The Old Testament Jesus

We are all familiar with the story of the birth of Jesus that we find in the New testament of God’s Holy Word. We know Him as the Son of God, God Incarnate, Savior of the world and Lord of our lives. But there are millions of others who have also heard of the birth of Jesus but do not have a personal relationship with Him or even understand what that means. There are also many church members that certainly believe the story of His birth and even believe He is who He said He is. But the fact is they seem to think that Jesus came to this earth at his physical birth for the very first time. In other words, the only time He was here was during His life on earth from His birth to His ascension. They never reach a point of understanding that He was here many times before He was born to Mary in that stable in Bethlehem. Maybe even some of us don’t realize how many times the Old Testament records His visitation to this world in times past.

Over the next few weeks we are going to take a look at several of those times He made a physical appearance in this world. We will not be able to cover them all but there will be enough to help us realize that Jesus has been interested and involved in the lives of people from the very beginning. The first few verses of the book of John make it very clear that Jesus was from the beginning and still is and forever will be God. And His hands have been in every detail of human life from the day Adam was created and He has appeared on earth on many occasions. This evening we will take a look at what most theologians consider the very first of such appearances.

We find in Genesis 13 the story of how Abram leaves the land of Egypt with his wife and all of his possessions and Lot goes with him. Abram eventually settles in the land of Canaan but Lot decides to settle near the wicked city of Sodom. In that chapter we also find that God makes a binding promise to Abram concerning the land he would occupy and how his descendents would multiply. We know this as the Abrahamic Covenant. But immediately after that in Genesis 14 the story continues with the invasion of Sodom and Gomorrah by four powerful kings which results in Lot and all of his possessions being taken away by those kings. When Abram gets word of this he puts together a small army and goes after them. He successfully defeats the kings and not only brings lot back with all of his belongings, he brings back the women and the rest of the people who had been taken. And here is where we see the appearance of Jesus in the Old Testament.

The Bible says that the King of Sodom went out to meet Abram upon his return and that the King of Salem brought out bread and wine. The name of this king was Melchizedek and God’s Word states that he was a priest of God Most High. And he blessed Abram. This was a physical and personal activity on the part of Jesus. Hebrew 5:6 states that God Himself declares Jesus as a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedec. And then in Chapter 7 that the name Melchizedec translates as king of righteousness and that King of Salem meant king of peace. It goes on to say that “he was without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, he remains a priest perpetually.” This can only be a description of Jesus. Isaiah the prophet and Paul’s letters to the Ephesians and to the church at Rome offer additional support of this.

Isaiah 9:6 refers to Jesus as the Prince of Peace. In Ephesians 2: 14 Paul says “He Himself is our peace” and in Romans 10: 4 he states “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” Jesus, Jesus, only Jesus. He is the theme and subject throughout all of God’s Word from Genesis to Revelation. And the Old Testament reveals Him for who He is on many other occasions as we will see in the coming weeks.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.”  John 1:1-2  

Pastors; God’s Men

In 1992 a group of pastors and religious leaders established what they called Clergy Appreciation Day. The intent was to honor and show appreciation to pastors all over the world for the role they play in their churches. This later became what is known today as Pastor Appreciation Day which is celebrated on the second Sunday in October of each year. Many now consider the month of October as Pastor Appreciation Month. Although this special day and month has been established by men, the idea of showing some kind of tangible appreciation to a pastor by their local congregation has some support from scripture. With this in mind let’s consider what is meant by the word pastor and what God has to say about them.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the term pastor as “a spiritual overseer; a clergyman serving a local church or parish”. And from the original biblical languages the literal meaning is “a helper, or feeder of the sheep” which is the more correct definition from a theological perspective. The word carries with it the thought that it is one who loves and cares for, in all ways, those whom he has been given charge over. And to be sure, God is the One who has given the pastor charge over the flock. In other words, the pastor is called, not self-appointed. In addition, the Bible leaves no room for the position to be held by a woman.  Therefore, to summarize, a pastor is a man who has been called by God to serve in that capacity. If these two qualifications are not met, then the person who calls themselves a pastor is serving in the flesh and is not being led by the Spirit.

