Martin Collins, citing a study conducted by Dr. Tara Stewart (as reported in Guy Christopher's blog), explains why journalists of the mainstream media have fallen into disapproval for their widespread deception and bias. This study demonstrated that journalists seem to have less brain power than others to "regulate emotions, solve complex problems... and think flexibly and creatively." Furthermore, they "understand less about what is going on than most people around them and are far less competent to figure out what is wrong or how to make it right." This study found that reporters and journalists have less ability to "suppress biases" than workers in other fields, perhaps explaining the findings of a number of recent polls which suggest that 65% of news consumers believe that reporters write fake news. While these mendacious reporters with deadened consciences can evade polygraph detectors, they cannot evade the scrutiny of Almighty God and the tests for truth found in His Word. In post-truth America, where media reports far more falsehood than truth, God's called-out ones need to be careful not to "buy" the deceit consistently proffered by the mainstream media.
James Beaubelle reflects that we must give diligence to use what God has given us, realizing that, (1) if He has given us much, He requires much in return and (2) without Christ, we can do nothing. Consequently, realizing that God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble, we dare not allow our pride to make us judgmental. If pride has overtaken us, correction is around the corner. Three symptoms of self-exalting pride include our tendency (1) to lie, building up the self by fabricating falsehoods to protect our fragile self-image, while at the same time denigrating others in order to make us feel superior; (2) to engage in foolish competitiveness, associating intrinsic worth to anything connected with transient, material possessions; and (3) to engage in intellectual pride, believing our personal 'brainchildren' are more valuable than God's Truth. The antidote to all three tendencies is humility, a virtue that does not come naturally, but one we must learn, as did Naaman, the King of Syria. Naaman went from arrogant rage a humble submission. As God's called-out ones, we must learn the godly attribute of humility, understanding that learning this lesson from Scripture is preferable to learning it by experience.
David Grabbe points out that carnal nature will exist during the Millennium, even though Satan, imprisoned, will be unable then to deceive people. Satan, the inveterate rebel, refuses to repent, even after suffering 1,000 years of confinement and after witnessing the beauty of a civilization led by God. Upon his release, Satan expertly manipulates the pulls of carnal nature. Just as Satan is a creature of pride, so human nature drives us to elevate ourselves over God and others. Human nature remains the counterpoise to God, even during the Millennium—even in the converted children of God. The old man, emboldened by Satan's deceptions, will raise his ugly head again at the end of the Millennium, driving those who do not love the truth to rebel. When the Rebel and his followers are destroyed, rebellion and sin will perish forever. Nothing will ever mar the perfection of God's creation again.
Mike Ford, cautioning us that there are responsible and irresponsible uses of numbers, warns us that only God's numerical patterns are reliable, while all humanly-devised uses of numbers, such as horoscopes, are bogus. Satan has from the beginning attacked God's numerical patterns, but to God's called-out ones, they remain clear. The number 1 is divisible by one: God is one; Christ is the first and the last; there is one body and one Shepherd, as opposed to Satan's "trinitarian" teaching that one is three. The number 2 suggests duality, as the duality of man and woman, old and new covenant, two witnesses, and the two tablets containing the Ten Commandments. The number 3 indicates the finality of judgment, as in the three righteous patriarchs before the Flood, three annual feasts, three days and nights Christ was in the grave. The number 4 indicates God's revelation of Himself, as in the four seasons and the fourth Commandment. The number 5 signifies the number of grace as in the five books of the Law and five books of the Psalms. The number 6 is the number of man with all his mistakes, culminating in the number of the Beast—666. The number 7 is the number of completions, such as seven days of creation, seven annual holy Days, and the seven plagues of the last days.
