Month: February 2022

The Gospel Observer

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20, NASB).
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Contents:

1) Postponed Prophecies (Frank Himmel)
2) When Christians Assemble (Bill Crews)
3) Power of Godliness (video sermon, Tom Edwards)
4) News & Notes
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Postponed Prophecies

Frank Himmel

 Premillennialists tell us the kingdom of Old Testament prophecy is yet future. They say Jesus came to reign as the Messiah but the Jews rejected Him. He therefore established the church as a last-minute substitute; they often call it a “parenthesis.” It will continue until Jesus comes again, at which time He will establish His kingdom. Thus, the kingdom was postponed.

The Bible teaches no such thing. In fact, this theory contradicts the Scriptures in at least four ways.

First, predictions with a time element cannot be postponed. If I predict that a certain team will win the Super Bowl, but I do not say when, then whenever they win my prediction will be fulfilled. But if I specify 2025 as the year, and my team does not win it until 2030, I cannot say my prediction was postponed; I must admit that it was false.

So it is with Bible prophecy. When Daniel put a time element on the establishment of God’s kingdom—in the days of the Roman kings (Daniel 2:44)—that eliminated every other time, before and after. Either his prediction came to pass as stated, or he must be rejected as a false prophet (Deuteronomy 18:22).

Premillennialists sometimes try to get around this obvious point by saying Daniel was referring to a “revived” Roman Empire. Not so. The four parts of Nebuchadnezzar’s image were four successive world empires. Besides, if Daniel’s prophecy refers to a revived Roman Empire, why did Jesus try to establish the kingdom during the historic Roman Empire? Did God’s Son not understand the prophecy He was trying to fulfill?

Second, the Bible tells us that the church was part of God’s eternal plan, not an afterthought. God’s wisdom manifested in the church “was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Ephesians 3:10-11).

Third, God knew beforehand that His Son would be rejected. Isaiah foretold that the Christ would be “despised and rejected of men” (53:3). Earlier, the Psalmist referred to Him as “the stone which the builders rejected” (118:22). One of Peter’s points in his Pentecost sermon was that Jesus was “delivered up by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God” (Acts 2:23).

Did that rejection of Jesus require God to postpone His kingdom plans? Not at all. Consider Psalm 2. In verses 1-3 the kings and nations are taking their stand against God’s anointed. (The New Testament says this refers to Herod, Pilate, the Gentiles, and the Jews’ opposition to Jesus [Acts 4:25-28]). How does that affect God and His plans? “He who sits in the heavens laughs, the Lord scoffs at them. Then He will speak to them in His anger and terrify them in His fury, saying, ‘But as for Me, I have installed My King upon Zion, My holy mountain’” (vv. 4-6). Next is the Anointed’s testimony of God’s decree: “He said to Me, ‘You are My Son, today I have begotten You.’” That refers to Jesus’ resurrection (Acts 13:33), following which He ascended into heaven where He was given the nations to rule with a rod of iron (vv. 6-9; Revelation 2:26-27).

The Jews’ rejection of Jesus was not an obstacle to God’s plan, it was a key element in its success! “For those who live in Jerusalem, and their rulers, recognizing neither Him nor the utterances of the prophets which are read every Sabbath, fulfilled these by condemning Him” (Acts 13:27).

Fourth, the Bible teaches that the kingdom is now in existence. “For He delivered us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son” (Colossians 1:13). “I John, your brother and fellow-partaker in the tribulation and kingdom and perseverance which are in Jesus . . .” (Revelation 1:9). The kingdom consists of men and women everywhere who are purchased by Jesus’ blood (Revelation 5:9-10; 1:5-6; cf. Acts 20:28). Many other New Testament passages speak of Jesus sitting on God’s throne and reigning (Revelation 3:21; Acts 2:34; 1 Corinthians 15:24-26; Hebrews 1:8).

God’s prophetic word has come to pass. Jesus now reigns in a kingdom “not of this world” (John 18:36). Have you been born again, born of water and the Spirit, to become a citizen in that kingdom (John 3:3-5)?

— Via Pathlights, February 6, 2022
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When Jesus ascended, “He came up to the Ancient of Days [the Father]…” And “was given dominion, Glory and a kingdom. That all the peoples, nations and men of every language Might serve Him…” (Daniel 7:13-14, NASB, emphasis mine, cf. Acts 1:9-11). Jesus received the kingdom!

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When Christians Assemble

Bill Crews

EDITOR’S NOTE [Wayne Goff]: Bill Crews’ sermon last Sunday morning contained the material published below from notes I took from his sermon. Faithful attendance has become a great problem in the current pandemic, but faithful attendance has been a recurring issue throughout the existence of the Lord’s church. The five points Bill gave in his lesson are fundamental truths, but profound in their meaning and application. The points are published here for our members and Christians everywhere to consider! Until we improve our attendance, the church will continue to suffer here and everywhere! {You can hear this sermon on YouTube or our web site: www.roanridge.org}   

What do the following Scriptures have in common? Acts 2:42, Acts 11:26, Acts 20:7, 1 Corinthians 16:2, 1 Corinthians 11:18-34 (the phrase “coming together” is found five times in this chapter), Hebrews 10:25 (note that “exhorting one another” is joined with “assembling together.” You have probably noticed that every single passage had to do with gathering together. Here are five points that are proven in the given Scriptures:

1. Christians are to assemble, or come together. Acts 2:42 teaches us that the first church had to learn from the apostles what to do in the church and as the church. Worship, honoring Jesus, and edifying one another are some of the reasons for assembling. “Fellowship” (joint participation) is practiced in the five acts of worship: singing, praying, giving, Lord’s Supper, and teaching or preaching.

