All posts by BradleyCobb

An Introduction to Lamentations

The twenty-fifth book of the Bible is one that is rarely studied, taught, or preached on. This is a shame, because of many reasons. The first and most obvious reason is that this is inspired Scripture. It was given by God through His prophet, Jeremiah. There are lessons which can be learned from reading this short book, and ones which can easily apply today. An understanding of the overall concept of the book will be very helpful in understanding the book itself.

Its Setting

It’s 586 BC, and Jerusalem, the pride of the Jews, has just been completely destroyed. God’s chosen people have been captured, some brutally killed in the streets of the city, and the rest taken as prisoners of war by Babylon. The temple, a place designed by God Himself for the purpose of having a place for the people to worship Him, was abandoned by God and left in burning ruins. The people are in disbelief, scared, frightened, but at the same time, they are blaming God for their calamity. While God did indeed bring it upon them, Jeremiah constantly pointed out to them that it was their own fault that they had been taken captive, and that Jerusalem had been destroyed.

Its Message

The Hebrew title for this book translates literally “How?” It is the first word of chapters 1, 2, and 4. It crystallizes the message of the book well. Jeremiah had been preaching for around 40 years to a people who would not listen. He had prophesied many times that Babylon would come destroy Jerusalem and take them captive, but no one would repent and do the things necessary to avert God’s punishment. How could this have taken place? How could those who were supposed to be God’s people act like God’s message was unimportant? How could God’s people think that by giving Him lip service, they would be saved? Perhaps a better question is how can Christians live and act in the exact same way today? Because many Christians indeed act exactly this way as if God will save them as long as they show up on Sunday morning.

Its Structure

Though for the most part the chapters and verses in our modern-day English Bible were added long after the books were written, the Lamentations of Jeremiah are an exception. This is a collection of five distinct Hebrew poems, each with specific verse divisions within themselves. In all but chapter three, the poems are 22 verses long, with each verse beginning with a different letter of the Hebrew alphabet. These verses are in alphabetical order in the Hebrew. Chapter three is alphabetical like the others, but instead has three verses for each letter (i.e., Verses 1-3 is the first letter aleph, 4-6 is bait, and so on). This same structure also appears in some of the Psalms, most notably Psalm 119. Because of the mourning done by Jeremiah in these five laments, at least one person has said he was “weeping from A to Z.”[i]

Its Chapters

These chapters have appropriately been termed “funeral dirges” by some, because Jerusalem has died. Each chapter deals with a different aspect of the destruction of Jerusalem. Chapter one deals with the fact of the destruction and the grief which came as a result. Chapter two deals with the anger of God towards Judah and their agony over the destruction of Jerusalem. Chapter three is a prayer for God’s mercy by Jeremiah, beginning with despair and ending with confidence in God. The fourth chapter describes the conditions during the siege of Jerusalem as well as the causes and consequences of the siege. The final chapter is Jeremiah’s prayer to restore Judah to a right relationship with God.

The final three verses of this book are appropriate in seeing the state of the people at this time. Wherefore dost thou forget us for ever and forsake us so long time? Turn thou us unto thee, O Lord, and we shall be turned; renew our days as of old. But thou hast utterly rejected us, thou art very wroth against us (Lamentations 5:20-22). They feel forsaken, and say to God, “bring us back to you and we’ll stay faithful.” If only they had this willingness to be faithful when Jeremiah had been prophesying, they would not be in Babylonian captivity. Instead, since they rejected God, God rejected them. Now, Christian, are you being faithful to God? God has shown multiple times that He will indeed reject and destroy His people when they are not faithful to Him.

Examine yourselves as you examine the book of Lamentations.

-Bradley Cobb

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[i] Open Bible, Expanded Edition: King James Version. Introduction to the “Lamentations of Jeremiah.” (page 760).

Coming Soon!

We  take a break from our regular rotation of stuff today to tell you about some things that we’re really excited about!  These are projects that we’ve got in the works and hope to bring to you soon.

The Paul Cobb Short-Film Collection

Yes, Paul has started his own movie-making company.  Well, that is, he’s learned how to use the scanner, Microsoft Paint, and Windows Movie Maker to create his own short cartoons.  We plan on making these available to watch soon.  But don’t blink.  After all, they’re short and you might miss them!

