“Safe Sex” Is Only Found In The Context Of Marriage, Anthing Else Is A Cheap Knockoff

When people talk about “safe sex”, they mostly mean “sex that allows me to avoid any responsibilities that are too taxing for my self-absorbed, convenience-centred life.”

Funny how that kind of “safe sex” often doesn’t make for the safest environment for children or for anyone else really.

Here’s the wisdom on saving sex for marriage, or what I like to call “authentic safe sex”:

God only permits sex inside marriage. But why? Western culture largely doesn’t see a problem with premarital sex anymore. And if the couple consent, what’s the problem? J.B. from the U.S. writes:

I have been asked something that had me quite stumped. Someone was questioning why God does not allow people to have sex outside of marriage, claiming there is no good reason. I am not talking about homosexuality or anything like that, but like a man and woman having sex when they are not married. I saw one article that briefly touches around the subject, but my question is how should I answer this to an atheist?

CMI’s Shaun Doyle responds:

God forbids sex outside of marriage because outside of marriage there’s no public agreement in place stipulating that each party of the sexual relationship must care for one another and any children that might come from the sexual union. Sexual desire is an incredibly potent force, and sexual activity has massive implications—procreation being the most obvious (Genesis 1:28), but it also binds a man and woman together in a way that nothing else can (Genesis 2:24–25)—the two texts Jesus himself explained marriage from: Christ the Creationist. By forbidding sex outside of marriage (1 Corinthians 7:2) God is saying that we must publically acknowledge that we have a duty of care to our sexual partner before we get to have sex. Think about it; marriage constitutes a public agreement to care for any potential children from a sexual union, so it provides a level of accountability to parents for looking after their own children. Marriage thus provides a first line of defense against child abuse and neglect (Raising godly children). If sex is OK outside of marriage, nor do we have a publically acknowledged duty of care to the person we have sex with. As such, marriage is a first line of defense against sexual abuse.

By forbidding sex outside of marriage (1 Corinthians 7:2) God is saying that you must publically acknowledge that you have a duty of care to your sexual partner before you get to have sex.

Of course, we all know that child abuse and sexual abuse can occur within marriages. But this doesn’t happen because marriage itself is faulty; it happens because humans are slaves to sin (Ephesians 2:1–3). Is the idea of a car stupid just because my car is a lemon? Of course not! But if sex is OK outside of marriage, then sex and children happen outside of contexts where people have voluntarily acknowledged their duty of care to their sexual partner and their children. Does circumventing that public accountability bode well for lessening sexual abuse and child abuse? Of course not! And so it’s no surprise to learn that child abuse and sexual abuse (of both children and adults) are proportionately more common outside of marriage than within it.

But, people in our society today think sex outside of marriage is OK because we have decoupled sex from a duty of care for our sexual partner. Sex is now a game people play, not an expression of love people share. But if sex is a game people play, then why shouldn’t they be able to make money from playing it? After all, baseball, football, and basketball players make obscene amounts of money just for playing a game, and sex is in many ways more entertaining than any of those, so why can’t people make money from ‘playing’ sex? And if sex is a game, why can’t we change the rules as we feel like, and legitimize all sorts of sexual expressions? And if sex is a game, what’s the point of marriage? Why not redefine marriage to reflect socially acceptable sexual proclivities? And what do we see in the Western world? Homosexuality is now just a ‘sexual preference’, prostitution is legal in many places, and same-sex marriage is sweeping the Western world.

The original design of sex was ingenious—God made the most pleasurable human experience the means by which new life is generated.

But notice in all this how children, as products of sexual unions, have been forgotten. Why? Western culture has (largely) managed to decouple sex from procreation. The original design of sex was ingenious—God made the most pleasurable human experience the means by which new life is generated; it puts an enormous responsibility on those engaging in sexual activity. But of course, the general availability of birth control has largely taken the fear of pregnancy away, so it makes it easy to treat sex like a game.

But even without the threat of pregnancy, promiscuity still has a major consequence—STDs (see Does it matter? for more information). STDs are clearly more prevalent in promiscuous societies. As such, even STDs are a reason to limit oneself to only one sexual partner at most, since then most STDs wouldn’t have a means of being transmitted. And health risks are included in any acknowledged duty of care to a sexual partner and children, so marriage again provides a means of curtailing STDs by binding a person to one sexual partner.

“But sex can still be an expression of love outside of marriage, right?” No. It can be an expression of infatuation, or romance, but not love in the biblical sense of actively putting another’s needs above oneself. “Oh, but I’m a generous lover!” In bed, maybe, but what about the rest of the day? The duty of care God says sex binds us to is not simply our partner’s sexual needs, but all their needs. Food, clothing, shelter, emotional well-being, spiritual well-being—all of it. When we view sex as an expression of that sort of love, then it’s plain that anything less than sex inside marriage cheapens the value of sex. If we are not willing to be so bound to someone that all their needs are largely dependent on us, then we shouldn’t be having sex. And if we are so willing, then we should make the public profession to such willingness (with our partner, of course; it takes two to marry!) before having sex so that everyone else can hold us accountable. For more information, please see Family/Marriage questions and answers.

http://creation.com/premarital-sex

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Dear Christian, Please Do Some Basic Research On The Pharisees: Who They Were, What They Did, And Why Jesus Was Forceful With Them And Not All The Other Sinners He Encountered

I can’t recount the number of times I have heard something along the lines of “Jesus spent time with sinners, not the Pharisees”

On almost every occasion, this statement has been used as a veiled attack against someone they disagreed with. Usually, it’s used against me.

