others. Our account to God is not intended to be a negative thing so let's all be careful that we don't turn our blessed account before God into an account that is less than blessed because we have been less than a blessing to God, ourselves and to others.

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Romans 15 - The Apostle Paul again provides more Biblical standing from the Old Testament scriptures that Jesus came both to fulfill the promises given to the Jews and to receive unto Himself the Gentile Nations - Paul confirms the he indeed is God's chosen Missionary to deliver God's message to the Gentile Nations - 'Romans 15:15-17 Nevertheless, brethren, I have written the more boldly unto you in some sort, as putting you in mind, because of the grace that is given to me of God, That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, *that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost. I have therefore whereof I may glory [be accomplished] through Jesus Christ in those things which pertain to God.'

'Romans 15:8-14 Now I say that Jesus Christ was a Minister of the circumcision [Jews] for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made [to the Jews] unto the fathers [Abraham, Isaac, Jacob]: And *that the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy; as it is written [2 Samuel 22:50], For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name. And again He saith, Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people [the Jews]. And again [Deuteronomy 32:43], Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and laud Him, all ye people. And again, Esaias (Isaiah) saith [Isaiah 11:10], There shall be a root [offspring] of Jesse [of the Jews, Jesse is the father of King David], and He (Jesus) that shall rise {shall stand} [resurrection] to reign over the Gentiles; in Him (Jesus) shall the Gentiles trust. Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing (faith), that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost. And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish [instruct] one another.' - 'Isaiah 11:10 And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand {shall rise} [resurrection] for an ensign [flag of authority] of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.' - The apostle Paul is confirming that even after the sin and separation of mankind that God still has authority over mankind over both the Jews who He instructed through the Law and the Prophets and who He physically came to becoming one of them and that God also has authority over the Gentiles who He also came to. No human is outside of the authority and representation of the resurrected Jesus Christ and it is in His resurrection authority that Jesus Christ does Heavenly reign and rule all the Nations of the world.

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Romans 16 - Phebe a Deaconess [lit. servant, a female church worker] at the Christian Church in Cenchrea [the seaport near the major city of Corinth in Greece where Paul wrote his letter to Rome] - Phebe was entrusted to take Paul's letter from Corinth to the Christian Church in Rome a distance of about 617 miles - Phebe delivered the letter that Paul wrote and Tertius was the scribe for writing the letter, often a scribe wrote on parchment while the author of the letter spoke - Tertius [the scribe] salutes the Christians in Rome 'I Tertius, who wrote [scribed] this epistle, salute you in the Lord' - 'Romans 16:16 Salute one another with an holy kiss. The churches of Christ salute you.'

'Romans 16:24-27 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen. Now to Him (Holy Spirit) that is of power to establish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the Mystery [the Mystery of God], which was kept secret since the world began, But now is made manifest [the Mystery that God would dwell in human harts], and by the [Bible] scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all Nations for the obedience of faith [belief]: To God only wise, be Glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.' - The Apostle Paul mentions the previously unknown Mystery of God and reveals that the Mystery of God is that God in His love for mankind would come and die for mankind and that having died for mankind that God would unite with those who choose to unite with Him in such an intimate and meaningful way that God would actually with His Holy Spirit enter into the human spirit and dwell in the body of living human beings and that this blessing of intimate fellowship with God is for both the Jews and also the Gentiles. - 'Ephesians 1:9 Having made known unto us the Mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He hath purposed in Himself:' - 'Ephesians 3:3-7 How that by revelation He (God) made known unto me (Apostle Paul) the Mystery; as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the Mystery of Christ Which in other [past] ages [Prophets and Law] was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto His holy apostles and prophets by the [Holy] Spirit; That the Gentiles should be fellow heirs [with the Jews], and of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ by the Gospel: Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of His power.' - 'Colossians 1:27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the Glory of this Mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus: Whereunto I also labour, striving according to His working, which worketh in me mightily.' - The Apostle Paul concludes his letter to the Christian Church at the center of the Roman Empire in Rome [and to all of Christianity] with these words. 'Romans 16:27 To God only wise, be Glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.'

Memo - The blog Bible Study has completed the Book of Romans and next is the Book of Galatians - The study pace has been fast though in the future the pace will probably vary a little bit more and there might even be some pauses in the study it depends mostly on the quality of material being presented - I have some other things scheduled but I think we can keep studying around any other events

The blog Bible Study has been continuing at a fairly quick rate though it isn't the intention of the study to go at a fast pace and to set some sort of speed record although we might have set some record at the pace we have been going. The intentions are to only go as fast as we can get good material posted and we are getting good Bible study material posted at this rate however the rate will fluctuate from time to time. My intentions and concerns when committing to and starting the blog Bible Study were 1. That it wouldn't become a 2-3 year project as I don't even remotely have a schedule for that to happen. 2. Another major concern is that the study might not get finished and the slower the pace the more likely it won't finish in this window of opportunity that we have for the study. 3. Another concern was that the Bible study might go at such a slow pace that people wouldn't have enough material to study. There are few thing worse than going to a website to do a Bible Study and they have incomplete studies though that is fine and understandable for a study in progress however it is the intention of this website to have enough material so that people can do more than just get started in their studies but that everyone visiting the site, at all levels of Christian maturity will be able to find enough material to make good progress in their Christian Studies. Thanks again to everyone for your prayers and understanding. Keep up the excellent work in staying with the Bible study! God bless everyone, David Anson Brown

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THE FIRST EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE TO THE

1 CORINTHIANS

THE FIRST EPISTLE TO THE CORINTHIANS: Introduction - AUTHOR: PAUL, the Apostle (1:1; 16:21) - PLACE OF WRITING: EPHESUS (16:8) - TIME OF WRITING: Probably in the spring of 57 A.D., shortly before the Jewish feast of Pentecost (16:8), *during his third missionary journey [while in Ephesus] (Ac 19:1-41) - What is the purpose of this epistle? To correct sinful practices and refute false doctrine - Where is the theme of the epistle stated? 1 Corinthians 1:10

BACKGROUND OF THE CITY OF CORINTH: Corinth was situated on the Isthmus of Greece (called Achaia in the Bible) between the Ionian Sea and the Aegean Sea, above the Mediterranean Sea. About 50 miles to the east was the city of Athens. ... BACKGROUND OF THE CHURCH AT CORINTH: The establishment of the church occurred during Paul's second missionary journey. It is recorded by Luke in Ac 18:1-18, which can be divided into three sections: 1) Abiding with Aquila and Priscilla, fellow tentmakers; reasoning in the synagogue every Sabbath (Ac 18:1-6). 2) In the house of Justus, abiding there and teaching for a year and six months (Ac 18:7-11). 3) An incident before Gallio, proconsul of Achaia (Ac 18:12-18). It appears from reading the epistle that the church was adversely affected by the immoral environment found in the city. Pride caused division in the church and disruption in the services (1 Cor 1-4, 11). Immorality and immodesty found its way into the church, which gave it a bad reputation (1 Cor 5). The brethren were taking their personal problems with each other before the heathen courts instead of working them out among themselves (1 Cor 6). Other issues affecting the church included questions about marriage (1 Cor 7), meats sacrificed to idols (1 Cor 8-10), women praying and prophesying with heads uncovered (1 Cor 11), the use of spiritual gifts (1 Cor 12-14), the resurrection from the dead (1 Cor 15), and the collection for the saints in Jerusalem (1 Cor 16). Thus the church was one beset with problems and questions that needed to be answered. -- PURPOSE OF WRITING: The bad news concerning the problems at Corinth had reached Paul in Ephesus. It seems that this news came from at least two sources: 1) the household of Chloe (1:11); and 2) a letter sent to him (7:1), possibly by the hands of Stephanas, Fortunatus, and Achaicus (16:17). Therefore, in answer to these reports Paul writes: TO CORRECT SINFUL PRACTICES AND REFUTE FALSE DOCTRINE - THEME: 1 Corinthians 1:10 "Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment." http://executableoutlines.com/1co.htm

There is going to be a slight shift in the emphasis of the blog Bible Study regarding the Church Epistles (part of study segment #6) 1st Corinthians, 2nd Corinthians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1st Thessalonians and 2nd Thessalonians - During the study of the Church Epistles the blog Bible Study is going to study and emphasize the rampant Deception currently taking place within the modern Evangelical Christian Church

Of the many problems and perils that face the current Christian Church the main problems and breakdowns within Christianity itself are not from the outside forces such as the events of the day as portrayed on the nightly news or by secular authorities or even by cults and groups that openly oppose Christianity the main peril and problem in modern Christianity is a breakdown in the leadership, the pastors, the teachers and the organizations of the current Christian Church. While studying the Bible's Church epistles the blog Bible Study is going to explore and examine some of the aspects of modern Christian leadership and current Church practices that are both unbiblical and unstable and that are now wreaking havoc and destruction on the Church, the body of Christ, from within the Church. Pastors, men and ministries that even a few short years ago seemed to be faithful and honest have now in a short time become so compromised and compromise is a byproduct of corruption so we have to assume corrupt, that they are now openly and outwardly opposing the work of God, the ministry of the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ. The blog Bible Study is going to actually look at two aspects of deception. 1. How we ourselves as true worshipers of God can over time and usually through hardships, bitterness, neglect or misconceptions can become deceived. 2. How outright wolves in sheep's clothing are deceiving and taking advantage of the Christian Church. Note: As important as it is to be able to discern and avoid the workings of the wolves and the false shepherds I think it is much more important that we ourselves the individual Christian worshipers of God be able to present ourselves to God as holy and undefiled (Romans 12:1-3) because ultimately our relationship and accountability with God is going to be the final result of our actions and our intentions and not the actions and intentions of others or of organizations.

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1 Corinthians 1 - In the opening of the first Church epistle (letter) to the Christian Church in Corinth the Apostle Paul defines what it is to be a Christian - 1 Corinthians 1:2-3 Unto the Church of God which is at Corinth, to *them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with *all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from [God] the Lord Jesus Christ. - Note: The word "and" in the Greek language can also be used as an equal sign (=) "from God our Father, and [=] from the Lord Jesus Christ."

1 Corinthians 1:4-9 4 I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; That in every thing ye are enriched by Him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge; Even as the Testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: So that ye come behind in no gift; *waiting [watching] for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the [Judgment] Day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, by whom ye were called [invited] unto the fellowship of His Son Jesus Christ our Lord. - The Christian Church, fellowship with the living God as a Child of God is open and available to everyone who calls upon the Name of Jesus Christ in His resurrection glory, power and authority!

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1 Corinthians 2 - Paul notes that earthly human wisdom will only go so far in understanding the Spiritual matters and nature of God as God has revealed Himself to mankind in the 3 in 1 [Triune - Trinity] nature of God - Therefore Paul speaks to people in a spiritual way so people can have an opportunity to receive the Spiritual nature of a relationship between God and mankind -- '1 Corinthians 2:1-5 And I, brethren, when I came to you, [I] came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, [in] declaring unto you the Testimony of God [Jesus]. For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. And I was [humble] with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing [salesmanship] words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: *That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.'

1 Corinthians 2:6-16 Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect [complete in Jesus]: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought [nothing]: But we speak the wisdom of God *in a mystery [Triune - Father, Son Jesus , Holy Spirit], even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: Which none of the princes of this world knew [the Triune nature of God as revealed to mankind]: for had they known it [Triunity - Trinity], they would not have crucified the [the Triune] Lord of glory. But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the [Triune] things which God hath prepared for them that love Him. But God hath revealed them [Triunity] unto us by His Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God [are unknown to man] knoweth no man, but [unless the Spirit of God is within the born again person] the Spirit of God. [and] Now we have received [the born again Spirit of Jesus], *not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God [Jesus - Firstfruits];* that we might know the [Spiritual] things [of God] that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak [about], not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; *comparing Spiritual things with Spiritual. But the natural [physical, earthly] man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned [lacking]. *But he that is spiritual [born again] judgeth [considers] all things, yet he himself is judged [condemned] of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct Him? But we have [a mind above the earthly] the [heavenly, eternal] mind of Christ. - The Apostle Paul repeatedly throughout his writings refers to the 3 in 1 Triune (Trinity) nature of God [Father, Son Jesus, Holy Spirit] as revealed by God to mankind as a "Mystery". If God were exclusively the Father and not the Son or the Holy Spirit than (singular) God in man is not really a mystery. Having one Spirit of God inside of one man could be easily explained and would not be encompassed in a mystery. However having the 3 in 1 nature of God, God the Father and equally God the Son Jesus Christ and just as equally God the Holy Spirit the three being individually separated [as revealed to mankind] as well as eternal (always existent, self-sustaining), omnipotent (all powerful), omniscient (all knowing) and yet the three being one it is a great mystery. The eternal, undefined, exact True nature of God is a mystery [at least currently] to mankind because God is unique and God is complex as revealed by God to mankind in the 3 in 1 complexness of God in the Bible.

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1 Corinthians 3 - The Spiritual nature of God is revealed to now be inside and comingled with the [cleansed by the blood of Jesus] human spirit in the [completed] Spiritually born again person -- '1 Corinthians 3:16 Know ye not that ye are the Temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?' - '1 Corinthians 3:21 Therefore let no man glory in men. For all things are [equally] yours ...'

1 Corinthians 3:9-15 For we [labor] are laborers together with God: ye are God's husbandry [living plant, vine branch], ye are God's building [structure]. According to the grace [individuality] of God which is given unto me, as a wise master builder [of the Church structure of God], I have laid [revealed] the [Gospel] foundation, and another [Christian] buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed [be very careful] how he buildeth thereupon [the Gospel of Jesus]. For other [new] foundation can no man lay than [the original foundation] that is laid, *which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man [labors] build upon this [Jesus] foundation [then accordingly] gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man's work [labor on the one Christian structure] shall be made manifest [revealed]: for the [Judgment - rewards judgment] day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire [extreme judgment]; and the fire [Judgment of God] shall try [test] every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide [remain after the fire] which he hath built thereupon [the Christian foundation], *he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss [of rewards]: but he himself shall be saved [enter into Heaven]; yet so [emptied] as by fire. - The one eternal foundation of Jesus Christ is to be built on by all Christians of all denominations, at all times and throughout all locations. There are no alternate foundations in the House of God there is only the one True, Divine, precious [gold, silver, precious gemstones] eternal foundation of Jesus Christ.

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1 Corinthians 4 - It is required that those who oversee and administer the elements [mystery] of the Kingdom of God to themselves and to others that they do so being faithful to Jesus Christ -- '1 Corinthians 4:1-2 Let a man so account of us, as of the Ministers of Christ, and stewards [keepers, agents] of the *mysteries of God. Moreover *it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.'

1 Corinthians 4:5 Therefore judge [make final] nothing before the time, until the Lord [Jesus] come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and *will make manifest the counsels of the hearts [soul]: and then shall every man have praise of God [in the truth manifested of Jesus]. ... 1 Corinthians 4:7-15 For who maketh thee [beginning Christian] to differ from another? and what hast thou [of Christianity] that thou didst not [freely] receive? now if thou didst receive it [Salvation], why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received [but created] it? Now ye [beginning Christians] are full [have everything including all understanding and know all knowledge], now ye are rich, ye have reigned as kings without us [the Apostles]: and I would to God ye did reign, that we also might [benefit] reign with you. For I think that God hath set forth us the Apostles last [least in the Church], as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to Angels, and to men. We [experienced Christians] are fools for Christ's sake, but ye [beginning Christians] are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised. Even unto this present hour we both hunger, and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no certain dwellingplace; And labour, working with our own hands: *being reviled, we bless [as Jesus did]; being persecuted, we suffer it: Being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring [rejected] of all things unto this day. *I write not these things to shame you, but as my beloved sons *I warn you. For though ye have ten thousand instructors [to lord and reign over you] in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers [who care more for you than for themselves - to build you up and pray for your continued success]: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten [fathered] you through the Gospel. Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me [the Apostle Paul a mature, accomplished Christian, father of others in the faith]. - Christianity at first glance to some might look like an opportunity to get ahead in this world as an opportunity to gain status, respect, eat a free lunch, sell some books, increase some finances, gain earthly pleasures and flaunt authority over others. However true Christianity is about giving yourself to God and to others in an unselfish godly way and that the world is bitterly opposed to and completely at odds against. The beginning Christian sees what appears to be a good earthly opportunity for comfort and advancement in Christianity but the mature Christian experiences the difficulty of the reality of existing in an environment [both physical and spiritual (demonic)] that is truly hostile towards Christianity [the Christianity of Jesus Christ].

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1 Corinthians 5 - The Apostle Paul rebukes some of the unholy behavior taking place in the Church and states that as a discerning Christian Paul does not even have to be in their presence to discern that their behavior is unscriptural -- '1 Corinthians 5:3-5 For I [Paul] verily, as absent [not physically among you] in body, *but present [discerning] in spirit, *have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this [immoral] deed, In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit [of fellowship], with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, To deliver such an one unto Satan [remove the offender from Church fellowship] for the destruction of the flesh [having discovered the hard way after encountering Satan that serving (self) or is not worth it], that [through repentance] the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.'

1 Corinthians 5:6-13 Your glorying [about sin] is not good. Know ye not that a little [sin] leaven leaveneth [corrupts] the whole lump [fellowship]? Purge [remove] out therefore the old leaven [old sinful ways], that ye may be a new [fellowship] lump, as ye are unleavened [holy and undefiled]. *For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us: *Therefore let us keep the Feast [in Jesus], not with old leaven, neither with the leaven [sin] of malice [hostility] and wickedness; but with the [holy] unleavened bread of Sincerity and Truth. *I wrote unto you in an [previous] epistle [letter] not to company with fornicators: Yet not altogether with the fornicators [Gentiles] of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. But now I have written unto you not to keep company [with evil people within the Church], if any man that is called a brother [a fellow Christian] be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; *with such an one [avoid] no not to eat. For what have I to do to judge them [don't judge non-Christians] also that are without? do not ye judge them [do judge fellow Christians] that are within? But them that are without [non-Christians] God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves [remove from fellowship] that wicked person. - Paul teaches of the necessity to judge people within the Church. It is of particular importance to Judge the pastors, leaders, teachers and elders of a Church or fellowship those are the offices most easily corrupted and they are the offices that need the most oversight. Don't hesitate to go to another fellowship in fact ALWAYS try to fellowship in two or more locations [denominations] although today the same tired message is repeated from denomination to denomination so that any actual variety is a rarity but it is unadvisable to be taught only by one man or only in one denomination particularly in this day and age of rampant deception with so many church personnel impersonating and pretending to be true Christian Church authorities. Note: The man that Paul referred to in this passage was removed from the fellowship, he then repented but the Church in Corinth would not receive him back into fellowship so part of the letter of 2nd Corinthians [which is actually 3rd Corinthians] is Paul instructing the Church to accept the repentant person back into fellowship. Also Note: The referenced previous letter from the Apostle Paul to the Church at Corinth was probably brief enough and specific enough that it was intended only for a few people in Corinth for the one specific matter. In all of the other writings of Paul he wrote broadly to encompass the complete body of Christ in his writings and in his letters even in his personal letters to Timothy, Titus and Philemon the Apostle Paul directed them as Church wide epistles.

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1 Corinthians 6 - The Apostle Paul explains Christian liberty - we as Christians in a personal relationship with God in Heaven are free to do anything on earth - However on earth there are still harmful (unprofitable) things and if a Christian is not discerning enough to avoid and stay away from the harmful effects of things that still remain on this earth than a Christian can suffer the consequences of bad personal decisions -- '1 Corinthians 6:9-12 Know ye not that the unrighteous [unsaved] shall not inherit the Kingdom of God? *Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the Kingdom of God. *And such were some of you [we have all sinned]: *but ye are [now] washed [cleansed by the blood of Jesus], but ye are sanctified [set apart to God], but ye are justified [right with God] *in the Name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit [born again] of our God. *All things are lawful unto me [we have liberty not the law], but all things are not expedient [well]: all things are lawful for me, *but I will not be brought under the power [into bondage] of any [worldly thing].'

1 Corinthians 6:13 Meats [food is] for the belly, and the belly [is] for meats [food]: *but God shall destroy both it [physical stomach] and them [food urges] {food, bodily urges and our physical body become obsolete}. *Now the body *is *not *for *fornication, but [it is to worship] *for *the *Lord; and the Lord for the body. *And God hath both raised [resurrection] up the Lord, *and will also *raise *up *us by His own power [in a new body without food or sexual urges] {worship and our new resurrection body become everything}. Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid. What? *know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith He, shall be one flesh (Genesis 2:24). *But he that is [born again] joined unto the Lord *is one Spirit. *Flee fornication. *Every sin that a man doeth [greed, envy, etc.] is [in the soul] without the body; *but he that committeth fornication sinneth [both against the soul and the physical body] against his own [physical] body. What? *know ye not that your body is the Temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price [death on the cross]: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your [human] spirit, which are God's. - Sexual sin is one of the sins that a person can commit that has larger ramifications than other sins. When a person sins in their soul it is bad enough but when we sin body and soul it is a double portion of sin in a sense. When we sin in our mind for instance if we think God does not love us or does not hear our prayers then that is sin and God can and will deal with that sin (shortcoming) by revealing more of Himself to us. Sometimes our sins do bring us closer to God. God is able to use both our obedience and our disobedience in order to reveal Himself to us. The cults are often so wrong when they say that God can't do something because of our sin however with physical sin like murder, drugs, pornography, etc. it involves other people and brings our physical body and the bodies of others into the sinful act therefore the consequences of the sin are often multiplied [in a sexual encounter you might not have a social disease at the start of the encounter but because another person is involved you might have one at the end of the encounter] and yes God can and does overcome our physical sins however physical sins are an indication that a person is further away from God and being further away from God the person often needs more and drastic measures in order to bring them into a honorable relationship with God.

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1 Corinthians 7 - 1 Corinthians 7:12-13 But [this is a New Testament Teaching] to the rest speak I [in the Holy Spirit in the New Testament], not the Lord [through the Old Testament]: If any brother [Christian] hath a [non-Christian] wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not [divorce] put her away. And the [Christian] woman which hath an [non-Christian] husband that believeth not, *and *if *he *be *pleased *to *dwell [no violence or abuse] with her, let her not leave him. *For the unbelieving husband is sanctified [set apart] by the wife [through her prayers and intercession for the family], and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband [through his prayers and intersession for the family]: else were your children unclean [without any knowledge of God]; but now are they holy [having some knowledge of God]. - Note: Divorce is unfortunate however love is above the law (Galatians 5:22). If someone is divorced they can remarry anyone out of love [a highest commitment of good to God]. Divorce breaks the law, it breaks the marriage, it breaks the family and it breaks society but marriage [any marriage, 2nd, 3rd, etc.] in a committed union through love in Jesus Christ can overcome all things. God is the God of a new life and of second, third, fourth, fifth chance etc. Have the freedom [freedom means making mistakes] and the liberty [to make more mistakes] in this life but be sure to live it for God and God is more than willing and more than capable of picking up the pieces of our life including and especially in failed relationships and in marriages.

1 Corinthians 7:17-24 But as God hath distributed [life's circumstances] to every man, as the Lord [comes down to man and meets man] hath called [invited] every one, so let him walk [where he first met God]. And so ordain I in all churches. Is any man called being circumcised? let him not become uncircumcised. Is any called in uncircumcision? let him not be circumcised. Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God. *Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called [where he met God, until or if you discern a change in your life]. Art thou called being a servant? care not for it [God can fellowship with a servant (slave)]: but if thou mayest be made free, use it rather. For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord's freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ's servant. Ye are bought with a price; *be not ye the servants of men. *Brethren, let every man, wherein he is called [where he met God], therein abide [fellowship] with God. - The Apostle Paul is saying that God meets individual mankind where we are, at any particular moment in life. If someone is famous and they meet God then God has met them there in that condition they don't have to sell everything and become poor to fellowship with God they have already met God. So don't chase after God according to the wisdom of men but just consider that God has already dealt us many of our cards in life and God can work in and around the cards we hold in our life. Once meeting God that is a new relationship and some things do change [like going into some form of ministry]and many things stay the same in life. Make sure the changes and any new directions in life are from God when and if they happen.

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1 Corinthians 8 - Continuing with instructions to the Church the Apostle Paul explains that Christian love is more important and more meaningful than knowledge and it is certainly more powerful than hidden (occult) knowledge - If someone has vast occult knowledge the answer often isn't our Christian knowledge but our Christian love and of our concern for them, their safety and their wellbeing -- '1 Corinthians 8:1 Now as touching (occult) things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity (love) edifieth [builds up].'

1 Corinthians 8:4-13 As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing [without authority] in the world, and that there is none other God but one. For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth, as there be gods many, and lords many, But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by Him. *Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge [of Jesus Christ]: for some with conscience [knowledge] of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled. But meat [food] commendeth [recommended] us not to God: for neither, if we eat, are we the better; neither, if we eat not [fast], are we the worse. But take heed lest by any means this liberty [to eat foods sacrificed to idols] of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak [suspect idols have authority]. For if any man see thee which hast [Biblical] knowledge sit at meat [rejecting the idol] in the idol's temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols [accepting the idol]; And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish [fall away], for whom Christ died? But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, ye sin against Christ. Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend [follow idols]. - Loosely this is about a Christian who has a good walk and goes into a pagan temple and has lunch as a Christian in a pagan place knowing that God is above all. Then a weaker Christian sees this and wrongly thinks that the Christian really worships idols so that person begins to think maybe idols do have power and is seduced away from Christianity all because a Christian went into a pagan place. 1. Always make sure [to the best of our ability]that when we do go into a non-Christian environment that we try to keep our Christian bearing if we act non-Christian at a sports event or whatever it is an issue. 2. Our actions do affect other Christians both for good and for bad so just be aware of it that our actions do affect other people even if we don't know them directly or realize it.

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1 Corinthians 9 - The Apostle Paul points out that although servants of God are allowed to make a living from their service to God it is not intended that the Gospel [Good News of Jesus Christ] is to be perceived by others as having been sold for income -- '1 Corinthians 9:18 What is my reward then? Verily that, *when I Preach the Gospel , I may make the Gospel of Christ [free] without charge, *that I abuse not my power in the Gospel.'

1 Corinthians 9:16-27 16 For though I preach the Gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel! For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the Gospel is committed unto me. What is my reward then? Verily that, when I preach the gospel, I may make the gospel of Christ without charge, that I abuse not my power in the Gospel. For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more. And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law; To them that are without law, as without law, being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ, that I might gain them that are without law. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. And this I do for the gospel's sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you. Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a [temporary] corruptible crown; but we [Christians] an [eternal] incorruptible [crown]. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air [shadowboxing]: But I keep under [submission]my body, and bring it into subjection: *lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, *I myself should be a [disqualified] castaway. - The Apostle Paul is continuing to talk about God's ability to meet people when and where they are. Paul is not saying that he joins [lawless] people in their activities, what the Apostle Paul is saying is that some people eat only certain foods and that is fine God can meet them there. Some people have certain customs and rituals and that's fine God can meet them there. At times in Church history missionaries have gone from developed countries like England and America to remote areas to spread the Gospel but at times the missionaries were so intent on making foreign people British or American subjects first that the teaching of the gospel was neglected. The Apostle Paul is saying that he does not try to convert people to a nationality or a custom but only to the eternal, living, Gospel of Jesus Christ.

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1 Corinthians 10 - A continuing encouragement for Christians to conduct our lives with an ever-present Kingdom of God conduct and with an eternal life purpose of mind -- '1 Corinthians 10:31-33 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, *or whatsoever ye do [with your liberty], *do all to the glory of God. Give none offence, neither to the *Jews, nor to the *Gentiles, nor to the *Church of God: Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit [benefit], but the profit [benefit] of many, *that they may be saved. - Note: The Bible divides the three groups; Jews, Gentiles and Christians.'

1 Corinthians 10:23-29 All things are lawful for me, *but all things are not expedient [well]: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify [build-up] not. Let no man seek his own, but every man another's wealth [benefit]. Whatsoever is sold in the shambles [market], that eat, asking no question [about its occult origins] for conscience sake: *For the earth is the Lord's, and the fullness thereof. If any of them [non-Christians] that believe not bid you to a feast, and ye be disposed to go; whatsoever is set before you, eat, asking no [about its occult origins] question for conscience sake. *But if any man say unto you, This is offered in sacrifice unto idols, eat not [don't join in] for his sake that shewed it, and for [our] conscience sake: for the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof [God is Lord and does not want us to fellowship with idols (demons)]: Conscience, I say, not thine own, but of the other [try not to give people the false impression that Christians compromise and go along with the idols of others]: for why is my liberty judged of another man's conscience? - Note: Why is our Christian liberty judged for another man's conscience? Paul is saying that we have a more complete knowledge and we also have the backing of the God of the universe therefore we need to represent God to an unsaved world with as clear and uncompromised message as we can. If Christians send a message of compromise it conflicts with the no compromise message of Jesus and His cross but if we also send a message of no love then it also conflicts with the message of Jesus and His cross where His love for us was so complete that He died for us so we can live. Therefore try to keep and give and accurate representation of Jesus Christ and of His cross and of His resurrection to others who we interact with especially in social interactions.

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1 Corinthians 11 - The Church is instructed in the Communion of Jesus Christ -- '1 Corinthians 11:23 For I have received of the Lord [Jesus] that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus *the same night in which He was betrayed [by Judas] took bread ...' - Note: The Communion represents and is a part of the Levitical Feats of "The Lord's Passover" Jesus was betrayed on the night of the Passover Feast [14th of Nisan - Leviticus 23:5]. The very next day, the day of the crucifixion (cross) of Jesus is the Levitical Feast the "Feast of Unleavened Bread" [15th of Nisan - Leviticus 23:6] then that first day of the week [Sunday] is the Feast of Firstfruits [Leviticus 23:7] - Jesus Resurrected on Sunday the Feast of Firstfruits and began (John 20:22) to give individually to each one of His disciples the Firstfruits of His Holy, eternal resurrection life - 'Romans 8:23 And not only they [all of creation groans for redemption], but ourselves also, which have *the Firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption [from Children of God to Sons of God], to wit, the redemption of our body.'

Christian Communion - The New Testament - The body [both the physical and the resurrection body of Jesus] and the blood [both the physical blood and the resurrection - eternal life, spiritual blood] of Jesus Christ: 1 Corinthians 11:23-32 23 For I [Apostle Paul] have received of the Lord [Jesus] that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which He was betrayed took bread: And when He had given thanks, He brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is *My body [representing both the physical body and resurrection (spiritual) body of Jesus], which [physical body] is broken for you: this do in remembrance of Me. After the same manner also He took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the New Testament in My blood [both physical blood and resurrection Spirit-life blood]: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of Me. *For as often as ye eat *this [unleavened] bread, and drink this [grape and water mingled] cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come. Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily [thinking they are not a sinner], shall be guilty of the [sacrifice for our sins] body and blood of the Lord. *But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, *not discerning the Lord's body [that the physical body of Jesus was given physically for our sin on the cross (redemption) and that the Spiritual body of Jesus is given to us from His eternal life resurrection (Salvation)]. For this cause [not knowing that the same body of Jesus from the cross is the same body that resurrected and is for our eternal, resurrection life, salvation] many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep [are unaware of the power and of the pending resurrection in our own life]. For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened (Hebrews 12:6) of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. - Note: The 'cup' is in reference to both the physical life-blood and the Spiritual life-blood of Jesus. The Communion of Jesus Christ represents both the body on the cross and the resurrection life body of Jesus. The New Testament - Communion of Jesus Christ represents both the Redemption (cross) and Salvation (resurrection) body of Jesus Christ. - Also Note: Jesus being without sin in His body (Matthew 17:2), bodily resurrected in His same body. We having sin our own physical body we vacate our physical body and it returns to dust [Genesis 3:19] then we each receive a new spiritual body - not a new physical body [not a reincarnation of a physical body] but a new eternal spiritual body for the purposes of our [continuing] eternal spiritual life.

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1 Corinthians 12 - The individual nature and use of Spiritual gifts [abilities] giving from God are discussed -- '1 Corinthians 12:1-7 Now concerning Spiritual gifts [abilities from God], brethren, I would not have you ignorant. Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led. Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can [honestly] say [with the human spirit] that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost [but deceivers can easily say in their mind or with their mouth that Jesus is God - or some variation 'Almighty' to attempt to fool people]. Now there are diversities of [different] gifts, but [done in] the same [Holy] Spirit. And there are differences of administrations [uses for the same gift], but the same Lord [Jesus]. And there are diversities of operations [how each gift is used by each individual person], but *it is the same God which worketh all in all [in all Christians]. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit [each man] withal [each in a similar manner].'

1 Corinthians 12:27-31 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. And God hath set some [individuals] in the Church, first Apostles [sent out ones - evangelists], secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments [administration], diversities of tongues. *Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? [No!] But covet [seek] earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way. ... [the way of love (agape)]. - All of the gifts, offices and functions of God are valuable and all work together in the one resurrection body of Jesus Christ. - Note: The individual workings and accomplishments through the use of the gifts are not a substitute for love. We have to love, God and one another in Jesus Christ or else any of the works we do are meaningless.

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1 Corinthians 13 - The superior Christian way - The way of Love (Agape) - Spiritual resurrection life love in Jesus Christ -- '1 Corinthians 13:12-13 For now [while in our physical body] we see through a glass [eye], darkly [barely visible of the spiritual realm]; but then [after our resurrection and spiritual body then] face to face [with Jesus - God]: now I know [experience - Ginosko, G1097] in part; but then shall I know [experience divinely - Epiginosko, G1921] even as also I am known. And *now [in the darkened physical realm] abideth [exists] *faith, *hope, charity (love - Agape, G26), these three; but the greatest of these is charity (love - Agape, G26).'

1 Corinthians 13:1-13 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that [Jesus] which is perfect is come [2nd coming], then that which is in part [the gifts - Apostle, teaching, prophecy] shall be done away. When I was a child [incomplete], I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man [adult - complete (sonship)], I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity. - Note: Many of the various gifitngs of God the Holy Spirit are only temporary and will later be unnecessary in the presence of Jesus during His 2nd Coming Kingdom reign. Where the abilities of some gifts will cease of diminish in the presence of Jesus the ability to have faith, to have hope, to give and to love will increase in the presence of Jesus.

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1 Corinthians 14 - The Christian Church is to function in an and orderly manner and in an atmosphere of mutual respect -- '1 Corinthians 14:31-33 For ye [Christian] may all prophesy [explain Biblical concepts] one by one, that *all may learn, and *all may be comforted. And *the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets [themselves] {people are not possessed (taken over) by the Holy Spirit the way a demon might (overpower) a person's freewill}. For God is not the author of confusion, *but of peace [comfort], as *in all Churches of the Saints [holy - saved].'

1 Corinthians 14:36-40 What? came [originated] the Word of God out from you? or came it unto you [exclusively] only? *If any man think himself to be a prophet, *or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I [Apostle Paul] write unto you are the commandments of the Lord [Jesus]. But if any man be ignorant [self-serving], let him be ignorant. Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy [explain to others the concepts of Christianity], and forbid not to speak with tongues. *Let all things be done decently [respecting one another] and [functionally] in order. - Note: This is a major indictment against the popularity preaching [one man shows] of modern Christianity. Everyone in the Christian Church is equal among each other and everyone can contribute equally among the fellowship, no exceptions. The one man shows of modern Christianity are completely unbiblical and worse yet having one person in several positions of leadership [i.e. leadership, teaching, counseling, guiding, etc.] is disastrous and almost always, without fail it leads to the eventual destruction of the fellowship.

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1 Corinthians 15 - The Christian Gospel is given as the [cross] redemption and [resurrection] salvation of Jesus Christ for our benefit of receiving eternal [resurrection] life -- '1 Corinthians 15:1-4 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you *the Gospel [Jesus Christ is risen] which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved [salvation], if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died [cross - redemption] for our sins according to the scriptures; And that He was buried [proven to be dead], and that He rose again [resurrection - salvation] the third day according to the scriptures'

1 Corinthians 15:12-58 Now if [Jesus] Christ be preached [proclaimed] that He rose [resurrection] from the dead, *how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? *But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: And if Christ be not risen, *then is our preaching vain [empty], and your faith is also vain [empty]. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ: whom He raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. *But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the Firstfruits of them that slept. For since by man [Adam] came death, by man [Jesus] came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in [Jesus] Christ shall all be made alive. *But every man [individually] in his own order: Christ the Firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at His coming [in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:17, Acts 3:21)]. Then cometh the end [Tribulation - Great Tribulation], when He shall have delivered up the Kingdom to God [from here on earth], even {to} the Father; when He shall have put down all [Satanic] rule and all authority and power. For He [Messiah] must reign, till He hath put all enemies under His feet. *The last enemy that shall be destroyed is [physical] death [spiritual death (separation from God) - lake of fire remains (Revelation 20:14)]. For He [Jesus] hath put all things under His feet [authority - soul]. But when He [Holy Spirit] saith, all things are put under Him [Jesus], it is manifest that He [Holy Spirit] is excepted [excluded - the Holy Spirit is not at odds with Jesus and is not subjected], which did put all things under Him [Jesus]. And when all things shall be subdued unto Him [Jesus], then shall the Son [Jesus] also Himself be subject unto Him [Father] that put all things under Him, *that God [Father, Son Jesus, Holy Spirit] may be all in all. Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead {at times of severe persecution to get baptized was practically a death sentence}, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead {why baptize if it will cause your death if there is no resurrection}? *And why stand we [professing Christ] in jeopardy every hour? I protest by your rejoicing which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for tomorrow we die. Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. *Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame. But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come? Thou fool, that [plant seed] which thou sowest [plant in the ground] is not quickened [made alive], except it die: And that which thou sowest, *thou sowest not that body [blossoms] that shall be, but bare grain [seed], it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain: But *God giveth it a body [from a seed] as it hath pleased Him, and to every seed his own body. All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds. There are also celestial bodies [sun], and bodies terrestrial [moon]: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. *So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption [physical flesh, sin]; it is raised in incorruption [spiritual body]: It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: *It [human life] is sown a natural [physical] body; it [human life] is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam [Jesus] was made a quickening [life giving] spirit. Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural [physical]; *and afterward that which is spiritual. The first man [Adam] is of the earth, earthy: the second man [Jesus] is the Lord from Heaven. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: *and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. *Now this I say, brethren, that [physical] flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed [from physical body to spiritual eternal body], In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump [Church announcement from God - not the trumpet judgments of Revelation]: for the trumpet [announcement] shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible [in their resurrection body], and we [who are alive] shall be changed [into a spiritual body]. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality [eternity]. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, *then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, *Death is swallowed up in [the] victory [of Jesus]. *O death, where is thy sting? *O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. *But thanks be to God, *which giveth us *the victory *through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, *be ye stedfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, *forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain [emptiness] in the Lord [our labor is eternal].

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1 Corinthians 16 - Paul concludes his current letter to the Church at Corinth -- '1 Corinthians 16:1-2 Now concerning the collection [donation] for the Saints [in Jerusalem], as I have given order to the Churches of Galatia [modern day Asia, Turkey], even so do ye [in Greece]. Upon [Church day] the first day of the week [Sunday] let every one of you lay by him in store (savings), as God hath prospered him, *that there be no gatherings when I come.' - Note: the Apostle Paul continually separates himself from any appearance of being personally enriched by the work of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. - Also Note: The collection was taken for the Church in Jerusalem and likely 100% of the collection went directly to the Church in Jerusalem. Today in modern Christianity some ministries would probably take their own cut [though honestly many Church ministries do not take a cut - but in a modern non-Church, visiting pastor (as the Apostle Paul was) or crusade type of setting the donations are often misappropriated] of the donations [for a specific causes] and usually only a fraction of the designated amount of the original stated purpose would now make it to the original cause.

The Epistle (book) of 1st Corinthians concludes: 1 Corinthians 16:13 Watch [be alert, continually look for the 2nd Coming return of Jesus] ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you [behave] like men, be strong. Let all your things be done with charity. I beseech you, brethren, ye know the house of Stephanas, that it is the Firstfruits of Achaia [a part of grater Greece], and *that they have addicted themselves to the ministry of the saints, That ye submit yourselves unto such, and to everyone that helpeth with us, and laboureth. I am glad of the coming of Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus: for that which was lacking on your part they have supplied. For they have refreshed my spirit and yours: therefore acknowledge ye them that are such. The Churches of Asia salute you. Aquila and Priscilla [good friends of Paul, Jewish Christians originally from Rome] salute you much in the Lord, with the Church that is in their house. All the brethren greet you. Greet ye one another with an holy kiss [friendly embrace]. The salutation [closing remark] of me Paul [written] with mine own hand. If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema [lit. banished] Maranatha [lit. until - Our Lord, come!]. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen.

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THE SECOND EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE TO THE

2 CORINTHIANS

Second Corinthians "A Ministry of Reconciliation" - This is a unique letter with a writing style that is very personal, bold, at times sarcastic, and very defensive - It shares the concern, passion, intimate feelings and thoughts of an Apostle [Paul] who is defending his own apostleship and ministry in a church which he founded - The letter is the least systematic [theology] of the Apostle Paul's writings - Even a casual reading gives the impression of a man who is on his feet fighting a battle with his feelings and personal biases clearly involved - It reads almost like a man who expresses freely his feelings about himself and his ministry in a journal

Second Corinthians reveals Paul's deep concern for a troubled Greek church. The Church at Corinth had great potential, but its history was marked by dissension, confusion in theology, distortions in worship, and apathy in moral concerns. Therefore, it is a letter of extreme relevance for churches in our day and age. This is a unique letter with a writing style that is very personal, bold, at times sarcastic, and very defensive. It shares the concern, passion, intimate feelings and thoughts of an apostle who is defending his own apostleship and ministry in a church which he founded. The letter is the least systematic of the Apostle Paul's writings. Even a casual reading gives the impression of a man who is on his feet fighting a battle with his feelings and personal biases clearly involved. It reads almost like a man who expresses freely his feelings about himself and his ministry in a journal. Thus analysis of this letter is almost impossible. Try outlining it for yourself. Read with pencil in hand. ... CHRONOLOGY OF RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN PAUL AND THE CORINTHIANS: 1. Paul visited Corinth on his second missionary journey and established a church there about A.D. 50 Acts 18:1-17). 2. While in Ephesus (A.D. 55), Paul heard of moral problems within the Corinthian church from Chloe's people and wrote a letter of instruction to them. He referred to this "previous letter" in 1 Cor. 5:9. This letter no longer exists; it was lost without trace. We will call it Paul's "Corinthians A" letter after F. F. Bruce's designation. 3. Paul received a letter from some of the members in the church concerning serious problems within the fellowship (I Cor. 7:1). They sought Paul's counsel in dealing with the issues. The family of Chloe came with news of the church (I Cor. 1:11), and the visit of Stephanas, Fortunatus and Achaicus (I Cor. 16:17). On the basis of the letter and other information that reached him in Ephesus about problems in the church, Paul wrote what is now called 1 Corinthians in about A.D. 55 and sent it to Corinth via Timothy (I Cor. 4:17). We will call 1 Corinthians letter "Corinthians B". 4. The pastoral letter, 1 Corinthians, was not successful and the situation grows worse. In fact, it seems to have stimulated further rebellion against Paul's authority. In response Paul probably made a brief visit across the Aegean Sea to Corinth in a personal attempt to resolve the crisis (2 Cor. 2:1; 12:14; 13:1-2). This is often referred to as the "painful visit" which breaks his heart. Paul was rebuffed by members of the church. The opposition comes to a head with one member in particular defying his authority. The leadership in the church took no effective action in Paul's defense. Paul, deeply humiliated, left Corinth. 5. The "painful visit" didn't accomplish its goal, therefore Paul returned to Ephesus and wrote a third letter to the Corinthians "out of much affliction and anguish of heart and with many tears." It is referred to in 2 Corinthians 2:3-4, 9, and 7:8, 12. This "exceedingly severe letter," delivered by Titus (2 Cor. 2:3f, 13; 7:13), is often called the stern or rebuking letter. This letter left Paul almost sorry that he had written it. We will call it letter "Corinthians C". 6. Titus visited Corinth with the "severe letter" in an attempt to reconcile the situation. Paul, in the mean time, was so anxious to hear from Titus that he left Ephesus traveling north to Troas seeking him (2 Cor. 2:13; 7:5, 13). Somewhere in Macedonia, probably Philippi, Paul received the good news from Titus of a change in attitude in the Corinthian church. The leader of rebellion had been rejected and disciplined. The church was once again open to Paul's counsel and desirous of his friendship. 7. Paul responded by writing 2 Corinthians from Philippi around A.D. 56 or early A.D. 57. We will call this letter "Corinthians D." 8. Paul made a final visit to Corinth (Acts 20:1-3) during which he solidified his relationship with the church and received the mission offering for the Jerusalem church. On this stay in Corinth Paul probably wrote his letter to the Romans. He sends Titus back to them with two other friends. F. F. Bruce is of the opinion that "this second visit of Titus to Corinth was not so happy as the former one. . . Paul was really putting them on the spot. . . . A new feeling of resentment showed itself among some members of the church, and it was fostered by certain visitors to Corinth who did their best to undermine Paul's prestige in his converts' eyes." He bases his theory on 2 Cor. 10-13. PURPOSE OF SECOND CORINTHIANS: False teachers who claimed to be apostles had infiltrated the Corinthian church with the goal of discrediting Paul's ministry and apostleship. This letter was written with the purpose of refuting these intruders. Paul is defending his integrity. 1. Paul wrote to prepare the Corinthians for his visit and insure the restored relationship with them (chapter 1-7). 2. He wrote to remind the church of their commitment to the offering for the poor saints at Jerusalem (chapters 8-9). 3. Paul defended his apostolic authority (chapters 10-13). 4. "He wrote to reprimand the obstinate remnants of the 'Cephas' (Peter) and 'Christ' factions for their persistent opposition" (Shepard, p. 273). THEME OF 2 CORINTHIANS: The joys and sorrows in Paul's ministry at Corinth at a time when his authority is undermined and severely questioned. ... GENUINENESS OF THE EPISTLE: Many scholars are of the same opinion as J. W. Shepard regarding the genuineness of 2 Corinthians. He writes: There is abundant proof of the circulation and genuineness of this epistle previous to 120 A. D. Polycarp and Irenaeus are among those who testify to this fact; through citation and otherwise. The evidence is yet more copious for early circulation dating from 175 A. D.; the Muratorian Fragment, Marcions Canon, and the citations from Clement of Alexandria and others. . . The internal evidence of Pauline authorship is so clear in the matter of style, vocabulary, and character of its general teachings as to render its authenticity unmistakable. So strong is both the external and internal evidence that only a small group of 'eccentric critics' any longer call in question its genuineness. http://www.abideinchrist.com/messages/2corintr.html

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2 Corinthians 1 - The Apostle Paul begins what in the Bible is 2nd Corinthians though possibly it is his 4th letter to the Church at Corinth - Paul was a simple straightforward man from a medium sized city (Tarsus) - In Corinth one of the true metropolises of the ancient world the seemingly unsophisticated ways of Paul were almost completely rejected by the highly cultured and complex people of Corinth -- '2 Corinthians 1:-2 Paul, an Apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, unto the Church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia [grater Greece]'

2 Corinthians 1:9-24 But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, *but in God which raiseth the dead: Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that He will yet deliver us; Ye also helping together by prayer for us, that for the gift bestowed upon us by the means of many persons thanks may be given by many on our behalf. For our rejoicing is this, the Testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly [physical, worldly] wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward. For we write none other things unto you, than what ye read or acknowledge; and I trust ye shall acknowledge even to the end; As also ye have acknowledged us in part, that we are your rejoicing, even as ye also are ours in the day of the Lord Jesus. And in this confidence I was minded to come unto you before, that ye might have a second benefit; And to pass by you into Macedonia, and to come again out of Macedonia unto you, and of you to be brought on my way toward Judaea. When I therefore was thus minded, did I use lightness [Paul didn't neglect the Church at Corinth]? or the things that I purpose, do I purpose according to the flesh, that with me there should be yea yea, and nay nay? But *as God is True, our word toward you was not yea and nay. For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, even by me and Silvanus and Timotheus, was not yea and nay [devious], but in Him was yea [God is straightforward, steadfast]. For all the promises of God in Him are yea [yes], and in Him Amen [lit. Truth], unto the glory of God by us. Now *He [Holy Spirit] which establishes us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts. Moreover I call God for a record upon my soul, that to spare you I came not [postponed] as yet unto Corinth. Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith [redemption (cross) and salvation (resurrection) equal faith] ye stand. - Paul continues to attempt to remove the focus and adoration of the highly cultured Church at Corinth off of individuals and off of society in general and instead seeks for them to focus on the eternal Kingdom of God.

