But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. (Matthew 15:9)
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15)
I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name. (Psalm 138:2)
All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
To the Reader: I do realize that some may disagree on things contained in this article. However, we should not divide over this but realize not everybody has attained the same level of faith as us. For Paul said: Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions. One person has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only. (Romans 14:1-2) God help us to be a people of unity and not divide over the non-major things.
“Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” (John 3:5)
According to Jesus above, you first need to be naturally born in order to be Spiritually born. And it’s only when you're Spiritually born, can you enter into God’s kingdom. So, being born of the water is simply in reference to the natural birth of a baby after a woman’s water breaks. Then being born of the Spirit is in reference to a person receiving Christ as their Savior. So, let's not try to read into this and make it something it's not. For you must first come into existence before you can know who God is and become “born again.”
Now, I know this raises the question concerning aborted and still born babies. For some may be asking, “Are they going to be in heaven.” Well, I must say that it’s a horrible thing for someone to willfully extinguish life in the womb. Also, it must be heartbreaking for a woman to go through a miscarriage or deliver a stillborn child. However, according to Jesus, one must first be birthed into the world, and then be filled with God’s Spirit (born again) in order to “enter into the kingdom of God.” It’s just the way it is. This would make abortion even more horrible because it robs a child of an opportunity to experience life and to know God. To me, that’s first-degree murder at the highest and should be dealt with as such. However, for the rest, they should be assured that they’re not guilty of any sin like those are who have aborted their children.
Now, just to help make things clear on this, little children can believe in Jesus. For Jesus said: “But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. ... Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, that in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.” (Matthew 18:6, 10) But again, these “little ones” had to be born physically in order to believe in Jesus.
Below is a message by the late Pastor Chuck Smith of Calvary Chapel:
“When the head steward tasted the water that had been turned to wine, not knowing where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), he called the bridegroom and said to him, ‘everyone serves the good wine first, and then the cheaper wine when the guests are drunk. You have kept the good wine until now!” (John 2:9-10 NET)
Unfortunately, this is one of those subjects that has been misunderstood by some Christians. For there are those who try to make scripture read in such a way as to say that Jesus made grape juice at the wedding mentioned above. And of course, this is not scriptural. However, I do believe that these same people are sincere in their faith and mean well. For it’s true that wine and other alcoholic beverages have caused many problems. But to twist scripture in such a way as to fit one’s own theological view is wrong as well. So, whether we choose to drink or not, let us not look down or judge each other on this issue. For God has given us freedom in this area.
Now, we must be clear on this one fact. Getting drunk is a sin. And if abused to the point of one being a continued drunkard, it can harm that person’s relationship with God and even prevent them from entering into his Kingdom. (1Corinthians 6:9-10) However, that does not mean that you throw the baby out with the bathwater. We shouldn’t demonize something just because there are those that abuse it. Anything can be abused my brothers and sisters in Christ. Sex can be abused. So, should everybody become celibate because there are men, women, children and even animals being sexually violated all over the world? Of course not. So, why should be treat drinking wine differently?
In conclusion, enjoying a glass of wine or a bottle of beer is not a sin as long as you refrain from getting intoxicated. Jesus Himself admits to drinking fermented wine and it’s recorded that he made some at a wedding in Cana of Galilee (Matthew 11:19, John 2:1-11). Now I have to admit, drinking is not for everyone. There are those who may feel the need to refrain from alcohol for whatever reason. But those who choose not to drink, shouldn’t condemn or look down on those who have the liberty to do so. Nor, should anyone put the pressure on an individual to make them drink when they feel uncomfortable about it.
Below are some scriptures on this topic of drinking wine:
So, even though John refrained from wine and other alcoholic drinks, the people still said he had a demon. And because Jesus did drink wine, the people accused Him of being a drunkard. This is because the wine that Jesus drank was fermented. How else could they accuse him of being a drunkard unless they knew that the wine he drank was fermented?
Jesus made fermented wine at the wedding of Cana: “When the headwaiter tasted the water (after it had become wine), he did not know where it came from -- though the servants who had drawn the water knew. He called the groom and told him, "Everyone sets out the fine wine first, then, after people are drunk, the inferior. But you have kept the fine wine until now." (John 2:9-10 CSB) Notice that the governor said that the “fine wine” is set out first and when “after people are drunk” (the Greek here means intoxicated) then they bring out the inferior wine. This clearly shows that fermented wine was being served and that the “fine wine” was noted by the governor as making people drunk. Jesus made “fine wine” at the wedding and not some unfermented grape juice. And just to let the reader know, I’ve been to a few Jewish weddings, and they do serve fermented wine.