The “Pharisee” ad hominem is, contrary to popular belief, the best way to hurt a Christian. Now before all those non-believers out there start rubbing their hands together in glee, it only hurts when it comes from other genuine believers. Indeed, that is why it hurts at all – because it’s family.

There not much worse than being misunderstood by family, to the extent that family accuse you of sharing the morality of people whom John the Immerser describes as a “brood of vipers” and whom, upon seeing Jesus cure the sick and the lame, accused him of doing by demonic power.

So you can understand why it’s not so nice to hear your fellow brothers and sisters accuse you of being a Pharisee, especially given that some of these guys were literally on their way to the lake of fire and even leading others with them.

So I write with sobriety that if you are a Christian and you are going to accuse your brothers and sisters of being like the Pharisees, you should do two important things:

  1. Understand that your accusation is massively serious, and;
  2. Do some basic research to understand why it is massively serious.

Needless to say, a lot of Christians who casually throw out “Pharisee” against people whose opinions they don’t like (or are too lazy to find biblically sound arguments to refute) may just find out that in no surprising twist of irony, the real Pharisees were the ones throwing accusation, specifically false ones against the innocent Son of God because they didn’t like him or his Father.

So what did Jesus say about the Pharisees?

“Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice.” Matthew‬ ‭23:1-3‬ ‭ESV‬‬

To begin with, the Pharisees had the very serious God-given responsibility of teaching and maintaining the God’s Torah, given through Moses, in the nation of Israel, the nation God himself chose to bring forth the only hope all humanity had of escaping judgment for sin and death: Messiah.

As far as responsibility goes, this was right up there and I would argue that there is nobody since, bar the apostles, who carried a greater weight of responsibility before God.

The serious crime of the Pharisees is that they did not aspire to keep the Torah themselves, according to Jesus own words, and not that keeping the Torah was itself a bad thing. Funny that – many Christians have internalised the false dichotomy of “law versus grace” which paints keeping the Torah as some kind of heinous legalism attempting to earn salvation. Since Jesus kept the Torah perfectly and had to in order to be accounted righteous according to the Torah, a bit of biblical education would not go astray for the church in this area.

And their crimes were multiplied beyond this:

They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger.” Matthew‬ ‭23:4‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Anyone who has ever looked at the Talmud, known in Judaism as the “oral law”, might begin to piece what Jesus says here together. In Judaism, the Talmud is considered the interpretive key of the scriptural Torah and it is considered equally inspired by God.

Simply, interpreting the Torah through the Talmud makes obeying God very complex and difficult. More importantly, teaching the oral Torah as equal to the written scriptural Torah actually adds to the Torah, something God expressly forbids.

But that’s not all!

“They do all their deeds to be seen by others. For they make their phylacteries broad and their fringes long, and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces and being called rabbi by others.” Matthew‬ ‭23:5-7‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Not only were the Pharisees adding to the Torah with Talmudic interpretations, making human interpretations equal to God’s instructions (a big biblical no-no) and keeping the average Israelite bound up with complex commands instead of wholehearted devotion to God, but they were equally unconcerned about the people in their care and their own hearts and instead concerned about privilege, power, and their outer appearances.

All of this becomes evident in the following passage:

“Then he said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And the man stretched it out, and it was restored, healthy like the other. But the Pharisees went out and conspired against him, how to destroy him.” Matthew‬ ‭12:13-14‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Imagine having a withered hand that you can’t use. Then suddenly, theirs guy comes along and miraculously heals it! Imagine the celebration as you run around excitedly telling people all about it. How would you respond when your respected community leaders turn up and start gunning for the guy who just changed your life for the much better?

That’s who many of the Pharisees were.

So the Pharisees, at least the ones who accosted Jesus, are a bit different to someone who disagrees with you on a theological issue and even more so that someone who makes a good point that you just don’t understand.

When you throw in that the Pharisees turned Jesus over to be brutally murdered because they didn’t like his liberating threat to their power base, calling someone a “Pharisee” is really just a step down from “Antichrist”.

Hey, if the shoe fits but the important question is – are you sure it fits?

Perhaps I’m getting ahead of myself and calling someone a “Pharisee” isn’t so bad after all?