2 Corinthians 1 (Part B) - Intermixed in Paul's letter is his own personal memoirs and contributions to the Christian Church as a whole -- '2 Corinthians 1:3-5 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.'

2 Corinthians 1:6-10 And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation [wellbeing], which is effectual [an example] in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted [it is also an example], it is for your consolation and salvation. *And our hope [of your success in Christ] of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation. For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life: *But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but *in God which raiseth the dead: Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that He will yet deliver us; - Paul is revealing that the struggles he is facing day to day in life on the road as a Missionary is very much a constant struggle of life and death.

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2 Corinthians 2 - Paul sets out that he is in Ministry to reveal Jesus Christ to a lost and dying world and not for fame, fortune or even wealth -- '2 Corinthians 2:14-17 Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour [sweet aroma] of His knowledge by us in every place. For we are unto God a sweet savour [aroma] of Christ, in them that are saved, and in them that perish: To the one [unsaved] we are the savour [reminder] of death unto [their eternal spiritual] death; and to the other [fellow Christians] the savour [reminder] of life unto [eternal spiritual] life. And who is sufficient [worthy] for these [eternal - Kingdom of God] things? For we are not as many [hired pastors - imposters], which corrupt the Word of God: but as of sincerity [of an Apostle - Evangelist], but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.'

2 Corinthians 2:6-11 Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many. So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow. Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him. For to this end also did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether ye be obedient in all things. To whom ye forgive anything, I forgive also: for if I forgave anything, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ; Lest Satan should get an advantage [turning our worship into socializing] of us: for we are not ignorant of his [Satan's] devices [tricks]. - Paul now mentions again the person referred to in 1st Corinthians who was removed from fellowship for immoral behavior. The Church in Corinth is instructed to allow the repentant worshiper back into the congregation because Christianity is not a social group and it is not a social gathering it is a place of fellowship, worship and obedience unto the almighty God.

2 Corinthians 2 (Part B) - Paul is explaining that this rift between the Church and himself is taking a heavy personal toll on him -- '2 Corinthians 2:1-5 But I determined this with myself, that I would not come again to you in heaviness. For if I make you sorry, who is he then that makes me glad, but the same [people] which is made sorry by me? And I wrote this same unto you, lest, when I came, I should have sorrow from them of whom I ought to rejoice; having confidence in you all, that my joy is the joy of you all. *For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you [possibly a letter after 1st Corinthians and before this 2nd Corinthians] with many tears; not that ye should be grieved, but that ye might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you. But if any have caused grief, he hath not grieved me, but in part: that I may not overcharge [breakoff relations with] you all.'

2 Corinthians 2:12-13 Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ's gospel, and a door was opened unto me of the Lord, I had no rest in my spirit, because I found not Titus my brother: but taking my leave of them, I went from thence into Macedonia [Greece]. - Apparently Paul wrote a very stern letter the "exceedingly severe letter" delivered by Titus from Ephesus to the Church in Corinth then Paul journeyed from Ephesus to Troas hoping to meet up with Titus and hear of how his stern letter was received back in Corinth. Paul was unable to find Titus so he went further towards Corinth into Macedonia. Titus (2 Corinthians 7:6) finally located Paul and his companions in Macedonia and gave him the good news that the [now missing] stern letter was well received by the Church in Corinth. After the news from Titus then Paul wrote this 2nd Corinthians letter. - Note: The often referred to "stern letter" could have actually been 1st Corinthians that is being mentioned and not a missing letter though Paul's first (memo) letter to Corinth is known to be missing.

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2 Corinthians 3 - Glory brings about glory while dishonor brings about dishonor - In order to be conformed into the image of Jesus we need to be steadily transformed from spiritual victory (glory) to spiritual victory (glory) in the Holy Spirit -- '2 Corinthians 3:18 But we all [Christians], with open [unveiled] face beholding as in a glass [the physical realm] the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image [as Jesus is already in] from glory [accomplishment] to glory [accomplishment], even as by the [Holy] Spirit of the Lord.'

2 Corinthians 3:11-17 For if that which is done away [the laws of Moses] was glorious, much more that which remaineth [the resurrection of Jesus and the giving of the Holy Spirit] is glorious. Seeing then that we have such [resurrection] hope, we use great plainness [outspoken boldness] of speech: And not as Moses, which put a vail over his face (Exodus 34:35), that the Children of Israel [Jews] could no stedfastly look [as the face of Moses dimmed] to the end of that [laws of Moses] which is abolished: But their [Jewish] minds were blinded [covered by the vail of Moses]: for until this day remaineth the same vail [vail of Moses] untaken away [when a Jew/Hebrew reads the Bible they see Moses not Jesus] in the reading of the Old Testament [by the Jews]; which vail is done away [removed from Christians] in Christ. But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail [of Moses] is upon their [Jewish] heart. Nevertheless when it [Jewish heart] shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away. Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. - Paul is explaining that the Bible is not vailed to the Christian. When a Christian reads the Bible the meaning should be self-evident. We as Christians have the vail removed and we have the guidance of the Holy Spirit therefore we don't need to be instructed in the Bible as the Jews are instructed in the laws of Moses. Christians are to engage in their own readings, devotions and studies of the Bible and are not to rely on man or on classes taught by men in order to teach the Bible to us.

2 Corinthians 3 (Part B) - Don't rely on men to teach you the Bible and in the same context don't rely on men to recommend other men to you as men of good Christian character, conduct or ability - Assess each Christian man (leader, worker) yourself in prayer, in guidance and in discernment with the Holy Spirit and don't look for other people to commend your ministry instead just look for 'living' Spiritual fruit from God as conformation for your work in Jesus -- '2 Corinthians 3:1-3 Do we begin again to commend ourselves? or need we, as some others, epistles (letters) of commendation to you, or letters of commendation from you? Ye are our [living] epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men: Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, *written not with ink [in the words of man], but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.'

2 Corinthians 3:4-6 And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward: Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think anything as of ourselves; *but our sufficiency is of God; Who also hath made us able ministers of the New Testament; not of the letter [the law of Moses or the recommendations of man], but of the [Holy] Spirit: for the letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life. - Trust in God and look to God both in personal devotions and in personal ministry service. The laws of Moses are constricting, blinding and irrelevant to New Testament service based in the Holy Spirit to God and the advice, council and approval of men is just as entangling, constricting, blinding and worthless in New Testament Christian service and devotions to God.

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2 Corinthians 4 - Paul reiterates the equality we all have in Jesus Christ - One Christian person [regardless of service or human status] will be raised up just as the next Christian person -- '2 Corinthians 4:14 Knowing that He [Father] which raised up the Lord Jesus shall raise up *us also by Jesus, and shall present [in Heaven] us [equally] with you.'

2 Corinthians 4:16-18 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward [physical] man perish, yet the inward [spirit-soul] man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction [difficulties of life], which is but for a moment [considering eternity], worketh *for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of [eternal] glory; While we look not at the [current] things which are seen, but at the [eternal] things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal [temporary]; but the [spiritual] things which are not seen are eternal. - Being reminded again of the eternal and complex nature of the spirit realm vs. the briefness and simplicity of the physical realm.

2 Corinthians 4 (Part B) - Christian work is difficult in fact it is doing the impossible therefore relax, enjoy and allow God to work naturally through your life in an extraordinary, supernatural way, a way unknown and not experienced by unsaved mankind -- '2 Corinthians 4:8-11 We [Christian workers] are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, *that the [unselfish] life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the [extraordinary] life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal [body] flesh.'

2 Corinthians 4:1-7 Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint [resign] not; But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, *nor handling the Word of God deceitfully; *but by manifestation of the Truth commending ourselves *to every man's conscience [discernment] *in the sight of God. But if our Gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god [Satan] of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, *[Jesus] who is the image of God, should shine unto them. *For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake. *For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness (Genesis 1:3), hath shined in our hearts (Isaiah 60:1, 1 John 2:8), to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. But we have this [spiritual] treasure in [fragile] earthen vessels [bodies], that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. - When we allow God into our lives He will live in us and through us naturally in a natural, supernatural way not in a manmade way or in a man-mandated way but only in a spiritual, supernatural way.

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2 Corinthians 5 - The physical human body is temporary and for the [saved] Christian will be exchanged for a an eternal spiritual body as given by God to each of us individually -- '2 Corinthians 5:4-5 For we that are in this tabernacle [temporary physical body] do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed [unembodied], but clothed upon [with an eternal spirit body], that mortality might be swallowed up of [eternal] life. Now He that hath wrought [created] us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest [down payment - Firstfruits] of the Spirit.'

2 Corinthians 5:6-10 Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the [physical] body, we are absent from the Lord: For we walk by faith, not by sight: We are confident, I say, and willing rather *to be absent from the [physical] body, and to be present with the Lord. *Wherefore we labor, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of Him [Jesus]. For we must all appear before the *judgment seat [lit. foot of the Throne - Bema, G968] of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his [physical] body, according to that he hath done, *whether it be good or bad. - Note: Humans because of sin are originally conceived [in the womb] separated from God but then can become spiritually 'born again' into the family of God as a "Child of God" and remain a child of God while in the physical body. After physical death and appearing in Heaven at the Bema (judgment of Jesus Christ) a holy (clean) person [Christian] is rewarded and adopted into the family of God going from a Child of God to a Son of God and as a Son receiving a new eternal spiritual body, a body in the (image - able to interact and associate with God) resemblance of the risen Jesus Christ.

2 Corinthians 5 (Part B) - Paul continues to instruct the Church in the ability to discern between the staged and planned exhibits of mankind and the actual eternal Spiritual life realm of God -- '2 Corinthians 5:11-12 Knowing therefore the terror [lit. reverence] of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences [discernment]. For we commend not ourselves again unto you, but give you occasion to glory [accomplish] on our behalf, that ye may have somewhat to answer them [imposters] which glory in [human] appearance [standing], and not in [a godly soul, spirit] heart.'

2 Corinthians 5:14-21 For the love of Christ constraineth [restraints] us; because we thus judge, that if (lit. since) one [Jesus Christ] died for all [mankind], then were all [mankind were] dead [separated from God]: And that He [Jesus] died for all, *that they which live should not [anymore] henceforth live unto themselves, *but unto Him which died for them, and rose again. Wherefore [for that reason - the unselfish sacrifice of Jesus on the cross - and now the eternal life resurrection] henceforth know we no man after the [physical] flesh: yea, though we have known Christ [came at one time physically] after the flesh, *yet now henceforth know we Him no more [physically]. *Therefore if any man be in Christ, he [born again person] is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. *And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to Himself by [Himself] Jesus Christ, *and hath given to us the Ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that *God was in [Jesus] Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing [holding] their trespasses [sins] unto them; and hath committed unto us the Word of reconciliation [forgiveness of sins in the blood of Jesus]. Now then we are Ambassadors for [Jesus] Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray [ask] you in Christ's stead [stand-in], *be ye reconciled to God. For He hath made Him [Jesus] to be sin for us, who knew no sin; *that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. - Note: Jesus became sin for us, He took on our sin upon himself as he removed our sin from us. It is important to note that our sins [trespasses] did not affect Jesus permanently but only temporarily while He was on the cross for us. Jesus overcame our sins and as a result the sinless body of Jesus was able to rise from the grave. The Disciple John (Revelation 5:6) observes Jesus standing in Heaven in the midst of the Throne in His slain physical body. Jesus having no sin of His own and perfectly able to overcome our sins (all the sins of the world)was able to bodily resurrect. We humans are unable to overcome even our own sins by ourselves and therefore we do not bodily resurrect as Jesus did but we separate from our body our temporary physical body returns to dust and in the adoption we receive a new resurrection body a body vaguely similar [able to be in the presence of the Holy God and to worship and interact with God] to what Jesus has now.

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2 Corinthians 6 - Paul now focuses on the opportunity that life is the opportunity to enter into an eternal life relationship with God -- '2 Corinthians 6:1-2 We then, as workers together with Him [God - Father, Son Jesus, Holy Spirit], beseech you also that ye receive not the grace [personal individuality allowed by God] of God in vain. For He saith, I [God] have heard thee [prayers] in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured [assisted, aided] thee: *behold, now [today] is the accepted time [to become a born into the family of God - child of God]; behold, now is the day of salvation [eternal life].'

2 Corinthians 6:3-10 Giving no offence in anything [offending not the Jews, Gentiles or the Church of god], that the [Christian] Ministry be not blamed: But in all things approving [representing] ourselves as the ministers of God, in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses, In stripes [whippings], in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, *in watchings [looking for the 2nd Coming of Jesus], in fastings; By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy [Spirit] Ghost, by love unfeigned, By *the Word of Truth [Holy Bible], by the power [lit. life creating, resurrection eternal life power - Dunamis, G1411] of God, by the armor of [Jesus'] righteousness on the *right hand [in Christian fellowship] and on the *left [outside of Christian fellowship], By honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report: as deceivers, and yet true; As unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed; As sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things. - Note: Paul gives a list of precautions to take and he includes in his list of precautions to be equally cautious and alert inside of the Church [right hand of fellowship] as with those who are outside the Church [the left hand path]. Inside of a Church particularly a metropolis (city) [mega-Church] like Corinth was is no place to remove our Christian armor and no place to set aside our individual discernment. There can be and are just as many perils within Church fellowships as there are outside of Church fellowships and inside the Church there is always the ever-present wolves seeking take advantage of people in the fellowship with their Christian guard down and sometimes the wolves are behind the pulpits and in the Universities and in the classrooms and write books and broadcast on the radio and other very public and prominent positions so always be careful inside of Church as well as outside of Church. Also Note: Because we do have the discernment of God we can interact more with people both inside and outside of Church. This is not an invitation to close up and disassociate with others, just the opposite it is a calling to interact more in a fallen imperfect world but with the admonishment to maintain at all times a prayerful, purposeful Christian demeanor and attitude at all times and in all places.

2 Corinthians 6 (Part B) - Do to the behind the scenes and always hindering nature of spiritual warfare and because of the Christian maturity of the Apostle Paul the Apostle is actively seeking to keep the door of communication open and accessible with his Church in Corinth knowing that Satan prefers to deceive in darkness with rumors and through innuendos -- '2 Corinthians 6:11-13 O ye Corinthians, our mouth [communication] is open unto you, our heart is enlarged [accepting you]. Ye are not straitened [confined] in us, but ye are straitened in your own bowels. Now for a recompense in the same, I speak as unto my children [in the faith], be ye also enlarged [accepting].'

2 Corinthians 6:14-18 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 [Satan]? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the Temple of God with idols? *for ye are the Temple of the living God; as God hath said, *I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; *and I will receive you [clean - holy], And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. - Note: The relationship restored by Jesus Christ between God and mankind is now a family relationship it is closer than the mutual friendship between God and mankind that existed before as in the days of trouble and separation experienced by Job and others in that time.

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2 Corinthians 7 - Paul continues to represent that Christianity requires individual self-effort - Christianity, a relationship with God, does not just happen by coincidence or by random circumstances it is the result of continued individual intentions and actions in deliberately seeking a personal relationship with God -- '2 Corinthians 7:1 Having therefore *these promises [eternity in the family of God], dearly beloved, *let us cleanse ourselves [enter into a personal relationship with Jesus through His blood] from all filthiness of the flesh and [human] spirit, perfecting [completing in Jesus the] holiness in the fear of God.'

2 Corinthians 7:2 Receive us; we have wronged no man, we have corrupted no man, we have defrauded no man. I speak not this to condemn you: for I have said before, that ye are in our hearts to die and live with you. Great is my boldness of speech toward you, great is my glorying of you: *I am filled with comfort, I am exceeding joyful in all our tribulation [troubled efforts]. - Paul makes mention that even with all the difficulties, the misunderstandings and the confusion of the present situation between Paul and the Church at Corinth that really the effort is worth it "exceeding joyful" because the Church at Corinth still has much to glory in as people are being saved there and are growing in the grace of God there as the original work of the Apostle Paul was continuing on despite the enormous controversy over Church authority that had erupted there.

2 Corinthians 7 (Part B) - Paul mentions a previous letter he had written to the Church at Corinth and how the letter was difficult for them to read but very necessary in order for them to regain some eternal perspective in Jesus Christ -- '2 Corinthians 7:8-10 For though I made you sorry with a [previous] letter [1st Corinthians or possibly another letter no longer available], I do not repent, though I did repent: for I perceive that the same epistle [letter] hath made you sorry, though it were but for a season. Now I rejoice, *not that ye were made sorry, *but that ye sorrowed to repentance [mind change - life change]: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. *For *godly *sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented [regretted] of: but the [self] sorrow of the world worketh death.'

2 Corinthians 7:14-16 For if I have boasted anything to him [Titus] of you, I am not ashamed; but as we spake all things to you in truth, even so our boasting, which I made before Titus, is found a truth. And his inward affection is more abundant toward you, whilst he remembereth the obedience of you all, how *with fear and trembling ye received him. I rejoice therefore that I have confidence in you in all things. - Paul is noting how the Church at Corinth, at least some of the people, understood the eternal ramifications of Christianity and "with fear and trembling" realized that Christianity is not something to be taken lightly but something to be taken very seriously as only True Christianity in Jesus Christ is the way to salvation and everlasting life a reality that the imposters in Corinth were neglecting to keep in mind themselves or to present to others.

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2 Corinthians 8 - A healthy empowered Church-Fellowship is a body that is able to give to others while the week Church [regardless of size and location] is a Church that receives more than it gives -- '2 Corinthians 8:3-5 For to their [other Christian Churches in Greece] power [of giving], I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves; Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the [offering] gift [for Jerusalem], and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints [in Jerusalem]. And this they did, not as we hoped [but exceeded the expectations], *but first gave their own selves to the Lord [Jesus], and [then donated] unto us by the will of God.'

2 Corinthians 8:7-15 Therefore, as ye abound in everything, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us, see that ye abound in this [ability to give] grace also. *I speak not by commandment [the Christian Church does not tithe it only gives], but by occasion of the forwardness of others, and to prove the sincerity of your love. For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, *though He [Jesus] was rich [in Heaven], yet for your sakes He became poor, that ye through His [human appearance] poverty might be [resurrection] rich. And herein I give my advice: for this is expedient for you, who have begun before {Corinth had previous year started to collect donations for Jerusalem but the collection lapsed}, not only to do, but also to be forward a year ago. Now therefore perform the doing of it; that as there was a readiness to will, so there may be a performance also out of that which ye have. *For if there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not. For I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened: But by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality: As it is written (Exodus 16:18), He that had gathered much had nothing over; and he that had gathered little had no lack. - The Christian Church does not have the Old Testament law and therefore the tithe (tenth portion) of the Old Testament is not a part of the New Testament Christian Church. The Christian Church is composed of grace [individuality] not law [conformity] and therefore it is the freewill grace offerings of individuals that comprise the donations to the Christian Church.

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2 Corinthians 9 - The Apostle Paul wants the Church in Corinth to experience the empowerment and the blessings of giving but he wants to be certain that they maintain an understanding that it is God that first and foremost gave to us in His free gift to us of eternal life in Jesus Christ -- '2 Corinthians 9:5 Therefore I thought it necessary to exhort the brethren, that they would go before unto you, and make up beforehand your bounty, whereof ye had notice before, that the same might be ready, as a matter of bounty [generosity], and not as of covetousness [provoked].'

2 Corinthians 9:8-14 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: As it is written (Psalm 112:9), He [the righteous man] hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remaineth forever. Now he that ministereth seed to the sower both minister bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness; Being enriched in everything to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God. For the administration of this service not only supplieth the want of the Saints, but is abundant also by many thanksgivings unto God; Whiles by the experiment of this ministration they glorify God for your professed subjection into the Gospel of Christ, and for your liberal [gift giving] distribution unto them, and unto all men; And by their prayer for you, which long after you for the exceeding Grace of God in you. *Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift [salvation - eternal life]. - We are to give to one another knowing that it is God who gave to us first and foremost in a reconciled relationship of eternal life in Jesus Christ.

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2 Corinthians 10 - The Christian battle being a battle of eternity and for souls is a battle primarily being fought and waged in the spiritual realm - Later some physical observations and outcomes can be perceivable after the events or outcomes have been manifested from the spiritual realm into the physical realm -- '2 Corinthians 10:3-6 For though we walk in the flesh [physical], we do not war after the flesh: *For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal [physical], *but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; *Casting down imaginations [imagination, fantasy], and every high thing [like pride] that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of [Jesus] Christ; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, *when your obedience is fulfilled [having kept everything in a godly eternal perspective].'

2 Corinthians 10:7-18 Do ye look on things after the outward appearance? *If any man trust to himself that he is Christ's, *let him of himself think this again, that, as he is Christ's, even so are we Christ's. For though I should boast somewhat more of our authority, which the Lord hath given us for edification [building up], and not for your destruction [tearing down], I should not be ashamed: That I may not seem as if I would terrify you by letters. *For his [Paul's] letters [epistles], say they [some in Corinth], are weighty and powerful; *but his bodily presence is weak, and his speech contemptible. *Let such an one think this, that, such as we are in word by letters when we are absent, such *will we be also in deed when we are present. For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that *commend themselves: *but they measuring themselves by themselves, and *comparing themselves among themselves, *are not wise [we are to compare ourselves to Jesus (Hebrews 12:2)]. But we will not boast of things without our measure, but according to the measure of the rule which God hath distributed to us, a measure to reach even unto you. For we stretch not ourselves beyond our measure, as though we reached not unto you: for we are come as far as to you also in preaching the Gospel of Christ: Not boasting of things without our measure, that is, of other men's labors; but having hope, when your faith is increased, that we shall be enlarged by you according to our rule abundantly, To preach the Gospel in the regions beyond you [on into Europe], and not to boast in another man's line of things made ready to our hand. *But he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord. *For not he that commendeth himself is approved, but whom the Lord commendeth. - Note: The biggest problem with modern day Mega-Church (Corinth) Christianity is that the Pastors or the leaders of the Mega-Church movement all got that way because they each pretend to be commended of God and they each pretend to have something more than the ordinary or average Christian has and therefore followers are encouraged to seek after them and their services, their crusades and their teachings (methods), etc. The problem with this false teaching is that it is opening the door wide open for the future Antichrist to be easily accepted by remnants of the Church. Modern Mega-Church leaders like Chuck Smith, Greg Laurie, Rick Warren and others are deceiving the people into thinking that they are in a unique and special relationship with God so therefore they seem to be preaching that people should seek them and what they have to offer when in actuality the Christian Gospel is clearly to seek Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ only. The real potential for disaster is that in having conditioned people to follow themselves, a few select Mega-Church men and even a couple of women then in the future when a stronger and even more deceiving personality arises on the scene people who are not grounded in Jesus Christ will more easily revert from following one person to the next eventually even embracing the Antichrist who being gifted with extraordinary abilities is going to make all of the modern lukewarm pastors look like the true incompetents and posers that they truly are in regard to spiritual matters. The audiences of deceived people having already been prepped and conditioned by the Mega-Church, the man centered gospel of modern Christianity, could easily be eternally deceived before the final coming of Jesus Christ and the establishment of His eternal Kingdom here on earth.

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2 Corinthians 11 - Paul makes clear the Biblical concept that "subtlety" is the most dangerous Satanic element to the Christian and that many Preachers preach with a subtlety and a worldliness that can lead people away from Jesus and into the subtle worldly 'good works' and agendas that are actually of Satan -- '2 Corinthians 11:3-4 But I fear, lest by any means, as the Serpent [Satan] beguiled Eve [in the Garden of Eden] *through his [Satanic] *subtlety, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he [self-aggrandizing, worldly personality preacher] that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with [accept] him [and his , worldly, vaguely entertaining but possibly highly Satanic preaching].' - Note: It isn't preaching the style that is being addressed but more the preaching content. The subtly 'worldly' preaching like Rick Warren at Greg Laurie's 2009 Anaheim Harvest Crusade (parts available on YouTube) after being introduced by Chuck Smith he is then supposedly leading people in prayer to Jesus but then not really mentioning repentance, sin, the cross or even addressing Jesus in his prayer it is that 'subtle' preaching and teaching of worldliness and the acceptance and passing on of worldly cultural trends into the Church that can actually be so 'subtle' and so worldly that it becomes Satanic.

2 Corinthians 11:5-10 For I suppose I was not a whit [bit] behind the very chiefest Apostles. But though I be rude in speech, yet not in knowledge; but we have been throughly made manifest among you in all things. Have I committed an offence in abasing myself that ye might be exalted, *because I have preached to you *the Gospel of God freely? *I robbed other churches, taking wages of them,* to do you service. And when I was present with you, and wanted [needed money], I was chargeable to no man: for that which was lacking to me the brethren which came from Macedonia supplied: and in all things I have kept myself from being burdensome unto you, and so will I keep myself. As the truth of Christ is in me, no man shall stop me of this boasting in the regions of Achaia. - Note: The Church at Corinth was a large Church and could easily have been capable of donating to other ministries however they were almost completely self-focused on their own functions and agendas and the thought of donating money to the foreign Church in Jerusalem was itself a foreign concept in the self-aggrandizing Church at Corinth. Today Mega-Churches continue the exact same scenario as the selfish Corinth Church did. Mega-Churches receive millions in donations however only a miniscule amount of money actually leaves the Mega-Church that is not in some way responsible for promoting the Mega-Church or the Mega-Pastor. A good analogy of the large corporation Mega-Churches of today is the Dead Sea in Israel where everything flows into the Dead Sea but there is no outlet from the Dead Sea so the water just gets shifted around in the Dead Sea and eventually dies but the Sea of Galilee [also in Israel] has an outlet river and it passes along as much water as it receives and the Sea of Galilee [where Jesus spent much of His time] is teaming with abundant life.

2 Corinthians 11 (Part B) - The Apostle Paul is now going to contrast what true Kingdom of God Christianity is like compared to the worldly social Christianity that is beginning to be practiced in Corinth -- '2 Corinthians 11:1-2 Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed bear with me. For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband [Jesus], that I may present you as a chaste virgin to [Jesus] Christ.'

2 Corinthians 11:18-33 Seeing that many glory after the flesh, [as a comparison] I [Paul] will glory also. For ye suffer fools gladly, seeing ye yourselves are wise. For ye suffer [cultish hardship], if a man bring you into bondage, if a man devour you, if a man take of you, if a man exalt himself, if a man smite you on the face {some people accept and tolerate the oppression and abuse by the cults but do not want to accept the freedom and liberty of Jesus}. I speak as concerning reproach, as though we had been weak. Howbeit whereinsoever any is bold, I speak foolishly [worldly], I am bold also. Are they Hebrews? so am I. Are they Israelites? so am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? so am I. Are they ministers of Christ? I speak as a fool [in contrast to them] I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft [often]. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned [to death], thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils *by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings [looking for the 2nd Coming of Jesus] often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily [mentally], the care of all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not? *If I must needs glory, *I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities [weaknesses]. The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is blessed forevermore, knoweth that I lie not. In Damascus [shortly after his conversion to Christianity] the Governor under Aretas the King kept the city of the Damascenes with a garrison, desirous to apprehend me [because Paul so boldly spoke the Gospel]: And through a window [hidden] in a basket was I let down by [over] the [city] wall, and escaped his hands [of persecution]. - The Apostle Paul provides the Church at Corinth with some perspective of what true Christianity involves in contrast to the worldly social Christianity that was being adopted in Corinth.

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2 Corinthians 12 - The Apostle Paul explains that he is paying a severe price, often being harassed demonically, because of the abundance and magnitude of the Holy revelations that Paul has been able to deliver to mankind [much like the afflictions of the prophets Isaiah, Daniel and Jeremiah] -- '2 Corinthians 12:7-10 And lest I [Paul] should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the [Holy] revelations, there was given to me a [demonic interference] thorn in the flesh, *the messenger of Satan to buffet [inflict] me, lest I should be [personally] exalted above measure. For [removal of] this thing I besought the Lord thrice [three times], that it [being demonic] might depart from me. And He [Jesus] said unto me, *My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect [complete] in weakness [as Jesus completes his strength]. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities [weaknesses], *that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: *for when I am weak, then am I strong [completed in Jesus Christ].'

2 Corinthians 12:12-15 Truly the signs of an Apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds. For what is it wherein ye were inferior to other churches, except it be that I myself was not [financially] burdensome to you? forgive me this wrong. Behold, the third time I am ready to come to you; and I will [still] not be burdensome to you: for I seek not yours [belongings], but you [fellowship]: for the children ought not to lay up [finances] for the parents, but the [mature] parents [give an allowance] for the children. And I [as a mature parent] will very gladly spend [financially] and be spent [physically, emotionally] for you; *though the more abundantly I love you, *the less I be loved. - The Apostle Paul is touching on the truly Satanic depths that the Church in Corinth had begun to engage in. Previously the Church in Corinth had attacked Paul's speaking ability (2 Corinthians 10:9) and as an Apostle-Evangelist it was a direct Satanic attack from the Church directed at the Apostle Paul on his calling and on his abilities to fulfill his Christian Calling. Had the Church at Corinth encouraged Paul and his message it would have accomplished a lot to help Paul further the Gospel message he was given but instead the Church in Corinth took it upon themselves to cast doubt upon Paul, his abilities and his message. Secondly in another highly Satanic practice the Church at Corinth used the compassion of the Apostle Paul "though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved" as a tool in order to further attack the Apostle. When Paul was in their midst he was weak, compassionate and understanding and the Church in a worldly Satanic way took advantage of Paul using Paul's goodness and compassion against him [suspecting that with the goodness of Paul he would not retaliate]the Church perceived Paul to be a gentle and easy target *someone that they could form their social groups around as they ridiculed and asserted themselves superior to the Apostle Paul and in a worldly social way they probably were superior to Paul so it was no accomplishment to present themselves above Paul but in the spiritual Heavenly matters of Jesus Christ the Apostle Paul had much to offer them thought some simply because Paul was an outsider sought to reject out of hand his message of the Gospel.

2 Corinthians 12 (Part B) - Paul tells the Church in Corinth that his only objective is to build them up spiritually in Jesus Christ -- '2 Corinthians 12:19 Again, think ye that we excuse [make excuses for] ourselves unto you? we speak before God in Christ: but *we do all things, dearly beloved, for your edifying [building up].'

2 Corinthians 12:1-6 It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to* visions and revelations of the Lord. I knew a man [the Apostle Paul] in Christ [a Christian] above [more than] fourteen years ago {thought to be on the first Missionary Journey with Barnabas in Lycaonia (Acts 14:19)}, whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth; such an one [the Apostle Paul] {died and} caught up to the third heaven [Throne of God]. And I knew such a man [Paul speaking in 3rd person to avoid promoting himself], whether in the body, or out of the body, *I cannot tell [explain] {the experience was instantaneous}: [only] God knoweth; How that he [Paul] was caught up into paradise [Heaven], and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a [physical] man to utter. Of such an one [3rd person] will I glory: yet of myself [1st person] I will not glory, but in mine infirmities. *For though I would desire to glory [in religious, spiritual experiences], I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: *but now I forbear [forgo], lest any man should think of me [exalted] above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me. - Regardless of what someone might want to call Heaven (paradise, 3rd heaven) and the Throne presence of God the Apostle Paul had personally been there and he had personally as a Christian experienced Heaven in the very Throne presence of God.

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2 Corinthians 13 - The Apostle Paul concludes his much labored letter to the Christian Church in Corinth, Greece -- '2 Corinthians 13:7-9 Now I pray to God that ye do no evil; not that we should appear approved, but that ye should do that which is honest, though we be as reprobates. For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth. For we are glad, when we are weak, and ye are strong: and this also we wish, even your perfection.'

The Apostle Paul concludes the book of 2nd Corinthians: 2 Corinthians 13:1-6 This is the third time I [Apostle Paul] am coming to you. [Publically] In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established. I told you before, and foretell you, as if I were present, the second time; and being absent now *I write to *them which heretofore have *sinned, and to all other, that, if I come again, I will not spare: Since ye seek a proof of Christ speaking in me, which to [your perception] you-ward is not weak [weakness in Christ], but is mighty in you. 4 For though he was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth by the [almighty] power of God. For we also are weak in Him [Jesus Christ], *but {if need be} we shall live with Him *by the power of God toward you. *Examine yourselves, *whether ye be in the [Christian] faith; *prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that *Jesus Christ is in you, except [if Jesus is not in you] ye be reprobates [unsaved]? But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates. ... 2 Corinthians 13:10-14 Therefore I [Paul] write these things being absent, lest being present I should use sharpness, according to the power which the Lord hath given me to edification [building up], and not to destruction. *Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect [complete in Jesus Christ], be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and [Jesus Christ] the God of love and peace shall be with you. Greet one another with an holy [embrace] kiss. All the Saints salute you. The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the Communion [fellowship] of the Holy [Spirit] Ghost, be with you all. Amen.

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THE EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE TO THE

GALATIANS

Introduction: Part 2 of the Apostle Paul's Trilogy [Romans, Galatians, Hebrews] of Systematic Theology - The Book of Galatians

The book of Romans was written to Rome a Gentile Nation that was used to being in charge and used to having their own rights, power, authority and privileges to the extent that the Roman people as Pagans had viewed their privileges as god given entitlements. In this letter to the Gentile Region of Galatia the Apostle Paul is addressing a group of Gentiles that are foreigners from power and are accustomed to being the outsiders, separated from authority and alienated from the privileges of class and status that the Superpower Nation of Rome had enjoyed and had even taken for granted. The Galatians accustomed to their second class status could not quite grasp the concept of the free gift of Salvation and with it the free gift of receiving the Holy Spirit. The Galatians kept reverting back to their second class mentality of having to labor and earn every single accomplishment that came their way however being a second class citizen is itself a concept that is completely foreign and outside of Christianity. Christianity has only one class of citizens and they are all Saints, Sons of God and Children of the Promise. There is no second class status in Heaven there are no throwaways or hidden undesirables in the Kingdom of Jesus Christ only Jesus Christ and His class and that is the first class of eternity for all eternity.

Short introduction/synopsis to the New Testament Book of Galatians and an outline to the book - The book of Galatians was written by [the Apostle] Paul in the year 49 A.D. or 55 A.D. - The subject of Galatians seems to be parallel to that of [the Book of] Romans in the aspect of justification by faith alone

The book of Galatians was written by Paul in the year 49 or 55. The churches in Galatia were fashioned to a certain extent of converted Jews and Gentiles. The Apostle Paul emphasizes his apostolic personality as well as the doctrines that he was teaching. He did this in hopes that he would sanction the Galatian churches in the faith of Jesus Christ. It is believed this letter was written during the third missionary trip and that the church was founded during the second missionary trip. - The subject of Galatians seems to be parallel to that of Romans in the aspect of justification by faith alone. Paul directs special attention to the fact that men are justified by faith not by the Law of Moses. This of course was something quite different for the Jews to hear. The Jewish people had after all been brought out of the wilderness by Moses; now Christ is becoming the authority for people to stand on. - The concept of Galatians is one that deals with how people can come to God being of a sinful nature while God is of a holy nature. How does a sinful person stand in the presence of a Holy God? Paul gives the answer to this problem by saying there is one way only, through the salvation of God's grace which comes from the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. In other words, Paul says that one must receive Jesus Christ as savior to come before God. Paul says no longer do we need to pay attention to the "good point or good works" salvation of Moses law, but instead we simply need to follow the salvation plan of God through His Son Christ Jesus. The main theme of Galatians is justification by faith. This concept is explained, defended and applied. Paul also talks of his three years in Arabia, the fruits of the Spirit and his correction of Peter. http://www.essortment.com/all/bookofgalatian_rjqv.htm

Galatians - Salvation is by God's grace alone through faith in Jesus Christ by means of the Holy Spirit - The book of Galatians played a critical role in the formation and development of the Reformation and the conversion and spiritual life of Martin Luther

Background: Paul wrote to the Galatians after he had received word that there had been a change of attitude toward him and his Gospel among the Galatians. Not long after Paul left them during his first visit, false teachers and leaders began to attack Paul personally and turn the Church against him. They were preaching another Gospel. They were looking to the law for their salvation. They were being urged to accept circumcision and to observe Jewish days and seasons. (Galatians 6:12) This caused dissension and conflicts in the Church. - These agitators were likely Jewish Christians trying to sway the Gentile Christians to Judaism. It appears that they either had come from Jerusalem or had the support of the Jerusalem Church and leadership. They held that Gentile converts must enter the Kingdom of God by means of Judaism. As this was contrary to the teachings the Galatians had received from Paul, the Judaizers found it necessary to attack Paul's authority and apostleship. ... Salvation is by God's grace alone through faith in Jesus Christ by means of the Holy Spirit. -- The book of Galatians played a critical role in the formation and development of the Reformation and the conversion and spiritual life of Martin Luther. Galatians has been called 'Luther's Book'. http://www.abu.nb.ca/ecm/Gal00b.htm

Martin Luther (1483 - 1546) on Galatians by ARLAND J. HULTGREN Luther Seminary St. Paul, Minnesota (PDF)

DURING HIS LIFETIME NO FEWER THAN SIX EDITIONS OF MARTIN LUTHER'S lectures on Galatians were published. Of these six, five were in Latin, and one was in German. Two of these have been translated for inclusion in the American edition of Luther's Works. The one is translated from the 1519 Latin edition (based on lectures in 1516-1517), published during the early years of Luther's career, and the other is translated from the 1535 Latin edition (based on lectures in 1531), published at a later point in Luther's life. The two editions, from lectures given a decade and a half apart, are quite different in many respects, reflecting two very different times in Luther's life and career. Luther's teaching career was marked on many occasions with study and lecturin on Paul's Letter to the Galatians, often called the Magna Carta of Christian liberty, but called "my Katie von Bora" by Luther himself. In what follows the focus will be limited to the two sets of lectures published in the American edition. ... Luther made use of both the Greek New Testament and the Latin Vulgate in his work on Galatians. The Greek text used for the 1519 edition was that of Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam, which had been published in 1516. Luther's subsequent exegetical work continued to make use of the Greek New Testament of Erasmus, which was revised and republished several times during the lifetime of these two contemporaries. ... It comes as no surprise that in both editions of Luther's lectures on Galatians the theme of justification by faith should take center stage. The theme is, of course,a major one in Galatians itself (2:16-21; 3:6-11, 24; 5:4-5). For Luther, however, it is not simply a major theme; it is the heart of the matter. When he writes concerning the "argument" of the letter as a whole, Luther says that the letter sets forth "the doctrine of faith, grace, the forgiveness of sins or Christian righteousness." Distinctions are drawn again and again between "political" (or civic) righteousness and righteousness received by faith and distinctions between law and gospel. The "real theologian," he says, is one who "knows well how to distinguish the Gospel from the Law." The actual phrase "simul justus et peccator" is to be found in the 1535 edition. ... The two editions of Luther's works on Galatians, coming from very different times in his career, exhibit striking differences. It is clear that when Luther lectured on Galatians in 1531, he did not simply pull out his notes from 1516-1517 to repeat what he had said earlier. Nor did he simply "touch them up." The printed edition of 1535 differs markedly from that of 1519; it is a new work altogether. The most obvious differences between the two editions are that the 1535 edition is longer, more polemical, and less philological than the edition of 1519. It applies the text of Galatians more directly to events in Luther's own time. In the 1519 edition Luther still identifies himself as an Augustinian. That is lacking in the 1535 edition. What also becomes obvious in reading the two editions is that the 1535 edition has much to say about the "fanatics" and "sectarians" that assail Luther, the evangelical movement, and the church at large. Luther refers, in fact, to his own work as a "movement,"34 but also says that in Wittenberg a "form of a Christian church" has been acquired over against the fanatics who would destroy it. ... That evaluation notwithstanding, problems with Luther's interpretations and perspectives have become evident in modern times, particularly in his understanding and treatment of Judaism in Paul's day. Moreover, connections between his understanding of first-century Judaism, his portrayal of Paul's opponents in Galatia, and his descriptions of his own opponents are drawn too easily. Luther himself admitted that his commentary of 1535 was inadequate and, above all, too "wordy." But every interpreter is bound by his or her social and temporal location to one degree or another. It remains clear that in Luther one finds a sympathetic hearing of the apostle Paul and a masterful performance in representing the teachings of the Letter to the Galatians in new circumstances. -- ARLAND J. HULTGREN is professor of New Testament. He is the author of a forthcoming commentary on the parables of Jesus to be published by Eerdmans. http://www.luthersem.edu/word&world/Archives/20-3_Galatians/20-3_Hultgren.pdf

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Galatians 1 - Continuing the Apostle Paul's Trilogy of Systematic Theology with Part 2 the Book of Galatians - Perhaps no other book either Christian or secular has made more of an impact in the changing, designing and shaping of Western Culture than the Bible's Book of Galatians -- 'Galatians 1:1-5 Paul, an Apostle, not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised Him (Jesus) from the dead; And all the brethren which are with me, unto the Churches of Galatia: Grace be to you and Peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, Who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: To whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.'

'Galatians 1:8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.' - 'Matthew 28:1-6 In the end of the Sabbath, as it began to dawn toward [Sunday] the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre [tomb]. And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men. And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not here: for He is Risen, *as He (Jesus) said. Come, see the [empty] place where the Lord lay.' - Paul mentions that whether a man or an angel preaches a different Gospel than the Gospel that Jesus Himself spoke about then it is not from God and not being from God it is an accursed message. The Angelic spiritual realm along with the Holy Spirit and with the human realm is also very active in preaching the Gospel of the Risen Savior, Jesus Christ. Later in the Book of Revelation immediately after the Mark of the Beast (666) is offered to all of mankind remaining on the earth it will be Angels that will also preach the everlasting Gospel to mankind along with the sealed (selected) 144,000 Jewish Witnesses. The Angels will be preaching the Gospel instructing mankind to Worship the True and Living God the creator and giver of physical life as well as the creator and provider of eternal, everlasting, Spiritual life. - 'Revelation 14:6-7 And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, *having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every Nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give Glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come: and *Worship Him that made [created] heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.'

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Galatians 2 - The Apostle Paul is encouraging the Galatians to work on areas that they know need improving - By demonstrating in his own life that they don't need permission from a Church hierarchy in order to do what is Biblically right even to the point of rebuking authority figures when they fail to practice themselves what they preach -- 'Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith [resurrection] of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me. I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.'

'Galatians 2:11 But when Peter was come to Antioch, I (Apostle Paul) withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.' - Note: It's very important to know that when rebuking someone particularly an elder that 1. If you feel compelled to rebuke them don't even if you have prayed about it because it's probably not from God. 2. If you feel really, really compelled to rebuke someone then absolutely really, really Do Not rebuke them. 3. If you do not feel led to rebuke someone but you have a clear picture of the situation and you understand the beginning of the situation and know where the problem is in its current middle form and most importantly can see the resolution to the problem and in fact feel that the problem has already been resolved [maybe in Heaven] and that there just needs to be a tiny notification, a tweak, an adjustment here on earth to match God's will in Heaven [Matthew 6:10] then go ahead and talk to that person or persons about the topic. 4. When you do talk to someone try to ascertain if you have an open door for the conversation but if you have to seek someone out to have a conversation then forget it, don't even bother they probably won't listen to most of what you have to say and will probably twist what they did hear and then the whole situation will be worse after the conversation. If however there is a 'chance meeting' or a defined opportunity and both people are calm and there is a moment to build each other up in the faith then take that moment and build your brother in the faith up. For instance if you think a preacher is excessively telling too many personal stories from the pulpit then don't mention the personal stories much or at all but instead mention what part of the preaching blessed you for example a background on Biblical doctrine or an explanation of the original Greek word that helped explain the Bible better to you. In time the particular Preacher might lend more preaching to Biblical interpretation or in time we might be the one who needs to move on. A final comment about rebuking and you can tell that the Apostle Paul did this and that is that when the Apostle Paul rebuked someone else like in this case the Apostle Peter that Paul was also rebuking himself at the same time and was listening to what he was saying and making his rebuke a part of his own personal Christian Walk and life. Later when the Apostle Paul welcomes Mark back into his presence it is after Paul had rebuked the Church at Corinth for not accepting back into their midst a repentant believer. Always remember that for us the Word of God is a two edged sword [Revelation 1:16] it cuts [affects] both the speaker of the Word and the hearer of the Word.

