Tag Archives: Bible

The True Method of Searching the Scripture

The mid-1800s saw an incredible amount of books written by members of the Lord’s church, but unfortunately most of them are nearly impossible to find (or so expensive that only Donald Trump could afford them all).

But, we here at The Cobb Six, being caretakers of the Jimmie Beller Memorial eLibrary, are trying to make these books more accessible to you and others like you.

Take today’s addition to the eLibrary, for example.  It does double-duty as a book on hermeneutics (the science of Bible interpretation) and an introduction to the Bible; and does it well.

Tolbert Fanning was the president of Franklin College, which he established in 1837, and was the first editor of Gospel Advocate.  His legacy also includes mentoring men like David Lipscomb.

So, without further talking, we present to you the newest entry in the Jimmie Beller Memorial eLibrary:

True Method of Searching Scriptures (Tolbert Fanning)

As always, the book has been completely re-done.  We’ve checked for typos, removed literally hundreds of commas (he really liked using commas), changed the font style, and gave it a good freshening up.  We hope you find it worthwhile.  Just click the link above to download it!

-Bradley S. Cobb

Tools of the Occult (2)

[Our guest-blogger, Kyle Frank, returns to bring us some more insight on the occult, from his own personal experience.]

In an earlier article, I began to describe a few of the means used by those who dabble in the dark realm of the occult. Having been deeply involved in my foolish youth, I experienced things which were hard to understand. Even years afterward, having been born again and having sat at the feet of some very competent teachers, I still wonder. It is the intent of the master of this present darkness to make it so. I will attempt to name a few more of the tools used to lure the ignorant and foolish to their destruction.

Another  method by which to contact “those who have gone beyond” is by channeling. Channeling is done by a medium. (someone with a e.s.p.-extra sensory perception “gift” (?) ) To channel, one opens their heart and mind to spirit beings and then relates the information by private sessions (séances) or other by means.  This is very popular these days.

Séances are sessions where a group of people, along with a medium, seek guidance or to speak with those who have died. Often various physical manifestations can be seen. Most often, these are a trick or deception meant to mislead the unlearned or gullible. These have received a great deal of cynicism but have continued on despite the “bad press.” This is similar to the Witch of En-dor as seen in 1 Samuel 28. It was forbidden then, it is forbidden now.

Another  tool of the occult is the Tarot. This is a deck of seventy-eight cards which has various designs on it. It is shuffled and the cards are laid out and “read’ in an attempt to for-tell future events. This is a popular tool that has been used since the 1550’s. There are two different sections, called the Minor Arcana and the Major Arcana. The Minor Arcana consists of 56 cards divided into four suits of fourteen cards: wands, cups, swords and pentacles. Major Arcana consists of 22 cards with individual names and numbers. These are considered the heart of the deck and carry more weight in tarot reading. The Minor Arcana deals with the situations of everyday life.

Dowsing is the use of a forked stick or two metal rods to measure the earth’s magnetic fields, or water, which can be useful.  However, it is also used by some to contact the spirit world in order to contact spirit beings with questions or to seek guidance. A dowsing rod can find water, and it can answer direct questions put to it-questions about personal plans and problems.

Astral Travel, also called remote viewing or scrying, has been written about throughout history. In these days, it is even possible to take classes to learn how to do it. It is heavily associated these days with the New Age Movement. It is supposedly possible to travel to different places and times. But, an important part of this is to protect oneself from “negative influences.” Little do they know that EVERYTHING associated with it is from the “negative” side.  There can be no protection for one while they are in the kingdom of darkness. The only possible safe way is to obey the Lord, be saved and repudiate evil by one’s life of obedience to the Lord.

Runes are of ancient origin. One familiar to most today is the ankh. It appears as a cross with tear-shaped circle on the top rather than the upper piece. It is thought to be of Egyptian origin and is associated with the afterlife. Although modern scholars are not sure of its actual origin and meaning, it is seen by many as an ancient symbol of demon worship.

In another strange twist, the cross of Christ is now seen by the world as a charm. If one wears a cross as a fashion statement, it is seen as being protective. In today’s vampire-crazy society, a cross is the only object which a vampire will fear. The symbol of our Lord’s sacrifice is now a Hollywood prop used in movies and shows!!! The true meaning of  the only sacrifice for our sins has become a prop and the true meaning of the cross is lost in mediocrity!!! How wonderfully Satanic that is!!

Another much more sinister usage of runes are the “sig” runes that were so prevalent in the days of the Third Reich in Germany. The “SS” symbols were runes from ancient Nordic history and were thought to carry great power. These were seen on the collars of every SS officer and soldier. These few examples, sad though they may be, are just a sample of this field of demonic fetish.

These are but just a few examples of some of the tools found in Satan’s toolbox. They can be seen far and wide these days and are becoming more and more common as the days pass. Scripture did in fact warn us of this in 2 Timothy, chapter 3. Actually, the whole New Testament is full of warnings about how perilous these last days will be. Our loving Father has provided everything that we would need to not only survive, but to prosper and thrive in these unsure days. The saddest thing about those outside of Christ (not to mention no salvation) is that they suffer from the winds, trials and tribulations of these crazy times. They have no anchor, and have houses built on sand and they are all alone, despite the promises and great love shown by the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  The enemy has them bound up in sin, suffering pain, agony and the torture of fear. Our job, our goal, is to love them as we have been loved and we have been saved to serve. Paul said in Romans 2:5-11 But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. For God shows no partiality.

Paul talked about being a debtor to the Jew first and also to the Greek. In 1Cor. 9:19-23 he said:  For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them. To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings. We are told to follow Christ and to do as he did. In doing this, it is vital that we do our very best to be able to help these lost and trapped souls. We need not feel that we have to understand and be able to deal with each and every tool of the occult, but, we do need to know how to give an answer as to why we believe what we do. Our faith is seen clearly and that can lead to Christ if we can at least explain what we did to become a Christian. Remember, these poor souls are trapped and blind to Christ, as he truly is. If you can’t teach them out of darkness, find someone who can. Preachers, elders or those older in the faith can and will help you. But-the most important part of this process is to go to the Father in faith. Prayer changes things!! I spoke of my personal involvement. I actually got into it because I was looking for God! I remember one early morning (after spending all night using the Ouija board and automatic writing) where, in tears, I looked up and said “Oh God, where are you? I just want to find you…please help me to find you!”  Very shortly thereafter, I answered an ad for a Bible-study correspondence course. I received a knock on my apartment door one Sunday afternoon where an elderly man and woman personally brought me lesson number one of the John Hurt course. They later became my parents in the faith and he baptized me into Christ. I have NEVER looked back. I thank God that prayer changes things and God can deliver you from anything!! I cannot wait until I can someday fall at His feet and thank Him face to face!!