The Truth and the Liars

Our commentary on Second John is finished, and we are putting the finishing touches on the eBook.  We think you’ll really appreciate this one.  If you want to read it and just can’t wait, then pick up our official e-Sword collection which already has it in there!

Wait, Not THEM!

Currently, we are working on a commentary on the book of Habakkuk (at the request of one of the Christians where we live).  This book, titled Wait, Not THEM! will hopefully be finished and ready by early August.

The Holy Spirit in the Book of Acts

Writing this book has been one of Brad’s goals for six years.  In it, every verse in Acts that mentions or alludes to the Holy Spirit will be examined to see (1) what we can learn about the Holy Spirit from that verse, and (2) whether a miraculous or non-miraculous working of the Spirit is under consideration.  This book will also divide up the references by who is speaking/writing, so you can see how each of them talked about the Holy Spirit, and what they emphasized.

This book, Lord willing, will be finished around the end of September.

Alexander Campbell: a Collection (Vol. 2)

This book has been in the planning stages for about six months, and we are just about done with it.  Look for an official announcement At the beginning of July!

There’s a lot more that we could tell you about, but this is probably enough for today.  May your day be fantastic!

 

 

Bible Q&A – Do We Have All the Apostles’ Letters?

Question: Could you expand on your answer about whether there are missing books of the New Testament?  Are you saying that we have everything the apostles wrote? Is it possible there other letters that we simply don’t have?anonymous

That’s a great question, and it really deserves an answer. After all, if we don’t have everything, there could be something important that God expects of us that we don’t know about! We know that the Old Testament mentions books and writings that we don’t have. However, many of those are mentioned simply as historical records and not God-inspired books. Other writings mentioned in the Old Testament might be references to specific Old Testament books, just under a different name. For example, 2 Chronicles 9:29 mentions “the book of Nathan the prophet…the prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite, and…the visions of Iddo the seer.” This could very well be a reference to the books of first and second Kings.

But now, let’s look at the questions that were asked.

Do we have everything the apostles wrote? No, we don’t. How can I say that? I find it difficult—no, impossible to believe that 75% of the apostles never wrote anything. I also find it impossible to believe that the apostle Paul spends two years in jail in Caesarea and writes nothing during that time. Or that during his (minimum) two years—730 days—in jail in Rome, he only writes four short letters. But the fact that we don’t have everything that ever was written by the apostles shouldn’t make us concerned.

Here’s some things to consider:

1. Not everything the apostles wrote would have been inspired. If the apostle Paul gave Luke a list of scrolls to pick up from the Roman library, that wouldn’t have been an inspired list. So, even if we’re missing Andrew’s list of chores for his son to do, that doesn’t mean we’re missing anything inspired. Letters by the apostles of a non-religious nature would not be inspired, nor would there be any reason for them to be copied and passed on for 2,000 years. That’s why we don’t have any of them.

2. A different letter doesn’t mean it contained different information. Look at the books of Colossians and Ephesians. They are very similar in a lot of the things they discuss. Many congregations were dealing with the same kinds of problems. So, even if Paul wrote a letter to the church in Macedonia, that doesn’t mean it contained anything different from what’s in the other letters that we do have. If letters to other congregations were written by Paul or the other apostles, they would have been inspired, but they would have contained basically the same information as we have in the New Testament books.

3. We might actually have some of the supposedly “missing” letters. Many people point to the “Letter from Laodicea” that Paul mentions in Colossians 4 as a letter that’s gone missing. But many Bible students have suggested that this letter is actually the letter we call Ephesians, or possible Philemon (this will be addressed in a later Bible Q&A). So, it is quite possible that we have some of the letters that people think are “missing.”

4. Any supposedly missing letters were not ever recorded as existing. The early church (the first couple centuries after Christ) wrote a lot, and quoted from a lot of Scripture. So much so that it’s said, “if every copy of the Bible were destroyed, we could put it back together through quotes from the early Christian writers.” Every apostolic letter they mentioned or quoted from is contained in the 27 books of the New Testament. They never quoted from any other letters of Paul, Peter, Matthew, John, or any of the other apostles. This is because they didn’t have any others. If there were other letters, they were unknown to the church at large from the very beginning.

