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« Reply #7770 on: October 12, 2022, 08:35:27 AM »

On Eschewing Evil

“For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.” (1 Peter 3:10-11)

The venerable English word “eschew” is not used much these days, perhaps because there is not much evil that people eschew any more. Nevertheless, a wonderful formula is couched in this terminology in our text. If anyone desires to “see good days,” then he should “eschew evil,” even in his speech, and instead “do good.”

The Greek word translated “eschew” here is ekklineo, meaning “incline away from.” That is, instead of having an attitude that “inclines toward” evil, as the world does, the Christian’s inclination must be its polar opposite.

The word is used only two other times in the New Testament. “Mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them” (Romans 16:17). We are not only to eschew evil words and deeds but also evil men who teach things contrary to God’s Word. The other occurrence refers to what ungodly men eschew. “They are all gone out of the way...there is none that doeth good” (Romans 3:12). Here ekklineo is translated “gone out of the way.” The ungodly eschew doing good; those who would love real life and see good days must do good and eschew evil.

That such an attitude honors and pleases God is especially evident from His thrice-repeated testimony concerning the patriarch Job, “a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil” (Job 1:1, 8; 2:3). Job saw some bad days, of course, but there were far more good days of great blessing until he finally died “full of days” (Job 42:17). Like Job, let us eschew—shun, avoid, run away from—evil in any form. HMM
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« Reply #7771 on: October 13, 2022, 08:57:02 AM »

Recognizing the Son of God

“For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (2 Peter 1:17)

Most people today consider Jesus Christ to have been a great man but will not believe He is the unique Son of God. Nevertheless, He is indeed God’s only begotten Son.

Before His birth, the angel Gabriel predicted it. “That holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God” (Luke 1:35). John the Baptist identified Him. “And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God” (John 1:34). His disciples recognized Him. “Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God” (John 1:49). “Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16). John said that the very purpose of his gospel was to demonstrate “that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God” (John 20:31). After Christ’s resurrection, even Thomas exclaimed, “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28).

The powers of darkness grudgingly acknowledged who He was. “And unclean spirits, when they saw him, fell down before him, and cried, saying, Thou art the Son of God” (Mark 3:11). Even the centurion who supervised His crucifixion had to confess, “Truly this was the Son of God” (Matthew 27:54). Most important of all was the testimony of God the Father from heaven to Christ’s Sonship, both at His baptism (e.g., Mark 1:11) and on the Mount of Transfiguration, as Peter records in our text.

Therefore, it is necessary for our salvation that we also believe this. “He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:18). HMM
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« Reply #7772 on: October 14, 2022, 07:56:58 AM »

Summing up Submission

“Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.” (1 Peter 5:5)

Although this book was written to Christians during a time of horrible persecution, much of it is concerned with submission. Believers are to submit to the government (2:13-17); slaves to their masters (2:18-20); wives to their husbands (3:1-6); husbands to their wives (3:7); and each one to the other, as in our text, in just the same way Christ submitted to God’s plan for His suffering and death (2:21-25).

A summary of this teaching is found in 1 Peter 3:8-12. “Be ye all of one mind” (v. 8), Peter tells us, and live in harmony. Paul taught, “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men” (Romans 12:18). There are exceptions to the rule (e.g., the primary doctrines of Scripture), but the Christian normally should not be the one to break the peace. He should do everything short of compromise to live in harmony.

Continuing (see 1 Peter 3:8), we should have “compassion” for others (such as the rulers, employers, and spouses mentioned). We should “love as brethren” and choose to serve rather than be served. “Pitiful” is usually translated “tenderhearted,” and “courteous” implies “humble in spirit.”

We should return a blessing for a curse instead of replying in kind (1 Peter 3:9). We should choose our words, use our speech carefully (v. 10), and “eschew” (i.e., avoid) evil (v. 11), actively replacing evil behavior with good. Peace must be consciously pursued.