-Kyle Frank

Tools of the Occult (1)

[It’s Thursday again, and that means it’s time for another article from our weekly guest-blogger]

In time of war, we know that it is very important to have a working knowledge of the tactics that can be employed by an enemy, whomever that might be. In the spiritual realm, it is even more important that we know what tactics the enemy is employing, in order that we can be ready and able to stand our ground and fight. In this article, it is my intent to describe a few of the tools that are being used to trap and enslave our race by Satan and by his forces as they operate among mankind on the earth.

The Lord’s church need not be in fear of these weapons and tactics because: you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. (1 John 4:4). We have been given the weaponry and the Spirit which enables us to be more than conquerors through him who loved us. (Romans 8:37) As long as we remain faithful, walk in the light and use the weaponry that has been provided for us, we will be triumphant because of Him who loved us. In that light, let us take a look at some of these Satanic tools.

Ouija Boards are seen as a cute, childish game and can be found in nearly every toy department in any larger department store. There is absolutely NOTHING toy-like about this demonic lure. We have all seen this in movies or television as something played with in children’s slumber parties. Despite the denial of some, it really does work and it is extremely dangerous as it “opens a door” to further demonic activity. Questions are asked and answers often received. The “planchette” (a small movable pointer) moves to a “yes” or “no” or spells out the answers given. These answers are meant to increase interest and deepen curiosity for these “hidden things.” This is often the “gateway” to deeper things which we know are NOT from God but the adversary who seeks to entrap and ensnare the seeker with “what some call the deep things of Satan”. Rev. 2:24 This writer once was taken with using this device and knows of what he speaks. It is an extremely dangerous device and has no place in the home of any person, much less one who names the name of the Lord.

The next device or method which is often used is called Automatic Writing. By this, it is possible to have further, deeper communication with “the other side.” In doing this, a person holds a writing implement in one’s hand and relaxes. The writing is produced without conscious thought. A “spirit guide” will use this method to communicate with one who is seeking an answer. Again, this writer tried and became very proficient in doing this. This was my second step down the “wide path” which leads to destruction. I thank God each and every day for His deliverance from my sad delusion.  When one becomes proficient in this technique, different handwriting styles are produced by different “spirit guides.” Personally, I experienced nothing but lies but that simply identified who the actual author was. Unfortunately, at that time I did not know Christ, nor what warnings the New Testament had for me. This is the case with nearly all who fall into this trap.

E.V.P.-electronic voice phenomena is a supposed “tool” where a seeker will place a recorder, whether old fashioned cassette player or newer digital type recorder and begin to ask questions. No answers are heard by the naked ear but when the recorder is re-wound and played, often, an answer can be heard. This can be as weak as whispered or as loud as a clear voice. This is a popular tool used on such popular television shows as The “Sci-fi Channel’s” Ghost Hunters. This is part of an ever-increasing hunger by society in general for anything mystical or outside of classical society.

Spirit Guides-As one gets deeper and deeper into the “soup” of the occult, one is often contacted by a “Spirit Guide.” This is in response to a plea for help by a seeker.  This answer is to help a seeker to find the answers for which one seeks and to guide them in their “spiritual journey.” This demonic pseudonym claims to be a human soul which exists between heaven and earth. They are referred to by those in the occult as a “guardian angels”, or even “invisible helpers”. I cannot even begin to properly warn the reader of the danger of these supposed “helpers.” There is no Bible teaching on the subject, but then, when you get this far into the occult, you are way outside of the Bible, anyway.  Scripture tells us that: just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment,(Hebrews 9:27) and also from Jesus’ teaching on death in the story of the “Rich Man and Lazarus” there is no wandering around after death. Therefore, it cannot be a human soul. What else is there? How was one brought into contact? It certainly is not an angel-from God, but from another source. What good can come from that? None!

From my own experience, I implore you to throw out that “toy board game.” It is no toy. It is a trap waiting for the unprepared. All of these “methods” or devices are prepared to entrap, and destroy those who trifle with them. Remember, we are at war and our only salvation is to stay near to the Lord, who protects us from those who seek our destruction.

-Kyle Frank

Astrology and the Christian

[Our weekly guest-blogger article by Kyle Frank]

In our society, there is a great deal of time and attention paid to astrology. One needs only to look for a moment or two in the newspaper before the horoscope is found. Usually, the horoscope is generic enough where nearly everyone can find agreement with whatever occurrences happen each and every day. Some people will not make a major decision without checking with the stars. It is my purpose to show that this pseudo-science is not approved of by God nor to be trifled with by his children.

First of all, it is not to be confused with astronomy. Astronomy is a legitimate field of scientific study. There is a vast difference between true astronomy and the mystic occult art of astrology.

To be brief, astrology is a religion of the stars. The name comes from two Greek words “astra” which means Star, and “Logos,” which is word, reason or logic. From this, it can be seen that the term refers to the  word, or logic of stars. If you look at this carefully while watching a true devotee to astrology, you will see that it has in fact become a revived religion among millions of people in our time. When viewing biographies, one often hears of “what sign” someone was born under. In fact, when asked, most can tell you what sign they were born under.

In virtually every newspaper you will find the “horoscope” for the day and that is often the first thing that some will look for when opening that newspaper for that day. Often, some will not even leave their home until they have consulted their horoscope. In the light of this, let us look  at what God’s word has say on the subject.