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Galatians 3 - The Apostle Paul explains that works have never been a part of a relationship with God - There has always only been one program with God and it is a program based on faith and trust in God and not in the works of man - Even Abraham's great relationship with God was based on faith and trust as Abraham had faith in God before he exhibited his works to God -- 'Galatians 3:2-3 This only would I learn of you, Received ye the [Holy] Spirit by the works of the law {no}, or by the hearing [free gift] of faith {yes}? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the [Holy] Spirit, are ye now made perfect [complete] by the [human] flesh? {no}'

'Galatians 3:6-7 Even as Abraham believed God, and it [his circumcision] was accounted to him for righteousness. Know ye therefore that they which are of [Christian] faith, the *same are the children of Abraham.' - Note: Traditionally after Abraham the children (descendants of Abraham) are circumcised as an infant on the eight day after their birth. The infant circumcision is not a seal of the faith of the child but it is a seal of the faith of the parent [it is a generational faith]. Abraham was not circumcised as an infant Abraham was circumcised as an adult, he made his own decision and therefore Abraham's circumcision is the faith of an adult and his adult decision for faith is why our Christian faith is compared to Abraham but not necessarily to circumcision. Circumcision after Abraham is more like a child dedication for us as it is more of an exhibit of the faith of the parent than of the child. Abraham circumcised himself as an adult but then he also circumcised his infant son Isaac with his adult faith then later Isaac circumcised his infant son Jacob with his adult faith and on and on until the present time. -- 'Galatians 3:12-14 And the law [self-ability] is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them [self-ability]. Christ hath redeemed us from the [self-ability] curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written [Deuteronomy 21:23], Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: That the [Spiritual] blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the [Holy] Spirit through faith.' - The Apostle Paul is again declaring the finality of the death of Jesus on the cross and then with the finality of death on the cross then the giving of the Holy Spirit and a new life. Yes, Jesus in the eyes of man was made a curse [for our benefit] but keep in mind that Jesus died on the cross and with Jesus all sin and every curse also died [though Jesus resurrected the sins and curses of mankind remained dead and nailed to the cross]. The cross of Jesus Christ removed both the curse of our own human restrictions and constraints and also any curse or restraints from the Satanic, Demonic realm that might be placed on us in attempting to hinder and restrict us. 'Colossians 2:14-15 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary [against] to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His (Jesus) cross; And having spoiled principalities [fallen satanic angels] and powers [demonic powers], He (Jesus) made a shew [show] of them openly, triumphing [Victory] over them in it.'

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Galatians 4 - The Apostle Paul continues to dispel any notion that there might be benefits to following the Law that faith alone and the receiving of the Holy Spirit cannot provide -- 'Galatians 4:4-7 But when the fullness of the time [human history] was come, God sent forth His Son (Jesus), made of a woman [virgin birth], made under the law [Temple in Jerusalem was in operation], To redeem [bring into the presence of God] them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. *Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir [inheritor] of God through Christ.' {Note: Being redeemed from the law is not the same thing as being redeemed from sin. It is similar to a Christian practicing alcohol, drugs, pornography etc. and then being redeemed from those things that are restricting a Christian from their closer more intimate relationship with the presence of God in their life. The Law was actually a boundary keeping sinful people apart from the Holy God but after being cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ and with the finality of His death on the cross the Holy Spirit then removed the boundary of the law from us and redeemed us into the actual perceivable presence of God.}

'Galatians 4:21-5:1 Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law? For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid [Hagar], the other by a freewoman [Sarah]. But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh [man's plan]; but he of the freewoman [Sarah] was by promise [God's plan]. Which things are an allegory [parable]: for these are the two covenants [Old Testament, New Testament]; the one from the mount Sinai [Mt. Sinai], which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar [Hagar]. For this Agar is mount Sinai in [Saudi] Arabia {the Biblical Mt. Sinai is located in Saudi Arabia with the now traditional Mt. Sinai located in Egypt}, and answereth to Jerusalem [Mt. Zion] which now is [in effect, New Testament], and [Hagar] is in bondage with her children. But Jerusalem [Mt. Zion] which is above is free, which is [Sarah] the mother of us all [in faith]. ... *Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: *for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the free woman. So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free. Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.' - This analogy of two Mountains or two locations Mt. Sinai [the Law] and Mt. Zion, Jerusalem [the cross and the resurrection] is one of the most important Biblical concepts because it goes straight to how and where we are to approach God. God was on Mt. Sinai when Moses met God in the burning bush and then as a sign God brought the Children of God out of Egypt and to Mt. Sinai to worship Him there. But they could only worship from a distance as they could not approach Mt. Sinai 'whosoever toucheth the mount shall be surely put to death' then as Moses and the Children of God journeyed to Israel their Promise Land God went with them. God in allegory left Mt. Sinai [Law] and relocated with the Children of God to Jerusalem [Mt. Zion]. If you want to keep the Law that mountain [Mt. Sinai] is vacant and if it's not vacant it's certain death if you even try to approach it. Mt. Zion in Jerusalem the cross and the resurrection of Jesus Christ on the other hand is both open and available to all mankind and along with the availability of Mt. Zion there is an invitation to all to come to God freely but only to Mt. Zion not to Mt. Sinai. It is only to Mt. Zion that the invitation for mankind to meet with God has been given.

Mountain Of Fire - The Search For Mount Sinai pt 2 of 5 - The boundary markers around Mt. Sinai (Video) - Exodus 19:12 And thou shalt set bounds unto the people round about, saying, Take heed to yourselves, that ye go not up into the mount [Mt. Sinai], or touch the border of it: whosoever toucheth the mount shall be surely put to death:' (YouTube)

Bob Cornuke from BASE Institute has been called a modern day Indiana Jones. This video is a clip from Bob's video about The Search For Mount Sinai. -- {Note: The Apostle Paul is writing about Mt. Sinai from both common knowledge of the day and his experiential knowledge having been to Mt. Sinai himself. After his Damascus road experience and departing Damascus the Apostle Paul went to Saudi Arabia and stayed in Saudi Arabia for about three years. Earlier the Prophet Elijah [1 Kings 19:8] had also gone to Arabia [Mt. Sinai also called Mt. Horeb] and stayed for a short time in the cave on Mt. Sinai (video part 4 of 5).} 'Galatians 1:17 Neither went I [Apostle Paul] up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; *but I went into Arabia [for about three years], and returned again unto Damascus.' - 'Galatians 4:25 mount Sinai in Arabia ...' http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ym5h5A42YGo

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Galatians 5 - The Apostle Paul exhorts the Christian Church to live in their newfound life of freedom and liberty in Jesus Christ -- 'Galatians 5:1 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith [Jesus] Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.'

'Galatians 5:5 For we [Christians] through the [Holy] Spirit wait for the hope of [Jesus'] righteousness by faith. For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.' - The Apostle Paul makes another comment to Christians about the practice of circumcision reiterating that the physical practice alone symbolizes a bygone era and brings with it the bondage of that previous era. Circumcision the actual physical, ritual, process does not save people. People are not saved because they have been circumcised. The Apostle Peter will also make the same comment [1 Peter 3:21] to the Christian Church in regards to our water baptism. Likewise the physical, ritual event and process of baptism does not save us. People are not saved because they have been water baptized. Note: There are other significant reasons and blessings for each individual person to be water baptized [and it is a commandment from God] however salvation apart from a relationship with God is not a possibility even with a water baptism. - '1 Peter 3:21-22 The like figure [Noah's Ark] whereunto even baptism doth also now save us *not the [baptism in water] putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ: Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto Him.'

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Galatians 6 - The Apostle Paul concludes his remarks and encouragement to the Christians in Galatia -- 'Galatians 6:10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of (Christian) faith.'

'Galatians 6:12 As many as desire to make a fair shew [show] in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest [in hopes] they should [avoid] suffer [suffering] persecution [from fellow Jews] for the cross of Christ.' - A final note about the practice of circumcision in the early Christian Church. The Christian Jews and Christian 'Judaizers' knew and understood full well that the promises of God belong to the Jews and that circumcision was give as a sign to those who had received the promises of God. Therefore in the early Christian Church there was the understanding that if you weren't circumcised you weren't a part of the promises of God. The early Jewish Christian believers were just trying to keep things on a Biblical foundation according to the best of their Biblical understanding. It was the Apostle Paul that was called by God to go to the Gentiles and to bring the Gentiles into the primarily Jewish Christian Church and as a part of his ministry to the Gentiles the Apostle Paul was given an understanding in the doctrines of Gentile Salvation in the Christian Church. It was a part of the Ministry of the Apostle Paul to present and to clarify the doctrines pertaining to the predominantly Gentile Christian Church. - The main point that the Apostle Paul makes in regards to circumcision is that circumcision was an old physical sign but that now with the finality of the death of Jesus on the cross and the giving of the Holy Spirit the new Spiritual sign for the Christian Church for also having received of the promises of God is the Spiritual sign of the resurrection of Jesus Christ living inside of the 'born again' believer. Where circumcision was an outward appearance available to only a few the 'born again' Spiritual sign is an inward appearance and is available to everyone; male, female, Jewish, Gentile, rich, poor, young, old, sick, healthy, in prison, released from prison, in any circumstance, at any given location and during any time all are within the category of receiving the Holy Spirit and eternal life from God. Even those in the category of unbelief because unbelief itself in any given moment can be overcome by belief it's that simple, that easy and that fast that a person can receive the Holy Spirit from Jesus Christ and with it eternal Salvation life. - The Apostle Paul closes the Book of Galatians by imparting his personal blessing to them. 'Galatians 6:18 Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.'

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THE EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE TO THE

EPHESIANS

The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Ephesians - Colossians 4:16 mentions an epistle to the Laodiceans - It has been conjectured that the letter known to us as Ephesians is really the Laodicean letter [retitled] - Probably it was sent to Ephesus and Laodicea without being addressed to any church - The letter would then be "to the saints and the faithful in Christ Jesus" anywhere - Essentially, three lines of truth make up this Epistle: the believer's exalted position through grace; the truth concerning the body of Christ; and a walk in accordance with that position

The Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Ephesians -- DATE: Ephesians was written from Rome in A.D. 64. It is the first in order of the Prison Epistles. Acts 20:1-27:44. See Scofield Note: "Acts 28:30" and was sent by Tychicus, concurrently with Colossians and Philemon. It is probable that the two greater letters had their occasion in the return of Onesimus to Philemon. Ephesians is the most impersonal of Paul's letters. Indeed the words, "to the Ephesians," are not in the best manuscripts. Col 4:16 mentions an epistle to the Laodiceans. It has been conjectured that the letter known to us as Ephesians is really the Laodicean letter. Probably it was sent to Ephesus and Laodicea without being addressed to any church. The letter would then be "to the saints and the faithful in Christ Jesus" anywhere. -- THEME: The doctrine of the Epistle confirms this view. It contains the highest church truth, but has nothing about church order. The church here is the true church, "His body," not the local church, as in Philippians, Corinthians, etc. Essentially, three lines of truth make up this Epistle: the believer's exalted position through grace; the truth concerning the body of Christ; and a walk in accordance with that position. http://bible.cc/ephesians/1-1.htm

The book of Ephesians - A short introductory synopsis to the New Testament book of Ephesians with an outline to the book - Ephesians is a cylindrical letter {circuit letter, a memo - Attn: to everyone} - It is a treatise of a doctrinal nature to the churches in Asia Minor - Some of the better {other} Greek documents do not include the words, "at Ephesus" found in 1:1 - Paul though worked at Ephesus for nearly three years and the fact that no personal names were mentioned help to support the ideal of a cylindrical letter to the churches. This letter is perhaps the same letter sent to Ephesus by Tychicus, Ephesians 6:21-22 {Note: No letter, only a messenger (Tychicus) is mentioned in Ephesians 6:21-22} - It is suspected that Christianity first came to Ephesus with Aquila and Priscilla when Paul stopped there on his second missionary trip - Paul remained in Ephesus for three years on his third journey - Ephesus being a major center for trade ranked it up with the cities of Antioch and Alexandria - Timothy was given charge of the church in Ephesus after Paul left - Years later [just after his imprisonment on the island of Patmos about in 92 AD] the Apostle John [accompanied by Mary] set up his headquarters in Ephesus

The letter to the Ephesians is one of the prison epistles. The prison epistles consist of the Books of Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon. These books were all written while Paul was imprisoned. As to how many times Paul was imprisoned in Rome we do not know for sure, it was at least once perhaps twice, however we do know these books were written during his imprisonment. The book of Ephesians is the first Roman imprisonment letter to the people written by Paul in 61. Paul's imprisonment for the first two years was at his own expense and he was held near the quarters of the Praetorian Guard. Ephesians is a cylindrical letter. It is a treatise of a doctrinal nature to the churches in Asia Minor. Some of the better Greek documents do not include the words, "at Ephesus" found in 1:1. Paul though worked at Ephesus for nearly three years and the fact that no personal names were mentioned help to support the ideal of a cylindrical letter to the churches. This letter is perhaps the same letter sent to Ephesus by Tychicus, Ephesians 6:21-22, "But that ye also may know my affairs, and how I do, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, shall make known to you all things: Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that ye might know our affairs, and that he might comfort your hearts." It is also possible that this is the same letter referred to as "my letter...from Laodicea found in Colossians 4:16, "And when this epistle is read among you, cause that it be read also in the church of the Laodiceans; and that ye likewise read the epistle from Laodicea." -- The city of Ephesus was a commercial, religious and political center. The Great Temple of Artemis (Diana) was found there as well. It is suspected that Christianity first came to Ephesus with Aquila and Priscilla when Paul stopped there on his second missionary trip. Paul remained in Ephesus for three years on his third journey. Ephesus being a major center for trade ranked it up with the cities of Antioch and Alexandria. Timothy was given charge of the church in Ephesus after Paul left. Years later the Apostle John set up his headquarters in Ephesus. -- The topic of this book is to show God's eternal purpose and completion in Christ for the church. Paul brings into discussion in this letter the idea of predestination, Christ as the head of the body of believers, the church as the building and the body as the temple of God. The Spiritual gifts, mystery of Christ and the bride of Christ-the Church is also discussed in this letter. It can be seen also from this letter that even in prison Paul did not concern himself with his own problems instead he looked after the concerns of the people. Paul's testimony of Christ was most important to him. Paul's closing words: Ephesians 6:21-24, "But that ye also may know my affairs, and how I do, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, shall make known to you all things: Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that ye might know our affairs, and that he might comfort your hearts. Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen." http://www.essortment.com/all/bookofephesian_rigb.htm

All About Turkey: The Region of Ephesus - Ephesus [in modern Turkey] maintained its importance during the [early] period of Christianity; the Apostle St. Paul arrived there during the years of 50 A.D., and [the Disciple] St. John was buried on the hill of Ayasuluk (Selcuk, near Izmir) at the beginning of the 2nd century [100 A.D.] - On Bulbul Dag (Nightingale mountain) there is the House of the Virgin [Mary] where it's believed that she passed last years of her life and passed away - She [Mary] came to Ephesus together with St. John and taken up to Panaghia Kapulu mountain to survive the Roman persecutions

Ephesus: The findings obtained in this region where the native people, namely the Lelegs and the Carians have lived since the beginning, indicate that the city is dated back to 2000 years B.C. As far as the years of 1000 are concerned, it is assumed that the Ions came to this region, led by Androckles. Ephesus was captured by the Kimmers (Cimmerians) in the 7th century B.C., by the Lydians in 560, and later in 546 B.C. by the Persians; and was rescued from the Persian domination when Alexander the Great defeated the Persians in 334 B.C. -- Lysimachos, a commander of Alexander's, had the settlement removed from the whereabouts of the Temple of Artemis to the location between the Mount of Panayir and the Mount of Bülbül, and had a wall built around the city. The city was taken by the Kingdom of Pergamon after 190 B.C., by Rome in 133 B.C., and later by Byzantium. Ephesus maintained its importance during the period of Christianity; the apostle St. Paul arrived there during the years of 50 A.D., and St. John was buried on the hill of Ayasuluk (Selcuk, near Izmir) at the beginning of the 2nd century. Ephesus lived through its third glorious period during the reign of Justinian in the middle of the 6th century A.D. At this time, the Church of St. John was built by the Byzantine emperor. -- The ruins of Ephesus, situated near Selçuk town at 70 kilometers (44 miles) south of Izmir, is a main center of archaeological interest owing to the ancient remains that still exist. When you enter through the Magnesia Gate (south gate or upper gate), you can see the State Agora (or Upper Agora). The Temple of Isis is situated at the center of the Agora, and Stoa is placed on the North side of it. The Odeion (Bouletarion or Parliament) with a capacity of 1,400 persons is placed behind it and the Prytaneion (Town Hall) where the sacred fire used to burn, is on its flank. The Baths of Varius are placed on the east side of Odeion. On the west of the Agora, the Monument of Memmius built in the 1st century BC., the fountain of Sextilius Pollio built in the year 93 A.D., and the Temple of Domitian (81-93 A.D) are placed. On the south of the Agora, the fountain of Laecanius Bassus is situated. The Curetes street starts downwards from the Temple of Memmius. The Gate of Heracles (Hercules) is placed on this avenue. After passing through this part, the fountain of Trajan built in the years 102-114 is seen on the right hand side and after this, the Temple of Hadrian appears in front of us, in all its splendid beauty (117-138 A.D). The Scholastica Baths, built in the 4th century A.D., are situated behind the Temple of Hadrian. The houses of the rich people of Ephesus which were in front of it, have been restored and opened for visits at present with special permits. -- At the corner formed by the Curetes street and the Marble Road, the House of Love (Pornaion or Brothel) is placed and the Library of Celsus, restored and reestablished in recent years, stands right in front of this. The library which had been built in the name of proconsul Gaius Celsus completed in the year 135 A.D. by his son Tiberius Giulius Aquila, is entered by way of a stairway, 21 meters (69 feet) in width and having 9 steps. The southeastern gate of the Trade Agora opens to the Library of Celsus. Emperor Augustus' slaves, Mazaeus and Mithridates, liberated by him had this gate built in the year 1st century A.D.; it comprises three sections and has been restored today. The Corinthian columns of the Stoa encircling the Trade Agora with the dimensions 110 x 110 meters (361 x 361 feet), are standing erect today. The Temple of Serapes built in the period of Antony (138-192 A.D.) is placed behind the Trade Agora. -- One of the magnificent buildings of Ephesus is the Great Theater, largest in Asia Minor, which had a capacity of more than 24.000 people and is in a rather well preserved condition. The construction had started during the Hellenistic period but it could only be completed during the time of Trajan (98-117 A.D.). St. Paul was dragged into this theater to face the crowed because of his famous letter to Ephesians, but rescued by the security corps of the city. Festivals are celebrated in this theater today. -- All the streets of Ephesus were illuminated at night with oil lamps, this shows us the richness of the city. The Port Avenue extends in front of the theater. The avenue is 11 meters (36 feet) wide and 600 meters (1970 feet) long, and it has been called Arcadian Street because it was renewed during the time of Arcadius. On the whole north side of the avenue, there are the Harbor Gymnasium, baths and the Theater Gymnasium. The avenue that passes along the front of the theater, extends towards the Stadium built during the Nero period (54-68 A.D.) and towards the Vedius Gymnasium. The Church of the Virgin Mary built at the beginning of the 4th century A.D. is situated behind the Port Gymnasium just before the exit from the lower gate (north gate). *This was also the meeting place of the 3rd Ecumenical Council [The Council of Ephesus may refer to: The First Council of Ephesus of 431 AD. The Second Council of Ephesus of 449 AD. The Third Council of Ephesus of 475 AD. - Wiki.com]. ... The House of Virgin Mary: On Bulbul Dag (Nightingale mountain) there is the House of the Virgin where it's believed that she passed last years of her life and passed away. She came to Ephesus together with St. John and taken up to Panaghia Kapulu mountain to survive the Roman persecutions. The House was destroyed by many earthquakes and not discovered until 1951 thanks to a German nun, Catherine Emmerich, who saw its location in her visions. The site is recognized as a shrine by Vatican and visited by the Popes. Today, the House of Virgin Mary is renovated by George Quatman Foundation from Ohio and serves as a small church which attracts many Christians as well as Muslims coming to pray for Her. The Mass is held here every Sunday. On the 15th August 2000 there was a great ceremony for the Assumption of the Virgin, the year which marked the two thousand years of the birth of Jesus. http://www.allaboutturkey.com/efes.htm

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Ephesians 1 - The Apostle Paul begins his generic Christian Church letter - A letter specifically designed to broadly address Church Christianity in a broad-based and uniform manner without giving special attention to specific localized Church issues as he had previously written in his letters (epistles) to the Church in Corinth -- 'Ephesians 1:2-4 Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings *in Heavenly places *in Christ [Jesus]: According as He hath [eternally] chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love ...'

Ephesians 1:17-23 That the God [Father] of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the [Holy] Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him [Jesus]: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of His [eternal] calling, and what the riches of the Glory of His [eternal] inheritance in the Saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward *who believe [faith], according to the working of His mighty power, Which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and set [enthroned] Him at his own right hand in the Heavenly places, *Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, *not only in this world, but also in that [new heaven, new earth (Revelation 21:1)] which is to come: And hath put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be the head [authority] over all things to the [Christian] Church, *Which is His body, the fullness of Him that filleth all in all. - Establishing first of all the many doctrines of Christianity including "Ephesians 1:6-7 To the praise of the Glory of His Grace, wherein He [Father] hath made us accepted in the beloved [Jesus]. In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace ..." and the establishment of Jesus Christ as the seated, enthroned King of the Universe the leader supreme of the eternal Christian Church.

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Ephesians 2 - Christianity though composed of individuals is ultimately a group, a close personal family group - Family with one another here on earth and eternally family with one another and with God in Heaven -- 'Ephesians 2:19-22 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the Saints, and [family] of the Household of God [Father, Son Jesus, Holy Spirit]; And are built upon the foundation of the [N.T.] Apostles and [O.T.] Prophets, *Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone [the content of the Bible O.T. and N.T.]; In whom all the [eternal Temple] building fitly framed together groweth unto an Holy Temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an [Holy Spirit] habitation of God through the [Holy] Spirit.'

Ephesians 2:1-10 And you [Christian] hath He [Jesus] quickened [made alive], who were dead in trespasses [intentional sins] and sins [unintentional sins]; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to [Satan] the prince of the power of the air, the [evil] spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: *Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. *But God, who is rich in mercy, for *His great love wherewith *He [first] loved us, *Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, by grace ye are saved; *And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come He [God] might shew the exceeding riches of His Grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace [individuality] are ye saved through faith [redemption (cross of Jesus) + salvation (resurrection life of Jesus) = our faith]; and that [grace, cross and resurrection] not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus *unto good works, which God hath before ordained *that we should walk in them. - In Jesus Christ our sins are a thing of the past, dealt with and removed by God on the cross. With our sin now removed in Jesus we have eternal life and eternal freedom. Note: An important concept of Christianity is that the Second Coming of Jesus is going to be nothing like the 1st Coming of Jesus. In His first physical manifest in mankind Jesus came as a Lamb to be sacrificed for our sins both our sins against God and also our sins against our fellow mankind have all been sacrificed for and completely atoned [made right] for us by Jesus on the cross. The 2nd Coming, bodily [now a Spiritual body] manifest of Jesus will be almost the opposite of the 1st Coming of Jesus. Now Jesus will return not as a Lamb to be slaughtered again but as the Victorious Lion (Genesis 49:8-12) the Eternal King (Revelation 11:15) the Lion of the Tribe of Judah (Revelation 5:4).

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Ephesians 3 - The continued fellowship of Christianity both on earth and in Heaven -- 'Ephesians 3:9-11 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the Mystery [the Triune 3 in 1, Trinity Mystery of God], which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: *To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in Heavenly places might be known [experienced] by the Church the manifold wisdom of God, According to the eternal purpose which He purposed in [Himself] Christ Jesus our Lord ...'

Ephesians 3:12-21 In [Jesus] whom we have boldness and access [into Heaven] *with confidence by the faith of Him. Wherefore I desire that ye faint [resign] not at my [being imprisoned] tribulations for you, which is your glory. For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom *the whole family in Heaven and earth is named, That He [Jesus] would grant you, according to the riches of His Glory, to be strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner [human, soul - spirit] man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts [soul - spirit] *by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all Saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height [the eternal dimensions]; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God. Now unto Him [Jesus] that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, *Unto Him [Jesus] be Glory in the Church by Christ Jesus *throughout all ages, [eternal] *world without end. Amen. - Note: Only through Jesus Christ do we have access to Heaven and eternal life and with Jesus we do now have access to Heaven and live in eternity. Our eternity in Heaven was completed and established once, for all time and for all mankind [all who choose to receive] in Jesus Christ at His resurrection and by His sacrifice on the cross. Heaven and eternity are not future events for mankind they are continuous and contemporary events established by Jesus and 'experienced' by all Christians.

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Ephesians 4 - Take special note that what we do now and how we behave as individuals has serious ramifications beyond just the initial people involved but extends on into the Assembly including both the Church group on earth and the group in Heaven -- 'Ephesians 4:23-25 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind [soul]; And that ye put on the new [born again - spiritual] man, which [comes] after God [has given it and] is created in righteousness and true holiness. Wherefore putting away lying, *speak [to] every man truth [in love] with his neighbor: *for we are [an Assembly - group] members one of another [both on earth and in Heaven].'

Ephesians 4:1-16 I [Apostle Paul] therefore, the prisoner [not of Rome but] of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation [Christian duty] wherewith ye are called [invited by God to preform], With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; *Endeavouring to keep the unity of the [Holy] Spirit in the bond of peace. *There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. But unto every one of us is given grace [individuality] according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Wherefore He saith, When He [Jesus united Heaven and earth the past, present and the future] ascended up on high [Heaven], he led [the O.T. saved Saints from captivity (hades) into Heaven] captivity captive, and gave gifts [to the newly formed Christian Church] unto men. Now that He [Jesus] ascended [went down into 'hades' - for three days and three nights after the cross], what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended [and reconciled the past O.T. Saints] is the same also that ascended [and reconciled Heaven - God to man] up far above all [visible] heavens, that He might fill [reconcile] all things [Heaven, earth, past, present and future]. And He [Jesus] gave [gifts] some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting [completing] of the Saints, *for the work of the Ministry, for the edifying [building up] of the body of Christ: *Till we all come *in the unity [Heaven and earth] of the faith, and *of the knowledge of the Son of God [Jesus], unto a perfect [completed in Jesus Christ] man, unto the measure [eternal] of the stature [dimensions - realms] of the fullness of [Jesus] Christ: That we henceforth be no more children [immature], tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, *by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait [planning] to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into Him [Jesus] in all things, which is the head [overseer of the Church], even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase [maturity] of the [Church] body unto the edifying of itself in love. - The Ministry of Jesus Christ is to reconcile all the Saints [those desiring to be in a relationship with God]; past, present and future and Heaven and earth unto Himself for all eternity.

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Ephesians 5 - Above everything be a follower of Jesus Christ - Only Jesus Christ has demonstrated to mankind the example that all mankind is expected to follow in achieving a godly relationship between mankind [with one another] and with God in Heaven -- 'Ephesians 5:1-2 Be ye therefore followers of God [Jesus Christ], as dear children [family members]; And walk in love, as [Jesus] Christ also hath loved us, and hath given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice [on behalf of sinful man] to [the Holy] God for a sweetsmelling savour [atonement].'

Ephesians 5:8-21 For ye were [in times past] sometimes darkness, *but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: *For the fruit of the [Holy] Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth [unchangeable]; Proving [discerning] what is acceptable unto the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. Wherefore He [Holy Spirit] saith, *Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and [Jesus] Christ shall give thee [eternal] light. See then that ye walk circumspectly [deliberatly], not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming [using it for God] the time, because the days are [still] evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the [Holy] will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the [Holy] Spirit; *Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; *Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father [only] *in the [one] Name (Ephesians 4:5) of our Lord Jesus Christ; Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. - Fellowship with God is truth, righteousness and holiness as revealed to us in Jesus Christ, fellowship with God is not the personal desires, counsels, and agendas of man the two are almost mutually exclusive.

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Ephesians 6 - The Apostle Paul concludes his generic Church letter (memo) with the important concept of Spiritual Warfare -- 'Ephesians 6:10-13 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord [Jesus], and in the power *of His might. Put on the whole armor *of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles [deceitful tactics] of the Devil [Satan]. For we wrestle [struggle] not against [physical] flesh and blood, but against [spiritual] principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against *spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and *having done all, *to stand [in Jesus].'

The Apostle Paul concludes the Bible's book of Ephesians: Ephesians 6:14-24 Stand therefore [in Jesus], having your loins girt about with truth [God's Word, Holy Bible], and having on the breastplate of righteousness [Jesus' Righteousness]; And your feet shod with the preparation of *the Gospel of Peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith [cross of Jesus (redemption) + resurrection life of Jesus (salvation) = our faith], *wherewith ye shall be able to quench [put out] all the fiery darts [projectiles] of the wicked. And take the helmet of Salvation [have knowledge of eternal life], and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word [Holy Bible] of God: *Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the [Holy] Spirit, and *watching [looking for the 2nd Coming of Jesus - The Lion and the King of the Tribe Judah] thereunto with all perseverance *and supplication [prayer requests] for all saints; And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the Mystery [Triune, 3 in 1, nature of God as revealed to mankind] of the Gospel, For which I am an Ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak. But that ye also may know my affairs, and how I do, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, shall make known to you all things: Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that ye might know our affairs, and that he might comfort your hearts. Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. *Grace be with all them *that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen.

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THE EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE TO THE

PHILIPPIANS

Philippians: [Apostle] Paul's Joy in Christ - Philippi was Paul's pride and joy - Arms of friendship extended between Paul and the believers at Philippi that didn't exist in the other churches - None of his other letters has such abundant expressions of tender personal dedication and benevolence as this letter - Luke seems to have been their first pastor for about five years after its establishment in Acts 16

STYLE OF WRITING: This is the most personal, informal and cordial letter Paul wrote to a church. It is a thank you letter in response to a gift they have sent to Paul while he was in Rome. The reader senses the conflicts, hope, faith, determination, high purpose, deep driving passion of a man who seeks to glorify Christ in every dimension of his life. His greatest fear is to run and be disqualified. Philippians, Colossians, and Ephesians reach spiritual peaks found nowhere else in Scripture. This letter expresses joy and peace during a time of affliction and uncertain future. He hasn't received financial help from the other churches. The letter is filled with expressions of gratitude and thankfulness for their expression of love and faithfulness which he has received on several occasions. He writes his letter from the position of one who is secure in the place he occupies in the hearts of his readers. Therefore, he can share from his heart his personal convictions and his internal conflicts about the future. It is filled with joy, peace and thanksgiving. The words "joy," "rejoicing," "rejoice" are repeated many times in these short 104 verses. This is indeed written in the style of a spontaneous, loving sincere letter with general everyday moral exhortations. It is as a friend simply opens up his heart to those whom he loves. -- AUTHOR: Paul (Phil. 1:1). There is nothing in the letter, linguistic or historical, which can cause any doubt as to its authenticity. External evidence includes: Clemens Romanus, Ignatius, Polycarp, Irenaeus, Clemens Alexandrinus, Tertullian, Marcion's Apostolicons, and Muratorian Canon. -- PLACE OF WRITING: It was written from prison in the city of Rome (1:7, 13; 4:22). Paul refers to his imprisonment in 1:7, 13, 14; 2:17. According to Acts he was a prisoner at Philippi (16:23, Jerusalem (21:33), Caesarea (23:25) and Rome (28:16, 30, 31). Paul was in prison two years while at Caesarea, however no final decision in his case was ever expected there. He was in prison at Rome for two years, pending his appeal to Caesar. The whole tradition of the early Church pleads for Rome. Moreover, Phil. 1:13, the "praetorian guard" and Phil. 4:22, "Caesar's household," would indicate the imprisonment at Rome. The Praetorian Guard was a force of 9,000 men at the disposal of Caesar. The final decisions regarding his appeal and, indeed, his life would certainly decide for Rome. -- RECIPIENTS: was the Church at Philippi (Acts 16:11-40; 17:14; 19:22; 20:3-4; Phil. 2:19). Paul, Timothy, Silas and Dr. Luke were all a vital part of the founding of the Church at Philippi. *Luke seems to have been their first pastor for about five years after its establishment in Acts 16. Paul directs his letter to the "saints" at Philippi (1:1; cf. Rom. 1:7; I Cor. 1:2; II Cor. 1:1). http://www.abideinchrist.com/messages/philintr.html

Philippi - Ancient Macedonia, Northern Greece - (Photos)

Gangitis River: Philippi apparently had only a small number of Jewish inhabitants and no synagogue. Consequently Shabbat worship was held outside the city on the Gangitis River. Here Paul met a group of women to whom he preached the gospel. Lydia, a merchant trading purple cloth, believed Paul's message and was baptized with members of her household. Subsequently Paul went and lived at her home. -- Excavations: Archaeological work has revealed a large and well-preserved forum, a theater, the alleged jail of Paul and several Byzantine churches, including one of the earliest churches known in Greece. The number of churches in the city in the Byzantine period indicate Philippi's importance to Christians at this time. A series of earthquakes apparently destroyed many of the buildings and probably contributed to the city's decline. -- Philippian Jail: This traditional place of Paul and Silas's imprisonment is of dubious authenticity, but it remembers the attack on these men and their subsequent flogging and imprisonment. In the course of the night, a violent earthquake shook the prison and the jailer feared that all might have escaped. After learning that none had fled, the Philippian jailer put his faith in Christ and was baptized with his family. http://www.bibleplaces.com/philippi.htm

GODS, GOLD AND THE GLORY OF PHILIPPI - The Apostle Paul's visit to Macedonia marked the first time he set foot on European soil (Acts 16:11) - However, this was not the first time the gospel was proclaimed in Europe (Acts 2:10) - In fact, the "Macedonian call" (Acts 16:9) seems to imply that there were already believers in Macedonia that needed help in evangelizing their province - One writer commented, "Out of Macedonia, Alexander the Great once went to conquer the Eastern world but later from Macedonia the power of the gospel went to conquer the Western world of Paul's day" (Swift 1984:250) - Philippi played an important role in the life and ministry of the Apostle Paul - He also had an effective and lasting ministry in the lives of the believers in the Lord Jesus in Philippi

Was Philippi Dr. Luke's Hometown? Some scholars have suggested that Dr. Luke's hometown was Philippi. This is a possibility. When one examines the pronouns in the book of Acts this observation is borne out. Up until chapter 16, Luke [Book of Acts] is writing about the work of Peter and Paul. When Paul, Silas and Timothy get to Alexandria Troas the pronouns change from "they/them" (Acts 16:7,8) to "us/we" (Acts 16:9,10). Dr. Luke escorts the group to Philippi (Acts 16:11,12). He is with them when they go to the place of prayer (Acts 16:13,16,17). When Paul and Silas leave Philippi, Dr. Luke stayed behind (Acts 17:1). Paul picks him up on his way to Jerusalem at the end of his third missionary journey (Acts 20:5,6). Luke appears to have stayed in Philippi for at least six years. More than likely it was because it was his home. After Paul cast the demon out of the slave girl, he and Silas were tried before the magistrates and accused of being Jewish, but Luke was not (Acts 16:19,20). Dr. Luke was a respected member of the community so they did not bring him before the magistrate. But also, Luke was a Gentile (cf. Col. 4:11,14), so the accusation of being Jewish would not have applied. This possibility will never know for certain unless an archaeologist uncovers an inscription in Philippi with Dr. Luke's name on it, although this is not outside the realm of possibility. A number of years ago an inscription was found in Corinth with the name of Erastus on it (Rom. 16:23; Acts 19:22; II Tim. 4:20). http://www.ldolphin.org/pphilippi.html

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EarlyChristianWritings.com: THE EPISTLE OF POLYCARP [Bishop of the Church at Smyrna] to the Church at Philippi - Polycarp born about 69 A.D. - died as a martyr in 155 A.D. at Smyrna - {Note: Church Fathers [Fathers in the Christian Faith] also known as Apostolic Fathers are the 2nd generation of Christians. The Apostles were those who had exclusively and personally witnessed (1 Corinthians 15:6) the resurrected Jesus Christ. The next generation of Christians (the 2nd generation) are those [like Polycarp the Bishop of the Church in Smyrna ] who did not see the resurrected Jesus but who learned from the Apostles themselves. Polycarp was a student of the Apostle John who had been a Disciple of Jesus Christ. The term "Church Fathers" is applied to the 2nd generation of Christians in the same way that the term "Father of the Faith" is applied to Abraham (Romans 4:11). Abraham is not the first generation of faith in God but he is the first generation to have faith as we have it. Prior to Abraham, during the days of Abraham's father Terah (Genesis 11:26), the sons of Noah [1st global judgment of God] were still living and previous to the days of Noah the Adam of creation was still living. If a person wanted to know about the flood or the original creation before the flood of Noah they could get an eyewitness account from one of the sons of Noah, likewise the Apostles gave eyewitness accounts of the resurrection of Jesus Christ and having had an eyewitness experience with God in His resurrection, His global judgment flood or with God's original creation the Apostles and the ancients [those who had lived previous to the days of the flood of Noah (Job 12:12)] had a slightly different faith (John 20:29) than we have. We have a faith more similar to that of the Church Fathers than to the faith of the original Apostles.}

Polycarp and the presbyters that are with him unto the Church of God which sojourneth at Philippi; mercy unto you and peace from God Almighty and Jesus Christ our Savior be multiplied. I rejoiced with you greatly in our Lord Jesus Christ, for that ye received the followers of the true Love and escorted them on their way, as befitted you--those men encircled in saintly bonds which are the diadems of them that be truly chosen of God and our Lord; and that the steadfast root of your faith which was famed from primitive times abideth until now and beareth fruit unto our Lord Jesus Christ, who endured to face even death for our sins, whom God raised, having loosed the pangs of *Hades; on whom, *though ye saw Him not [not of the origional Apostles], ye believe with joy unutterable and full of glory; unto which joy many desire to enter in; forasmuch as ye know that it is by grace ye are saved, not of works, but by the will of God through Jesus Christ. ... I exhort you all therefore to be obedient unto the word of righteousness and to practice all endurance, which also ye saw with your own eyes in the blessed Ignatius and Zosimus and Rufus, yea and in others also who came from among yourselves, as well as in *Paul himself and the rest of the Apostles; being persuaded that all these ran not in vain but in faith and righteousness, and that they are in their due place in the presence of the Lord, with whom also they suffered. For they loved not the present world, but Him that died for our sakes and was raised by God for us. Stand fast therefore in these things and follow the example of the Lord, being firm in the faith and immovable, in love of the brotherhood kindly affectioned one to another, partners with the truth, forestalling one another in the gentleness of the Lord, despising no man. ... Pray for all the saints. Pray also for kings and powers and princes and for them that persecute and hate you and for the enemies of the cross, that your fruit may be manifest among all men, that ye may be perfect in Him. Ye wrote to me, both ye yourselves and Ignatius, asking that if anyone should go to Syria he might carry thither the letters from you. And this I will do, if I get a fit opportunity, either I myself, or he whom I shall send to be ambassador on your behalf also. The letters of Ignatius which were sent to us by him, and others as many as we had by us, we send unto you, according as ye gave charge; the which are subjoined to this letter; from which ye will be able to gain great advantage. For they comprise faith and endurance and every kind of edification, which pertaineth unto our Lord. Moreover concerning Ignatius himself and those that were with him, if ye have any sure tidings, certify us. I write these things to you by Crescens, whom I commended to you recently and now commend unto you: for he hath walked blamelessly with us; and I believe also with you in like manner. But ye shall have his sister commended, when she shall come to you. Fare ye well in the Lord Jesus Christ in grace, ye and all yours. Amen. http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/polycarp-lightfoot.html

Early Christian Church Fathers - Published documents and letters of the Early Church Fathers

The following are early church fathers and apologists [defenders of the faith] of the first and second centuries [about 55 A.D. - 199 A.D.]. The first eight or nine documents are also known as the Apostolic Fathers. The writers known as the church fathers represent the ancient orthodox church as opposed to other elements of ancient Christianity such as Gnosticism. These are the church fathers and apologists that can be read on the Early Christian Writings web site. http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/churchfathers.html

The Encyclical Epistle of the Church at Smyrna Concerning the Martyrdom of the Holy [Bishop] Polycarp [155 A.D] - We have written to you, brethren, as to what relates to the martyrs, and especially to the blessed Polycarp

We have written to you, brethren, as to what relates to the martyrs, and especially to the blessed Polycarp, who put an end to the persecution, having, as it were, set a seal upon it by his martyrdom. For almost all the events that happened previously [to this one], took place that the Lord might show us from above a martyrdom becoming the Gospel. For he waited to be delivered up, even as the Lord had done, that we also might become his followers, while we look not merely at what concerns ourselves but have regard also to our neighbors. For it is the part of a true and well-founded love, not only to wish one's self to be saved, but also all the brethren. ... But the most admirable Polycarp, when he first heard [that he was sought for], was in no measure disturbed, but resolved to continue in the city. However, in deference to the wish of many, he was persuaded to leave it. He departed, therefore, to a country house not far distant from the city. There he stayed with a few [friends], engaged in nothing else night and day than praying for all men, and for the Churches throughout the world, according to his usual custom. And while he was praying, a vision presented itself to him three days before he was taken; and, behold, the pillow under his head seemed to him on fire. Upon this, turning to those that were with him, he said to them prophetically, "I must be burnt alive." And when those who sought for him were at hand, he departed to another dwelling, whither his pursuers immediately came after him. And when they found him not, they seized upon two youths [that were there], one of whom, being subjected to torture, confessed. It was thus impossible that he should continue hid, since those that betrayed him were of his own household. The Irenarch then (whose office is the same as that of the Cleronomus), by name Herod, hastened to bring him into the stadium. [This all happened] that he might fulfil his special lot, being made a partaker of Christ, and that they who betrayed him might undergo the punishment of Judas himself. ... His pursuers then, along with horsemen, and taking the youth with them, went forth at supper-time on the day of the preparation with their usual weapons, as if going out against a robber. And being come about evening [to the place where he was], they found him lying down in the upper room of a certain little house, from which he might have escaped into another place; but he refused, saying, "The will of God be done." So when he heard that they were come, he went down and spake with them. And as those that were present marvelled at his age and constancy, some of them said. "Was so much effort made to capture such a venerable man?" Immediately then, in that very hour, he ordered that something to eat and drink should be set before them, as much indeed as they cared for, while he besought them to allow him an hour to pray without disturbance. And on their giving him leave, he stood and prayed, being full of the grace of God, so that he could not cease for two full hours, to the astonishment of them that heard him, insomuch that many began to repent that they had come forth against so godly and venerable an old man. ... Now, as Polycarp was entering into the stadium, there came to him a voice from heaven, saying, "Be strong, and show thyself a man, O Polycarp!" No one saw who it was that spoke to him; but those of our brethren who were present heard the voice. And as he was brought forward, the tumult became great when they heard that Polycarp was taken. And when he came near, the proconsul asked him whether he was Polycarp. On his confessing that he was, [the proconsul] sought to persuade him to deny [Christ], saying, "Have respect to thy old age," and other similar things, according to their custom, [such as], "Swear by the fortune of Caesar; repent, and say, Away with the Atheists." But Polycarp, gazing with a stern countenance on all the multitude of the wicked heathen then in the stadium, and waving his hand towards them, while with groans he looked up to heaven, said, "Away with the Atheists." Then, the proconsul urging him, and saying, "Swear, and I will set thee at liberty, reproach Christ;" Polycarp declared, "Eighty and six years have I served Him, and He never did me any injury: how then can I blaspheme my King and my Saviour?" And when the proconsul yet again pressed him, and said, "Swear by the fortune of Caesar," he answered, "Since thou art vainly urgent that, as thou sayest, I should swear by the fortune of Caesar, and pretendest not to know who and what I am, hear me declare with boldness, I am a Christian. And if you wish to learn what the doctrines of Christianity are, appoint me a day, and thou shalt hear them." The proconsul replied, "Persuade the people." But Polycarp said, "To thee I have thought it right to offer an account [of my faith]; for we are taught to give all due honour (which entails no injury upon ourselves) to the powers and authorities which are ordained of God. But as for these, I do not deem them worthy of receiving any account from me." The proconsul then said to him, "I have wild beasts at hand; to these will I cast thee, except thou repent." But he answered, "Call them then, for we are not accustomed to repent of what is good in order to adopt that which is evil; and it is well for me to be changed from what is evil to what is righteous." But again the proconsul said to him, "I will cause thee to be consumed by fire, seeing thou despisest the wild beasts, if thou wilt not repent." But Polycarp said, "Thou threatenest me with fire which burneth for an hour, and after a little is extinguished, but art ignorant of the fire of the coming judgment and of eternal punishment, reserved for the ungodly. But why tarriest thou? Bring forth what thou wilt." While he spoke these and many other like things, he was filled with confidence and joy, and his countenance was full of grace, so that not merely did it not fall as if troubled by the things said to him, but, on the contrary, the proconsul was astonished, and sent his herald to proclaim in the midst of the stadium thrice, "Polycarp has confessed that he is a Christian." This proclamation having been made by the herald, the whole multitude both of the heathen and Jews, who dwelt at Smyrna, cried out with uncontrollable fury, and in a loud voice, "This is the teacher of Asia, the father of the Christians, and the overthrower of our gods, he who has been teaching many not to sacrifice, or to worship the gods." Speaking thus, they cried out, and besought Philip the Asiarch to let loose a lion upon Polycarp. But Philip answered that it was not lawful for him to do so, seeing the shows of wild beasts were already finished. Then it seemed good to them to cry out with one consent, that Polycarp should be burnt alive. For thus it behooved the vision which was revealed to him in regard to his pillow to be fulfilled, when, seeing it on fire as he was praying, he turned about and said prophetically to the faithful that were with him, "I must be burnt alive." When he had pronounced this amen, and so finished his prayer, those who were appointed for the purpose kindled the fire. And as the flame blazed forth in great fury, we, to whom it was given to witness it, beheld a great miracle, and have been preserved that we might report to others what then took place. For the fire, shaping itself into the form of an arch, like the sail of a ship when filled with the wind, encompassed as by a circle the body of the martyr. And he appeared within not like flesh which is burnt, but as bread that is baked, or as gold and silver glowing in a furnace. Moreover, we perceived such a sweet odour [coming from the pile], as if frankincense or some such precious spices had been smoking there. ... At length, when those wicked men perceived that his body could not be consumed by the fire, they commanded an executioner to go near and pierce him through with a dagger. And on his doing this, there came forth a dove, and a great quantity of blood, so that the fire was extinguished; and all the people wondered that there should be such a difference between the unbelievers and the elect, of whom this most admirable Polycarp was one, having in our own times been an apostolic and prophetic teacher, and bishop of the Catholic Church which is in Smyrna. Forevery word that went out of his mouth either has been or shall yet be accomplished. ... http://mb-soft.com/believe/txv/polycar2.htm

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Polycarp [Letter] to the Philippians - Estimated Range of Dating: 110-140 A.D. - Polycarp resided in Asia Minor as Bishop of Smyrna and sent an epistle to the Philippians c. 120-140 AD - Polycarp was martyred c. 155 AD

Irenaeus mentions Polycarp in Adv. Haer., III.3.4: But Polycarp also was not only instructed by apostles [John and possibly Paul], and conversed with many who had seen Christ, but was also, by apostles in Asia, appointed bishop of the Church in Smyrna, whom I also saw in my early youth, for he tarried [on earth] a very long time, and, when a very old man, gloriously and most nobly suffering martyrdom, departed this life, having always taught the things which he had learned from the apostles, and which the Church has handed down, and which alone are true. To these things all the Asiatic Churches testify, as do also those men who have succeeded Polycarp down to the present time, a man who was of much greater weight, and a more stedfast witness of truth, than Valentinus, and Marcion, and the rest of the heretics. He it was who, coming to Rome in the time of Anicetus caused many to turn away from the aforesaid heretics to the Church of God, proclaiming that he had received this one and sole truth from the apostles, that, namely, which is handed down by the Church. There are also those who heard from him that John, the disciple of the Lord, going to bathe at Ephesus, and perceiving Cerinthus within, rushed out of the bath-house without bathing, exclaiming, "Let us fly, lest even the bath-house fall down, because Cerinthus, the enemy of the truth, is within." And Polycarp himself replied to Marcion, who met him on one occasion, and said, "Dost thou know me? "I do know thee, the first-born of Satan." Such was the horror which the apostles and their disciples had against holding even verbal communication with any corrupters of the truth; as Paul also says, "A man that is an heretic, after the first and second admonition, reject; knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself." There is also a very powerful Epistle of Polycarp written to the Philippians, from which those who choose to do so, and are anxious about their salvation, can learn the character of his faith, and the preaching of the truth. Then, again, the Church in Ephesus, founded by Paul, and having John remaining among them permanently until the times of Trajan, is a true witness of the tradition of the apostles. ... Jerome provides the following summary in Illustrious Men 17: Polycarp disciple of the apostle John and by him ordained bishop of Smyrna was chief of all Asia, where he saw and had as teachers some of the apostles and of those who had seen the Lord. He, on account of certain questions concerning the day of the Passover, went to Rome in the time of the emperor Antoninus Pius while Anicetus ruled the church in that city. There he led back to the faith many of the believers who had been deceived through the persuasion of Marcion {i.e. water baptism saves - so they were baptized later in life, after marriage, after child birth etc. - Constantine (277-337 AD.) the first Christian Emperor of Rome and his father both believed this doctrine and both were baptized for the forgiveness of their sins at the end of their life only when on their deathbeds} and Valentinus {Gnostic Heretic - i.e. a greater god [Zoe] than God exists, Jesus-God (the Jewish, Christian God) was created by an even higher god [a god with lots of names (Lucifer, Gaia, Zoe, the Source, the Light, the Almighty, Divine Creator, Serpant, Father Satan, etc.) but usually secretly referred to as Satan or Lucifer]}, and when Marcion met him by chance and said "Do you know us" he replied, "I know the firstborn of the devil." Afterwards during the reign of Marcus Antoninus and Lucius Aurelius Commodus in the fourth persecution after Nero, in the presence of the proconsul holding court at Smyrna and all the people crying out against him in the Amphitheater, he was burned. He wrote a very valuable Epistle to the Philippians which is read to the present day in the meetings in Asia. http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/polycarp.html

BasicChristian.org: Did Jesus have a wife and child? Of course Not! - Da Vinci Code Gnostic (Jesus is only human) Cults Exposed!