There is great reward in such a lifestyle and attitude. In doing so, we will “inherit a blessing” (v. 9) and “see good days” (v. 10). “For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil” (v. 12). JDM
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« Reply #7773 on: October 15, 2022, 07:52:30 AM »

The Creator's WD-40

“Know ye that the LORD he is God: It is he that hath [created] us.” (Psalm 100:3)

A fix-it substance used today in most homes resides in a little blue can labeled WD-40. This liquid gold lubricates, preserves, and safeguards all kinds of stuff. But there’s a much more priceless spiritual liquid that all believers “in Christ” need to apply to protect their lives from this world’s evil influences.

Psalm 100 teaches that the prerequisite to proper Christian worship is knowing the God we worship. “It is he that hath [created] us, and not we ourselves” (v. 3). What are the implications of knowing Yahweh as our all-knowing Creator? Because He formed us in the womb (Psalm 139:15), He knows our inner workings and what’s required for us to live glorifying lives.

Peter unpacks this specifically. For you have been “born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God” (1 Peter 1:23). First, we need to be transformed as new creatures in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:21). Even after the new birth, believers are still prone to the rusting, degenerative effects of the Fall. “For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away” (1 Peter 1:24).

What is the spiritual antidote to these decaying elements? “But the word of the Lord endureth for ever” (1 Peter 1:25). God’s Word is the believer’s priceless spiritual lubricant, coupled with the ministry of the Holy Spirit. “Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, as newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby” (1 Peter 2:1-2).

Believer, are you being transformed by the renewing of your mind (Romans 12:1-2) and by God’s clearly written and communicated Word? This liquid gold is able to safeguard your fragile being. CM
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« Reply #7774 on: October 16, 2022, 07:46:03 AM »

The Invitations of Christ

“He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day: for it was about the tenth hour.” (John 1:39)

This is the first of the gracious invitations of the Lord Jesus to “come” to Him. On this occasion, right after His baptism by John, He invited two potential disciples to come with Him to His dwelling place. Very likely, this was an outdoor mat somewhere, for He soon afterward acknowledged that “the Son of man hath not where to lay his head” (Matthew 8:20). Nevertheless, one night of abiding with Jesus changed their lives. Soon afterward, He issued another invitation to them. “Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men” (Mark 1:17), and they never went home again. First He invites us to come see and know Him, then to come with Him to win others.

There is also the wonderful invitation to come to Him for relief from our burdens and cares. “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). And note His promise to those who do accept His invitation: “Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37).

There were also personal invitations. To Zacchaeus, the seeking sinner glimpsing Jesus from a sycamore tree, He said, “Come down; for to day I must abide at thy house” (Luke 19:5). To His friend Lazarus, dead and bound in a tomb, He cried, “Lazarus, come forth” (John 11:43), and not even the grave could prevent his accepting such a call.

There are other invitations from the Lord with gracious promises to those who come, but note especially the final invitation of the Bible. “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17). HMM
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« Reply #7775 on: October 17, 2022, 08:25:10 AM »

Who's Holding Your Hand?

“But I trusted in thee, O LORD: I said, Thou art my God. My times are in thy hand: deliver me from the hand of mine enemies, and from them that persecute me.” (Psalm 31:14-15)

Psalm 31 describes David at a time of great need. There was “fear…on every side” (v. 13). He was despised, defamed, and persecuted. Jeremiah used the same phrase, “fear is on every side” (Jeremiah 6:25; 49:29), to describe his turbulent circumstances.

Where do we turn when we encounter “divers temptations” (James 1:2)? We follow the ultimate example of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who expressed confidence in God despite the hateful wickedness that encircled Him while He hung on the cross, finally crying out, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit” (Luke 23:46).

Likewise, in today’s text David, as a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22), emphatically shifted his attention away from his momentary entanglements and looked solely to his sovereign God. The phrase “my times” includes all the turmoil and change he was feeling. But also notice that “my times” expresses the reality of a firm grasp in the tight grip of “Yahweh’s hand.”