During Bible times, astrology was a frequent, dangerous threat to God’s people. Baal- worship, which was heavily condemned by God through his prophets is believed to be a form of sun-worship. Isaiah said in 47:12-14  Stand fast in your enchantments and your many sorceries, with which you have labored from your youth; perhaps you may be able to succeed; perhaps you may inspire terror. You are wearied with your many counsels; let them stand forth and save you, those who divide the heavens, who gaze at the stars, who at the new moons make known what shall come upon you. Behold, they are like stubble; the fire consumes them; they cannot deliver themselves from the power of the flame. No coal for warming oneself is this, no fire to sit before!  He is pretty clear in his condemnation of their practices. Judgment was coming and his challenge to them was to protect the people, not to mention themselves. We will also look at what Jeremiah had to say on the subject. In 10:1-2 he said: “Hear the word that the LORD speaks to you, O house of Israel. Thus says the LORD: “Learn not the way of the nations, nor be dismayed at the signs of the heavens because the nations are dismayed at them.” From that reference, we can see that it was a prevalent practice among the nations surrounding Israel. His concern for his kinsmen was so that they did not follow the practices that were condemned by the Lord. In Amos 5:26 we read: You shall take up Sikkuth your king, and Kiyyun your star-god–your images that you made for yourselves. They were worshipping the host of heaven and judgment was coming. How much more so in these days when we have the Son of God to follow rather than these sham-dealers who pretend that they have all the answers.(?) The choice is ours-as Joshua once said, “And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve,” Joshua 24:15  We need to sit down and take a serious inventory of ourselves, life, and behavior. 2 Cor. 13:5 tells us to: Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?–unless indeed you fail to meet the test!  Who are we to follow? Is it the Lord who has been so kind and gracious-or the horoscope, which is open to nothing but speculation? It offers nothing because it can deliver nothing.

Another part of astrology were the so-called “prophecies” by Jeanne Dixon. She made a great number of prophecies each year. Of these, only a very few would be barely even close to coming true. Remember the great number of her prophecies that would be in such great luminaries as “The Star” or other such-like papers? Compare her success  rates with God’s prophets. If you look at Deuteronomy 18:20-22: But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name that I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die.’ And if you say in your heart, ‘How may we know the word that the LORD has not spoken?’– when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him. If you were to judge Ms. Dixon’s success rate according to God’s scale, you would see that she came up a total and complete failure. The world held her up as a great prophet but we know the truth of the matter. We do not “follow the stars” because we follow Him who made the stars! Let us focus on that!! He tells us to follow what His Son said-not what the stars are supposed to be saying. They don’t talk, they can’t tell us the future. Why try to learn the future when they can’t know nor can they tell us? Seriously-why?

-Kyle Frank

Andrew, the Lesser-Known Son of Jonah (Part 3)

Andrew During the Passion Week

The twelve apostles came with Jesus to Jerusalem before the Passover, and stayed in the house of Mary and Martha.  The next day, Sunday, Andrew watched as Jesus mounted a young donkey and entered Jerusalem with the people crying out “Hosannah!  Blessed is the King of Israel that comes in the name of the Lord!”1  Amidst the commotion of the day, some Gentiles who were there for the upcoming feast approached Philip, who brought them to Andrew.2  They said, “We want to see Jesus.”3  So Andrew, for the third time in the biblical record, brought people to the Lord.4  Andrew must have watched and listened as Jesus spoke to these Gentiles.

The hour is come that the Son of man should be glorified.  Verily, verily I say to you, “Except a grain of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abides alone: but if it dies, it brings forth much fruit.  He that loves His life shall lose it; and he that hates his life in this world shall keep it to life eternal.  If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honor.  Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say?  Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I to this hour.  Father, glorify Your name.”

Then came a voice from heaven, “I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.”

The people therefore who stood by and heard it said that it thundered: others said, “An angel spoke to Him” (John 12:23-39).

Andrew stood as the Father spoke from heaven, and heard Jesus say that God spoke for the benefit of those around Him (including Andrew).  Then, even though Andrew had heard it before, he couldn’t help but feel sadness when he heard Jesus announce once more that He was going to die.5

Andrew certainly accompanied Jesus (as did the other apostles) during His visits into Jerusalem on Monday, when Jesus again overturned the tables of the money-changers, and Tuesday, watching the Master teach in the temple, confronting Pharisees, Sadducees, chief priests, scribes, elders, and Herodians as they tried to trip Him up in front of the people.6  It was on this Tuesday, the final Tuesday before Jesus’ cruel death, that Jesus and His disciples left the temple, and one of them pointed out the immense beauty of the temple complex.7  This building project began fifty years earlier, and included tearing down the temple build by Zerubabbel,8  completely removing the foundation, creating an entirely new foundation 30 feet higher than it had been, and carted in massive marble slabs that were white and strong, 37.5 feet long, 18 feet wide, and 12 feet tall to build the temple.9  The temple was raised up to such a height and prominence in Jesus’ day that Josephus says

[T]he middle [the temple itself] was much higher, till they were visible to those that dwelt in the country for a great many furlongs. …

The temple had doors also at the entrance, and lintels over them, of the same height as the temple itself.  They were adorned with embroidered veils, with their flowers of purple, and pillars interwoven: and over these, but under the crownwork, was spread out a golden vine, with its branches hanging down from a great height, the largeness and fine workmanship of which was a surprising sight to the spectators, to see what vast materials there were, and with what great skill the workmanship was done.10

But as Andrew and the other apostles stood with Jesus, looking at the temple, the Master said, “You see these great buildings?  There shall not be left one stone upon another, which shall not be thrown down.”11  Given the immensity of these marble slabs (stones), such a statement shocked Jesus’ disciples.  It was such a shock that Andrew and Peter, James and John, came to Jesus privately as He sat on the Mount of Olives to ask Him “When shall these things be?  And what shall be the sign when all these things are fulfilled?”12  Andrew then listened intently as he heard Jesus detail for them the events leading up to the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in accordance with Old Testament prophecy, adding the words “This generation shall not pass until all these things are done.”13

Wednesday evening (which to the Jews would have been the beginning of Thursday),14 Jesus gathered with Andrew and the other apostles in an upper room to eat the Passover.  During the meal, Andrew watched as Jesus stood up and wrapped a towel around Himself, and then came and washed Andrew’s feet.15 and it was at this time that Jesus told them that He was going to be betrayed by one of them.  Shocked and worried, Andrew asks Jesus, “Is it I?”  But he isn’t given a direct answer.