Now, we must remember that the wine Jesus served at the Passover was fermented. For even Paul rebukes the church of Carinthia for not observing the Passover meal properly. He said: “Therefore when you meet together, it is not to eat the Lord's Supper, for in your eating each one takes his own supper first; and one is hungry and another is drunk.” (1 Corinthians 11:20-21 NASB) We all know you cannot get drunk on plain old grape juice. So again, we have a clear indication that the early church did drink fermented wine even at Passover, which Jesus himself took part in.
“For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come.” (1 Corinthians 11:23-26)
This is another unfortunate teaching in our church assemblies. For how often have we heard the Church leadership declare that we must examine ourselves for any sin in our lives before taking communion? Well, this is not true. For we need to keep all this in context to what Paul is really saying here. So, let’s start with what Paul first said here: “When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's supper. For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken.” (1 Corinthians 11:20-21) Then Paul says: “For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come. Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 11:26-27)
So, what does Paul say the “unworthily” manner is? Well, if we read on it says: “But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.” (1 Corinthians 11:28-29) Well there you go my brothers and sisters in Christ. The unworthy manner is not some unconfessed sin, but not properly discerning the body and blood of ours Lord Jesus Christ while eating and drinking the bread and wine.
Therefore, we must stop teaching this false doctrine of unconfessed sin. I say this because there may be some unconfessed sin that comes to mind during or even after we have partaken. And because of this false teaching, one could feel guilty after partaking of communion and thus end up feeling even worse than before. For let's face it, if we really had to examine ourselves to see if there is any unconfessed sin in our lives, we would never be able to partake of communion. So please, let's keep things in context and not add unbiblical teachings that can stumble one another. God help us, amen.
The bible is clear in 1 Corinthians 11:4-5 that there should be a distinction between the hair length of a man and that of a woman. This is especially true within a church setting. For a woman with short hair can be sending out a wrongful message to all that she is equal to a man in the area of authority. Thus, she is “dishonoring” the men who are in authority over her. In the same token long hair on a man is sending out a wrongful message that he is on the same level as a woman. Therefore, this would be dishonoring to God for the man is supposed to have authority over the woman. A man is supposed to represent the Glory of God in the form of authority and not in the form of subjection as a woman.
Therefore, God wants there to be an outward distinction between the sexes. We can see this also to be true in God’s word where it says: “A woman shall not wear anything that pertains to a man, nor shall a man put on a woman's garment, for all who do so are an abomination to the LORD your God.” (Deuteronomy 22:5) So, my concern is why does most church leadership ignore this important fact that Paul is teaching on here? Why let women butch their heads to look like men and men grow out their hair like some woman? God help us not to water down his word. Amen
A Word to the Reader: It is my intent to make you aware of some scriptures that were (and still are) part of both the 1560 Geneva bible and the 1611 King James bible. And even though Jesus himself quoted from these scriptures, they were removed a few hundred years later. So, what scriptures am I talking about? Well, it’s the scriptures that some call the Apocrypha. Now, even though the modern Protestant church has rejected these scriptures, they are still found in the Septuagint bible used by the Greek Orthodox Church of today. This Septuagint bible is the Greek translation of the Old Testament that was written around 300 years before Christ by Jews.
Now, let me first say this. I’m not one of those who believes that we should throw out or burn all the modern translation of the bible. For I do believe that God can speak to us through even the worst translations out there. So, even if you do read a poor translation, you’re still able to see God’s plan of salvation unfolding through its pages. However, we should make it our aim to read those translations that more accurately represent what God is saying to us. Now, my bible of choice is the King James Bible. This is because I do believe that the King James bible is the most literal translation available to us today when it comes to “PROPER” word usage. However, even though I do use it as my base text for reading and studying, I do find myself at times trusting the accuracy of other translations more in certain passages. So, that should make it clear that I’m not a King James only person, nor do I believe that its translation is infallible. This is also true when it comes to the Septuagint bible. For even though I do use it at times, I don’t believe that it’s 100% perfect.
Now, as mentioned above, I do include in my studies the Septuagint Old Testament. And in some cases, I even prefer it over the Masoretic text. This is due to the fact that there are inconsistencies in the Masoretic text. For it doesn’t always line up with passages quoted by the authors of the New Testament. Also, it contains errors such as the ones found in the genealogy of Seth. And let’s keep in mind that the Septuagint was translated from the Hebrew around 300 years before the birth of Christ by Jews. However, the Masoretic text we have today came about almost 1000 years after the resurrection of Christ by the Masoretic Jews. Therefore, I study both in the Septuagint as well as the Masoretic text. But as said before, I mostly prefer the Masoretic text when it comes to proper word usage. For I find it more literal in its translation and that it has a better choice of words.
Below are some passages found in the New Testament which are quotes from the Old Testament. I have compared the Septuagint and the Masoretic text for each New Testament passage they represent. Now, I do realize that a few of the passages in the Masoretic text below still give us the gist of the message. However, I still included them to show that the Septuagint text is almost always word for word when it comes to New Testament quotes.
New Testament quote from Matthew 12:20-21
“A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory. And in his name shall the Gentiles trust.”