As we look at the scriptures we see way back in the Old Testament days, the prophet Jeremiah records these words from God himself concerning His chosen people. “Then I will give you shepherds after My own heart, who will feed you on knowledge and understanding”, Jeremiah 3:15. In his letter to the Romans Paul writes “How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?”, Romans 10:14. And in Ephesians 4:11, “And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers,”. We can certainly see from these verses that God who chooses the pastor and gives the flock to shepherd.

God has also given instructions to those of us who are counted among the sheep as to how we are to consider our pastor. In his first letter to the Thessalonians Paul writes “We request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another.”, 1 Thessalonians 5:12-13. In the book of Hebrews we see more exhortation concerning our attitude towards pastors. “Remember those who led you, who spoke the word of God to you; and considering the result of their conduct, imitate their faith.”, Hebrews 13:7 and again in Hebrews 13:17, “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.”

There are many other verses that can be considered to understand the many aspects of being a pastor and how we are to act towards them. And in all of these we have cited, and those we have not, we will find that God uses pastors to take care of His sheep. And if we are not part of a local flock (church) with a qualified and dedicated pastor we are not being fed and cared for like God has intended.

The fact that my dad was a God called preacher and pastor has given me an insight to the difficulties that come with the task that others may not understand. I witnessed the ups and downs, the joys and sorrows, the trying times and the times of celebration that he and our family went through. I developed such a great respect for him because of how he carried out the responsibilities that God gave him because he always did it all with joy and not grief as we saw in the scripture above. And in the midst of it all, he always stood on God’s Word and never compromised what was right. And today, I have great respect for those pastor’s that truly love and care for their flock while still having the courage to proclaim the truths of God’s Word in a day that it may not be well received even by some of their own flock. I have been fortunate to have had those type of men of God as my pastor and I can certainly say that I have that kind of pastor today!

So, my hat is off to every pastor who stands on God’s Word and feeds and leads as God has intended him to do. No doubt some of you whom I greatly respect in that capacity are likely reading this post. And for those of you who are not pastors, the best thing we can do for them is pray for them on a daily basis. They have an awesome responsibility and I know Satan does everything he can to try to destroy the work they do. But I stand with and beside them! Do you?

Two Truths of Life

It amazes me how so often we can go for weeks without seemingly any significant events occurring in our lives. We get so tied up with our day-to-day routines that it appears we are functioning as mere robots. Days go by and we do the same things over and over again and are almost blind and deaf to some of the events that are going on around us. We are busy like ants gathering food for the winter and our focus seems to be only on ourselves. It reminds me of some of the zombie shows that seem to be so popular today. We are like dead men walking and are immune to any form of  a potential vaccine that may reverse our dreadful condition. And we don’t realize the condition we are in.

Does this sound familiar? I know I have found myself at times almost like what I have just described. And then it happens. Some event or circumstance develops around me that causes me to stop and take note. And all of a sudden my eyes become wide open to the things I have been paying little or no attention to. And then I finally realize that God has awakened me from my stupor and wants to either teach me or remind me of something important. During the past week this has happened to me because of two significant events that have occurred. I have been reminded of a couple of truths that I have not really thought about lately but are most assuredly ones that we all should be more aware of. So I want to briefly describe these events and then discuss the resulting truths in the next few paragraphs because they have had a serious impact on me.