As Thomas Reade wrote, “When [a believer] beholds, by faith, the unerring hand of infinite wisdom, wielding the stupendous machine of human events, causing everything to promote the spiritual good of His people, then he quiets himself as a little child, and can say with cheerful resignation, ‘Father, not my will, but yours be done.’”

“Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen” (Jude 1:24-25). CM
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« Reply #7776 on: October 18, 2022, 08:02:15 AM »

The Sinner's Prayer

“And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.” (Luke 18:13)

Evangelists have often urged lost men and women to pray this “sinner’s prayer” if they desired to be saved. The account does say that this publican, after praying thus, “went down to his house justified” (v. 14).

But there is more here than appears on the surface. It is not merely God’s mercy that is needed, for He has already been merciful to let us continue to live at all. The word translated “merciful” is used only one other time in the New Testament and is there translated “make reconciliation for.” Speaking of the saving work of Christ, it says that He came “to make reconciliation for the sins of the people” (Hebrews 2:17). It is also closely related to the words for “propitiation” and “mercy seat.”

This parable of the Pharisee and the publican is set in the context of the Jewish temple worship, where sinners would bring their sacrificial offerings to cover their sins, knowing that “it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul” (Leviticus 17:11). Such sacrifices were completely worthless, however, if offered in a spirit of religious pride and/or self-righteousness, like those of the Pharisee. There must be repentance and faith in God’s promise of forgiveness through the death of an innocent substitute, pre-figuring the true Lamb of God whose coming death would truly make eternal reconciliation for the sins of the people. The publican prayed in this vein, and he was saved.

In our day, on the other side of the cross, a sinner’s saving prayer must say, in effect, “God, be propitiated to me on the basis of the death of Christ for my sins.” Such a prayer, offered in sincere repentance and faith in God’s promise, brings justification before God. HMM
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« Reply #7777 on: October 19, 2022, 07:44:59 AM »

The Test of Expedience

“All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.” (1 Corinthians 6:12)

Christians are saved by the grace of God, not by works of righteousness. Therefore, in a sense, they are free to do whatever they please. “All things are lawful unto me.” The Christian, however, is under a higher law, the law of love and of seeking to please and honor his Savior and Lord.

Therefore, when a question arises as to whether a certain act is right or wrong, the decision should be based on how the act impacts the cause of Christ. Does it help or hinder in the winning of the lost or in edifying the believer? Does it honor the Lord and His Word or bring reproach against His truth? For example, Paul concluded he could not afford to “be brought under the power of any” practice (e.g., drinking, smoking, gambling) that might limit the power of God over his actions and decisions.

In a similar passage, Paul says, “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not” (1 Corinthians 10:23). Thus, nothing is expedient for the Christian that does not edify (that is, “build up”) spiritually either himself or someone else.

In a similar vein, he said elsewhere that “there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean....Let not then your good be evil spoken of....Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another” (Romans 14:14, 16, 19).

This test of expediency, therefore, if applied sincerely by the believer in terms of advancing or hindering the purposes of God in Christ, can be of great help in decision making regarding doubtful issues. HMM
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« Reply #7778 on: October 20, 2022, 07:36:01 AM »

The Scarlet Hope

“Behold, when we come into the land, thou shalt bind this line of scarlet thread in the window which thou didst let us down by: and thou shalt bring thy father, and thy mother, and thy brethren, and all thy father’s household, home unto thee.” (Joshua 2:18)

These words were spoken to Rahab by Joshua’s spies after she had protected them from discovery by the officials of Jericho. She had testified to the spies that “the LORD your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath” (Joshua 2:11). Therefore, “by faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace” (Hebrews 11:31).

Rahab’s spiritual salvation came because of her faith in the true God; she soon entered into the covenant family of Israel and eventually even became a member of the family line leading to Jesus Christ (Matthew 1:5). Her physical deliverance, on the other hand, and that of her family depended on a “line of scarlet thread” suspended from her window, identifying her home as “under the blood,” so to speak, when Jericho fell and all its other inhabitants perished.