2. Christians are to do so for specific reasons. Acts 11:26 says “… And it came to pass, that even for a whole year they were gathered together with the church, and taught much people, and that the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.” Paul could do the preaching. Barnabas could do the exhorting. Barnabas is commended as a great “exhorter,” and we need more of that today. It involves appealing, reasoning, and encouraging people. Hebrews 10:25 tells us to exhort one another when we assemble. If you don’t assemble, then you cannot exhort!

3. Christians are to conduct themselves properly in these assemblies. We must assemble willingly, cheerfully, not grudgingly or of necessity (see 2 Cor. 9:6-7). What the Bible says we must do in giving, we must also do in singing, praying, listening, learning and communing. Think of the lengths and efforts we make to attend a sporting event. We should expend even greater effort to assemble with the saints.

4. Christians are to prepare themselves for the assemblies. We are to prepare ourselves for Bible classes and preaching and conduct ourselves properly. We should look forward to each and every assembly. We are to prepare our bodies with proper rest. We are to prepare our minds with meditation and think upon spiritual things. Be sure that you are “on praying terms with God,” which means you conduct yourselves as you profess so that God will hear your prayers. See Proverbs 23:7; Psalm 66:18.

5. Christians should accomplish the specific reasons for which they assemble. How much do we derive from the Bible classes and sermons? You get as much out of worship as you prepare yourself to get. Getting ready for church involves much more than just getting dressed up. The most important things to me in life are spiritual! Jesus Christ was crucified by those He loved even while they hated and despised Him! Can you not find in your heart the love for God for what He has done for you?!

— Via Roanridge Reader, Volume 37, Issue 5, Page 3
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A Song of Ascents, of David. I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the LORD” (Psalm 122:1, NASB).

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Power of Godliness

Tom Edwards

For the video sermon with the above title, just click on the following link:

https://thomastedwards.com/wordpress/Power_of_Godliness.mp4

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News & Notes

Folks to continue praying for:

Jim Lively had some bad falls recently, which resulted in a deep indent in a wall, bruises, sloughed off skin on his leg, and hurting all over.

Let us also be remembering in prayer Rick Cuthbertson, Ronnie Davis, A.J. Joyner, Tammy Griffey, Deborah Medlock, Rex Hadley, Lois Fletcher, Vivian Foster, Danielle Bartlett, Kayla Williams, and Kim Rowell.
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The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation

1) Hear the gospel — for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30-31).

2) Believe in the deity of Jesus Christ, the Son of God (John 8:24; John 3:18).

3) Repent of sins.  For every accountable person has sinned (Romans 3:23; Romans 3:10), which causes one to be spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1) and separated from God (Isaiah 59:1-2; Romans 6:23). Therefore, repentance of sin is necessary (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).  For whether the sin seems great or small, there will still be the same penalty for either (Matt. 12:36-37; 2 Cor. 5:10) — and even for a lie (Rev. 21:8).

4) Confess faith
 in Christ (Rom. 10:9-10; Acts 8:36-38).

5) Be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; 1 Pet. 3:21).  This is the final step that puts one into Christ (Gal. 3:26-27).  For from that baptism, one is then raised as a new creature (2 Cor. 5:17), having all sins forgiven and beginning a new life as a Christian (Rom. 6:3-4). For the one being baptized does so “through faith in the working of God” (Col. 2:12). In other words, believing that God will keep His word and forgive after one submits to these necessary steps. And now as a Christian, we then need to…

6) Continue in the faith
by living for the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Matt. 24:13; Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
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Tebeau Street
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA  31501

Sunday: 9 a.m.
Bible Class and 10 a.m. Worship Service. 

We also have a Song Service at 5 p.m. for every first Sunday of the month.

evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 281-9917
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com

https://thomastedwards.com/go/all.htm (This is a link to the older version of the Gospel Observer website, but with bulletins going back to March 4, 1990.)



The Gospel Observer

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20, NASB).
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Contents:

1) The Throne of God (Frank Himmel)
2) The Omnipresence and Omniscience of God (Tom Edwards)
3) It’s Always Needed (Anonymous)
4) Works of God (video sermon, Tom Edwards)
5) News & Notes
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The Throne of David

Frank Himmel

“David’s son, the Lord Jesus Christ, must return to the earth, bodily and literally, in order to reign over David’s covenanted kingdom. The allegation that Christ is seated on the Father’s throne reigning over a spiritual kingdom, the church, does not fulfill the promises of the covenant” (J. Dwight Pentecost, Things to Come 114). Does God’s promise to David necessitate an earthly kingdom with Jesus ruling at Jerusalem, as premillennialists say?

The Promise

David was a man after God’s heart. He wanted to build a temple for God. Instead, God promised to build a “house” for him. “. . . I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever” (2 Samuel 7:12-13).

Initial Fulfillment in Solomon

David was succeeded on the throne by his son Solomon. It was he who built the temple. David saw him as the fulfillment of God’s promise (1 Chronicles 22:9-11). Solomon saw himself that way, too (1 Kings 8:18-20). Solomon’s rule is variously described: he sat on his own throne (1 Kings 1:47), on David’s throne (1 Kings 2:12), on the throne of Israel (1 Kings 8:20), and on the throne of the Lord (1 Chronicles 29:23). Throne simply indicates the position of rule. It was God’s rule, executed through David’s line. It was “the throne of the kingdom of the Lord over Israel” (1 Chronicles 28:5).