New Testament quote from Luke 4:18-19
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.”
New Testament quote from Act 15:15-17
“After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.”
New Testament quote from Hebrews 1:6
“And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.” (Hebrews 1:6)
New Testament quote from Hebrews 10:5-7
“Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.”
New Testament quote from Hebrew 11:21
“By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff.”
New Testament quote from 1 Peter 4:18
“And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?”
Now we come to the Dead Sea Scrolls and their role in supporting the Septuagint. For according to the article “The ‘Original’ Bible and the Dead Sea Scrolls” on the Biblical Archaeology Society website, we can see that some of the Dead Sea Scrolls actually support the Septuagint text.
For Noah Wiener writes: “Some of the Dead Sea Scrolls actually have more in common with the Greek Septuagint than the traditional Hebrew Masoretic Text. This suggests that the Greek translators must have been translating from Hebrew texts that resembled the Dead Sea Scrolls. Then, Noah goes on and give us an example of one of the Dead Sea Scrolls that contains a clue to the accuracy of the Septuagint by quoting a question that was given to Emanuel Tov, which is: “Did Hannah bring one bull or three bulls as an offering at Shiloh? (1 Samuel 1:24)”
So, what was Emanuel Tov answer? Well, he said: “When the infant Samuel had been weaned and his mother, Hannah, finally came to Shiloh with her son, she also brought with her an offering for the Lord that is described in two ways in our textual sources. According to the Masoretic Text, she brought ‘three bulls,’ but according to the Septuagint and a Qumran scroll (4QSama from 50– 25 B.C.E.) she brought one ‘three-year-old bull.”
“I believe that Hannah probably offered only a single bull (as in the Septuagint and 4QSama); supporting this choice is the next verse in the Masoretic Text which speaks about ‘the bull.’ I believe the Masoretic Text was textually corrupted. ...The evidence of the Septuagint, being in Greek, always depends on a reconstruction into Hebrew, and consequently the Qumran scroll here helps us decide between the various options. Incidentally an offering of a ‘three-year-old bull’ is mentioned in Genesis 15:9. It shows that a Hebrew text underlying the Septuagint once existed in which Hannah brought only one three-year-old bull”
So, according to Noah Wiener, the Masoretic text was showing its own error. For we don’t see anywhere about a three-bull requirement in the law of Moses. For as mentioned above, the Masoretic text itself says in Genesis 15:9: “And he said unto him, Take me an heifer of three years old.”
Now, for something else that might get controversial. I do believe that the writings of the Apocrypha are part of the God’s inspired scriptures. Now, I’m not talking about the one in the Catholic bible, but the one you can still find in today’s copies of the 1560 Geneva bible and the King James Bibles. These bibles are still available for purchase today at places such as Christianbooks.com or even Amazon. And as mention before, the King James bible had the Apocrypha in it sense day one of the original 1611 version. This is also true for the Geneva Bible as well. So, if those brilliant learned men who translated the 1560 Geneva bible as well as those of the 1611 felt that it was good to include the Apocrypha in their translation, who are we to say otherwise. It wasn’t until the 1800 hundreds that publishers started printing some bibles without the apocrypha in it. But thank God there are those publishers who still rightfully include it in their versions of the King James and even the Geneva Bible. And yes, as mentioned earlier, Jesus himself quoted from the Apocrypha.
Below you will find some interesting cross references between the New Testament & the Apocrypha:
New Testament quote from Matthew 6:6-7
“But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.”
New Testament quote from Matthew 6:19-21
“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
New Testament quote from Matthew 7:17, 20
Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. ... Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
New Testament quote from Matthew 9:36
“But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.”
New Testament quote from Matthew 23:34-38
Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.
New Testament quote from Matthew 24:16-18
“Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take anything out of his house: Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes.”
New Testament quote from Matthew 27:42-43
“He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him. He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God.”
New Testament quote from Luke 14:13-14
“But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.”
New Testament quote from James 5:4
“Behold, the pay of the laborers who mowed your fields, and which has been withheld by you, cries out against you; and the outcry of those who did the harvesting has reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth.”
A few words to the reader
I would like to remind you my fellow brothers and sister in Christ, of the importance of God’s word that has been handed down to us from generation to generation. But that being said, I want to warn you of the corruption of God’s word in these newer modern translations as well. Now please don’t get me wrong, for I do believe that God can speak to us even in the most corrupted of today’s bibles. However, by reading these inferior translations, you are not getting the full meaning of the text but a watered down one at best. So, I encourage you to read on and lean more of what’s being said here. Oh, and just to let you know, I’m not saying that my text of choice is perfect and the only one that we should be reading. But again, we must be diligent and examine for ourselves the evidence within these different bibles we have before us. Amen.
