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« Reply #7365 on: September 09, 2021, 05:59:24 AM »

God's Remnant

“It may be the LORD thy God will hear all the words of Rabshakeh, whom the king of Assyria his master hath sent to reproach the living God; and will reprove the words which the LORD thy God hath heard: wherefore lift up thy prayer for the remnant that are left.” (2 Kings 19:4)

These words were part of King Hezekiah’s plea to Isaiah for help in prayer against Rabshakeh and the Assyrian army besieging Jerusalem. It marks the second time in which this particular word is used for “the remnant,” the first being in Genesis 45:7, when Joseph assured his brothers that God had sent him into Egypt to preserve for Israel “a posterity” in the earth. However, this word (Hebrew sherith) is prominent later in the writings of the prophets, who frequently refer to the faithful Israelite “remnant” during times of apostasy.

The same doctrine appears in the New Testament. Speaking of the children of Israel during the time of their dispersion among the nations because of their rejection of Christ, Paul says: “Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace” (Romans 11:5). There are many Jews even today who have received Jesus as their Messiah and personal Savior, even though Israel as a nation still rejects Him.

This biblical doctrine of the remnant applies especially to faithful Israelites who witness to God’s truth even in times of national apostasy. Nevertheless, the principle seems also to apply to so-called Christian nations as well—such as the nations of Europe and America. Although nominally “Christian,” each of these nations, like the church at Sardis, “hast a name that thou livest, and art dead” (Revelation 3:1), as far as true biblical Christianity is concerned. Nevertheless, in each, there is still a remnant of real, believing Christians, and these have the great responsibility to maintain a true witness for Christ in just such a time as this. HMM
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« Reply #7366 on: September 09, 2021, 06:01:55 AM »

God's Remnant

“It may be the LORD thy God will hear all the words of Rabshakeh, whom the king of Assyria his master hath sent to reproach the living God; and will reprove the words which the LORD thy God hath heard: wherefore lift up thy prayer for the remnant that are left.” (2 Kings 19:4)

These words were part of King Hezekiah’s plea to Isaiah for help in prayer against Rabshakeh and the Assyrian army besieging Jerusalem. It marks the second time in which this particular word is used for “the remnant,” the first being in Genesis 45:7, when Joseph assured his brothers that God had sent him into Egypt to preserve for Israel “a posterity” in the earth. However, this word (Hebrew sherith) is prominent later in the writings of the prophets, who frequently refer to the faithful Israelite “remnant” during times of apostasy.

The same doctrine appears in the New Testament. Speaking of the children of Israel during the time of their dispersion among the nations because of their rejection of Christ, Paul says: “Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace” (Romans 11:5). There are many Jews even today who have received Jesus as their Messiah and personal Savior, even though Israel as a nation still rejects Him.

This biblical doctrine of the remnant applies especially to faithful Israelites who witness to God’s truth even in times of national apostasy. Nevertheless, the principle seems also to apply to so-called Christian nations as well—such as the nations of Europe and America. Although nominally “Christian,” each of these nations, like the church at Sardis, “hast a name that thou livest, and art dead” (Revelation 3:1), as far as true biblical Christianity is concerned. Nevertheless, in each, there is still a remnant of real, believing Christians, and these have the great responsibility to maintain a true witness for Christ in just such a time as this. HMM
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« Reply #7367 on: September 10, 2021, 09:02:20 AM »

Choose Life

“I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live.” (Deuteronomy 30:19)

Shortly before his death, Moses restated the law and the covenant between God and His people summed up in the greatest commandment: “Thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might” (Deuteronomy 6:5).

Furthermore, Moses claimed that “this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not hidden from thee, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven...Neither is it beyond the sea” (Deuteronomy 30:11-13). Nothing about it was hard to understand. “But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it” (Deuteronomy 30:14).

Indeed, the evidence that God is Creator, Judge, Provider, and Redeemer is all around us. Our text informs us that “heaven and earth” are witnesses of God’s nature. We have more than enough information than we need in order to respond. In fact, these things “from the creation of the world are clearly seen” so that those who reject are “without excuse” (Romans 1:20). Indeed, to ignore the evidence of creation and the Flood, one must be “willingly...ignorant” (2 Peter 3:5). Rejection is foolishness.