God’s promise of ongoing rule was conditioned on obedience (1 Chronicles 28:7). In time, David’s descendants became disobedient and their rule was suspended. The last king in the line was Jehoiachin [Coniah]. God told Jeremiah to write him childless: none of his descendants would prosper on the throne of David, ruling in Judah (Jeremiah 22:30).

Greater Fulfillment in Christ

Jesus is a descendant of David (Romans 1:3). Gabriel told Mary that God would give Him the throne of His father David (Luke 1:32-33). In the first gospel sermon, Peter quoted God’s promise to David, then affirmed that Jesus had ascended into heaven, exalted to the right hand of the Father where He now rules (Acts 2:30-36).

Jesus later wrote, “To him who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne” (Revelation 3:21). Again, it is the Father’s rule executed through David’s line, now through Jesus Christ.

Premillennialists object to a heavenly reign as the fulfillment of God’s Old Testament promises; however, that is precisely the application of them that inspired first-century preachers made. Peter said, “. . . all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and his successors onward, also announced these days” (Acts 3:24). Indeed, a heavenly reign is the only one which can meet the Old Testament criteria. Consider. . .

• Jesus is a descendant of Coniah (Matthew 1:11). Remember, no one of his descendants could prosper reigning in Judah (Jeremiah 22:30).

• Jesus is a priest after the order of Melchizedek (Psalm 110:4), which means He is king and priest at the same time. Zechariah 6:12 says, “He will be a priest on His throne, and the counsel of peace will be between the two offices.” Yet the author of Hebrews notes that Jesus could not be a priest on earth because He is of the tribe of Judah, not Levi (Hebrews 8:4). (Interestingly, some premillennialists call for a reinstatement of the Law of Moses in conjunction with the earthly reign of Christ, the very law which prohibits Him from an earthly reign!) If Jesus is priest in heaven, He is king there. If He is not king, He is not priest, in which case we do not have the benefits of His priestly function—namely, salvation!

• Daniel foresaw the Christ receiving His kingdom when He came up to the Ancient of Days (Daniel 7:13-14), not when He came down from Him. That accords with Peter’s sermon in Acts 2, and with Paul’s teaching in 1 Corinthians 15 that Jesus is now reigning and will continue to reign until His coming; at that time He will deliver up the kingdom to the Father (vv. 23-28). Premillennialism has it just backwards: Jesus’ coming will mark the end, not the beginning, of His reign.

— Via Pathlights, January 23, 2022
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The Omnipresence and Omniscience of God

Tom Edwards

Much of the following was added to The Gospel Observer article, entitled, “Beam Me Up, Scotty,” which was posted for February 6, 2022; but did not include the following additions until several days later. For the next paragraph, which was made in the original version, might have given some folks the wrong impression, as if God is too far removed from our physical universe to have anything to do with it. For I had said:

“I would think that the heaven where God dwells is separate and apart from our physical universe — like some type of parallel universe that is undetectable from our own; is independent of; does not clash with; is far superior to; and will blissfully, perfectly, and eternally remain even after our physical universe ceases to be (cf. 2 Pet. 3:10-12).”

So as to not give any wrong impression by that, as if God is way off somewhere and oblivious to all that happens on earth, consider the following:

God is still totally aware of all that goes on in our physical universe — and not only of our words and actions, but also of our innermost thoughts and intentions (cf. 1 Chron. 28:9; Psa. 44:21; Rom. 2: 16). For He is omniscient and omnipresent, as the psalmist shows:

“O LORD, you have searched me and known me!
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.

“Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O LORD, you know it altogether.
You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it.

“Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, You are there!

“If I say, ‘Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light about me be night,’
even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you”
(Psalm 139:1-12, ESV).

And in Jesus we also see God being a part of our physical universe. For “the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us” — and that Word was God’s Son Jesus the Christ (John 1:14,1-3), who is now very much alive and well at the right hand of God where He has been exalted with all power and authority in heaven and on earth (Acts 2:33, Matt. 28:18), ruling over all (Col. 2:9-10; Eph. 1:20-21), and interceding for those who draw near to God through Him (Rom. 8:34; Heb. 7:25) as our Advocate (1 John 2:1).

How amazingly great the Almighty God is!  For He is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, and eternal!  And in Him, all good virtues have always been and will always be — such as His love,  His kindness, His patience, His faithfulness, His graciousness, and His goodness!  So imagine being in a good relationship with God for all eternity!  

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It’s Always Needed

I heard a story of a man in the mid 1950’s entering school to study engineering. A professor told the entering freshmen class to buy the best slide rule they could afford. The reason: “You will be dependent on it all your ‘professional life.’” Well, of course, it wasn’t too long before the slide rule was replaced by the calculator. We’ve seen those same sorts of things in fairly recent years: 8 tracks, cassette tapes, and even VHS tapes! Things that today we consider essential may quickly become obsolete. Tomorrow they may be discarded as antiques that cannot provide the help we need.

At least one thing from the past, however, will always be needed and never become obsolete. It is the Bible, God’s Holy Word. No matter how much technological change and progress takes place, the Book will remain the one sure means for getting the right answers to the complicated questions: our origin, our purpose, our needs, and our final destination.