Jesus, with the apostles (minus Judas, who had left),16 after singing a hymn, went to the Mount of Olives, where He told Andrew and the others, “All of you shall be offended because of me this night.”  Andrew watched his brother Peter argue with Jesus over this, saying “Although all [of them] shall be offended, yet I will not.”  Then after Jesus foretold that Peter would deny Him three times, Peter said, “If I should die with You, I will not deny You in any way,” and Andrew said the same thing.17

Of course, it was just a short time later that Judas arrived with soldiers, who took hold of Jesus, and scared Andrew and the others to the point that they “forsook Him and fled”18

-Bradley S. Cobb

1 John 12:12-14, Mark 11:1-10, Matthew 21:1-9, Luke 19:29-38

2 John’s record of these events appears to place them on the same day as the “Triumphal Entry,” on what has come to be known as “Palm Sunday” (though neither phrases appear in the inspired text).  However, J.W. McGarvey take the position that this incident with Andrew and the Greeks took place on the Tuesday following, though he does not give an explanation for his reasoning in his Fourfold Gospel.

3 John 12:20-22

4 Andrew brought his brother, Simon [Peter], to Jesus; he brought the lad with the loaves and fishes to Jesus; and he brought these Gentiles to Jesus.

5 John 12:30-32 records Jesus repeating His death announcement.  The listeners, according to the verses that follow, understood that Jesus was saying that He must die, and thought that meant He wasn’t the Christ, about whom they had heard “out of the Law” that He should “abide forever” (John 12:34).  Some may think that the death announcement was not understood when Jesus stated it, but the Gentiles that Andrew brought to Jesus understood Him pretty well.

6 These incidents are recorded in Mark 11:27-33; 13:13, 18-27, as well as in Matthew and Luke’s accounts.

7 None of the biblical writers disclose the name of the disciple in question.  Therefore, any guess would be nothing more than a supposition.  However, given how frequently certain disciples are mentioned by name, it seems logical to assume that it was not Peter, Andrew, James, or John (who are mentioned by name just two verses later in Mark’s account), nor Judas (for if it was him, it would seem worth noting to point out because of his materialistic mind).

8 Josephus places it during the 18th year of the reign of Herod the Great, which would be approximately 20 BC.

9 This information is recorded for us in Josephus’ Antiquities of the Jews, book 15, chapter 11, paragraphs 1-3.

10 Flavius Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, 15.11.3

11 Mark 13:2, Matthew 24:1-2.

12 Mark 13:3-4.  The questions, as recorded in Matthew 24, are worded differently: “When shall these things be?  And what shall be the sign of your coming and of the end of the world?  We have chosen to use the questions as Mark records them, for he is the only one who identifies the specific questioners (Andrew in particular).

13 Mark 13:5-37, but especially verse 30.  Matthew 24:34 and Luke 21:32 also record this saying.

14 To the Jew, a new day began at 6pm.  Thus, this Passover meal, in Jewish reckoning, was eaten on Thursday, though to us, it would be Wednesday evening.  Space forbids an extended discussion of the day in which Jesus was crucified, but perhaps this will suffice: In order for Jesus to be the fulfillment of the Passover Lamb type, He would need to be killed on the same day prescribed by God in Exodus 12.  In the years 29-33 (where most estimates of Jesus’ death are placed), the day in question never happened on a Friday.  However, in AD 30, it fell on a Thursday.  It is the belief of this writer, after much study, that Jesus died on the 14th of Nisan, AD 30, which was a Thursday, and that He was buried on the 15th (remember that to the Jews, the day changed at 6 pm), and was raised on the following Sunday.

15 John 13:1-5

16 John 13:21-30

17 Mark 14:26-31.

18 Matthew 26:56

Doctrines of Demons

(We now present to you another article by our weekly guest-blogger, Kyle Frank)

Those who are of the household of God are well acquainted-or rather-should be well acquainted with the fact that there are “doctrines of demons” as referred to by the word of God. The Lord went through the trouble of warning us of the fact that there will be things taught under the heading of “scripture” that are in fact nothing but the language of Satan-lies. Jesus told us that when Satan speaks, he lies because he is the father of lies. He is also a murderer-not that he has actually physically killed anyone-that we know of, but, by his lies to Eve, and then Adam, he caused their deaths, as well as introducing death to each and every one of their descendants, in that they all have sinned. Actually, let me correct the last sentence because it, left to itself, is a lie. There is one of the descendants of Adam & Eve who was not killed by a lie, and mercifully, that one was Jesus Christ; son of man and Son of God. (Let me return to my subject at hand. I just get so delighted by the thought of the blessed Savior of man-and deadly opponent of the “Doctrine of Demons.”) In 1Timothy 4:1-3, we read:  Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings (doctrine-ASV) of demons, through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared,  who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. There are teachings which come from the evil one. These are often foisted off among the saints because the evil one tries to look like the saints. This can be seen in 2 Corinthians 11:13:  For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds. Having shown this, let us take a look at a couple of these insidious teachings.

The early church had to deal with the heresy of Gnosticism. Gnosticism was a perversion of the truth as taught by certain men who felt that they had “special” or “secret” knowledge that lifted them above the ranks of “ordinary” Christians. This poison has continued throughout history in different times and different places. Although this teaching was opposed by the apostles directly in the first century, it has resulted in various different false messiahs. An example of such in recent memory was Jim Jones in Guyana. David Koresh in Waco, Texas also had that “special knowledge” that only he felt he could dispense to willing and eager followers. Both, by the way, ended in death. Several hundred followers also were led into eternity in error. How much more demonic could one get?

