Monthly Archives: October 2013

What Does the Future Hold?

The future holds for us great promise and great possibilities. It also holds out the possibility of great sadness and calamity. Nevertheless, we treasure it highly. We value it, especially when it concerns our own fortune or welfare. Some are afraid of the future because it does hold the possibility of misfortune and so they live one day at a time, not giving any thought whatsoever to what might be. There are many others who want to know just exactly what the future holds for them. There is, in fact, a great deal of money made in the industries of fortune telling, horoscopes, Psychic Friends Network, and things of that sort. Of course, none of those things accurately provide a real glimpse of the future.

In the past, however, there were some who were given the opportunity to correctly foresee the future. Adam and Eve were told by God in the garden that the woman’s seed would one day gain ultimate victory over the serpent (Gen. 3:15).

Noah was forewarned that the world would be destroyed by a great deluge and saved his family alive by building an ark after the pattern and fashion God prescribed (Gen. 6-9).

Abraham was told by God that in him all the families of the earth would be blessed (Gen. 12:1-3). On a very personal note, he was told that he would be blessed with a son and that his seed would be as many as the stars in the heavens in multitude and as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable (Gen. 15:4,5; 17:16; Heb. 11:11,12).

The prophets throughout the history of Israel foretold them of their future.

In the New Testament, Peter was told by the Lord, Himself, what kind of death he would die (John 21:18,19).

In Matthew twenty-four, when Jesus had told his disciples that the buildings of the temple would be cast down and that there would not be one stone left upon another, they asked the Lord, “When shall these things be and what shall be the sign of Thy coming?” (Matt. 24:3). They wanted to know what was going to happen in their future.

Many times we, ourselves, will make plans about things we want to do in the weeks ahead, even in the years ahead. We may plan many things years in advance. But the writer of Proverbs tells us that this is really all in vain. He writes, “Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth” (Prov. 27:1). We do not know what will happen tomorrow or even one hour from now. It may be that tomorrow will be just like every other day we have ever experienced or it may be that another day will bring something totally different. James tells us in James 4:13, 14, “Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow.” We simply can’t tell the future. It may be that we will live another day. Maybe not. Only God knows the future.

You and I can never know with absolute certainty what lies in our future except for that which God has revealed. We know the Lord is coming again, though we know not the time (John 14:1-4). We know that the dead will rise from their earthly tombs (John 5:28,29). We know that the majority of mankind will be lost (Matt. 7:13,14). We know there will be a judgement (Acts 17:30,31). We know that unless the Lord returns, we will all face death (Heb.9:27). We know the lost will spend eternity in unrelenting torment and the righteous in everlasting life (Matt. 25:46; Rev. 20:15; 21:1-8).

We know with absolute certainty that these things will happen. But we do not know when. Mark 13 gives us a parallel passage to the Matthew 24 passage we noted earlier. While Jesus gives His disciples signs for the destruction of Jerusalem, which would enable first century Christians in Jerusalem to prepare themselves for its impending destruction by fleeing, in verse 32 He states, “But of that day and that hour [i.e., the end of time-ELP] knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father” (Mark 13:32). Knowing that they will happen, knowing that God has appointed a day (Acts 17:31), ought we not to be prepared? Shouldn’t we do our absolute best to be found faithful to the Lord when He does return?

“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless” (II Peter 3:10-14).

“Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come…Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh” (Matt. 24:42, 44).

Eric L. Padgett

Do We Have Eternal Life Now?

I had a written conversation with Don K. Preston some time ago and this is a part of that discussion. Preston promulgates the A. D. 70 heresy, as taught by Max King, that “the second coming of Christ, including the establishment of the eternal kingdom, the day of judgment, the end of the world and the resurrection of the dead, occurred with the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A. D.” (see Clarke). The questions below come from Preston, with my answers following. They focus on a narrow slice of the discussion regarding the eternal inheritance. To be fair, there is a larger context that cannot be re-posted here because of it’s length, but this portion, I believe, accurately portrays his position, as well as mine.

Question: “Does the Christian have to die and leave this world to receive the eternal inheritance? No. This is true because we are born of incorruptible seed when we come into Christ at baptism ( 1 Peter 1:21f). At that juncture we become a member of the one family that spans heaven and earth (Eph. 3:14f).”

ANSWER: 1) You contradict yourself. First you said we have an inheritance that fades not away in heaven for us, but then you say we do not have to leave this world to receive the eternal inheritance. But you agreed that Heaven is sperate from this world. Unless you are saying that the inheritance is reserved in Heaven for us but is given to us while we are on the earth, this makes no sense. Is this what you are saying? If it is, then there is even more confusion. You are saying that when a person obeys the gospel, he receives the inheritance. But the inheritance is reserved. That means that the inheritance is reserved for a person while they are a sinner, and given to them when they become a Christian. Where does the Bible say God reserves the inheritance for sinners?

2) Jesus said that in the “world to come” we shall receive eternal life (Mark 10:29). He contrasts this “world to come” in this passage with “now in this time”(v. 30). In the parallel passage, Matthew 19:28,29, Jesus identifies for us “this time” as the “regeneration,” when the Son of man shall sit on His throne. This is the Christian dispensation (Tit. 2:5). The “world to come,”then, must be when the Christian dispensation comes to an end. It is then we will receive eternal life.

3) Jesus said, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth…but lay up for yourselves treasures in Heaven…” (Matt. 6:19,20).