The first event is one that just about every person in this country is watching and talking about. It is the high-profile nomination of the next Supreme Court Justice and subsequent hearing brought about by an allegation of sexual misconduct. If you have watched any part of the hearing or kept up with it through reliable news outlets then you have seen the same things I have seen. It has been very obvious to me that a certain group of the very ones who have been elected to represent the people of this country have taken it upon themselves to destroy an individual in hopes of furthering their personal agendas. I have seen incredible hate all over their faces, in their voices and certainly in their actions. All forms of decency and fairness have been tossed aside by this group of people and as far as I am concerned they have proved themselves to be the very epitome of evil. So what is the resulting truth of all of this? Well here it is: Satan is the ruler of this world and is the master of all evil. As jesus told the Pharisees ” You are not sons of Abraham, your father is the devil.” And it is no different today. Satan has his children and they are doing his bidding. Since the fall of man there has been a continuous battle between good and evil and will continue until the time Jesus returns to this earth and finally puts things in order.

The other event is one that really hits close to home because it involved someone who I hold dear to my heart and love very much. Several days ago my wife Becky had a routine appointment with her regular doctor. She has been having some serious health issues with continuing headaches that seemed to start after an earlier experience with a severe headache that led to some disorientation and tremendous nausea. Another experience occurred shortly thereafter but not as serious as the first. After her regular checkup she informed the doctor about those experiences and the resulting headaches. After doing a couple of other checks the doctor then advised her that he was scheduling a diagnostic test that would determine if she had a serious brain condition. From that moment on fear and anxiety set in for her and then for me because the test would not be for another week. As we researched the possible reason for the symptoms the anxiety grew even worse because of the unknowns that we faced. I began to pray every chance I had and I’m sure she was doing the same. No doubt, both of us were trying to plan how we would handle something serious if diagnosed and if we need to put things in order if there was a terminal condition. Needless to say that week of waiting took a great emotional toll on us. However, on the morning of the scheduled test we prayed together and we cried together but we resolved to leave it all in God’s hands. The test lasted for about 45 minutes and we then took care of some personal business, had lunch together and headed home. Just as we turned on our street Becky got a call from the doctor’s office with the results. I was trying to drive and listen to the conversation at the same time but all the while my heart was racing. The conversation ended about the time I pulled up in the driveway of our home. I could not believe what I was hearing! No tumor! No aneurism! No mass! No brain bleed! No stroke! No sign of any kind of any abnormality! We sat in our car in the driveway and we held on to each other, we cried together, and we thanked God for His answer to our prayers! Now, what is the resulting truth of all of this? Well again I say “Here it is!”: What a mighty God we serve! Every promise He has ever made He will keep. We can trust Him. We realize that the outcome could have been immensely different but we were resolved to trust Him. And we thank Him thank He gives us that opportunity. There is one thing we know. There is coming a day when He will set all things in order and there will be no more evil, no more pain, no more sickness. What a day that will be and we will trust Him until that day appears. 

   

The Autumn of Life

Last week we completed the series we had entitled “Stand or Cower” and we looked in-depth at three major issues that we as Christians are faced with to make a decision as to how we respond to the position that most of our society holds today on each issue. I think, without exception, we have proved what God’s view is on the issues of abortion, homosexuality, and civil disobedience because our answers came directly from God’s Word. There is no doubt that there are other issues within our society that require  us to take a firm stand but these don’t seem to be as prevalent as the three we discussed. So, far the most part, we can end the series with the reminder that our authority is God Himself and our real citizenship is somewhere else.

Tonight I want to change gears and move in somewhat of a different direction. As most of you know, today is the first day of fall according to the astrological calendar and we can expect leaves to begin changing colors and then turn loose, the grass to become dry and dormant, and the temperatures to start a slow downward spiral. We are thus reminded that from the day that God finished His creation, the seasons have come and gone every year and everywhere on this old earth and will continue to do so until the Lord’s return. This is what we know as the autumn of the four seasons. But there are two other autumns I want us to consider.

The first one is what I call the autumn of God’s time. I’m referring to His plan that He has had from before the foundation of the world. His plan to provide the way for man to be reconciled to Him and then a specific length of time He has set aside to give man the opportunity. And of course only God the Father knows what the time duration is. However, I believe we are not too far from that time to come to a close. There are so many signs that we can recognize from the descriptions found in God’s Word that certainly makes it appear the end is nearing. I’m not sure whether we are in the beginning, the middle, or near the end of His autumn of time but I do believe winter is fast approaching.