““But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves. “Woe to you, blind guides, who say, ‘If anyone swears by the temple, it is nothing, but if anyone swears by the gold of the temple, he is bound by his oath.’ You blind fools! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that has made the gold sacred? And you say, ‘If anyone swears by the altar, it is nothing, but if anyone swears by the gift that is on the altar, he is bound by his oath.’ You blind men! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that makes the gift sacred? So whoever swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it. And whoever swears by the temple swears by it and by him who dwells in it. And whoever swears by heaven swears by the throne of God and by him who sits upon it. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel! “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and decorate the monuments of the righteous, saying, ‘If we had lived in the days of our fathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ Thus you witness against yourselves that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers. You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell? Therefore I send you prophets and wise men and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will flog in your synagogues and persecute from town to town, so that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah the son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. Truly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation. “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! See, your house is left to you desolate. For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’”” Matthew‬ ‭23:13, 15-39‬ ‭ESV‬‬

Guess I’m not.

Islam’s Understanding Of God

There is an irreconcilable gulf between the Christian and Islamic proclamations of God.

Scripture is very clear that anyone who distorts the good news about Jesus Messiah, his incarnation and resurrection from the dead along with his return as the king of Israel and judge of the nations, is a liar and an antichrist.

Many Christians may not like the idea of calling Islam “antichrist” but there is no ideology that better fits the bill.

Comparatively, most people have no problem expressing their disgust towards the Nazi regime and the Third Reich and yet Islam has been responsible for the deaths of far more Christians and people overall at an estimated 240-270 million people.

So the various Chrislam movements in the earth really only pave the way to the lake of fire for Muslims and so-called Christians alike who determine that salvation can comes through a means other than from Jesus Christ.

Nonetheless, the Islamic world is rich with people who are searching for truth even now millions are coming to know Jesus, many in secret.

Therefore it is wise to understand the different ways that Islam approaches God and how this can cause confusion in our discussions with them about Jesus, both for them and for us.

The following article by Rich Wendling and Daniel Shayesteh is very helpful in laying out the basics of the Islamic worldview:

How hard is it to share the gospel with a Muslim? By observing a few basic pointers, any believer can begin effectively sharing the good news of his Creator God.

Encountering a Muslim is no longer limited to a handful of Western tourists who happen to visit Egypt, Turkey, or some other popular Middle Eastern destination. Nearly 2.5 million Muslims now call the United States home, another 3 million reside in the United Kingdom, and similar numbers inhabit every other major English-speaking country.

So more than ever, Christians in the West need to understand the unique challenges of sharing the gospel with Muslims. Every believer’s heartbeat should be to lovingly share Christ’s gracious work in a way that any precious soul can understand—regardless of his or her religion.

This task may sound intimidating, but if you have already studied the basics of defending your faith, you are well on your way. In fact, apologetics (a well-reasoned, Bible-based explanation of your Christian beliefs) is a powerful tool in any kind of evangelism. Whenever you bring up deep topics, such as the purpose of life and eternity, people are easily drawn into fruitful conversations that they find very relevant to their lives.

With an apologetics approach, you are able not only to defend your faith but also to lovingly challenge them to reconsider their own beliefs.

The Fundamental Issue in Every Conversation

Before you begin a conversation with Muslims, remember that each person evaluates all “evidence” in light of presuppositions. Presuppositions are those underlying beliefs that drive how we think and interpret the world around us. A Muslim’s presuppositions, usually ingrained in him since childhood, will color the way he interprets everything you say.

This article will examine the Islamic presuppositions about God and His revelation. By bringing these presuppositions to the surface, you can demonstrate the fundamental flaws in Islam and then graciously point to the truth of the Bible. As the Holy Spirit pulls down “spiritual strongholds” (2 Corinthians 10:4–5), He can also open the heart and mind of the Muslim to hear the gospel.

The next article in this series will examine two other critical issues: the Muslim view of man’s sinful nature and salvation. By the time you finish both articles, you should be ready to converse profitably with any Muslim.

Islam’s View of God and the Christian Response

The Quran’s description of Allah, Islam’s supreme being, creates two insoluble contradictions: he is unknowable but we can know him; and he is merciful, but he has no just cause for his mercy. The Bible, in contrast, gives logical reasons we can know God and find consolation in His mercy.

We will examine each in turn.

An unknowable, impersonal god. Absolute monotheism is the core presupposition of Islam. The doctrine of tawhid (oneness) in Islam states that Allah is utterly transcendent (Quran 112:1–4). In other words, He is not just monotheistic but a wholly distinct, unique, indivisible, and completely separate (impersonal) being who is unknowable by “personal” beings like us. Allah exists without a place, independent of creation, with no resemblance to his creations. Nothing in all of creation can be compared to Allah.

This central doctrine of tawhid creates an interesting logical challenge. How can one know anything about something that is unknowable?

The Hadith, or tradition attributed to Muhammad, also teaches that Allah has ninety-nine names that describe various aspects of Allah’s nature and personalities. If Allah is unknowable, then how can we attribute ninety-nine names to him and make him known?

The Bible, in contrast, reveals that God is personal, and He has revealed Himself in the Bible so that He can be known. In fact, the Bible teaches that God created mankind for the express purpose of knowing Him personally.