4) It is certainly true that we are born of incorruptible seed at baptism (I Pet. 1:21-25). But Peter wrote just previous to this: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (I Peter 1:3-5). Peter said we are begotten unto “an inheritance…reserved in Heaven.” They had not already received this inheritance then, even though they had already been born of incoruptible seed, for they were “kept” and it was “to be revealed in the last time.” You say they had the inheritance already but Peter said they had to wait for it. I believe Peter, inspired as he was.

5) Abraham’s journey to the promised land is a type of our journey to Heaven (Heb. 11:8). According to your view of eternal inheritance, Abraham had already received the promised land when he believed even though he had never seen it, set foot on it, or knew where it was. But Paul said he was to receive it “after.” Paul says we must with “faith and patience” inherit the promises (Heb. 6:12). Then he uses Abraham as an example of patience and says that we have a hope which serves as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus” (Heb. 6:19-20). Jesus has entered into Heaven (Acts 1:9,10). He is our “forerunner.” Therefore, we shall enter into Heaven to obtain that eternal inheritance. You have need of patience, that, after you have done the will of God, you might receive the promise (Heb. 10:35-39).

6) It is certainly true that we become a member of the family of God by the incorruptible seed (Eph. 3:6,14). But this family, which has been purchased (Acts 20:28), waits for for redemption (Eph. 1:14; Rom. 8:23).

Eric L. Padgett

Good Advice

The following comes from the Biblical Illustrator.  All of these principles are biblical.  If more people practiced these truths, this country, and the world, would be a much better place.

“The Hon. Stephen Allen, who had been Mayor of New York, was drowned from on board the Henry Clay. In the pocket book was found a printed slip, apparently cut from a newspaper, a copy of which we give below. It is worthy to be engraven on the heart of every young man:—’Keep good company, or none. Never be idle. If your hands can’t be usefully employed, attend to the cultivation of your mind. Always speak the truth. Make few promises. Live up to your engagements. Keep your own secrets if you have any. When you speak to a person look him in the face. Good company and good conversation are the very sinews of virtue. Good character is above all things else. Your character cannot be essentially injured except by your own acts. If any one speaks evil of you let your life be so that none will believe him. Drink no kind of intoxicating liquors. Ever live (misfortune excepted) within your income. When you retire to bed, think over what you have been doing during the day. Make no haste to be rich if you would prosper. Small and steady gains give competency with a tranquil mind. Never play at any game of chance. Avoid temptation, through fear you may not withstand it. Earn money before you spend it. Never run into debt unless you see a way to get out again. Never borrow if you can possibly avoid it. Do not marry until you are able to support a wife. Never speak evil of any one. Be just before you are generous. Keep yourself innocent if you would be happy. Save when you are young, to spend when you are old. Read over the above maxims at least once a week.’”

Eric L. Padgett

It Pleased the Lord to Bruise Him

No one wants to be bruised. Whatever event that brings it on is usually painful and it continues to be sore for quite some time. Bruises, we have all had them. Generally they are not very serious, resulting from some blunt trauma. However, in rare cases, they may indicate something even more serious. The Bible uses the bruise to teach important lessons about sin.

First, God does not accept anything that is bruised. “Ye shall not offer unto the Lord that which is bruised, or crushed, or broken, or cut; neither shall ye make any offering thereof in your land” (Lev. 22:24). An offering to God must be without blemish of any kind (Lev. 22:17-25). We should keep this in mind when we worship God. Are our prayers heart-felt and sincere, or are they merely an outward display (Matt. 6:5-15)? Is our worship in song from the heart or are the words we sing merely for our entertainment (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16)? During the preaching of the word, is our heart and mind directed toward the truths spoken or do our minds wander aimlessly about, thinking about the previous day’s activities, or about what we are going to be doing today, or something else? Is our heart really in our worship and service to God? If not, it is bruised and unacceptable to God. Offering to God that which is pure takes effort but, like David, we should only offer our best to God, not that which costs us nothing (II Sam. 24:24).

Second, Jesus was bruised for us. “Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand” and “he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed” (Is. 53:10,5). Though the Bible does not say specifically, I am certain that Jesus sustained very severe, literal bruises from the beatings He took from the Roman soldiers and the scourging from the temple guards. He literally was bruised for us. But, more than this, He Who knew no sin, was made to be sin for us that we might be acceptable to God (II Cor. 5:21). Because God is of purer eyes than to behold evil, the Father turned away from Him in that desperate hour (Matt. 27:45,46). How terribly alone and forsaken Jesus must have felt at that moment!

Third, this was all a part of God’s plan from the beginning. “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:15). From the beginning the Father knew His Son would suffer on the cross for man’s sin (Rev. 13:8). The fact that the Lord knew that Jesus would have to go to the cross even before He created man shows the tremendous love that the Father has for us. The Lord must have thought us very much worth it to see the price that had to be paid and still go through with this plan. The blessings of salvation must be of far greater value than the possibility of eternal damnation (Rom. 8:18-39).

Finally, now that Jesus has suffered for us, made to be a propitiation for our sins (I John 2:2), He can heal our bruises and our bind up our wounds. Jesus said “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” (Luke 4:18). We are battered and bruised by sin, but Jesus can heal us and bind up our wounds (Luke 10:34). He took part of “flesh and blood” for this very reason, that He might destroy the power of the devil, deliver us from death, and succour them suffer (Heb. 2:14-18).

What a Friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear!

Eric L. Padgett