The other autumn that I want to consider tonight is what I call the autumn of life as our post title indicates. What I mean by this is that many of you and certainly myself have more than likely lived more than half the years of our lives. If we consider the fact that the average life span today is somewhere between 80 and 85 years depending on our gender, we can compare the seasons of our life very closely to the climatic seasons we experience.However, for argument’s sake, let’s assume the life span of a person has now reached 90 years. if that is so then anyone who is 22.5 years old or less would be considered in the spring of life. Those who fall between 22.5 and 45 are in the summer of their lives. And those who are between 45 and 67.5 in the autumn of their lives. And folks I am at the very end of my autumn. And I know many who are in the same situation as me. That also means I am about to begin the winter of my life.

With all of this said, why is the autumn of life so important? Well, I can speak only for myself, but let me share with you my observations and my thoughts. The last few years have had a great impact on me. I have realized that I am no longer invincible and that parts of my body are beginning to wear out. Obviously this affects me physically which also results in additional mental and emotional stress. Like the leaves on a tree, my leaves are turning color and some are falling off. But the thing that wears on me the most is not my physical, mental, or emotional condition but spiritual condition. I have come to the realization that I am still so short of what God wants me to be and time is running out. Therefore the things that I once considered most important in life have waned in comparison to what truly is important. But I am so thankful that God has brought me to the point of understanding that what I do for Him and His glory is what true life is all about. He has given me a desire and hunger for His Word much greater than I’ve ever had and a greater desire to share His Word with others. This includes the good news of His glorious gospel but along with that how God’s Word has the answer to any and all things in this life and many for the life to come.  My greatest desire now is to finish strong! I realize that at my age I will most likely begin to encounter major health issues, loss of loved ones close to me, probably some criticism and maybe even persecution. But this I know. He who began a new work in me will complete it just as He promised. And even though I am in the autumn of my life He still expects me to strive everyday to be what He has called me to be. I know that he still has great things He wants to do in my life. And I pray that when I come to the end of the winter of my life I will leave a legacy that He and my loved ones will be proud of.

If you are in the autumn of your life or even winter, God still has great plans for you. Never give up and finish strong with me.

Civil Disobedience; Biblical Examples

When we started our series entitled “Stand or Cower” the intent was to identify those issues that today’s society so readily embraces as acceptable and even normal. We have seen that these include abortion, homosexuality and ungodly civil authority. It is very obvious and easy to understand what God’s view is with regards to the first two but civil disobedience is not quite that simple. We saw that God’s view of civil authority requires us as Christians to obey those in authority over us because he has put them in that position. However, we have also seen that scripture tells us that there are exceptions and that is when those in authority are attempting to require us do something that God commands and instructs us not to do. Last week we looked at the three basic views that we may have concerning this issue with the Biblical view being the one we are to follow. That view basically is that we obey unless it is contradictory to God’s laws.

With today’s post we will take a look at some biblical examples that will give us an insight as to when civil disobedience is acceptable in God’s eyes. As we do so it should serve as a reminder that the day is coming if the Lord tarries that we may very well have to make a decision if we will stand or cower in the face of very similar circumstances.

The first example involves the Hebrew midwives that Pharoah commanded to kill all of the male Jewish babies but did not do so. In Exodus 1 we are told that they feared God, disobeyed the command of Pharoah, and the lied to him as to why they did not kill them. The Bible also said that God was good to them and the people multiplied. We also know that shortly after that was when Moses was born and was hidden in a basket in the Nile river. And we know how God used Moses to lead His people out of Egyptian.

In Joshua chapter 2 we see where Rahab disobeyed the command of the King of Jericho to produce the Israelite spies. We see that she was rescued from the destruction of Jericho because of her previous actions. In 1 Samuel we see where King Saul’s own son Jonathan ate honey for refreshment not knowing that Saul had ordered that no one could eat until he had won the battle. When Saul ordered that Jonathan be put to death the people rose up against the king and Jonathan was spared.