A just but merciful god. Islam calls Allah just (Quran 4:40), and to be perfectly just, Allah must punish all sin. Yet the Quran also teaches that Allah is merciful, forgiving those whom he chooses to forgive (Quran 4:110; 73:20). This creates a logical contradiction, which prevents Allah from being either just or merciful.

If he is truly merciful, why isn’t he saving people during their life on earth rather than leaving their destiny uncertain until the afterlife, as the Quran teaches? To withhold salvation until the afterlife means that Allah ignores people’s daily cry for freedom from sin and Satan. In other words, he is uninterested in establishing heavenly justice while his followers live on earth, thus liberating them from Satan’s present dominion.

Unlike Islam, Christianity offers an answer to the apparent dilemma of a just but merciful God: the substitutionary sacrifice of Christ satisfied God’s justice while enabling Him to show mercy. Unlike Allah, the God of the Bible extends His justice to people while they live here on earth, allowing them to trust Him and be saved now (Matthew 12:18–21; Isaiah 42:1–4). So God’s approach to people, as revealed in the Bible, is both just and merciful.

Islam’s View of the Bible and the Christian Response

Islam teaches that the Torah was Allah’s first revelation and the gospel was second. But both became corrupted, so Allah gave the Quran to Muhammad to put people back on the right path. Muslims believe the Quran is Allah’s third and final revelation, his perfect, unchanged words.

This brings up another contradiction in the Quran. The Quran teaches that Allah’s words cannot be changed (Quran 6:115; 18:27), yet it also teaches that the Torah and Gospels were changed and became corrupted.

In contrast, the Bible recognizes no other writings as Scripture, and in fact it warns against adding to or taking away from its teachings (Proverbs 30:6; Deuteronomy 4:2, 12:32; Revelation 22:18–19). There is no evidence from Bible manuscripts or history that the Bible was ever changed. (Indeed, all the surviving manuscript evidence points to the opposite conclusion.)

But the Quran itself teaches that Muhammad changed some of its verses and that his followers shredded the Quran (Quran 2:106; 16:101; 15:90–91). For this reason, it will be eye-opening for Muslims if you encourage them to compare the Quran and the Bible and they discover that the Bible is absolutely trustworthy while the Quran is not. Since Islam teaches that the Bible—especially the first five books of the Old Testament and the Gospels—is God’s Word, it is extremely appropriate to refer to the Bible when you show how Christian and Islamic beliefs differ.

Islamic Belief in the Bible’s Corruption and the Christian Response

Muhammad claimed that the Bible predicted his name and that he would come after Jesus to complete His unfinished mission. After the death of Muhammad, his followers searched the Bible but did not find the name Muhammad. So they announced that the Bible was corrupted. The Christian should challenge the Muslim to consider the possibility that Muhammad was wrong and the Bible is correct.

Muhammad gave a second reason that the Bible must be corrupted: Christians and Jews believe that God has children but God does not have sexual desires and cannot have children. Muhammad did not know that God is called a spiritual Father of His people (John 4:23–24) but He was never a “father” of any human as a result of a sexual relationship. The Christian should show the Gospel passages that describe Jesus’s conception and show that no sexual relation was involved (Matthew 1:18; Luke 1:29–38; John 1:12–13).

The third reason for claiming the Bible’s corruption is the trinity.

The Quran incorrectly teaches that the Christian doctrine of the trinity is that there are three gods: God the father, Mary his wife, and Jesus their son (Quran 5:116). Muhammad taught his followers that Christians called Jesus God and made Mary equal to God, so they believe in three gods.

He did not know that the Gospels never call Mary God and that Jesus was the personal revelation of the One true God who, in His desire to build a personal relationship with His people, took on human form (John 1:14) to die for their sins (Matthew 20:28). It is important to correct these mistaken views, which are among the main reasons Muslims have rejected Christianity for centuries.

Islam’s View of Christ and the Christian Response

The doctrine of the Trinity deserves special care when you talk to Muslims. Since the oneness of God is central to their thinking, the trinity is a very difficult concept and must be introduced with care. It is usually wise to delay this discussion until the appropriate time, such as when you are explaining Christ’s loving role as Savior.

Allah is described as a god of love (Quran 11:90; 85:14). But this is problematic for tawhid, which describes him as impersonal. Love requires a personal nature that searches for another personal object on which to express love. (In other words, love exists only between two persons.) Love cannot be attributed to an impersonal being.

Also, since Allah is impersonal, he is without multiple persons in his own being on which to show love before creating the world and teaching love to his creatures. If Allah did not have the attribute of love before creation, how could he create beings with this attribute? A nonloving God cannot create loving creatures.

Unlike in Allah, the very nature of the triune God of the Bible is love (1 John 4:8). Each person of the Trinity— Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—has loved each of the others from eternity. The triune God has always had an object for His love.