First of all, I would like to say that I do look to the King James Version for proper wording and for a more literal translation. I say this because it seems as though some newer versions find it offensive to use the literal words which God himself used. However, God used those words so that we would easily get the point of his message. Also, I found that some of these more modern versions have passages that are so badly translated, it makes me want to ether rip them out or use a White-Out pen on them. Anyway, you can see this for yourself below.
How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!
In this passage of Isaiah, we have a description of Satan who is here referred to as “Lucifer” (light bearer) in the King James Bible as well as by some other versions of the bible. However, there are versions out there that make it confusing by calling him "morning star" or even “Day Star,” which are words used in the New Testament pertaining to Jesus Christ himself. Those other versions that read as the King James Bible are the Geneva, NKJV, Webster, DBY, as well as the Septuagint. The HNV uses the Hebrew word itself (heylel) and the YLT says “shining one, thus I didn’t include them below.
And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.
Here in Zechariah 13:6-7 we have a prophecy concerning our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In verse 7 we have the prophecy of what would take place on the night of his betrayal concerning him and his disciples (see Matthew 26:31). However, in verse six we read about the wounds that he would receive by those who accused him of being a false prophet. Now, in the literal Hebrew it says that Jesus would receive these wounds in his “hands.”(see Psalms 22:16 and Luke 24:39).
However, from what we can see from the majority of the more popular versions quoted below, this Hebrew word for hands is being change into words such as arms, back or chest. So, my question is, isn’t there in the Hebrew language a literal word for these other choices used? I would have to say yes there is. So, wouldn’t it make sense if God wanted any of these other words to be used, He would have had Zechariah use their literal words themselves? God is not the author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33). It is also worth noting that the NASV has in its footnotes that the Hebrew is literally “hands.” So why didn’t they use it? Some other versions that also use the literal translation “hands” are the Septuagint by Benton, the Geneva bible, the original NKJV 1982 edition, the Webster, Darby, Young's, MKJV, and the UKJV bible.
And there came a leper to him, beseeching him, and kneeling down to him, and saying unto him, If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean.
Here we have Jesus showing love and compassion to the Leper. The Geneva and all the modern versions I checked use the word “compassion” or “pity” for the feeling that Jesus had for the leper except for the NIV. However, the NIV version below says that Jesus was “indignant” which is to show anger. What is interesting however, is that the NIV uses this same Greek word everywhere else as having compassion or pity. This is poor scripture translating in deed.
No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.
Here, we have John the apostle declaration that Jesus is the Son of God. Also, it was Jesus himself who revealed who the Father is. This Jesus did when he emptied himself of all his heavenly attributes and become flesh and blood like us. However, we have other versions below making this passage confusing by using the word “God” instead of the word “Son” here.
Therefore, it makes more sense to use the word “Son” in reference to our Saviors relationship with the Father. Other versions that support this are the Geneva, NKJV, NIV, CSB, RSV, ASV, YLT, DBY, WEB, HNV.
And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.
Starting at verse 13 and ending at verse 21, John the apostle (not Jesus) is giving us detailed information concerning Jesus after his death and resurrection. Now, in verse 13 we read that he went to the Father in heaven. However, there are those versions that leave out the last portion of the passage which reads: “which is in heaven.” Having that last portion makes it clear that John is talking about Jesus after his death and resurrection. Again, I believe that the KJV as well as the Geneva, NKJV, ASV, HNV, MKJV, UKJV, Darby, Young's, and the Webster bible have the correct wording.
Please Note: There are some who think that Jesus is talking here in these passages. However, we have other bible versions showing that this is not true. For it’s clear that John speaking of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This make more sense in light of what’s being said. Therefore, I included below those bible versions that show John is the one who is speaking here.
I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea: That ye receive her in the Lord, as becometh saints, and that ye assist her in whatsoever business she hath need of you: for she hath been a succourer of many, and of myself also.
It is interesting that the bibles versions listed below would actually use the words deacon, deaconess or minister in Romans16:1. I say this because elsewhere they use the word servant in some other passages. This seems deceptive because it appears as if Phebe is a minster or some leader in the church. But the truth of it is, she’s not. For the word simply means a servant, waiter or an attendant. So that should make it clear that Phebe is not a Pastor, Teacher, Elder, Overseer or a Minister. Again, she is simply a servant who is chosen to help serve in the church in one capacity or another
A good example of this would be the disciple Stephen who was chosen to be a helper in the church at Jerusalem as declared in the book of Acts chapter 6. He was appointed to serve tables in the church fellowship along with seven others as well. We can see this to be true in Peters own statement in this same chapter. For he, being an Elder said that it would not be proper that he should leave the teaching of God’s word and serve tables. So again, the word servant is used in place of the word “deacon,” thus making it clear that he is not some church elder or leader.
Other versions that support KJV is the Geneva, NKJV, ESV, HCSB, NASB, CLNT as well as a few others. Therefore, these verses listed below should not be used as some sort of proof texts to show that a woman can have a leadership possession in the church.