Another form that developed was the doctrine that Jesus was “a” way, not the only way for man to be saved. This, of course, is in total opposition to what was taught by the Lord, where he said: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6. Another doctrine which is from the very pits of  perdition and is a variant of  the above teaching says that another way to God can be found in such documents as the Koran, Hindu “scriptures” and what could be seen as any other writing which is, like above, “another way” to God. Apparently, according to these folks, we are all just one big happy family, all on the way to the same destination, just by a different route. We probably all have seen the giant billboard which declares: “Worship At The Church Of Your Choice!” That is another example of this particular distasteful teaching. Besides the different religions being a different way, a closer variant is that the various different denominations are all “branches of the same tree.” Apparently, the “Jehovah’s Witnesses” are just a slightly different way to the truth as the Lord’s church! Imagine that!! Is that distasteful to you as well? Now, apparently, we are bigoted if we have a problem with that! That is a doctrine of demons gone to seed. The land is full of such teachings. Now, can you imagine what would happen in the religious world if folks today saw things like they did in the time of the early Restoration Movement? The growth would be similar to as it was back in those days.

Again: “WORSHIP AT THE CHURCH OF YOUR CHOICE!!” How many multitudes believe that one church is as good as another? We face this when doing any sort of evangelism. Jesus was so adamant that there is only one way to God. We need to have the courage to love others enough to tell them that one church is not as good as another. It can be done-if we love others as Jesus loved us. It takes courage, but it also takes tact when teaching the gospel to others. One way is NOT as good as another.  A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. John 13:34. When we act as Jesus did, we will have the strength and love to overcome these evil teachings-which on the surface sound so good…but are so wicked in their fruits. Those fruits are death!!

-Kyle Frank

Andrew, the Lesser-Known Son of Jonah (part 2)

Andrew is Called by Jesus

While Jesus traveled through Galilee preaching, Andrew and his brother Peter had apparently gone back to work as fishermen with James and John.  After a couple months or more had passed, Jesus came back to Capernaum, possibly staying at Andrew’s house.(1)  Andrew and his brother Peter were at the synagogue in Capernaum on the Sabbath when Jesus spoke with authority and cast out a demon,(2) and afterwards, they went back to their house with Jesus, James, and John.  It was there that Peter’s mother-in-law was horribly sick with a “great fever,” but was healed by Jesus.(3)

According to Luke, who explicitly stated that his gospel account was “in order” (KJV) or “in consecutive order” (NASB),(4) Andrew and Peter’s official call came after the events on the Sabbath.(5)  Jesus had gone near the Sea of Galilee, and a crowd of people found Him.  So he climbed aboard one of the two ships there, the one that belonged to Andrew and Peter, and the boat was shoved off a bit so Jesus could sit down and teach the crowds on the shore without being mobbed by them.  Andrew and Peter were both on the ship with Jesus when the Lord said, “Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets.”(6)  Andrew heard his brother explain that they’d worked all night, but caught nothing, but they still did as Jesus asked.(7)

Andrew was shocked by what happened next.(8)  The nets started to break, so they called James and John to come over in their ship as well, and the massive amount of fish filled both of the ships to the point of almost sinking.  The four men were amazed, and Jesus said to them, “from this point forward, you will catch men,”(9) “follow me.”(10)  As a result, Andrew (and the others) left his ship and the fishing business behind to follow the “Lamb of God.”

Traveling with Jesus, Andrew was present to see Him cleanse a leper, forgive the sins of a paralyzed man and then heal him, cast out demons, teach parables, and perform many other miracles.(11)  Andrew ate with the Lord and His disciples in the house of Matthew, the tax collector, and learned straight from the lips of our Savior that His mission was to “call sinners to repentance.”(12)

Andrew the Apostle (Limited Commission)

One morning, Andrew was called by Jesus, along with the other disciples, to a mountain.  This was one of the most momentous days in Andrew’s life, because it was on this day that Jesus chose him to be one of the twelve apostles.  From that point onward, Andrew was forever to be connected with the mission of Jesus.  He followed Jesus throughout Galilee, listening to His sermons, watching His miracles, and perhaps even being overwhelmed by what Jesus said on a one particular occasion:

While [Jesus] yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and brothers stood outside, desiring to speak with Him.  Then one said to Him, “Behold, your mother and your brothers stand outside, desiring to speak with you.”  But [Jesus] answered and said to him who told Him, “Who is my mother?  And who are my brothers?”  And He stretched forth His hand toward His disciples, and said, “Behold, my mother and my brothers!” (Matthew 12:46-49).

After some more travel with Jesus, Andrew and the other eleven apostles were called to meet privately with Him.  They had seen Him perform many miracles, but now Jesus did something that they probably weren’t expecting:

He…gave them power and authority over all demons, and to cure diseases.  And He sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick (Luke 9:1-2).

Jesus sent them out “two by two,”(13) and it is probable that Andrew went with Peter.(14)  Andrew took this mission seriously, preaching the gospel,(15) preaching that the hearers should repent, and confirming the message by “cast[ing] out many demons and anoint[ing] with oil many who were sick, and heal[ing] them.”(16)

Once the mission, often called the “Limited Commission,” was finished, Andrew met up with Jesus again in a deserted place near Bethsaida and gave a report of all that he had done in Jesus’ name (as did the other apostles).(17)

Late on that same day, after crowds had been following Jesus, Andrew and the apostles all asked Jesus to send them away to the cities because they didn’t have food to feed them with.  Jesus’ response was, “You give them [food] to eat.”(18)  Andrew found a young boy and brought him to Jesus, and told Him “There is a lad here who had five barley loaves and two fishes.  But what is that among so many?”  Andrew had to be amazed as Jesus blessed the food and fed five thousand people with it, especially after he went around with the other apostles gathering up the leftovers—which filled twelve baskets!(19)

-Bradley S. Cobb

(1) Matthew 4:13.

(2) Mark 1:21-28

(3) Mark 1:29-31

(4) Luke 1:3.  The word means in chronological order.

(5) Matthew and Mark place the call before those events.  There are some who argue that Jesus called them twice: once before the Sabbath in Capernaum, and again after a preaching tour of Galilee (aka, Luke’s account), however, Luke 4:43-44 may be Luke’s explanation that Jesus did indeed do what He planned on doing, but Luke 5:1 appears to be a continuation of the crowd scene from 4:42.  So, the preaching tour of Galilee may have come after the call of Peter and Andrew in Luke’s account.

