1. A comprehensive video webinar on how the Bible originated as Hebrew and Greek documents and the path it took to become the most popular book in the English language. This video examines various historical manuscripts and translations. This webinar was originally prepared for presentation at Yale University in Connecticut and Hampton University in Virginia.

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  2. Previous study: versebyversebibleteaching.com/?p=288

    This is part two of our multi week study of Mystery Babylon, where we will be going verse by verse through Revelation chapter 17-18If you have not seen part one yet I highly recommend watching or listening to this study in chronological order as each one will build upon the other. There should be a link wherever you found this video or podcast to the previous study in the notes that accompany it.

    Rev 17:4 And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication:

    Ok this is a loaded verse and there is a lot to cover, so let’s get started.

    Arrayed in purple and scarlet colour: This particular phrase purple and scarlet occurs 29 times in the Old Testament, the entire old testament phrase is usually “blue purple scarlet and fine twisted linen” so here we have a notable lack of blue which is usually included, which we will talk about later.

    An example of its usage is in Exodus 26:1

    Moreover thou shalt make the tabernacle with ten curtains of fine twined linen, and blue, and purple, and scarlet: with cherubims of cunning work shalt thou make them. - Exo 26:1

    These curtains of the temple were by no means the only things that were suppose to consist of blue purple and scarlet and fine linen, the same phrase was used in relation to the following items:
    The Curtains of the tabernacle:
    The veil of the temple
    The hanging for the door of the tent with lampstands
    The hanging for the gate of the court
    Certain offerings
    Cloths of service
    The Girdle of the high priest
    The ephod of the high priest
    The breastplate of the high priest
    The stitched pomegranates on the high priests garments

    Almost everything that was cloth in the service of the temple was to be made out of these colors.

    But what will be of particular interest to us as we progress is the relationship of the clothes of MB to the clothes of the high priest.

    Notice though there is a difference between what was said of the clothing of mystery Babylon:

    “And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, “

    And the clothing of the high priest and the various items associated with temple worship.

    “Blue, purple, scarlet and fine twined linen”

    At first it would seem that fine linen is not mentioned in relationship to Mystery Babylon, but in a later verse it actually does mention that fine linen is included as well.

    And saying, Alas, alas, that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls! - Rev 18:16

    So the only difference between the clothing of mystery Babylon and the clothing of the high priest is the color blue. This could be due to the significance that the bible put on the color blue in relation to its symbolism of being in a right standing with God and his commandments:

    Speak unto the children of Israel, and bid them that they make them fringes in the borders of their garments throughout their generations, and that they put upon the fringe of the borders a ribband of blue: And it shall be unto you for a fringe, that ye may look upon it, and remember all the commandments of the LORD, and do them; and that ye seek not after your own heart and your own eyes, after which ye use to go a whoring: That ye may remember, and do all my commandments, and be holy unto your God. - Num 15:38-40

    The ark of the covenant in the Tabernacle was also covered with blue cloth (Numbers 4:5-7; 11-13). The robe of the High Priest was also blue.

    I am suggesting that MB is wearing the clothing of a harlot high priest that is promoting the worship, not of the true god in temple service, but of the antichrist who also will make use of the temple.

    This interpretation is greatly strengthened when we get to the next verse, about the name on the woman’s forehead and we will see the connection to the high priest and the name that was on his forehead. But for now let’s continue on with the present verse.

    Decked with gold and precious stones and pearls:

    Decked is really the key word here. It is different than the word “arrayed,” “Decked “has more to do with jewels , one definition says that it means: “To bring an ornament upon”

    Decked is not a very common word in the Old Testament, in fact only used 10 times.

    The overall picture of its use in the Old Testament is God saying that He decked Jerusalem with precious jewels when she was in her youth, but as she began to commit adultery, by the worship of pagan gods, she then begins to deck herself in a different manner. For example here in the first part of Ezekiel 16 we see how God decked her in her proverbial youth:

    I decked thee also with ornaments, and I put bracelets upon thy hands, and a chain on thy neck. And I put a jewel on thy forehead, and earrings in thine ears, and a beautiful crown upon thine head. Thus wast thou decked with gold and silver; and thy raiment was of fine linen, and silk, and broidered work; thou didst eat fine flour, and honey, and oil: and thou wast exceeding beautiful, and thou didst prosper into a kingdom. And thy renown went forth among the heathen for thy beauty: for it was perfect through my comeliness, which I had put upon thee, saith the Lord GOD. But thou didst trust in thine own beauty, and playedst the harlot because of thy renown, and pouredst out thy fornications on every one that passed by; his it was. - Eze 16:11-15

    Then later, when Jerusalem becomes a prostitute, she decks herself a different way:

    Thou hast also taken thy fair jewels of my gold and of my silver, which I had given thee, and madest to thyself images of men, and didst commit whoredom with them, And tookest thy broidered garments, and coveredst them: and thou hast set mine oil and mine incense before them. Eze 16:17-18

    We see another example of this in Ezekiel 23:40

    And furthermore, that ye have sent for men to come from far, unto whom a messenger was sent; and, lo, they came: for whom thou didst wash thyself, paintedst thy eyes, and deckedst thyself with ornaments - Eze 23:40

    And Hosea 2:13

    And I will visit upon her the days of Baalim, wherein she burned incense to them, and she decked herself with her earrings and her jewels, and she went after her lovers, and forgat me, saith the LORD. - Hos 2:13

    But one of the most provocative uses of the word “decked” in relation to our verse in Revelation 17:4 is found in Jer 4:29-30 where speaking of the city of Jerusalem it says:

    The whole city shall flee for the noise of the horsemen and bowmen; they shall go into thickets, and climb up upon the rocks: every city shall be forsaken, and not a man dwell therein. And when thou art spoiled, what wilt thou do? Though thou clothest thyself with crimson, though thou deckest thee with ornaments of gold, though thou rentest thy face with painting, in vain shalt thou make thyself fair; thy lovers will despise thee, they will seek thy life. - Jer 4:29-30

    The connections to Mystery Babylon here should be quite obvious, it is also interesting to note that her lover will despise her and take her life. And if you remember from last week, that is exactly what the beast that Mystery Babylon rides, which she calls her king and her husband, will do, he will despise her and turn on her and kill her.
    One interesting thing is the mention of pearls in this verse. I found this reference somewhat curious as there is only one mention of Pearls in the OT, in fact only 8 references in the entire bible, and half of those are in the book of Revelation. Three of the other references are using pearls as an example of something valuable, like “the pearl of great price” or “don’t throw your pearls before swine.” The only pearl reference that is left is also one that I think is applicable to this verse. it is found in 1 Timothy 2:9:

    In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; - 1Ti 2:9

    Here being decked with pearls is used as the opposite of modest clothing, That would seem to fit the description of the Mystery Babylon, but there may be other significance to it that I am not aware.

    having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication:

    The only other time this phrase “golden cup” appears in the bible that I know of is in Jer 51:7 where Im sure it is not a coincidence that the entire chapter is talking about the actual fall of Babylon the city, which I believe is a prefiguration of mystery Babylon’s fall. Many parallels can be seen between these two chapters if you read them carefully, this phrase golden cup is certainly one of them. The verse reads:

    Babylon hath been a golden cup in the LORD'S hand, that made all the earth drunken: the nations have drunken of her wine; therefore the nations are mad. - Jer 51:7

    Notice here also that the nations are drunk with the wine in the cup, it makes them mad, this is a direct parallel to Revelation 17:2 which says:

    With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication. - Rev 17:2

    It is often missed ,and I think very important ,that what is in the cup is her own sin, her own idolatry and the nations are made drunk by it.