The Bible says that Obadiah “feared the Lord greatly” and hid 100 of God’s prophets while Jezebel was attempting to have them all killed. This was certainly in defiance of the queen’s authority. And the book of Daniel records several acts of civil disobedience. The two most prominent are when Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to bow down to the golden idol and subsequently were thrown into the fiery furnace and when Daniel was thrown into the lion’s den because he prayed to someone other than the king. In both cases God spared them and in fact Jesus was present with them during their time of trial.

In the New Testament, the book of Acts records the civil disobedience of Peter and John towards the authorities that were in power at the time. After Peter healed a man born lame, Peter and John were arrested for preaching about Jesus and put in jail. The religious authorities were determined to stop them from teaching about Jesus; however, Peter said, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:19–20). Later, the rulers confronted the apostles again and reminded them of their command to not teach about Jesus, but Peter responded, “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). 

There are certainly other instances that can be found in God’s Word that are considered to be defiance to civil authority. And every one of them is because the rules or the actions of the authority are in direct opposition to God’s commandments and expectations. In each instance it required courage on the individual’s part and God’s presence in their lives. In each of the examples we have seen the individual chose to stand and not cower. May God give us the courage to stand!

As we draw this to a close let’s review the possible conclusions we can come to with regards to the this subject. Below are just a few:

• Christians should resist a government that commands or compels evil and should work nonviolently within the laws of the land to change a government that permits evil.
• Civil disobedience is permitted when the government’s laws or commands are in direct violation of God’s laws and commands.
• If a Christian disobeys an evil government, unless he can flee from the government, he should accept that government’s punishment for his actions.
• Christians are certainly permitted to work to install new government leaders within the laws that have been established.

We should also be reminded that we are to pray for our leaders and for God himself to intervene in His time to change the ungodly path they are pursuing. May we then have the urgency to pray for them and the patience to wait upon the Lord.

Civil Disobedience; Three Views

Although there could be others there are at least three major views regarding the subject of civil disobedience. These are the anarchist view, the extremist patriot view, and then the scriptural view. Let’s take a look at each one of these, one at a time.

The anarchist view takes the position that a person can disobey the rules of government whenever they wish and certainly anytime they feel personally justified with their choice to do so. However, as we saw last week, in Paul’s writings in Romans chapter 13 he consistently reminds them and us that God expects us to be in submission to those in authority over us. And that includes the government and it’s representatives because they have been placed in those positions by God himself. So, it is therefore obvious that this view has no biblical support and is certainly not God’s view at all.

The extremist patriot viewtotally opposite position as the previous view, says that a person should always obey the laws of government, without consideration of what the law is, be it right or wrong in God’s eyes. This argument has been used many times by those who commit atrocities by orders from someone else and then takes no personal responsibility or accountability for their actions if they are morally wrong. Again, this view has no biblical support because we realize that there are laws higher than mans laws.

So that leads us to the third view which is the scriptural view. This view expects us to be in submission to the civil authorities but allows us to act in civil disobedience to the government if their commands are evil in nature, such that they would require us to act in a manner contrary to the clear teachings and requirements of God’s Word. In other words, there truly are laws higher than mans laws and God’s ways are higher than our ways.

I’m sure there are other views concerning this subject and many opinions to be offered by people holding on to various beliefs. But as we have said before, it really doesn’t matter what any of us think or believe it only matters what God has to say about the subject. And the way we find out what He has to say is through the reading and study of His infallible Word.

Next week we will share numerous biblical examples of civil disobedience and we will see how God responds to the actions of the characters in the examples. We will attempt to summarize what we have learned and hopefully all come to the same conclusion on this elusive subject. 

