All posts by BradleyCobb

The “Wiles” of the Devil

Did You Know?

In Ephesians 6:11, God inspired Paul to alert us to the “wiles” of the devil.  Some translations render it “schemes” of the devil.  It is because of the wiles or schemes of the devil that we are to wear the whole armor of God.  But why exactly is the word “wiles” or “schemes” used to describe the attacks of the devil?

Well, first off, we need to remember that as God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all (1 John 1:5), Satan is the opposite—a murderer from the beginning (John 8:44).  Because his very nature is sin, everything he does is opposed to God and God’s people.  The word translated “wiles” or “schemes” in Ephesians 6:11 is the Greek word methodeia—methods.  All of Satan’s methods are evil, they are parts of his attempts to devour the followers of God.  And since all of his methods are evil, we need to be constantly on guard.  NOTHING that Satan says or does will help us or do us anything but harm.

Satan, by nature, is wiley, a schemer, a creature with only evil methods designed to harm us.  Praise God that He has provided us with His armor to protect us!

-Bradley S. Cobb

Paul’s Past Hubris

DID YOU KNOW?

When relating his former life as a persecutor of the church of Christ, the Apostle Paul describes himself as “a blasphemer…persecutor…injurious” to the cause of Christ (1 Timothy 1:13).  The original word translated “injurious” (KJV) or “insolent” (NKJV) is hubristes.

In English, the word hubris means “the excessive pride and ambition that usually leads to the downfall of a hero in classical tragedy.”  It is interesting that Paul’s hubris as an enemy of Christ led to his downfall as a Jewish hero.  He spoke boldly against Christ, and Christ triumphed.  Is it any wonder that Paul said that he counted his past life as rubbish? (Philippians 3).

-Bradley S. Cobb

Our Recent Silence Explained

Perhaps you’ve noticed (and then again, perhaps you haven’t), but we’ve not posted any new articles for the past several weeks.

Today’s post is to let you know why, and to give you an idea of what to expect from us in the new year.

First, I’ve been doing a lot of editorial work for brethren, preparing several new books for publication.  That includes a book on why one man left Catholicism, a book of sermons, and even a sci-fi novel which helps to teach truths about God.

Second, I’ve taken on a second job (well, I guess it’s more of a third or fourth job), loading trucks early in the mornings for UPS.  Needless to say, it has messed with my schedule a bit, but it has also proven to be a place with opportunities to evangelize.  One man I work with is an agnostic, but he is very excited to read the Bales-Teller Debate on the Existence of God which I gave him.  Another man is religiously minded, but unsure of salvation.  He’s presently reading Muscle and a Shovel.

Third, I’ve been working hard on the next issue of the Quarterly, trying to get it ready for publication.  It should be shipping around the middle of January.

So, there’s my excuses.  🙂

So what can you expect from us in the new year?

Our goal as of this moment is to have at least one new article each week (not counting any updates or announcements).

  • Historical research articles on Restoration Movement personalities (some of which you may never have heard of).
  • Continuing the popular sermon commentary series on Mark from last year.
  • Finishing the series on the apostles (which have been used as Bible class material and sermons by people in four different states that I know of).
  • More “Did You Know?” articles.
  • A series of articles on various aspects of elders.
  • Lessons on the Lord’s Supper.
  • and more!

So, stick with us as we bring you sound and interesting articles for your enjoyment, edification, and encouragement!

Happy New Year!

-Bradley S. Cobb

Michael the Archangel

Michael the Archangel

Angels!  They have fascinated the mind and imagination of believers for millennia.  Elaborate schemes of angelic hierarchy are popular in some denominations.  One of these beings in particular is mentioned by name multiple times in the Scriptures.  His name is Michael.

  • He is called “the archangel” (the word “archangels”—as in more than one—never appears in the Bible. There is only one). (Jude 9).
  • He is called the great prince [ruler] of Israel (Daniel 12:1).
  • He is the one who would defeat Satan (Revelation 12:7-9).
  • He is the one whose victory over Satan would bring about the kingdom of God (Revelation 12:10).
  • Since there is only one archangel, when Jesus comes in judgment, it is with Michael’s voice that He will speak (1 Thessalonians 4:16).
  • He is probably “the Angel of the LORD” from the Old Testament (compare Jude 9 and Zechariah 3).
  • The word “archangel” means “highest messenger.”
  • The name “Michael” means “who is as God” (and it should be noted that this name could have come from none other than God Himself).

Putting all this together, Michael is the highest messenger of God, who is as God, who is the great ruler of Israel, who would defeat Satan and bring about the kingdom of God, whose voice will be heard when the judgment comes.

He’s a lot more important that we might usually think!

-Bradley S. Cobb

The Jehovah’s Witnesses and “a god”

Perhaps the most striking fact about the religious group calling themselves “Jehovah’s Witnesses” is that they believe Jesus is not God/deity, but that He was created by God.  As a way of trying to bolster their doctrine, they created their own version of the Scriptures, The New World Translation.

In the NWT, in John 1:1, they made a slight change that makes a big difference.  “…the word was with God, and the word was a god.”  If you question them about this, they will say something about a Greek rule that say when the word “the” (the Greek form of it, at least) doesn’t appear before the word “God” (theos in Greek), it is not talking about THE God, but only A god.