But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
Now, we came to those words that are wrongfully toned down in the Bible. For we can see translators of the newer bibles changing the meaning of God’s word to maybe make it less “offensive” to the readers. But wait a minute. Are not these words inspired by God in the first place, and did not the original copies have them in there? So, if God inspired them to be there, who are we to change their meaning. For let's remember that our “Father knows best.” Amen.
So that being said, if we look at the original meaning of the words “filthy rags” we can see that it means just that. For these words in the Hebrew mean a “menstruated cloth” which shows that even our best works are unclean before God. What is also interesting is that the CSB bible has in their notes that the literal meaning is “menstrual.” Then why not use it as does the NET bible which says: “We are all like one who is unclean, all our so-called righteous acts are like a menstrual rag in your sight. We all wither like a leaf; our sins carry us away like the wind.” Others that make this passage clear by using “filthy rags” are: NKJV, DBY, WEB, NLT, NIV and of course the clearest of them all, the NET. Below are those version which have toned down the word of God.
Thou hast built thy high place at every head of the way, and hast made thy beauty to be abhorred, and hast opened thy feet to everyone that passed by, and multiplied thy whoredoms. Thou hast also committed fornication with the Egyptians thy neighbors, great of flesh; and hast increased thy whoredoms, to provoke me to anger.
Here in this passage of scripture above, we see God using the illustration of a whore giving herself over to fornication. This God did to expose Israel of her sins against him. Now, I would like to first point-out that the NIV makes it very clear on what’s being said here, for it reads: “At every street corner you built your lofty shrines and degraded your beauty, spreading your legs with increasing promiscuity to anyone who passed by. You engaged in prostitution with the Egyptians, your neighbors with large genitals, and aroused my anger with your increasing promiscuity.” Wow, I think this makes it very clear, don’t you? So, I would have to admit that even the KJV translators have toned down this passage compared to the NIV version. Those versions that do make it somewhat clear (or clearer) are the: KJV, NIV, CSB, ASV, HNV.
Below are those versions that seem to think that the literal words are a little over the top for God’s people.
Therefore, behold, I will bring evil upon the house of Jeroboam, and will cut off from Jeroboam him that pisseth against the wall, and him that is shut up and left in Israel, and will take away the remnant of the house of Jeroboam, as a man taketh away dung, till it be all gone.
Here we can see another example where the translators are toning down God’s word. For instead of using the literal inspired words “pisseth against the wall” (or urinate in our modern English) or the word “dung” (poop), publishers changed their meaning and thus obscure the true message of God. And why? Do they think its offensive or inappropriate to use a word that Got Himself inspired? We are not called to sterilize the Bible but to present it in all its truth.
Even though most translations do include the word “dung” in them, they still leave out the reference to “urinate.” However, they do make it clear that it is the males that God is talking about here. Those versions that use both the word “dung” and "males" are: NIV, ESV, CSB, NASB, NET, RSV, ASV DBY, WEB and HNV. Those that totally obscure this passage are listed below. Refuse or trash as the NKJV and the NLT has it does not convey much disgust as the scriptures intended. Nor does “those sitting on the wall” has anything to do with the male gender as the YLT has it.
I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.
To the Reader: I do realize that some may not agree with everything that’s contained in this article. However, we should not divide over these things. For we must realize not everybody is at the same level of faith. For Paul the apostle said: “Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions. One person has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only.” (Romans 14:1-2) So, God help us to be a people of unity and not divide over the non-major things.
“And He has put a new song in my mouth, praise to our God; many shall see it and fear, and shall trust in Jehovah.” (Psa 40:3)
Why do Christian musicians collect royalties and claim ownership for music and songs they don’t own? For God Himself is the true author and owner of them. For he is the one that puts the new songs in our hearts as we see above in Psalm 39:4. Therefore, God has freely given us these songs to share, so: “let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” (Colossians 3:16)
Now, it is true that Jesus did said: “the workman is worthy of his meat,” but He also said “freely ye have received, freely give.” (Matthew 10:8-10) So, let's consider what this means. Jesus sent out his disciples to preach, heal, raise the dead and cast out devils. So, they receive wages not for the message they received from God nor for the ability to preach it, but for their faithfulness of delivering it to others. In the same way, a Pastor of a congregation receive wages not for the sermon he received from God, but for being a good steward in delivering it. Yes, he may have spent time preparing it, but we must remember that God is the one who put it on his heart in the first place.
But what about Christian music? Isn’t it God who put the songs on our hearts in the first place as well? So, should we be getting wages for the songs we have penned? No, of course not because they were freely given to us from God. Therefore, we should only be getting wages for the work of delivery of it, but not for the song itself. For as said before, we’re not the true owners of it but God is. Once that song reaches another church assembly, it is now theirs to freely share. So please fellow Christians, stop collecting royalties for songs that were freely given to us by God.