Indeed, God’s desire to reveal His loving nature in each Person is the very reason He expressed His love to humanity. As the Father, He loved to save people; as the Son, He put that love into practice; and as the Holy Spirit, He carries His love through to the end. We will examine this important topic in more detail in the next part of this series.

Islam’s View of Sin and Salvation
God Made Us to Overcome Barriers

God created all human beings, including Muslims, with freedom of choice and the capacity to listen, read, and understand. By God’s grace the barriers that separate anyone from Him can be overcome. Unless the barriers and misconceptions are pointed out and corrected, they cannot be removed. The Christians’ challenge is to understand the basic presuppositions, practices, and shortcomings of Islam so that they can give well-reasoned arguments for the Bible’s truth, which God can use to reach the Muslim.

The Quran vs. the Bible

Though the Quran claims to confirm the Torah and the Gospels, it actually contradicts them in many key areas. For example,

The Torah states that God created man in His own image and good (Genesis 1:26); the Quran states that Allah created man in toil and trouble (Quran 90:4).

The Torah states that people have a right to inquire about the prophet’s words and deeds (Deuteronomy 18:20–21); the Quran states that people have no right to question the prophet and his successors at all (Quran 33:36; 59:7).

The Gospels state that lies come from the devil in whom is no truth (John 8:44); the Quran states that lying is legitimate under certain circumstances (Quran 2:225; 3:28; 16:106).

The Gospels state that Jesus died, was buried, and rose on the third day; the Quran states that Jesus did not die but was raised alive into heaven (Quran 4:157–158).

The Gospels declare Jesus to be the Son of God; the Quran declares Jesus to be a mere man—albeit a prophet—but not the Son of God (Quran 9:30).

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6); Islam rejects this concept and teaches that Jesus was a prophet but Muhammad was a greater prophet.

The Quran contradicts the Torah and Gospels in hundreds of other ways, too. The Quran cannot be true if it confirms the Torah and Gospels and yet contradicts most of their key doctrines.

https://answersingenesis.org/world-religions/islams-view-of-god-and-his-revelation/

Jesus Died To Restore The Jewish Kingdom To Glory

Here is a great article from Joel Richardson that elaborates on some of the lesser mentioned elements of the gospel in the West today. It is a very encouraging read that will open your eyes to the great hope for Israel in their messiah Jesus:

If you ask most Christians why Jesus died on the cross, they will most often quote John 3:16, affirming that, “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” The idea is that the “good news” of the Bible is summarized in that Jesus died on the cross so that anyone who believes in Him can go to heaven after they die.

Of course, when Christians say these kind of things, they are not wrong. This is certainly part of the good news. But the gospel is far more than just John 3:16and being saved from hell. The gospel, as it was proclaimed by Jesus and the Apostles, is an extension of the good news that was proclaimed throughout the Old Testament. So what else beyond merely going to heaven after we die is entailed when we speak of God’s good news for mankind?

The simple answer to this question is found in the phrase, “the restoration of all things.” Shortly after Pentecost, when Peter preached God’s good news to the crowds, he specifically spoke of the “the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time” (Acts 3:21). What is this period, what were the prophets speaking of, and what exactly will be restored?

The period being spoken of is the age of the Messiah, after Jesus returns and establishes His kingdom. As to what will be restored, Jesus will not only restore the earth, but also the Kingdom of Israel. Within the grand unfolding plan of God are His many promises not only to restore Eden—a glorious garden-paradise, but also to restore the Jewish Kingdom to a glory far greater than during the days of King David or Solomon.

Let’s consider just a few of the passages that speak of these days. In the prophecy of Isaiah, we are told that during the messianic age, in partnership with Jesus, the righteous will actually renovate the earth: “Then they will rebuild the ancient ruins, they will raise up the former devastations; and they will repair the ruined cities, the desolations of many generations” (Isaiah 61:4). Elsewhere, the prophet Amos speaks of the days, “When the plowman will overtake the reaper and the treader of grapes him who sows seed; when the mountains will drip sweet wine.” Under the rule of Jesus, God’s people will, “plant vineyards and drink their wine, and make gardens and eat their fruit” (Amos 9:9-15). The prophet Zechariah says that “‘In that day,’ declares the LORD of hosts, ‘every one of you will invite his neighbor to sit under his vine and under his fig tree’” (Zechariah 3:10).

In speaking of those days, the prophet Ezekiel describes, a river that will run southward, out of Jerusalem, turning the Dead Sea into a fresh water lake, teeming with life:

It will come about that every living creature which swarms in every place where the river goes, will live. And there will be very many fish, for these waters go there and the others become fresh; so everything will live where the river goes. And it will come about that fishermen will stand beside it; from Engedi to Eneglaim there will be a place for the spreading of nets. Their fish will be according to their kinds, like the fish of the Great Sea, very many. (Ezekiel 47:9-10)

When is the last time that any Christian you know declared the good news that in the age to come, after we die, we will be able to fish? I don’t know about you, but for me, this is truly good news!