— Author Unknown (via Viewpoint, January 9, 2022)
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Works of God

Tom Edwards

Just click on the following link for the video sermon entitled above:

https://thomastedwards.com/wordpress/Works_of_God.mp4

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News & Notes

Folks to continue praying for:

Rex Hadley was admitted to the hospital last week. Tests were run, and it was determined that he had a slight stroke.  He will probably be going into rehab, if not already.

Rick Cuthbertson had a little trouble with his new cancer treatments, which might be due to the new medication.  Hopefully, things will get better for him.

Ashley Ray Law writes about her mother (Kim Rowell) that “after 8 months of treatment, several surgical procedures, and a near death experience, Momma was officially pronounced cancer free yesterday. Two more procedures to go, but I think we are on the downhill slope now. Praise God.”

Others to also keep in our prayers: A.J. Joyner whose left arm is still healing from having pulled a muscle in it.  Ronnie Davis who has needed to be on oxygen for several weeks.  Tammy Griffey who continues to make progress in the healing of her ankle, which she had surgery on.  And also Jim Lively, Myrna Jordan, Deborah Medlock,  and Danielle Bartlett
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The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation

1) Hear the gospel — for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30-31).

2) Believe in the deity of Jesus Christ, the Son of God (John 8:24; John 3:18).

3) Repent of sins.  For every accountable person has sinned (Romans 3:23; Romans 3:10), which causes one to be spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1) and separated from God (Isaiah 59:1-2; Romans 6:23). Therefore, repentance of sin is necessary (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).  For whether the sin seems great or small, there will still be the same penalty for either (Matt. 12:36-37; 2 Cor. 5:10) — and even for a lie (Rev. 21:8).

4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9-10; Acts 8:36-38).

5) Be baptized 
in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; 1 Pet. 3:21).  This is the final step that puts one into Christ (Gal. 3:26-27).  For from that baptism, one is then raised as a new creature (2 Cor. 5:17), having all sins forgiven and beginning a new life as a Christian (Rom. 6:3-4). For the one being baptized does so “through faith in the working of God” (Col. 2:12). In other words, believing that God will keep His word and forgive after one submits to these necessary steps. And now as a Christian, we then need to…

6) Continue in the faith
by living for the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Matt. 24:13; Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
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Tebeau Street
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA  31501

Sunday: 9 a.m.
Bible Class and 10 a.m. Worship Service.  We also have a Song Service at 5 p.m. for every first Sunday of the month.

evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 281-9917
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com

https://thomastedwards.com/go/all.htm (This is a link to the older version of the Gospel Observer website, but with bulletins going back to March 4, 1990.)

The Gospel Observer

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20, NASB).
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Contents:

1) Premillennialism: Does It Matter? (Frank Himmel)
2) Unkept Promises (Frank Himmel)
3) Saved to Serve (video sermon, Tom Edwards)
4) News & Notes
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Premillennialism: Does It Matter?

Frank Himmel

Premillennialism is the doctrine that Jesus will one day return and reign on earth for a thousand years. Its big-word name comes from pre-, before, and millennium, a thousand years. The idea is that we are now living prior to that coming era. While specifics vary greatly from one theorist to another, the idea is generally as follows.

The Theory

When Jesus came 2,000 years ago, He intended to set up an earthly kingdom and reign over the Jews, but they rejected Him. He therefore announced the church as a substitute, stop-gap measure until He could return and set up His kingdom. Jesus died, arose, and ascended back to heaven. The Holy Spirit came on Pentecost and the church was established.

At some future time, usually thought to be not long from now, Christ will return for His saints. The righteous dead will be raised and those who are still living will be “raptured,” caught up to be with Christ in heaven. They will remain with Him there for seven years while the earth undergoes a period of great tribulation. (Some theories have the rapture in the middle or even at the end of the tribulation). Large numbers of Jews will return to Palestine. The Antichrist, a powerful, ungodly ruler, will take over the world. Despite unprecedented persecution of Christians, many will be converted during this period.

At the end of the tribulation, all nations will gather against Israel at Armageddon. Christ and His saints will return, and Christians who were martyred during the tribulation will be raised. The Antichrist will be defeated and Christ’s kingdom established on earth. The nations will then be judged. Christ will sit on the throne of David in Jerusalem for a thousand years, His saints ruling with Him.

At the end of the 1,000 years, Satan will be loosed, summoning Gog and Magog to join him. But he will again be defeated. At that time, the wicked will be raised, the final judgment will occur, and souls will be assigned their eternal place in heaven or hell.

This theory was once held by only a handful of religious groups, but now it has become mainstream in denominationalism. In the 1970s it was popularized by Hal Lindsey’s books, beginning with The Late Great Planet Earth. More recently it was advocated in the Left Behind series of books and movies.

Does It Matter?

For the next several weeks we will address various flaws in the theory, some “millennial miscues.” Why talk about this subject? Does it really matter? Some say even if the theory is wrong it makes little difference because it is merely a discussion of what will happen when Jesus comes. But error has ramifications, and in this case they are hardly insignificant. Consider what is at stake.

The integrity of the Scriptures. The test of a prophet, whether he is speaking for God, is whether what he foretells comes to pass (Deuteronomy 18:22). If he fails, we should pay no attention to anything he says. If Old Testament predictions of the reign of Christ were not fulfilled when the prophets said they would be, we must reject those prophets and everything they wrote—the Bible.