    I think that Revelation 18:3 gives us more detail on this:

    For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies. - Rev 18:3

    This phrase “wine of the wrath of her fornication “ as the KJV has it is kind of an odd way to put it, I mean , does fornication even have wrath? The ESV I think captures the sense of this verse when it says:

    (ESV) For all nations have drunk the wine of the passion of her [fornication]

    What I’m suggesting here is that she is so passionately promoting the antichrist as her messiah, as her god, that it entices the world to join her in her fornication, they also commit this abomination themselves, but it is because of her own fierce promotion of this idolatry that the world joins her in this sin of worship of the antichrist. It is also in this sense that she fulfills the role of a idolatrous high priest.

    Rev 18:4 expands on this idea that her own sin is causing others to sin:

    And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. - Rev 18:4

    Rev 17:5 And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.

    The first thing I want to focus in on is this phrase upon her forehead: There are two notable things about foreheads in the Old Testament that are going to be important: The first is in relation to the high priests uniform. In Exodus 28 it is discussing the headband of the high priest, and it says:

    And thou shalt make a plate of pure gold, and grave upon it, like the engravings of a signet, HOLINESS TO THE LORD. And thou shalt put it on a blue lace, that it may be upon the mitre; upon the forefront of the mitre it shall be. And it shall be upon Aaron's forehead, that Aaron may bear the iniquity of the holy things, which the children of Israel shall hallow in all their holy gifts; and it shall be always upon his forehead, that they may be accepted before the LORD. - Exo 28:36-38

    This is a very interesting bit of information considering the connection to the high priests garments we have already seen.

    The High Priest had a gold plate that covered his forehead with the words Holiness to the Lord engraved on it.

    This is compared with Mystery Babylon, the harlot high priest, who has on her forehead the words:

    MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS

    This brings us to the another usage of foreheads in the OT, which I think is also at play here:

    Jer 3:3 Therefore the showers have been withholden, and there hath been no latter rain; and thou hadst a whore's forehead, thou refusedst to be ashamed.

    There is a refusal to be ashamed of her idolatry here, which is exemplified in Mystery Babylon by the proud boasting of her abominations written on her forehead.

    This should not be understood ,I don’t think, as her knowing that she is worshipping and promoting the antichrist, because she does say that she is not a widow, and she says she sits as a queen. I think it just means that her promotion of the Antichrist as Messiah will be very bold and out in the open, as the verse of the ESV said “the passion of her [fornication]” is what will intoxicate the masses.

    MYSTERY

    Notice the comma in the king James, as in: “Mystery, Babylon” the name is not a proper name Mystery Babylon, as I have been using it, and probably will continue to use it, but rather the mystery here is signifying that there is something secret about the name Babylon the great. other translations reflect this a little better I think:

    For instance

    (The Geneva Bible) And in her forehead was a name written, A mysterie, that great Babylon, that mother of whoredomes, and abominations of the earth.

    (ESV) And on her forehead was written a name of mystery: "Babylon the great, mother of prostitutes and of earth's abominations."

    (ISV) On her forehead was written a secret name: BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF PROSTITUTES AND DETESTABLE THINGS OF THE EARTH

    The word in Greek “Mystery” is:

    mustērion’ It means: a secret or “mystery” (through the idea of silence imposed by initiation into religious rites, in other words it’s a secret that can be discovered.

    This alone is a strong argument against her being the literal city Babylon that fact that the name Babylon is a mystery.

    This idea of giving cites spiritual names that depend on the type of characteristics they exhibit or have exhibited is demonstrated earlier in the book of Revelation when it calls Jerusalem by two "spiritual" names, it says, speaking of the two witnesses:

    And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. - Rev 11:8

    later on we will look more in depth at this verse, but now I only want to call your attention to some of the other spiritual names given to Jerusalem here. They are Sodom and Egypt, both cities known inter-biblically for their various sins and when Jerusalem acts like one of these notorious cites The bible calls them by that name.

    The next word in this title is BABYLON

    Is there any indication in scripture of Jerusalem being called Babylon?

    I think we see this exact thing in 1 Peter 5:12-13:

    By Silvanus, our faithful brother as I consider him, I have written to you briefly, exhorting and testifying that this is the true grace of God in which you stand. She who is in Babylon, elect together with you, greets you; and so does Mark my son. - 1Pe 5:12-13

    In addition to Jerusalem this verse is also argued as referencing Rome as well as to the literal city of Babylon.

    It should be noted that there are strong religious motives for making Peter be referencing Rome here.

    The catholic church literally needs Peter to have been the first bishop of Rome. This is part of one of the most important of all catholic doctrine, The entire concept of the papacy relies on this historical claim of Peter being in rome and serving as its bishop, therby being the first pope. and because of the lack of any biblical evidence for Peter even visiting Rome, and therefore lack biblical support for the papacy, this verse has been used to support the idea That Peter did go to Rome, and that he called it Babylon.

    A smaller minority argue that Peter actually was in the literal city of Babylon, which was described by Pliny and Josephus as a “wilderness” even by Peter’s time. And According to Josephus, all Jews had been expelled from the country of Babylonia.

    Those that argue for the literal Babylon here would say that there was a very small remnant of people still there and that Peter must have taken a missions trip there.

    The case for Peter being in Jerusalem, and thereby referring to Jerusalem as Babylon here is much stronger, and is the only argument with any biblical support.

    1 - Peter's residence can firmly be established as him living in Jerusalem:
    1a - After the great persecution the church was scattered, but the apostles (i.e. Peter) stayed in Jerusalem (Acts 8:1).
    1b - When Philip preached in Samaria, the apostles at Jerusalem sent Peter and John to them. Thus Peter must have been living there (Acts 8:14).
    1c - When Herod Agrippa imprisoned Peter, he was in Jerusalem (Acts 12:1-4).
    1d - Three years after his conversion, Paul goes to Jerusalem to see Peter and even abides with him there. Therefore, Peter must have lived there (Galatians 1:18).
    1e - Fourteen years after his conversion, Paul again returns to Jerusalem with Barnabas and Titus. Peter is there again and even named as a "pillar" in the church at Jerusalem (Galatians 2:1, 9).
    1f - Paul tells us that Peter was intimidated by "Jews from James (i.e. Jerusalem)". Surely this would be because Peter's residence was there and he had to live with these people (Galatians 2:11,12).
    1g - In the scripture in question (1 Peter 5:13), who is Marcus? If it is a reference to John Mark then we presumably know that his original residence was in Jerusalem in the house of his mother. So if Marcus is John Mark, then the "church" would also be at Jerusalem (Acts 12:12).
    Peter did some evangelical traveling with his wife as is stated by Paul in 1 Corinthians 9:5 and therefore could have visited Babylon, but where he visited is left to our imaginations.