The Scriptures also affirm that after Jesus returns, He will set in place a new global leadership structure. From God’s perspective, the primary purpose of every position of leadership is to serve others. Yet today, I think it is fair to say that many, if not most politicians, seek and maintain positions of authority not primarily for the purpose of truly serving others, but in order to secure greater wealth, power, and control. This is a problem that is common throughout the world. How will Jesus respond to this when He returns? Psalm 110 tells us that Jesus will literally kill unrighteous rulers and politicians throughout the earth: “The Lord is at Your right hand; He will shatter kings in the day of His wrath. He will judge among the nations, He will fill them with corpses, He will shatter the chief men over a broad country” (Psalm 110:5).

Not only will Jesus’ return be accompanied by his execution of a host of wicked, self-serving politicians and dictators throughout the earth, but He will also replace them with those who have proven themselves to be faithful and humble leaders: “Well done, my good servant! Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities,” He will declare (Luke 19:17). When I think of how many throughout the earth groan under the weight of oppressive government, I rejoice at this profoundly good news. Genuinely humble servant leaders will assist Jesus in governing the new world. Hallelujah!

Yet as wonderful and glorious as these descriptions of a restored earth are, they are only part of the picture. Beyond a restored and glorified garden paradise, the Scriptures also speak of a glorified, restored Kingdom of Israel. If we neglect to proclaim either of these two dimensions of the coming messianic age, we are simply not proclaiming the complete gospel message that was declared by God’s “holy prophets from ancient time.”

After Jesus rose from the dead, His disciples asked Him about the time that He would restore the glory of the Jewish kingdom, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?” (Acts 1:6-7). In no way did Jesus rebuke his disciples for their question. Instead, He assured them that at the proper time, according to the time set by the Father, He will return and restore the Kingdom of Israel. The Scriptures are brimming with references that testify to this reality. At the every onset of the Gospel of Luke, the angel Gabriel announced to Mary that the son she would bear would forever reign on the restored throne of David:

“And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.” (Luke 1:31-33 emphasis mine)

The throne of David, we must understand is not a vague reference to the rule of Jesus. This is the restored Jewish royal monarchy.

Later, as Jesus spoke to His disciples, He told them of the time after He returns when they would assist him in judging the twelve tribes of Israel:

“Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel” (Matthew 19:28-29).

The restoration of all twelve tribes in the age to come shows that indeed we are looking forward to a fully restored Kingdom of Israel. Though few Christians discuss this aspect of the Bible, the Scriptures in both the Old and New testaments are brimming with descriptions of the coming kingdom of God.

When we take a real hard look at the way that the Christian Church has related to the Jewish community throughout most of Church history, it is no surprise that a failure to recognize this critical aspect of the good news—namely the coming restoration of the Kingdom of Israel—often accompanied the horrific mistreatment of the Jewish people by Christians. In my most recent book, When a Jew Rules the World, I carefully lay out the case for why the Christian Church must reclaim the fullness of the gospel as it was proclaimed by Jesus and the apostles. In doing so, we will accomplish much. First, we will proclaim a message that most Jews—those who are far more Old Testament literate than many Christians—will relate to, understand, and receive far more naturally. Second, we will be much better equipped to avoid the great errors and sins of our forefathers with the long history of Christian persecution of the Jewish people. And finally, we will prepare our hearts to receive Jesus at His return with hearts full of joy and understanding as we all together exclaim with fullness of joy: “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the king of Israel!” (John 12:13)

The restoration of all things is an appropriate topic given that God’s rehearsal for this time in history is quickly approaching in the Sukkot feast season especially one so significant as this year’s season seems to be.

It’s a great opportunity for the church to connect with God’s history with Israel and to set our hearts and minds on what is to come.
http://www.joelstrumpet.com/?p=7703
http://www.hebrew4christians.com/Holidays/Fall_Holidays/Sukkot/sukkot.html

The Teaching Of The Twelve Apostles, Or The Didache

The Didache, the Greek term meaning ‘teaching’, is believed to be a tool used by the Apostles of Jesus Christ to teach converts to Christianity, is a powerful piece of writing no matter it’s exact origins.

In summary, the Didache contrasts the paths that lead to life and death, guiding the Christian into God’s will amidst the dangers of this present age. It especially emphasises the basic articles of our faith as articulated in Hebrews chapter 6.

While this text it is not inspired and therefore not a part of biblical cannon, it faithfully affirms the inspired text of the scriptures.

I encourage you to read it and let it serve as an inspiration towards pursuing God wholeheartedly and being rooted and grounded in the love of Christ, especially so as the darkness of this current age consumes our culture:

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 neighbour 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 any one 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 every one 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 practise 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.

CHAPTER 5

5:1 But the path of death is this. First of all, it is evil, and full of cursing; there are found murders, adulteries, lusts, fornication, thefts, idolatries, soothsaying, sorceries, robberies, false witnessings, hypocrisies, double-mindedness, craft, pride, malice, self-will, covetousness, filthy talking, jealousy, audacity, pride, arrogance;

5:2 there are they who persecute the good — lovers of a lie, not knowing the reward of righteousness, not cleaving to the good nor to righteous judgment, watching not for the good but for the bad, from whom meekness and patience are afar off, loving things that are vain, following after recompense, having no compassion on the needy, nor labouring for him that is in trouble, not knowing him that made them, murderers of children, corrupters of the image of God, who turn away from him that is in need, who oppress him that is in trouble, unjust judges of the poor, erring in all things. From all these, children, may ye be delivered.