Availability of forgiveness of sins. The Bible affirms that forgiveness is in Christ’s kingdom (Colossians 1:13-14). Those purchased with Jesus’ blood are the kingdom (Revelation 5:9-10). Indeed, Jesus’ kingship and His priesthood, through which He makes atonement for us, are inseparable (Zechariah. 6:12-13). If Jesus’ kingdom is not yet here, we do not yet have forgiveness of sins.

Requirements for salvation. Increasing numbers are saying that Jews are saved without coming to Christ. Again, this is due in no small part to premillennial misconceptions about their place in God’s plan. Yet Jesus plainly told Jews, “. . . unless you believe that I am He, you will die in your sins” (John 8:24).

These are but a few considerations. Open your Bibles and minds, and study along with us.

— Via Pathlights, January 9, 2022
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Unkept Promises

Frank Himmell

Those who believe Jesus will one day return and set up an earthly kingdom in Jerusalem frequently argue that this must occur because the land promises God made to Israel in the Old Testament have never been fulfilled. What does the Bible say?

The Promise to Abraham

God promised Abraham that He would make of him a great nation and give to that nation the land of Canaan (Genesis 12:1-3, 7). The borders were specific: “from the river of Egypt [the Wadi el Arish, not the Nile] as far as the great river, the river Euphrates” (Genesis 15:18). The time was also specified: following a 400-year bondage and when the iniquity of the Amorite was complete (vv. 13-16). (The Amorites were living in Canaan in Abraham’s day.) The land promise was repeated to Isaac (Genesis 26:3-4) and Jacob (Genesis 28:13).

Moses led the Israelites, Abraham’s family/nation, out of Egypt after 430 years of bondage (Exodus 12:40-41), just as God had promised. In anticipation of conquering Canaan, God told Moses to set aside three cities of refuge east of the Jordan River. He then added, “If the Lord your God enlarges your territory, just as He has sworn to your fathers, and gives you all the land which He promised to give your fathers . . . then you shall add three more cities for yourself, besides these three” (Deuteronomy 19:8-9).

Joshua succeeded Moses as Israel’s leader. The book bearing his name details the conquest and division of the promised land. The end of that record says, “So the Lord gave Israel all the land which He had sworn to give to their fathers, and they possessed it and lived in it” (Joshua 21:43). “Not one of the good promises which the Lord had made to the house of Israel failed; all came to pass”. (v. 45). This fact is confirmed by appointment of those three additional cities of refuge God promised (Joshua 20:1-9).

In his farewell address, Joshua made a passionate plea to Israel, based on the complete fulfillment of God’s promises. He argued that just as surely as God had kept the good words He had promised, so He would also keep His threat of removing Israel from the land if the people were unfaithful (23:14-16). Joshua’s argument was nonsense if premillennial notions of unfulfilled promises are true!

Some contend that God gave Israel their land in a sense but not to the full extent He promised. The sacred historians disagree. “Now Solomon ruled over all the kingdoms from the [Euphrates] River to the land of the Philistines and to the border of Egypt” (1 Kings 4:21; 2 Chronicles 9:26). This was precisely what God had promised Abraham.

The Return Promise

Israel got their land. But just as Joshua warned, when they were unfaithful to God, He removed them from it into captivity. Yet God had made another promise: that if, in captivity, they repented, He would return them to their land (Deuteronomy 30:1-10). And so, the prophets who foretold the captivity also prophesied a restoration. Jeremiah said the captivity would last seventy years (25:11; 29:10-14), then God would restore a remnant of His people (23:3). Isaiah also spoke of the remnant (10:20-24). God did not promise to bring them all back!

This promise, too, was fulfilled. Assyria and Babylon were the captors of God’s people. At end of the seventy years of captivity in Babylon, God raised up Cyrus of Persia to defeat the Babylonians. In his first year, Cyrus issued this proclamation: “Thus says Cyrus king of Persia, ‘The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth, and He has appointed me to build Him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whoever there is among you of all His people, may the Lord his God be with him, and let him go up!”. (2 Chronicles 36:23). This decree was in fulfillment of Jeremiah’s prophecy (v. 22).

One group returned under Jeshua and Zerubbabel, another under Ezra, and later a third with Nehemiah. Interestingly, these also testified that God had kept His land promise (Nehemiah 9:8).

Conclusion

The Bible is clear: God’s promises regarding the nation of Israel living in the land of Palestine were fulfilled long ago. There is nothing here to support the idea of a future earthly kingdom ruled by Jesus.

— Via Pathlights, January 16, 2022
——————–

-3-

Saved to Serve

Tom Edwards

Just click on the following link for the video sermon “Saved to Serve”:

https://thomastedwards.com/wordpress/Saved_to_Serve.mp4
———————

-4-

News & Notes

Folks to continue praying for:

Rick Cuthbertson began his new treatment Thursday before last.  The following day his blood work looked good.  But it might be the new medication that has caused him to have several difficult days, which, hopefully, will improve soon.   

Even with bone cancer, Lois Fletcher is feeling pretty good and able to work.  Since she is not able to have chemo, due to being allergic to it and many other things, she is continuing with her homeopathic treatments.  

A.J. Joyner saw his doctor last week, due to a torn muscle in his arm. The x-ray showed that there were no bones broken, but the arm has been giving him trouble; and last night he was feeling dizzy. He will be seeing his doctor again in two weeks.