(6) Luke 5:4.  It is the position of this writer, as well as McGarvey, that this is the same calling as described in Matthew and Mark, both of which place Andrew and Peter in the boat together at the time of their call.

(7) Luke 5:5.

(8) Luke has a habit of not mentioning people by name unless they are either (1) well-known to his original reader or (2) someone who will be an important player later on in his writings (including the book of Acts).  Luke only mentions Andrew by name when he is listing the apostles—which he does once in Luke 6:13-16 and once in Acts 1:13.

(9) Luke 5:10.

(10) Matthew 4:19

(11) See Mark 2 and Luke 5.  If we were to detail everything seen by Andrew, we would almost need to type out every part of the four gospel accounts.  Not only that, we would need to do it for each chapter.  As such, we will be summarizing, and only going into detail when the individuals are specifically named.

(12) Luke 5:29-32

(13) Mark 6:7

(14) In most of the listings of the apostles, Peter and Andrew are mentioned together.

(15) Luke 9:6

(16) Mark 6:12-13

(17) Luke 9:10

(18) Luke 9:12-13

(19) John 6:8-13

Satan, Man’s Adversary

[Guest-Blogger, Kyle Frank, presents another in his series on Satan and the occult.]

In the midst of this series on the occult, and its master, Satan, it would be a good idea to take a look at this opponent in the light of God’s word. So much is said from many different sources that we must always remember what scripture tells us and not take any other statements as truth unless viewed through the lens of scripture.

It is vitally important that we must always remember that he is a devoted foe to both God and to his creation-mankind. His business is our utmost misery and suffering and his goal is our death and eternal destruction.

Scripture tells us a number of things about him. It is important that we look at what scripture says and base our understanding upon that rather than myths or stories based upon what so-and-so says or thinks. Unfortunately, in our times many base their knowledge upon that and are thoroughly misled. It is very difficult to separate truth from legend, or opinion or just simply the false doctrines that seem to surround this being.

We know that he was in the garden with our forbearers, Adam and Eve. Scripture tells us that they believed his lie (“But the serpent said to the woman, You will not surely die.” Genesis 3:4) By that lie, he became a murderer, because that deception led them to sin and to die because of that sin. Jesus told the Jews: “You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies”. John 8:44. We need to remember that!

We know that he appeared with the angels before God in the Book of Job. At that time he manifested another attribute-that of “The Accuser” He accused Job of only serving God because of his “favored” status. This led to the ordeal in which Job was tried by numerous afflictions. (see the entire Book of Job) Some of his other names are: Tempter (Matt. 4:5; 1 Thes. 3:5), Beelzebub (Matt. 12:24), Enemy (Matt. 13:39); Evil One (Matt. 13:19, 38; 1 John 2:13-14; 3:12, and particularly 5:18); Belial (2 Cor. 6:15); Adversary, (1 Pet. 5:8); Deceiver (literally “the one who deceives”) (Rev. 12:9); Dragon (Great) (Rev. 12:3); Father of Lies (John 8:44); Sinner (1 John 3:8) – these are isolated references occurring from 1 to 3 times each. In the vast majority of passages (70 out of 83) either Satan or Devil is used. These numerous titles show some of the activities in which he is involved. No matter what  name or function, he is dangerous and we ought never to stray from the way which keeps us under our great Father’s protection!

Satan often is among the people just as he was among the angels in Job’s day. His business is to keep men from hearing and accepting the message of truth which leads unto salvation. That is a primary function and one in which we ought to be ever more vigilant. We are our brother’s keepers, despite the temptation to “look after ourselves.” We need to follow the example that Jesus gave when he told the disciples to pray for more laborers because the harvest is plenty and the workers are few. Besides pray, we need to be those laborers and get to work! You probably remember my “you are the only Bible some people will ever read?” To work, to work!

Satan often comes in among God’s people. He was among the Apostles when he asked to sift Peter as wheat. Luke 22:31‑32. He certainly was with Judas Iscariot, whom all remember as being “the betrayer” Luke 22:3. The devil uses his ministers to infiltrate and work inside the church. This can be seen in 2 Pet. 2:1‑2; Jude 4; Acts 20:29‑30. His ministers within the church do more damage than those who persecute the church from without. Remember, too, that they come as ministers of righteousness in sheep’s clothing, with strong deception. How many of us can look back in recent history to see some of these fruits unto destruction which have been manifested among the churches? Not only does Satan devour God’s people through false teachings, but he is also mightily at work with the enticements of the world. Notice the example of Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5:1‑5. Notice how Satan worked in this instance. Ananias and Sapphira wanted to be praised as though they had given all that their possession was worth; however, their love of money caused them to keep back part of the proceeds from their sale. The sin was severe because it was before God. They could have fooled their brethren, but not God. We must be careful not to give false impressions and cause others to think we are better than we actually are. We can be guilty of the same thing for which he has been judged and will be punished.

These are but a few of the facts in regards to the adversary of man and God-Satan. It is vital for our survival as well as our homes and families that we are aware of him and his tactics but let us not get fixated upon him and be diverted from our service to God!!

-Kyle Frank

Andrew, The Lesser-Known Son of Jonah (Part One)

Andrew’s First Journey with Jesus

The Orthodox tradition calls Andrew Protokletos, which means “first-called.”  Andrew was a Jew who lived in Capernaum,*[1] a fishing village off the coast of the Sea of Galilee, though he was a native of Bethsaida.*[2]  A fisherman by trade,*[3] whose father was named “Jonas” or “Jonah,”*[4] Andrew was also religiously-minded.  He was standing on the east coast of the Jordan River with two men, one of whom was John the Baptist (and the other was most likely the future apostle John),* [5] a short time after Jesus returned from His 40-day temptation in the wilderness.*[6]  Being a disciple of John, Andrew was determined to be pleasing to God.  So, when John pointed out that Jesus was “the Lamb of God,” Andrew and John followed Jesus.*[7]

Then Jesus turned and saw them following [Him], and says to them, “What are you seeking?”  They said to Him, “Rabbi (which is to say, being interpreted ‘Master’), where are you staying?”  He says to them, “Come and see.”  They came and saw where he was staying, and stayed with Him that day, for it was about the tenth hour.*[8]