Network TV, the movie "The Da Vinci Code" 'SEEK THE TRUTH' {Sony Pictures - Directed by: Ron Howard, Starring: Tom Hanks, May 2006} and now The Da Vinci Code part two "Angels & Demons" (2009) are programs that will insinuate that Jesus had a secret wife, Mary Magdalene and that the two had a child while He was here on the earth. Following is some material to consider regarding this very wrong and false topic. This is a startling topic yet it is a good opportunity for us as Christians to define Christianity to others and to point out the errors of the non-Biblical approach to defining Jesus. "Any marriage prior to the Cross would mean that Jesus was marring a sinner and really teachings of an earthly marriage of Jesus are yet another false set of teachings that are attempting to do away with the need of mankind for the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross and of His Glorious Resurrection and it is an attempt to deny the special relationship that Jesus has with His Bride - The Church." http://www.basicchristian.org/jesusnowife.html

Gnosticism - Hollywood's War on God: Learn how these movies are initiating the masses into a Gnostic worldview that will culminate in a "strong delusion" as the world joins Satan & the final Antichrist in their war against God (DVD - $19.95)

Hollywood's War on God is a mind-blowing, eye-popping documentary that reveals how satanic forces are using Hollywood's most memorable movies and most popular actors to propagate an ancient lie in fulfillment of biblical prophecy. Learn how these movies are initiating the masses into a Gnostic worldview that will culminate in a "strong delusion" as the world joins Satan & the final Antichrist in their war on God. Such titles include Ron Howard & Tom Hanks "The Da Vinci Code"; Keanu Reeves "The Matrix" and "Constantine"; Brad Pitt's "Fight Club"; Jim Carrey's "Truman Show"; Toby McQuire's "Pleasantville"; Arnold Swarzenegger's "Total Recall"; Johnny Depp's "From Hell"; Shawn Connery's "League of Extraordinary Gentleman"; J.K. Rowling's "Harry Potter"; Harrison Ford's "Bladerunner"; Tom Cruise's "Vanilla Sky," "Eyes Wide Shut" and "Minority Report" and many others. http://www.goodfight.org/store/resources_main_video.html

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Philippians 1 - The Apostle Paul begins his letter to the Church at Philippi a Church fellowship that had become one of his main delights and joys in the Lord -- 'Philippians 1:1-6 Paul and Timotheus, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the Saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops [Bible teaching Church leaders, pastors, Sunday school teachers, etc.] and deacons [non-teaching servants, ushers, preparing communion, etc.]: Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy, *For your fellowship in the Gospel *from the first day until now; *Being confident of this very thing, *that He [God] which hath begun a good work *in you *will perform [complete] it until the day [2nd Coming] of Jesus Christ'

Philippians 1:19-30 For I know that this [Paul's humiliation at being arrested and jailed] shall turn to my salvation [wellbeing, Christian growth] through your prayer, and the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so *now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. *For to me to live is Christ, *and to die is gain [to gain Heaven and eternity with Jesus]. But if I live [on] in the flesh, this [Christian work] is the fruit of my labour [meaning of Paul's existence]: yet what I shall choose [death and eternal life in Heaven or continued Christian work and growth] I wot not [know not - still undecided]. For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart [into Heaven], and to be with [Jesus] Christ; which [being in Heaven] is far better {Paul had already experienced being in Heaven}: Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you. And having this confidence, I know that I shall abide and continue with you all for your furtherance and joy of faith; That your rejoicing may be more abundant in Jesus Christ for me by my coming to you again. Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the Gospel; *And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token [evidence] of perdition [lost salvation], *but to you of salvation, and that of God. For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, *but also to suffer for His sake [as Jesus was rejected by the world]; Having the same [rejected by the world] conflict *which ye saw in me, and now hear to [continue to] be in me. - Paul talks about the continued conflict that remains in the Christian. The Christian desire to begin life with Jesus in Heaven and also the desire to remain here on earth to do good and to continue to grow and mature in the Christian faith. Paul also talks about the conflicting notion of suffering persecution as a Christian. If becoming a Christian means suffering and rejection then why become a Christian and why would God allow it to happen and it's because while on earth we are conformed into fellowship with Jesus and in the 1st Coming of Jesus He was rejected, persecuted and suffered.

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Philippians 2 - Paul explains that though circumstances are difficult for him at the moment a knowledge of their continued Christian growth and maturity would bring a joy to Paul that would help to make his present difficulties less difficult -- 'Philippians 2:1-5 If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. *Look not every man on his own things, *but every man also on the things of others. *Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus'

Philippians 2:6-18 *[Jesus] Who, being [originally] in the form of God, thought it not robbery [taking away from God] to be equal with God [Jesus as God is equal to God]: *But made Himself of no reputation [temporarily removed His status as Gog], and took upon Him the form of a servant [became a human], and was made in the [human] likeness of men: And being found in [physical] fashion as a man, He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God [Father] also hath highly exalted Him, *and given Him a Name which is above every name: *That at the Name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in Heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth [in Hades]; *And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the Glory of God the Father. Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation [wellbeing in Jesus, Christian growth, maturity] with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure. Do all things without murmurings [complaining] and disputings [arguing]: That ye may be blameless and harmless, *the Sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, *among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the [Gospel] Word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain [empty], neither laboured in vain. Yea, *and if I be offered upon the sacrifice and service of [give his life in service for] your faith, I joy, and rejoice with you all. For the same cause also do ye joy, and rejoice with me. - The main theme of the letter to the Philippians is Christian growth and maturity and above all Paul wants them to continue to grow and mature in their Christian faith to the point that their lives are no longer selfish and that they no longer live life for themselves temporarily here on earth but now live their life eternally for Jesus in Heaven.

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Philippians 3 - Paul is serious that this physical life is an opportunity to fellowship with Jesus in His sufferings and in His persecutions and that to know and experience the suffering of Jesus is to fellowship with Jesus -- 'Philippians 3:8-11 Yea doubtless, and I count all [accomplishments] things [in this life] but loss *for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, And be found in Him, *not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, *the righteousness which is of God by faith: *That I may know Him [Jesus], *and the power of His resurrection, *and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death; [so that] If [since] by any means I might attain unto the [Holy, eternal] resurrection of the dead.'

Philippians 3:12-21 Not as though I had already attained [eternal life], either were already perfect [completed in Jesus Christ]: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend [obtain] that [eternal life salvation] for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. *Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended [eternal life]: *but this one thing I do, forgetting those [uncertain] things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those [certain Salvation] things which are before [yet future], *I press [continue] toward the mark for the prize of the [Heavenly] High Calling of God in Christ Jesus. *Let us therefore, as many as be perfect [complete in Jesus Christ], be thus minded: and if in anything ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. Nevertheless, whereto [with what Christian knowledge] we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing. Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, *who mind earthly things. *For our conversation is in Heaven; from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ: [Jesus] *Who shall change our vile [physical] body, that [being predestined to the image of the resurrected Jesus (Romans 8:29)] it [our physical body] may be fashioned like unto His glorious [eternal, spiritual] body, according to the working whereby He is able even to subdue all things unto Himself. - Keep in mind that eternal life is something that is completed at the Throne, Bema Seat Judgment of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10) after our own individual death and resurrection and is not obtained specifically here on earth. - Note: The Apostle Paul was briefly in Heaven and possibly having doubts about his own ministry (Galatians 2:2) and his own standing with God [apart from the laws of Moses] the Apostle Paul appears to have witnessed in Heaven a Bema Seat Judgment take place. "2 Corinthians 12:4 How that he [Apostle Paul] was caught up into paradise [Heaven, Throne of God], *and heard unspeakable [Bema Seat Judgment] words, which it is *not *lawful [illegal] for a man to utter [repeat]." It's possible that Paul was able to witness a Bema Seat Judgment [or Judgments] and apparently all went well for the Christians and Paul realized that the Judgment Seat of Jesus Christ being the finalization 'acceptance' of individual Christianity is a reward for the Christian [those in Jesus Christ] and not a condemnation.

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Philippians 4 - The Apostle Paul explains that eternal life our names written in the "Book of Life" is what is at stake in Christian Fellowship -- 'Philippians 4:1-3 Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, *my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord [Jesus Christ], my dearly beloved. I beseech [request] [the two Christian women] Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they [try to get along and stop causing so much strife and drama within the fellowship] be of the same mind in the Lord. And I entreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women [Euodias, and Syntyche] which labored with me in the Gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellow laborers, *whose names are in the Book of Life [and if not removed (Revelation 3:5) will pass the Bema Seat Judgment of Jesus Christ].'

The Apostle Paul concludes the Bibles' Book of Philippians: Philippians 4:4-9 Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. *Be careful for nothing; but in everything *by prayer and supplication [request to God] with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And *the peace of God, which passeth all [physical] understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. *Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, *think on these things. 9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you. ... Philippians 4:20-23 Now *unto God [Jesus Christ] *and our Father be glory forever and ever. Amen. Salute every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren which are with me greet you. All the saints salute you, chiefly they that are of Caesar's household [this letter is thought to be written while Paul is under house arrest in Rome while he is guarded by Roman guards]. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

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THE EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE TO THE

COLOSSIANS

Background on Colossians: As far as we know Paul never visited Colossae, at least not at the time he wrote this epistle; he had only "heard" about the church at Colossae (1:4, 9; 2:1) - {Note: The book of Colossians is an extraordinary book of the Bible often the favorite book of the Bible for many Christians. The book of Colossians is unique in that the Apostle Paul was writing to a city that he had not yet been to, a city that had not had any Apostle visit it [unlike Rome where many Christians from Jerusalem and even Peter might have visited there before Paul]. The book of Colossians is considered Paul's opening evangelical statement of what the Apostle might have said to people in any given city who gathered to hear his first public appearance and presentation of the Gospel in places that previously had little or no exposure to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.}

As far as we know Paul never visited Colossae, at least not at the time he wrote this epistle; he had only "heard" about the church at Colossae (1:4, 9; 2:1). Nevertheless, it was a product of his ministry and beautifully illustrates his commitment to impart his vision of reaching others with the powerful message of the gospel. That this is so is illustrated in the following ways. First, Paul spent three years ministering the word in Ephesus from the lecture room of the School of Tyrannus. It was during this time all of Asia heard the Word (cf. Acts. 19:8-10, 26; & 20:31). Ephesus had three great attractions that brought people into the city from all parts of Asia. It was a seaport town, a center of commerce, and, with the temple of Diana, it was also a center for idol worship. Second, while on a visit to Ephesus, a young man from Colossae named Epaphras evidently heard the gospel from Paul and was converted. It appears that he was not only saved, but that he was trained and prepared by Paul to go back and plant a church in his hometown of Colossae (1:7; 4:12). The story of the establishment of the church at Colossae illustrates an important truth. "God does not always need an apostle, or a 'full-time Christian worker' to get a ministry established. Nor does He need elaborate buildings and extensive organizations." Through Paul's vision for training others for ministry, God took two men and sent them out to reach and build others in Christ in at least three cities of the Lycus Valley. ... The Scope of Colossians: Colossians presents the all-supremacy, the all-sufficiency, the uniqueness, and the fullness of the person and work of Jesus Christ as the God-man Savior, the Creator and Sustainer of the universe and the total solution for man's needs both for time and eternity. It is a cosmic book, presenting the cosmic Christ: the Creator/Sustainer who is also the one and only Redeemer/Reconciler of the universe. One of my former and beloved Greek professors at Dallas Seminary, Dr. S. Lewis Johnson, had the following excellent summary of the importance of this epistle. In the first of a series of articles entitled "Studies in the Epistle to the Colossians" he wrote: "Without doubt Colossae was the least important church to which any epistle of St. Paul is addressed." So wrote Bishop Lightfoot some years ago in one of the finest commentaries on New Testament literature. Colosse had been "a great city of Phrygia," but it was in the afternoon of its influence and importance when Paul wrote the house-church there. And yet the message to Colosse, so bright with the light of the apostle's highest Christology, has become amazingly relevant in the middle of the twentieth century. With the sudden and startling intrusion of the space age and its astrophysics, nuclear power, missiles and rockets, the church of Jesus Christ has been forced to relate its Lord and Master to the ultimate frontiers. Colossians, which presents Him as the architect and sustainer of the universe, as well as the reconciler of all things, both earthly and heavenly, provides the church with the material it may and must use. Suddenly the epistle to the little flock in the declining city has become perhaps the most contemporary book in the New Testament library. -- The usefulness of Colossians, however, is not a recent phenomenon. The epistle is no late-blooming flower, although its grandeur and brilliance may strike one's eyes with increasing force in the present time. The Christology and the ethics of the letter are important for all time. It has always furnished a proper antidote to humanly devised schemes of salvation. As A. M. Hunter puts it; "To all who would 'improve' Christianity by admixing it with spiritualism or Sabbatarianism or occultism or any such extra, it utters its warning: 'What Christ is and has done for us is enough for salvation. We need no extra mediators, or taboos, or ascetics. To piece out the gospel with the rags and tatters of alien cults is not to enrich but to corrupt it.'" http://bible.org/seriespage/background-colossians

Background on Colossians (Part 2): Because of the rising tide of human philosophies confronting us today, no New Testament book speaks with more relevancy than does the epistle to the Colossians - Increasingly our generation wants to take religion out of the realm of rational discourse and relegate it to the area of personal preferences and opinions. If there are thirty-one flavors of ice cream, why can we not have similar variety in religions? - Thus, Colossians is a book that speaks to our cosmic age and to this New Age movement

Introductory Remarks: Because of the rising tide of human philosophies confronting us today, no New Testament book speaks with more relevancy than does the epistle to the Colossians. Not only do we live in an atomic and space age, but in the most technologically advanced age of all time. As in the past, this is a day where, duped by the age-old lie of Satan, man still continues to believe in himself and his ability to solve his problems apart from God as He is revealed in Scripture. Through one avenue or another, man continues to offer his own manmade solutions for the ills of society whether in the form of secular humanism or religious syncretism. But it appears many are becoming discontented over the futility of materialism and somewhat dissatisfied with the idea that life is but a cosmic accident. As a result, many are turning to the New Age movement that has been growing by leaps and bounds. This new movement claims we stand at the brink of an entirely new age of human achievement and potential, one that will unify the world and bring an end to war and an end to hunger through a redistribution of the world's resources and population control. It will lead to the conservation of the earth's environment, result in genuine equality among all races and religions and between men and women, and provide a global ethic that will unite the human family. But at the center of this movement is a religious syncretism that rejects the biblical revelation of God as revealed in Christ. According to this movement, Christ is only one of many religious leaders or influences that man may turn to because there are other ways that are equally valid. -- Increasingly our generation wants to take religion out of the realm of rational discourse and relegate it to the area of personal preferences and opinions. If there are thirty-one flavors of ice cream, why can we not have similar variety in religions? The gods of the New Age Movement are always tolerant of sexual preferences, feminism, and hedonistic pleasures at almost any cost. Why shouldn't we each choose a religion that is compatible with our private values? In order to have a meaningful faith, it must agree with our deeply held beliefs. What works for you might not work for me. Thus, Colossians is a book that speaks to our cosmic age and to this New Age movement. But let us not miss the fact that this movement has its source in the occult (though hidden under new names) and in Eastern religions that go all the way back to the beginnings of history with the fall of man. The New Age movement is not new; it is the most recent repeat of the second oldest religion, the spirituality of the serpent. Its impulse is foreign to none of us. The appeal is ancient indeed; its rudiments were seductively sold to our first parents in the garden. Human pride was tickled, and it jumped. The New Age movement promotes a belief in monism. Monism is the belief that all is one, that everything is interrelated, interdependent, and interpenetrating. It promotes the hideous idea that humanity, nature, and God are not separate from each other, but are one. As an illustration, Groothius also points out that John Randolph Price is a New Age writer who teaches that everyone should affirm, "I and the Father are one, and all the Father has is mine. In truth I am the Christ of God," and that he "tars as 'anti-Christ' those under-evolved, ignorant ones who deny 'the divinity of all men' (pantheism)." As evident from this statement by Price, pantheism is at the heart of the New Age movement. It teaches that "all is God." But their God is not a personal being; he is an impersonal energy, a force or consciousness. Out of this naturally comes another idea. Since all is one and all is God, we too are gods. The goal of the New Age movement is to awaken us to the god who sleeps within us, to teach us to live like the gods we are. The bait on this pagan hook is Satan's great delusion from the Garden of Eden, the promise of godhood. -- Secular humanism taught that "man is the measure of all things." Now, because of this promise of godhood for men, the New Age movement says with man all things are possible. The New Age worldview is what could be called "a cosmic humanism." But as mentioned, the ideas of the New Age movement are not new. It merely repeats Satan's age-old lie in a new age using euphemisms or new names to hide and remove old associations and stigmas. As will be shown, the heresy confronting the Colossians had certain similarities to the New Age movement of our day. Colossians is God's polemic and rebuttal to many kinds of delusions and heresies, but it is especially relevant to what we see happening in the world today. http://bible.org/seriespage/background-colossians

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Colossians 1 - The Apostle Paul begins his letter to a Church stating what he would say to them if he could visit them -- 'Colossians 1:3-6 We give thanks to God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, *praying always for you, Since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus, and of the love which ye have to all the saints, *For the hope which is laid up *for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the Word of the Truth of the Gospel; Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and *bringeth forth fruit [evidence], as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the Grace of God in Truth'

Colossians 1:7-23 As ye also learned of Epaphras [a native of Colossae who on a visit to Ephesus was saved and taught Christianity by Paul, he then returned to Colossae and began the Church there] our dear fellow servant, who is for you a faithful minister of Christ; Who also declared unto us your love in the [Holy] Spirit. *For this cause [their Christian love] we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire *that ye might be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and Spiritual understanding; *That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; Strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; Giving thanks unto the Father, *which hath made us meet to be partakers of *the *inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the Kingdom of His dear Son [Jesus]: In [Jesus] whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins: Who is the image [same Spiritual substance] of the invisible God, the firstborn [receives the double inheritance, Jews (Exodus 4:22-23) and Christians (Hebrews 12:23)] of every creature: For by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, *visible [physical] and invisible [spiritual], whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by Him [Jesus], and for Him: And He is [pre-existent] before all things, and by Him all things consist [exist, remain]. *And He is the head [authority] of the [Christian] body, the church: who is the beginning, *the firstborn from the dead; that in all things He might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in Him [Jesus] should all fullness dwell; *And, having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him *to reconcile all things unto Himself; by Him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in Heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath He reconciled In the body of His flesh through death, *to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in His sight [at the Bema Seat Judgment (2 Corinthians 5:10)]: *If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the Hope of the Gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister; - Paul begins his message with the basics a need for faithfulness Jesus Christ, redemption and reconciliation to God only through the blood of Jesus and of the headship and authority of Jesus Christ over His Christian Church.

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Colossians 2 - Paul then talks about the importance of not being deceived by the 'enticing words' [false religions, false science, empty philosophies] of man -- 'Colossians 2:1-5 For I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you, and for them at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh; That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of *the [3 in 1] Mystery of God [Holy Spirit], and of *the Father, and of *[Jesus] Christ; *In whom [Holy Spirit, Father, Jesus Christ] are hid *all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. And this I say, lest any man should beguile [deceive] you with enticing [i.e. Gnostic] words. For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the Spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in [Jesus] Christ.'

Colossians 2:6-19 As ye have therefore received *Christ Jesus the Lord [authority], so walk ye in Him [Jesus]: Rooted [anchored] and built up in Him, and stablished [established] in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with Thanksgiving. *Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in Him [Jesus] dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. *And ye are complete in Him [Jesus], which is the head of all principality and power: In whom also ye are [spiritually] circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: *Buried with Him in [spiritual] baptism, *wherein also ye are risen with Him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised Him from the dead. And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened [made alive] together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses [sins]; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, *nailing it to His cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, *He made a shew of them openly [in the resurrection], triumphing over them in it. Let no man therefore judge you [religiously, physically] in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath days: *Which are a shadow [O.T. example] of [New Testament] things to come; but the body [content of the Holy Bible] is of Christ. Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, And not holding the Head [Jesus Christ], from which all the Christian Church] body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God. - Paul gives more cautions and warnings that individual Christians are to be careful and not to get trapped into religious practices or into the preferences and spectacles of men as they do not foster a true Spiritual relationship with God in Jesus Christ.

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Colossians 3 - The importance of living a new spiritual; heavenly, godly life, a maturing Christian life centered in the Holy Bible and focused on Jesus Christ -- 'Colossians 3:1-10 If ye then be risen [resurrection] with [Jesus] Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth [enthroned] on the right hand of God. *Set your affection on things above, *not on things on the earth. For ye are dead [to this world], and your [new] life is [Heaven] hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear [2nd Coming], then shall ye also appear with Him in Glory. Mortify [put to death] therefore *your members [worldly, desires, urges] which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: For which things' sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience: In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them. But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old [sin] man with his deeds; And have put on the new [Spiritual] man, which is *renewed in [Biblical] knowledge after the image [spiritual substance] of Him [God] that created him [a new Spiritual person]:'

Colossians 3:12-17 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. ... Colossians 3:23-25 *And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily [with eternal significance], as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons. - Everyone is to keep a holy perspective and an eternal purpose even while in this current physical life.

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Colossians 4 - The Apostle Paul concludes his letter, a letter written to group of people that he will most likely not meet until after they have been gathered together and are a part of the great Congregation in Heaven -- 'Colossians 4:2 Continue in prayer, and watch [look for the 2nd Coming of Jesus] in the same [prayerful manner] with thanksgiving' ... 'Colossians 4:5-6 Walk in wisdom toward them [non-Christian] that are without, redeeming the time. Let your speech be always with grace [hospitable], seasoned with salt [giving people a taste of Christianity, eternity], that ye may know how ye ought to answer [having ourselves a graceful attitude towards God and giving every person a desire for Christian spiritual things] every man.'

Paul concludes the Bible's book of Colossians: Colossians 4:15-18 Salute the brethren which are in Laodicea, and Nymphas, and the Church which is in his house. *And when this epistle (letter) is read among you, *cause [make it happen] that it [this letter] be read also in the Church of the Laodiceans; *and that ye likewise read the epistle from Laodicea [probably know known as the Book of Ephesians]. *And say to Archippus, *Take heed to the Ministry *which thou hast received in the Lord, *that thou [continue] fulfill it. The salutation by the hand of me Paul. Remember my bonds [imprisonment]. Grace be with you. Amen. -Note: The letters of the New Testament [and all of the Bible but specifically the N.T. epistles] are meant to be read out loud in the gathered Churches. This ancient practice of reading Paul's letters [and all the letters of the N.T.] to the Church fellowship seems to have been neglected by the modern Church and it is a practice that we are commanded to do. Having one person or several people slowly read an epistle to the congregation should be a standard Church practice even today.

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THE FIRST EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE TO THE

1 THESSALONIANS

1 Thessalonians: An Exegetical and Devotional Commentary - The Thessalonian epistles were written to the church at Thessalonica - It was a church under persecution, but also a church that had a dynamic testimony and that had grown through the persecution - Significantly, in every chapter of 1 Thessalonians, the Apostle sought to comfort and motivate with the truth of the Lord's sure return

The Thessalonian epistles were written to the church at Thessalonica. It was a church under persecution, but also a church that had a dynamic testimony and that had grown through the persecution. Significantly, in every chapter of 1 Thessalonians, the Apostle sought to comfort and motivate with the truth of the Lord's sure return. As we study these books, therefore, we need to grapple with how the return of the Lord for the body of Christ should impact us and how it should not affect us, for as we will see, some had made a wrong application of the Lord's imminent return. ... Thessalonica was originally named Therma because of the many hot springs in the surrounding area, but in 315 B.C. it was renamed Thessalonica after the half-sister of Alexander the Great. It later became known as Salonika and today it is called Thessaloniki. It is one of the few cities that still exists today from New Testament times and has a booming population of 300,000. The city was conquered by Rome in 168 B.C., and was made the capitol of the entire providence of Macedonia. When Paul made his journey to the city, it boasted a population of 200,000 consisting mostly of Greeks though there was a large Roman population with a strong Jewish minority. ... To preach and teach the Word to a dying and lost world is never really an issue in the will of God, but exactly when and where (time and place) is an issue in keeping with God's preparation of the soil of human hearts. As Christians, we are all called to be a part of promoting the spread of the glorious truths of the Word, but where, when, and how are important matters that need to be discerned in the will of God for each individual believer. Thus, the birth of the church at Thessalonica was the result of both God's leading and the attentive ears of Paul and his missionary team. -- Having arrived at Somothrace in Macedonia, the missionary team moved on through Neopolis to Philippi, a leading city of Macedonia and a Roman colony. There Lydia, whose heart God had opened for the gospel, and her household were led to the Christ with a church being established in her home. After some days of ministry there, Paul and Silas were arrested on false charges, beaten, and thrown into jail. Following a miraculous deliverance by the Lord, the Philippian jailer and his household were also led to the Savior (Acts 16:19-40). These circumstances forced the missionaries to leave Philippi. So after encouraging the new believers, the missionary team left the city (though Luke may have stayed behind temporarily) and journeyed on through Amphipolis and Appollonia to the important city of Thessalonica. http://bible.org/seriespage/birth-and-growth-church

Background of 1st Thessalonians - Thessalonica was a major city in northern Greece. Situated on the main east-west highway of the Roman Empire, it was the capital of the Roman province of Macedonia and very loyal to Rome. It survives to this day, now known as Salonika - Paul planted this church on his second missionary journey about 50 AD - Upon hearing Timothy's report, he [Paul] writes this letter from Corinth to encourage, instruct and equip them in their relationships with Christ - This means that 1 Thessalonians is one of the earliest documents of the New Testament-preceded only by Galatians and James [and probably the Gospel of Matthew and the extra-biblical book 'The Didache'] - It is also one of the most personal

Paul planted this church on his second missionary journey about 50 AD. After Paul and Silas had, during the Apostle's second missionary journey, left Philippi, they proceeded to Thessalonica. Luke, one of Paul's mission band, concisely records what happened in Acts 17:1-15. The signal success of Paul's apostolate among Jews, proselytes, and Hellenes together with the conversion of "not a few noble ladies," aroused the Jews to a fury of envy; they gathered together a mob of idlers from the agora and set the whole city in tumult; they beset the home of Jason, found the Apostle away, dragged his host to the tribunal of the politarchs and charged him with harboring traitors, men who set Jesus up as king in place of Caesar. That night the brethren made good the escape of their teacher to Berea. There the Gospel of Paul met with a much more enthusiastic reception than that accorded to it by the synagogue of Thessalonica. The Jews of that city drove Paul to Berea and there, too, stirred up the mob against him. Concerned for their spiritual welfare, he sent Timothy back to check on them. Upon hearing Timothy's report, he writes this letter from Corinth to encourage, instruct and equip them in their relationships with Christ. This means that 1 Thessalonians is one of the earliest documents of the New Testament-preceded only by Galatians and James. It is also one of the most personal. http://www.xenos.org/teachings/nt/1thes/background.htm

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1 Thessalonians 1 - The Apostle Paul begins his first of two letters of encouragement to a highly persecuted Christian Church a Church that was nearly wiped out do to the severe nature of the deadly persecutions it endured -- '1 Thessalonians 1:2-4 We give thanks to God *always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers; Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, and labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father; Knowing, brethren beloved, your election of God.'

1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 For they [Thessalonian converts] themselves shew [by their endurance in the faith] of [unto] us what manner of entering in [influence] we had unto you, and *how ye turned to God from idols *to serve the *living and true God; And to wait for [2nd Coming of] His Son [Jesus] from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus [Christ], which delivered us from the wrath to come. - The Christians, many of them new converts, in Thessalonica are commended for their faith and endurance in very difficult circumstances.

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1 Thessalonians 2 - The Christians in Thessalonica were able to grasp and discern that the Words of comfort are from God and that the violent persecutions were from Satan -- '1 Thessalonians 2:11-13 As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children, That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto His [eternal] Kingdom and Glory. For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the Word of God *which ye heard [from] of us,* ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, *the Word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe [lit. faith - belief is the verb form of the noun faith].'

1 Thessalonians 2:14 For ye, brethren, became followers of the Churches of God which in Judaea [Israel - Jerusalem] are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own [violent persecutors] countrymen, even as they have of the Jews: Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and *they [violent persecutors] please not God, and are contrary to all men: Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be Saved, to fill up their sins always: *for the wrath is come upon them [violent persecutors] to the uttermost. But we, brethren, being taken from you for a short time in presence, not in heart, endeavored the more abundantly to see your face with great desire. Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; *but Satan hindered us {Satan is actively at work in all regions of the world opposing all aspects of true Christianity}. For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing [personal fellowship among believers until the return of Jesus]? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his [2nd] coming [lit. presence - parousia G3952]? For ye are our glory and joy. - The violent opposition waged against the Christians is of the realm and influences of Satan and not at all of God.

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1 Thessalonians 3 - The misery and even death of persecution does not make void the fact that we are even now alive in Jesus Christ -- '1 Thessalonians 3:8-10 For *now we live [even in persecution], if ye stand fast in the Lord. For what thanks can we render to God again for you, for all the joy wherewith we joy for your sakes before our God; Night and day praying exceedingly that we might see your face, and might perfect [complete] that which is lacking in your faith [knowledge of the Ministry, the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ]?'

1 Thessalonians 3:11-13 Now God Himself [Holy Spirit] and our Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way [path back] unto you. And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you: To the end He may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints. - We Christians regardless of circumstances or the amount of persecution are to remain "unblameable in holiness before God" because we are accountable to God more than we are accountable to our fellow man.

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1 Thessalonians 4 - Living in times of crisis and persecution is not a time to relinquish immorality and holiness towards God -- '1 Thessalonians 4:1-4 Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received (Acts 15:20) of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound [in holiness] more and more. For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, even your sanctification [holiness], that ye should abstain from fornication: *That every one of you [individually] should know how to possess his [own body] vessel in sanctification and honor [to God]'

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep [deceased Christians], that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For *if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him. For this we say unto you by the Word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the [2nd] coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep {from already being in the presence of God}. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the Trump [call] of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first {already in the presence of God}: *Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air (Acts 3:21): and so shall we [living and deceased] ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words. - Note: This verse is particularly in reference to Christians who have died in martyrdom and by other causes and indicates that those who die before the 2nd Coming of Jesus will instantly be in the presence of Jesus and will not need to wait for us to enter into Heaven but already being there will reunite with those who are alive at the actual 2nd Coming of Jesus.

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1 Thessalonians 5 - A continued separation and distinction is made between the holiness and conduct of Christians and the rebellion and disobedience of non-Christians -- '1 Thessalonians 5:5-8 Ye [You] are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch [for the 2nd Coming of Jesus] and be sober. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. *But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of [our individual] salvation.'

The Apostle Paul closes the Bible's first of two letters to the Church in Thessalonica: 1 Thessalonians 5:14-28 Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men. See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men. Rejoice evermore. *Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil. And *the very God of Peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole *spirit and *soul and *body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He [God] that calleth you, who also will do it. Brethren, pray for us. Greet all the brethren with an holy [embrace] kiss. *I charge you by the Lord *that this epistle be read unto all the holy brethren. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.

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THE SECOND EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE TO THE

2 THESSALONIANS

2 Thessalonians - They thought that they were already in 'the day of the Lord' just preceding Christ's [2nd Coming] return - This doctrinal problem caused a practical issue - Some of the members, *convinced that the end was near, had given up their jobs, and were living in idleness waiting for the Lord - They were spending their time spreading their views and living off of others - So Paul had to write to them and straighten them out

The main reason for Paul writing a second letter to the Thessalonians was to bring encouragement to discouraged Christians. Between the time of the writing of the two letters a new problem had arisen. Apparently some believers had caused concern with regard to their relation to 'the day of the Lord.' They thought that they were already in 'the day of the Lord' just preceding Christ's return. They said that this seemed to be confirmed by their persecutions. So they looked for the immediate return of Christ. Paul wrote them 'not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by work, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.' (2 Thessalonians 2:2) The Thessalonians were concerned that they would fall victim to the day of Judgment. This doctrinal problem caused a practical issue. Some of the members convinced that the end was near, had given up their jobs, and were living in idleness waiting for the Lord. They were spending their time spreading their views and living off of others. So Paul had to write to them and straighten them out. (2 Thessalonians 3:6-15). This is the shortest of Paul's letters to the churches. Only the letter to Titus and the little note to Philemon are shorter. It is really a letter of prayer containing four prayers and one request. He seals the letter with his own hand to prevent the Churches from being misled by letters claiming to be his. http://www.abu.nb.ca/ecm/Thes20b.htm

Persecution in the Early Church - In the face of persecution, many Christians chose to die before they would deny their Lord [Jesus Christ] - Those who did so came to be called martyrs, which means "witnesses"

The Roman Empire was generally quite tolerant in its treatment of other religions. The imperial policy was generally one of incorporation - the local gods of a newly conquered area were simply added to the Roman pantheon and often given Roman names. Even the Jews, with their one god, were generally tolerated. So why the persecution of Christians? In order to understand the Roman distrust of Christianity, one must understand the Roman view of religion. For the Romans, religion was first and foremost a social activity that promoted unity and loyalty to the state - a religious attitude the Romans called pietas, or piety. Cicero wrote that if piety in the Roman sense were to disappear, social unity and justice would perish along with it. The early Roman writers viewed Christianity not as another kind of pietas, piety, but as a superstitio, "superstition." Pliny, a Roman governor writing circa 110 AD, called Christianity a "superstition taken to extravagant lengths." Similarly, the Roman historian Tacitus called it "a deadly superstition," and the historian Suetonius called Christians "a class of persons given to a new and mischievous superstition." In this context, the word "superstition" has a slightly different connotation than it has today: for the Romans, it designated something foreign and different - in a negative sense. Religious beliefs were valid only in so far as it could be shown to be old and in line with ancient customs; new and innovative teachings were regarded with distrust. The Roman distaste for Christianity, then, arose in large part from its sense that it was bad for society. ... Two Christian Responses: The Glory of Martyrdom and Apologetics - "Though beheaded, and crucified, and thrown to wild beasts, and chains, and fire, and all other kinds of torture, we do not give up our confession; but, the more such things happen, the more do others in larger numbers become faithful." -- Justin Martyr In the face of persecution, many Christians chose to die before they would deny their Lord. Those who did so came to be called martyrs, which means "witnesses." The second-century theologian Tertullian had converted to Christianity based in part on his wonder at Christians' faithfulness in the face of martyrdom and it clearly had a similar effect on others as well. It was Tertullian who famously declared, "The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church." Indeed, persecution seemed to have a dramatic effect on Christianity's numbers, but not in the direction intended by the persecutors. -- A second response of the church to Roman persecution was to write apologies, or defenses, of the Christian faith. The bishops and leaders who wrote these defenses are known as the Apologists. Writing especially in the 2nd century AD, the Apologists' primary goal was to defend Christianity against pagan accusations and misconceptions in an effort to stop the persecution. Thus they often addressed their works to Roman emperors. The Apologists explained, for example, that the Christian "love feast" did not involve cannibalism or orgies as many thought, but was a sacred meal of bread and wine in honor of Christ's death. -- The Apologists also sought to show that Christianity was equal or even superior to pagan religion and philosophy, and good for the Roman state. They pointed out that Christianity was just as old as Greek thought, having originated in the ancient religion of the Hebrews. They asked their readers to compare the ethical behavior of Christians and pagans. They explained that although they were not willing to sacrifice to him as a god, Christians prayed for the emperor's welfare regularly. http://www.religionfacts.com/christianity/history/persecution.htm

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2 Thessalonians 1 - The Apostle Paul begins his second and final letter to the heavily persecuted and heavily martyred Church in Thessalonica -- '2 Thessalonians 1:3-4 We are bound to thank God always for you, brethren, as it is meet, because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the charity of every one of you all toward each other aboundeth; So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure'

2 Thessalonians 1:7-12 And to you who are troubled rest with us [in Jesus Christ], when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from Heaven with His mighty Angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the Gospel [of Peace] of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence [being separated from the presence of God - eternal damnation] of the Lord, and from the Glory of His power; When He shall come to be glorified in His Saints, and to be admired in all them that believe because our testimony among you was believed in that day. *Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfill all the good pleasure of His goodness, and *the work of faith with power: That the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be Glorified in you, and ye in Him [Jesus], according to the Grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ. - Paul gives the very important admonishment that vengeance does not belong to mankind bit it belongs to Jesus Christ to be administered in the prescribed time, place and manner at the choice of Jesus Christ. But that glory for mankind in Jesus Christ does belong to mankind. The opportunity of mankind for peace and eternal glory in Jesus Christ, yes. The responsibility of man for vengeance, judgment and destruction on his fellow man, no.

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2 Thessalonians 2 - To see people doing good and following God in peace during times of strife and evil is a sight and an event to be thankful for and to give thanks both to the people of peace and to God the author of peace and love -- '2 Thessalonians 2:13-15 But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation [wellbeing] through sanctification [being set apart to God] of the [Holy] Spirit and Belief of the Truth: Whereunto He [God] called [invited] you by our Gospel, to the obtaining of the Glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. *Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions [prayer, fellowship, Bible study, communion, baptism, etc.] which ye have been taught, whether by Word [Holy Bible], or our epistle [letter].'

2 Thessalonians 2:7-12 For the mystery of iniquity [sin] doth already work: only He [God - Holy Spirit] who now letteth [restrains evil] will let [evil reign (Revelation 6:1)], until He [Holy Spirit allows evil to reign unhindered] be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the Spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming [presence]: Even him [Antichrist], whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; *because they received not the love [and peace] of the truth, that they might be saved [eternal salvation]. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie [that violence is of God]: That they all [violent] might be damned who believed not the truth [of peace, rest and trust in God], but had pleasure in unrighteousness [and violence]. - God is currently restraining sin and evil from having complete reign upon the earth however during the Tribulation times of Revelation sin will have fewer restrictions and mankind will be allowed to commit more of the evil desires of an evil heart and mind. The Seven Seals of Revelation are seven restraints on evil that are each individually broken and removed as evil is given free reign for a time upon the earth.

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2 Thessalonians 3 - The Apostle Paul concludes his letter confirming that Jesus Christ is Peace and Love and that Jesus will keep us from committing evil if we will trust our lives and our circumstances unto Jesus - But that Satan is death and destruction and to follow Satan is to receive eternal death and permanent destruction -- '2 Thessalonians 3:1-3 Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the Word [peace and love] of the Lord may have free course, and be Glorified, even as it is with you: And that we may be delivered from unreasonable [violent] and wicked men [who follow Satan]: for all men have not faith. But the Lord [Jesus] is faithful [peace and love], who shall stablish [establish] you, and keep you from {doing} evil.'

The Apostle Paul concludes the Bible's book of 2nd Thessalonians with a reminder that Jesus Christ is "the Lord of Peace." - 2 Thessalonians 3:13-17 But ye, brethren, *be not weary in well doing. And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that [violent] man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. *Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother. *Now the Lord of Peace Himself [Jesus Christ] give you peace always by all means. The Lord be with you all. The salutation of Paul with mine own hand, which is the token in every epistle: so I write. The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

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THE FIRST EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE TO

1 TIMOTHY

Historical Background To Paul's Pastoral Epistles [1st Timothy, 2nd Timothy and Titus] - Paul's First and Second Letters to Timothy and his Letter to Titus have been called "Pastoral Letters" since the eighteenth century (1700's) - [Though] Thomas Aquinas [born (in Sicily Italy) 1225 AD; died 7 March 1274 AD - wiki.com] had given this name to Paul's First Letter to Timothy already in the thirteenth century (1200's) - These letters are called "Pastoral Letters" because in them Paul reveals his concern for the future of the church and its ministry - In them he addresses a wide range of issues pertaining to the life and ministry of the church - He instructs his co-workers Timothy and Titus to provide the churches with qualified pastors and lay leaders - Paul informs them what are the qualifications of those servants in the church - He instructs them in the worship life of the church - He teaches them how to care for the souls in their congregation men and women, young and old, rich and poor - Paul urges them repeatedly to be on their guard against false doctrine and to teach the Word of God faithfully as well as to exhibit a godly life - He [Apostle Paul] anticipated that his martyrdom was near, as he stated in 2 Timothy 4:6 - According to Christian tradition Paul suffered martyrdom in Rome around 67 to 68 A.D. - It is therefore thought that Paul wrote his Second Letter to Timothy shortly before his death in A.D. 67 - {Note: 2nd Timothy was probably written within days of Pauls' execution (as soon as he received news [either from Jesus or from Rome] that he was to be executed) possibly even written within the last hours of his life.}

The Historical Background To The Pastoral Letters: Paul's three pastoral letters, unlike his other ten letters, do not blend into the historical framework of Paul's missionary journey's recorded in the Book Of Acts. The Book of Acts concludes with Paul's first imprisonment in Rome prior to the time he wrote his three pastoral letters. Thus the order of events in Paul's life and ministry, as well as the dates of those events, from the time of his release from his first imprisonment in Rome to the time of his second imprisonment in Rome and his execution remain uncertain. -- Upon his release from his first imprisonment Paul appears to have revisited the churches in Asia Minor (in what is now the country of Turkey) and in Macedonia (the northern Roman province in what is now Greece). Paul had intended to do this (cf. Philemon 22; Philippians 2:24). It seems he traveled southeast from Rome to the island of Crete. There he left Titus to organize the church and to have pastors appointed (cf. Titus 1:5). He then possibly set sail and traveled northeast to Ephesus on the west coast of Asia Minor. He left Timothy in Ephesus to take charge of the affairs of the church there. From Ephesus he traveled west to Macedonia, where he revisited Philippi, In Philippi it is thought he wrote his First Letter to Timothy and his Letter to Titus in the fall of A.D. 63. -- It appears that Paul may have then spent the winter in Nicopolis where Titus was to join him after being relieved in Crete by Artemas or Tychicus (cf. Titus 3:12). The Nicopolis Paul referred to is thought to be the city in the Roman province of Epirus, which was located on the western coast of what is now Greece by the Ionian Sea. There is the possibility that in the spring of A.D. 64 Paul traveled to Spain to do mission work, as he had hoped to do (cf. Romans 15:23,24). Some scholars have thought that if Paul did indeed go to Spain, he did so immediately upon his release from imprisonment in Rome in A.D. 61-62. There is no scriptural evidence to verify that Paul did journey to Spain. The Letter of Clement of Rome to the Corinthians, however, which was written in A.D. 96, states Paul did travel to Spain. If Paul did go to Spain around the spring of A.D. 64 and remained there to A.D. 65, he would have been there at the time of the burning of Rome, a fiery tragedy that Nero blamed on the Christians and used as an excuse to begin persecuting them. -- In his Second Letter to Timothy Paul wrote that he had been to Troas (cf. 2 Timothy 4:13) and to Corinth in southern Greece and to Miletus in Asia Minor (cf. 2 Timothy 4:20). If Paul did go to Spain in the spring of A.D. 64, then it appears he made a second trip to the East after his release before his second imprisonment in Rome. Where and when Paul was arrested is unknown. In any case, he was again imprisoned in Rome. During his second imprisonment he was treated harshly, unlike the better treatment he had received during his first imprisonment when he was held under house arrest in his own rented quarters. In 2 Timothy 2:9 Paul wrote that he was chained up like a criminal. He anticipated that his martyrdom was near, as he stated in 2 Timothy 4:6. According to Christian tradition Paul suffered martyrdom in Rome around A.D. 67 to 68. It is therefore thought that Paul wrote his Second Letter to Timothy shortly before his death in A.D. 67. http://www.christianinconnect.com/bkgdpasepi.htm

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1 Timothy 1 - 1st Timothy is the Apostle Paul's letter to a struggling Minister - Since all ministry is a struggle in one sense or another the letter is generally referred to as the main Pastoral epistle -- '1 Timothy 1:1-4 Paul, an Apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment [command] of God our Savior, and Lord Jesus Christ, which is our hope; Unto Timothy, my own son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord. As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia [Greece], *that thou mightest charge some *that they teach no other doctrine, Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: [and] so do [accomplish the task of teaching pure Biblical doctrine].'

1 Timothy 1:15-20 *This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation [acceptance], that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief [foremost]. Howbeit for this cause [salvation] I [Paul] obtained mercy, that in me first [who originally persecuted the Christian Church] Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on Him to life everlasting. -- {Doxology begins} *Now unto the King [Jesus] eternal, immortal, invisible, *the only wise God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen {Doxology ends}. This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare; Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck: Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme. - The Apostle Paul continues to define priorities and to set goals for the Pastors of the Church particularly the goals of keeping salvation, mercy, forgiveness faith and the eternal glory of God as the main focal and attention points for the ministry.