 

Civil Authority; God’s View

In our last post a couple of weeks ago I informed our readers that we would begin a new topic of discussion which I entitled “Civil Authority and The Christian.” This will be the third issue we will have considered since we began the series “Stand or Cower.” It may not seem to carry the same weight as the homosexuality or the abortion issue but you can rest assured it is just as much a threat to our way of life because the time is coming that, like the other issues, we will have to take a stand if we intend to defend our faith. So tonight let’s start from the point where we should begin and that is what God thinks and says about the subject.

The most familiar passage of scripture with regards to the subject can be found in Paul’s letter to the Romans in chapter 13. We must remember that the words were penned by Paul under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and therefore they must be considered as God’s very words. I have included these words below which were provided from my New American Standard Bible translation, verses 1-7:

“Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil. Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience’ sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor”

Paul actually wrote this letter during the reign of the notorious Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus (Nero), the Roman Emporer from AD 54 to 68. He was known as an ungodly man, engaged in a homosexual marriage and many other illicit acts. He also was considered the who, by arson, started the great Roman fire in AD 64, which destroyed a huge portion of the city. The great Roman senator and historian wrote the following words: “To get rid of the report [that he had started the fire], Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace”. If Paul had not been writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit he may well have encouraged his readers to rise up against the oppressive ruler but his writing was the exact opposite.

Peter, in one of his letters, writes almost the identical words. Again, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, he pens these words in 1st Peter 2:13-17:

“Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right. For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men. Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God. Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king”

We have seen in Paul’s and Peter’s teachings what is described as God’s view concerning how we are to respond to civil authority. However, a major question arises from all of this that we must address. It is one concerning civil disobedience. Does the verses we have included here mean that we, as Christians, are always to submit to whatever the government commands, no matter what is asked of us? What a dilemma we have if that is so!

We will attempt to resolve this dilemma over the next couple of weeks in the posts to follow. Next week we will consider at least three views on the subject of civil disobedience and come to a conclusion as to which view we should embrace based on God’s Word as a whole.

 

 

 

Civil Authority and The Christian

We ended the month of June with a post that I had entitled “Stand or Cower” with the intent of determining how we as Christians should respond to the many evils of day. It was further noted in the post that immediately followed in early July, the issues that we would later discuss would show us that evil is the real enemy, not the folks that may be adverse to our perspective and opinion. However, we have certainly attempted to prove what God has to say about the issues and I think we have been somewhat successful in doing so. Our discussion on homosexuality in the series “The LGBT Deception” we saw that God considers that lifestyle as sin and even more than that, an abomination. The series “Abortion, America’s Genocide” that we just completed answered the two main questions that surround that issue. It was first determined that human life begins at conception and secondly that abortion is murder. As a reminder to us all, it is always God’s perspective that ultimately matters and His perspective is well documented in His Word.

The next topic we will cover is that of civil authority and how we as Christians should act towards such authority. I’m sure there will be a number of questions that will arise but I believe that we will find the answers we need in God’s Word. I want to make sure that we understand the intent of our civil liberties and how those liberties interact with civil authority. And we want to also understand when it may be necessary to engage in civil disobedience, but do so in the proper way. There are a number of scriptures that we will take a look at and what they mean in context. We will also see some examples of Bible characters that defied civil authority and why and then what the results were. This should be an interesting study and maybe we will become more confident in how to respond when we have to make a choice between government and/or our Creator God. So next week we will jump in with both feet.

Romans 13 contains a few verses that most of us have heard and read so that is where we will probably begin and then see where we go from there. You might want to read ahead and see what God has to say about the subject.

I look forward to what God is going to reveal to us as we consider this issue in the new series. 

 

   

Abortion; Is It Murder?

Last week we posed the first of two questions surrounding the abortion issue that we attempted to answer from both a biological and biblical perspective. The question as to when human life begins was unequivocally answered as the moment of conception in the mother’s womb. With that settled we can move on to the second question and in fact the ultimate question surrounding the whole issue. So here it is; “Is abortion murder?” And this evening we will attempt to answer the question based on what the Bible affirms as God’s perspective of this atrocity. As we stated in last week’s post the only thing that matters is what God says. What anyone else thinks, says, or does is of no value.