CHAPTER 6

6:1 See that no one make thee to err from this path of doctrine, since he who doeth so teacheth thee apart from God.

6:2 If thou art able to bear the whole yoke of the Lord, thou wilt be perfect; but if thou art not able, what thou art able, that do.

6:3 But concerning meat, bear that which thou art able to do. But keep with care from things sacrificed to idols, for it is the worship of the infernal deities.

CHAPTER 7

7:1 But concerning baptism, thus baptize ye: having first recited all these precepts, baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, in running water;

7:2 but if thou hast not running water, baptize in some other water, and if thou canst not baptize in cold, in warm water;

7:3 but if thou hast neither, pour water three times on the head, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

7:4 But before the baptism, let him who baptizeth and him who is baptized fast previously, and any others who may be able. And thou shalt command him who is baptized to fast one or two days before.

CHAPTER 8

8:1 But as for your fasts, let them not be with the hypocrites, for they fast on the second and fifth days of the week, but do ye fast on the fourth and sixth days.

8:2 Neither pray ye as the hypocrites, but as the Lord hath commanded in his gospel so pray ye: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done as in heaven so on earth. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debt, as we also forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil: for thine is the power, and the glory, for ever.

8:3 Thrice a day pray ye in this fashion.

CHAPTER 9

9:1 But concerning the Eucharist, after this fashion give ye thanks.

9:2 First, concerning the cup. We thank thee, our Father, for the holy vine, David thy Son, which thou hast made known unto us through Jesus Christ thy Son; to thee be the glory for ever.

9:3 And concerning the broken bread. We thank thee, our Father, for the life and knowledge which thou hast made known unto us through Jesus thy Son; to thee be the glory for ever.

9:4 As this broken bread was once scattered on the mountains, and after it had been brought together became one, so may thy Church be gathered together from the ends of the earth unto thy kingdom; for thine is the glory, and the power, through Jesus Christ, for ever.

9:5 And let none eat or drink of your Eucharist but such as have been baptized into the name of the Lord, for of a truth the Lord hath said concerning this, Give not that which is holy unto dogs.

CHAPTER 10

10:1 But after it has been completed, so pray ye.

10:2 We thank thee, holy Father, for thy holy name, which thou hast caused to dwell in our hearts, and for the knowledge and faith and immortality which thou hast made known unto us through Jesus thy Son; to thee be the glory for ever.

10:3 Thou, Almighty Master, didst create all things for the sake of thy name, and hast given both meat and drink, for men to enjoy, that we might give thanks unto thee, but to us thou hast given spiritual meat and drink, and life everlasting, through thy Son.

10:4 Above all, we thank thee that thou art able to save; to thee be the glory for ever.

10:5 Remember, Lord, thy Church, to redeem it from every evil, and to perfect it in thy love, and gather it together from the four winds, even that which has been sanctified for thy kingdom which thou hast prepared for it; for thine is the kingdom and the glory for ever.

10:6 Let grace come, and let this world pass away. Hosanna to the Son of David. If any one is holy let him come (to the Eucharist); if any one is not, let him repent. Maranatha. Amen.
10:7 But charge the prophets to give thanks, so far as they are willing to do so.

CHAPTER 11

11:1 Whosoever, therefore, shall come and teach you all these things aforesaid, him do ye receive;

11:2 but if the teacher himself turn and teach another doctrine with a view to subvert you, hearken not to him; but if he come to add to your righteousness, and the knowledge of the Lord, receive him as the Lord.

11:3 But concerning the apostles and prophets, thus do ye according to the doctrine of the Gospel.

11:4 Let every apostle who cometh unto you be received as the Lord.

11:5 He will remain one day, and if it be necessary, a second; but if he remain three days, he is a false prophet.

11:6 And let the apostle when departing take nothing but bread until he arrive at his resting-place; but if he ask for money, he is a false prophet.

11:7 And ye shall not tempt or dispute with any prophet who speaketh in the spirit; for every sin shall be forgiven, but this sin shall not be forgiven.

11:8 But not every one who speaketh in the spirit is a prophet, but he is so who hath the disposition of the Lord; by their dispositions they therefore shall be known, the false prophet and the prophet.

11:9 And every prophet who ordereth in the spirit that a table shall be laid, shall not eat of it himself, but if he do otherwise, he is a false prophet;

11:10 and every prophet who teacheth the truth, if he do not what he teacheth is a false prophet;

11:11 and every prophet who is approved and true, and ministering in the visible mystery of the Church, but who teacheth not others to do the things that he doth himself, shall not be judged of you, for with God lieth his judgment, for in this manner also did the ancient prophets.