5. If we don’t have it, we don’t need it. God is powerful. God could rip apart the entire earth and then put it back together as though it had never happened. If God wanted us to have a specific letter, we’d have it. His word says that “all Scripture is given by inspiration of God…so that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works,” and that God has given us everything “that pertains to life and godliness” (II Timothy 3:16-17, II Peter 1:3). God made sure that we have what we need. If there are other letters, they do not contain anything different or additional to what we already have. Because God is infinitely powerful, we can know that everything that He expects from us and commands of us is contained in the 27 books that are in the New Testament.

-Bradley Cobb

Sermon Thursday – What is Baptism?

Thanks for joining us.  For the next several weeks on Sermon Thursday, we will be looking at things that we’re calling The Fundamentals of the Faith.  These are things that each Christian needs to know and understand so they can then help to teach others.  This week, we deal with the question, What is baptism? Enjoy!

Introduction:

Everyone knows what baptism means!  Some folks might say that, but they’d be wrong.  Instead, baptism is one of the things—religiously speaking—that is the most misunderstood by people.

Its substance is misunderstood. Some say it is baptism in water, others say it is only baptism in the Holy Spirit, others say both, and still others say it is just being baptized in the word of God.

Its mode (how it is to be done) is misunderstood.  Some say sprinkling, some say pouring, some say immersion, some say it is completely mental.

Its subjects (who is supposed to be baptized) are misunderstood. Some say babies, others say believers only, others say adults only, some say Jews-only, others say I can get baptized in your place for you.

Its meaning is misunderstood. Some say it is an outward sign of an inward grace, others say it is to add you to a denomination after you’re saved, still others say that it is an act of obedience which in turn saves you.

With all this confusion about almost every aspect of baptism, can we really know what baptism means?  Yes we can, by looking at the Scriptures.  Let’s empty our minds of everything we think we know about baptism, and let the Scriptures speak for themselves.

The substance of baptism (what one is to be baptized in).

Baptism is first mentioned in the book of Matthew, chapter three, when John the baptizer comes on the scene.

The Scriptures state that John baptized them in Jordan (Matthew 3:6).  This is the Jordan River.  John himself clearly stated that he baptized with water (Matthew 3:11).   When Jesus was baptized by John, He came “up immediately out of the water” (Matthew 3:16).

It is true that a baptism of the Holy Spirit is also mentioned, but that is one that would be performed by Jesus Christ—and Him only (Matthew 3:11).  So, we’ve got two different kinds of baptism mentioned in this chapter.  Are they both still valid today? And how can we know?

Ephesians 4:4-6 (which was written at least 25 years after Jesus died) says there is “one Lord, one faith, ONE baptism.” So, by the time that book was written, there was only one valid baptism.  So, which one is it?

Acts 8:35-36 (which took place after Jesus died) says that Philip began to preach Jesus to this man.  And after hearing Jesus preached to him, the man (a eunuch) said, “See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?”  Based on what he had been taught by Philip (who had been sent by God), the only baptism that was important to him was baptism in water.

I Peter 3:20-21 (written around the same time as Ephesians) says, “eight souls were saved by water, this corresponds to baptism which now saves you, too” (SENT).   The only baptism which matters is baptism in water.

OK, it involves water, but is it sprinkling? Pouring? Being fully submerged under water?

The Mode of baptism (how baptism is to be done).

Just calling something baptism doesn’t make it baptism.  Calling a rose a skunk doesn’t make it a skunk.  The word baptism has a meaning.  But, just to be sure, let’s look at how baptism in water is described in the Bible.

Acts 8:38-39And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him. And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.

Did you see what I saw there? Baptism requires going into the water and coming out of the water. That’s interesting.

John 3:23John was baptizing in Aenon near to Salim, because there was much water there.

So, baptism requires much water. That’s noteworthy to remember.

Romans 6:3-4Don’t you know that as many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death? Therefore, we are buried with Him in baptism into death

Interesting. Baptism is described as a burial.