Could you imagine the negative reaction David would have received if he demanded royalties for each of his psalms that he wrote? “Copyright by: Saint David Music Ministries. Any Duplication or Use without Prior Permission from the Copyright Owner is prohibited by Law.” I thank God that he never ended his psalms this way. For if he did, there may have been a big portion of the Old Testament missing. This would also be true for apostle Paul or any other writers of both the Old Testament and New. For we don't see any copyright notices or any royalties demanded by the Saints of the past. However, we have today’s publishers of the bible who wrongfully demand royalties and rights to scriptures that don’t belong to them. Yes, they should get paid for the work that’s associated with the production of it. But it’s wrong for them to place copyright restrictions on the scriptures that don’t belong to them. For its only God himself that holds the rights to his word, not man.
Now, building upon what was mentioned above. Let’s remember what Jesus Himself said to those who were selling things in the temple: “It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.” (Matthew 21:13) He said this to those who were making money off the people by selling things that were to be used for religious service. And yes, this can be applied to music as well as a sermon message. For if you're making money off the songs or a gospel message in which God is the originator, then your stealing. “For He also said: Take these things hence; make not my Father's house an house of merchandise.’ (John 2:16) Therefore, our time of gathering should be for worship and praise and not for a means of financial gain.
Now, I would like to say that I do love all my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ who are penning and singing these songs for the sake of the church and the world. I myself am a musician who loves to sing and worship God. However, I don’t want to mirror how the world operates or does things. For Jesus is calling us to come out of the world and be separate. Therefore, my fellow brothers and sister in Christ, let’s live as a true Christian and share the love of God freely. Amen.
“Now there was a rich man and he was clothed in purple and fine linen, making good cheer in splendour every day. And there was a poor man, by name Lazarus, who was laid at his gateway full of sores” (Luke 16:19-20)
Saying things that have no real value or meaning would be unfruitful and unproductive. So, when Jesus spoke of the rich man and Lazarus, would he be just throwing out some random name in a parable? For Jesus himself said: “I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.” (Matthew 12:36) Therefore, I believe that this is not some parable, but an actual event that did happen. I say this because Jesus is mentioning someone by name which never happened in any of his parables. Therefore, it’s our job to find out who Jesus is talking about. Now, if you read on in that same chapter mentioned above, you would notice that Lazarus above both died and was being comforted in the arms of Abraham. Therefore, I believe that Lazarus is none other than Marry and Martha’s brother who both died and was raised from the dead.
Below are a few key scriptures that support what was mentioned above:
“These are grumblers, finding fault, following after their own lusts; they speak arrogantly, flattering people for the sake of gaining an advantage.” (Jude 1:16)
After our church quire sang a song, I was approached by a friend of mine (who was involved in a secular music group) who told me that the song we sang did nothing for her. Now, even though she was a professing Christian, she still missed a very important point. For that song we sang was not for our entertainment, but for the glory and praise of God. You see, so many times we come to church with a worldly mentality. Thus, we expect a church to be a place of entertainment instead of a place to pray, worship and give glory to God.
Therefore, a church should not be a place to have our ears tickled. So, if you do find yourself in a church that’s geared toward entertainment, you may leave that place no closer to God. So, God help us to come to church only with an attitude of prayer and worship, deeply desiring to hear from him. For a church that is based on entertainment is a church that’s of the world.
Some scriptures that pertain to what was mentioned above:
“He delights not in the strength of the horse; He takes no pleasure in the legs of a man. Jehovah takes pleasure in those who fear Him, who hope in His mercy. Praise Jehovah, O Jerusalem; praise your God, O Zion.” (Psalms 147:10-12)
Why do we as humans think that the Most High God who created us is impressed with our athletic abilities or worldly feats? Come on people, he made us! God already knows what we can and cannot do. So, when it comes to the Bible verse which reads, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13), we shouldn’t believe that this can be applied to our athletic abilities. Because let’s face it, there are many successful athletes who are opposed to God’s truth. And what about those teams that have confessing Christians on both sides who may be praying for a win? So, if God did make a choice, wouldn’t that go against his word which says: “For God does not show favoritism” (Romans 2:11)?
And just to let you know, I was one of those whose life was wrapped up in sports. I was on my High School’s surf team, I played in Racket Ball tournaments, Golf tournament, ping pong matches, tennis matches, played Recreation & Sports hardball, and the list goes on. However, most of these things are based on competition which is built on pride and arrogance which God hates. So, when it comes to the opposition we may receive for sharing the Gospel, only through God’s strength can we endure and have true victory. Therefore Christians, it’s not us who gets the glory, but God himself. And yes, there are many Christian athletes who point to the sky as though God gave the victory. However, as said before, there are ungodly people who have been victorious just the same.