This thin, blood-red line constituted a very slender hope for Rahab in the midst of such a scene of judgment and total destruction, but it sufficed. It is fascinating to note that the Hebrew word for “line” (occurring here for the first time in the Bible) is everywhere else translated by the key word “hope.” Perhaps “line” soon came to mean “hope” because of this very experience, when a “scarlet hope” extended all the way from a repentant sinner to the very God of heaven! Note the same thought with the same word: “For thou art my hope, O Lord GOD” (Psalm 71:5).

“And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure” (1 John 3:3). HMM
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« Reply #7779 on: October 21, 2022, 07:39:11 AM »

Sudden Creation

“For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:6)

Even a superficial reading of the account of creation in Genesis 1 and 2 impresses the reader with the idea of suddenness. God simply called the universe into existence from nothing and then quickly set about the rapid formation of certain features, interspersed with other direct creative acts. All of the events, whether creative or formative, seem to have happened over a brief period of time, such as the formation of the plants (Genesis 1:12), the animals (v. 20), and the sun and stars (v. 16).

Even aspects that were evidently formed by a process such as the continents and oceans (v. 10) and humankind (2:7, 22) seemingly took no great length of time.

This is especially true of the creation of light. “And God said, Let there be light: and there was light” (1:3). No slow and sporadic arrival of light from distant stars is mentioned, nor a gradual heating up of the sun as interstellar gas collapsed and fused. Some evangelical advocates of the old-earth concept hold that God slowly cleared the atmosphere of leftover interstellar dust that allowed the light from the sun and stars to penetrate to the earth.

But, if Scripture alone is our authority, then it happened suddenly and spectacularly. As discussed in our text, it happened just as suddenly and just as supernaturally as a new creature is created out of a dead creature at the moment of salvation. Sanctification may be a lifelong matter, but “if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature” (2 Corinthians 5:17), literally creation. No more time is required for the transformation than for darkness to turn into light at the Creator’s command. JDM
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« Reply #7780 on: October 22, 2022, 07:30:55 AM »

The Unfailing Presence

“And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.” (Genesis 28:15)

This is the first of many promises of God’s unfailing presence with those who trust Him. The words of our text were spoken to Jacob on his flight from the unwarranted wrath of Esau. Those expositors who unjustifiably accuse Jacob of fraud when he secured the birthright promised to him by God before his birth (Genesis 25:23) should note that God never rebuked Jacob but instead promised His perpetual protecting presence.

Note also God’s promise to Joshua: “There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee” (Joshua 1:5).

There is also His promise to His chosen people, Israel: “For the LORD will not forsake his people for his great name’s sake: because it hath pleased the LORD to make you his people” (1 Samuel 12:22). There are many other such assurances in the Scriptures. One that especially reveals God’s heart is Isaiah 41:17: “When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the LORD will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them.”

The most precious of all, however, is the assurance to all New Testament believers that “I will never [literally ‘never, never, never’] leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5). Paul teaches after an exhausting list of possibilities that nothing “shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:39). “Lo, I am with you always,” Jesus said, “even unto the end of the world” (Matthew 28:20). HMM
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« Reply #7781 on: October 23, 2022, 08:40:01 AM »

Light Affliction?

“For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” (2 Corinthians 4:17)

Paul’s afflictions could hardly be considered “light” in the realm of natural human reasoning. Later in this epistle, Paul recounts beatings, imprisonments, grievous perils during many journeys, hunger, thirst, lack of clothing, and numerous persecutions (2 Corinthians 11:23-28). And just a few verses earlier, he said, “We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed” (4:8-9). Indeed, immediately after Paul was converted on the road to Damascus, the Lord Jesus Christ foretold to Ananias in a vision concerning Paul, “For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake” (Acts 9:16).

In modern Christianity, the gospel is often watered down and portrayed as a means of self-empowerment to achieve one’s personal goals and dreams. But Christ preached, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it” (Matthew 16:24-25).