Put these things together:

  1. Baptism requires much water.
  2. Baptism requires going into the water and coming out of the water.
  3. Baptism requires a burial in water.

Just using what the Bible says, we can know that baptism is…

  1. NOT sprinkling water on someone (this doesn’t require much water, going into the water, nor is it a burial in water).
  2. NOT pouring water on someone (this doesn’t require much water, going into the water and coming out of the water, nor is it a burial in water).
  3. Baptism IS being completely submerged, immersed in water.  This requires much water, requires going into and coming out of the water, and it is a burial in water.

The Subjects of baptism (who can be baptized).

Ok, we’ve figured out completely from the Bible that baptism must be in water, and that it is being immersed, completely submerged in water and being brought back up; but who is eligible to be baptized?

Again, let’s not guess or use man’s opinion; let’s just look at what the Bible has to say about it.

Mark 16:16He that believes and is baptized shall be saved.

This verse makes it pretty clear that the person being baptized must be capable of believing (in Jesus Christ).

Acts 2:38repent and be baptized, every one of you.

This makes it pretty clear that whoever is baptized has to be capable of repenting (that is, realizing their sins and turning away from them).

Now I want you to consider something with me.

Babies are incapable of believing in Jesus Christ, and they don’t have the mental capacity to even understand what sin is.   Babies are not candidates for baptism at all, ever.

What about small children?  They are not old enough to comprehend their own sin, nor mature enough to understand what baptism is.

So, according to the Bible, who is eligible for baptism?

If you believe in Jesus Christ, and are willing to repent of your sins (and mature enough to understand what that means), then you are eligible for baptism.  Some people reach that point of maturity earlier than others. If you are an adult, you have reached that point. Teenagers—you want to be treated like an adult? Then you’ve reached that age as well.

The Bible teaches baptism is a burial in water, and the only ones it applies to are those who are old enough to believe in Christ and repent of their sins.

But what is the purpose of baptism?

The Meaning (purpose) of baptism.

I think we can all agree that if the Bible tells us baptism has a specific meaning or purpose, then that should end the discussion.

So, let’s let the Bible speak about the purpose of baptism.

Acts 2:38 – Baptism is “for the remission of sins.”  The word “remission” means “forgiveness.”  So, baptism is for forgiveness of sins.

Does that mean “because sins have already been forgiven” or does it mean “so that your sins can be forgiven”?

That’s a great question, and easily answered.  That verse says that two things (and both of them are commanded) are “for forgiveness of sins”—REPENTANCE and baptism.   Acts 8:22 says “Repent, therefore, of this, your wickedness, and pray to God, if perhaps the thought of your heart might be forgiven.

There’s no getting around it: God will not forgive sin without someone repenting first. So, when Acts 2:38 says repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of sins, it has to mean so that your sins will be forgiven—because God will not forgive someone’s sins unless they repent first.

So, baptism is in order to have your sins forgiven.

Acts 22:16 – Baptism washes away your sins.

A very devout man was praying hard for three days, and God sent another man to him.  This man that God sent said, “why are you waiting, get up and be baptized, washing away your sins.”

Baptism is in order to have your sins washed away.

Mark 16:16 – baptism is for salvation.  He that believes and is baptized shall be saved.  That’s pretty plain.

I Peter 3:21baptism does also now save you.  There’s not really much comment needed there.  The Bible plainly states that baptism saves you.

The only conclusion that you can make from these verses is that you have to be baptized if you want to be saved.  There are many other passages we could go to which show this just as clearly.

What About You?

Now, perhaps is the time to ask the most important question—do YOU need to be baptized?

Perhaps you’ll say “I was baptized when I was a baby.” If a baby is baptized, then all that happened was that the baby got wet—because the baby had no sins to wash away in the first place. That baptism doesn’t match what’s in the Bible, and so it wasn’t really baptism.

Maybe you’ll say, “I was baptized when I was younger.” To that, I simply ask this: why were you baptized?  If you were baptized because you believed in Jesus and you knew you needed to be baptized in order to have your sins forgiven, then that is great!  However, many younger people are baptized because their friends were baptized and they didn’t want to feel left out.   Many younger people are baptized because they feel like it is expected of them.  Many younger people are baptized without really understanding why they were doing it.