“See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil” (Deuteronomy 30:15). The choice is between blessing (v. 16) and cursing (v. 19). All lines of reasoning point toward the God of the Bible as the one true God. “Therefore choose life,” as our text encourages us, “That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life” (v. 20). JDM
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« Reply #7368 on: September 11, 2021, 08:53:05 AM »

Understanding the Times

“And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do; the heads of them were two hundred; and all their brethren were at their commandment.” (1 Chronicles 12:32)

This chapter lists the numbers of men from each of the tribes of Israel who cast their lot with David in his conflict with King Saul. All these numbers are given except those of Issachar, but of these it was said that all their brethren followed their 200 leaders in turning to David. The reason for their unanimity in this decision was that these leaders “had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do.” It was time to “turn the kingdom” to David, “according to the word of the LORD” (1 Chronicles 12:23). God had given them a Benjamite, Saul, as king for a time, but now David had been anointed, and it was the time to give “the sceptre” to Judah, according to the prophecy of their father, Jacob, given over 600 years before (Genesis 49:10).

How desperately we need leaders today who are spiritual “sons of Issachar,” understanding these times! Christ told the apostles: “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons” (Acts 1:7); it was more urgent that they proceed to witness for Him “unto the uttermost part of the earth” (v. 8).

Nevertheless, He would return to the earth in some generation, and that generation should be expected (when they would see all these things) to “know that it is near, even at the doors” (Matthew 24:33). They could understand the signs, and even though they should never attempt to guess the date, they could “look up...for your redemption draweth nigh” (Luke 21:28) when they would see “these things begin to come to pass.”

The signs are everywhere, yet few of our leaders—even many Christian politicians—seem to understand the real meaning of these times. Christ is “even at the doors!” HMM
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« Reply #7369 on: September 12, 2021, 08:34:00 AM »

Two Faithful Friends

“But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timotheus shortly unto you, that I also may be of good comfort, when I know your state. For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state.” (Philippians 2:19-20)

Paul cited Timothy and Epaphroditus as two faithful ministry friends (Philippians 2:19-30). Their activities provide a great inventory to follow as we “work out [our] own salvation” (Philippians 2:12).

    Likeminded: The Greek word is isopsuchos, or “equal in soul.” Effective ministry friendships agree in purpose (Amos 3:3).
    Genuine Care: The Holy Spirit used merimnao, a burden for others’ needs. Philippians 2:2-4 lists the restrictions.
    Seek Christ’s Things: Edify each other (1 Corinthians 14:12), focus on heavenly ideals (Colossians 3:1), and crave the kingdom and God’s righteousness more than our welfare (Matthew 6:33).
    Serve Together: Timothy was to Paul like a “son with the father” serving with him “in the gospel” (Philippians 2:22). To be acceptable, that service must be in “righteousness, and peace, and joy” (Romans 14:17).
    Companion in Labor: Similarly, Epaphroditus is said to work with Paul (Philippians 2:25). As with Timothy, their focus was “to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith” (1 Thessalonians 3:2).
    Fellow Soldier: Military metaphors abound in the Bible, with a common thread of the spiritual warfare defined in Ephesians 6:10-18. We must “endure hardness” when we assist in the ministry (2 Timothy 2:3).

Not every Christian meets the excellence of these faithful friends. “Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find?” (Proverbs 20:6). HMM III
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« Reply #7370 on: September 13, 2021, 09:31:48 AM »

The Gate of Praise

“But thou shalt call thy walls Salvation, and thy gates Praise.” (Isaiah 60:18)

Walled cities were standard measures in the time of the Old Testament to protect the inhabitants from attack by enemy forces. In this Scripture in Isaiah, the city wall represents the protective salvation of God available to those who put their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Concerning city walls, there were two types of openings in them. One was a breach in the wall that allowed enemy forces to come in and wreak havoc on the city. In this respect, the apostle Paul warned us in Ephesians 4:27, “Neither give place to the devil,” and in 2 Corinthians 2:11, “Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.” The other type of opening was a controlled gate that could be opened or closed at the will of the ruler of the city. Isaiah likens these gates as “Praise.”