Let’s begin by taking a look at what society accepts as the definition of murder. The one of the most recognized dictionaries defines murder as “The unlawful killing of another human being with malice aforethought.” And most legal definitions of the word are very similar with some variations that result in the categories of first degree and second degree murder. This certainly creates additional confusion in the basic definition. However, we must realize that based on a legal definition of murder, legal abortion does not fit the requirements. Therefore, that is to say that under the law of man instituted by civil government, abortion is not unlawful and would not be defined as murder.

With that said, we need to realize it has not always been that way. But we also know that legal definitions can change as laws are enacted. And, as a matter of fact, that is exactly what happened in the case of abortion. We all are familiar with the famous Supreme Court Decision (Roe vs. Wade) in 1973 that made abortion legal. However, before that time abortion was legally considered a crime in many if not most states. Even under common law rules abortion was illegal. Because of all of this a strict legal definition can no longer be universal, timeless or absolute. Therefore legal definitions can then change the undeniable and accepted principles of “morality.”

We see from the previous paragraph that man can change whatever he desires to change in order to satisfy his selfish desires. So let’s consider what is really behind the abortion mill. Statistics prove that a very small percentage of abortions are performed because of rape, incest, or danger to the mother’s health. As a matter of fact it is less than .2% in the state of Florida which likely represents the national average. So the question becomes “Why are there so many abortions (1 every 30 seconds)?” I believe there is one major reason. Convenience. Any way you slice it or spin it the simple explanation is just that. Convenience. That’s why the argument has become it’s about the woman’s right to choose what she does with her body. The discussion contains no moral sustenance to it at all. It’s not about when life begins, it’s not about the question of murder. It’s only about the woman’s right to choose.

Let’s now consider the possibility that there may be a far greater and more accurate definition of murder. It is not only a possibility it is a fact. There is a definition that transcends the law of man and is determined by the law of nature, nature’s true God, and God’s Word. Men of every civilization has understood there was a universal law that all reasonable people intuitively understood. The Bible says it is written on the hearts of men. There is no doubt that there are irrefutable, universal, and absolute evils and murder is one of them. The fact is that since this moral law exists then there must be a law giver. It stands to reason that it can only be Almighty God Himself.

Before any laws were ever written down by humans God had already defined murder. By taking a close look as what the scripture calls murder it becomes obvious that it is the willful killing of an innocent human being. In John 8 Jesus described Satan as a “murderer from the beginning.” In Exodus 20 God instructed Moses to write this law down when He commanded, “You shall not murder.” So from God’s perspective murder has existed from the beginning and is a universal wrong that applies to all people. This is reinforced in the book of Romans where in the second chapter Paul explains that each person has a moral compass embedded in our minds and we know it as our conscience.

So let’s get down to the brass tacks. We have already determined that human life begins at conception and therefore a fetus is a human being. Now we can answer the main question. Is abortion murder? And the answer is an emphatic yes! Abortion is the willful and unjustified killing of an unborn child. It doesn’t matter if abortion is legal by human laws it is a violation of the universal law of God. And His law supersedes man’s law. So, abortion is morally wrong and a sin according to Almighty God.

As we come to the end of our discussion about abortion there are some other facts we need to consider. If abortion is murder as we have shown, there must be a murderer to be charged. Is it the woman who elects to have the abortion? Is it the person performing the physical act of killing the baby? Is it the one who assists the abortionist? Could it even be the ones who made it legal? Or the ones who defend it? The answer is yes. Yes to all who have had a part in this atrocity. And one day they will stand before God and give an account of every life they took and hear Him say “Depart from Me you workers of iniquity, for I never knew you.” However, if they repent and put their trust in the only One who can save them from God’s wrath He will hear their plea and forgive them of all unrighteousness. May it be so.