Doxology General Information: A doxology is a short prayer or hymn of praise that extols the glory and majesty of God. Well known doxologies include the Glory to God (Gloria Patri {Latin}), the Glory Be (Gloria in Excelsis {Latin}), the Holy, Holy, Holy (Sanctus {Latin}), and the Hebrew word Alleluia, which means "praise the Lord" Some verses of hymns, such as Thomas Ken's "Praise God from whom all blessings flow," are also called doxologies

Doxology Advanced Information: The term, which is derived from the Greek doxa (glory), denotes an ascription of praise to the three persons of the Blessed Trinity. In its commonest form, known as the Gloria Patri or "Lesser Doxology," it is rendered: "Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost: As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen." Its use at the end of the Psalms, as directed, e.g., in the Book of Common Prayer, dates from the fourth century. It is thus a symbol of the duty of Christianizing the Psalms and serves at the same time "to connect the Unity of the Godhead as known to the Jews with the Trinity as known to Christians" (Tutorial Prayer Book, p. 101). The so - called Greater Doxology is the Gloria in Excelsis, "Glory be to God on high." On account of its opening words, taken directly from Luke 2:14, it is sometimes known as the Angelic Hymn. This doxology is of Greek origin (fourth century) and was used at first as a morning canticle. Later it became incorporated into the Latin Mass, where it occupied a place at the beginning of the service. In the English Communion Service of 1552 the Reformers transferred the hymn to the end of the office, no doubt in accordance with the usage at the first (Passover, Last Supper) Eucharist [Holy Communion]: "When they had sung an hymn, they went out" (Matt. 26:30). In this position it forms a fitting conclusion to the Christian sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. It is now generally agreed that the doxology ["For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen" was added to the Catholic Mass in 1970 as part of the liturgical reforms that sought to make the Mass more ecumenical by adding or embracing prayers and forms recognized by the Protestants. While often attributed to the Protestants, this doxology actually has its roots in the Christian writing of the "Didache" of the first century. It's link to Protestantism is through Martin Luther, who emphasized it. - Answers.com] at the end of the Lord's Prayer is not part of the original text of Matt. 6:9 - 13. It may be regarded as an ancient liturgical addition to the prayer, which was adopted by the Greek church but not by the [Roman Catholic] Latin [until 1970]. ~ F Colquhoun (Elwell Evangelical Dictionary) http://mb-soft.com/believe/txn/doxology.htm

1 TIMOTHY - The recurrence of doxologies (1 Timothy 1:17; 6:15,16; 2 Timothy 4:18) as from one living perpetually in the presence of God, to whom the language of adoration was as his natural speech

1 & 2 Timothy, Epistles by Paul -- The Epistles to Timothy and Titus are called the Pastoral Epistles, because they are principally devoted to directions about the work of the pastor of a church. The First Epistle was probably written from Macedonia, A.D. 65, in the interval between St. Paul's first and second imprisonments at Rome. The absence of any local reference but that in (1 Timothy 1:3) suggests Macedonia or some neighboring district. In some MSS. and versions Laodicea is named in the inscription as the place from which it was sent. The Second Epistle appears to have been written A.D. 67 or 68, and in all probability at Rome. --The following are the characteristic features of these epistles:-- (1) The ever-deepening sense in St. Paul's heart of the divine mercy of which he was the object, as shown in the insertion of the "mercy" in the salutations of both epistles, and in the "obtained mercy" of (1 Timothy 1:13) (2) The greater abruptness of the Second Epistle. From first to last there is no plan, no treatment of subjects carefully thought out. All speaks of strong overflowing emotion memories of the past, anxieties about the future. (3) The absence, as compared with St. Paul other epistles, of Old Testament references. This may connect itself with the fact just noticed, that these epistles are not argumentative, possibly also with the request for the "books and parchments" which had been left behind. (2 Timothy 4:13) (4) The conspicuous position of the "faithful sayings" as taking the place occupied in other epistles by the Old Testament Scriptures. The way in which these are cited as authoritative, the variety of subjects which they cover, suggests the thought that in them we have specimens of the prophecies of the apostolic Church which had most impressed themselves on the mind of the apostle and of the disciples generally. (1 Corinthians 14:1) ... shows how deep a reverence he was likely to feel for spiritual utterances. In (1 Timothy 4:1) we have a distinct reference to them. (5) The tendency of the apostle's mind to dwell more on the universality of the redemptive work of Christ, (1 Timothy 2:3-6; 4:10) and his strong desire that all the teaching of his disciples should be "sound." (6) The importance attached by him to the practical details of administration. The gathered experience of a long life had taught him that the life and wellbeing of the Church required these for its safeguards. (7) The recurrence of doxologies, (1 Timothy 1:17; 6:15,16; 2 Timothy 4:18) as from one living perpetually in the presence of God, to whom the language of adoration was as his natural speech. [Smith's Bible Dictionary] http://www.biblereferenceguide.com/study/1timothy.html

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1 Timothy 2 - Christian conduct and social responsibility is addressed -- '1 Timothy 2:1-4 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.'

1 Timothy 2:5-8 *For there is one God, *and one mediator *between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an Apostle, I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not; a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity [accordance with fact (and) reality - Dictionary.com]. I will therefore that men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting. - Now the Apostle Paul mentions how the parishioners [worshipers] in Church attendance, both the men and the women, should behave.

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1 Timothy 3 - The qualifications for Church-fellowship overseers and leaders is given -- '1 Timothy 3:1 This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a Bishop [Church overseers], he desireth a good work. A Bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife [no polygamy; this is not about divorce it is about the Church representing the one bride of Jesus Christ], vigilant, sober, of good behavior, *given to hospitality, *apt to teach [a Bishop is able to teach sound Bible doctrine (i.e. Sunday school) while a Deacon is a Church servant who does not yet regularly teach Bible studies]; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre [unclean money]; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous [desirous of worldly items] ...'

1 Timothy 3:8-13 Likewise must the Deacons (Church servants) be grave [lit. have dignity], not double tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre; *Holding the [Trinity - Triune] Mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. *And let these [Christian servants] also *first be proved [discerned of]; *then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless. Let the Deacons be the husbands of one wife [no polygamy is allowed in the Christian Church], ruling their [own] children and their own houses well. *For they that have used the office of a Deacon well *purchase [eternally] to themselves a good degree [Christian maturity], and great boldness [Christian strength] in the faith which is in Christ Jesus. ... 1 Timothy 3:15-16 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest *know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the House of God, which is the Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the Truth. *And without controversy great is the [Trinity - Triune] Mystery of godliness: God [Jesus] was manifest in the flesh [Matthew 1:23], justified in the Spirit [John 1:32], seen of angels [Luke 2:10-11], preached unto the Gentiles [Mark 8:1], believed on in the world [Luke 9:20, Mark 15:39], received up into Glory [Acts 1:9]. - Qualification to serve the Christian community continues to be faithfulness to God, to His word [the Bible] and to His people [Christians].

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1 Timothy 4 - The Apostle Paul forewarns the body of Christ of advanced problems that will occur within the Christian Church in the later years of the Christian Church era just prior to the 2nd Coming of Jesus Christ -- '1 Timothy 4:1-2 Now the [Holy] Spirit speaketh expressly [emphatically], that in the latter times [end of the Church era] some [Christians] shall depart from the [Christian] faith, giving heed [attention] to seducing spirits [i.e. the various 'New Age' movements], and doctrines of devils [i.e. Ecumenicalism - reducing Christianity and making all religions equal and one]; Speaking lies in hypocrisy [two-facedness]; having their conscience [godly discernment] seared [hardened] with a hot [active] iron ...' - Note: Iron Biblically generally denotes a strong force often a demonic stronghold (Psalms 107:10) the 'hot iron' mentioned is possibly the result of a demonic deception and influence in the life of a once faithful Christian.

1 Timothy 4:6-16 If thou put the brethren [fellow Christians] in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good [faithful] minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the Words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained. But refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness. *For bodily exercise profiteth little [eternally - because our physical body does not resurrect (Genesis 3:19), we receive a new body (1 Corinthians 15:53)]: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that [eternal] which is to come. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation. *For therefore we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, *who is the Savior of all men [all are eligible to believe and be saved], *specially [actually saving] of those that [do] believe. These things command and teach. Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Till I come, *give attendance *to [publically] reading [the Bible in Church], to exhortation [encouragement], to doctrine [Bible concepts]. Neglect not the [spiritual] gift that is in thee [as a born again Christian], which was given [explained] thee by *prophecy [forth telling, explaining spiritual things], with the laying on of the hands [guidance, fellowship] of the presbytery [Church elders, overseers]. Meditate [contemplate] upon these [Heavenly] things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear [manifest] to all (Romans 8:19). Take heed [attention] *unto thyself, *and unto the [Biblical] doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save [lit. safety - Sozo, G4982] thyself, and them that hear thee. - As the critical End Times and 2nd Coming events of Jesus Christ draw near to mankind the bourdon and necessity of Christian Church leadership to remain faithful to God, to Christian doctrine and to one another greatly increases.

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1 Timothy 5 - Christian fellowship and relationships are defined in terms not as strangers to one another, but as Christian family with one another - This includes all Christians even the people we haven't met or don't yet personally know -- '1 Timothy 5:1-2 Rebuke [harshly correct] not an elder [older man], but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as [equal] brethren; The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, *with all purity. Honor widows that are widows indeed.'

1 Timothy 5:17-22 Let the [Church] elders *that rule well be counted worthy of double honor [physical and spiritual], especially they who labor in the Word and Doctrine. For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn [in the O.T. a work animal was allowed to eat of the field and from their labor]. And, The [Christian] laborer is worthy of his reward. *Against an [Church] elder receive not an [single] accusation, but before two or three witnesses [consider the matter]. Them that sin rebuke [in love] before all, that others also may fear. I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect Angels [angels appointed by God to observe and overseeing Christian fellowship], that thou observe these things *without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality. Lay hands [become yoked] suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men's sins: *keep thyself pure [holy]. - Note "Them that sin rebuke before all" is applicable if the rebuke is done in love, in an appropriate way and in an appropriate place. At times a pastor would do it [a public rebuke] in an attempt to gain more power and authority to himself over the congregation or as an opportunity to openly criticize a fellow Christian and often even a legitimate matter would create gossip and scandal within the Church fellowship so there are many parameters to an open and public rebuke and wisely it is seldom done though the opportunity of public rebuke exists for a reason within the Christian Church.

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1 Timothy 6 - The Apostle Paul briefly touches on Christian employment and then concludes his first letter to Timothy by again emphasizing Christian conduct and service to God -- '1 Timothy 6:1-2 Let as many servants [workers] as are under the yoke [employed] count their own masters [bosses] worthy of all honor, that the Name of God and His Doctrine be not blasphemed. And they [workers] that have believing [Christian] masters [bosses], let them not despise them [i.e. if a non-Christian gets a promotion or a raise and not the Christian], because they are brethren; but *rather do them service [good work], because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the [eternal] benefit. These things teach and exhort.'

The Bible's book of 1st Timothy concludes: 1 Timothy 6:11-21 But thou, O [Christian] man of God, flee these [immoral] things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. *Fight the good fight of faith, *lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called [invited], and hast professed a *good profession [publically professing Jesus Christ] before many witnesses. I give thee charge in the sight of God, who quickeneth [makes alive] all things, and before Christ Jesus, *who before Pontius Pilate witnessed a good confession [Jesus confessed to Pontius Pilate that He is the Messiah (Mark 15:2)]; That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing [2nd Coming] of our Lord Jesus Christ: -- {Doxology begins} Which in His times He shall shew [reveal Himself], [Jesus] who is the Blessed and only Potentate [supreme power], the King of kings, and Lord of lords; *Who [Jesus] only hath immortality, dwelling in the light [of the Throne of God the Father] which no man can approach unto [the Throne of God the Father]; [the Father] whom no man hath seen, nor can see [because of our sinful nature]: to whom be honor and power everlasting. Amen {Doxology ends}. Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; That they do good, *that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; Laying up in store for themselves a good [eternal] foundation against the [heavenly] time to come, *that they may lay hold [grasp the meaning] on eternal life. O [Pastor] Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called: Which some professing [Christians] have erred [gotten off course] concerning the faith. Grace be with thee. Amen.

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THE SECOND EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE TO

2 TIMOTHY

Second Epistle to Timothy - The Second Epistle of Paul to Timothy, usually referred to simply as Second Timothy and often written 2 Timothy, is one of the three Pastoral Epistles, traditionally attributed to Saint Paul, and is part of the New Testament - [The Apostle] Paul [in prison again] clearly anticipates his being put to death and realities beyond in his valedictory found in 2 Timothy 4:6-8 "For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing."

Content: In his letter, Paul urges Timothy to not have a "spirit of timidity" and to "not be ashamed to testify about our Lord" (1:7-8). He also entreats Timothy to come to him before winter, and to bring Mark with him (cf. Philippians 2:22). He was anticipating that "the time of his departure was at hand" (4:6), and he exhorts his "son Timothy" to all diligence and steadfastness in the face of false teachings, with advice about combating them with reference to the teachings of the past, and to patience under persecution (1:6-15), and to a faithful discharge of all the duties of his office (4:1-5), with all the solemnity of one who was about to appear before the Judge of the quick and the dead. Paul clearly anticipates his being put to death and realities beyond in his valedictory found in 2 Timothy 4:6-8: "For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing." 2 Timothy contains one of Paul's Christological Hymns in 2 Timothy 2:11-13 It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself. (King James Version) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Epistle_to_Timothy

A Tale of Two Cities - A Tale of Two Cities (1859) originally a novel by Charles Dickens [1812 - 1870] - Movie 1935 B&W Version {Best version} - An immortal story... A brilliant cast... An unforgettable film of the French Revolution - The most dramatic love story in the history (since the Bible) of literature! - [Spoiler Alert: The lead character Sydney Carton (a 'carton' - a is cheap container holding within it a more valuable content i.e. the human spirit and soul) offers himself up (2 Timothy 4:6-8) to be poured out as a drink offering.] (DVD)

Plot Summary for A Tale of Two Cities (1935 Version): An elaborate adaptation of Dickens' classic tale of the French Revolution. Dissipated lawyer Sydney Carton defends emigre Charles Darnay from charges of spying against England. He becomes enamored of Darnay's fiancée, Lucie Manette, and agrees to help her save Darnay from the guillotine when he is captured by Revolutionaries in Paris. Written by Marg Baskin. - A disreputable barrister finds redemption through the most unlikely of friendships and in the process provides for himself salvation of a kind. Written by Carl Schultz. - Plot Summary for A Tale of Two Cities (1958 version): British barrister Sydney Carton lives an insubstantial and unhappy life. He falls under the spell of Lucie Manette, but Lucie marries Charles Darnay. When Darnay goes to Paris to rescue an imprisoned family retainer, he becomes entangled in the snares of the brutal French Revolution and is himself jailed and condemned to the guillotine. But Sydney Carton, in love with a woman he cannot have, comes up with a daring plan to save her husband. Written by Jim Beaver. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0027075/

MOVIE - Dickens: A Tale Of Two Cities 1939 [parts 1-15] (YouTube)

Movie Based on Charles Dickens' novel of the French Revolution produced by David O. Selznick with Ronald Coleman. http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=CC3C5364EF624A7C

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2 Timothy 1 - The Apostle Paul's final letter - Paul starts out his last letter with his consistent business as usual approach - Then sprinkled throughout and nearing the end (2 Timothy 4:6 ) Paul suddenly reveals something that is heavy on his heart, that he knows he is close to being called home to Heaven - The Apostle Paul then just as quickly returns to his business as usual format and closes out his last epistle -- '2 Timothy 1:7-12 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner [Paul's later and final imprisonment]: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; Who hath saved us, and called [invited] us with an holy calling, *not according to our works, *but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, But [the plans and purposes of God] is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath *abolished death, and *hath brought life and *immortality to light through the Gospel [His cross and resurrection]: Whereunto I am appointed a Preacher, and an Apostle, and a Teacher of the Gentiles. For the which [Gospel] cause I also suffer these [persecution] things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: *for I know [Jesus] whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that [human soul and spirit] which I have committed unto Him against that day [of eternal judgment].' - {1. The Apostle Paul seemed to know from God that he was going to be offered as an acceptable sacrifice offering but Paul had been spared so many times (i.e. Acts 27:42-43) and he might not have been exactly sure of the moment. 2. The Apostle Paul desperately wanted the Christian Church to continue on and to function normally even after his departure. Paul wanted Timothy to not give up and go home but to still conduct Church business in Rome and elsewhere whether or not Paul was still alive and still in need of his clothing and materials that he had requested Timothy bring to him at prison in Rome.}

2 Timothy 1:13-18 Hold fast the form of sound Words [from the Bible], which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. That good thing [Christian ministry] which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us. *This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes. *The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me, and was not ashamed of my chain: But, when he was in Rome, he sought me out very diligently, and found me. The Lord grant unto him that he may find mercy of the Lord in that day: and in how many things he ministered unto me at Ephesus, thou knowest very well. - The Apostle Paul continues what would become his last letter with a slightly more personal tone and reveals that once again most of the Christians who were with Paul had abandoned him in another desperate hour of need and persecution.

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2 Timothy 2 - Paul reiterates the necessity of applying and generously appropriating the grace of Jesus Christ into the individual efforts of day to day ministry - In other words don't be too hard on yourself in ministry but instead keep Jesus Christ in focus and trust that God is working daily in all events unto His ultimate Glory -- '2 Timothy 2:1-3 Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou hast heard of me [openly] among many witnesses, the same [doctrines] commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. Thou therefore endure hardness [hardship], as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.'

2 Timothy 2:8-13 Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David [Tribe of Judah] was raised [resurrection] from the dead according to [as also taught in] my gospel [preaching]: Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the Word of God is not bound. Therefore I endure all things for the elect's sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal Glory. *It is a faithful saying: For *if we be dead with Him, *we shall also live with Him: *If we suffer, *we shall also reign with Him: if we deny Him, He also will deny us: If we believe not, yet He [exists] abideth faithful: He cannot deny himself. - Note: The reality is that the 1st Coming of Jesus Christ was to accomplish His sacrificial death, burial and resurrection on our behalf and Jesus did completely accomplish His 1st Coming in order to remove sin from the world. It is therefore imperative that we suffer in the same world that Jesus suffered in and was rejected in if we desire to identify with Jesus to the point of then living and reigning in the new world after the 2nd Coming Kingdom reign of Jesus Christ. - Also Note: the verse "if we deny Him, He also will deny us" if we deny Jesus after knowing all that He did for us He will deny us and not Himself and the verse goes on to say "yet He abideth faithful: He cannot deny Himself" Jesus will continue to exist and continue to reign and rule whether or not we approve. Jesus Christ is not the figment of someone's imagination and just because we can remove Him from our mind it does not mean that we can remove Jesus Christ from reality.

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2 Timothy 3 - The Apostle Paul seems to have been given a unique understanding of the events and condition of the 'Last Days' of the Christian Church -- '2 Timothy 3:1-5 This know also, that in the Last Days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection [a seared conscience], trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a [societal] form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.'

2 Timothy 3:10-17 But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra [Timothy's hometown]; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me. Yea, and *all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. *But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, *deceiving, *and being deceived. But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; And that from a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures [Holy Bible], *which are able to make thee wise unto salvation *through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. - Note: The continuing and widening contrast between the Christian and the non-Christian just like in Jeremiah (Jeremiah 24:1-10) where eventually the figs (people) were either really good, pleasant and desirous in the sight of God or the figs were really bad and unpleasing to God but there were no in between figs. - Also Note: The "deceiving, and being deceived" is really the rails that ungodliness runs on. First a person has to deceive themselves before they can deceive others and this deception applies in the spirit realm as well. Satan first deceived himself (Isaiah 14:13) then he deceived 1/3 of the angels (Revelation 12:4) into rebelling with him and now besides the fallen angelic realm there is also the lesser demonic realm and Satan has seemingly a separate deception for the demonic real. Meaning that there are multiple layers of deception taking place [throughout multiple realms] in order to deceive the fallen angelic realm, the separate demonic realm and also to deceive mankind. Seemingly at one moment angelic [Antichrist] deception is occurring within the human realm, then demonic [violence] deception, then human [there is no God and no spirit realm] deception and then back to fallen angelic deception as mankind is continually being witnessed against by the various competing and interlocking deceptions.

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2 Timothy 4 - The Apostle Paul's final admonishment to his fellow Christian brothers and co-laborers with him in the faith of Jesus Christ -- '2 Timothy 4:1-5 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick [living] and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom; Preach the Word [Bible]; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come [End Times] when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the Truth [of Jesus Christ], and shall be turned unto fables [i.e. The Da Vinci Code]. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist [spread the Gospel], make full proof of [confirm with God] thy ministry.'

The Bible's book of 2nd Timothy concludes: 2 Timothy 4:6-22 For I am now [mentally and physically] ready to be offered [as an acceptable sacrifice to God], *and {bombshell announcement!} the time of my departure is at hand. *I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: *Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that [Bema east Judgment (2 Corinthians 5:6-10)] day: *and not to me only, but unto all them also that love His [presence and] appearing. {Paul then immediately returns to business as usual for the Christian Church} Do thy diligence [continue on] to come shortly unto me [there is the slight chance at another stay of execution]: For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia. *Only Luke is with me {it seems that Luke might have penned this letter for Paul as Paul was vigorously chained at this time and could probably only dictate briefly to Luke}. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry. *And [continuing the ministry] Tychicus have I sent to Ephesus. The cloke [cloak] that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee, and the books, but especially the parchments [scrolls]. Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works: Of whom be thou ware [wise about] also; for he hath greatly withstood our words. *At my first answer [trial] no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge. Notwithstanding *the Lord stood with me, *and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: *and I was delivered [from the previous imprisonment] out of the mouth of the lion [the circus or the Colosseum (Amphitheatre in Rome)]. And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and *will preserve me unto His heavenly Kingdom: *to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. Salute Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus. Erastus abode at Corinth: but Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick. Do thy diligence to come before winter. Eubulus greeteth thee, and Pudens, and Linus, and Claudia, and all the brethren. The Lord Jesus Christ be with thy spirit. Grace be with you. Amen. - Note: Luke who wrote the Gospel of Luke and the Book of Acts was with Paul at the time of the letter (2nd Timothy) and probably until the end and it seems that Paul and Luke decided to gloss over the death of Paul [and later Peter] and treat it as just one of the many Christian deaths that were occurring at the time. It's possible Paul and Luke also thought it might be detrimental to Timothy, Titus and to many of the young ministers if they suddenly found out that Paul had been executed and most of all they certainly did not want the death of Paul to be written into the scriptures where it might even slightly compete with the Biblical message of the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It seems that 2nd Timothy ends very much the same way that the Book of Acts intentionally ends with the topic of Christian doctrine [and not specific martyrdoms] being discussed between the Jews and Christians creating the emphasis of the Christian message and of the a continuation of the same Christian work that so many faithful Saints had given so much to in building on the original foundation laid by Jesus Christ.

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THE EPISTLE OF PAUL TO

TITUS

Background of Titus - Paul wrote this letter to Titus, a young [Gentile] pastor, who faced the unenviable assignment of setting things in order in the church at Crete - Crete is the largest island in the Mediterranean - The inhabitants of Crete had an evil reputation, a fact witnessed not only by Paul, but also by others - Their lying was famous, so much so that 'to act the Cretan' was a synonym for 'to play the liar' - Their morals were low and the wine of Crete was famous, drunkenness was everywhere - The low standard of morality among the Cretans had doubtless had an adverse influence on the lives of the believers

It appears that the chief problem in Crete came from false teachers, mainly, Jewish, 'of the circumcision' who are described by Paul as 'unruly men, vain talkers and deceivers'. (Titus 1:10) They were teaching 'Jewish fables' (Titus 1:14) and introducing 'foolish questionings, and genealogies, and strifes, and fightings about the law' (Titus 3:9). Occasion: Paul wrote this letter to Titus, a young pastor, who faced the unenviable assignment of setting things in order in the church at Crete. It seems that the immediate reason for the writing of Titus was the forthcoming visit of Apollos and Zenas to Crete. (Titus 3:13) Paul took the opportunity to write to Titus. He was prompted to write because of his personal observation of conditions on Crete and his realization that Titus would need the encouragement and authorization which the letter would give him. ... Paul also writes advising him to appoint elders, men of proven spiritual character in their homes and businesses, to oversee the work of the church. But elders are not the only individuals in the church who are required to stand tall spiritually. Men and women, young and old, have their vital functions to fulfill in the church if they are to be living examples of the doctrine they claim to believe. Throughout this letter to Titus, Paul stresses the necessary practical outworking of salvation in the daily lives of the elders and congregation alike. http://www.abu.nb.ca/ecm/Titus00b.htm

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Titus 1 - The Apostle Paul's letter to Titus an accomplished Gentile Pastor - Where the much beloved Timothy was having abundant problems in his ministry, in his health and probable even problems sleeping at night - The Pastor Titus was seeing a lot of success in his ministries - Titus also occasionally traveled with Paul (Galatians 2:1) and went with Paul and Barnabas on an earlier visit to Jerusalem - Titus was sent to the Church in Corinth (2 Corinthians 7:6) and very much helped stabilize the situation - Titus was then pastoring in the extremely difficult neighborhood of the Island of Crete -- 'Titus 1:5 For this cause left I [Paul] thee in Crete, that thou [Titus] shouldest set in order the things that are wanting, and ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee'

Titus 1:10-16 For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching [pseudo Jewish-Christian] things which they ought not, for filthy [money] lucre's sake. One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are always liars, evil beasts, slow bellies. This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith; Not giving heed to [false] Jewish [Kabbalistic] fables, *and commandments of men, that turn from the truth. *Unto the pure *all things are pure: *but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is *nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled. They profess that they know God; *but in works they deny Him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate [irresponsible]. - Note: Titus and Luke were among the first of the successful Gentile Church Pastors and Titus as an early Gentile apparently was a particular target of rogue Jewish practitioners. The type of Judaism that Paul seems to be addressing was a non-traditional 'Jewish fable' [i.e. Kabbalistic] type of doctrine that was being packaged and sold to some unsuspecting Gentiles by some less than devout Jews. - Also Note: One of the greatest Christian verses in the entire Bible "Unto the pure all things are pure ..." this verse is a great reminder as we try to be pure and holy while we live our lives before God.

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Titus 2 - Paul points out the simple fact that the manner and way that the Pastor speaks and teaches in his local fellowship is the direction that the Church is going to go in -- 'Titus 2: 1 But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine ...'

Titus 2:11-15 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation *hath appeared to all men, *Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, *in this present world; *Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ; Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, *zealous of good works. These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee. - The Apostle Paul reiterates and confirms much of what Pastor Titus is already doing and accomplishing in his ministry in and among his fellow Gentiles.

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Titus 3 - The Apostle Paul reminds Titus to instruct his congregation to live constantly in an eternal, heavenly perspective -- 'Titus 3:1-7 Put them [congregation] in mind to be subject to principalities [lit. highest powers - God] and powers [lit. freedoms], to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work, To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men. *For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. *But after that the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which He shed on us *abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior; That being justified by His grace, *we should be made heirs [inheritors] according to the hope of eternal life.'

The Bible's book of Titus concludes: Titus 3:8-15 This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men. But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain. *A man that is an heretic after the first and second admonition reject; *Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself. When I shall send Artemas unto thee, or Tychicus, be diligent to come unto me to Nicopolis: for I have determined there to winter. Bring Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their journey diligently, that nothing be wanting unto them. And let ours [fellow Christians] also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses, that they be not unfruitful. All that are with me salute thee. Greet them that love us in the faith. Grace be with you all. Amen.

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THE EPISTLE OF PAUL TO

PHILEMON

Philemon: Introduction - Even though this letter is a brief, personal note to a friend, it shows up in the early canon lists (Marcion's [Cannon of 144 A.D.] and the Muratorian [Cannon 170-200 A.D.]) - Further, the ancient church never doubted its authenticity

Epistle - Place of Origin: The traditional view that this letter was written while Paul was in a Roman prison has been assailed from two corners: some claim Ephesus is a better starting point, others suggest Caesarea. Before deciding on this issue, it must first be recognized that, on the assumption of authenticity, where Paul was when he wrote Ephesians is where he was when he wrote Colossians and Philemon. This can be seen by several pieces of evidence: the commendation of Tychicus, as the bearer of the letter, found in exactly the same form in both Eph 6:21-22 and Col 4:7-8, surely indicates that he was sent with both epistles at the same time; the strong verbal overlap between Colossians and Ephesians must, if authentic, indicate that the two were written at the same time; Colossians is inseparable from Philemon3-that is, they must both have been sent at the same time. Hence, all three letters were written and sent at the same time. Consequently, if there is anything in either Colossians or Philemon which helps to narrow down where Paul was imprisoned at the time of writing, such would equally apply to Ephesians. ... Occasion and Purpose: As we have discussed at length in our introductions to Ephesians and Colossians, Onesimus apparently ran away from Philemon, his pockets lined with his owner's money, and headed for Rome. He may have stumbled across Epaphroditus, who was also en route to Rome; if so, Epaphroditus may have urged him to seek out Paul in order to gain advice. While with Paul, Onesimus became a Christian (v. 10), and proved himself "useful" (a word-play on his name) to Paul. The apostle wrote this letter to Philemon, asking Philemon to reinstate Onesimus-this time as a "dear brother" (v. 16), rather than as a slave. Although Paul could command Philemon to do so, he urges him instead, hoping that Philemon will be willing without coercion. Further, to show his sincerity, Paul vows to pay back whatever Onesimus owes (vv. 18-19). http://bible.org/seriespage/philemon-introduction-argument-and-outline

PHILEMON Background: Onesimus who was probably a domestic slave of Philemon's and had run away, stole some money from Philemon (vs. 18) to afford the getaway - We need to remember that slavery was an accepted institution in the Roman Empire - Romans and Greeks brought multitudes of slaves (old and young) home from their wars, and the buying and selling of slaves was a part of their daily life

Apparently Onesimus fled across Asia, across the Aegean Sea and the Adriatic Sea to Rome. At Rome he was under the influence of Paul, was saved, and later returned to Colosse [Colossians 4:9 - note: Paul never visited Colosse himself]. Onesimus quickly grew in grace and endeared himself to Paul (vs. 11, 12) proving so serviceable to Paul that he would have gladly detained him in Rome (vs. 13) but Paul realized he belonged to Philemon so the Apostle took the opportunity to send him back with Tychicus, bearing the Colossian epistle and the private note to Philemon. -- The Letter: Paul's letter to Philemon was written to be the mediation between Onesimus and his outraged master. Terrible punishment was sanctioned by Roman law for such offenses; even the death penalty. A slave was absolutely at his master's mercy; for the smallest offense he might be scourged, mutilated, crucified, thrown to wild beasts, etc. But Philemon was a Christian, and therefore, when Paul writes this letter he appeals to his Christian character. http://www.thebiblestudypage.com/philemon.shtml

Philemon - Thru the Bible Radio with Dr. J. Vernon McGee - Christianity does not do away our duties to others, but directs [us] to the right doing of them (Mp3)

Christianity does not do away our duties to others, but directs to the right doing of them. True penitents will be open in owning their faults, as doubtless Onesimus had been to Paul, upon his being awakened and brought to repentance; especially in cases of injury done to others. The communion of saints does not destroy distinction of property. This passage is an instance of that being imputed to one, which is contracted by another; and of one becoming answerable for another, by a voluntary engagement, that he might be freed from the punishment due to his crimes, according to the doctrine that Christ of his own will bore the punishment of our sins, that we might receive the reward of his righteousness. Philemon was Paul's son in the faith, yet he entreated him as a brother. Onesimus was a poor slave, yet Paul besought for him as if seeking some great thing for himself. Christians should do what may give joy to the hearts of one another. From the world they expect trouble; they should find comfort and joy in one another. When any of our mercies are taken away, our trust and hope must be in God. We must diligently use the means, and if no other should be at hand, abound in prayer. Yet, though prayer prevails, it does not merit the things obtained. And if Christians do not meet on earth, still the grace of the Lord Jesus will be with their spirits, and they will soon meet before the throne to join forever in admiring the riches of redeeming love. The example of Onesimus may encourage the vilest sinners to return to God, but it is shamefully prevented, if any are made bold thereby to persist in evil courses. Are not many taken away in their sins, while others become more hardened? Resist not present convictions, lest they return no more. http://www.thruthebible.org/site/c.irLMKXPGLsF/b.4104233/k.BFE1/MP3_Download_of_5Year_Series.htm

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Philemon 1 - Philemon - The Apostle Paul's personal letter to a friend a successful businessman [from Colossae] whom Paul had met probably in Ephesus [Paul never made it to Colossae] - Philemon had a slave that ran away [and probably stole something] from Philemon and Paul asked Philemon to receive the slave Onesimus back, not as a runaway slave as he had been but now as a free brother in Jesus Christ to both Paul and Philemon - It's not recorded but Church tradition is that Philemon did receive Onesimus back and did grant him his freedom -- 'Philemon 1:15-16 For perhaps he therefore departed for a season, that thou shouldest receive him forever; Not now as a servant, but above a servant, a brother beloved, specially to me, but how much more unto thee, both in the flesh, and in the Lord?'

The Bible's book of Philemon concludes: Philemon 1:17 If thou count me therefore a partner, receive him as myself. *If he hath wronged thee, or oweth thee ought, *put that on mine account; I Paul have written it with mine own hand, I will repay it: albeit I do not say to thee how thou owest unto me even thine own self besides. Yea, brother, let me have joy of thee in the Lord: refresh my bowels in the Lord. Having confidence in thy obedience I wrote unto thee, knowing that thou wilt also do more than I say. But withal prepare me also a lodging: for I trust that through your prayers I shall be given unto you. There salute thee Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus; Marcus [Mark], Aristarchus, Demas, Lucas [Luke], my fellow laborers. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.

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THE EPISTLE OF PAUL THE APOSTLE TO THE

HEBREWS

Introduction: The Book of Hebrews - The Book of Hebrews is probably the main content from the Apostle Paul's Synagogue visiting ministry [Acts 17:2] - Acts 9:15 'for he [Paul] is a chosen vessel unto Me (Jesus), to bear My Name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the [Jews] Children of Israel' - The Apostle Peter mentions Paul's Book of Hebrews in 2 Peter 3:15-16 'our beloved brother [Apostle] Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written [Book of Hebrews] unto you; as also in all his [other] epistles' - The Book of Hebrews is unsigned and undelivered most likely indicating that Paul wrote it himself while in Jerusalem and that Paul personally gave it to the Church in Jerusalem

The Book of Hebrews from the earliest times of the Christian Church has been attributed to the Apostle Paul without any previous controversy. It has only been in more recent times that scholars have attempted to remove the Apostle Paul from his writing. The Apostle Peter had read Paul's Book of Hebrews and mentions it along with his other epistles in one of Peter's writings. - '2 Peter 3:15-16 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation [Hebrews 2:10]; even as our beloved brother [Apostle] Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written [Book of Hebrews] unto you; As also in all his [other] epistles ...' - The original proclamation by God for the Apostle Paul is in Acts 9:15 'But the Lord said unto him [Ananias], Go thy way: for he [Paul] is a chosen vessel unto Me, to bear My Name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the Children of Israel' the Apostle Paul is to reach with his ministry; Gentiles, Kings, and Jews. Paul starts out his ministry reasoning with Jews on every Sabbath (Saturday) in the Synagogues as was his custom [Acts 17:2]. - In short on a visit to Jerusalem [Acts 21:17] the Apostle Paul was entangled in Christian Jewish customs and Temple rituals and it was in attempting to appease the Christian Church leaders in Jerusalem that the Apostle Paul was talked in to joining in on a Temple vow with some other Christians. The Apostle Paul went to the Temple in Jerusalem with the other Jewish Christians and was spotted by some of the Jews who had been outside of Jerusalem and were in opposition to his preaching. A riot ensued and the Apostle Paul was ultimately arrested by the Roman guards and held in confinement in the Roman 'castle' dungeon probably the same place where John the Baptist had early been confined by Herod. While in confinement it's most likely that the Apostle Paul figured that his long intended letter to the Hebrews in Jerusalem was in order and Paul wrote down in a sense the same message that he had been reasoning with all along with all the Jews in every synagogue he entered. Probably the Book of Hebrews is the main content of the Apostle Paul's synagogue visits. Unlike the Book of Romans the Book of Hebrews is undelivered and unlike the Book of Galatians the Book of Hebrews is unsigned because likely the Book of Hebrews was written in Jerusalem [while confined in the castle] and was not delivered by messenger but was given from the hand of Paul into the hands of Peter or possibly via the nephew of Paul [Acts 23:16 'Paul's sister's son'] into the hands of Peter and to the rest of the Christian Church in Jerusalem.

Perpetual Bible Study - Book of Hebrews: Background - The writer of Hebrews [Apostle Paul] understood this - It not would do for him to present the gospel merely as an alternative to Judaism; he had to clearly demonstrate the superiority of Christ - And that is the key - Hebrews is a book of comparisons, but it is not Judaism compared to Christianity, but Judaism compared to Christ - He is the difference - He is greater than angels, He is the [High] Priest after the order of Melchizedek, He is the perfect sacrifice, and so on

It is always useful to recall that Christianity did not originate "in a vacuum", so to speak. The gospel was first preached in Jerusalem, to a culture with a deeply entrenched religion and deep-seated beliefs. The religion and the culture were inextricably linked; it is not for nothing that the word "Jew" can equally describe a person's ethnicity or a person's religious affiliation. The two were practically synonymous in N.T. times. - Thus Jews in the first century had a very difficult decision to make when presented with the gospel. There are those who tried to bring Judaic ways into the church; these attempts were addressed at Jerusalem, as recorded in Acts 15. (It is a sad footnote of history that the legalizers eventually got their way, and many churches today essentially practice old-time Judaism with a Christian veneer.) But many others were faced with an either/or choice; reject the gospel and maintain your old ways as a Jew, or take the step of faith and accepting Christ, regardless of the consequences to your previous cultural standing. Let it not be said that this was a casual choice for anyone. - The writer of Hebrews understood this. It not would do for him to present the gospel merely as an alternative to Judaism; he had to clearly demonstrate the superiority of Christ. And that is the key. Hebrews is a book of comparisons, but it is not Judaism compared to Christianity, but Judaism compared to Christ. He is the difference. He is greater than angels, He is the priest after the order of Melchizedek, He is the perfect sacrifice, and so on. - The key phrase to me in the book of Hebrews is "a new and living way" (Heb. 10:20). That is what the gospel is. The O.T. rituals and observances were useful as patterns and shadows of things to come, but they could never meet the real needs of the Jewish people, or indeed of anyone. There is real life, eternal life, in the gospel. http://perpetualstudy.blogspot.com/2005/03/book-of-hebrews-background.html

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Hebrews 1 - The Apostle Paul's Trilogy of Systematic Theology to the Nations [Romans, Galatians, Hebrews] - The Book of Hebrews is to give the Hebrew, Jewish Nation a perspective of their past, present and future glory with God in Jesus Christ the risen Savior, Messiah - 'Hebrews 1:8-9 But unto the Son He (Father) saith, *Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever: a scepter of righteousness [the cross] is the sceptre [rule] of Thy Kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even Thy [Father] God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy [human] fellows.'

Hebrews 1:1-4 God, who at sundry times [in history] and in divers manners spake in time past unto the [Jewish] fathers by the Prophets, Hath in these *last days {after the cross it's the last days until the second coming} spoken unto us by His Son (Jesus), whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by Whom also He made the worlds [physical and spiritual realms]; Who being the brightness [equal in Glory] of His [Father God's] Glory, and the express image [exact representation] of His [Father God's] person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself [carried His cross] purged our sins, [resurrected and] sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on High; Being made so much better than the angels, as He hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.' - The Apostle Paul immediately sets out the Divinity and the Superiority of Jesus Christ even over the angels. Paul notes that Jesus is both the creator and the inheritor of all things. Then Paul presents a reminder that the present universe is going to vanish and concluding that Jesus Christ as the creator, inheritor and redeemer of the Universe is not just an improved version of Judaism but is the ultimate consummation of the plan of God given throughout the ages to all mankind and to miss out on the plans of Jesus Christ is to miss out on the one and only plan available to mankind. Note: It is important to know that Jesus is currently seated at the right hand of the Father in Majesty on High. Any thought or notion of the previously rejected Jesus is an ancient aberration of human history as Jesus is currently reigning and ruling in Authority, Splendor, Majesty and Glory while all heaven rejoices at the presence of Jesus Christ. -- Also Note: A clarification technically Daniels' 70th Week [Last Days] began on the day of the Triumphal Entry of Jesus into Jerusalem [Palm Saturday or Palm Sunday depending on how you figure it] so about six days, Saturday Triumphal Entry through the Thursday crucifixion, of Daniel's 70th week have happened. With the crucifixion the 70th week came to a temporary halt until the fullness of the Gentiles [Acts 15:17] can be brought in. - 'Daniel 9:20-27 Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people [Jews] and upon thy Holy City [Jerusalem], to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision [Law] and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy (Jesus). Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah (Jesus) the Prince shall be seven weeks [seven Jewish decades 49 years - these weeks were the Jewish decade of seven years the Levitical decade seventh year of release], and threescore and two weeks [62 Jewish decades 434 years]: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times. And after threescore and two weeks [the 434 years] shall Messiah be cut off [crucifixion], but not for Himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined. And He [Antichrist] shall confirm the covenant with many for one week [the 70th and final week regarding Jerusalem]: and in the midst of the week at [3½ years] he [Antichrist] shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation [in the rebuilt Temple] to cease, and for the overspreading [saturation] of abominations [evil] he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation [end of the Book of Revelation], and that determined shall be poured [vial (measured) judgments of Revelation 16:1] upon the desolate.'

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Hebrews 2 - The Apostle Paul continues to build his case and lay the ground work that in Christianity there is something going on that is bigger than Judaism and in fact Christianity in the risen Jesus Christ is encompassing both heaven and earth and both our mortal and eternal existence - 'Hebrews 2:14-15 Forasmuch then as the Children [God's Children] are partakers of flesh and blood, He (Jesus) also Himself likewise took part of the same [flesh and blood]; that through death He might destroy him [Satan and sin] that had the power of death, that is, the Devil; *And deliver them who through fear of death [fear of dying] were all their lifetime subject to [phobia of death] bondage.'

Hebrews 2:8-13 Thou [Father God] hast put all things in subjection [authority] under His feet (Soul) [foot or feet can also can represent the soul in the Bible]. For in that He (Jesus) put all in subjection [at the cross] under Him, He left nothing that is not put under Him. But now we see not yet all [earthly societal, political] things put under Him. But we (Christians) 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 [individuality] of God should taste death [separation from God] forevery man. 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 (complete) [even though God suffers and grieves in every wrong that is committed against every human some might think that God does not see or has not suffered as humans have so God also took on our physical form and suffered physically as we have suffered just so we could know for certain that God having willingly suffered with us physically is also more than willing and able to bring us into His presence and into a deep intimate relationship with Himself] through sufferings. For both He that sanctifieth [cleanses] and they who are sanctified [cleansed by Jesus] are all of one body]: for which cause He (Jesus) is not ashamed to call them [Christians] brethren, Saying, I will declare thy name unto My brethren, in the midst of the Church [Heavenly Congregation including Angels] will I sing praise unto thee. - All things are in "subjection" to Jesus Christ. Note: It's important to keep in mind that when the Bible talks about the "world" it is talking more about the world social and political system and not so much about the physical earth itself. Technically the world "social political" system was redeemed [brought back into the presence and authority of God] but the earth itself has never been out of God's possession [Psalms 50:12]. Besides the physical earth is going to pass away [Hebrews 1:11] so it would not need redeeming. In the beginning Dominion (authority) over the earth [Genesis 1:26] was given to Adam and Eve but possession of the earth as an inheritance from God was never given to them so not possessing the physical earth they did not lose it to Satan. One of the first mentions, besides the Book of Psalms of humans inheriting the earth is during Jesus' Sermon on the Mount [Matthew 5:5] and Jesus explains that "the meek shall inherit the earth" [the new earth]. Satan in not in possession of the earth and never having been Satan has always been a trespasser on the earth though he does have some ability to deceive and he did before the cross of Jesus have more power and authority over the decisions, politics and social structure of mankind. The powers of Satan have been broken for the Christian by Jesus on the cross. Satan is deceiving mankind into thinking that he has some form of real power, authority or ownership however he has only a short Antichrist kingdom that God will give to him and it will last only a short seven years [3 ½ in apparent secret leadership and 3 ½ in outright leadership]. Also note that Satan not having any substantial kingdom on earth is completely without any kind of kingdom or authority in hell. When finally confined in hell Satan is another inhabitant in hell no more and no less.

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Hebrews 3 - The Apostle Paul continues to explain the Divinity of Jesus Christ in that Jesus' authority, creation abilities and congregation [gathering] spans both heaven [Angels and Saints] and the earth [humans, all things] unlike the great human endeavors - Even the accomplishments of Moses are limited and were only performed here on earth -- 'Hebrews 3:1-2 Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the *Apostle and *High Priest of our (Christian) profession, *Christ Jesus; Who was faithful [in Heaven and on earth, all things] to Him [Father God] that appointed Him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house [Nation of Israel].' - 'Hebrews 1:6 And again, when He (Father) bringeth in the firstbegotten (Jesus) into the world, He saith, And let all the Angels of God worship Him (Jesus).'

'Hebrews 3:4-6 Forevery house [establishment, Nation] is builded by some man [laws of Moses]; but He that built all things [physical and spiritual realms] is God (Jesus). And Moses verily was faithful in all his house [Nation of Israel], *as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after; *But Christ as a Son over His own house [Heaven and earth]; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.' - 'Hebrews 2:10 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.' - 'Hebrews 1:10 And, Thou, Lord (Jesus), in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands' - 'Hebrews 1:1-2 God, ... Hath in these last days spoken unto us [all humans] by His Son, whom He hath appointed Heir of all things, by whom also He made the worlds [physical and spiritual realms];' - The superiority of Jesus Christ over Moses extends beyond the fact that Moses was a servant of God and that Jesus is the Son of God it also extends into the realms of their dominion. Moses served during the beginning and development of the Nation of Israel [Israel went into Egypt as a family (70 people) and upon their delivery from Egypt (some 200 years later) they left as a Nation (approx. 2.5 million people) the Nation of Israel]. Moses oversaw the beginning and building of the Nation of Israel however Joshua (Jesus) led them into the Promise Land and established them there. Jesus, God from Heaven has completed us in all things. Jesus created us and sustains our life, Jesus redeemed our soul back to Himself and has given to us of His eternal Spiritual life, Jesus has gone back into Heaven to prepare a place for us. The accomplishments of Moses and any human for that matter are so inconsequential when compared to the accomplishments of Jesus Christ that humans and also Angels shouldn't even be compared to Jesus.