If any of these describe you, then were you really baptized like the Bible says to be baptized?

Maybe you’ll say, “I was baptized in the Baptist Church” or some other religious group.  I have no doubt that you did it with the best of intentions.  In fact, I praise you for wanting to follow God’s will.  However, I have to ask you this: were you baptized for the reasons that the Bible gives?

  1. Were you baptized so that your sins could be washed away?
  2. Were you baptized for the purpose of being saved?
  3. Or did you believe you were saved before you were baptized?

You see, while these religious groups have many things that are praiseworthy, a lot of them say that baptism doesn’t save you.

But the Bible says it does.

They say that baptism is so you can be part of the Baptist Church or the Methodist Church or whatever church AFTER you’re saved.

The Bible says that baptism is what saves you—only one of them can be right.

So, the question that you have to honestly, sincerely ask yourself is this: If I was baptized for the wrong reasons, where does that leave me?

I don’t know about you, but that is not a predicament I’d want to be in.   The Bible speaks of a group of men who had been baptized, and thought their baptism was just fine.  However, they discovered that their baptism wasn’t the right baptism.  They were then baptized properly, having their sins forgiven.  You can read about them in Acts 19.

Conclusion:

My friends, don’t let there be any doubt about your salvation.  Don’t let there be any doubt about whether you were baptized for the right reasons. Right now, take care of it by coming to God, believing in Jesus Christ, leaving your sins behind, and being baptized according to the Scriptures. When you do that, you don’t have to ever doubt it.

Some of you might be thinking, “I’m not sure if I need to be baptized properly or not.”   To you, I say this: do it. Do it to be sure.

It could be that your baptism was proper in the first place, and you will just be getting wet—but you will have a pure, confident conscious.  But it could also be that you had good reason to doubt—and this would save your soul.   Please, come be baptized now!

Cobb Kids Audio Show – Episode 5 – Puck’s Farm

After months and months of planning, and hours upon hours of recording and editing work, the latest episode of the Cobb Kids Audio Show is ready for your listening pleasure!

For those of you who might be new to the scene, let me give you a brief recap.  A few years ago, Paul Cobb was listening to old time radio shows, and decided to make up his own.  With the help of his sisters (and mom and dad), they recorded and released a 6-minute long episode called “Funnier and Funnier.”  It had laugh tracks and sound effects and everything.

In this brand new episode (the fifth in the series), we finally figure out why Puck’s farm isn’t making any money.  Mr. Oldman discloses his baseball delusion.  Scarlet, Lizzie, and Josie spend time reading the latest Laura Lane book, and Bruce gets…well, if we told you, it’d ruin the story!

But, as a bonus, we will tell you that we have sponsors for the show this time!  Well, I guess for them to be real sponsors, there’d be money involved.  So, perhaps it’s better to say we’ve got commercials!  And we think you’ll enjoy what they have to say.

Episode Fun Facts:

  • The idea for this show originated shortly after episode 2 was recorded.  And it’s been really hard keeping it a secret for these two years.
  • Both of the commercials feature Scott Roderick–or, as he’s more affectionately known by the family, Uncle Booger.
  • Some of the arguing between characters near the end was ad-libbed by Paul and Deserae Cobb.
  • In this episode, we find out something very strange about Josie.

The Cobb Kids have put a lot of work into these episodes.  The first four are all available free of charge in the Audio Show section.  If you like them, try out this brand-new 15-minute episode for just 99 cents!  All proceeds go to the Cobb Kids.

Restoration Moments – An Example of Providence

This week’s Restoration Movement Moment comes from “Memoirs of Abner Jones” (written by his son), which will be in Abner Jones: A Collection (Volume 2), to be released later this year.

Abner Jones was convinced that the event which he describes here was an act of God’s providential care. Enjoy!

—–

It was in the spring of 1813, as I think— for the regular journal of Elder Jones is here interrupted — that he removed his family to Portsmouth. He found the church and society feeble, and religion in general in a very low state. His tarry in Portsmouth was but of two years’ duration, in which time, although not much occurred of interest to him, many memorable events took place. The war [of 1812], then but recently declared upon Great Britain by the United States, was raging fiercely on the New England coast, and Portsmouth suffered its full share of the excitement and evil. The place was completely blockaded by the British fleet for a number of months, and the inhabitants were greatly distressed, and lived in a constant state of terror. Alarms were frequent, and the town pre­sented the constant appearance of a besieged city.