First, Andrew went and found his brother, Simon,*[9] and told him “We’ve found the Messiah!”  He brought Simon to Jesus, and it is there that Jesus gives Simon the name “Cephas, which is by interpretation, Peter [a stone].”* [10]

Two days later, Andrew accompanied Jesus to a wedding in Cana, a town west of Capernaum.  At this wedding, Jesus miraculously turned water into wine, and as a result, Andrew’s belief in Him was confirmed.*[11]  After that, Andrew accompanied Jesus to Capernaum.  In that short period of time—not even a week—Andrew was in intimate company with men who would go on to become some of the most important men in the history of Christianity: Jesus Himself, Peter (Andrew’s brother), Philip and Nathanael (two of the apostles), James and Jude (brothers of the Lord),*[12] and possibly James and John (sons of Zebedee).*[13]

Andrew accompanied Jesus to Jerusalem for the Passover, and witnessed first-hand Jesus using a whip to drive out all the sheep and oxen from the temple, overthrowing the tables, and dumping out the money that the exchangers had gathered.  He heard Jesus tell the ones who sold doves to take those things out of His Father’s house.*[14]

It was while in Jerusalem with Jesus that Andrew saw Jesus perform miracles,*[15] and also heard the Lord utter something strange: “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”  When Jesus rose from the dead after three days, Andrew remembered this saying of Jesus, and his belief was once again strengthened.*[16]

Leaving Jerusalem, Andrew accompanied Jesus into Judea, where they stayed for a while (possibly up to seven months*[17]), baptizing people.*[18]  We aren’t given the names of the individuals who were baptized, but it is possible that this is the time in which Mary, Martha, and Lazarus became disciples of Jesus.  It is also possible that it was during this ministry that Judas Iscariot became a disciple of our Lord.  If this is the case, then it’s not out of the realm of possibility that Andrew himself is the one who baptized some of them, because Jesus didn’t do the baptizing personally.*[19]

Jesus discovered that the Pharisees had heard about His work, making and baptizing more disciples than even John was, He left Judea and went towards Galilee.  But doing that required traveling through Samaria.  Andrew walked with Jesus, and while Jesus stopped at Jacob’s well outside of Sychar because He was worn out from the journey, Andrew and the other disciples went into the city to buy some food.  Coming back to bring Jesus some food, Andrew was shocked, because Jesus was speaking with a Samaritan woman, but he kept his thoughts to himself, as did the other disciples.  After the woman got up and went into the city, Andrew and company urged Jesus to eat.*[20]   It is here that Andrew learned a valuable lesson.

[Jesus] said to them, “I have food to eat that you don’t know of.”  Therefore the disciples said to one another, “Has someone brought Him something to eat?”  Jesus said, “My food is to do the will of Him that sent me, and to finish His work.  Don’t you say ‘There are yet four months and then comes the harvest?’  Behold, I say to you, ‘Lift up your eyes and look on the fields: for they are white already to harvest.’  And he that reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit into life eternal: that both he that sows and he that reaps may rejoice together.  Herein is that saying true, ‘One sows and another reaps.’  I sent you to reap that upon which you have put no labor: other men labored, and you have entered into their labor.”

By saying this, Jesus was teaching Andrew that He had work for him to do.  He also hinted at something that would take place later—Andrew was going to be an apostle of Jesus Christ.  When Jesus said, “I sent you…” the word He used was the verb form of apostle.  He literally told Andrew, Peter, Philip, Nathanael, and probably James and John, “I apostled you.”

After a couple days in Samaria, they went back to Galilee.  It is apparently at this point that Andrew goes back to his home in Capernaum and resumes his fishing trade with Peter, James, and John.*[21]

-Bradley Cobb

[1] *Mark 1:21 places Jesus in the synagogue at Capernaum.  Verse 29 says that when He left the synagogue, he immediately went to Andrew’s house.  Verse 33 says “all the city” came to the door [of the house].  The only city mentioned in the context is Capernaum.  Jesus, in verse 38, says that He wants to go to “the next towns.”  Mark 2:1 says “He entered into Capernaum…and it was reported that He was in the house.”  The only house mentioned in the book up to this point was Andrew’s house, thus Andrew lived in Capernaum.

[2] *John 1:44 says that Andrew was “of Bethsaida.”

[3] *Mark 1:16

[4] *His brother is called “Simon, son of Jonas [or Jonah]” in John 1:42, therefore, Andrew is also the “son of Jonas [or Jonah].”  Different translations render his father’s name differently.  This name is also very similar to “John.”

[5] *John, in his gospel account, makes no mention of his own name, but refers to himself always as “the disciple” or “the disciple whom Jesus loved.”  If it is not John speaking of himself, it is strange that he would not mention the name of the other disciple who became one of the first followers of Jesus.

[6] *Matthew, Mark, and Luke are all clear that Jesus was taken to the wilderness to be tempted immediately after He was baptized.  Thus, when Jesus came to John the Immerser in John 1:29, and John spoke of what he had already seen at Jesus’ baptism, it must have been after the temptations had ended.  Thus, when Andrew first met Jesus, it was after the temptations.

[7] *This is recorded in John 1:35-37.

[8] *John 1:38-39.

[9] *There’s a bit of difficulty with the word “first” in John 1:41.  Does it mean before going with Jesus, Andrew went and found his brother?  Or does it mean that Andrew was the first of the two disciples to go find their brothers (the other being John, who would have gone and told his brother James).

[10] *John 1:41-42.

[11]* John 2:1-11, especially note verse 11.

[12]* John 1:12.

[13]* If we are correct in identifying the unnamed disciple in John 1:35-40 as John, then he almost certainly would have told his brother, and they would have been among “His disciples” who were called to the wedding (John 2:1-2).

[14] *John 2:13-17.  Verse 17 is the evidence that Andrew (as well as the rest of Jesus’ disciples up to that point) were in attendance.

[15] *John 2:23.

[16] *John 2:19-22.

[17] *McGarvey suggests that this sojourn in Judea could have lasted from April (the time of the Passover) until December, since Jesus states in the next chapter that the harvest was “four months” away.  Fourfold Gospel, page 132.