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Hebrews 4 - Having established that the Kingdom of Jesus Christ is both in Heaven and on earth and that it lasts for all eternity - The Apostle Paul now directs people to actually make sure that we enter into the eternal Kingdom of Jesus Christ - The way to know that we have entered into His Kingdom is that we have ceased from our works and have entered into a personal relationship of trust and rest with God -- 'Hebrews 4:1 Let us (Christians) therefore fear, lest, a promise being left us of entering into His [eternal] rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.'

Hebrews 4:9-12 There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into His rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from His. Let us labour [make sure] therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall [in the wilderness] after the same example of unbelief. For the Word of God is quick [alive], and powerful [transforming], and sharper [makes a bigger difference] than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit [with spiritual implications], and of the joints and marrow [with physical implications], and is a Discerner [Judge] of the thoughts and intents of the heart. - The Kingdom of God is inherited based on our trusting and resting in the finished and completed works [cross, resurrection] of Jesus Christ. When we enter into God's rest provided only through Jesus Christ we have then entered into a personal relationship with God. Much of our personal relationship with God is going to involve our Prayer to God and our hearing from God in reading His Bible 'the Word of God'. When we read the Bible it should Judge us, lead us, guide us and direct us into a closer and more intimate relationship with God provided that our relationship with God is based on the trust and rest provided by the accomplished, finished and completed works of Jesus Christ.

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Hebrews 5 - Having made certain that we have entered into the right Kingdom the Kingdom of Jesus Christ the Kingdom of security and rest and that we have not been deceived into some kingdom of works, strife, envy and worry - the Apostle Paul will now goes into a long discussion about the Priesthood of Jesus' Divine Priestley Kingdom -- 'Hebrews 5:10 [Jesus] Called of God an High Priest after the order of Melchisedec (Melchizedek).'

'Hebrews 5:8-10 Though He (Jesus) were a Son, yet learned He [human] obedience by the things which He suffered; And being made perfect [complete from heaven and also physically on earth], He became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him; Called of God an High Priest [along with the Holy Spirit and Father God as each is the High Priest having access to themselves] after the [eternal] order of Melchisedec.' - Jesus is the Melchizedek High Priest encompassing and administrating both Heaven and earth for all eternity. It is necessary to show that Jesus is Divine from Heaven to have authority in Heaven but then the amazing component in Jesus' Kingdom of human Christianity is that God stepped down from heaven and became a human entering into our likeness, enduring what we endure He is completely able to relate to us from our level making Jesus complete (perfect) to be the High Priest in both Heaven and on earth. The Apostle Paul is instructing that where the Levitical/Aaronic priesthood was earthly based and physical and therefore limited in existence [only for the Jewish Nation], extent [the atonement had to be repeated yearly] and duration [the Levitical Priesthood ceased when Jesus was on the cross with the tearing of the Temple veil (Matthew 27:51)]. However the perfect, complete eternal Melchizedek Priesthood is sufficient for both in Heaven and on earth encompassing both the Angelic realm and the Human realm in the one Divine mediation authority of Jesus Christ. -- 'Colossians 1:20 And, having made peace through the blood of His cross, by Him to reconcile all things unto Himself; by Him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in Heaven.'

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Hebrews 6 - The Apostle Paul is instructing the Jewish segment of the Christian Church that their redemption in Judaism once combined with the Salvation of Christianity is permanent and that for anyone Jew or Gentile to reject Jesus Christ after having experienced eternal Salvation is to forfeit salvation and receive eternal damnation - 'Hebrews 6:4-6 For it is impossible for those [Jews or Gentiles] who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the [eternal] world to come, If they shall fall away [reject God], to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put Him to an open shame.' -- The Hebrews/Jews are redeemed by God but the difference between Jewish redemption and Christian salvation is immense. - The Jews are a part of the full plans of Jesus to the extent that Jesus came as a Jew and is Jewish. Jesus is not a Gentile.

'Hebrews 6:13 For when God made Promise to Abraham, because He could Swear [Promise] by no greater, He Sware [witnessed] by Himself,' - Rejecting God: A relationship with God is an individual decision. God has already made it clear even to the point of going to the cross that He is available for a relationship with all mankind through Jesus Christ. For a Gentile to reject Jesus is a personal spiritual decision that they have to make for themselves. Jesus has not rejected anyone therefore regardless of our human inabilities and actions while a person is alive and on this earth there remains a relationship with God in Jesus Christ. - The Patience of God: Patience is a Divine attribute it is not a human attribute therefore we cannot subscribe our limited knowledge of human patience to the Patience of God. God is Patient and Compassionate with all of mankind sinner and saint our so called sinful thought, desires, lies and covenants even with death and hell are lies [misrepresentations of God] and as lies they do not stand either for some form of good or for any form of evil because God does not acknowledge them they simple do not existence in any form with God. What is in existence with God is Zion and the one True plan of God in Jesus Christ. - 'Isaiah 28:15-18 Because ye have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us: for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves: Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay *in Zion for a foundation a stone (Jesus Christ), a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: *he that believeth shall not make haste. Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet: and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place. *And your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it.'

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Hebrews 7 - If Melchizedek where human it would be a redundant Aaronic Priesthood but Melchizedek is not human He is eternal and Spiritual and therefore not a redundant human Priesthood - Melchizedek is superior to even Abraham - Abraham was blessed by God yet Melchizedek blessed Abraham - Jacob then having the blessing of Abraham from God blessed the Pharaoh of Egypt [Genesis 47:7] - Its simply not possible that Abraham would have received the blessing of a human after having received the blessings of God - Abraham did receive the blessing from Melchizedek -- 'Hebrews 7:1 For this Melchisedec [Melchizedek], King of Salem [Peace], Priest of [from God, of God] the Most high God, who met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings, and blessed him;'

'Hebrews 7:3-4 [Melchizedek] Without father [no earthy father], without mother [no earthly mother, at least at that time or more likely Melchizedek was an appearance of the Holy Spirit], without descent [preexistent], having neither beginning of days [eternal], nor end of [spiritual] life [everlasting]; *but made [manifested] like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually. Now consider how great this *man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoils.' - The entire concept of the Book of Hebrews and in fact all of Christianity is that God became a 'man' a human Priest in order to officiate a sacrifice on behalf of all mankind to God. The Sacrifice that Jesus performed was the Atonement sacrifice a sacrifice that amends the offenses of one party against another party. Mankind has offended God, God has not offended mankind nor Himself. God is not offering Atonement to mankind [God has not sinned against mankind] it is mankind that has sinned against God and is offering Atonement to God it is then up to God to either accept or reject the atonement offering and in Jesus Christ God has accepted the Atonement offering for all mankind for all eternity. If Jesus did not become a 'man' a human then the sacrifice of Jesus would be Atonement from God to God however the way between God has never been blocked. Had Jesus taken on the appearance of an Angel [Hebrews 2:16] then the atonement and accompanying redemption would have been for Satan and the fallen angels and it would have excluded mankind. Jesus became a 'man' in order to offer to God to Atone for mankind all mankind. Satan and the fallen angels/demons are excluded from the Atonement and redemption of man to God. There is no provision for the sin of fallen angels or the demonic realm. The Atonement is a onetime access atonement either the way to God is Atoned [open] for mankind or it is closed to all mankind there are not hundreds or thousands or millions of individual atoning sacrifices from mankind to God and there are not any Atoning sacrifices offered from God to man because God has in no way offended mankind. Atonement is a 'man' offering to God to repair a broken relationship and once the sacrifice is acceptable to God the relationship is repaired and the way to God is now open in the acceptable Atonement of Jesus Christ.

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Hebrews 8 - The Levitical Priesthood offered limited atonement in that the sacrifices they offered to God were limited to the Nation of Israel however the Atonement of Jesus Christ is unlimited because it was offered on behalf of all mankind and the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross being an acceptable Atoning sacrifice to God has opened the way to God and access to God is now available to all mankind through the Atonement blood of Jesus Christ -- 'Hebrews 8:11 And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know Me, from the least to the greatest.'

'Hebrews 8:1-10 Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum [summary]: We have such an High Priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the Heavens; A minister of the [Heavenly] sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man. Forevery High Priest is ordained [given authority] to offer gifts and sacrifices [to God]: wherefore it is of necessity that this man [Jesus] have somewhat also to offer. For if He were on earth, He (Jesus) should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests [Levitical] that offer gifts according to the law [of Moses]: Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith He [God from Mt. Sinai], that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount. But now hath He (Jesus) obtained a more excellent [eternal, Heavenly] ministry, by how much also He is the mediator of a better covenant [New Testament], which was established upon better promises [crucifixion and resurrection life of Jesus]. For if that first covenant [O.T.] had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. For finding fault with them [followers of the O.T.], He saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord when I will make a New Covenant with the House of Israel and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their [Jewish] fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in My covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those [O.T.] days, saith the Lord; I will put My Laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to Me a [Spiritual] people:' - Note: The Levitical/Aaronic Priesthood represented the Old Testament but with the New Testament encompassing Heaven and earth the new eternal Melchizedek Priesthood supersedes the old priesthood and is now the only Priesthood in existence to enable mankind to enter into the presence and into a relationship with the Holy God.

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Hebrews 9 - The Apostle Paul is now saying that in Jesus Christ Spiritual access into the once restricted Holiest presence of God is now available to all mankind -- 'Hebrews 9:1 Then verily the first covenant [Old Testament] had also ordinances *of divine service, *and a worldly sanctuary.' - 'Hebrews 9:8 The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the Holiest of all was not yet made manifest [available], while as the first tabernacle [and later the Temple in Jerusalem] was yet standing [with the veil blocking the way keeping mankind apart from the Holiest presence of God]:' - Now! - 'Hebrews 10:19-20 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the Holiest [presence of God] by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living [spiritual] way, which He hath consecrated [made available] for us, through the veil, that is to say, His flesh' {into His Spirit realm that is now available to all mankind}

Hebrews 9:28 So Christ was once [one eternal sacrifice] offered [to God] to bear the sins of many [all who receive]; and unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time *without [regard to] sin [but] unto salvation [healing]. - There will be no reference to sin on the second coming of Jesus Christ. The sin of mankind was dealt with entirely on the first visit of Jesus with His death on the cross. There is no future work for removing sin and when Jesus returns the existence of any sin will have to immediately depart from His presence. At His return Jesus will to set up His 1,000 year righteous Kingdom reign here on earth.

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Hebrews 10 - The Old Testament and the physical Levitical Priesthood that accompanied it have been permanently removed by the completed work of the first coming of Jesus Christ - The New Covenant with its eternal Spiritual Melchizedek Priesthood has now been permanently established "once for all" in the shed blood and eternal bodily resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ -- 'Hebrews 10:5-10 Wherefore when He cometh [incarnate] into the world, He saith, [Levitical] Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a [physical] body hast Thou [Holy Spirit] prepared Me: In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. Then said I (Jesus), Lo, I come in the volume [pages] of the Book (Bible Scrolls) it is written of Me, to do thy will, O [Father] God. Above when He said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first [Old Testament], that He may establish the second [New Testament]. *By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.'

'Hebrews 10:16-25 This is the [New] Covenant that I [God] will make with them after those [O.T.] days, saith the Lord, I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these [sins] is, there is no more [need for] offering for sin. Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living [Spiritual] way, which He hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, His flesh; And having an [Melchizedek] High Priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled [by the blood sacrifice of Jesus] from an evil conscience, and our [Spiritual] bodies washed with pure water [Holy Bible]. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; for He (Jesus) is faithful that promised [to enter us into Heaven]; And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the (Church) assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting [encouraging] one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day [Second Coming] approaching.' - With our sins removed by the sacrifice of Jesus and now having received the eternal Holy Spirit inside of us we are completely equipped for all things Spiritual. Having confessing Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior and by receiving His Holy Spirit we now have everything necessary for living a complete, full and successful eternal Spiritual life with God and with our fellow Christian brethren.

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Hebrews 11 - The Apostle Paul writes what is now known has the Bible's 'Hall of Faith' in Hebrews Chapter 11 - 'Hebrews 11:16 But now they [men and women of faith] desire a better country, that is, an Heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for He hath prepared for them a city [a home in Heaven].'

'Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.' - 'John 20:25-29 The other disciples therefore said unto him (Thomas), We have seen the [Resurrected] Lord. But he (Thomas) said unto them, Except I shall see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, *I will not believe [in the resurrection of Jesus Christ to eternal life]. And after eight days again His disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came [the Resurrected] Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. Then saith He (Jesus) to Thomas, reach hither thy finger, and behold My hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into My side: and *be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto Him, *My [Resurrected] Lord and my [Living, eternal life giving] God. Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed [in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ]: *blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed [in the sinless eternal life giving resurrection of Jesus Christ].' Faith in the Bible is singular: There is only one type of faith and that is that God is the creator of and giver of Life both physical life and eternal spiritual life. - Along with the one type of faith that of life over death there is only one faith and that is in the Resurrection Life of Jesus Christ. The Resurrection of Jesus Christ includes His Divine nature via His Virgin Birth, His sinless life, His Atoning blood sacrifice on the cross, His Resurrection of eternal life and His freely giving of His eternal Spirit Life. - 'Titus 1:2 In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;' - 'Colossians 2:27 ... [the Resurrected Jesus] Christ in you, the hope of glory:'

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Hebrews 12 - The Apostle Paul now encourages every Christian to have an eternal perspective and Heavenly focus of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ - Having an eternal Heavenly focus we are to live our lives in a holy Heavenly manner -- 'Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus *the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy [our Salvation] that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is [Resurrected] set down at the right hand of the throne of God.'

'Hebrews 12:22-29 But ye (Christians) are come unto mount Sion [Mt. Zion], and unto the City of the Living God, the Heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of Angels, *To the general assembly and Church of the Firstborn (Jesus Christ), which are written in Heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect [completed with the Spirit life of Jesus], And to Jesus the [Melchizedek High Priest] mediator of the New Covenant, and to the [sinless] blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel. See that ye refuse not Him [Holy Spirit] that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused Him that spake on earth [at Mt. Sinai], much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from Him that speaketh from heaven: Whose voice then shook the earth: but now He hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also Heaven [Book of Revelation]. And this Word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are [human] made, that those things which cannot be shaken [eternal Kingdom of Jesus] may remain. Wherefore we receiving a Kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: For our God is a [judge and administrator] consuming fire.' - We are directed to have an eternal heavenly focus. The world and all that exists in it is once again going to be shaken [Book of Revelation] and all the false gods and false ideologies of demons and of mankind will crumble to the ground only the New Testament Kingdom of Jesus Christ will remain. Therefore it is with great hope that we look to the Kingdom of Jesus Christ the only Kingdom that is capable of lasting and enduring for all eternity.

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Hebrews 13 - The Apostle Paul concludes the Bible's Book of Hebrews -- 'Hebrews 13:20-21 Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant [New Testament], Make you perfect [complete] in every good work to do His will, working in you that which is wellpleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be Glory forever and ever. Amen.'

'Hebrews 13:1-2 Let brotherly (Christian) love continue. Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained [interacted with] Angels unawares [unknowingly].' - Angels are 'ministering spirits' [Hebrews :14] in fact all of Heaven [Hebrews 12:1] is very aware and interested in the events of mankind on earth particularly in the witnessing and ministry in the Name of Jesus Christ. Anytime anyone is preaching, witnessing or ministering [helping, serving] in the Name of Jesus Christ the residents of Heaven are aware and are even intimately involved. The holy Angeles as members of God's Kingdom are always present when ministry is being performed (it is their ministry as well) and on occasion we might encounter the visible or discernable presence of a holy Angel or Angels. Angels are present when ministry and witnessing are taking place here on earth and likewise the Holy Spirit of God is of course always present and in fact all of heaven declares the Glory of God. When we enter into the plan of Salvation from God and participate in God's plan of Salvation by doing His ministry work and in spreading His Gospel we are a direct participant in the Kingdom of God and we join in with the other participants in God's Kingdom of Heaven being accomplished here on earth. - After the Apostle Paul concludes his letter to the Hebrews 13:21 he then apparently receives some Christian visitors [probably while he was incarcerated in Jerusalem] from Italy who inform Paul that Timothy has been released from jail. Paul has his visitors read his letter and apparently they found it to be a little on the tough love side. The Apostle Paul then adds a four verse addendum starting with requesting the readers to bear with his short tough message and he also tells of the news and of greetings delivered to him and to all the Church from the Christians in Italy. The completed letter is probably then handed directly to his fellow Jewish Christians and to the Church leaders in Jerusalem.

Cowboys and Angels (2000) - Written and Directed by Gregory C. Haynes - [warning - skip the DVD previews] (Movie - DVD)

User Comments : What a nice surprise to see Mia Kirshner in a movie where she doesn't take off her clothes or kiss other girls or look anorexic... I think Mia is an amazing actress, and I was surprised by this movie. It's one of those that you see in the video store and say, "I've never heard of that - wonder if it would be worth my time." It's certainly not the best movie I've ever seen, but it was refreshing to watch a love story where the characters didn't have to have sex on their first date to know they were compatible. I liked the story. The angel bit was a little strange, but who hasn't wondered if there are angels among us? This was my introduction to Adam Trese, and I found his character likable and believable. I was annoyed with Radha Mitchell. She kept getting in the way. I suppose she was included so that the movie would be called more than just "Cowboys." Because that might be lame. Anyway, a refreshing change from what Hollywood believes love is all about. Three cheers for Greg Haynes for tackling this project. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0215679/

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DebbieSchlussel.com: Happy 'Jewish' New Year! - Tonight (Friday), at sundown, Rosh HaShanah-the Jewish New Year-begins - One of the two most important Jewish holidays the other is Yom Kippur, it marks the beginning of the Jewish "Ten Days of Repentance" [Rosh HaShanah (New Year) until the 'Day of Atonemet' Yom Kippur] {Having just finished studying the book of Hebrews its good timing in that at sundown (8/18/2009) it is the start of the Jewish New Year Rosh Hashanah and ten days of Jewish observances that concludes with the feast of Yom Kippur the 'Day of Atonement' - We pray God's blessing, peace and prosperity for the Nation of Israel and for all the Jews throughout the world who are in blessed observance of their Holy Feast Days.}

On the holiday, we traditionally eat apples with honey (and other items with honey) to signify that we seek a new year that is as sweet as that uber-sweet combination. (My favorite apples, BTW, are McIntosh.) The holiday ends at nightfall on Sunday Night. During two days of intense prayer at synagogue, we hear the blowing of a ram's horn (called a "shofar"), which makes several different kinds of sounds we are required to hear. ... To all of my Jewish readers and friends, Shanah Tovah u'Metukah KeTapuach B'Dvash-May You Have a Good New Year, As Sweet as an Apple with Honey. Thanks to all of my readers who sent me e-mails and i- and e-cards wishing me a Happy New Year. Right Back at Ya! I hope you have a happy and healthy new year. [DS] -- {Having just finished studying the Bible's Book of Hebrews it's good to know that as the Jews celebrate Yom Kippur that there will be no blood from bulls or goats this year and that animal blood is no longer necessary [Hebrews 8:8] since during the Jerusalem Passover with Jesus Christ He instituted the New Testament for the 'House of Israel'. A few days earlier with His triumphal enter into Jerusalem Jesus presented Himself as the Messiah to the world, He was not universally received as the Messiah however it's irrelevant whether or not mankind acknowledges the institutions of God pertaining to whether or not the edicts of God go into effect. Jesus is the Messiah reigning and ruling from Heaven whether mankind accepts it or not and just as important the New Testament for the Nation of Israel has been instituted whether it has been accepted or not. - It's hard to understand that the New Covent is strictly Jewish as it was initiated by Jesus during the Jerusalem Passover while Gentiles were excluded by God from the Passover even that very night. In the Gospel of John [John 12:20] we learn that at least two Greeks came to Jesus' disciples to see Jesus. Gentiles were in Jerusalem the very day of the New Testament Passover and were there to 'worship' at the Feast and wanted to see Jesus however they were sent away until after the cross and resurrection of Jesus. The cross and resurrection of Jesus is the only way that we Gentiles have access to Jesus. The New Testament is the covenant between God and Israel it is actually the Jews that are under the New Testament as Christians we enter into the New Covenant that was previously promised to Israel [Jeremiah 31:31] that has been enacted and given to Israel and it has been instituted and is in effect for the House of Israel.} http://www.debbieschlussel.com/9219/happy-new-year-2/

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THE GENERAL EPISTLE OF

JAMES

An Overview Of The Book Of James - These factors suggest that the date of writing could have been possibly around A.D. 45 - Such a date makes the Letter of James the first book and letter of the New Testament to have been written

It appears that the letter was written during the early period of the Jewish Christian Church. The letter was written to Jewish Christians who had been scattered among the nations. They were most likely scattered by the persecution of Jewish Christians that erupted in Jerusalem in connection with the stoning of Stephen in the early A.D. 30's (cf. Acts 7:58-8:2). Since the letter was written to Jewish Christians, and it does not include statements directed to Gentile Christians, it was probably written before the influx of Gentiles began, such as began to occur during Paul's first missionary journey, which has been dated as A.D. 46-48. With the influx of Gentile Christians into the church the Judaistic Controversy arose, which was settled by the Apostolic Council in Jerusalem in A.D. 49-50. The letter makes no reference to the troubles and strife that arose with the influx of the Gentiles. Nor does it state that the Jewish Christians should not trouble the Gentile Christians over observing the laws of Moses and especially the rite of circumcision. These factors suggest that the date of writing could have been possibly around A.D. 45. Such a date makes the Letter of James the first book and letter of the New Testament to have been written. ... Already in A.D. 44 James the brother of the Lord was the recognized leader of the church in Jerusalem. Shortly after the apostle John's brother James was put to death by King Herod Agrippa, and immediately after an angel released Peter from prison to save him from the same martyrdom, Peter instructed those in the house of Mary to report his release to "James and the brothers", meaning the members of the church of Jerusalem (cf. Acts 12:17). In A.D. 49-50 James was clearly the leader of the church of Jerusalem and a recognized authority within the Apostolic Council. He voiced the final decision of the council that the Gentiles should not be troubled about having to follow the laws of Moses, especially with regard to circumcision, in order to be saved (cf. Acts 15:3-21). As a result of James' decree the apostles, elders, and church of Jerusalem then sent a letter to the churches to uphold that they were saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus (cf. Acts 15:11,22-29). In his Letter to the Galatians, written about A.D. 52, Paul put James on a level of importance equal with that of the apostles (cf. Galatians 1:19), and stated that James together with Peter and John were the "reputed pillars" of the church in Jerusalem (cf. Galatians 2:9). James was such an influential person within the church of Jerusalem that Paul referred to Jewish Christians from Jerusalem as "certain men (who) came from James" (cf. Galatians 2:12). At the end of his third missionary journey when Paul brought the collection from the churches for the Jewish Christians in Jerusalem, he reported to James with the collection (cf. Acts 21:17,18). James was so widely recognized in the early apostolic church that Jesus' brother Judas (cf. Matthew 13:55; Mark 6:3) introduced himself in his Letter of Jude as "Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James" (Jude 1). http://www.christianinconnect.com/james.htm

Bible Study Notes James Introduction Part I by Dr. Richard J. Krejcir - James is a book about the application of our faith and the importance to learn and grow in Christ - That way, we can grow in faith and maturity so we can apply our Christian character and conduct in how we (relate) to others!

During the time of James, the church was at a crossroads of ending its "honeymoon" period of being ignored by the religious leaders, so they were growing and feeling comfortable and good. They were still a part of Judaism and had not split off from their roots. Now, they are being singled out and picked on. The persecutions were just starting; the two other Jameses in the New Testament had been martyred, Steven had been stoned to death, and many were leaving the faith because of fear. The Church was also starting to deal with the human, sinful nature of gossip, strife, carnality, slander, doctrinal arguments and power plays, so their faith was becoming useless and unproductive-the themes we still have with us today. The self-filled life and the focus on the will of ourselves was overtaking fulfillment in Him and seeking God's Will (John 1:16; 3:30; Eph. 1:23; 3:19; 4:13; Col. 1:19; Col. 1:25). James seeks to write an extolment of Christ and an encouragement to the saints to look to Christ in faith and not to their circumstances. Thus, we will then be able to live a righteous life and be a meaningful Christian. http://70030.netministry.com/articles_view.asp?articleid=33616&columnid=3803

Background of James - whose epistle (letter) is said to be the first of the epistles called Catholic (Universal) - The book of James was not widely circulated and accepted by the early church - The church applied the rule that unless a book was apostolic it could not be canonical [placed in the Bible]

The book of James was not widely circulated and accepted by the early church. The church applied the rule that unless a book was apostolic it could not be canonical. The Muratorian Canon, which dates from 175 A.D. fails to list the epistle of James. The church fathers rarely make reference to it. After describing the martyrdom of James, Eusebius says 'such is the story of James, whose epistle is said to be the first of the epistles called Catholic. It is to be observed that its authenticity is denied, since few of the ancients quote it, as is also the case with the epistle called Jude's...nevertheless we know that these letters have been used publicly with the rest in most churches.' The Council of Carthage recognized the epistle of James as part of scripture in 397 A.D. It is interesting that the east recognized the epistle sooner than the west. During the Reformation Erasmus doubted whether James the brother of Jesus wrote the letter. Martin Luther was slow to accept it because it taught little about Christ, was not apostolic, stresses law instead of gospel, and opposes Paul on the doctrine of faith and works. Luther said 'I cannot put the letter among the chief books, though I would not thereby prevent anyone from putting him where he pleases and estimating him as he pleases; for there are many good sayings in it.' He placed it without a number at the end of his New Testament. William Tyndale also placed it as the last book in his translation. However subsequent English translations have placed it in its present spot. http://www.abu.nb.ca/ecm/Jam00b.htm

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James 1 - James a servant (bond slave) of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ - Jude also uses the introduction of 'bond slave' - James and Jude were full brothers and half-brothers to Jesus Christ - Both James and Jude became believers after the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ their half-brother - While Peter was the first leader of the Church James being a half-brother of Jesus became the de facto first leader of the Church in Jerusalem and as leader James dealt with the many and divers problems and relationships of the early Church - 'James 1:27 Pure religion and undefiled before God [Jesus] and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction [need], and to keep himself unspotted [pure] from the world'

The book of James is probably the first Christian New Testament document written even before the Gospel of Matthew: The book of James is considered by most historians to be the first Christian document written or to be among the first Christian documents written. Written prior to the council in Jerusalem in 49 A.D. an impromptu council of early Church leaders and Apostles that was headed up by James after the Apostle Paul and Barnabas returned from their first missionary trip having converted and brought Gentile believers into the primarily Jewish Christian Church. The 49 A.D. council in Jerusalem was needed to determine the relationship between Jewish and Gentile believers and particularly whether or not the Gentiles would have to be circumcised and follow Jewish customs in order to become Christians. The council determined that faith alone in Jesus would be sufficient to have Gentiles enter into full fellowship in the Christian Church. The book of James is a simple book focusing primarily on relationships between individual persons and among groups of people while a relationship with God is then expressed out of relationships with each other. The book of James seems simple in language [though very advanced in application] because the relationships in that time were more simple not because Christianity was simple or started out simple. Christianity did not grow, change, evolve or even mature. Christianity is completely embodied in the one person of Jesus Christ; all of His doctrines, teachings, prophecies and applications were delivered at one time in one life by the one person Jesus Christ. Though communion, baptism, End Times, Second Coming and other doctrines will be discussed in more depth in other Church writings it does not mean that they didn't exist or weren't practiced from the start at the Christian Church in Jerusalem. -- 'James 1:2 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty [grace], and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.'

Experts Say Burial Box for 'Brother of Jesus' is a Forgery - The 20-inch long ossuary, which was common in Jewish burial ceremonies in the first centuries B.C. and A.D., has an inscription in the Aramaic language that reads, "James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus" - But after a lengthy investigation, the Antiquities Authority of Israel said it found overwhelming evidence that the [Aramaic] inscription was a fake produced in modern times - "The bottom line is that every single scholar who examined this came to the conclusion that the inscription was not authentic; it was done recently by a very skillful artist" {Any use of the Aramaic language on an ancient Jewish artifact is almost a sure indication that the item was tampered with or is an outright forgery. The Biblical languages are Hebrew and Greek with the early commentaries being written in the Roman Latin language. Introducing Aramaic into the Biblical languages is a direct attempt to introduce forged documents and objects into Church history in order to rewrite and manipulate Church history.}

JERUSALEM, June 19 - Israel's archaeological experts declared today that an ancient limestone burial box, which bears an inscription suggesting it held the remains of Jesus' brother James, is a modern forgery. When the existence of the burial box, or ossuary, was announced last October, it stirred great excitement as potentially the earliest historical artifact linked to Jesus. But after a lengthy investigation, the Antiquities Authority of Israel said it found overwhelming evidence that the inscription was a fake produced in modern times. "The bottom line is that every single scholar who examined this came to the conclusion that the inscription was not authentic; it was done recently by a very skillful artist," said Dr. Gideon Avni, director of excavations and surveys for the Antiquities Authority and one of 14 experts who took part in the investigation. ... The 20-inch long ossuary, which was common in Jewish burial ceremonies in the first centuries B.C. and A.D., has an inscription in the Aramaic language that reads, "James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus." The New Testament on several occasions says that Jesus had a brother named James, who became a leader of a Christian community in Jerusalem after the crucifixion of Jesus. James was executed by stoning in A.D. 63, according to the first-century Jewish historian Flavius Josephus. At the time, it was a common Jewish practice to place the body in a burial cave for about a year. When only the bones remained, they were then placed in a small ossuary. Only a small number of the burial boxes were inscribed, and they usually belonged to prominent people. It is not clear whether the early Christians followed the same burial ceremonies as the Jews. The most convincing evidence of fraud was the lack of the stone's patina, the natural fossilized sheen, in the indentations where the inscription was made, the Antiquities Authority said. The scholars concluded that the ossuary itself was an original dating back some 2,000 years, while the writing is of a much more recent vintage, though they could not pinpoint the date. The inscription had been partially filled in with modern materials including dirt, carbon and small flecks of gold in an attempt to make it look ancient, the officials said. "The lab reports found that these specific materials don't exist in the Jerusalem area," Mr. Dorfman said. Also, the latter part of the inscription, which refers to Jesus, is in a separate style of writing, the Antiquities Authority said. Scholars have been debating the authenticity since the ossuary became public last October, and some leading experts said they believed it was genuine. ... But some Israeli authorities expressed suspicions from the beginning based on the shadowy ways in which the ossuary and the tablet came to public notice. Mr. Golan, who is in his early 50's, initially attempted to conceal his identity and connection to the artifacts. When he was eventually questioned by authorities, he said he bought the ossuary from an antiquities dealer in Jerusalem's Old City in the mid-1970's, but did not know the name of the seller or the place where it was excavated. Israel's antiquities laws say that any item excavated since 1978 belongs to the state. Despite efforts to regulate antiquities, the legal, gray and black markets all do brisk business, according to officials. http://www.spiritrestoration.org/Archeology/Burial-Box-is-Forgery.htm

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James 2 - James continues to provide his godly wisdom and council to the early Church - James instruct Christians to honor everyone equally regardless of status or class in society - 'James 2:1-4 My brethren (Christians), have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of Glory, with respect [veneration] of persons. ... Are ye not then partial [societal segmentation] in yourselves, and are become judges of evil [class superiority] thoughts?'

Godly faith will bring forth godly intentions and actions in the individual first and then to the group as a whole: 'James 2:19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble [but do nothing about their knowledge of God in a godly manner].' - The book of James is a letter of encouragement to Christians for individual Christians to gain in Christian growth and maturity. Christian growth is about personal; individual, meaningful, spiritual growth. Meaningful mature Christian growth is developed in the individual human soul and it is a maturity that can only take place on an individual level. The Christian maturity has to be individual because the circumstances, locations and timing needed in order for God to accomplish the growth and maturity are somewhat unique to each individual. The Christian growth process has to be individual for the individual to grow but it also has to be individual in order to accomplish the ultimate growth in an individual meaningful relationship with God. - In accomplishing individual growth and maturity then group growth and maturity can take place but if there are no mature individuals in the group then the group cannot necessarily function on a mature level however with a few or even only one mature individual in a group the group can function in a mature way. James in seeking to create a greater group maturity is giving general guidelines to individuals for individual godly Christian growth and not a strict pattern of events for groups to follow. It is then through the individual growth and godliness, in the individual first, that ultimately the Christian Church group as a whole will grow and mature.

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James 3 - We are urged to take control of our tongue when we speak to others - and when we do speak to speak words of blessing and words of edification not words of accusations -- 'James 3:8-10 But the tongue can no man tame [you have to first tame your soul in order to tame your tongue]; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. Therewith [with our mouth] bless we God, even the Father; and therewith [our same mouth] curse we men, which are made after the similitude [image] of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.'

God's wisdom brings peace to our soul: 'James 3:13-18 Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth [God is alive and in our midst]. This [bitter] wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. *But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated [accepted], full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.' - The wisdom that comes from God leads us to peace. We have been at war with God in our lifestyle but God is offering to us His Peace. The peace we receive from God that allows us to be at peace with God and ourselves also allows us to live at peace with one another.

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James 4 - James continues to exhort Christians to adhere to the higher calling in Christianity by separating themselves from the conduct of the world -- 'James 4:7-8 Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh [close] to God, and He will draw nigh [close] to you.'

'James 4:8-8 Draw nigh to God, and He will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded [be single minded towards God]. Be afflicted [cautious], and mourn [critical self-examination], and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning [an inward perspective], and your joy to heaviness [reality]. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up.' - James makes certain the Biblical precept that the contrived ways of the world are not the ways of God. This precept was true in the Old Covenant, it has been true since creation and it remains true today during the New Covenant Christian Church era that God is concerned with the treatment and wellbeing of all humans. To get lost in our own pleasures and in our own wellbeing is not what God has intended for Christianity. God has it in mind that Christians will seek after the desires and intentions of God and in doing so Christians can make a small difference here and there in the world. A small difference that in the mind of the world is minimal but possibly a difference that in the eyes of God is eternal.

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James 5 - James concludes his remarks and exhortations to the Christian Church with an emphases on the need for individuals to pray with and for one another - and really just to encourage, assist and to cooperate with one another - to keep focused on the return of Jesus all the while remaining diligent in godly pursuits - and to be patient in all things particularly in illnesses, persecutions and any type sufferings -- 'James 5:7-8 Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. Be ye also patient; stablish [establish] your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.'

'James 5:15-20 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up [God always hears our spiritual prayers no matter what our physical condition is]; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him [all who ask God for forgiveness at any time will receive it]. Confess your faults [be real] one to another, and pray [intercede] one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. Elias (Elijah) was a man [just like us] subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed [1 Kings 17:1] earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. And he prayed again [1 Kings 18:45], and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit. Brethren (Christian), if any of you do err from the truth [Jesus is God], and one convert [redirection, remind] him; Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.' - Note: James is making some final statements and generalizations. He repeatedly makes the point that the social, financial and physical status of an individual does not represent the spiritual status of an individual. If or when someone is ill for any kind of reason that God will still hear their prayer and forgive their sins and "the Lord shall raise him up" make them well or bring them into heaven according to their appointed time regardless of their social standing, finances or physical condition. - James goes on to point put the need to assist one another in keeping each other on the path to God. The Christian walk when done properly is a walk of mutual support. Christianity is not a go it alone hope for the best situation. We know who God is and we do know most of what God requires from us. [Matthew 22:37-40 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang [support] all the law and the prophets.] When a person can remind, redirect [convert] a fellow Christian and orientate them again to the cross and living resurrection of Jesus Christ then there is a multitude of sin being covered. Covered in the sense that sins are forgiven and removed by the blood of Jesus and covered in the sense that sins that were potentially going to be committed are now not going to be committed because of the change in direction and the renewed commitment and conformity to the ways of God.

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THE FIRST EPISTLE GENERAL OF

1 PETER

Book of 1st Peter - Introduction and Background Information - Date of Writing somewhere around AD 62-64 [by Peter in Rome] {note: The cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the start of His Christian Church was in 32 A.D. counting His birth as year 0 A.D. [33 A.D. otherwise] -- The Apostle Paul was martyred about 64-65 A.D. in Rome -- Peter was martyred about 67 A.D. also in Rome -- Caesar Nero (*was the fifth, and last Roman Emperor (and also the most wicked) of the Julio-Claudian dynasty) reigned in Rome from 13 October, AD 54 - 9 June, AD 68 -- later the 2nd Jerusalem Temple was destroyed by Rome in 70 A.D. (Titus Flavius Vespasianus (Vespasian) was the Emperor in Rome [69-79 AD] -- his son Roman General Titus Flavius Vespasianus (Titus) oversaw the destruction of Israel, Jerusalem and the Temple {this generation, Matthew 23:36} in 70 A.D. and was later briefly Emperor of Rome himself [79-81 A.D.]) - wiki.com} - Clearly, this was a horrific time for the early Christian church - Themes: There are generally speaking five themes that permeate this text: Hope, Suffering, *Holiness, Humility, Submission

This period is, in all likelihood, the first official persecution of Christians by Rome. The madman Nero was the Emperor of Rome at this time. This was the time period of The Great Fire of Rome where Nero supposedly played his fiddle while Rome burned. Roman historian Tacitus describes the scene this way: "Neither human resources, nor imperial generosity, nor appeasement of the gods, eliminated the sinister suspicion that the fire had been deliberately started. To stop the rumor, Nero, made scapegoats--and punished with every refinement the notoriously depraved Christians (as they were popularly called). Their originator, Christ, had been executed in Tiberius' reign by the Procurator of Judaea, Pontius Pilatus (who was actually a Praefectus, not a Procurator). But in spite of this temporary setback, the deadly superstition had broken out again, not just in Judaea (where the mischief had started) but even in Rome. All degraded and shameful practices collect and flourish in the capital. First, Nero had the self-admitted Christians arrested. Then, on their information, large numbers of others were condemned--not so much for starting fires as because of their hatred for the human race. Their deaths were made amusing. Dressed in wild animals' skins, they were torn to pieces by dogs, or crucified, or made into torches to be set on fire after dark as illumination.... Despite their guilt as Christians, and the ruthless punishment it deserved, the victims were pitied. For it was felt that they were being sacrificed to one man's brutality rather than to the national interest." -- Clearly, this was a horrific time for the early Christian church. Themes: There are generally speaking five themes that permeate this text: Hope, Suffering, Holiness, Humility [and] Submission. It serves us well to understand the historical backdrop to this text. The church was under unspeakable persecution. Let's keep this in mind as we journey together the God-breathed doctrines and life-applications from the Apostle Peter. http://www.boomerinthepew.com/2008/07/book-of-1st-pet.html

Studies in 1 Peter - A Call to Holiness - "As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as He which hath called [invited] you is Holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written (Leviticus 11:44), Be ye holy; for I am Holy" [1 Peter 1:14-16 KJV] - "But ye are a chosen generation [peer group], a Royal Priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; *that ye should shew forth the Praises of Him who hath called [invited] you out of darkness into His marvellous light" [1 Peter 2:9 KJV]

Introduction: The word "holy," in contemporary thinking, is closely akin to the term "nerd" which our children use. Holiness is not thought of as a virtue but as a vice. How insulting to be thought of as "holy" by your peers. Even in the church, holiness is becoming rare. Only recently I heard a well-known evangelist speak of holiness as something which the church in America has lost. How comfortable we are to add God to our lives with little or no change necessary on our part. Such is not the message of the true gospel or the teaching of the Scriptures on the spiritual life. The Old Testament prophets, along with John the Baptist and then Jesus, called for a radical change for those who would trust and obey God. "Repent" was an indispensable word to those who proclaimed the Word of God in truth. To repent means to change not only our thinking but our actions. When we are saved, we are saved from our heathen desires and practices and called to live a life of holiness. This call to holiness comes very early in Peter's first epistle in chapter 1:14-16 and continues to be stressed throughout his epistle. The belief and behavior of holiness of which Peter speaks comes neither naturally (through our flesh) nor easily. Peter did not find it natural or easy either. While the concept of holiness is frequently taught in the Old Testament, Judaism (especially the scribes and Pharisees) distorted it until it became something entirely different. To many, the scribes and Pharisees, who saw themselves as holy, were the epitome of holiness. How shocking Jesus' words must have been to those who first heard them: "For I say to you, that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5:20). True holiness was not what the scribes and Pharisees or Peter thought it was. The message Peter shares with us in his first epistle came to him with great difficulty. In fact, only after the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord did Peter understand true holiness. ... A Basic Definition of Holiness: To be holy is the opposite of being "common" or "profane." God is holy in that He is utterly different and distinct from His creation. His people must also be distinct, separate from the heathen attitudes and actions which characterized them as unbelievers. The translation of 1 Peter 2:9 by the King James Version conveys this idea of "separateness:" http://bible.org/seriespage/call-holiness-1-peter-114-16

1 Peter 1: 22-2:3 Spiritual Dynamics of Holiness - When Peter tells us: "Be holy in everything you do" he is simply saying: "Live every aspect of your lives the way God designed you to live" - God has created us in His image, and therefore our lives have a high purpose-to demonstrate His character (His love, righteousness, justice, etc.) in this world - *To live otherwise is to profane my life, to misrepresent God's character *and to damage myself and others

Introduction: As Mark pointed out last week, this section of 1 Peter is about holiness (read 1:15). "Holiness" has negative connotations in our culture ("holy roller;" "holier than thou"), so we tend to avoid it (and use a more relevant synonym like "sanctification!"). Actually, the biblical meaning of holiness is intensely positive. Holiness means fulfilling the special purpose for which something or someone was designed. Holiness presumes a designer [creator]. Holiness not only brings fulfillment to the holy thing or person-it also brings health and beauty into the world, and it brings honor to its designer/owner. Conversely, to use something or someone in an unholy way is to make it profane. ... When Peter tells us: "Be holy in everything you do," he is simply saying: "Live every aspect of your lives the way God designed you to live." God has created us in his image, and therefore our lives have a high purpose-to demonstrate his character (his love, righteousness, justice, etc.) in this world. To live otherwise is to profane my life-to misrepresent God's character and to damage myself and others. ... Holiness begins with a new birth: The first thing Peter emphasizes is that holiness begins with a new birth. Everything he says about holiness in this passage is rooted in the assumption that his audience has "been born again" (1:23). To be born again means to be {born again spiritually, become a child of God - adoption as sons and daughters comes later after the (2 Corinthians 5:6-10) judgment in Heaven} adopted into God's family, to be made his son or Daughter. Why must holiness begin with {spiritual birth} adoption? Because adoption provides the foundation for the rest of your development. {Note: If you are waiting for an adoption (in heaven) to begin to become holy it will be too late because holiness begins with becoming a (born again) child of God [here on earth] and then holiness in a sense is completed and mostly finished at the adoption in Heaven. - Also Note: I think we have discovered something about modern Christianity and that is that all the leaders, teachers and pastors all want to ignore the (2 Corinthians 5:6-10) Judgment Seat of Jesus Christ that is needed in the life of every believer for God's final and ultimate approval of the believer. Skipping over being a child of God and wanting instead to immediately claim the Adoption as Sons and Daughters attempting to prematurely receive the advanced privileges and blessings that go along with the adoption and Sonship. -- Consider This: If Jesus Christ were to manifest [being God] before our very eyes and at the same moment Elijah, Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, John the Baptist, and the Angels Michael and Gabriel and even the evil entities Apollyon, Abaddon and Satan himself also materialized before our eyes as deceiving messengers of light would you be able recognize and immediately be able to pick out your Father God in Jesus Christ from among the group? No! Because we have never seen Jesus visually [face to face] in His Glory and therefore having not seen Jesus [and being unable to identify who He is] we remain a "children of God" it is a child that might not be able to recognize their father [earthy or heavenly] by sight but it is a Son having met his father that can identify their father by sight [the other option from 'born again' into the family as a Child of God and later the 'Adoption' {inheritance} as an approved of Son (Sonship) or Daughter, becoming a living heir of the Kingdom of God or else that of a spiritual 'bastard' a child or an adult who has not yet met or is unable to identify their Heavenly Father]. For the Christian we will see Jesus face to face in Heaven and having met Jesus face to face [brother to brother and Father to Son or Daughter] and after becoming adopted by God [Father, Son and Holy Spirit] in Heaven we as Sons and Daughters will know who our Father is. But in the meantime being a child we have to be very careful because Satan is indeed passing himself off as our Father and having not seen our Father (because we are only children) we can be deceived if we look to the advanced giftings that Satan is going to present in order to entice people to accept sonship in Satan. -- We will be able to cover more of this very important topic in the Bible's book of Job. -- Lastly: In ancient Rome, Greece and also in Israel if a person [regardless of age] went into their fathers house and saw the keys to the chariot (or car) sitting on the counter as a child of the family [regardless of age - they might even be living on their own] they would have to wait for the parent and ask permission from the parent to use the chariot. However if the person were a Son [in status and authority] (having received the adoption - very literal in Roman customs) within the family that person could help themselves to the vehicle because they know their father and their father knows them and trusts them and they are going to be faithful to use the vehicle in accordance with the father's desires. The son is probably not going to be reckless and wreck the vehicle or damage property possibly injuring or even killing himself. Instead the son will use the vehicle in a way that will assist the family overall and will return the vehicle in good condition, fueled and ready to go again because the Son knows the Father and is in agreement with the Father! However with the child [regardless of age] who knows what kind of a 'wild child' event might happen and therefore a good Father would more closely supervise and initiate more authority over the child until the child can grow and mature [through a relationship in knowing who the Father is] into a faithful Son or Daughter.} http://www.xenos.org/teachings/nt/peter/gary/1pet1-3.htm

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1 Peter 1 - The Apostle Peter the Apostle of Holiness - The first order of Holiness is to understand that while we are alive in our fleshly body in the physical world that we live holiness generally at the level of a Child of God in need of God's constant presence and supervision -- '1 Peter 1:1-5 Peter, an Apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, Elect [called for a purpose - i.e. Evangelist] according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the [Holy] Spirit, *unto obedience *and sprinkling of *the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope *by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, *reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith [in the completed works of the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ] unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.'

1 Peter 1:9-17 Receiving the end [lit. final, completed, end result, outcome - Telos, G5056] of your faith [as a child], even the salvation {Adoption} of your souls. Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace [individuality - individual relationship with God] that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings [1st Coming] of Christ, and the Glory [2nd Coming] that should follow. ... As obedient *children [Teknon, G5043], not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as He which hath called you is Holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written (Leviticus 11:44), Be ye holy; for I am Holy. -- 1 Peter 1:18-23 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things [i.e. money], as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious Blood of [Jesus] Christ, as of a [sacrificial] lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the [beginning] foundation of the world, but was manifest [revealed] in these last times for you, Who by Him [Jesus] do [we] believe in God, that raised Him up from the dead, and gave Him Glory; that your faith and hope might be in God. Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the Truth [Bible] through the [Holy] Spirit unto *unfeigned love of the brethren [fellow Christians], see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: *Being *born again, not of [perishable] corruptible seed, but of [eternal] incorruptible [Spirit], by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth forever. - Note: The eternal Holiness that Peter is speaking of first involves the Blood of Jesus Christ, the presence of the Holy Spirit and of our being 'born again' by faith through the eternal Blood and the Holy Spirit in order to become children of God. It is only through having the born again Spirit image of God within us and by being in the actual spiritual presence of God that the Holiness of God then becomes our holiness.