Several regiments of troops were quartered upon the town, and provisions became exceedingly scarce and dear. Those who could leave their affairs, had already removed to a safer retreat, while many others were ready, with their household stuff already packed, to start at the first booming of the enemy’s cannon. Among these was Elder Jones.

When the enemy appeared off the town there were scarcely any bulwarks of defense to repel the attack of so formidable a foe, and I remember the consternation which prevailed. I think it was on Saturday. The next day the churches were closed, for the worshipers were all draft­ed to turn out and throw up redoubts on the most defensible points at the entrance of the town. There was a general turn out from all professions and avocations, and without respect to the day. In the evening, however, the churches were opened and thronged, and many a prayer was raised to the “God of battles,” that he would scatter their foes, and send them peace.

In the midst of all this distress, the horrors of the scene were dreadfully increased by an aw­ful conflagration, which burned down a large part of the town, and rendered many families, not only houseless, but penniless. Nearly three hundred dwelling houses were consumed, and nearly four hundred families were turned into the streets in one of the coldest nights of De­cember.

“It was,” says Elder Jones, who was an eye witness to the whole scene, and rendered very efficient help on the occasion, by his remarka­ble presence of mind and great activity in sav­ing property and life—and whose daring gener­osity nearly cost him his own life during that awful night—“it was indeed a deplorable sight. Whole streets presented a double line of flame, or a dark and confused mass of smouldering ruins. The goods and furniture either perished in the buildings, or were only thrown into the street to make a bonfire by themselves. Wo­men and children, with disheveled hair, and eyes that spoke too plainly their grief and terror, ran shrieking through the burning streets, either in search of some relative or friend, or too de­mented to have any definite object in view. Here was a distracted mother despairingly call­ing on her husband and children, there the heart-broken father and husband inquiring for his wife and children; and the little ones wandering to and fro, piteously crying for their parents. Some, again, were gazing on the ruin going on all around them in a perfect stupor of grief and sur­prise. No tear bedewed their cheek, no sound escaped the lips, no motion was made by any member of their bodies, and they started not at the fearful crash of falling houses, or the hoarse cry of the brazen-throated firemen.

“A police was organized as soon as the con­fusion would permit. Property was protected as far as was practicable, and all the children who were found destitute of protection were picked up and taken to a place of safety.

“Many were the maternal bosoms who mourned their little ones as dead, in the awful gloom of that memorable night. What a joy then to behold the scene which opened the morning of the next day! The children were all assem­bled in the town Hall, to the number of a hun­dred or more, and the crier sent forth with his bell to announce to all whose children were missing, that they were waiting for their appear­ance. Then flocked the weeping parents to the spot, hoping and fearing. Oh! what a meeting was that, and what pen shall essay the vain at­tempt to describe it! Not a child was missing and not one but found its parents. In all that dreadful burning not a human life was lost, and but one person suffered the fracture of a limb.”

Why I Don’t Believe “Fulfillment of Prophecy” is a Convincing Proof of Inspiration

Before you decide to mark me as some liberal anti-Christian heretic, read this sentence:

The Bible is inspired by God, and evidence of the wonderfully amazing fulfillment of prophecy is all throughout the Bible.

But I don’t believe that it’s a very good tool to use in convincing people that the Bible is inspired.  I know preachers who think that “fulfillment of prophecy” is the biggest and best proof that the Bible is from God.  That it is the “ace in the hole” for convincing skeptics.  I was told that by one of my teachers in preaching school, and I’ve heard it many times since then.

But I don’t think it’s very convincing.

Don’t get me wrong, as someone who already believes in the Bible, I find the fulfillment of prophecy to be phenomenal.  It blows my mind and leaves me awestruck that God could prophesy things hundreds–even thousands of years before they actually happened.  Every time I discover another type/antitype or foreshadowing prophecy in the Bible, I get excited and it makes my faith even deeper.