    On this phrase THE GREAT

    The bible commentator Adam Clark said:

    “This woman is also called Babylon the Great; she is the exact antitype of the ancient Babylon in her idolatry and cruelty, but the ancient city called Babylon is only a drawing of her in miniature. This is indeed Babylon The Great. “ - Clark

    MOTHER OF HARLOTS

    We have already discussed the lack of the word all here, as in the “mother of all harlots”, some try to make this phrase more than the text makes of it. This city is the mother of harlots, that is that it has inhabitants that are harlots.

    This is one of the most consistent idioms in scripture, that cites have children, which are often referred to as daughters or children.

    One example we have already seen in the previous study: Was with Jesus when, on the road to be crucified says this:

    But Jesus turning unto them said, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children. For, behold, the days are coming, in the which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the paps which never gave suck. Luk 23:28-29

    In Isaiah 4:4 when speaking of the institution of the millennial kingdom

    It says this:

    When the Lord has washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and purged the blood of Jerusalem from her midst, by the spirit of judgment and by the spirit of burning. - Isa 4:4

    A side note here is that this purging of Jerusalem in the context of Isaiah 4 happens just before the millennial reign, exactly the place that Mystery Babylon is judged in Rev 16-19, this is strong support for an eschatological double fulfillment of the judgments of Jerusalem.

    Yet another example of the inhabitants of a city being referred to as children of that city can be found in another appropriate verse which we looked at last week.

    "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! See! Your house is left to you desolate; - Mat 23:37-38

    Of this phrase: ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.

    We see more parallels to Jerusalem here in Jeremiah 6 where it says:

    Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? No! They were not at all ashamed; Nor did they know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among those who fall; At the time I punish them, They shall be cast down," says the LORD. - Jer 6:15

    Abominations are used pretty consistently in scripture as things which are absolutely detestable to the LORD, but especially that of grievous idolatry and false worship. Of note here is the so called “Abomination of Desolation” spoken of by Daniel, Jesus, and Paul when the Antichrist declares himself to be God in the temple. This would be the ultimate abomination, one that will ultimately involve the entire world.

    Rev 17:6 And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.

    This verse is one that is often used to prove that the woman is Rome, Islam, or even an allegorical pagan system from time immemorial.

    This verse is simply talking about persecution; the woman here kills a lot of Christians. The commentators always try to prove that there version of Mystery Babylon has killed more than the other candidates of mystery Babylon, and I suppose whoever quotes the highest number , accurate or not wins.

    I suppose I too will join in this game, but unlike them, I have explicit biblical support that the worst persecution of all time will have its epicenter in Jerusalem.

    Speaking of the abomination of desolation which will occur at the temple mount in Jerusalem Jesus says in Matthew 24:

    When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened. - Mat 24:15-22

    So this killing will be so bad that if its days were not cut short, then none of the elect would even survive! Jesus also says that this will be more severe than any before it or any after it.

    Even if you believe that Matthew 24 is for the Jews, We know the people here are Christians because of the earlier point Jesus makes in verse 9:

    “Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake. Mat 24:9“

    In any case, it is the worst religious genocide of all time, and its epicenter is the city of Jerusalem.

    The very fact that the Lord is emphasizing the importance of fleeing quickly when they see the abomination of desolation here is proof that there will be many in Jerusalem that will not consider the Anti-Christ’s seating himself in the temple, and declaring himself to be God, an abomination at all! In fact, just the opposite, they apparently begin to carry out the antichrist’s orders to kill Christians at this point. This killing may indeed spread to the entire world from here, but the fact that its epicenter is the city of Jerusalem is one of the most attested to prophetic events in the bible.

    Rev 17:6 And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.

    It is not clear here whether John means two separate groups of people when he says: blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus:

    We do know that in addition to Christians, prophets are twice added to this list of those that she kills:

    And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth. - Rev 18:24

    It is also notable that the two witnesses, who are called prophets in Rev 11, Are said to be killed in the city of Jerusalem:

    And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. - Rev 11:8

    The city where our lord was crucified is unambiguously Jerusalem.

    And we will stop here at verse 6. If you would like to see the whole series you can go to versebyversebibleteaching.com or click the links in the description section for more of the videos in this series.

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  3. (The image used as the backdrop of this movie is a photograph of one of the many Aramaic papyri discovered in Elephantine, the first nome of Upper Egypt, where there was a large Jewish settlement and a temple of Yahweh.)

    _______________________________

    Egypt : 6th century BCE : the women of the Hebrew settlements in Egypt are confronted by the exiled scribe & prophet Jeremiah

    (Jeremiah 44:16 - 44:19) :

    As for the word that thou hast spoken unto us
    in the Name of Yahweh
    we will not hearken unto thee

    instead we shall remain faithful
    to every promised word
    that ever flowed from our mouth
    to burn incense
    unto the Queen of Heaven
    and to pour out libations unto Her

    as we have always done
    we, and our ancestors.
    our kings, and our princes
    in the cities of Judah
    and in the streets of Jerusalem

    for then we had food enough
    and we did well
    and evil was not seen

    but since we have neglected
    to burn incense
    unto the Queen of Heaven
    and to pour out libations unto Her
    we have wanted for everything

    by the sword
    by the famine
    we are consumed

    and when we burned incense
    unto the Queen of Heaven
    and poured out libations unto Her
    did we bake crescent cakes to offer Her
    and did we pour out libations unto Her
    without our men?

    ____________________

    As in many ancient and indigenous traditions, the Great Goddess is invoked by Her titles and epithets.

    Malkuth haShamiyim - in English "the Queen of Heaven" - in Vulgate Latin "Reginae Caeli" - grew to become one of the best loved of the divine epithets that exists in the liturgy and rituals of the Catholic Madonna.

    The same tradition holds true of the Panaghia of the Eastern Church.

    She is addressed as Basileia, Basilissa, Anassa and Despoina - primal names of royal power that reach back to the dawn of the Minoan/Mycenaean civilisation.

    This multi-layered meaning is present in many languages and on the surface may simply represent a linguistic abstraction arising from the gender of the noun.

    Yet it may spring from far deeper tap-roots and transmit some memory of matrilocal marriage in which a king is raised to power by right of marriage to an heiress of the ruling lineage : the personification of the right to rule.

    The encoded phrase in early tongues may be seen to cloak a subliminal message, a cyphered thread.

    One that holds profound Elysian significance for those who still have eyes to see and ears to hear ...

    For the original words of the title of Malkuth haShamiyim : the Queen of Heaven were strategically reinterpreted to mean "Kingdom of Heaven".

    They enter into orthodox scripture in that very form ... and the Goddess is once again lost in translation.

    The Greek version of this phrase that appears in the New Testament gospels is : he Basileia ton Ouranon.

    Basileia is an ancient Greek word which meant both "queen" and "royal woman" and may also denote "sovereignty" and "royal domain".

    That this profound phrase should flow with the imagery of paradise itself speaks volumes ...

    ______________________________________

    Malkuth haShamayim
    __________________

    The setting is Egypt in the 6th century BCE. Jerusalem has fallen for the first time, its Temple has been destroyed and the Babylonian Exile has begin.

    Jeremiah, the scribe and prophet flees to Egypt - where, contrary to modern portrayals - the Jewish people have always found safety in time of danger - and discovers that the older form of the Hebrew religion is still being practised there - beyond the centralised control of the Kings of Judah.