Here’s the problem with that reasoning…well, a couple problems—(1) It’s not true, and (2) they don’t follow their own supposed rule anywhere else in their translation—including the other four times it appears in the same chapter!  John 1:6, 12, 13, and 18 all have the word “God,” but the Greek word for “the” is absent.  In the NWT, each one of these verses is translated “God” (with a capital “G”).

In short, they made the whole thing up in order to “support” their false doctrine.  But Jesus is God in the flesh, He is the creator, the defeater of Satan—He is not “a god.”

-Bradley S. Cobb

Paul – the Preacher of Foreign Demons

Did You Know?

When Paul was in Athens, he saw that the city was “wholly given to idolatry” (Acts 17:16).  This city had idols and shrines to every imaginable god.  There were shrines to Zeus, to Hermes, to Apollo, to Dionysius, and on and on and on.  But in the synagogue, Paul was arguing with the Jews for Jesus Christ—the true Son of Deity.

However, some of the pagans in the city heard what Paul was preaching, and they desired to hear more about it, because it was something new to their ears (and they longed to hear new things).  But what is interesting is what they attributed to Paul.  Most translations render the phrase from Acts 17:18 this way: “He seems to be a proclaimer of foreign [or strange] gods.”

But did you know that the word translated “gods” in that verse is actually the word “demons”?  In fact, this verse is the only instance in the entire Bible where that word is NOT translated “demon” or “demons” (or “devils,” in KJV).  They apparently believed that since they didn’t already worship Him (they thought they had every god already covered by all the shrines and temples), he couldn’t be a real god—so they called Jesus a “foreign demon.”

-Bradley S. Cobb

The Two Mans (yes, I said “mans”)

Did You Know?

While Jesus was on earth, He was called a “man” in two different ways.  Obviously, Jesus was a male, and as such was called a “man” by His cousin, John the immerser (John 1:30).  The Greek word for a male is aner. (Interestingly, every time the word “husband” appears in the New Testament, it is the same Greek word).

But Jesus, while on earth, was also a human.  He frequently identified Himself as “the Son of man,” or more literally, “the Son of a human.”  You’re probably more familiar with this Greek term (almost always translated as “man” or “men” in the New Testament)—it is anthropos (as in anthropology).

But now Jesus is in heaven at the right hand of the throne of God.  So, is Jesus still “man” in either way?  2 Corinthians 11:2, Paul tells the church that he has espoused (betrothed) them to one “husband,” Jesus Christ.  The Greek word there is aner, a male.  So Jesus is still described as a “man” in that way, even though He is in heaven.  But what might surprise you is 1 Timothy 2:5: “There is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”  In this verse, Paul describes the current role of Jesus as Mediator in heaven.  And there, by inspiration, Paul says Jesus is human (anthropos).  Jesus, though ascended and glorified in heaven, still retains His humanity so He can be our perfect mediator with the Father.

-Bradley S. Cobb

Judas the Assassin?

Did You Know?

There is debate among Biblical scholars over Judas Iscariot.  I’m not talking about those goofy people who believe that Judas was somehow Jesus’ “chosen one” who was hand-selected by Christ to carry out God’s plan (as seen in the ridiculous 2nd century forgery, the Gospel of Judas).  I’m talking about those who believe in the inspiration of the Bible.  This debate deals with the question, “What does Iscariot mean?”

There are generally two schools of thought on this one.  The predominant view (overwhelmingly so) is that it means “Man from Kerioth,” which is a town in Judah.  If indeed this is the case, then it is proof that Judas was the only one of the apostles who wasn’t from Galilee (see Acts 2).

But, there is another possibility, and it is something that you might never have expected.  Some believe that Iscariot means “member of the Sicarii.” Now I’m sure you’re wondering, What is the Sicarii?  The Sicarii was a sect of the Jews, the most extreme of the Zealots (Simon was a Zealot).  These extremists prided themselves on their assassinations of Roman officials, Roman nobility, and prominent Roman sympathizers.  They would murder these people in broad daylight, among crowds, that way by the time the victim fell to the ground, they were lost in the crowd.  In fact, it was the growth of these actions that later led to the Roman-Jewish War that left Jerusalem in ruins and 1.1 million Jews dead.

And if Judas was one of these kind of men, it puts a whole new twist on his actions.  It is a possibility.

-Bradley S. Cobb

Why did Artaxerxes Care?

Did You Know?

Nehemiah, the cup-bearer of Persian King Artaxerxes, was upset because he had heard about the Jews who had gone back to Judea being persecuted, and about the wall around the city being broken down.  The king saw he was sad, asked what was wrong, and when Nehemiah told him, the king responded, “What is it that you desire?”

When Nehemiah told him he wanted to go to Jerusalem to help rebuild the wall, the king, it seems, didn’t blink, but asked, “How long are you going to be gone?”  The king also sent letters of passage, and letters of permission to log the forests to rebuild the gates, walls, and a house.  Additionally, he sent soldiers with Nehemiah.  The question is Why would Artaxerxes care about the city wall of a conquered people?

The answer is this.  Queen Esther was married to Ahasuerus, King of Persia.  Ahasuerus is more well-known by the name Xerxes. During the days of Nehemiah, the Persian king was Artaxerxes—literally the son of Xerxes.  Artaxerxes cared about the Jewish people and their city because his mother (or step-mother) was Queen Esther—a Jew.  In other words, he cared because the Jews were family to him.

Did You Know?

-Bradley S. Cobb