As of last night, Ronnie Davis is still having to be on oxygen, along with the new medication. His appointment to see his doctor again March 19 is still on. 

Let us also be remembering in prayer Tammy Griffey, Jim Lively, Deborah Medlock, Rex Hadley, Vivian Foster, Danielle Bartlett, Kayla Williams, and Kim Rowell.
——————–

The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation

1) Hear the gospel — for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30-31).

2) Believe in the deity of Jesus Christ, the Son of God (John 8:24; John 3:18).

3) Repent of sins.  For every accountable person has sinned (Romans 3:23; Romans 3:10), which causes one to be spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1) and separated from God (Isaiah 59:1-2; Romans 6:23). Therefore, repentance of sin is necessary (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).  For whether the sin seems great or small, there will still be the same penalty for either (Matt. 12:36-37; 2 Cor. 5:10) — and even for a lie (Rev. 21:8).

4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9-10; Acts 8:36-38).

5) Be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; 1 Pet. 3:21).  This is the final step that puts one into Christ (Gal. 3:26-27).  For from that baptism, one is then raised as a new creature (2 Cor. 5:17), having all sins forgiven and beginning a new life as a Christian (Rom. 6:3-4). For the one being baptized does so “through faith in the working of God” (Col. 2:12). In other words, believing that God will keep His word and forgive after one submits to these necessary steps. And now as a Christian, we then need to…

6) Continue in the faith by living for the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Matt. 24:13; Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
——————–

Tebeau Street
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA  31501

Sunday: 9 a.m.
Bible Class and 10 a.m. Worship Service. 

We also have a Song Service at 5 p.m. for every first Sunday of the month.

evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 281-9917
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com

https://thomastedwards.com/go/all.htm (This is a link to the older version of the Gospel Observer website, but with bulletins going back to March 4, 1990.)

The Gospel Observer

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations…teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:19-20, NASB).
——————–

Contents:

1) “Beam Me Up, Scotty” (Tom Edwards)
2) Facing the Giants (video sermon, Tom Edwards)
3) News & Notes
——————–

-1-

“Beam Me Up, Scotty”

Tom Edwards

The actual above phrase, “Beam me up, Scotty,” was never used in any of the Star Trek episodes that aired from September 8, 1966 to June 3, 1969, nor was it said in any of the Star Trek movies.

But the show and movies did have a fictional transporter that would convert matter to an energy pattern that could then be sent to a specific location where it would then be converted back into matter. And all of that was portrayed as happening rather quickly. For the energy pattern was “beamed” to its destination.

That, of course, is all science fiction; but have you ever wondered how angels have “traveled” to earth?  What is the distance from earth to the heaven in which God and angels dwell?  Can it be measured?  Is it even a part of our physical universe?

I would think that the heaven where God dwells is separate and apart from our physical universe — like some type of parallel universe that is undetectable from our own; is independent of; does not clash with; is far superior to; and will blissfully, perfectly, and eternally remain even after our physical universe ceases to be (cf. 2 Pet. 3:10-12).

Yet, God is still totally aware of all that goes on in our physical universe — and not only of our words and actions, but also of our innermost thoughts and intentions (cf. 1 Chron. 28:9; Psa. 44:21; Rom. 2:16). For He is omniscient and omnipresent, as the psalmist shows:

“O LORD, You have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
You understand my thought from afar.
You scrutinize my path and my lying down,
And are intimately acquainted with all my ways.


“Even before there is a word on my tongue,
Behold, O LORD, You know it all.
You have enclosed me behind and before,
And laid Your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is too high, I cannot attain to it.


“Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there.
If I take the wings of the dawn,
If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,
Even there Your hand will lead me,
And Your right hand will lay hold of me.


“If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will overwhelm me,
And the light around me will be night,’
Even the darkness is not dark to You,
And the night is as bright as the day.
Darkness and light are alike to You” (Psalm 139:1-12, NASB).

And in Jesus we also see God being a part of our physical universe. For “the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us” — and that Word was God’s Son Jesus the Christ (John 1:14,1-3), who is now very much alive and well at the right hand of God where He has been exalted with all power and authority in heaven and on earth (Acts 2:33; Matt. 28:18), ruling over all (Col. 2:9-10; Eph. 1:20-21), and interceding for those who draw near to God through Him (Rom. 8:34; Heb. 7:25) as our Advocate (1 John 2:1).

Jesus, of course, was born of the virgin Mary (Isa. 7:14).  But what about heavenly angels that God had sent to earth on various occasions?  Would their “journey” have been faster than the speed of light?  Instantaneous?

To answer that would be speculation. But notice some unusual things the Bible shows of how some people were apparently “transported.”

In Acts 8, after Philip had met the Ethiopian eunuch, preached to him about Jesus and then baptized him, verse 39 says, “When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord SNATCHED Philip AWAY; and the eunuch no longer saw him, but went on his way rejoicing” (NASB, emphasis mine).

Both “snatched” and “away” are from the same Greek word (harpazo), which Thayer defines thirdly as “to snatch out or away.”  It is also the same Greek word that is used in 2 Corinthians 12:2 where Paul speaks of having been “CAUGHT UP to the third heaven” and “CAUGHT UP into Paradise” (v 4, NASB, emphasis mine).  And it is also the same Greek word when Paul comforted and assured the Thessalonians of their loved ones who had died in the Lord, by saying, “Then we who are alive and remain shall be CAUGHT UP together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and thus we shall always be with the Lord” (1 Thess. 4:17, NASB, emphasis mine).