It’s interesting that in regard to the New Jerusalem in Revelation 21:21, we are told, “And the twelve gates were twelve pearls.” As most people know, pearls are formed by irritation in which a foreign particle becomes lodged inside the shell of an oyster, and over time a beautiful pearl is formed by the secretion of minerals accumulating around the particle. Indeed, Acts 14:22 says, “That we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.”

Giving praise to God in the difficult trials and irritating circumstances of a sin-cursed world is one thing you can’t do in heaven but is highly needful for the sojourning believer in this present life. Hebrews 13:15 says, “By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.” And David says, “Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem…to give thanks unto the name of the LORD” (Psalm 122:2, 4). JPT
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« Reply #7371 on: September 14, 2021, 08:59:41 AM »

The God of All Comfort

“Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort.” (2 Corinthians 1:3)

The apostle Paul uses two important titles for God in this passage, “the Father of mercies” and “the God of all comfort,” that give us unique insight into the character of our mighty Creator and Redeemer. First, God is noted as the fountainhead of all fatherly mercies that were ultimately expressed in the sacrificial death on our behalf of His perfect sinless Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Then we are introduced to this important theme of “comfort,” which is used a total of 10 times in this section of the epistle as either some form of the noun paraklesis or the verb parakaleo (vv. 1:4, 6-7). Paul goes on to elaborate on his declaration of God as the source of all true comfort in the next verse as the one “who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.” The participle form of the verb “comforteth” (parakaleo) is given in the Greek as a timeless present tense that conveys ongoing encouragement, support, and exhortation in all kinds of affliction and distress. Indeed, Paul goes on to say, “For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation [paraklesis] also aboundeth by Christ” (v. 5).

But this comfort and consolation in the midst of our trials is not just for our own benefit but that we might also be agents of “the God of all comfort” to His church and a lost and hurting world. Paul emphasizes this in verse 6: “And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation.” JPT
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« Reply #7372 on: September 15, 2021, 08:56:18 AM »

The Riches of His Grace

“In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.” (Ephesians 1:7)

The attributes of God are characterized by the “riches of His grace.” This amazing grace led Him to shed His blood as the price of our redemption.

No wonder men have developed the familiar acrostic for GRACE—“God’s Riches at Christ’s Expense.” “For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9).

Paul seems again and again to try to find descriptions for these riches. To the Romans he wrote of “the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering” (Romans 2:4) and of His plan to “make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of [his] mercy” (Romans 9:23). Speaking of God’s mercy, he exclaims, “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!” (Romans 11:33).

The inexhaustibility of these infinite depths of grace and mercy led Paul to call these attributes “the unsearchable riches of Christ” (Ephesians 3:8). Desiring that all believers might learn to appreciate the tremendous future they have in Christ, he prayed that “the eyes of your understanding being enlightened,” somehow we might come to appreciate even now “the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints” (Ephesians 1:18).

Yet, marvelously rich and full though His grace is now, there is much more to come. “God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ,...That in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:4-5, 7). HMM
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« Reply #7373 on: September 16, 2021, 09:47:58 AM »

God Is Love

“And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.” (1 John 4:16)

God is clearly “the Lord, the righteous judge” (2 Timothy 4:8), but He is also “the God of love and peace” (2 Corinthians 13:11). Not only in our text verse but also in another place, we are reminded that “God is love” (1 John 4:8). Of all the attributes of God, His nature of love is the most definitive. God is love!

It was not His omnipotence nor His omniscience that constrained Him to create men and women in His image. It must have been His nature of love, the desire for fellowship with beings like Himself. There is not much revealed on this question—only hints. “I have created him for my glory” (Isaiah 43:7). “The LORD hath made all things for himself” (Proverbs 16:4).