    In the Temple of Yahweh (Yaho) in Elephantine, the first nome of Upper Egypt, the Hebrew God is worshipped with Anath-Bethel (also named as Anath-Iahu) and with Ashima-Bethel.

    We know this from the papyri which survives which contains the records of the offerings.

    An image of one of these papyri is used as the backdrop of this movie.

    The was also a Yahweh temple at Hamath in Syria which the Hebrew God shared with Ashima-Bethel.

    Asherah, Anath/Astarte and Ashima seem to have formed a triad of ancient aspects of the indigenous pre-monotheistic Hebrew Goddess - each of whom was also worshipped in conjunction with Yahweh at one time.

    When at the end of the 7th century BCE, King Josiah decided to consolidate his grip on power and managed for a short time to unite "Church and State" in one person - he outlawed all the shrines and sanctuaries of Yahweh outside of the Temple of Jerusalem in an attempt to exert overall control.

    New scrolls were presented to the people as the writings of Moses which preached a far harder line and anachronistically provided a justification for the primacy of Jerusalem, (which had only become part of Hebrew territory under David, the second of the kings to reign after the creation of the monarchy).

    From that time onward the subsidiary temples in other parts of Judah and in other lands found it difficult to survive but within the lifetime of Jeremiah the reforms of Josiah would further divide the people and open up the land to invading armies.

    This account in the Book of Jeremiah is one of the few accounts in which the people are allowed to defend their ancient traditions in the face of the usual fundamentalist threats. Over centuries the ancient traditions of the Queen of Heaven were gradually re-shaped so that they could become incorporated into orthodox doctrines and eventually emerged in the form of the Shekinah and the Matronit.

    A very similar process in Christian history happened in the case of the Madonna of the Roman Church and the Panaghia of the Eastern Orthodox Church.

    ___________________

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  4. I Will Build My Church

    Dr. Buz McNutt April 18, 2010

    After affirming His identity as "the Christ, the Son of the living God," Jesus blessed Peter and then clarified his identity and function. The Lord said, [you have told me who I am, now] "I tell you," probably showing the emphasis of the declaration-"you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church . . ." ( lit. you are petros, and on this petra v 18). Much has been written on the variation of the two renderings. Without pursuing all the possibilities I will mention two. First, Jesus could be using a simple play on words, petros to petra. In other words, your name is Peter (rock) and on this petra (stone). The questions raised are many. If Jesus intended to build His church on Peter then why didn't He use the same form of the word? Why use a word that appears to be inappropriate-building a church on a stone? Does petra refer to Peter? Some believe that it is does not refer to Peter, but to the truth that He, Jesus is indeed what Peter said. This position gains strength when one realizes that petra is the feminine use of the word petros and that the word for truth alatheia is also feminine. Then the rock upon which Jesus is building His church is not Peter, but the rock of truth that what Peter said namely, "You are the Christ . . ." While somewhat intriguing, I find this a bit of a stretch and so turn to the second possibility. During the First Century, Aramaic was the language of the day. We know that Jesus spoke this ancient language. In Aramaic kepa (transliterated, Cephas) was used for both a name and for a rock. In other words, the Aramaic retains the play on words much more neatly than the Greek. This, however, would mean that Jesus is referring to Peter. Our aversion for this position flows from the Roman Catholic (RC) position of the early and medieval church rather than a conflict with Scripture. If Jesus was saying that He would build the church upon Peter, what did He mean? Did He mean it in the way that the RC church has taken it? Not at all, Carson writes, "None of this requires that conservative Roman Catholic views be endorsed" (Matthew in Expositor's Bible Commentary, p. 368). The idea that this begins the Apostolic Succession in an RC sense creates a number of problems, not the least of which is why the Apostle John, who survived Peter would be left out of that kind of plan. (For more on this topic see John Armstrong, A View of Rome, Moody, 1995.) The point is, Peter was the first to make this confession and though he would make other mistakes (at Antioch, Gal 2:11-14), his teaching, along with the other Apostles, would be used by God to create the foundation for the church whose Cornerstone is Christ (Eph 2:20).

    Though Peter's confession marks a turning point, moreover a beginning, Jesus clearly proclaims, "I will build My church." The first three words of this declaration is one word in Greek, oikodomeso (future, active, indicative, first person singular). Jesus stresses the genitive of possession by placing the word "my" in the emphatic position before the noun it modifies, in this case "church." It is the normal or simple position in English, but the emphatic in Greek. While common, it should be noted that the word "church" has an untranslated definite article in front of it. The word for "church" is ekklesia (lit. "called out") and it appears here and in Mt 18:17, but nowhere else in the gospels. This building project will be so strong and secure that even Hades, the headquarters of death cannot over-power it (v 18).

    In verse 19, Jesus says He will give Peter the "keys" of the kingdom. One who possesses the keys is the one who controls who enters and who exits. It should be remembered however, that this authority is tied to the confession. In other words, by proclaiming who Jesus is Peter and all who follow will be agents of reconciliation in the hands of the Lord to open the doors of the kingdom to all who believe and consequently, shut them to all who do not (cf. 2 Cor 2:14-17; 4:1-6). The interpretation of the "binding and loosing" is also quite controversial and beyond the scope of this exposition. However, Mt 18:15-20 describes the churches authority to permit or restrict the conduct of believers according to the Word of God, knowing that it is in harmony with the will of our Father who is in heaven. John MacArthur writes,

    ". . . when you pursue the matter of discipline, you should do so, knowing you have the right to permit certain things and the right to forbid certain things because if they have been revealed as such in the Bible, Heaven has already done it, anyway, and you are only acting in accord with heaven. So, that the limit on that is the limit of the authority of the Word of God."

    Peter's confession and the Lord's response was not to be public knowledge at this point in His ministry and therefore "He strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that He was the Christ" (v. 20).

    As we exegete Jesus' response to Peter we can highlight Five Factors of Christ's Building Project:

    1. "I" ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    2. "will" ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    3. "build" ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    4. "My" ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    5. "church" ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    How shall He build His church? John Owen, the Puritan theologian writes,

    Immediately after this declaration of our Saviour's purpose to build his church on the rock, he reveals unto his disciples the way and manner how he would lay its foundation, viz., in his death and sufferings: verse 21.

    Subsequently, Peter demonstrates himself to be more like "a reed shaken with the wind" (Owen, i. 33) than a rock, to which Jesus reveals the part that all true believers will play in His building project.

    "If anyone would come after me; let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find" (Mt 16:24,25).

    For More On:

    Binding and loosing see, John MacArthur "How To Meet the Enemy"

    Peter's Confession see, D.A. Carson, "Matthew" in the Expositor's Bible Commentary series.

    The Bible used from the pulpit is the English Standard Version and it is published by Crossway.