The apostle Peter said: “And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear” (1 Peter 1:17) And one last thought. Let’s remember what happened to Bethany Hamilton who is a sister in Christ. For at one point, she almost lost her life in a shark attack. This came about after she backed out of her commitment to go on a mission trip to help others. For she wanted to prepare for a surfing competition instead. This of course resulted in losing her arm (and almost her life) to a shark attack. This should be an example for us not to choose vain earthly pursuits over the works of God. Now, I'm not trying to be all judgmental because I followed after these things as well. But God showed me how empty all these worldly pursuits are. Therefore, I'm writing this in hope that you would see the same to.
Paul the apostle in a metaphoric way distinguishes us who are in a spiritual race from those of the world who compete in a physical race for their corruptible crown. For he says: “Know ye not that they that run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? Even so run; that ye may attain. And every man that striveth in the games exerciseth self-control in all things. Now they do it to receive a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible.” (1 Corinthians 9:24-25) Now, one may argue saying, “competition sports can’t be wrong. For why would Paul the apostle use an evil illustration to encourage us to do good.” Well, didn’t both Paul and Peter say that Jesus is going to come as a thief in the night? (1 Thessalonians 5:2, 2 Peter 3:10) Also, we have Jesus himself reaffirming this in Revelation 16:15? So, should we believe that Peter, Paul and our Savior Jesus all support the practice of thieves? God forbid, of course not. So, just because someone uses a worldly illustration to make a point, doesn’t mean they agree with the practice of it. (To see a full article on this subject, please click on the link: “Idolatry of Sports”)
The Jews during the life of Maccabee, got all caught up in the evil customs of the Greeks, which of course is our modern-day SPORTS. For we read: “In those days lawless men came forth from the sons of Israel, and they persuaded many, saying, ‘Let us make a covenant with the Gentiles surrounding us, for ever since we were separated from them, many evils have found us.’ This proposal found favor in their eyes, and some of the people eagerly desired to enter into this agreement. So they went to the king, and he gave them authority to observe the ordinances of the Gentiles. Then they built a gymnasium in Jerusalem according to the customs of the Gentiles, and made themselves as the uncircumcision. So they fell away from the holy covenant, yoked themselves to the Gentiles, and sold themselves to do evil.” (1 Maccabees 1:11-15)
We can see this also true in 2 Maccabees as well. For Jason who was high priest was given over to idolatrous sports. For we read: “But after the death of Seleucus, when Antiochus, called Epiphanes, took the kingdom, Jason the brother of Onias laboured underhand to be high priest, Promising unto the king by intercession three hundred and threescore talents of silver, and of another revenue eighty talents: Beside this, he promised to assign an hundred and fifty more, if he might have licence to set him up a place for exercise, and for the training up of youth in the fashions of the heathen, and to write them of Jerusalem by the name of Antiochians. …So there was the fullest expression of Hellenization and the adoption of foreign customs because of the surpassing wickedness of Jason, who was ungodly and not a true high priest. Therefore the priests were no longer eager to serve at the altar, but they despised the temple and neglected the sacrifices. Instead, they hastened to take part in the unlawful proceedings in the wrestling-school after the invitation to the discus. They counted the honors of their fathers as nothing, but regarded Greek honors as the best.” (2 Maccabees 4:7-9, 13-15)
“Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world” (Philippians 2:14-15)
“Hold the pickles hold the lettuce, special orders don’t upset us, all we ask is that you let us have it your way.” There may be a few of you who remember that little jingle from a Burger King commercial a while back. Simply put, Burger King is saying choose how you want your burger to be made. And though this may sound good for a burger restaurant, it's not really that good for a church. For there is only one who is to have his way in the church, and that’s God himself. So, let’s put aside our ways and desires and find out from God what his will for the church. This we can do through prayer and by studying his word. But don’t be surprised if you find that the church you’re in is nothing like the ones you find in the scriptures. So, do you want to see what a true church should look like, read the whole book of Acts. And for more information on a true church, please click this link: “A True Church”
“I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.” (Psalm 139:14)
God is an Awesome Creator, a Master Craftsman. The earth is his canvas, and we are his living artwork. And not only that, but we are made in God’s image, with the skills and gifts to build upon what he has already created. So, having said all that, I realize that everything that I see around me is in one form or another, God's handiwork. However, we must be careful that we glorify him only in everything we do. Don’t let the works of your hands or anything else you do, bring glory to yourself.
“But we are all as the unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as a menstruation cloth. And we all fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. And there is no one who calls on Your name, who stirs up himself to take hold of You. For You have hidden Your face from us, and have melted us away because of our iniquities. But now, O Jehovah, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You are our Former; and we all are the work of Your hand. Do not be grievously angry, O Jehovah, nor remember iniquity forever. Behold! Look, please; all of us are Your people.” (Isaiah 64:6-9)
We as people are inherently evil. The only way we can do any good is by totally yielding ourselves to God. When the crowed asked Jesus: “What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?” He responded saying: “This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” (John 6:29). So, we can see from the statement that Jesus made, the work we must do is to believe in him. And by so doing, we receive God’s Holy Spirit which molds us and shapes us into all that He wants us to be. Anything we try to do on our own is like filthy menstrual rag to God. And yes, this is what the Hebrew wording is referring to in Isaiah 64:6. So, I think you get the picture.