One last word. We also are going to be held accountable for how we leave this society and this world for our children and our grandchildren. Homosexuality or abortion. Are we going to stand or cower?

Abortion; The First Question

In order to continue our discussion of the issue of abortion there are two basic questions that must be answered. As a matter of fact these two questions go hand in hand because the answer to one question supports and resolves the issue found in the second question. So tonight we are going to spend our time answering the first one: “When does human life begin?” We will attempt first to answer this critical question from a scientific, biological perspective because this seems to be the only perspective that proponents of abortion want to consider. Then we will answer the question from God’s perspective which is the only perspective that ultimately matters.

As we consider this question we can start by making a number of observations. First, if the unborn is growing, it must be alive. I’m not aware of anything that is dead that continues to grow. We know that from the moment of conception there is continual cellular reproduction and division that occurs with the fetus and growth is the result. It is also a well-known fact that the unborn fetus can react to external stimuli and internally metabolize food that creates energy. So it is obvious that what is growing inside a mother’s womb is certainly alive.

Now some would say all of that may be true but animals and plants are alive. Well, they certainly are but they were not conceived by human parents. We must remind ourselves we are talking about the beginning of human life not some animal or plant. The Biogenesis Law states that all living things reproduce after their own kind so therefore two human parents can only reproduce another human. And the DNA of the human fetus is undeniable proof that this is so.

There is another argument raised that goes something like this. Although the fetus is human tissue and DNA it is no different from the sperm or the egg that also contains DNA. What a weak position this is. It is true, of course, that both the sperm and the egg contain human tissue and DNA. However, they are not a whole human organism because neither can function or even survive alone. We know that at the moment of fertilization the sperm nor the egg continue to exist and a new and unique human organism begins to exist. In addition there is no more essential material or DNA required to be added for the fetus to develop.

I think we all can agree that at the moment of conception a new human being is created and will continue to grow and develop if allowed to do so. Biologically speaking, the human fetus is a growing human being. Therefore, there should be no doubt in any rational thinking person’s mind that life begins at conception.

Now that we have answered the question from the biological perspective let’s move on to the perspective that counts. God’s perspective. And to get His perspective we must turn to His word, the Bible, and see what God has to say about when life begins. There are numerous biblical passages that prove that God sees unborn babies as human beings. There is no mistaking this. The word “children” that is used for unborn babies is the same word that is used  for young infants and young children in both the Old and New Testaments. Examples include Exodus 21:22, Luke 1:41, and Luke 1:44. The word used for child or baby in these passages certainly indicate that the unborn is alive.

The Bible also states that the unborn are created by God Himself. Psalm 139:13 says ” for You formed my inward parts, You wove me in my mother’s womb.” And in Genesis 1:27 it is very plain that we (man) are created in the very image of God. If you read further in Psalm 139 it becomes obvious in verses 15 and 16 that the unborn are known intimately and personally by God just like He knows those already born. This same revelation was given to the prophet Jeremiah which can be found in chapter 1, verse 5 of his book.

In Luke 1:44 we see that unborn babies can have personal emotions such as joy which is an emotion that is unique to humans. In Matthew 1:20-21 the Bible uses personal pronouns to describe the unborn as if the child has already been born. The previous passage in Jeremiah also uses personal pronouns. Over and over again in His word we see the undeniable proof that life begins at conception. David in Psalm 51:5 describes himself as being alive at the moment of conception when he writes “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity. And in sin my mother conceived me.”  This is God’s perspective and He never changes.

It seems to me that we have answered the first question I posed both from the biological perspective and from God’s perspective. And as we have previously stated, the truth is that the only thing that matters in any issue is what God says. The truth revealed in His word holds the key to the answer to any question. His word is absolute. His word is the standard to live and die by.

With all this said, next week we will address the second question. And I think we will all agree that the answer to the first makes the answer to the second a slam dunk. But you will have to wait until next week for the rest of the story.