Would we think of our being “caught up” to meet the Lord to be something that would take several seconds or more?  Or would it be instantaneous?  For much miraculous change will occur at that time with not only those who are Christians and still living, but also with those saints who are deceased.  

For as Paul declares in 1 Corinthians 15:51-52: “Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed, IN A MOMENT, IN THE TWINKLING OF AN EYE, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and WE WILL BE CHANGED” (NASB, emphasis mine).

Do you know what the Greek word for the phrase “in a moment” is?  It is atomos.  Thayer defines it as “1. that cannot be cut in two, or divided, indivisible. a. of a moment of time.”

I wonder if even the first part of that definition might literally apply to 1 Corinthians 15:52.  For if “in a moment” meant 4 seconds, then that could be divided.  But what about a “time” that cannot be divided?  A time that is indivisible.  Would it not be something that is literally instantaneous!

Mounce’s Concise Greek-English Dictionary of the New Testament defines it as ‘indivisible, and by impl[ication] exceedingly minute; . . . in an indivisible point of time, in an instant or moment, 1 Co 15:52.”

James Strong shows it to mean “uncut, that is (by implication) indivisible (an atom of time).”

The primary definition that Webster gives for “moment” is “an indefinitely short period of time; instant.”  And one of his definitions for “instant” is “succeeding without any interval of time; immediate.”

For another example, the Sea of Galilee is said to be about 13 miles (21 km) long and 8 miles (13 km) wide, and with a circumference of about 33 miles (53 km).

In the following account of Jesus walking on that sea, John 6:19 says, “Then, when they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near the boat; and they were frightened” (NASB). 

We also learn of how the weather conditions were for them at that time. The boat was being “battered by the waves; for the wind was contrary” (Matt. 14:24, NASB). And it was not just a wind that was against them, but it was also a “strong wind” (John 6:18, NASB). 

Concerning this sea, H. Leo Boles writes: “The storms on the Sea of Galilee often were sudden and frightful . . .  They had rowed far enough to be just in the center of the sea, where the current of the Jordan caused the greatest commotion in a storm. The sea, where they were crossing, was about six miles wide” (New Testament Restoration Commentary on Matthew 14:22-23).

But consider now what the apostle John brings out about that event. He writes: “The sea began to be stirred up because a strong wind was blowing. Then, when they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus walking on the sea and drawing near to the boat; and they were frightened. But He said to them, ‘It is I; do not be afraid.’ So they were willing to receive Him into the boat, and IMMEDIATELY the boat was at the land to which they were going (John 6:18-21, NASB, emphasis mine).

Commenting on John 6:21, Marvin R. Vincent speaks of the boat being “immediately” at the shore, to which they had been heading, as being a “miraculous arrival” and “simultaneous” with “their entertaining the wish to receive Him, or with His actually coming on board” (Word Studies in the New Testament).

The word “immediately” is often used in connection with miracles Jesus performed (cf. Matt. 8:3; Matt. 20:34; Mark 5:29; Mark 5:42; Mark 10:52).  And does that not also manifest even more the miraculous nature of them — rather than gradually happening or healing over a period of a few days or weeks!

In getting back to Philip, we left off with him having been “snatched…away” by the Spirit of the Lord, after having baptized the Ethiopian eunuch, and the eunuch then going “on his way rejoicing” (Acts 8:39).  But notice now where Philip had been “snatched…away” to, according to verse 40: “But PHILIP FOUND HIMSELF AT AZOTUS, and as he passed through he kept preaching the gospel to all the cities until he came to Caesarea” (NASB, emphasis mine). That was definitely a miraculous transporting — and not science fiction!  And I wonder, if Philip could have had a stopwatch to time how long that transporting would take, would he have arrived before he could even finish pressing the start button!

And what about Enoch?  It is said about him in Genesis 5:24 that “Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him” (NASB).  The Hebrew writer adds a little more to that, by saying, “By faith Enoch was taken up so that he would not see death; AND HE WAS NOT FOUND BECAUSE GOD TOOK HIM UP; for he obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God” (Heb. 11:5, NASB).

Would that not have also been instantaneous?

Of course, we do read of two being miraculously taken up, which, at least for part of the way, was not instantaneous.  But they were both very special cases.

One of them pertains to Elijah.  For what happened to him was to be a special sign to Elisha, Elijah’s successor, which he needed to see, as recorded in 2 Kings 2. It reads: “…Elijah said to Elisha, ‘Ask what I shall do for you before I am taken from you.’ And Elisha said, ‘Please, let a double portion of your spirit be upon me.’ He said, ‘You have asked a hard thing. Nevertheless, if you see me when I am taken from you, it shall be so for you; but if not, it shall not be so.’ As they were going along and talking, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire and horses of fire which separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind to heaven. Elisha saw it and cried out, ‘My father, my father, the chariots of Israel and its horsemen!’ And he saw Elijah no more…” (NASB).  So, apparently, God wanted Elisha to see that! And would the fact that there are about twice as many miracles recorded in the Bible of what Elisha performed, compared to that of Elijah, also be an indication of Elisha’s having received that “double portion” of Elijah’s spirit?

The other example is that of Jesus when He ascended back to heaven.  But, again, that was definitely a special sight for His apostles who were there to witness it.  Luke records that event, by saying: “And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them. They also said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven'” (Act 1:9-11, NASB).  The apostles were the Lord’s witnesses.  They walked and talked with Him.  They saw Him perform miracles, and they saw Him risen from the dead.  And now they saw Him even ascend into a cloud when leaving this earth.