11:12 But whoever shall say in the spirit, Give me money, or things of that kind, listen not to him; but if he tell you concerning others that are in need that ye should give unto them, let no one judge him.

CHAPTER 12

12:1 Let every one that cometh in the name of the Lord be received, but afterwards ye shall examine him and know his character, for ye have knowledge both of good and evil.

12:2 If the person who cometh be a wayfarer, assist him so far as ye are able; but he will not remain with you more than two or three days, unless there be a necessity.

12:3 But if he wish to settle with you, being a craftsman, let him work, and so eat;

12:4 but if he know not any craft, provide ye according to you own discretion, that a Christian may not live idle among you;

12:5 but if he be not willing to do so, he is a trafficker in Christ. From such keep aloof.

CHAPTER 13

13:1 But every true prophet who is willing to dwell among you is worthy of his meat,

13:2 likewise a true teacher is himself worthy of his meat, even as is a labourer.

13:3 Thou shalt, therefore, take the firstfruits of every produce of the wine-press and threshing-floor, of oxen and sheep, and shalt give it to the prophets, for they are your chief priests;

13:4 but if ye have not a prophet, give it unto the poor.

13:5 If thou makest a feast, take and give the firstfruits according to the commandment;

13:6 in like manner when thou openest a jar of wine or of oil, take the firstfruits and give it to the prophets;

13:7 take also the firstfruits of money, of clothes, and of every possession, as it shall seem good unto thee, and give it according to the commandment.

CHAPTER 14

14:1 But on the Lord’s day, after that ye have assembled together, break bread and give thanks, having in addition confessed your sins, that your sacrifice may be pure.

14:2 But let not any one who hath a quarrel with his companion join with you, until they be reconciled, that your sacrifice may not be polluted,

14:3 for it is that which is spoken of by the Lord. In every place and time offer unto me a pure sacrifice, for I am a great King, saith the Lord, and my name is wonderful among the Gentiles.

CHAPTER 15

15:1 Elect, therefore, for yourselves bishops and deacons worthy of the Lord, men who are meek and not covetous, and true and approved, for they perform for you the service of prophets and teachers.

15:2 Do not, therefore, despise them, for they are those who are honoured among you, together with the prophets and teachers.

15:3 Rebuke one another, not in wrath but peaceably, as ye have commandment in the Gospel; and, but let no one speak to any one who walketh disorderly with regard to his neighbour, neither let him be heard by you until he repent.

15:4 But your prayers and your almsgivings and all your deeds so do, as ye have commandment in the Gospel of our Lord.

CHAPTER 16

16:1 Watch concerning your life; let not your lamps be quenched or your loins be loosed, but be ye ready, for ye know not the hour at which our Lord cometh.

16:2 But be ye gathered together frequently, seeking what is suitable for your souls; for the whole time of your faith shall profit you not, unless ye be found perfect in the last time.

16:3 For in the last days false prophets and seducers shall be multiplied, and the sheep shall be turned into wolves, and love shall be turned into hate;

16:4 and because iniquity aboundeth they shall hate each other, and persecute each other, and deliver each other up; and then shall the Deceiver of the world appear as the Son of God, and shall do signs and wonders, and the earth shall be delivered into his hands; and he shall do unlawful things, such as have never happened since the beginning of the world.

16:5 Then shall the creation of man come to the fiery trial of proof, and many shall be offended and shall perish; but they who remain in their faith shall be saved by the rock of offence itself.

16:6 And then shall appear the signs of the truth; first the sign of the appearance in heaven, then the sign of the sound of the trumpet, and thirdly the resurrection of the dead

16:7 — not of all, but as it has been said, The Lord shall come and all his saints with him;

16:8 then shall the world behold the Lord coming on the clouds of heaven.

https://carm.org/didache

Jesus Still Reigns: A Biblical Response to “Same-Sex Marriage”

As the celebrations over the SCOTUS decision to redefine marriage die down, it’s always good remind ourselves that the heavenly host have been worshipping and adoring God for Millenia and will continue forever as Jesus’ Kingdom comes to consume the entire earth.

Love won a long time ago on the cross and it was a far more greater love than the self serving, doublespeak “love” we hear about in the news and see in our Hollywood films.

The following teaching by Dr. Corey Abney is an encouraging slap in the face of disheartenment and apathy, rousing the church to set our eyes upon the eternal hope and glory that will fill creation long after the small blip in history where “homosexual marriage” was a thing.

Consider this powerful statement and watch the teaching below:

“Listen, our saviour reigns and rules on the throne and I assure you that today his kingdom is just as intact as it was on Thursday afternoon. I can assure you that he is still reigning and ruling on high and that every single person that has ever lived on this earth will at some point in the future will bow the knee and confess that Jesus Christ is lord for the glory of God the Father.”

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (‭Philippians‬ ‭2‬:‭1-11‬ ESV)


https://answersingenesis.org/blogs/ken-ham/2015/07/03/biblical-response-same-sex-marriage/