When this mandate is followed, we can expect trouble and persecution. But despite everything the devil and the world can throw against us, we can be assured that these light and temporal afflictions are just for a passing moment in comparison to a glorious eternity with Jesus Christ. Thus, we have the precious promise that these things work for us “a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,” and “the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:17-18). JPT
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« Reply #7782 on: October 24, 2022, 07:54:43 AM »

Beguiling with Enticing Words

“And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words.” (Colossians 2:4)

This Scripture is a perfect representation of those who would try to deceive people into accepting the false paradigm of Darwinian evolution, in which nature serves as an imposter diety magically crafting and molding creatures over millions of years.

The verse contains two very interesting Greek words that occur rarely in the New Testament. The first word of note is only used twice and is the verb paralogizomai, translated here as “beguile.” It was used by the ancient Greeks to denote persuasiveness of speech or the putting forth of a seemingly plausible argument undergirded by dangerously false information. The second time it’s used is in James 1:22 concerning self-deception: “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving [paralogizomai] your own selves.”

The second Greek word of note is the highly descriptive noun pithanologia, translated as “enticing words,” and is only used in this one place in the New Testament. It’s a combination of the word pithanos, meaning convincing, persuasive, or plausible, with logos, meaning word or account. The Greeks used it to describe arguments made by sophists, who were noted for affirming false scenarios, trying to make them appear true. In modern English we would say “to talk someone into something false.”

Paul indicated he had to make this warning concerning deception because he’d just previously declared “the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:2-3). Indeed, all evolutionary deception ultimately steals the glory of Jesus Christ the Creator, “for in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily” (v. 9). JPT
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« Reply #7783 on: October 25, 2022, 08:06:48 AM »

The Accounting of God's Glory

“The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.” (Psalm 19:1)

This is a keynote passage of the Old Testament affirming what’s proclaimed by the apostle Paul in Romans 1:20: “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead.”

The psalmist uses an interesting set of Hebrew words to make his point. The first is the verb sapar, translated “declare.” It has the meaning to count, list, make record of. In this context, it points to an indisputable record or accounting of the omnipotent and all-powerful Creator exhibited in the heavens.

As frail humans, we can barely assess the full impact of this heavenly record. What we can observe with our advanced telescopes shows billions of galaxies and other features and formations beyond our wildest imaginations. However, our mighty God “telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names” (Psalm 147:4) and “bringeth out their host by number: he calleth them all by names by the greatness of his might, for that he is strong in power; not one faileth” (Isaiah 40:26).

The second word of interest is the verb nagad, translated “sheweth,” which means to explain, announce, and reveal. This verb occurs in the hiphil stem, which is the causative active form—meaning that God’s handiwork inherently, constantly, and actively declares to all humanity His power and greatness.

It’s no wonder that in eternity it will be proclaimed in heaven, “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created” (Revelation 4:11). JPT
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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 #7784 on: October 26, 2022, 08:32:51 AM »

Magnifying Jesus, the Word of God

“I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.” (Psalm 138:2)

This verse is a powerful declaration of praise to our mighty God in remembrance of His lovingkindness and truth. The word for lovingkindness (hesed) is also often translated as mercy. Psalm 108:4 says, “Thy mercy is great above the heavens: and thy truth reacheth unto the clouds.” But what about the startling declaration connected to God’s great mercy: “For thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name”? Would this not put God and His Word on par with one another?

At the beginning of the gospel of John, we have our answer. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). The literal Greek rendering for the final clause is “and God was the Word.” We have even further clarification by John in his gospel that the Word is the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ. “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). It is this same person of the triune God (Yahweh Elohim) by which “all things were made…and without him was not anything made that was made” (John 1:3).

And when Jesus returns in consummation and judgment at the end of this age, the description we’re given is “his eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God” (Revelation 19:12-13).

Praise be to Jesus, our coming King! JPT
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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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