But fellowship is a two-way relationship and requires freedom to choose on the part of both. When man volitionally broke that fellowship, sin came into the world and God’s creation purpose was to all appearances set aside.

But God is love! He had not only a plan of creation but also a plan of salvation already in process. He “saved us,... according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began” (2 Timothy 1:9).

And so “God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us” (1 John 3:1). God is, indeed, a God of love! HMM
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« Reply #7374 on: September 17, 2021, 09:05:15 AM »

The Foot of Pride

“Let not the foot of pride come against me, and let not the hand of the wicked remove me.” (Psalm 36:11)

The contrast in this psalm is not only between good and evil, but more specifically between the prideful man who lives without fear of God and the God in whom godly men trust.

The description of the evil man (vv. 1-4) is an apt description of a modern-day humanist. He is convinced that God, if He exists, does not intervene in the affairs of men. He therefore sets himself up as an authority, deciding right and wrong on his own arbitrary scale. He has “no fear of God” (v. 1), and arrogantly he “flattereth himself in his own eyes” (v. 2), speaking “iniquity and deceit” (v. 3). He is foolish, and even his humanitarian deeds are not good, in the ultimate sense. Furthermore, the modern-day humanist “abhorreth not evil” (v. 4), insisting that such sins as promiscuity, homosexuality, witchcraft, abortion, brainwashing of children in pantheistic evolution, etc., are, in reality, to be desired.

The contrast with God consists of a list of some of His majestic attributes in His dealing with men. “Thy mercy, O LORD, is in the heavens; and thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds. Thy righteousness is like the great mountains; thy judgments are a great deep: O LORD, thou preservest man and beast. How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings. They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house; and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures. For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light” (vv. 5-9).

The wicked with his “foot of pride” will ultimately fall (vv. 11-12). But we can pray as David prayed, “O continue thy lovingkindness unto them that know thee; and thy righteousness to the upright in heart” (v. 10). JDM
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« Reply #7375 on: September 18, 2021, 09:50:45 AM »

Our God Is Everywhere

“The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.” (Proverbs 15:3)

The God who created and made all things is not only omnipotent, He is omnipresent. “For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him” (2 Chronicles 16:9).

David’s insightful Psalm 139 is certainly one of the most striking affirmations of God’s omnipresence. “If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee” (Psalm 139:8-12).

God’s omnipresence, however, should not be understood in a pantheistic sense. Although He sees everyone and everything, that does not mean He is in everyone and everything. The creation did not create itself!

But since God is everywhere, He Himself cannot be seen anywhere. Jesus said concerning the Father, “Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape,” but He also said, “I am come in my Father’s name” (John 5:37, 43). “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father” (John 14:9).

It is also a wonderful revelation that the Holy Spirit of God now indwells every Christian believer, so this is another way in which God is everywhere—that is, wherever there are true Christians, God is there. “Therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:20). HMM
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« Reply #7376 on: September 19, 2021, 06:00:03 AM »

The God of Glory

“And he said, Men, brethren, and fathers, hearken; The God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Charran.” (Acts 7:2)

This Scripture is the beginning of Stephen’s speech given before his martyrdom. He is reciting Israel’s history as he counters the charges that he had spoken “blasphemous words against Moses, and against God” and “against this holy place” (Acts 6:11, 13). He identifies the Lord as the “God of glory,” and his Jewish audience may have remembered that this title was used in Psalm 29:3—“The voice of the LORD is upon the waters: the God of glory thundereth.”

But most likely they would have connected it with the various instances where God’s glory filled and sanctified the tabernacle in the wilderness (Exodus 29:43; 40:34-35) and later the temple in Jerusalem (1 Kings 8:10-11). Thus, this title for God was rich in meaning to the Israelites.

But Stephen challenged the tradition that God’s glory was only associated with the Jerusalem temple and the earthly land of Israel by starting his speech with the God of glory appearing to Abraham in a pagan land (Mesopotamia). In the New Testament dispensation of God’s global redemptive plan through Christ Jesus, the active place of His glory is no longer restricted to a physical temple but is present in His redeemed people; “know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” (1 Corinthians 6:19).