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  5. Visit with seasoned saints and it doesn’t take long for someone to ask the question “what is wrong with this world?” Especially when the conversation turns to gay marriage, immorality of politicians or athletes or movie stars or teenagers or anyone for that matter. God has given us the answer to “what is wrong with this world?”. It is found in Romans 1:18-32. Basically the world is thinking upside down, and our attitude toward God is the determining factor! God has let us peek into the way He works when we react to Him the way we do. The bottom line is that our spiritual, emotional and mental health depend upon a right relationship to Him. Anything less will result in thinking and living that is “upside down” as far as God is concerned.
    FOUNDATION of WORTHWHILE LIVING
    “Listen, Israel: Yahweh is our God; Yahweh is One. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Deuteronomy 6:4-6 (HCSB)
    Both God and the Jews consider this foundational truth for living a a life that is worthwhile. Jehovah God must be honored with all or our life, beginning with His place in our heart. Romans 1:18-23 paints the big picture of what happens when we do not properly honor God, fail to see Him at work in our lives (thank Him) and exalt ourselves over Him (vain thinking). Their foolish hearts become darkened and they become fools-’moraino’-worthless and good for nothing to God!
    The God we worship depends upon our heart, and what we hold dear in our heart. From our heart proceeds reverence or dishonor. That feeds our emotional soul and results in a thankful attitude. An irreverent heart results in resentment and bitterness in our emotional being. Our emotional soul feds our mind and either empowers us to set our minds upon God or upon ourselves. If we set our minds on ourselves we will worship a god of our own making.
    You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Isa 26:3
    But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” Matthew 16:23
    Furthermore, if we chose to worship God in only one or even two of these areas of our life, wrong worship will be the result:
    If we honor God in our heart alone and neglect our emotions and thinking, we will love ANY god.
    If we honor God with our emotions yet withhold our heart and our mind, we will be emotional about EVERY god.
    If we set our mind on God without giving Him our heart and our emotions, we will make our OWN god.
    PARADIDOMAI AND EVIL SHADOWS
    Because men would not glorify God, would not make God part of their life by remembering to thank Him, and then ignored Him by becoming vain in their thinking, Creator God “gives them up” to the consequences of their unbelief – the control of sin.
    “Gave up” is paradidōmi: “to give into the hands of another, to give over into one’s power or use.” Since men chose to give up God and worship the creature, God issues not only a permissive sentence, but a judicial one, whereby men discover that failure to worship God and seek after him leads to enslavement to the most hideous things, things which they thought were worth worshipping.
    Remember the Movie “GHOST”?
    “Paradidomi” pictures a man being delivered to prison to be subject to the power and authority of a wicked warden. If you are a fan of “Ghost” picture the scene toward the end where the evil “shadow spirits” come and take Carl Bruner (the villain) away to eternal torment. We are all applauding to know such a horrible man finally gets what he deserves.
    Wuest points out that this “giving up” was first begun by man. “These people had already willfully deserted God who merely left them to their own self-determination and self-destruction, part of the price of man’s moral freedom.”
    The sad truth is that any man who rejects God as God, and fails to worship His Glory, is subject to the same fate. Not just “murderers” like the character Carl Bruner. God says that any man who fails to honor and worship Him in their heart is a worthless “MORON!” Actually the word is ‘moraino’, but the same meaning is implied. Most translations use the word “FOOL.”
    I COULD USE THE WORD “FOOL”, BUT I LIKE USING MORON.
    God wants us to have a vivid picture of what happens when we neglect Him or deliberately fail to Worship Him. He gives us Three Pictures of the Downward Descent of Mankind when they forget God and go their own way. The evil shadow spirits are allowed to dominate and control MORONS.
    Three times Romans 1 records that God “paradidomi” man. Three times God gives man up to the control of sin. Each time the consequences are frightening. The shocking image of the “evil shadows” of “Ghost” are nothing compared to the images we will paint this morning.
    Perhaps it is unfair of me to call your sister or your brother a moron. There is nothing personal about this at all, it is simply using a graphic “English” word for “moraino”, which is what people become when they “exchange the glory of the incorruptible God for … anything else. (Rom 1:22-23)
    What Does God Deliver Morons to Be Tormented By?
    GOD DELIVERS MORONS UP THREE TIMES TO THREE EVIL SHADOWS
    But we are without excuse. These “evil shadows” are not outside of man, blending in with all the shadows of dark and light. These ‘evil shadows’ lurk within the wicked heart of every man. We can never say “the devil made me do it!”, for we make decisions that allow these ‘evil shadows’ to take our heart, and then all sorts of wickedness begins.
    The First Place These Shadows Rule Will Always Be Your Heart!
    The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. Genesis 6:5 (ESV)
    Transgression speaks to the wicked deep in his heart; there is no fear of God before his eyes. Psalms 36:1 (ESV)
    But this people has a stubborn and rebellious heart; they have turned aside and gone away. They do not say in their hearts, ‘Let us fear the Lord our God, who gives the rain in its season, the autumn rain and the spring rain, and keeps for us the weeks appointed for the harvest.’ Your iniquities have turned these away, and your sins have kept good from you. Jeremiah 5:23-25 (ESV)
    “But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person. But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone.” Matthew 15:18-20 (ESV)
    “the land of gloom (is) like thick darkness, like deep shadow without any order, where (even) light is as thick darkness.” Job 10:22 (ESV)
    These Evil Shadows lurk DEEP inside the heart of man, and when unrestrained and allowed to control us, procede to corrupt our emotional health and then our mental health.
    God’s ways are above ours, and usually just opposite of what we would think. We think that as mankind becomes more enlightened, more educated, the more civilized we will become. We believe it is the enlightened mind that guides society. Therefore we place great emphasis on education and training our minds. We believe if you think right you will act right.
    GOD ALWAYS STARTS IN OUR HEART
    The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds, there is none who does good. The Lord looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. Psalms 14:1-2 (ESV) and also Psalms 53
    But now your kingdom shall not continue. The Lord has sought out a man after his own heart, and the Lord has commanded him to be prince over his people, because you have not kept what the Lord commanded you.” 1 Samuel 13:14
    Our heart has a brain of its own, one that is not educated by thought but is educated by what we say, see, touch and do. The heart influences our thoughts, our actions, our health, and our influence upon others. God knows that faith begins in your heart. If you believe in your heart…Romans doesn’t address the mind until chapter 12. God deals with the sin that is our heart nature. God desires to be worshipped in spirit and in truth. The world will tell you that God doesn’t make sense to a rational thinking man, but your heart will tell you otherwise. You mind will tell you that what happens in your life is all happenstance, that God doesn’t care or have control, so it is fruitless to give Him thanks. But your heart rejoices in Him anyway and gives Him thanks. Your mind can’t make sense of pain and tragedy, but all of a sudden your heart will burst forth with joy in the midst of sorrow. God tells us in Prov 23:26, my son, give me your heart! When we refuse to be converted to His way and His truth, our heart is easily taken over by our sin nature, by the lusts that lurk in every corner of our heart, in every corner of the world.
    A heart that believes and trusts in God and His Word can escape the corruption that is in the world through lust.
    For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. 2 Peter 1:4 (NASB)
    THE FIRST GIVING OVER RESULTS IN:
    I. Uncleanness, Impurity, and Filthiness
    Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. Romans 1:24-25 (ESV)
    Neither English word conveys what first century people would think when they heard the Greek word akatharsia.
    akatharsia from a = without + kathairo = cleanse) literally describes any substance that is filthy or dirty and could refer to the pus around an open, infected wound or even a decaying corpse.
    Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which on the outside appear beautiful, but inside they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness (akatharsia). (Mt 23:27)
    Akatharsia describes a filthiness of heart that makes the person defiled.
    Other Verses:
    Romans 6:19 “I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh, for as you presented your members as servants to uncleanness and to wickedness upon wickedness, even so now present your members as servants to righteousness for sanctification.”
    2 Corinthians 12:21 “that again when I come my God would humble me before you, and I would mourn for many of those who have sinned before now, and not repented of the uncleanness and sexual immorality and lustfulness which they committed.”
    Galatians 5:19 “Now the works of the flesh are obvious, which are: adultery, sexual immorality, uncleanness, lustfulness”
    Ephesians 5:3 “But sexual immorality, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not even be mentioned among you, as becomes saints;”
    1 Thessalonians 4:7 “For God called us not for uncleanness, but in sanctification.”
    Given these, we can draw some conclusions about what this word might have “meant” to a first century Greek-speaking audience. Most everyone views decomposing bodies as disgusting and unclean, but for a Jew, this type of uncleanness would have had an additional ceremonial dimension. To a Jew you would not even be fit to approach the Temple. You would be ceremonially unclean and physically a leper, unfit to worship.
    When we say “impure” and “unclean” English people get a picture of Ivory Soap or a dirty bathroom.
    Let me suggest two possible alternatives:
    Corruption- The most common meaning of corruption centers around political dishonesty. We complain about “corrupt” officials. However, it can also be used to describe physical decay. Consider these definitions from the Random House Unabridged Dictionary: “moral perversion; depravity”, “perversion of integrity” and “putrefactive decay; rottenness”.
    Defilement-This word is rarely used in English, and carries with it an explicit religious connotation. “To defile” is the exact opposite of “to consecrate”. Random House gives these definitions for defile: “to make foul, dirty, or unclean; pollute; taint; debase” and “to make impure for ceremonial use; desecrate”. So “defilement” is essentially “impurity”, but a special kind of impurity; one that is religious or sacramental. If I had to pick an exact opposite for the word “sanctification” in English it would be “defilement”.
    GOD’S GIVING OVER MANKIND TO LUST IS DONE IN TWO WAYS.
    Indirectly-God gives them over simply by withdrawing His restraining and protective hand, allowing the consequences of sin to take their inevitable, destructive course. Sin degrades man, debases the image of God in which he is made, and strips him of dignity, peace of mind, and a clear conscience. Sin destroys personal relationships, marriages, families, cities, and nations, and churches…
    Directly-God gives over rebellious mankind by specific acts of judgment. The Bible is has many accounts of God’s wrath being directly and supernaturally poured out on sinful men. The flood of Noah’s day destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Ge 18:20, 19:24,25, 26), for example, were not indirect natural consequences of sin but were overt supernatural expressions of God’s judgment on gross and unrepented sin. God often allows men to go deeper and deeper into sin in order to drive them to despair and to show them their need of Him. (MacArthur, J: Romans 1-8. Chicago: Moody Press)
    What Results When Evil Shadows Take Control of our Heart?
    Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, Romans 1:24
    because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. Romans 1:25
    Uncleanness and depravity is the result of the lust within their own hearts, and results in dishonoring our bodies, abusing our bodies, abusing others. When we fail to honor the Truth of God, and instead worship what we chose, or what we think is right, corruption and depravity will be the natural result.
    “The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it? Jeremiah 17:9 (NKJV)
    The First Giving over to results in hearts being wicked to the point of accepting and tolerating immoral behavior.
    The first mark of wickedness in a godless society is widespread sexual immorality — the degrading, or the dishonoring, of the body. Note that the sentence begins with the word therefore. This immorality is a result of the idolatry into which men fall. Idolatry is common in our day. We do not worship idols and images so much anymore, but concepts and ideas are idolized and deified as much as any of the idols of the ancient world.
    Idolatry usually results in sexual immorality.
    Pastor Ray Pritchard has an interesting insight:
    “Why is illicit sex singled out as the first major step away from God? The answer is not hard to find. Sex is closely related to the human spirit. The way you conduct yourself sexually is a good barometer of what’s going on in your heart. After all, what is sex but the desire to be worshiped by another person? Sound strange? It shouldn’t. When two people come together, they are seeking much more than physical release. At a very deep level, they are looking for love, acceptance, fulfillment, freedom and meaning in life. By giving themselves to someone else, they hope (and secretly pray) that through this self-giving, they will discover a way to fill the void within. They “worship” through sex hoping someone will “worship” them back. Sex and worship are thus closely related in their ultimate purpose. It is as if God is pulling back the covers in order to show us how empty our hearts are without him. By turning to illicit sex, instead of fulfilling our dreams we only expose the emptiness within. It never works out like we hope it will. Immorality never satisfies…
    Many people think this account describes all the evil things men do and then says that God, in effect, gives up on the people who do them. They think God washes his hands of them because they are so filthy and dirty. That certainly is not what this account says. But because men run after other gods and refuse the testimony of their own hearts and the world of nature around them, because they run after other gods and do not glorify or thank the true God, God removes his restraints from society so that what is done in secret is allowed to break out into openness and acceptability. That is the mark of the wrath of God at work.
    The first sign of wickedness in a civilization is that sexual immorality becomes widely tolerated and even accepted.
    THE SECOND GIVING OVER RESULTS IN:
    II. Vile Affections, Degrading Passions and Shameful Desires
    “For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions.” For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. Romans 1:26-27
    The Greek words for degrading passions are atimia pathos.
    Atimia: means to lower down from a place of honor. A picture is painted of something which is literally not honorable, not worthy of respect, reverence or esteem. It emphasizes the loss of honor that was once enjoyed = cf man originally created in God’s image), disgrace (to be a source of shame to & often implies humiliation and sometimes ostracism), ignominy (deep personal humiliation and disgrace, disgraceful or dishonorable conduct, quality, or action. This noun stresses humiliation).
    Pathos: Pathos means passion and comes from the word pascho which means to suffer; to experience a sensation or impression (usually of a painful nature). A passion is a drive or force that does not rest until satisfied. These are internal desires (emanating from our fallen sin nature) cause the victim to suffer and that have to be satisfied or they drive you crazy. A passion describes intense emotion compelling action; intense, driving, or overmastering feeling or conviction; ardent affection; sexual desire or an emotion that is deeply stirring or ungovernable. The word “desires” (when used as noun as in the present context) means to have a longing for and stresses the strength of feeling and often implies strong intention or aim; conscious impulse toward something that promises enjoyment or satisfaction in its attainment.