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1 Peter 2 - Holiness derives from being in the presence of God [prayer, Bible study, fellowship, service to God] 'the milk of the Word' as a Child of God and then Christian maturity derives from holiness [maturity does not lead to holiness (acceptability and a closer relationship with God), holiness (intimate fellowship with God) leads a Child of God to maturity and eventually into Sonship] -- '1 Peter 2:1-3 Wherefore laying aside all malice [mischievous], and all guile [bitterness], and hypocrisies [self-promotion], and envies, and all evil speakings, *As newborn babes (Matthew 18:3), desire the sincere milk of the Word (Bible), that ye may grow [mature] thereby: If so be *ye have tasted [fellowshipped with God] that the Lord [Jesus Christ] is gracious.'

1 Peter 2:4-12 To whom coming [unto Jesus Christ], as unto a living (Temple) stone, disallowed [rejected] indeed of men, *but chosen of God, and *precious, *Ye [fellow Christians] also, as lively (Temple) stones, are built up [together as the body of Christ comprising] a Spiritual House [Heavenly Temple], an Holy Priesthood [having direct access to God], to offer up *spiritual sacrifices [praise, thanks, worship], acceptable to God by [being through] Jesus Christ. Wherefore also it is contained in the Scripture (Isaiah 28:16), Behold, I lay in Sion (Mt. Zion - Temple Mount in Jerusalem) a chief corner stone {the cornerstone anchors the location and sets the direction of the building}, elect (chosen for a reason), precious: and he that believeth on Him [Jesus Christ] *shall not be confounded [disappointed]. Unto you therefore which believe He [Jesus] is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, And a stone of stumbling, and *a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the Word (Bible), being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed [lit. placed aside - served their desires]. *But ye [Christians] are a Chosen Generation [peer group], a Royal Priesthood [brotherhood with Jesus the King of the Tribe of Judah and the High Priest of the order of Melchizedek], an Holy Nation [assembly], a peculiar people; *that ye should shew forth the praises of Him [Jesus Christ] who hath called [invited] you out of darkness into His marvellous [eternal] light: Which [but] in time past [Gentiles] were not a people, but [Christians] are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy [knowledge of God], but now have obtained mercy [knowledge of God]. Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation [God's presence]. - Note: This amazing verse proclaims that each individual Christian [while on earth] through the experiencing of trials and tribulations on earth is being shaped and matured by life itself [a relationship with God] in order to be a part of and to belong as a living stone in an eternal Spirit Temple being built and crafted for all eternity by God.

BasicChristian.org: The Royal Priesthood - The High Calling of each Christian - Now that we are Christians and in a relationship with God there is still the question of how do we as people approach and interact with the Holy God?

In the Old Testament there are three groups of people who knowingly interacted with God these three distinct groups are the Priests, the Prophets, and the Citizens of God's Kingly Rule and Authority. • The office of Priest is interaction with God in the act of man offering to God. • The office of Prophet is interaction with God in the act of man receiving from God. • The office and position of Citizen or Subject of the King is interaction with God, the Eternal King, in the act of man having placed his life under the Authority and Rule of God the True King. Are these just Old Testament Practices or do these offices still have merit for us today in the New Testament Church? And if so, how do they work? http://www.basicchristian.org/royalpriesthood.html

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1 Peter 3 - The Apostle Peter admonishes all Christians to have a Heavenly, eternal perspective -- '1 Peter 3:8-9 Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as [Christian] brethren, be pitiful [compassionate], be courteous: Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise [contrary to the ways of the world instead be a] blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should [as Sons and Daughters] inherit a [living, eternal] blessing.'

1 Peter 3:10-18 For he that will love life [lit. eternal spirit life - Zoe, G2222 - (not physical life - Bios {Biology}, G979)], and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it. *For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and *His ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil. And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good [being in God's Divine protection]? But and [then] if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye: and *be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; *But sanctify the Lord God [Jesus Christ] in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ. *For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer [as Jesus Christ did] for well doing, than for evil [criminal] doing. For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might [remove sin and] bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened [made alive] by the [Holy] Spirit ... - Note: The two and only two options of mankind [and as the verse goes on to explain the same two options equally had applied to the Angelic realm]. The first option (desired by God) is fellowship with God as a Child of God [as a Son of God for Angels] the second option (not intended by God) is to be at enmity with God.

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1 Peter 4 - The Apostle Peter reveals that the Christian Church is an intermixed, interdependent group of individuals - Comprised of all the individuals in attendance [and in prayer] and it is certainly not just the efforts and accomplishments of one highly visible person or of a few notable people -- '1 Peter 4:10 As every man hath received the [spiritual] gift [i.e. administration, servant, teacher, leader, visionary, etc.], even so minister the same [use your own (God given) gift - don't try to imitate the gifts of others] one to another, *as good stewards of the manifold grace [individuality given to us] of God. If any man speak [to a group or to another person], let him speak as the oracles [pages of the Bible] of God; if any man minister [servant], let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: *that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be Praise and Dominion forever and ever. Amen.'

1 Peter 4:17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the House of God: and if it first begin at us [Christians], what shall the end be of them [non-believers] that obey not the Gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved [only by the works of Jesus Christ through His cross and His resurrection], where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear [there is no place but the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ to appear for salvation]? Wherefore let them [Christians] that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to Him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator. - Note: The judgment of God actually begins with the Children of God in the 'House of God' and then later [the Book of Revelation] everyone and even the entire earth is ultimately judged by God.

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1 Peter 5 - The Apostle Peter warns the Pastors not to neglect their temporary assignment as a faithful shepherd to a part of the flock of God -- '1 Peter 5:1-4 The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and *a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker [Mount of Transfiguration, Matthew 17:1-2] of the Glory [of Jesus] that shall be revealed: *Feed [read the Bible to] the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords [owners] over God's heritage, but being [servant] ensamples [examples] to the flock. And when [Jesus Christ] the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a Crown of Glory that fadeth not away.'

The Bible's book of 1 Peter concludes: 1 Peter 5:6-14 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time: *Casting all your care upon Him; for *He careth for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the Devil [Satan, Lucifer], as a roaring [boasting] lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are [alive] in the world. But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto His eternal Glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect [complete], stablish [establish], strengthen, settle you. To Him [Jesus Christ] be Glory and *Dominion [governmental authority - i.e. federal authority] forever and ever. Amen. By Silvanus, a faithful brother unto you, as I suppose, I have written briefly, exhorting, and testifying that this is the true grace of God wherein ye stand. The Church that is at *Babylon [probably Rome], elected together with you, saluteth you; and so doth Marcus my son. Greet ye one another with a kiss of charity. Peace be with you all that are in Christ Jesus. Amen. - Note: It's probably Rome that Peter is referring to in that he is saying that the previous captivity and spiritual warfare of old Babylon has only shifted and is now in the new location of Rome and is just as fierce as ever in waging a multi fronted [physical, emotional, spiritual] assault against the Children of God.

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THE SECOND EPISTLE GENERAL OF

2 PETER

Epistle of 2nd Peter - 2nd Peter was written somewhere around 67 AD, shortly before Peter's martyrdom in Rome

2nd Peter was written somewhere around 67 AD, shortly before Peter's martyrdom in Rome. It is [one of] the most controversial book of the New Testament because a wide variety of scholars deny its authenticity [Jude is also very controversial and easily the Book of Revelation is the most controversial book in the N.T. and probably the whole Bible for that matter]. There is no real mention of it before the early 3rd century [200's] and Origen {of Alexandria, Egypt} (185~254 A.D.), who accepted it, while admitting that others did not. Ultimately, Christians can rely on the epistle as a matter of faith, for in a biblical worldview it is unthinkable that God could not protect the Scriptures sufficiently to avoid a spurious epistle's inclusion. - [Note: 2nd Peter probably didn't get circulated as much as 1st Peter, the letters of Paul and some of the other N.T. letters did - the book of Jude was not a widely circulated letter. - Also Note: the lesser circulated epistles; Philemon, II John, and III John all missed out on some early N.T. Bible canonization -- i.e. Didymus the blind {of Alexandria, Egypt} (A.D. 313~398 A.D.) who was a celebrated head of the catechetical school at Alexandria {Egypt} - Source: http://www.ntcanon.org/Didymus.shtml] http://www.centralcal.com/2peter.htm

Background of Second Peter - The theme of 2 Peter is summarized by the word 'knowledge' which occurs twelve times in the [short] letter - In a letter which fights false teaching, the greatest weapon is a knowledge of the truth

Occasion: There was persecution from the outside of the church as well as false teachers within the church. Peter grounds his hearers in the authoritative word of God given not by the will of man but by the Holy Spirit. Armed with the word of God these believers were to refute the false teachers. Peter in his later years writes to the churches of Asia Minor and warns, encourages and instructs them in light of Christ's second coming. The readers must consider the second coming of Christ as an historic fulfillment of the progress of God's plan and not simply another crystal ball by which men could know the future for personal and selfish gain. http://www.abu.nb.ca/ecm/Pet20b.htm

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2 Peter 1 - Where 1st Peter was written more with Christian conduct, holiness and maturity in view the second letter, 2nd Peter was written more with Christian endurance and the eventual End Times in view -- '2 Peter 1:16 For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power [supernatural, the resurrection power - Dunamis, G1411] and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but [as Disciples and Apostles] were eyewitnesses of His majesty.'

2 Peter 1:16-21 For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but *were eyewitnesses [to actual events] of His majesty. For He [Jesus] received from God the Father Honor and Glory, when there came such a voice to Him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. *And this voice which came from Heaven we heard, when we were with Him in the Holy Mount [the Mount of Transfiguration, Matthew 17:1-2]. *We have also a *more sure word of Prophecy [O.T. and N.T. both containing 1st Coming (i.e. Simeon in Luke 2:26) and 2nd Coming prophecies (i.e. Jude 1:14)]; *whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the Day Star arise [the early morning resurrection of Jesus Christ] in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation [from the prophet]. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake *as they were moved by the Holy [Spirit] Ghost. - Note: Prophecy came not as an idea or as an inkling from men but as the deliberate (Epignosis, G1922 - strong, experiential, deliberate Knowledge from God above). The prophecies in the Bible were written without private interpretations from the prophets themselves but the Bible itself including the prophecies are for our own individual private interpretations. We are all free in the presence and under the guidance of the Holy Spirit to interpret the 'Living Scriptures' [2 Timothy 1:10, 2 Timothy 3:16] and apply them to our own individual lives as Jesus the 'Daylight Star' arises in our own heart to guide us into His decisions regarding His Kingdom the eternal Kingdom of God.

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2 Peter 2 - The Apostle Peter points out that the Christian Church is always going to have to contend with false doctrines and false teachers just as the Jews themselves had to contend with false prophets in their midst -- '2 Peter 2:1-3 But there were false prophets also among the people [in O.T. times], even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily [privately, secretly, behind closed doors] shall bring in damnable heresies, *even denying the Lord [Jesus] that bought them [paid with His blood for our sins], and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom The Way of Truth [Christianity] shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise [selling blessings or ministry items] of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.'

2 Peter 2:18-21 For when they [merchandisers] speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error. *While they promise them [followers] liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: *for of whom a man is overcome, *of the same is he brought in bondage. For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge [knowledge from above, Epignosis, G1922] of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the [lost salvation] latter end is worse with them than the [unsaved] beginning. *For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the Holy Commandment [love God and love your neighbor (Matthew 22:37-40)] delivered unto them. - Note: To turn from God is to reject Salvation. Peter is alluding to the fact that often people first turn away from God subtly, being allured away by even slightly turning towards other people [often they end up being unscrupulous people], ministries, events or items and then having been lured away from Jesus being gradually overcome having lost focus of the Truth of Jesus Christ. The safety of our soul is in Jesus Christ and in Jesus Christ alone so we do need to be diligent and faithful to keep the Truth and Light of Jesus Christ always shining brightly before us.

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2 Peter 3 - The Apostle Peter begins to close his second and last epistle with a warning that eventually the earth is going to be judged again and at the Command of God all physical things will perish in a 'fervent heat' -- '2 Peter 3:1-5 This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance: That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the Holy Prophets, and of the Commandment [love God and love your neighbor (Matthew 22:37-40)] of us the Apostles of the Lord and Savior [Jesus Christ]: Knowing this first, that *there shall come in the Last Days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of His [return, 2nd] coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. For this they willingly are ignorant [the earth has not continued unchanged but has had radical changes (flood of Noah) and will continue in the Book of Revelation to have more radical changes] of, that by the [Command] Word of God the heavens [skies] were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water ...' {Note: The original earth of creation was flooded in the flood of Noah by the Command judgment of *water from God - now the earth is currently being judged this time by the *blood and cross of Jesus Christ and with the Testimony of the Holy *Spirit (1 John 5:6-9) - and finally for those who reject the water and the blood and the Holy Spirit the earth will again be judged a final time by judgment and destruction in *fire.}

The Bible's book of 2nd Peter concludes: 2 Peter 3:6 Whereby the world that then was [before Noah], being overflowed with water, perished: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store [by the blood of Jesus Christ], reserved unto fire against the day of [final] judgment and perdition of ungodly men. But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. *The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; *but is longsuffering to us-ward, *not willing that any should perish, *but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works [of man] that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these [physical] things shall be dissolved, *what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, *Looking for and hasting [keeping busy] unto the coming of the Day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat [coming judgment of fire]? Nevertheless *we, according to His promise, *look for new heavens and a new earth, *wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of Him in peace, without spot, and blameless. ... 2 Peter 3:17-18 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. *But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be glory both now and forever. Amen.

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THE FIRST EPISTLE GENERAL OF

1 JOHN

History of John the Disciple of Jesus

To learn the history of John, the disciple of Jesus, we begin with his life before he met Jesus. John, his brother James, Peter, and Andrew were all partners in the fishing business before they became disciples of Jesus. John was the son of Zebedee who was also a fisherman in Galilee. John's mother's name was Salome and some say that Salome was the sister of Jesus' mother, Mary. John owned a home in Jerusalem. Shortly before the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 AD, John moved to Ephesus. John pastored a church in Ephesus. He communicated with other churches in the area as stated in the book of Revelation. He advised and counseled many people who would later become believers in Jesus Christ as the Son of God. By order of the Roman Emperor, Domitian, John was exiled to the island, Patmos. Domitian ordered his exile because he saw John as a threat to his rule. However, his popularity and influence in the Christian community continued through correspondence with all the churches. John wrote the book of Revelation during his exile. When he was released from exile, he returned to Ephesus. John founded and built churches all through Asia until he was old, and died the sixty-eighth year after our Lord's passion, peacefully in Ephesus. During his life, John wrote the book of John and the 1st, 2nd and 3rd book of John and the book of Revelation. Near the end of his life, it is said that he constantly repeated the phrase, "Little children, love one another!" He did that because he believed it was the Lord's most important commandment. http://www.allaboutjesuschrist.org/history-of-john-the-disciple-of-jesus-faq.htm

1st John - *Let us Love One Another - Because God's children have experienced such love, the command that comes to them to love each other is not the "ought" of external compulsion but the "ought" of internal constraint (Bruce 1970:109) - So strong is John's confidence that the Christian community will fulfill this command that he writes that mutual Christian love manifests the presence and action of the invisible God (v. 12; Smalley 1984:246) - When he writes no one has ever seen God, he calls to mind the same statement in the Gospel of John (1:18) - *In both cases, he is not trying to tell us what God is like but how God is known - And God is known not only in the revelation that comes to us in Jesus (Jn 1:18) but also by the manifestation of our love for each other (1 Jn 4:12) [in and through Jesus Christ]

Let Us Love One Another: One of the best-known works of Western art is surely that section of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel which depicts God reaching down to touch Adam's fingertip and give him life. So well known is this portion of Michelangelo's monumental work that it appears not merely in art histories and coffee-table display books, but is also used and caricatured in advertising and political cartoons. Only the most jaded of tourists can fail to marvel when gazing up at the mural, so laboriously and painstakingly painted, so powerful in its depiction of the life-giving power of God. We stop, study, appraise and admire. What a masterpiece! What an artist! -- In this section of the epistle, John writes, This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world (v. 9). We might be tempted to exclaim, What a masterpiece! What an artist! But "The Sending of the Son" is not simply the title of a painting that we study, admire and appreciate. Michelangelo's painting has power not just because of its artistic merits, but because we can virtually feel the life that flows from God's hand to Adam. Even so, John writes not just that God showed his love among us but that he did so by sending the Son into the world that we might live through him. God's life-giving love, then, is the theme of this passage. As John develops this theme, he makes three important points: God is the source of all love (4:7-8); God models what genuine love is (4:9-10); and God commands us to love each other (4:11-12). We move from the assertion that God is love to the command that we are to love each other. Indeed, the whole point of the passage is to trace the relationship between God's love and human love, and to show how human love flows from God's own love. The Source of Love (4:7-8). -- In exploring the relationship between God's love for us and our love for each other, the Elder makes two statements: love comes from God (v. 7), and God is love (v. 8). The second statement is more far-reaching than the first. To comprehend the sweeping character of the statement God is love, substitute the name of anyone you know--your mother, pastor, friend, a well-known Christian or hero of the faith or even yourself--for "God." Few are the people we would describe simply with the word love. Mom may be the most loving person you have known. She may have shown you what mature, self-giving, genuine love is like. But no matter how full, rich and steadfast her love, the statement "Mom is loving," can never be changed into "Mom is love." For love does not characterize her as it characterizes God. Because God is love, love comes from God. God is the source of love. Like the electricity running through electrical wires, love comes from God to us, then flows through us to others in the community. When John exhorts his readers, let us love one another, he is encouraging them to allow God's love to flow through them. For because God is love, love must characterize those who claim to be born of God or to know God (v. 7; 3:10, 14; 4:20-21). Those who claim to be doing the will of God and reflecting God's activity in the world will be known by the love they manifest for God and for each other. This was what Jesus told his dis ciples (Jn 13:35). ... First, just as God's love was manifested in the sending of the Son, so John expects that we will demonstrate love in action to others (compare 3:16-18). Christians will live out their love in kindness, generosity and service to others. But, second, the Elder's argument moves quickly beyond the example that God's love provides for us to an examination of its active and redeeming character (vv. 9-10). God has loved us in a way that has given us life. The atoning death of Jesus provides the means by which believers come into a life-giving realm where love is received and expressed (John 3:16). We do not simply gaze at the painting on the wall; we are touched by the hand of God and given life-giving love. And, third, because life and love come from God, it is God's activity and not our own behavior and efforts that defines the essence of love. The Command to Love (4:11-12). Because God's children have experienced such love, the command that comes to them to love each other is not the "ought" of external compulsion but the "ought" of internal constraint (Bruce 1970:109). On its own, the commandment cannot provide the incentive or the power to fulfill it, and this might foster either discouragement or indifference. But those who are in touch with the very source of love, who have been shown what love is and who are the recipients of a great and healing love, can receive the commandment with hope and joy. For they are not commanded to do something that is alien to their experience or beyond their ability to learn and to do. So strong is John's confidence that the Christian community will fulfill this command that he writes that mutual Christian love manifests the presence and action of the invisible God (v. 12; Smalley 1984:246). When he writes no one has ever seen God, he calls to mind the same statement in the Gospel of John (1:18). In both cases, he is not trying to tell us what God is like but how God is known. And God is known not only in the revelation that comes to us in Jesus (John 1:18) but also by the manifestation of our love for each other (1 Jn 4:12). The love of believers makes evident and concrete the activity of God among them. In fact, when the Elder writes that this is how [God's] love is made complete, he means that it reaches its intended goal when it flows from God, through us, to our fellow believers. The love with which God loved us must in turn be extended to the fellowship of believers. In short, God not only gives us the command to love but has also modeled for us what true love is, just as Jesus modeled love for his disciples when he washed their feet before his death (Johnn 13:1-17). Love that does not express itself concretely and in service to others is not love (1 Jn 3:16-18). But even more, God also empowers us to love. By confession of the Son whom God has sent, we are born of God and come to know God, who is love (v. 7); we are given life (v. 9); our sins are forgiven (v. 10). We come into the realm of life and love, in which we are given life and are empowered to extend the same kind of life-giving love to others. We come to know the source of love. http://www.biblegateway.com/resources/commentaries/IVP-NT/1John/Let-Us-Love-One-Another

Background of First John - Only in John among the biblical writers does the word 'antichrist' occur - It is mentioned in 1 John 2:18, 22; 4:3 and 2 John 7 - Anti means ['instead of,' replacement - replacement chirst (savior) - not Jesus Christ but a replacement - antichrist either as self or eventually Antichrist as Satan in the body of a human] 'one who takes the place of, or opposes or stands against' - The essence of the antichrist essentially is a denial of the incarnation and deity of Christ - This means the destruction of the redemptive work of Christ, which was the basis for the destruction [works] of Satan himself - Without the work of Christ, Satan would continue in his evil ways - However *the cross [of Jesus Christ] puts an end to antichrist and all his plans [and abilities of entrapping and enslaving mankind]

Occasion: John writes near the end of the first century to define and defend the nature of the person of Christ against heretical teachings affecting the early church. The name given to the heresy which John addressed was Gnosticism from the Greek word for 'knowledge'. Gnosticism taught that only the spiritual was good and matter was evil. Thus for the Gnostics the goal of salvation was to free oneself from the material world through physical denial. Only a preoccupation with spiritual matters was good. Salvation was found in a mystical knowledge of the secret mysteries of this path of salvation. This view was a direct attack on the person and work of Christ. If matter was evil then Jesus could not become a physical man and so the incarnation was denied by the Gnostics. Jesus in his humanity was only a shadow. He only seemed to be Jesus but was not really there, therefore no one really died on the cross making the work of Christ null and void. This view of the person of Christ is called Docetism from the Greek word meaning 'to seem to be'. John also writes to deal with an enemy of the gospel called Cerinthus. While Cerinthus is not mentioned in the book of 1 John he is known to John from tradition. Irenaus an early church father tells the story that Polycarp a disciple of John used to tell. 'There are also those who heard from him that John, the disciple of the Lord, going to bathe at Ephesus, and perceiving Cerintus within, rushed out of the bath-house without bathing, exclaiming, Let us fly, lest even the bath - house fall down, because Cerintus, the enemy of the truth, is within.' -- John sets forth the deity of Jesus Christ as the Son of God. Message: The theme is best described in John's own words in 1 John 5:13 'These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.' John proceeds to give a check list of standards by which one can gage their spiritual health. Has all known sin been confessed to God? Is there obedience to God's word? Is there demonstrated love for the brethren? http://www.abu.nb.ca/ecm/John10b.htm

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1 John 1 - John the beloved Disciple and Apostle of Jesus Christ begins his first of three letters (epistles) - The first letter is to the general Church at large then his next letter is to a specific Church fellowship while his third letter is to an individual -- '1 John 1:1-4 That [Jesus Christ] which was from the beginning, which *we have heard, which *we have seen with our eyes, which *we [Apostles] have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of Life; For the life was manifested [Virgin Birth], and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that *eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested [Resurrection] unto us; That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, *that ye also may have fellowship with us [Christian Apostles]: and truly *our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.'

1 John 1:5-10 This then is the Message which we have heard of Him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the Truth: But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, *we have fellowship one with another, and *the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us *from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth [of the cross and resurrection] is not in us. If we confess [agree with God] our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us [with a new eternal life] from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. - Note: The Gospel of John, the Book of Revelation and the his three epistles (letters) were all written very late [around 90 A.D.] in the life of the beloved disciple of Jesus Christ yet the "Message" of Jesus Christ is the one and only central theme in all the writings of the Apostle John.

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1 John 2 - The Disciple and Apostle John writes of the works accomplished and completed in Jesus Christ for the Salvation of the entire world -- '1 John 2:1-2 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And He is the propitiation (full payment) for our sins: and *not for ours only, *but also for the sins of the whole world.' {Note: Everyone who chooses to be forgiven of their sin and to enter into a relationship with God through Jesus Christ will be accepted by God into a personal relationship with God.}

The Disciple John explains how we are to know if we are in God and how we are to know if others are in God as well: 1 John 2:3-17 And hereby we do know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments [Love God and love one another]. He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. But whoso keepeth His Word, in him verily is the love of God perfected [completed]: hereby know we that we are in Him. He that saith he abideth in Him *ought himself also so to walk, even as He Walked. Brethren, I write no new Commandment unto you, but an old Commandment which ye had from the beginning. The Old Commandment is the Word which ye have heard from the beginning. Again, a New [insight] Commandment I write unto you, which thing is true *in Him and *in you: *because the darkness is past, and the True [Resurrection] Light now shineth. He that saith He is in the [eternal resurrection] light, and hateth his brother, is in [spiritual] darkness even until now. *He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes. I write unto you, little children, *because your sins are forgiven you for His Name's sake [so God can fellowship with and among us]. I write unto you, fathers [faithful, tested Christians], because ye have known Him [Jesus] that is from the beginning. I write unto you, young men [those strong in the Christian faith], because ye have overcome [Satan] the wicked one. I write unto you, little children [those new in the Christian faith], because *ye *have *known [God] the Father. I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and *the Word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome [Satan] the wicked one. Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the *world [system], the *lust of the flesh, and the *lust of the eyes, and the *pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world [system]. And the world [system first then 1,000 years later the earth itself] passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever [eternally]. Little children, it is the Last Time [the last time (age) mankind will have to experience and endure separation from God]: and as ye have heard that *Antichrist [Satan manifested] shall come, even now are there many antichrists [self-saviors]; whereby we know that it is the Last Time [continuing into the 7th Kingdom]. They [some] went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us [Christians]: but they went out, *that they might be made *manifest [visible] that they were not all of us. But ye have an unction [anointing] from the Holy One [Father, Son Jesus, Holy Spirit], and ye know all things [eternally]. I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth. *Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist [self-savior], that denieth the Father and the Son. Whosoever denieth the Son, the same hath not the Father: but *he that acknowledgeth the Son hath the Father also. Let that therefore abide [remain] in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father. And *this is the promise that He hath promised us, even *eternal life. These things have I written unto you concerning them [false teachers] that seduce you. But the anointing which ye have received of Him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same [Holy Spirit] anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in Him [Jesus Christ]. And now, little children, abide in Him [Jesus Christ]; that, when He shall appear [2nd Coming], we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before Him at His coming. If ye know that He is Righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of Him.

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1 John 3 - The Disciple John explains that our partaking in the Love that has been and is manifested in Jesus Christ reaches its ultimate conclusion in our eternal life in Jesus Christ -- '1 John 3:1-3 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons [lit. children] of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not. Beloved, now are we the sons [lit. children] of God [see also - Romans 8:14, Sons of God], and it doth not yet appear what we shall be [in the resurrection]: but we know that, when He shall appear [2nd Coming], we shall be [bodily] like Him [Jesus Christ]; for we shall [bodily] see Him as He is. And every man that hath this hope [eternal life] in him purifieth himself, even as He [Jesus Christ] is pure.'

The Disciple John explains that God is far greater than our own uncertain heart, fears and worries and that to trust in Jesus Christ with our life is to receive a full eternal life from Jesus Christ: 1 John 3:4-24 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. And ye know that He [Jesus Christ] was manifested to take away our sins; and in Him is no sin. Whosoever abideth in Him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen [lit. perceive - Horao, G3708] Him, neither known Him. Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as He is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the Devil [Lucifer, Lucifer]; for the Devil sinneth from the beginning [of mankind]. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works [strength] of the Devil. Whosoever is born [again] of God doth not commit sin [separation from God]; for His seed [Holy Spirit] remaineth in him: and he cannot [separate from God] sin, because he is born of God. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the Devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother. For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew [Abel] his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and [Abel] his brother's righteous. Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you. We know that we have passed from death unto [eternal] life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer [like Cain]: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him. *For if our heart [thoughts] condemn us, *God is greater than our heart [thoughts and imaginations], and knoweth all things. Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him [as we have need], because we keep His commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight. And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the Name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as He [Jesus Christ] gave us Commandment. And he that keepeth His Commandments dwelleth in Him, and He in him. And hereby we know that He abideth in us, *by the [Holy] Spirit which He hath given us.

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1 John 4 - The Disciple John warns everyone about the deceiving, manipulating and evil spirits that are out to destroy mankind and that often the evil spirits work directly through mankind -- '1 John 4:1-3 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets [evil spirits] are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the [Holy] Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth [agrees in word and actions] that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not [in word and lifestyle] that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; *and even now already is it in the world.'

The Apostle John declares our certain victory over our own sin and this world in the love and faithfulness of Jesus Christ: 1 John 4:4-21 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them [false teachers]: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. *Hereby know we the *Spirit of Truth, and the *spirit of error. Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born [again] of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was *manifested the Love of God toward us, because that *God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him [Jesus Christ]. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us [first], and sent His Son to be the propitiation [full payment] for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. No man hath seen [the complete Divine fullness of] God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and His love is perfected in us. Hereby know we that we dwell in Him, and He in us, because He hath given us of His Spirit. And *we have seen [God in Jesus] and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. Whosoever shall confess [agree with God] that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. *God is love [commitment]; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect [complete], *that we may have boldness *in the day of judgment: because as He is [holy and righteous], so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. We love Him [God], because He first loved us. If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this Commandment have we from Him, That he who loveth God love his brother also. - Note: God is Love therefore we are to love one another. The Love of God is an attribute of God and it is one of the many attributes and characteristics of God; including God's Love and also His faithfulness, His Righteousness, His Justice and His eternal life being.

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1 John 5 - The Disciple John explains that our victory over our sin and this world leads to fellowship - Fellowship both with our fellow mankind and our personal fellowship with God -- '1 John 5:1-5 Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ [Savior] is born of God: and every one that loveth Him [Father God] that begat loveth Him [Jesus Christ] also that is begotten of Him [Father God]. By this we know that we love the Children of God, when we love God, and keep His Commandments. For this is the love of God, that we keep His Commandments: and His Commandments are not grievous. For whatsoever is born [again] of God overcometh the world: *and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even *our faith [belief in the finished work of Jesus; Creation, Cross, Resurrection]. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?'

The Bible's book of 1 John concludes with another declaration that the Christian does already have eternal life in Jesus Christ: 1 John 5:6-21 This is He [Jesus Christ] that came by [physical] water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the [Holy] Spirit that beareth witness, because the [Holy] Spirit is Truth. *For there are three [Tri-unity] that bear record in heaven, the *Father, the Word [Jeus Christ], and the Holy [Spirit] Ghost: *and these three are one [Tri-unity]. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the spirit [(living - breathing, John 3:5) Jesus physically manifested], and the [physical] water {Virgin birth, Baptism John 1:31, death on the cross (water and blood)}, and the [physical] blood, John 19:34 {stories, myths, legends and ghosts go not breath and bleed human blood (water and blood)}: and these three [the physical manifestation] agree in one [that Jesus came in human physical flesh]. If we receive the witness of men [good], [but] the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which He hath Testified of His Son. He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made Him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of His Son. And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. *He [human] that hath the Son [Jesus Christ] hath [eternal] life; and he that hath not [Jesus Christ] the Son of God hath not [eternal] life. These things have I written unto you that believe on the Name [Jesus Christ] of the Son of God; *that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the Name [Jesus Christ] of the Son of God. And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask [in prayer] anything according to His will, He heareth us: And if we know that He hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him [God hears our prayers and answers them according to His will in our life]. If any man see his brother sin a sin [ordinary unrighteous sin] which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death [unbelief, rejection of Jesus Christ]: I do not say that he [intercessor] shall pray for it [intercessory cannot override the unbelief of the human will]. *All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death. We know that whosoever is born [again - with faith/belief] of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not [eternally]. And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness. And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know Him [Father] that is True, and we are in Him that is True, even in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the True God, and *eternal life. Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.

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THE SECOND EPISTLE OF

2 JOHN

Walking Thru The Bible - SECOND & THIRD JOHN - While John does not use his name in these two epistles it is generally accepted by the scholars that the writer is the same as the writer of the first epistle and the Gospel that bears his name - John refers to himself as "the elder" not in the sense in which that word is synonymous with bishop in a local church but in the primary sense of an older or aged person - *John writes to warn this dear sister (or Church congregation) against having her hospitality taken advantage of by the false teachers circulating in the region (PDF)

Recipient of 2nd John: There is a great diversity among the scholars as to whom the letter was really addressed, some think "the elect lady, and her children" meant a particular Christian woman and those who met in her house to worship God. Some believe that either "Electa" or "Lady" may have been her name. If so, this is then a more personal letter than the first epistle. Others believe this reference is simply to a local church and its members. To speak of a church under the figure of a "Lady and her Children" is in no sense unlikely. If the "chosen lady" is a figurative way of designating a particular church, then the "chosen sister" of v.13 would mean a different church, or "sister" congregation. Perhaps as one writer has put it, "the problem of the address is insoluble with our present knowledge." Background of 2nd John: The false philosophy of Gnosticism and its teachers is still the major problem with which this epistles deals. This second epistle had more to do with the practical side of the right attitude to take toward Truth, false doctrine, false teachers and faithful brethren. John writes to warn this dear sister (or congregation) against having her hospitality taken advantage of by the false teachers circulating in the region (vs. 9-11). -- Purpose and Contents of 2nd John: 1) John expresses joy in finding her "children" walking in the truth as they had been commanded of God. This was a cause of joy when so many were being led astray by false teachers. They had been taught to love the truth (2 Thess.2:10-12). That truth had to be discerned and they must continue to walk in it lest they lose those things already accomplished such Traveling preachers, perhaps sent by John, had visited the church and a leader there named Diotrephes had spoken against the Apostle John and had stood against those who had received them. The only reason given for his conduct was that he "loved to have the preeminence." John condemned this haughty and selfish ambition and the envy and jealousy it stirred up in his heart as reflected in his wicked treatment of both John and other brethren. http://home.hiwaay.net/~wgann/walk/2&3john.pdf

The Apostle John - There is a church tradition, which says, that when John was evidently an old man in Ephesus, he had to be carried to the church in the arms of his disciples - At these meetings, he was accustomed to say no more than, "Little children, love one another!" - After a time, the disciples wearied at always hearing the same words, asked, "Master, why do you always say this?" - "It is the Lord's command," was his reply - "And if this alone be done, it is enough!" - There is, also, a tradition which says that John was in Rome for a time

John was one of the sons of Zebedee (a fisherman of Galilee) and his mother's name was Salome (Salome is believed to be a sister of Jesus' mother, Mary). John, along with his brother (the apostle James) and the apostles Peter and his brother Andrew , were all partners in a fishing business prior to their call by Jesus to follow Him. Zebedee was also a partner in the business. It is said that John owned a home in Jerusalem and that it is possible that the interview Nicodemus had with Jesus was held there. The apostle John rose to a position of influence within world-wide Christianity and shortly before the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 AD, he moved to Ephesus. He became the pastor of the church in Ephesus and had a special relationship to other churches in the area, as we know from the letters to the Seven Churches in Asia, in the book of Revelation. John's brother, James, was the first of the apostles to die, where John, on the other hand, was the last. All of the apostles met a violent death, however, John died peacefully in Ephesus, at an advanced age, around the year 100 AD. There is a church tradition, which says, that while John was living in Ephesus, John had with him Mary, the mother of Jesus, for a few years. http://www.biblepath.com/john1.html

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2 John 1 - The beloved Disciple John writes his 2nd of three letters - This letter is to admonish a fellow Christian Church not to partake with or to assist just anyone - To be careful and make sure not to accept or to assist in any way any of the many deceivers that are out there attempting to take advantage of the simple Christians -- '2 John 1:1-4 The elder unto the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth; and not I only, but also all they that have known the truth; For the truth's sake, which dwelleth in us, and shall be with us forever. Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love. I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father.'

The Bible's book of 2 John concludes: 2 John 1:5-13 And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another. And this is love, that we walk after His commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it. *For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess [agree] not [in words and actions] that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. *Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward. 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. *If there come any unto you, and bring not this [Christian] doctrine, *receive him not into your house, *neither bid him God speed: *For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds. Having many things to write unto you, I would not write with paper and ink: but I trust to come unto you, and speak face to face, that our joy may be full. The children of thy elect sister [Church] greet thee. Amen.

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THE THIRD EPISTLE OF

3 JOHN

3 John: Introduction, Argument, and Outline - It is probable that both 2 John and 3 John were written and sent out at the same time, due in large measure to the remarkable stylistic similarities - The letter is addressed to one Gaius - The Greek name-as well as the Greek names of Diotrephes and Demetrius mentioned in the letter-suggest that this letter was addressed to a Gentile Christian - He would have been a member in one of the churches of Asia Minor which John had adopted [overseen] as his own after the death of [the Apostle] Paul - *Theme: Show [continue to show] hospitality to the messengers of [Christianity] the truth

Occasion: Gaius had shown hospitality to itinerant preachers of the gospel, even though such men were strangers to him (vv. 5-7). A certain Diotrephes had apparently stopped the brothers from showing hospitality to these preachers and in fact had booted them out of the church (vv. 9-10). John had written to the church about Diotrephes, but he either did not allow the letter to get read publicly or repudiated John's authority. John is therefore sending Demetrius to the church (v. 12). He is apparently to stay with Gaius. 3 John functions as a cover letter for him. In understanding this occasion, two negative statements must be made: (1) The occasion for 3 John does not at all seem to be an issue of heresy, but one of pride. There is no real evidence that Diotrephes was a heretic. (2) Although some have suggested that Gaius belonged to another church,5 the simple statement in v. 9, "I wrote to the church," seems to indicate that the same church is in view. One of the issues rarely raised is why Diotrephes would dispute John's authority. One possibility is that he recognized the authority of no apostle. But another possibility is that he disputed John's authority. Perhaps-and this is only a suggestion-he had recognized Paul's authority, but no other apostle's. Thus, the problem would crop up after Paul's death.7 Too much could be made of this, of course, but in the least one ought to recognize that the apostles were not universally recognized and respected in their lifetimes. -- Theme: Show hospitality to the messengers of the truth. http://bible.org/seriespage/3-john-introduction-argument-and-outline

Basilica of St. John, Ephesus - The Basilica of St. John was a great church in Ephesus constructed by Emperor Justinian in the 6th century [who reigned in Rome from 9 August 525 A.D. - 4 November 565 A.D. (40 years, 97 days) - Wiki.com] - It stands over the believed burial site of St. John, who is identified as the Apostle, Evangelist, author of the Fourth Gospel and prophet/author of the Book of Revelation (Photos)

Myth & Mystery: There was a St. John identified wih Ephesus since as early as the 1st century, who seems to have originally been the author of Revelation who was exiled on Patmos. By the second century this John was equated with John the Evangelist, author of the Gospel of John (presumed also to be the same person as John the Apostle, beloved disciple of Jesus). Legend had it that John wrote his gospel in Ephesus at the request of other disciples, then died in the church named for him on Ayasoluk Hill. Later legends developed that he was not really dead, but sleeping, and dust could even be seen moving above his grave as he breathed. -- The 13th-century Golden Legend narrates John's death as follows: According to Isidore, when John was 98 years old, that is, in the 67th year after the Lord's passion, the Lord appeared to him with his disciples and said: 'Come to me, my beloved: it is time for you to feast at my table with your brothers!' John rose and was about to go, when the Lord added: 'You will come to me on Sunday.' When Sunday arrived, all the people gathered in the church that had been built in his name, and John preached to them at cockcrow, exhorting them to be steadfast in the faith, and zealous in carrying out the commandments of God. Then he had them dig a square grave near the altar and throw the earth outside the church. He went down into the grave and, with arms outstretched to God, said: 'Lord Jesus Christ, you have called me to your feast: here I am, and I thank you for deigning to invite me to your table. You know that I have longed for you with all my heart!' When he had said this, he was surrounded by a light so brilliant that he was lost to human sight. Then, when the light faded, the grave was found to be full of manna. This manna is still produced there to this day, and it covers the floor of the grave, looking rather like the fine grains of sand at the bottom of a spring... History: St. John's grave was marked by a memorial and enclosed by a church of modest proportions in the 4th century. In the 6th century, Emperor Justinian (527-65 AD) believed that a tomb dating from the 300s was John's, so he built a magnificent church on the site dedicated to the saint. The traditional tomb of St. John, located under the main central dome, elevated the site to one of the most sacred sites in the Middle Ages and thousands made pilgrimage here. But with the decline in importance of Ephesus and after Arab raids, the basilica fell into ruins until the Seljuk Aydinoglu clan converted it into a mosque in 1330. The building was then completely destroyed in 1402 by Tamerlane's Mongol army. The ruined church was thereafter pillaged for building materials, but recent restoration enables visitors to understand its size and visualize its former splendor. http://www.sacred-destinations.com/turkey/ephesus-basilica-of-st-john

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3 John 1 - The Disciple John's third and final epistle (letter) is to Gaius - Probably someone that John himself had personally led to the Lord Jesus Christ - Gaius had been kind, hospitable and giving to everyone however he apparently had been taken advantage of so much that he stopped [or lessened] his generosity and hospitality - The Disciple John wrote Gaius in order to encourage him to be careful but to continue to be generous and hospitable to others especially to those in the faith therefore keeping his faith pure and not to end up accidently having the same inhospitable conduct of Diotrephes a known deceiver -- '3 John 1:1-4 The elder [Disciple John] unto the well-beloved Gaius, whom I love in the truth. Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, *even as thy soul prospereth. For I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the Truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the Truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in Truth.'

The Bible's book of 3 John concludes: 3 John 1:5-14 Beloved, *thou doest faithfully whatsoever [hospitality] thou doest to the brethren, and to strangers; Which have borne witness of thy charity before the Church: whom if thou bring forward on their journey after a godly sort, thou shalt do well: Because that for His name's sake they went forth, taking nothing of the Gentiles. We therefore ought to receive such, that we might be fellowhelpers to the Truth. I wrote unto the Church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not. Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, *neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church. *Beloved, follow not that which is evil, but that which is good. *He that doeth good is of God: but he that doeth evil hath not seen God. Demetrius hath good report of all men, and of the Truth itself: yea, and we also bear record; and ye know that our record is True. I had many things to write, but I will not with ink and pen write unto thee: But I trust I shall shortly see thee, and we shall speak face to face. Peace be to thee. Our friends salute thee. Greet the friends by name. and I hope straightway to see thee, and mouth to mouth we shall speak. Peace to thee! salute thee do the friends; be saluting the friends by name.

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THE GENERAL EPISTLE OF

JUDE

New Testament Overview: Jude - Written by Jude, the half-brother of Jesus, this letter is an appeal to Christians everywhere to contend for the true faith, and not to let false teachings creep in

Background to the Bible: Christians make the claim that the Bible, as we know it today, is actually God's word written to us. They also claim that it's God's only word to us. But how did the Bible we know today come to be? Speaking the Same Language (Bible Definitions) -- Bible: This word comes from the Greek word Biblos, which means "book". - Covenant: This word refers to an agreement made between two parties. A covenant can be unconditional or conditional. In the Old Testament, there were quite a few covenants made between God and people. The two most important were the covenant between God and Abraham, and the so-called "New Covenant", spoken of in the books of Jeremiah and Ezekiel. Both these covenants were unconditional. Early Christian writers correctly recognized that Jesus, as the promised Savior, was the center of the New Covenant. And so, the biblical writings before Jesus were termed the Old Testament. Naturally, those writings after Jesus were termed the New Testament. Today, a testament is the written will of someone. In early Christian times, a testament was interchangeable with a covenant. - Old Testament: The collection of 39 books written between about 1500 B.C. and 400 B.C. - New Testament: The collection of 27 books written between about 45 A.D. and 95 A.D. - Apocrypha: Seven books which were written during the same time as the Old Testament, but which 1st century Jews recognized were not part of God's word. - Gospel: This word comes from a Greek word meaning "good news". - Inspired: By this word, Christians mean "God-breathed". The idea is that rather than a piece of writing simply being the product of a human mind, an inspired piece of writing is the product of God writing through the conscious efforts of a human. This is how some writings can be seen as the inspired Word of God. http://web.ukonline.co.uk/scotsbaker/biblebackground.html

Bible Study - The Book of Jude: In searching for study material on the book of Jude, I was amazed at how much could be gleaned from this little book - It has been described as the "difficult and neglected letter" and I now believe that this is certainly true - It has a lot to say to the modern church; and addresses much of what we call "today's culture" human rights, and liberty - It also gives guidance as to what role the church should play today - These 25 verses are packed full of spiritual insights and principles; in fact, so much so, that this will be a rather extensive study

Notice in reading Jude 1, the word "sanctified" means "set apart" or "kept". In other words, it means "to all believers". Jude realized that every believer is a potential backslider, and that any of us could fall away from the Lord; so he admonished all of us to watch ourselves and to help others, lest we fall away from God. - Remember the great men in the Bible who fell away - at least for a season: There was Peter, who denied the Lord; David, who went into sin; Solomon, who turned to pagan religions; Samson, who had a weakness for immoral women, etc. ... Let's think for a minute about what it means to be "called by God". We are called to be apostles (Rom. 1:1 - Paul). The Greek word is Apostolos - meaning one who is sent out. The Christian is the ambassador of Christ - sent out into the world to speak, act, and live for Christ. We are also called to be saints (Rom. 1:7; I Cor. 1:2). The word for saint is hagios, commonly translated "holy", the root meaning being "different". To be called to be a saint is to be called to be different, i.e., different from the world; with holy values. The Christian is called according to the purpose of God (Rom. 8:28). God has a plan and purpose for every person who accepts Christ. No Christian can say "I can't do anything"; because God uses our weakness to display His power. God has prepared a task and a purpose for all those He calls. Contentment and satisfaction is working toward the goals that God has set for our lives. ... CONCLUSION: It's hard to believe that 25 verses in this little book have dealt with so much; but I believe we have uncovered the passion that Jude felt for the Church and his fellow Christians. There is so much for us to apply to our lives and in the life of our church. Just think - if every member of your church burned with the passion and zeal shown by Jude - what do you suppose would happen in your city? - In your county, your state, your country? There are four facts emphasized in this book: (1) We know the Lord's coming is sure, (2) We know who will accompany the Lord, (3) We know the purpose of His coming, and (4) We know the result of the Lord's coming. Why do you think Jude wrote this letter? His brother James' epistle deals with good works as an evidence of saving faith; while, in contrast, Jude's letter deals with evil works as evidence of apostasy. I believe the Book of Jude was written as a counter-balance to the Book of James - to show that we must "earnestly contend for the faith" (Jude verse 3) at all times, because there are "tares among the wheat" (Matthew 13:25) (false brethren who have stolen into the Church). This letter was written for the Church, not only for that day, but for us today - for the end times. http://jude-study.org/pages/1/index.htm

Jude's purpose: To condemn the practice of the false teachers - To condemn the doctrine(s) of the false teachers - To encourage the true believers to stand firm and contend for the faith - His message: Direct exhortation to believers to fight [stand firm and contend] for the Truth - Originally he [Jude] thought he would write them concerning our salvation - However, while he was still considering what to say, he was informed about a group of false teachers who had begun to infiltrate the church - They were using grace as an excuse to live godless lives - He decided that he must write them immediately and urgently - The false teachers were using the doctrine of grace as an excuse to live godless and immoral lives - In addition to the practical [Paganism] error, they were also denying [Jesus] Christ - Therefore, Jude wrote out of urgent concern for the [wellbeing of the] Saints

Jude's answer to the teaching of the false teachers is based on three instances when God judged drastically those who sinned against Him. -- ISRAEL's UNBELIEF => DISOBEDIENCE: First, he uses the case of Israel at Kadesh-Barnea. God judged some of His own redeemed people, whom He had delivered out of Egypt when they did not believe and disobeyed Him. God destroyed His people who did not believe. ANGELS: REBELLION => INSUBORDINATION - Second, God even judged the angels. Rather than recognize the position of privilege God had given them, they left their proper place [heaven] and sought to establish themselves elsewhere [earth]. God bound for judgment the angels who abandoned their proper place. They rebelled against God's authority and sought to establish their own. Sounds more like Satan's sin than Genesis 6 (compare Ezek. 28 and Is. 14) {Jude is referring to Genesis 6} therefore, they were confined in darkness and await judgment. - SODOM AND GOMORRAH: PERVERSION - Finally, the perversion of Sodom and Gomorrah caused their immediate physical destruction. God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah and other cities for immorality. They are examples of the eternal punishment which awaits those who follow their lifestyle. Those who use grace as an excuse for sin commit all three offenses. They refuse to believe God. They rebel against His authority. They practice immorality and perversion. Therefore they may expect similar consequences. -- DESCRIPTION OF THE FALSE TEACHERS 8-16 Having warned them of the danger of the false teachers' course, Jude describes the false teachers. THEIR REBELLION 8-11 - Four examples are given to emphasize the importance of submission to the authority God has established (8-11). The Archangel Michael is mentioned *as a positive example of submission (8-10). Michael recognized Satan as a superior {or equal} creature to himself, by divine order at creation. Therefore, instead of rebuking or accusing him directly, he left that in God's hands. By way of contrast, *the false teachers reject authority they don't even understand. [Use of non-biblical literature: Verse 9 - Assumption of Moses Verses 14-15 -Enoch Use of a source neither documents its authenticity nor its reliability. Compare Paul's use of Greek philosophers and poets. Inspiration only authenticates the contents of the passage cited as there interpreted-no more! He includes this here because its true, not because it's in the source cited!]. -- Three negative illustrations of failure to obey God are presented. Cain - Rejected revelation {the proper Biblical animal sacrifice to God} 11a Tries to worship his own way, rather than God's way. Finally kills his brother rather than repent and submit. Balaam - *Greed 1:11b Puts *personal profit before seeking to do what would please God. Korah - Rebellion 11c Rebels against God's designated authority. *Tries to intrude into office, ignoring the authority God has established. Each of these was judged by God for his disobedience. *These *false teachers [today] *do the same things, therefore, they can expect the same results. THEIR CHARACTER 12-13 Jude next uses several illustrations to demonstrate the true character of these false teachers. They are useless and destructive! http://www.pvbible.com/look_at_the_book/Jude.htm

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Jude 1 - The epistle (letter) of Jude - Jude begins to write a letter to fellow Christians rejoicing in their common Salvation in Jesus Christ - However as Jude begins to write the Holy Spirit impresses upon him to instead write a letter of exhortation encouraging fellow Christians to resist selfish and false teachers and to stand fast in the Christian faith of Jesus Christ -- 'Jude 1:1-4 Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called: Mercy unto you, and peace, and love, be multiplied. Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints. 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.'