“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2)
Reading that passage above, what does the writer of Hebrews says concerning our Savior Jesus and the cross. Doesn't it say that: “He endured the cross, despising the shame.” Now, what does it mean to “endure”something? Doesn't it mean to put up with something that may be unpleasant or hard to bear? Secondly, what does it mean to despise something? Doesn’t it mean to hate or loath something. So, we can see that Jesus because of his great love toward us, endured the agony the shame and the mockery that was associated with the cross. The Bible says that he despised it.
So, what should our attitude be in view of all this? Shouldn’t we be totally humbled and be at reverential awe because of what took place on that cross? So, why would we want to sing how wonderful the cross is when Jesus himself despised the shame of it? This is wrong my fellow Christians. Therefore, let’s be highly esteeming Jesus himself, and not the cross. And let’s remember that Jesus Himself being in agony, was sweating as it were great drops of blood. For he was praying that the Father would, if possible, remove that cup that he was about to drink. (Matthew 26:39) And we know that the cross was a part of that which he did endure for us.
Well, you might say, “did not Paul say ‘God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ?” And I would have to say yes, he did. However, if we read it in its full context, we would see that it’s not giving us a license to praise and worship the cross. For Paul is boasting in that which Jesus accomplished on it. For Paul goes on to say: “by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” (Galatians 6:14)So, it’s all about what Jesus has done and not the cross itself. For without Christ, the cross is nothing.
Something to think about: What if Jesus came to earth in our lifetime or even a few generations ago to give his life a ransom for our sins? What kind of death would he die? Wouldn’t it be through a hanging, a firing squad, an electric or a gas chamber? So then, would you be singing “Oh the wonderful noose” or “Oh the wonderful electric chair” or any of the other death methods just mentioned? And if so, wouldn’t people call you sick and morbid? And how much more would the early church call you sick or morbid if they heard you sing, “how I love that old rugged cross” or even worse singing, “Oh the wonderful cross” during a time when they knew how gruesome the cross was. Therefore, shouldn’t we be ripping those songs out of every hymnal and destroy every recording?
Last of all, let us remember the cry of misery that Jesus gave to the Father while hanging on the cross. For “Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46) For He was forsaken so that you and I can be forgiven and be brought into a right relationship with Father. Amen
Do you see a man hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him. (Proverbs 29:20)
Do you ever say something off the top of our head? Well, if you’re one that does, you should be thinking twice before you opening your mouth next time. I say this because you may be eating your own words. For not only do we have that passage quoted above, but in Proverbs we also read: “The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.” (Proverbs 18:21) And yes, I’ve seen the consequences of others (as well as myself) who have spoken in hast.
Now, one such person that comes to mind is a pastor who had a very large church. So, during one of his sermons, he made light about coming down with cancer. For he indicated that you shouldn’t panic when the doctor tells you that you have cancer. Then he went on to say that he wouldn’t panic but say, “hum, cancer, an interesting way to go.” This he said to a church that holds over 2000 people per service and is aired over the radio. So, could you imagine what those who had cancer (or anyone who knew someone that had cancer) were thinking when he said this? Cancer IS NOT an interesting way to go, but a horrible way to go. And sure enough, he did come down with cancer and ended up dying from it. I say this not mockingly, but with sorrow because I knew this man and loved him as a dear brother in Christ. For he was my Paster at one time.
Next, there was this well know Christian radio talk host that spoke lightly about his own life. For during one of his shows, he was talking about the immortality of our souls. Then he went on to share how he rides his motorcycle in the carpool lane and how people pull in front of him. And to make his point clear, he said that at any time “some idiot” could knock him off his motorcycle and spread his body parts all over the road. And sure enough, on his way home that day he got knocked off his motorcycle and died around a month later. Now, some claimed that he prophesied of his death. However, that’s not true because his body parts WERE NOT scattered all over the road. So, let’s be careful how we speak concerning our own life (and the life of others) my brothers and sisters in Christ. Therefore, if anyone speaks a word of harm directed to you, rebuke it in the name of Jesus. Amen.
Now please, I'm not trying to be all judgmental, for I myself am guilty for speaking in hast as well. For during a time when I was obsessed with the worldly sport of Racquetball, I told my opponents that they’re going to regret playing against my partner and I. And sure enough, my partner accidentally hit one of our opponents in the eye with the ball and shattered his glass contact lenses. After taking him to the emergency room, I never saw that person again on the courts. How irresponsible this was of me. For I regret ever saying such a careless thing.