    We all have desires and passions. They are influenced by our heart, not by our mind, for they emanate from our heart. When our heart is corrupted, these desires can run wild, and corrupted passions result in degradation, falling from a place of honor as God’s Creation, into something corrupt and dishonorable. The natural end of those corrupted passions running wild is the ultimate dishonor upon God’s design for our bodies-to procreate, to love a wife or husband in covenant marriage, to raise up Godly generations after us.
    GOD’S DESIGN IS CORRUPTED
    “As distinguished from epithumia (lusts) in verse 24, pathē (passions), is the narrower and intense word. epithumia is the larger word, including the whole world of active lusts and desires, while the meaning of pathos is passive, being the diseased condition out of which the lusts spring.
    epithumia are evil longings; pathē, ungovernable affections.
    Thus it appears that the divine punishment was the more severe, in that they were given over to a condition, and not merely to an evil desire.”Wuest’s.
    When hearts become corrupt, immorality results from unrestrained lust.
    When passions become degraded, perversion results because we become diseased.
    MEN WHO “ABANDON” OR “LEAVE”
    Abandoned (aphiemi from apo = separation, dissociation + hiemi = send) conveys the basic idea of an action which causes separation and thus means to send away or to let go from oneself. Aphiemi was used for example of the action of dismissing a wife. The idea is to let go from one’s possession!
    The verb abandoned is aorist tense (action at a moment in time, speaks of effective action) and active voice (subject makes a choice of their will to carry out this action). Thus these men made a deliberate, conscious choice of their will to abandon the natural for the unnatural.
    Pastor Ray Pritchard once more:
    More than anything else, homosexuality is a willful choice. No one can say, “I was born that way.” No one is born homosexual. No one. Anyone who argues otherwise is either ignorant of the Bible or has deliberately perverted its teaching. You can talk all you want about genetics, the size of the hypothalamus, about absent fathers, over-protective mothers, about early sexual confusion, and even about sexual abuse. Some of those things may indeed create a predisposition to this particular sin.
    But the fact remains: Every act of homosexuality—whether in word or deed or in lustful thought—every single act is a personal moral choice. Temptation is not the issue because temptation in and of itself is not a sin (cp James 1:14-note).
    But giving in to temptation—whether mentally, verbally or in actual deed—is a sin (James 1:15-note). That’s a moral choice for which God will hold you 100% accountable. You can’t blame your choices on your hypothalamus! You can’t even blame your father for his failure to be there when you needed him…As a society moves away from God, one mark of its drift into judgment is widespread homosexuality. The tragic fact is that this is exactly where America is today. (Romans 1:24-32 When God Gives Up)
    The Second Giving Over results in Emotions and Passions becoming Vile, Degraded and Out of Control.
    The heart is corrupted and no longer guides the emotions into that which is right. SO emotional health becomes vile, even depraved, and wrong, even abominable passions result. Emotional Disease Results. Our emotional psyche becomes conditioned to depravity. Christans, God doesn’t want us to know about or even talk about these vile passions. We are to be simple, and experts in that which is good! We are to “Walk in the Light!”
    “I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil.” Rom 16:19
    Walk as children of light…Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret. Eph 5:8-12
    THE THIRD GIVING OVER RESULTS IN:
    III. Reprobate, Debased, Depraved Mind
    And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. Romans 1:28-32 (ESV)
    The result of the refusal in Romans 1:18-32 was the “reprobate mind.” Paul uses the phrase: “adokimos nous”.
    Adokimos: Debased, depraved, REPROBATE (adokimos) refers to that which is rejected after examination. The basic meaning of adokimos is that not standing the test or failing to meet the test and hence worthless, base or unqualified.
    a counterfeit coin that fell below the standard weight,
    a cowardly soldier who failed the test in the hour of battle,
    a candidate for office who the citizens regarded as useless
    a sword or knife, that once the blacksmith had completed, would place it on his anvil and hit it with his hammer to test whether it was tempered correctly.
    a stone rejected by builders because of a flaw which made it unfit for construction,
    the rejected stone being clearly marked by a capital “A”.
    Look at the end result: ”they refused to have God in their knowledge (ouk edokimasan),” and “God gave them up to a reprobate (= unacknowledged, adokimos) mind.” So God let them have a mind that is void of any divine characteristics.
    Paul is saying that the mind that finds God worthless becomes worthless itself.
    The rejecting mind becomes a rejected mind and thereby becomes spiritually depraved, worthless and useless!
    The Reprobate Mind has a giant “A” stamped on their head and heart.
    They are tried and rejected by the Master Architect and of no eternal value to Him in building His kingdom. This should break our hearts that these men and women in Romans 1:28 are so depraved.
    1 Corinthians 9:27 but I buffet my body and make it my slave, lest possibly, after I have preached to others, I myself should be disqualified.
    2 Corinthians 13:5 Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you– unless indeed you fail the test? 6 But I trust that you will realize that we ourselves do not fail the test. 7 Now we pray to God that you do no wrong; not that we ourselves may appear approved, but that you may do what is right, even though we should appear unapproved.
    2 Timothy 3:8 And just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose (literally set themselves against) the truth, men of depraved (destroyed, ruined, corrupted = kataphtheiro) mind, rejected (adokimos) as regards the faith.
    Titus 1:16 They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient, and worthless (adokimos – unfit, of proven inability to do good) for any good deed.
    The Third sign is that Society has lost their spiritual mind and doesn’t even realize it.
    More Dangerous Than Sin Itself:
    These men had ”tested” God and did not want to believe in Him. The ultimate test of life is usefulness, and the man whose influence is ever towards that which is unclean is of no use to God or to his fellow-men. Instead of helping God’s work in the world, he hinders it and uselessness always invites disaster. It speaks of a mind that is so clouded by sin that it is no longer able to make reliable moral judgments. Here we have gone beyond deliberate iniquity to something much more frightening. At this stage man has lost the ability to think right. He has “lost his mind” (morally or spiritually speaking) and doesn’t even know it.
    So the idea in Romans 1:28 is of a mind that isn’t quite right, that has some flaw in it that affects its ability to make right judgments. It speaks of a mind that is so clouded by sin that it is no longer able to make reliable moral judgments. The result is a world that has left God far behind. It is a society with all restraints removed, a culture devoid of all sense of right and wrong, where every man is doing what is “right in his own eyes.”
    “God gave them up,” “handed them over”—to punishing angels? No, to themselves and the life they have chosen. A life of falsehood, alienated from the true God and the true world he has created, is punishment enough.
    13 STEPS TO HAVING A REPROBATE MIND
    13. Argumentation – reprobate mind given to perversion – judgment certain
    12. Justify immorality – cannot think clearly
    11. Re-examine Scripture – doubt
    10. Frustration over drives – confusion
    9. Religious compensation – rationalize
    8. Incomplete repentance – feeling sorry is not enough; root sin of self on the throne
    7. Response to guilt – suppress the truth
    6. Awakening of guilt – conviction
    5. Violation of conscience – law in the heart
    4. Questioning Scripture – dangerous; Eve’s root sin
    3. Sensual focus – eye toward lust
    2. Awakening of conscience – reasoning with the mind – dangerous
    1. Natural curiosity – nothing wrong with this – God gave to Adam and Eve
    (From IBLP-Bill Gothard)
    MAN’S THINKING IS TURNED UPSIDE DOWN
    People who are turned upside down in their thinking refuse to acknowledge God as God and furthermore, refuse to thank Him for being God and loving them the way He does.
    They became Morons (foolish, and showing no thought) in their argumentations, and plunged their silly minds still further into the dark.