And this redeemed life is connected in like manner to Abraham, who, “when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went” (Hebrews 11:8). And because of Abraham’s unwavering faith in the God of glory, “he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Hebrews 11:10). JPT
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« Reply #7377 on: September 20, 2021, 08:23:08 AM »

Confidence in Christ Alone

“But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.” (Philippians 3:7-8)

During the three verses prior to the text for today, Paul had listed some of the rather spectacular credits he had obtained “in the flesh” (Philippians 3:4). His family lineage and achievements were both professionally stellar and legally blameless. He had every right to be proud of himself.

Yet, in strong language, Paul values these personal achievements as the excrement of animals when he compares the gain of being given “the righteousness which is of God by faith” (Philippians 3:9). A vivid contrast indeed!

Jesus taught that if anyone would become His disciple, then he must “deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (Mark 8:34). Further, such a disciple must “lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s” (Mark 8:35). Owning the whole world was worthless if it meant that the price would cause one to “lose his own soul” (Mark 8:36). Hard bargains indeed!

Paul sought, as each of us should also, “the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus” (today’s verse). Invoking all of the triune Godhead, Paul begged for comprehension of the “love of Christ, which passeth knowledge,” so that he can be “filled with all the fulness of God” (Ephesians 3:18-19). Such knowledge brings “full assurance of understanding” (Colossians 2:2). That is a good return indeed!

“Wherefore beloved,” Peter said, “be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless” (2 Peter 3:14). HMM III
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« Reply #7378 on: September 21, 2021, 07:48:18 AM »

But God

“But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” (Galatians 4:4-5)

God makes all the difference! There was a time when the whole world was in bondage to sin and death. But God!

“But...God sent forth his Son...To redeem them that were under the law.” Because He did, “the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God” (Romans 8:21). But there was a problem, for every man was still a lost sinner, deserving to die under the righteous, well-deserved wrath of a holy God. But God!

“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). He died for us, suffering in our place, because He loved us. The issue is not yet settled, however, for how could a dead redeemer complete the work He was sent to do? But God!

“But God raised him from the dead” (Acts 13:30). The price for sin was forever settled, so that God, in full righteousness and in mighty power, could raise His beloved Son, alive forevermore. Yes, but we ourselves are still sinful—still dying. Our very nature keeps us in bondage to sin, even though the price for our deliverance has been fully paid. But God!

“But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ...For by grace are ye saved through faith;...it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:4-5, 8). We cannot fully understand. But God does not require us to understand— only to believe and receive. HMM
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Joh 9:4  I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.
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« Reply #7379 on: September 22, 2021, 10:21:40 AM »

Purified Seven Times

“The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.” (Psalm 12:6-7)

The preservation of the divinely given words of Scripture is incomparably superior to that of all other ancient writings. God has not allowed any of His words to “pass away,” for Jesus said: “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away” (Matthew 24:35). They are, in fact, “for ever...settled in heaven” (Psalm 119:89).

Although the original “autographs” of Moses, Paul, and the other human writers have long vanished (perhaps they have even been translated to heaven with the Ark of the Covenant— note Revelation 11:19), God saw to it that dedicated Hebrew scribes and Christian scholars meticulously copied the writings through the centuries so that we still have God’s Word to guide us today. Although there are variant readings in different manuscripts, the original words are there somewhere. Very few real questions remain about any of these, so we have the original Greek and Hebrew words to a high degree of accuracy.

The fires of anti-Christian persecution, caviling humanistic philosophies, literary criticism, scientific skepticism, pagan pantheism, cultic distortions, and apathetic indifference have sought to destroy God’s Word, but all have failed. It is the bestseller of all time, translated into more languages than any other writings.

No matter what forces are directed against it, it always emerges brighter and surer than ever! Even this present generation will fail in all modern attempts to defeat the Holy Scriptures, for God will “preserve them from this generation for ever.” HMM
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Joh 9:4  I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.
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