But that’s because I already believe the Bible is inspired.

I want you now to imagine that you don’t believe the Bible is from God.  In fact, you think that it was something put together by a bunch of folks who were writing after the fact, and that it is full of contradictions.  Imagine that you are opposed to the very idea that the Bible could be from God.

With that mindset, I want you to see how you would respond to these arguments:

(1) In Isaiah, it says that God would raise up a man named Cyrus, and in Ezra, we learn that Cyrus–150 years later–was the name of the king of Persia.  See, Isaiah even named him over a century before he was born!

If I didn’t believe in the inspiration of the Bible, I’d say something like, “Prove Isaiah was written 150 years before Cyrus was born.”  Or, “the oldest copies of Isaiah are 400 years AFTER Cyrus was king.”  Or “It’s easy to claim that it was written before then, but claiming doesn’t prove it.”

(2) In Nahum, God says that Nineveh (the capitol of Assyria) would be “dissolved,” and that’s literally what happened less than 100 years later when Babylon diverted the river and dissolved the mud bricks that Nineveh was built with!

If I didn’t believe in the inspiration of the Bible, I’d say, “the oldest copies of Nahum came 400-500 years after Nineveh was destroyed.  It was written after the fact.”

(3) The Old Testament foretells that the Christ would be born in Bethlehem, and would suffer and die, and establish His kingdom.  All of those things were fulfilled in the New Testament.

If I didn’t believe in the inspiration of the Bible, I might say something like this: “In the Harry Potter books, things that are foretold or foreshadowed in books one through six came to pass by the time book seven was completed.  According to your logic, then, Harry Potter is inspired by God.”

The point is this: if someone doesn’t already believe the Bible is inspired, then quoting prophecy and fulfillment in something they think is fiction anyway is not going to prove that it is from God.  They’ll write it off as men looking at what was already written and trying to tie up loose ends in later books and letters.

There are much better ways of proving the inspiration of the Bible.  And once someone is convinced that the Bible is inspired, fulfillment of prophecy is a great tool to further convince them.  It will help deepen their faith.  But if they don’t already believe the Bible is from God, fulfillment of prophecy won’t convince them.

Just some food for thought.

–Bradley Cobb

Bible Q&A – Was Jesus Created?

Some people came to my door and said that since Jesus is the “Son of God,” that means He can’t be God. They said that Jesus was the first being created by God. Was Jesus created?—F.F., Arkansas.

Thank you for the question. What you described sounds like a group who call themselves “Jehovah’s Witnesses.” But before we answer the question, something must be made extremely clear:

Right and wrong is determined by what the Bible says. Just because a certain religious group teaches something doesn’t automatically mean it’s right, but it also doesn’t automatically mean it’s wrong, either.

Let’s start with your question, Was Jesus created? Then we’ll move on to the issue about the “Son of God.”

In Micah 5:2, there is a prophecy about Jesus being born in Bethlehem (fulfilled in Matthew 2:5-6). But that’s not the only thing in that verse. Jesus is also described as the one “whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.” According to this Old Testament passage, the Messiah (the Christ) would be one who has existed “from everlasting,” that is, forever. If someone is from everlasting, that means He couldn’t have been created.

But let’s go further and look at how ridiculous this claim of a “created Jesus” is. The Bible makes it crystal-clear that everything that was created was created by Jesus Christ (John 1:1-3). The Scriptures say that there is nothing created except for that which was created by Jesus. Now, taking this crystal-clear Bible knowledge with us, let’s use some common sense. The only way—according to the Bible—that Jesus was created is if Jesus created Himself out of thin air before He existed.

The Bible makes it clear that Jesus was not created. He is eternal, and is the one who created everything—no exceptions!

But let’s also take a look at the “Son of God” argument.

One of the ways the “Jehovah’s Witnesses” try to bring up the topic of Jesus is by saying that He’s the Son of God, and then make the comment, “Isn’t that interesting that he’s called the Son of God.” When you ask, “What do you mean?” they start saying that since Jesus is the Son of God, that means Jesus can’t be God.