    They argue stupidly and vainly against God and His Word. Their silly minds become darker and sillier.
    These reprobates believe they are wise, because their thinking is “upside down”. Instead of wise they are now MORONS, worshipping stuff of no eternal Value, or their pet idols or belief’s. They push God out of their lives or leave him in a dark corner, or even create their our own god.
    God gives up on them up, allowing their foul desires to become addictive to the point of dishonoring their bodies. Life becomes a game with no real meaning or purpose.
    These people no longer know the truth of God. They can’t even begin to comprehend it, so “upside down” are their minds. They are prey for liars and deceivers. God hands them over to be dominated and controlled by their sinful and unrighteous passions.
    Sinful perversions warp the souls of the reprobate. They are no longer in control of their mind, will and emotions.
    Reprobates are slaves of their degenerate (upside down) minds.
    Reprobate minds have no shame over their actions, no matter how vile, and in fact give approval to others who do the same things.
    THEY FILL THEIR LIVES WITH:
    According to Romans 1:29, this person’s life will become “filled with” unfitting and inappropriate practices. “Being filled with” is from the Greek word pleroo (play-ro’-o) meaning a life so full of itself it will be full of these things listed as the consequence. “All” can be inserted in front of each to express the extreme influence of a “reprobate mind” upon a life. God gives us twenty-two characteristics of this last degree of unbelief in an individual’s life and in a perverted and reprobate society.
    “Unrighteousness” is from the Greek word adikia (ad-ee-kee’-ah) referring to the violation of justice.
    “Fornication” is from the Greek word porneia (por-ni’-ah) referring to illicit sexual practices.
    “Wickedness” is from the Greek word poneria (pon-ay-ree’-ah) referring to a depravity in purposes and desires.
    “Coveteousness” is from the Greek word pleonexia (pleh-on-ex-ee’-ah) referring to a growing, greedy desire to have more and more.
    “Maliciousness” is from the Greek word kakia (kak-ee’-ah) referring to a desire to injure someone or a wickedness that is not ashamed to break laws.
    “Envy” is from the Greek word phthonos (fthon’-os) meaning life actions always prompted by envy.
    “Murder” is from the Greek word phonos (fon’-os) meaning a life full of slaughter.
    “Debate” is from the Greek word eris (er’-is) meaning a life filled with strife and contention.
    “Deceit” is from the Greek word dolos (dol’-os) referring to deceptive, crafty manipulation.
    “Malignity” is from the Greek word kakoetheia (kak-o-ay’-thi-ah) referring to bad character and bad morals.
    “Whisperers” is from the Greek word psithuristes (psith-oo-ris-tace’) referring to a secret slanderer.
    “Backbiters” is from the Greek word katalalos (kat-al’-al-os) meaning a person who secretly defames another or speaks evil of them.
    “Haters of God” is from the Greek word theostuges (theh-os-too-gace’) referring to a person who is exceptionally impious and wicked.
    “Despiteful” is from the Greek word hubristes (hoo-bris-tace’) referring to a person who is insolent and who either heaps insulting language upon others or does them some shameful act of wrong.
    “Proud” is from the Greek word huperephanos (hoop-er-ay’-fan-os) refers to thinking of one’s self as superior to others. This often expresses itself in prejudices by despising others or even treating them with contempt (disrespect).
    “Boasters” is from the Greek word alazon (al-ad-zone’) referring to a vain and pretentious person.
    “Inventors of evil things” is from the Greek words epheuretes (ef-yoo-ret’-ace) kakos (kak-os’) referring to a person who schemes in his thinking and imagination of ways to undermine or harm another person.
    “Disobedient to parents” is from the Greek words apeithes (ap-i-thace’) goneus (gon-yooce’) referring to a person who obstinately resists the authority of his parents. The idea goes into insubordination against all who have authority over him.
    “Without understanding” is from the Greek word asunetos (as-oon’-ay-tos). It goes way beyond ignorance, referring to a person who lacks any real understanding of the realities of life (including spiritual realities) and therefore makes decisions without any consciousness to those realities.
    “Covenantbreakers” is from the Greek word asunthetos (as-oon’-thet-os) referring to a person who cannot be trusted to keep promises.
    “Without natural affection” is from the Greek word astorgos (as’-tor-gos) referring to a person who is incapable of loving anyone but himself.
    “Implacable” is from the Greek word aspondos (as’-pon-dos) referring to a person incapable of making commitments (let alone keep one).
    “Unmerciful” is from the Greek word aneleemon (an-eleh-ay’-mone) referring to a person unwilling to help the needy or a person without any compassion for others regardless of the severity of their predicament.
    THEY KNOW JUDGMENT IS COMING
    The closing statement of Romans 1:32 informs us that the Holy Spirit has fully convinced this person of God’s pending judgment on his/her life. “Knowing” is from the Greek word epiginosko (ep-ig-in-oce’-ko) meaning this person has a thorough perception of what will happen to him once he dies yet he has no fear of God about it because he continues to deny the inner witness of his conscience to God’s truths and existence.
    “Judgment” is from the Greek word dikaioma (dik-ah’-yo-mah) referring to a sentence by a judge for a crime committed. The intent here is that this person is fully convinced in his conscience about the eternal death sentence upon him (Romans 6:23). Yet he lives in denial of that cloud of doom over his life. Because of this denial, he not only continues on this pathway to destruction, he forms a partnership with others involved in the same practices which reinforces both his sinful practices and theirs.
    WE WILL ALL DIE and FACE GOD
    History tells the story of the renowned atheist, Voltaire, one of the most aggressive antagonists of Christianity. He wrote many things to undermine the church, and once said of Jesus Christ, “Curse the wretch. In 20 years, Christianity will be no more. My single hand will destroy the edifice it took 12 apostles to rear.”
    Voltaire died a terrible death. His nurse said: “For all the money in Europe I wouldn’t want to see another unbeliever die! All night long he cried for forgiveness.”
    Sir Thomas Scott, once president of the English Lower House said: “Up until this time, I thought that there was no God neither Hell. Now I know and feel that there are both, and I am delivered to perdition by the righteous judgment of the Almighty.”
    The great evangelist D. L. Moody, on his deathbed, said, “I see Earth receding and heaven is opening. God is calling me.”
    Are You Ready to Face God?
    For many years John Wesley professed to be a Christian and yet when he truly examined himself realized he was not “in the faith” as illustrated by this brief excerpt from his sermon entitled “The Almost Christian”:
    I did go thus for many years, as many of this place can testify; using diligence to eschew all evil, and to have a conscience void of offence; redeeming the time; buying up every opportunity of doing all good to all men; constantly and carefully using all the public and all the private means of grace; endeavoring, after a steady seriousness of behavior, at all times, and in all places: and God is my record, before whom I stand, doing all this in sincerity; having a real design to serve God; a hearty desire to do his will in all things; to please him who had called me to “fight the good fight,” and to “lay hold on eternal life.”
    Yet my own conscience bears me witness, in the Holy Ghost, that all this time I was but almost a Christian.”
    Is your thinking “upside down?” Could you be a moron, useless to God?
    Take the Moron Test for backslidden Christians:
    1. Do you ENJOY reading the Bible?
    2. Do you allow God to speak to you and guide you through His Word?
    3. Do you go days without even thinking about God and what He wants you to do?
    4. Do you do things today that years ago you said you would never do?
    5. Do you hear about immorality or watch immorality without it bothering you?
    6. Are there things you do that friends and relatives would be shocked to learn about?
    7. Do you find yourself thinking that God loves you just the way you are?
    8. DO you find yourself arguing with other Christians about what behavior is OK?
    If you don’t care what the results are, or what God thinks about your heart, YOU ARE A MORON!

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