[18] *John 3:22.

[19] *John 4:2.

[20] *John 4:3-40.

[21] *For the chronology of events in the life of Andrew and the other apostles, we have leaned heavily on the outstanding work of Professor J.W. McGarvey and his chronological harmony of the gospels, The Fourfold Gospel, which he wrote with Philip Y. Pendleton.

An Introduction to “The Twelve” Apostles

The last several weeks’ worth of posts have been dedicated to looking at men who were apostles in one way or another, yet still men that the Bible never includes among “the twelve.”  “The twelve” are the men that Jesus hand-selected to be His official ambassadors to the world.  In the following chapters, we will be considering each of the individuals that the Bible includes as one of “the twelve.”  Since Paul was never numbered with this group—yet was every bit as much an apostle as they were*[1]—he will be considered in his own chapter.  There are thirteen men who were counted among “the twelve.”  They are:

  1. Simon Peter
  2. Andrew
  3. James (son of Zebedee)
  4. John (son of Zebedee)
  5. Philip
  6. Thomas (called Didymus)
  7. Matthew (son of Alphaeus)
  8. Bartholomew (also called Nathanael)
  9. James (son of Alphaeus)
  10. Simon Zelotes (the Canaanite)
  11. Judas of James (also called Thaddeus)
  12. Judas Iscariot (who betrayed Jesus)
  13. Matthias (who was chosen to replace Judas)

When you talk about “the twelve apostles” in the Bible, these are the men who spring to mind.  Each one of them was specifically chosen by Jesus Christ to be His ambassadors to the world.  The original twelve men were selected by Jesus early in His ministry.

It came to pass in those days, that He went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. And when it was day, He called to Him his disciples: and of them He chose twelve, whom also He named “apostles”; Simon (whom he also named Peter), and Andrew his brother, James and John, Philip and Bartholomew, Matthew and Thomas, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon [who was] called “Zealot,” and Judas [the son of] of James, and Judas Iscariot, which also was the traitor. (Luke 6:12-16).

But when Judas betrayed Jesus, then, being overcome with grief, killed himself, the Lord chose a replacement.  After the resurrection and ascension of Jesus, the eleven remaining apostles were gathered together with other of His disciples.  It was then, prior to the coming of the Kingdom of God on the Day of Pentecost, that the issue of replacing Judas came up.

And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples (the number of names together were about an hundred and twenty), and said “Men and brethren, this scripture must have been fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit by the mouth of David spoke before concerning Judas, who became [the] guide to them that took Jesus. For he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry.”

(Now this man purchased a field with the reward of [his] iniquity; and falling face-first, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out. And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, “Aceldama,” that is to say, “The field of blood.”)*[2]

“For it is written in the book of Psalms, ‘Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and let another take his office.’  Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection.”

And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. And they prayed, and said, “You, Lord, who knows the hearts of all men, show which of these two thou hast chosen, so that he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.”

And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles (Acts 1:16-26).

There are some who claim this is authority for a continued office of apostle in the church.*[3]  However, the basis on which Peter knew that they needed a replacement for Judas were two Old Testament prophecies regarding enemies of Jehovah’s anointed one.

Pour out Your indignation upon them, and let Your wrathful anger take hold of them. Let their habitation be desolate; and let none dwell in their tents.  For they persecute him whom You have smitten; and they talk to the grief of those whom You hast wounded. Add iniquity unto their iniquity: and do not let them come into Your righteousness.  Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous (Psalm 69:24-28).

When he shall be judged, let him be condemned: and let his prayer become sin.  Let his days be few; and let another take his office (Psalm 109:7-8).

The only way this authorizes a continued apostolic office is if each of the original apostles became evil persecutors of Christianity before their deaths.  Since that is not the case, then this argument is baseless.  Additionally, true biblical apostles were able to perform miracles, including speaking by inspiration, healing the sick, and raising the dead.  However, the Bible is pretty clear that miracles ceased within a generation of the establishment of the church. *[4]  Anyone claiming to be an apostle today does not match up with the description of a true biblical apostle—that person is a fraud.

It was some years after Pentecost that King Herod, troubling the church, captured James (the son of Zebedee) and had him beheaded.*[5]  “The twelve” were down to eleven.

Though the Bible does not record the details, the other eleven apostles were also murdered for their loyalty to Jesus Christ.*[6]  But before their deaths, these men, “the twelve,” worked for Jesus and spread the gospel to the point that it was spread to “all the world.”*[7]

Jesus chose ordinary men as His kingdom subjects—fishermen and the like—rather than rabbis, Pharisees, scribes, and Sadducees.  He needed men who were not bound by the traditions of the ages and the prejudices of the people, men who were thoughtful but teachable.  He knew the frailties of these men, but He knew their possibilities as leaders of the people.*[8]

[1] *2 Corinthians 11:5

[2] *This section (verses 18-19) was not spoken by Peter, but was inserted by Luke.  In Luke’s gospel account, he never mentioned anything about the death of Judas, so it would make sense for him to include it for Theophilus at this point.  Also, consider that it says “their proper tongue,” showing that the one who spoke/penned these words was not a Jew.  Had it been Peter saying this, he would have said “in our proper tongue” and wouldn’t have needed to explain the meaning.

[3] *The Mormon Church (the so-called “Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints”) has men that they call their “twelve apostles” even today.

[4] *Apostles could also pass miraculous abilities on to others (see Acts 8, 19, and others).  For an extended treatment of the ceasing of miracles, see the author’s book, The Holy Spirit in the Book of Acts, especially the Appendix on the end of miracles.

[5] *Acts 12:1-2.

[6] *Some may argue against this statement, asserting that John died a natural death.  However, if John died a natural death, then Jesus was mistaken when He told both James and John that they would both “drink of the cup” that He was about to drink—being murdered (Mark 10:35-39).  Since such a conclusion is unacceptable, we can know for certain that John was murdered as well for his loyalty to Jesus.

[7] *Colossians 1:5-6, 23; see also Matthew 24:14.

[8] *Roland Q. Leavell, Studies in Matthew: The King and the Kingdom. (Nashville: Convention Press, 1962). Page 32. [Pronoun capitalization added]