The same Bible says that Jesus is the “son of man.” According to the Jehovah’s Witness argument, that would mean that Jesus can’t be man, either, since he’s the son of man. If we take their argument to its logical conclusion, Jesus isn’t deity, and was never human either. Both of those stances violate several Scriptures.

The son of a human is a human—by his very nature. The Son of God, therefore, is God—by His very nature.

Jesus Christ is deity (by His very nature), and Jesus is also human (by being the Son of man). He is eternal. Jesus was not created. He is the one who created everything.

-Bradley Cobb

Sermon Thursday – Idols

We are excited to present to you this sermon, written by Paul Cobb (age 13).  Other than formatting, nothing has been changed from his hand-written sermon.  He is presently working on some articles that we will be sharing with you in the coming weeks!

Today, we’re going to talk about idols.

Definition of Idols:  Idols are things that you put ahead of God.  In I Kings, Elijah and the prophets of Baal were doing a contest of which god could send fire, and Elijah’s God did, which is another way to prove that God is real.  Read I Kings 18:17-40.

The people were worshiping these idols. They were bowing down to them. They were sometimes carved pieces of wood, or stones, and the people worshiped these rocks and logs.  They put these rocks and logs ahead of God.

Idols today:  Idols today are like TV or the theaters, money, MP3 players, video games.  Stuff like that are sometimes idols to us.  It’s nice to have them, but if you put them ahead of God—well, they’re idols.

In the world today, money is a very bad idol if it’s used for the wrong purposes.  In the New Testament, Jesus saw that there were people making money and being selfish and greedy.  Read John 2:13-17.  They were worshiping their money instead of God.

Idols aren’t good: People in Bible times—people like the prophets of Baal—worshiped idols like Baal, and that’s not good!  Any time you put something ahead of God, it’s an idol, and that’s not good.

Conclusion:

Why do people worship idols?  Because they think these things (money, TV, toys, stuff) are more important.  But it isn’t!

We want people to worship God and be saved.  Elijah wanted the people to worship God and be saved.

If you’re here tonight, and you need help to quit worshiping idols, come and repent of your sins!  Get rid of those idols and live your life better!  There is no better time than right now, so come as we stand and sing.

Panic Cleaning

The phone rings.  You pick it up.  After a few minutes of conversation with the person on the other end of the line, you hear the words, “I’ll be over in a few minutes.”

That’s when panic sets in.

As soon as you’re off the phone, there is a mad rush.  You’re giving orders to the kids to clean up their mess, running around trying to make the house look presentable.  In the midst of all that, you’re silently hoping that the impending visitor gets stuck in a bit of traffic to give you a few more minutes.  You’re in a mad dash to get things in order…

To make things like they should have been the whole time.

There may be some people who have never experienced this phenomenon known as “the cleaning panic.”  And if you are one of them, I say, “Just wait until you have kids.”  For the rest of us, this event happens…well, let’s just say it happens from time to time.

But after the latest “cleaning panic,” I got to thinking.  This is the way a lot of people live their whole lives.  They don’t take care of anything until the last minute.  They have turned procrastination into an art.

You know these kind of people:

  • They wait until the gas tank is empty before filling up.
  • They wait until the milk is gone and the kids are crying because they can’t have their cereal before they decide to run to the store.
  • They wait until someone is on their way over before they clean the house (and don’t look in the bedrooms!).
  • They wait until two minutes before the doctor appointment to leave their house (and then they wonder why they have to spend so much time in the waiting room).

What makes this lifestyle so common?  We are saturated with a culture that says, “Enjoy life now, pay later.”  Credit cards are perhaps the biggest example of this.

But there is one thing that everyone needs to realize.

Some visitors don’t call first.

Death doesn’t call first.  If you’re old enough to read this, then I bet you can name a lot of people who died unexpectedly.  Had they known death was coming, they might have done a “panic cleaning” of their life.  They might have made their life right with God.  The might have made peace with those who they had been at odds with.  They might have tried to tell their family about the importance of becoming a Christian.

In short, to make things like they should have been the whole time.

One of the best bumper stickers I have ever seen read this way: Those who plan to repent at the 11th hour usually die at 10:30.

Make your life right today, because you don’t know when your last minute will be.

–Bradley Cobb