The Bible's book of Jude concludes: Jude 1:5-25 I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not. And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day. Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities. Yet Michael the Archangel, when contending with the Devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him [Satan] a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee [Satan]. *But these [false teachers] speak evil of those [spiritual] things which they know not: but what they know naturally [physically], as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves. *Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core (Korah - Numbers 16:1-2). These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead [lit. already twice dead - born again, rejected God, dead again], plucked up by the roots; Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever. And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh [2nd Coming, 8th Kingdom on earth] with ten thousands of His Saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him. These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, *having men's persons in admiration because of advantage. But, beloved, remember ye the Words which were spoken before of the Apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the [Holy] Spirit. *But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most Holy Faith, praying in the Holy [Spirit] Ghost, Keep yourselves in the love of God, *looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And of some [lost souls and backsliders] have compassion, making a difference: And others [lost souls and backsliders] save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating {their evil ways and vile practices} even the garment spotted by the flesh. {Doxology Begins} Now unto Him [Jesus Christ] that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen {Doxology Ends}.

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THE

REVELATION

OF SAINT JOHN THE DIVINE

Introduction to the Book of Revelation - The Book of Revelation is the most controversial book in the Bible - Revelation has caused major divisions between denominations, churches and families - What makes this book so controversial? {Revelation is about the future and it is about complicated End Time events, events (Acts 1:6-7) that are purposely clouded from humanity even Christians, the very nature of the Book of Revelation requires a certain amount of speculation and with speculation comes controversy} - A promise of blessing is made in the very first chapter of the book to those who read and hear the words of this prophecy - The book has 404 verses, and according to some scholars, [over] half of those verses have an Old Testament reference

The Book of Revelation is a letter revealed to man named John [Disciple John], who was on the Island of Patmos, off the coast of Asia Minor. He was persecuted because of his testimony of Jesus Christ. [The Book of Revelation also contains within it the seven letters] The letter was written to seven churches located in the mainland cities of; Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia and Laodicea. What is the meaning of this letter? Should the words be taken literally or are they symbolic? Did the letter concern events just in the day of John or did it include events in the future? Was John, the Apostle John or another John? Does this letter refer to Israel or to the church? These are just a few of the many questions raised by those who have studied this book. -- Who wrote the book of Revelation? The early church attributed authorship to the apostle John. Justin Martyr (100-165 A.D.) quotes John the Apostle that Jesus Christ would dwell in Jerusalem one thousand years. Irenaeus (120-200 A.D.) is quoted in every chapter of Revelation. Tertullian (155-220 A.D.) also quotes from almost every chapter of Revelation and attributes John the Apostle as author. Hippolytus (170-235 A.D.) also attributed Revelation to John, he quotes Revelation chapter 17 and 18 a great deal. Clement of Alexandria (150-211 A.D.) and Origen (185-254 A.D.) also attribute John the Apostle as the author of Revelation. Ignatius (30-108 A.D.) writes regarding John the Apostle, And why such facts as the following: Peter was crucified; Paul and James were slain with the sword; John was banished to Patmos; Stephen was stoned to death by the Jews who killed the Lord? But, [in truth,] none of these sufferings were in vain; for the Lord was really crucified by the ungodly. The evidence against John the Apostle being the author is minimal, largely based on grammatical and writing style differences with the John's Gospel. -- When was the book of Revelation written? The other issue regarding Revelation is the date of the book. External tradition places the time of Revelation to the reign of Domitian (A.D. 81-96), brother of Titus, son of Vespation. Clement of Alexandria reports John returned to Ephesus after the death of Domitian, referred to as the "tyrant". the Apostle John. For when, on the tyrant's death, he returned to Ephesus from the isle of Patmos, he went away, being invited, to the contiguous territories of the nations, here to appoint bishops, there to set in order whole Churches, there to ordain such as were marked out by the Spirit. http://www.truthnet.org/Christianity/revelation/Introduction/

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Revelation 1 - The Disciple John begins to record for all mankind the Revelation Message given directly to him from the resurrected Jesus Christ -- 'Revelation 1:1-3 The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God [the Father] gave unto Him, to shew unto His servants [Church era] things which must shortly [Revelation 22:7] come to pass; and He [Jesus Christ] sent and signified it by his Angel [Messenger] unto His servant John [the Disciple John]: [the same John] Who bare record of the Word of God, and of the Testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all [disciple] things that he saw. Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the Words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.' - Note: At times some say that Jesus Christ did not have any direct input into the written Bible however Jesus Himself dictates the Book of Revelation to His Disciple John and Revelation seal's the New Testament and the entire Bible placing Jesus' seal and approval upon the entire Holy Bible from Genesis to Revelation.

Revelation 1:9-12 I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the Kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the [prison] isle that is called Patmos, for the Word of God, and for the Testimony of Jesus Christ. I was in the Spirit on {Sunday} the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea. And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. ... Revelation 1:17-20 And when I saw Him [Jesus Christ], I fell at His feet as dead. And He laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive [resurrection] forevermore, Amen; *and have the keys of hell and of death. *Write the things which thou hast seen, and *the things which are, *and the things which shall be hereafter; The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in My right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars [lights in heaven] are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks [lights on earth] which thou sawest are the seven churches. - Note: The Book of Revelation is not a sealed book as the Book of Daniel was sealed (Daniel 12:4) but the book of revelation was sealed for most of Church history in a sense in that the English version of the Book of Revelation is really the language version that best matches the Book of Revelation and presents the Book of Revelation to the English (1611 KJV) reader like at no other time in history including the Greek and Latin versions of the Book of Revelation that were almost completely ignored, neglected and even in some cases rejected by the historical Christian Church.

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Revelation 2-3 - The Resurrected Lord and Savior Jesus Christ dictates Seven Letters to His entire Christian Church encompassing both the entire Church body and the entire Church age from the resurrection of Jesus Christ and the beginning of the Christian Church (John 20:22) until the eventual rapture [closure] of the Christian Church -- 'Revelation 2:1-4 Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith He [the Resurrected Jesus Christ] that holdeth the [heavens] seven stars in His right hand, who walketh in the midst of [earth] the seven golden candlesticks; I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried [discerned] them which say they are Apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love [lit. Agape].'

Revelation 3:14-22 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith [Jesus Christ] the Amen, the faithful and True witness, the beginning [lit. first cause] of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of My mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to *buy of Me gold tried in the fire [baptism of cleansing fire], that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve [humanity], that thou mayest see [the human condition]. As many as I love [lit. friendship - Phileo, G5368], I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. *Behold, I stand at the door, and knock (Song of Solomon 5:2): if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup [nurish] with him, and he with Me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My Throne [authority], even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His Throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the [Holy] Spirit saith unto the Churches. - Note: The seventh and final Christian Church is considered to be the predominant characteristics of the modern Christian Church of our day and in our era. All of the Seven Letters of Jesus Christ are applicable at all times and at all locations to all Christians however the letter to the Church at Laodicea is considered to be the most relevant to the most Christians in our own current day and age.

BasicChristian.org: The 7 Church Letters of Revelation from Jesus Christ - The Christian Church is divided into Seven Church groups - Which Church group are You in?

Like the seven miracles that we went through in the Gospel of John that John himself personally witnessed, Jesus personally spoke to the disciple John and had John write an evaluation of the Christian Church in the book of Revelation. Likewise to critique the entire Christian Church (people) Jesus divided it up into seven churches. Each Church existed in the day that Jesus spoke to John about it and each Church type is still practiced throughout today. Note the book of Revelation and in particular the part about the seven churches is unique because Jesus is asking John to write it for Him. The entire Bible is written by God through man but Revelation makes that point even more evident. So onto the description of the seven churches as critiqued by none other than the resurrected Jesus Himself. ... The Parables of Jesus (Matthew 13:1-50) are from the teaching of Jesus during His time on earth. The letters of the Apostle Paul (New Testament) are from a representative of Jesus and finally the 7 letters of Revelation (Revelation 2:1-3:22) are teaching and instruction from the resurrected Jesus, the three teaching groups span three timeframes with the one unique message of Jesus Christ and His eternal Kingdom. http://www.basicchristian.org/churches.html

Sword of the Spirit Podcast - The Seven Letters of Revelation (Mp3s)

Going through and studying what Christ is saying in His letters to the Church. http://revelationsradionetwork.com/podcasts/sword-of-the-spirit.html

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Revelation 4 - The Disciple John after writing and documenting the complete Christian Church age the Disciple is 'called' into Heaven to be told what will take place after the Christian Church era has concluded on earth -- 'Revelation 4:1-2 After this I [Disciple John] looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet (1 Corinthians 15:51-51) talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter [after the Christian Church age]. And immediately I was in the Spirit [and in Heaven before the Throne of God]: and, behold, a Throne was set in Heaven, and One sat on the Throne.' - Note: It goes without saying that the interpretation, timing and events of Revelation are highly controversial and therefore all anyone can do is to interpret the Book of Revelation the best they can for their own understanding. - Also Note: It is imperative that mature Christians understand and have a concept of the 2nd Coming of Jesus Christ and of the End Time events that precede His 2nd Coming and it is just as important that mature Christians are willing to place fellowship and Church unity over and above personal speculation about the End Times.

Revelation 4:3-11 And He that sat was to look upon [multi-faceted] like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a [Heavenly] rainbow (earthly rainbow - Genesis 9:13) round about the Throne, in sight like unto an emerald. And round about the throne were four and twenty (24) seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders [probably the leaders of the 12 Tribes of Israel and the 12 Apostles] sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold. And out of the Throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. And before the Throne there was *a sea of glass [where the Saints stand before the Throne of God] like unto crystal: and in the midst of the Throne, and round about the Throne, were four beasts [lit. eternal spiritual beings - Zoon (Zoe), G2226] full of eyes [vision] before and behind. And the first beast [Spirit being] was like a lion {Gospel of Matthew}, and the second beast like a calf {Gospel of Mark}, and the third beast had a face as a man {Gospel of Luke}, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle {Gospel of John}. And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy [Father], Holy [Son Jesus], Holy [Spirit], Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come. And when those beasts give glory and honor and thanks to Him that sat on the Throne, who liveth forever and ever, The four and twenty elders fall down before Him that sat on the Throne, and Worship [give thanks for their life] Him that liveth forever and ever, and cast their crowns [accomplishments from on earth] before the throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive Glory and Honour and Power: for thou hast created all things, and *for Thy pleasure they are and were created. - Note: The Disciple John was for a brief time taken directly into Heaven and he personally observed and recorded some of the events continually taking place in Heaven around and about the Throne of God.

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Revelation 5 - The events of the Book of Revelation are going to bring about the final reconciliation between Heaven [Throne of God] and earth the dwelling of mankind -- 'Revelation 5:1-5 And I saw in the right hand of Him that sat on the Throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals [restraints - judgments]. And I saw a strong Angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals [restraints] thereof? And no man in heaven [alone], nor in earth [alone], neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon. And I [Disciple John] wept much, because no {one dimensional} man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon. And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda (Judah), the Root [descendant] of [King] David, hath prevailed [being from Heaven and overcoming on earth] to open the book [to reconcile and unite Heaven and earth], and to loose the seven seals thereof.'

With the Christian Church in Heaven the final reconciliation work between Heaven and earth begins to take place both in Heaven and on earth: Revelation 5:6-14 And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the Throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain [Jesus being without sin resurrected in His physical body and the Disciple John was given a glimpse of Jesus as He had been slain on the cross], having seven horns [complete power] and seven eyes [complete vision], which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. And He [Jesus Christ] came and took the book out of the right hand of Him [Father God] that sat upon the Throne. And when He had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours [prayers of all saints], which are the prayers of saints. *And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof [reconciling and reuniting Heaven and earth]: for thou wast slain [on earth], and hast redeemed *us [Christians] to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and Nation; And hast *made us unto our God Kings [rulers] and [Righteous - Melchizedek] Priests: and we shall reign on the earth [during the 1,000 year reign of Jesus Christ]. And I beheld, and I heard the voice of many Angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was [innumerable] ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; Saying with a loud voice, *Worthy is the Lamb [Jesus Christ] that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing. *And every creature which is *in Heaven, and *on the earth, *and under the earth [hades], and such [demons] as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb forever and ever (Romans 14:11). And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and Worshipped Him that liveth forever and ever. - Note: The important sealed document (scroll)is probably much more than just a common title deed to the earth and whatever it is it was never in the possession of Satan as Satan has never had direct ownership of the earth. Adam and Eve were given 'dominion' (Genesis 1:26) over the earth but not inheritance (Matthew 5:5) or ownership. Adam and Eve lost dominion but the ownership of the actual earth has always remained (Psalms 24:1) a sole possession of God in Heaven.

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Revelation 6 - The Revelation Judgments of Jesus Christ the 7 Seal Judgments begin - Each Seal is a restraint that has kept the evil of mankind within certain boundaries - What Jesus Christ is doing is breaking each boundary (seal) and removing certain restraints on mankind and allowing mankind to more completely behave the way mankind wants to behave - The 7 Seal judgments are overseen and administered by Jesus Christ - While the 7 Trumpet Judgments are overseen by the Holy Spirit and administered by Angels - While the 7 Vial (measured bowl) judgments are overseen by God the Father and are also administered by Angels -- 'Revelation 6:1 And I saw when the Lamb [Jesus Christ] opened one of the (7) Seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts [Spirit beings] saying, Come and see.'

Revelation 6:2-17 And I saw, and behold [1st seal] a white horse: and he [probably the Antichrist] that sat on him [now unrestrained] had a bow {covenant - false peace treaty}; and a crown [accomplishment - Stephanos, G4735] was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer [over mankind]. And when He had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see. And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth {false treaty is proven to be false}, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword. And when He had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure [a daily food ration] of wheat for a penny [a full day of labor wages], and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the [abundant] oil and the wine [of the rich]. And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and *Hell followed with him [just to die in the Tribulation is not a ticket into heaven - people still have to confess Jesus Christ to enter into Heaven]. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth. And when He had opened the fifth seal [Martyred Saints of revelation], I saw under the altar the souls [separate from the Christian Church] of them that were *slain {first 3 ½ years of Tribulation} for *the Word of God, and for the Testimony [Jesus Christ is God] which they held: And they [Martyred Saints] cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, Holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes [righteousness] were given unto every one of them [after their death of martyrdom]; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season {the second 3½ years the Great Tribulation}, until their fellow servants [the other Martyred Saints of revelation] also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled. And I beheld when He had opened the sixth seal {the 6th seal is probably opened with the 4th Trumpet judgment and 7th Vial (bowl) judgment}, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood; And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind. And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places. And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand? - Note: The 7th Seal (Revelations 8:1) is silence in Heaven {and probably on earth} just moments before the conclusion of Heaven and earth becoming reconciled together once again. The 7 Seals, the 7 Trumpets and the 7 Vials all intermingle with one another it isn't all 7 seals then all 7 Trumpets concluded by the 7 Vials. The Bible explains the three judgments in three groups but parts of the judgments are occurring simultaneously in Heaven and on earth with all three judgments concluding in the same act of restoration and reconciliation of the earth with Heaven.

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Revelation 7 - The 144,000 Jewish 'firstfruits' are sealed as witnesses of Jesus Christ during the Tribulation days - The 144,000 are the first (firstfruits)of Jewish Salvation (Revelation 14:4) - Up until this point in time the Jews have Redemption or became Christians and received Christian Salvation however at this point with the Christian Church era having ended the Jews now begin to receive Salvation as Jews -- 'Revelation 7:4 And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand [144,000] of all the Tribes of the Children of Israel.'

Revelation 7:9-17 After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude [the Tribulation Saints], which no man could number, [Gentiles] of all Nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the Throne, and before the Lamb, *clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; And cried with a loud voice, saying, *Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the Throne, and unto the Lamb. And all the Angels stood round about the Throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the Throne on their faces, and worshipped God, Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God forever and ever. Amen. And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they? And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest [John did not know who the Martyred Saints of Revelation were - it is a group separate and distinct from the 144,000, separate from the Jews and even separate and distinct from the Christian Church]. And he [Angel] said to me, These are they which came out of Great Tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. *Therefore are they before the Throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His Temple: and He that sitteth on the Throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst anymore; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. - Note: It is substantial that the Disciple and Apostle John [a Christian Church leader] did not know who the Martyred Saints were. John was unable to recognize the group because this is a group of redeemed and saved Gentiles who come to Jesus Christ after the rapture and close of the Christian Church. This group of Saints are clearly separate but closer to God [serving at the Throne of God] and distinct from the Christian Church, the Church seems to be located further out on the glassy sea. If the Martyred Saints were in any way affiliated with the Christian Church the Disciple John would have been able to recognize them.

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Revelation 8-9 - The 7th Seal is mentioned before the revelation of the 7 Trumpet judgments and the 7 Vial Judgments however it appears that though revealed in separate groups the actual events occur largely in one comingled and continuous group of judgments -- 'Revelation 8:1 And when He [Jesus Christ] had opened the Seventh Seal, there was silence in Heaven about the space of half an hour.'

Revelation 8:2-6 And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets. And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand. And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth: and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightnings, and an earthquake. And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound. ... Revelation 9:20-21 And the rest of the men [on earth] which were not killed by these plagues [7 Trumpets] *yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk: *Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts. - Note: The Tribulation events of Revelation are specifically designed by God to bring as many people as possible into repentance and Salvation though some will not repent a large "innumerable" number of people will repent and receive Salvation and eternity with God.

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Revelation 10 - With the Judgments of Revelation becoming accomplished the Mystery and separation between God and mankind is about to come to an end as all the many Holy Prophets have been Prophesying since the beginning of sin and separation -- 'Revelation 10:5-7 And the Angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven, And sware by Him that liveth forever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be [separation] time no longer: But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, *the Mystery [unknown separation] of God should be finished, as He hath declared to His servants the prophets.'

Revelation 10:8-11 And the voice which I heard from heaven spake unto me again, and said, Go and take the little book (scroll) which is open in the hand of the angel which standeth upon the sea and upon the earth. And I went unto the angel, and said unto him, Give me the little book. And he said unto me, Take it, and eat [internalize] it up; and it shall make thy belly bitter [digesting the bitter events of Tribulation], but it shall be in thy mouth sweet [tasting the soon reconciliation of Heaven and earth] as honey. And I took the little book out of the angel's hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter. *And he [Angel] said unto me, *Thou must prophesy again before *many peoples, *and Nations, and tongues, and Kings. - Note: The prophecies of the Book of Revelation affect all mankind and are addressed to all mankind.

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Revelation 11 - The 3rd Temple in Jerusalem is measured and described - At the time that the Disciple John was writing this in about 95 A.D. the 2nd Temple in Jerusalem had already been destroyed in 70 A.D. by the Legions of forces of Rome -- 'Revelation 11:1-2 And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the Angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the Temple of God [3rd Temple], and the altar, and them that worship therein. But the court which is without the Temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city [Jerusalem] shall they tread under foot forty and two months [3½ years].' - Note: There are several 3½ year segments in the Tribulation time period however they are not all a part of the same 7 year period. This 42 month period could be well under way before the Rapture then the 3½ years of the Two Witnesses could occur right after the Rapture and at the start of the 7 years of Tribulation. Just keep in mind that there are multiple 3½ year periods with different starting times and different completion times.

Revelation 11:3-13 And I [God] will give power unto my Two Witnesses [Two Prophets - possibly Moses and Elijah], and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days [1,260 days, 3½ years - 360 days in a Biblical prophetic year], clothed in sackcloth. These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth (Zechariah 4:3). And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them [the Two Witnesses], he must in this manner be killed. These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will. And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city [Jerusalem], which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations *shall see [via global television] their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves. And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth. And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood [resurrection] upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them. And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: *and *the *remnant were affrighted, and *gave glory to the God of heaven. The *second *woe [demonic infestation - demons from the bottomless pit] is past; and, behold, the third woe [Satan himself - Antichrist] cometh quickly. And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign [the 8th Kingdom] forever and ever. And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God, Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned. And the Nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth. And the Temple of God was opened in Heaven, and there was seen in His Temple the Ark of His Testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail. - Note: The 7th global Kingdom of mankind gives way to the Kingdom of God, the 8th Kingdom, the eternal Righteous Kingdom of Jesus Christ. http://www.basicchristian.org/blog_biblestudy.html

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Revelation 12 - The Disciple John while in the middle of the Visions of Revelation gives a historical summary of previous events further revealing that the Vision of Revelation as a whole is not in chronological order -- 'Revelation 12:1-5 And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman [Nation of Israel] clothed with the sun [in fellowship with God], and the moon under her feet [observing proper spiritual discernment], and upon her head a crown of twelve stars [12 Tribes of Israel]: And she being with Child [Jesus Christ] cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon [Satan], having seven heads [the 7 global Gentile Kingdoms] and ten horns (Daniel 7:7), and seven crowns [king's crown - Diadema, G1238] upon his heads. And his [Satan's] tail drew the third part {this is where it is believed that 1/3 of the Angels fell with Satan} of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the Dragon [Satan] stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her Child [Jesus Christ (Matthew 2:16)] as soon as it was born. And she [Nation of Israel] brought forth a man child [Jesus Christ], who was to rule all Nations [8th Kingdom] with a rod of iron: and her child [Jesus Christ] was caught up [Resurrection - Ascension (Acts 1:9)] unto God, and to His Throne.'

The Disciple John is given an overview of End Time events, not from the Churches' perspective [the Christian Church has concluded by this time] but from the Nation of Israel's perspective: Revelation 12:6-17 And the woman [Nation of Israel] fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days [3½ years]. And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon [Satan - Lucifer]; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon [Satan] was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth [3rd Woe], and his [Satan's] angels were cast out with him. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, *Now is come salvation [on earth], *and strength [Righteousness], and the Kingdom of our God, and the power [authority] of His Christ: for the accuser [lit. devil] of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. *And they [Saints] overcame him [Satan] by the blood of the Lamb, *and by the Word of their testimony; *and they loved not their lives unto the death. *Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. *Woe [3rd Woe] to the inhabitants of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, *because he knoweth that he hath but a short time [3½ years]. And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman [Nation of Israel] which brought forth the man child. And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time (1), and times (2), and half a time (1/2)[3½ years], from the face of the serpent. And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood. *And the earth helped the woman [Israel], and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth. And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with *the remnant of her seed, which keep the Commandments of God, and have [Salvation] the Testimony of Jesus Christ. and the dragon was angry against the woman, and went away to make war with the rest of her seed, those keeping the Commands of God, and having the Testimony of Jesus Christ.

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Revelation 13 - The Beast [Antichrist, Satan], the False Prophet and the 666 [Mystery Babylon, demonic realm] of the Unholy Trinity -- 'Revelation 13:1-4 And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast [Antichrist] rise up out of the sea [Nations, people], having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. ... And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded [assassinated] to death; and his [fake] deadly wound was healed [fake resurrection]: and all the world wondered after the [apparent eternal life of the] beast [Antichrist]. And they worshipped [gave thanks for their life] the dragon which gave power unto the beast [the fake trinity]: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is [Messiah, Christ] like unto the beast? who is able to make war with [everlasting life] him?'

The Antichrist Kingdom, the 7th global Kingdom of mankind wages a war against Jesus, against God and against the Saints of God still on the earth: Revelation 13:5-18 And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things (Antichrist is the fulfillment of Nimrod the type the mighty hunter of sin, Genesis 10:9) and blasphemies; and power was given unto him [Antichrist] to continue forty and two months {the Antichrist has a 3 1/2 year Kingdom but according to Daniel (Daniel 12:11-2) the Antichrist kingdom [being complete destruction and human death] might last only 45 days}. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His Name, and His Tabernacle [dwelling], *and them [Christians] that [now] dwell in heaven. *And it was given unto him [Antichrist] to make war with the Saints [Martyred Saints of Revelation], and *to overcome them [the Christian Church is not to be overcome but the Martyred Saints of Revelation will be quickly overcome (Matthew 16:18)]: and power was given him [Antichrist, 7th Kingdom] over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. *And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, [those] whose names are not written in the *Book of Life of the Lamb [Jesus Christ] slain [before the world began] from the foundation of the world. If any man have an ear, let him hear. He [NWO, 7th Kingdom participant] that leadeth [others] into captivity shall go into captivity: he that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword (Galatians 6:7). *Here [during Tribulation] is the patience and the faith of the Saints. And I beheld another beast [false Prophet - of the unholy trinity] coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb [like a Christian], and he spake as a dragon. And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly [assignation] wound was healed. And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth (1 Kings 18:24-38) in the sight of men, And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should *make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. And he had power to give life [lit. spirit, breath - Pneuma, G4151] unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. And he causeth *all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark [identifier] in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark [identifier], or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six [666]. - Note: The Mark of the Beast is comprised of three components. 1. An image or stature of the Antichrist. 2. A demonic initiation, seemingly a demonic counterfeit spirit to the real 'born again' spirit of Jesus Christ. 3. An identifying mark on the hand or forehead readily revealing those who have been initiated [mated, married] into the demonic spirits. As a side note those who do not have the identifier cannot buy or sell [participate in the economy] the actual mark [identifier] itself has nothing to do with buying or selling, the mark is not a unique to each person mark it is not a computer chip (though everyone may already be chipped, it is a separate issue from the mark of the beast and 666) the mark of the beast is the same [identifier] mark for everyone and essentially those who do not have the mark their personal economy [previously implanted computer chip]will be blacklisted and unable to function properly in the existing 7th Kingdom Antichrist economy.

BasicChristian.org: What is the Mark of the Beast 666 - There are at least three aspects to the Mark of the Beast as explained in the Book of Revelation

There are at least three aspects to the Mark of the Beast as explained in the book of Revelation. It is an actual mark or marking and it is also an Image (Icon) a representation of the Antichrist (Satan) himself and it is represented in his personal name of, emptiness, which is referenced by the number 666. http://www.basicchristian.org/mark_beast_666.html

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Revelation 14 - The 144,000 Jewish Saints of Jesus Christ -- 'Revelation 14:1-5 And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb [Jesus Christ] stood on the Mount Sion (Zion) [Jerusalem], and with Him an hundred forty and four thousand [144,000], having His Father's Name written in their foreheads. And I heard a voice from Heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps [praise]: *And they [144,000] sung as it were a New Song before the Throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and [it is a separate and exclusive group] no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed [Jewish] from the earth. These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth. These were redeemed [Jewish] from among men, being the firstfruits [Jewish Salvation] unto God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the Throne of God.'

With the Christian Church in Heaven and no longer a direct witness on the earth and the Martyred Saints of Revelation being quickly overcome the holy Angels of Heaven now take on a more open and active role in the events and redemption of mankind: Revelation 14:6-13 And I saw another [holy] Angel fly in the midst of heaven, *having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, *Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and Worship [give thanks for your life to] Him that made [created] heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters. And there followed another [holy] Angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication. And the third [holy] Angel followed them, *saying with a loud voice, If any man worship [ask for eternal life from] the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of His indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up forever and ever: *and they have no rest day nor night, *who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name. *Here is the patience of the Saints: here are they that keep the Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17) of God, and the faith of Jesus. And I heard a voice from Heaven saying unto me, Write, *Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and *their works [on earth] do follow them [as rewards in Heaven]. And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of Man, having on His head a golden crown, and in His hand a sharp sickle. And another [holy] Angel came out of the Temple [in Heaven], crying with a loud voice to Him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time [the great End Time harvest of souls] is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. And He [Jesus Christ] that sat on the cloud thrust in His sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped. And another [holy] angel came out of the temple which is in Heaven, he also having a sharp sickle. And another [holy] angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe. And the [holy] Angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. And the winepress was trodden without [outside] the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs (Isaiah 63:3, Revelation 19:15).

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Revelation 15-16 - The Martyred Saints of Revelation continue to assemble in Heaven - The 7 Vial (Measured) Judgments, the final judgments of Revelation are revealed -- 'Revelation 15:1-4 And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous, seven Angels having the Seven *last plagues [the 7 Measured Bowl judgments]; for in them is filled up the wrath [lit. passion for justice and righteousness] of God. And I saw as it were a Sea of Glass {now} mingled with fire {the earlier view while the Christian Church was present (Revelation 4:6) was without the Great Tribulation Wrath fire}: and them [Martyred Saints of Revelation] that had gotten the victory over the beast [Antichrist, Satan], and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number [666, incomplete, a trinity of emptiness] of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God. And they [Martyred Saints of Revelation - having not yet experienced the "Feast of Firstfruits" the being 'born again' by the Holy Spirit from 'above' within the Promise Land - Heaven] sing the (Redemption/Salvation) *Song of Moses (Exodus 15:1-18) the servant of God, and the Song of the Lamb [Jesus Christ], saying, Great and marvellous are Thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and True are Thy ways, Thou *King of Saints [Martyred Saints]. Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy Name? for Thou only art Holy: for all Nations shall come and Worship (give thanks for eternal life) before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest [visible].' - Note: The Martyred Saints of Revelation [Gentiles] coming through the Tribulation Period [with redemption (Revelation 6:11) but not yet salvation] have more in common with Moses and the Children of Israel [Jews] then they do with the Christian Church that did possess Salvation while upon the earth (before the rapture).

The 7 Vial Judgments of Revelation are poured out primarily on the Demonic realm however the Demonic realm, the earth and the human realm have all intermingled at this point in time regarding human events: Revelation 16:1-21 And I heard a great voice out of the Temple [in Heaven] saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials [measured bowels] of the Wrath wrath [lit. passion for justice and righteousness] of God upon the earth. And the first [Angel] went, and poured out his vial upon the earth [demonic infestation]; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark [demonic mating] of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image. And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea [demonic habitation]; and it became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea. And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers [demonic streams] and fountains [demonic teachings] of waters; and they became blood. And I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus. For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy. And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments. And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun [demonic astrology]; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire. And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give Him glory. And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat (earth) [throne] of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain, And blasphemed the God of Heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds. And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared. *And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon [Mystery Babylon], and out of the mouth of the beast [Antichrist], and out of the mouth of the false prophet [the all Satanic unholy trinity - see also: Zechariah 11:8]. For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world [7th Kingdom], to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty. Behold, I come as a thief. *Blessed is he [Saints] that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame. And he [Antichrist] gathered them [armies of the world, also the 6th Trumpet judgment] together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon. And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air [Satan's realm (Ephesians 2:2)]; and [after the 7th Vial, then the 6th Seal, an earthquake (Revelation 6:12)] there came a great voice out of the Temple of Heaven, from the Throne, saying, *It is done. And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake (6th Seal), such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great. And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the Nations fell: *and great Babylon [Satanic mystery system] came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath. And every island [faraway place] fled away, and the mountains [governments] were not found. And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail [rocks, stones]; for the plague [stoning of blasphemy (Leviticus 24:16)] thereof was exceeding great.

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Revelation 17 - The great Mystery Babylon [the hidden invisible unholy spiritual realm] is revealed -- 'Revelation 17:1-2 And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me [Disciple John], saying unto me, Come hither [near]; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters [Nations]: With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication [unfaithfulness], and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine [spiritual influences] of her fornication.'

The great Mystery Babylon, the hidden invisible unholy spiritual realm that is so affecting mankind and the earth is to come to an end in a great and final destruction at the judgment of God: Revelation 17:3-18 So he [Angel] carried me [Disciple John] away in the spirit into the wilderness [empty place]: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. *And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the Saints [of all human history], and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration [bewilderment]. And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns. The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition [eternal damnation]: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is. And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains [governments - the kingdoms of the world], on which the woman sitteth. *And there are seven kings [Nimrod (Tower of Babel), Pharaoh Akhenaten (Egypt), Nebuchadnezzar (Babylon), Cyrus (Persia), Alexander the Great (Greece), Julius Caesar (Rome), Antichrist (Satan)]: five [Nimrod, Egypt, ancient Babylon, Persia, Greece] are fallen, and one [Roman Empire] is, and the other [Antichrist] is not yet come; and when he [Antichrist] cometh, he must continue a short space [3 1/2 years, the Ministry of Jesus Christ was 3 1/2 years on earth but the Antichrist his kingdom being so violent (Matthew 24:21-22) might only end up with about 45 days (Daniel 12:11-2)]. And the beast [Antichrist] that was [ruling], and is not [Antichrist is assassinated], even he [antichrist] is the eighth [resurrected, fake demonic contrived resurrection], *and is of the seven [the seventh guy (antichrist) becomes Antichrist, Satan incarnate in Satan's contrived eternal life, creation, resurrection], and [Antichrist] goeth into perdition [eternal damnation]. And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten [region] kings, which have received no kingdom as yet [not until the End Time]; but receive power as kings one hour [for a very short time] with the beast. *These [puppets] have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast. These shall make war with the Lamb [Jesus Christ], and the Lamb shall overcome them: for He [Jesus Christ] is Lord of lords, and King of kings: *and they [Saints] that are with Him are called, and chosen, and faithful. And he [Angel] saith unto me, *The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, *are peoples, and multitudes, and Nations, and tongues. And the ten horns [global government] which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore [false religious system], and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire. For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil His will, *and to agree [willingly - 7 of the 10 give their kingdom willingly to the Antichrist 3 are forced to do so (Daniel 7:8)], and give their kingdom unto the beast [forming the 7th Global Kingdom on earth], *until the Words of God shall be fulfilled. And the woman which thou sawest is that great [invisible - spiritual] city [Mystery Babylon], which reigneth over the kings of the earth.

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Revelation 18 - The sins of Mystery Babylon will result in the plagues of God upon Mystery Babylon -- 'Revelation 18:1-5 And after these things I saw another Angel [messenger] come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with His Glory [Jesus Christ]. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. For all Nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication [unfaithfulness], and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies. *And I heard another voice from Heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins (Genesis 11:4) have reached unto Heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities [intentional sins].'

Mystery Babylon is to be judged and destroyed all in a single day: Revelation 18:6-10 Reward her [Mystery Babylon] even as she rewarded [betrayed] you [humans], and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double. How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow. *Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her. And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning, Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come. ... Revelation 18:20-24 Rejoice over her [Mystery Babylon], thou Heaven, and ye Holy Apostles and Prophets; for God hath avenged you on her. And a mighty Angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down (Jeremiah 51:63), and shall be found no more at all. And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee; and no craftsman, of whatsoever craft he be, shall be found any more in thee; and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee; And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived. *And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.

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Revelation 19 - The Great eternal Congregation of Saints in Heaven all Worship and Praise God at the same time and in the same place -- 'Revelation 19:1-5 And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honor, and power, unto the Lord our God: For True and Righteous are His judgments: for He hath judged the great [unfaithful] whore, *which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of His servants at her hand. And again they said, Alleluia. And her smoke rose up forever and ever. And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and worshipped God that sat on the Throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia. And a voice came out of the Throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye His servants, and ye that fear Him, both small and great.'

The Lord Jesus Christ begins to take physical possession of the earth to reign and rule on the earth for His Millennial (1,000 year) Kingdom on earth: Revelation 19:6-21 And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent [all powerful] reigneth. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to Him: *for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife [the Christian Church] hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness [in Jesus Christ] of Saints. And he saith unto me, *Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the Marriage Supper of the Lamb {probably occurring shortly after Revelation 4:1 and before the first Seal is broken}. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God. And I fell at his feet to worship him [Angel]. And he [Angel] said unto me, See thou *do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the Testimony of Jesus: *worship [only] God: *for the Testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of Prophecy. And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse [the true conquering King Jesus]; and He [Jesus Christ] that sat upon Him was called Faithful and True, and in *righteousness He doth judge and make war. His eyes were [judgment] as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns [authorities]; and He [also] had a [personal] Name written, *that no man knew, but [only] He himself {this unknown Name is a reference to God's creation (mankind) being at war with God, even after the cross of Jesus and no man can possibly know the agony of the experience of having to eternally judge mankind that God loves so much}. And He was clothed with a vesture [garment] dipped in [human] blood {we are offered to wear Jesus' shed blood for our eternal life covering but those who reject it God will shed their blood}: and His Name [Jesus] is called The Word of God. And the armies [various dispensations] which were in Heaven followed Him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword [word of God], that with it He should smite the Nations: and He shall rule [8th Kingdom] them with a rod of iron: and He treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He hath on His vesture [garment] and on His thigh a Name [we will all know] written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great. And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. *And the beast [Antichrist] was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. *These both [two parts of the unholy trinity ] were cast alive [directly] into a lake of fire burning with brimstone [skipping the Great White Throne judgment (Revelation 20:11)]. And the [unholy] remnant were slain with the sword [Word] of Him [Jesus Christ] that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of His mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.

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Revelation 20 - Satan is to be incarcerated for the entire 1,000 year Kingdom reign of Jesus Christ on earth -- 'Revelation 20:1-3 And I saw an Angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit (Revelation 9:1) and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, *and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the Nations no more, till the thousand years [Kingdom reign of Jesus Christ on earth, 8th Kingdom] should be fulfilled: and after that he [Satan] must be loosed a little season. - Note: The human elements of Satan's 7th Kingdom the human Antichrist and the human false prophet have at this point already been sentenced to the eternal lake of fire. Satan is held in chains for the 1,000 years and then he is released for a brief final temptation on mankind.'

Revelation 20:4-15 And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the Word of God, and *which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; *and they [saints Martyred during the Tribulation period] lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. *But the rest of the dead [all the unsaved] lived [manifested] not again until the thousand years were finished. *This is the first resurrection [the resurrection of the Holy Saints of Jesus Christ]. *Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: *on such the second death [judgment] hath no power, but they shall be [Righteous, Melchizedek] Priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years. And when the thousand years are expired, *Satan shall be loosed out of his prison, And shall go out to deceive the Nations [the new nations established or re-established during the 1,000 reign of Jesus Christ] which are in the four quarters of the earth, *Gog and Magog (Ezekiel 38:1-23), to gather them [sinners from the 1,000 Kingdom] together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea. And they went up on the breadth of the earth, and compassed [encircled] the Camp of the Saints about, and the beloved city [Jerusalem]: and fire came down from God out of Heaven, and devoured them. And the devil [Satan] that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false prophet are, and shall be tormented day and night forever and ever. *And [later the 1,00 years] I saw a Great White Throne, and Him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the Heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. {Note: during the Great White Throne judgment there is no earth and no sky, and the people being judged are naked disembodied spirits - so apparently if they want to contend with God [and smirk and insult] during their judgment it will be more than a bit awkward for them having no body and even no planet to stand on.} And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the [judgment] books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the Book of Life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, *according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead [demons] which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the [spiritual] dead [fallen angels] which were in them: and they were judged every man {human, demon and fallen angel} according to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. *This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire. - Note: After the Church age and after the Revelation [Martyred Saints, 144,000] Tribulation age there is then the 1,000 year Kingdom age. The testing by Satan after the 1,000 year Kingdom age is only for the people of the 1,000 year Kingdom age. The resurrected Saints are not judged again (Hebrews 9:27) not judged continually. A Saint that was with Moses in the desert and once resurrected that Old Testament Saint is not judged during the Church era and the Church is not judged in the Martyred Saints of Revelation era and only the people physically alive in the 1,000 year Kingdom reign are in a position to receive or reject their eternal salvation. Once a Saint receives resurrection [adoption as a Son of God] then it is eternal and being eternal it is secure. It is not even the remotest possibility [no longer even having a sin nature] that resurrected Christian Saints or resurrected Old Testament Saints could even rebel against God and then hypothetically need to be judged and removed from God's eternal Kingdom at any given point in time in the Kingdom. Once a Saint [we are born with a sin nature and die with our sin nature but we are resurrected without a sin nature] is in the resurrected Kingdom of God and God being faithful and love God does not ever turn against His own people (and again resurrected Saints will not even have a sin nature) so the eternal Kingdom of God is in all actuality, and in all reality, and for all purposes - eternity - and eternity with God is security and that is eternal.

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Revelation 21 - The earth and sky are going to pass away as humanity enters into a new earth and a new sky in the eternal state with God -- 'Revelation 21:1-5 And I saw a new heaven (sky) and a new earth: for the first heaven (sky) and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of Heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her Husband. And I heard a great voice out of Heaven saying, Behold, the Tabernacle [dwelling] of God [the Father] is with men, and He [the Father] will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God [Jesus] Himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: *for the former things are passed away. And He that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And He said unto me, Write: *for these Words [being from God] are True and Faithful.'

The New Jerusalem, the new Holy City on the new earth is revealed and the gates of the Holy City are permanently open inviting all the eternal Saints to freely enter into the eternal city to bring in their glory and honor in worship and praise to God: Revelation 21:6-8 And He [God] said unto me [Disciple John], It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, *the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, *and he shall be My [adopted] Son. *But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. ... Revelation 21:22-27 And [in the New Jerusalem, the new Holy City on earth] I saw no Temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the Temple of it. And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the Glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. *And the Nations of *them *which *are *saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings [mighty] of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. And they shall bring the glory and honour of the Nations into it. And there shall in no wise enter into it anything that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but [only] they which are written in the Lamb's Book of Life. - Note: There appears to remain a societal structure for mankind (Saints) complete with individual Nations, cities and towns even out into the eternal state.

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Revelation 22 - The Disciple John is shown the Eternal State of the Saints with the New Jerusalem containing the Eternal Throne of God [Father, Son Jesus (Lamb), Holy Spirit] on earth - The beloved Disciple John closes the great Revelation of the beloved Jesus Christ by sealing (the 8th Seal) it with a promise, this final Seal is an unbreakable promise from Jesus Christ Himself to return quickly, when it is time (opened) and when the 8th Seal is opened Jesus will return according to all of His promises - The Disciple John then prays in agreement with Jesus Christ and requests the return of Jesus Christ - The Disciple John then finalizes all Holy Bible Scripture with a blessing from Jesus Christ to all the beloved Saints in Jesus Christ -- 'Revelation 22:1-6 And he [Angel] shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the Throne of God and of the Lamb [in the New Jerusalem]. In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there *the Tree of Life (Genesis 2:9), which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and *the leaves of the tree were for the healing [wellbeing] of the Nations. And there shall be no more curse: but the Throne of God and of the Lamb [Jesus Christ] shall be in it; and His servants shall serve Him: And they shall see His face; and His name shall be in their foreheads. And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign forever and ever. And he said unto me, These sayings are Faithful and True: *and the Lord God of the holy prophets *sent His Angel [messenger] *to shew unto His servants [Christians - Saints] the things which must shortly be done [accomplished].'

The Bible's book of Revelation concludes completing the Holy Bible: Revelation 22:7-21 Behold, I [Jesus Christ] come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book. And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things. Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God. And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand. He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still. And, behold, I [Jesus Christ] come quickly; and My reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. 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. I Jesus have sent mine Angel [messenger] to testify unto you these things in the Churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. And the [Holy] Spirit and the Bride [Christian Church] say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the Words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the Book of Life, and out of the Holy City, and from the things which are written in this book. He [Jesus Christ] which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

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Source: David Anson Brown “The blog Bible Study” 2009-2010 BasicChristian.org

David Anson Brown posted 2016/02/08

blog-study/acts-revelation.txt · Last modified: 2017/04/17 03:30 (external edit)