Of course, we would think that somewhere along the way in that ascension, after Jesus was out of sight, that His physical body would need to be exchanged with a heavenly body.  For as Paul points out in 1 Corinthians 15:49-50, 53: “Just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we will also bear the image of the heavenly. Now I say this, brethren, that FLESH AND BLOOD CANNOT INHERIT THE KINGDOM OF GOD, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed”  — “For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality” (NASB, emphasis mine). What glorious bodies the saved will have in heaven!

And again, let us not forget that the Bible shows in both the Old and New Testaments of God sending His angel or angels to earth.  They did not come by spaceship. Nor would I think they rode on a light beam or any other means of transportation than simply the will and power of God to send them.  For God merely has to say it, such as “Let there be light” (Gen. 1:3) — and it is done!

For one last example, which appears to indicate that God’s “transporting” can even be through solid objects, consider the Lord’s apostles immediately after His crucifixion.  They must have been greatly discouraged and were fearful for their lives at that time and appear to have gone into hiding. 

Just hours prior to the Lord’s crucifixion, Peter, apparently out of fear,  had denied Jesus 3 times — rather than acknowledge that he was one of the Lord’s apostles.

And Peter was not the only one who had been afraid. For concerning the day of the Lord’s resurrection, John 20:19 says, “So when it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, ‘Peace be with you’” (NASB).

In about 60 different Bible translations I looked this up in, 34 of them refer to those “doors” of John 20:19 as not merely be “shut”; but, rather, as being “locked.”  Yet that was no hindrance to Jesus!

So when it comes to being caught up together to meet the Lord in the air, we do not first need to be outside for that.  For no walls, nor bars, nor even being confined in the most inescapable prison will be able to hinder that from happening!

Though we are not told specifically how God has sent angels to earth, yet we know that He did send them; and if that sending happened instantaneously, we should then have no trouble in believing it.  For with God, “all things are possible” (Mark 19:26), and “Nothing is too difficult” for Him (Jer. 32:17).  And God is certainly not hindered by distance, nor by time, nor by matter.  For He is the Master over all things! For all has been made possible through Him!

God can truly do exceedingly more than all the amazing things we can even imagine! 

So let us each be ready for that time when God’s people “will be caught up together…to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord” (1 Thess. 4:17, NASB).  And what a wonderful “transporting” that will be!
——————–

Facing the Giants

Tom Edwards

For the video sermon with the above title, just click on the following link:

https://thomastedwards.com/wordpress/Giants.mp4
——————–

-3-

News & Notes

Folks to continue praying for:

As mentioned last week, a recent scan had revealed that the cancer has increased on Rick Cuthbertson’s lung. So new treatment has begun, which includes new medication and having a 5-hour infusion every 3 weeks.

Lois Fletcher, who has been receiving homeopathic treatments for bone cancer.

Ronnie Davis, who has now been on new medication, along with continual oxygen for a few weeks, due to an illness not yet determined. 

Deborah Medlock,
whose excessive coughing and nausea might be due to a nodule in her throat.

Tammy Griffey, who still needs to keep weight off her foot as her ankle heels, over the next few months, from the surgery performed on it.

Danielle Bartlett, as she continues with home dialysis and awaits a donor kidney.

Let us also be remembering in prayer Jim Lively, Rex Hadley, Vivian Foster, Kayla Williams, and Kim Rowell.
——————–

The Steps That Lead to Eternal Salvation

1) Hear the gospel — for that is how faith comes (Rom. 10:17; John 20:30-31).

2) Believe in the deity of Jesus Christ, the Son of God (John 8:24; John 3:18).

3) Repent of sins.  For every accountable person has sinned (Romans 3:23; Romans 3:10), which causes one to be spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1) and separated from God (Isaiah 59:1-2; Romans 6:23). Therefore, repentance of sin is necessary (Luke 13:5; Acts 17:30).  For whether the sin seems great or small, there will still be the same penalty for either (Matt. 12:36-37; 2 Cor. 5:10) — and even for a lie (Rev. 21:8).

4) Confess faith in Christ (Rom. 10:9-10; Acts 8:36-38).

5) Be baptized in water for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; 1 Pet. 3:21).  This is the final step that puts one into Christ (Gal. 3:26-27).  For from that baptism, one is then raised as a new creature (2 Cor. 5:17), having all sins forgiven and beginning a new life as a Christian (Rom. 6:3-4). For the one being baptized does so “through faith in the working of God” (Col. 2:12). In other words, believing that God will keep His word and forgive after one submits to these necessary steps. And now as a Christian, we then need to…

6) Continue in the faith
by living for the Lord; for, if not, salvation can be lost (Matt. 24:13; Heb. 10:36-39; Rev. 2:10; 2 Pet. 2:20-22).
——————–

Tebeau Street
CHURCH OF CHRIST
1402 Tebeau Street, Waycross, GA  31501

Sunday: 9 a.m.
Bible Class and 10 a.m. Worship Service. 

We also have a Song Service at 5 p.m. for every first Sunday of the month.

evangelist/editor: Tom Edwards (912) 281-9917
Tom@ThomasTEdwards.com

https://thomastedwards.com/go/all.htm/ (This is a link to the older version of the Gospel Observer website, but with bulletins going back to March 4, 1990.)



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