Richard Ritenbaugh, reflecting on the popular song, "My Way," (popularized by Frank Sinatra) warns that God's Called-out ones should never emulate the haughty and self-willed attitude this song glorifies. God created us in His image, giving us the wherewithal to expand Eden worldwide. If Adam and Eve had followed God's instructions, they and their posterity would have accomplished this. Instead, the drives of carnal nature proved to be more important to them than obedience to their Creator, an orientation which dashed all hopes they would spread Edenic bliss worldwide. In Psalm 14, we learn that no one has of himself overcome the pulls of carnality to overt evil, rebellion and hostility toward God. Carnal human nature and Godly character are polar opposites, as Paul illustrated in Romans 7, where he bemoans the power of his carnality to compel him to do the opposite of what he knew to be God's will. Carnal pulls are easy to follow because they lead us to "go with the flow" of the world. To walk in the Spirit means swimming against the current, aligning ourselves with God's will by doing three things: (1) Becoming a living sacrifice, committing ourselves to lifelong service to God, (2) actively participating or cooperating in our transformation by adjusting our thoughts to be in sync with His and (3) employing three essential baseline attitudes—humility, clear-headed thinking, and faith. The Apostle James points out that to know what is right and to willfully go against this knowledge is sin. All of us stand guilty under that definition of sin. God wants to see striving in the battle against sin.
Mike Ford: As Part Two concluded, we began to look into the apostle Paul's prophetic warning in II Thessalonians 2:1-4 about the deceptions of the Man of Sin: "Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus ...
Mike Ford: In John 8:40, Jesus points out that, even though they were physically descended from righteous Abraham, the members of His Jewish audience acted as if Satan were their real father: "But now you seek ...
Mike Ford: The June 2017 issue of National Geographic Magazine contains a story, "Why We Lie: The Science Behind Our Deceptive Ways," which begins like this: In the fall of 1989 Princeton University welcomed ...
John Ritenbaugh, asking us if we recognize truths, especially in the current milieu when a high percentage of mainstream media has become infected with a sinister, politically driven fake news narrative, points out that God's Word is the only verifiable source of legitimate truth. The cynicism of Pontius Pilate concerning the nature of truth stemmed from obsequious appeals on the part of self-serving Roman and Jewish citizens for a 'favorable' specific legal decision. Pilate realized that people can easily twist truth from half-truths to bald-faced lies. Public media today, driven as it is by prejudicial opinions shaped by Satan, is no different. Consequently, because of its contamination with political bias and hatred toward anything marginally godly, we are unable to trust the mainstream media. Sheryl Atkinson, whose exposé of the 'progressive' media describes how biased journalists destroyed the reputation of Robert Bork and nearly succeeded in destroying the reputation of Clarence Thomas, cautions that most media continue to manipulate a hate-filled narrative, attempting to shape public opinion and the outcome of elections. The fake news of the mainstream media follows in the tradition of Queen Jezebel, who used false testimony to destroy Naboth and steal his property.
Mike Ford, reflecting on a pair of articles from National Geographic, "Why We Lie: The Science Behind Our Deceptive Ways" and Psychology Today "Why Do We Lie," both contending that some lying is expedient, therapeutic, and beneficial, suggests that Satan, the Father of Lies, has scored a significant cultural victory over traditional values. Sadly, any departure from the truth, even through a so-called "white" lie, is straying into a deadly minefield. As Walter Scott proclaimed, "O, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive!" When Jesus chastised the Pharisees in John 8:44, juxtaposing murderer and liar, the relationship between lying and all other sin becomes clear. Breaking one commandment breaks all the others. As God's called-out ones, we must reject Satan's siren song, proclaimed by faithless mankind, that lying is a survival tool. We have reached a time in our culture where we must be skeptical of everything in the media, realizing that the mainstream media has created a narrative embedded in incessant prevarication. The man of sin (II Thessalonians 2:9) will deceive with lying wonders so convincing that he will deceive even the elect, if they are not grounded in the truth.
Richard Ritenbaugh, continuing his excursion through the Book of Lamentations, observes that the expressions of sorrow in the Psalms far outnumber expressions of praise, indicating that the Hebrew culture has almost made the lamentation an art form. An organizational pattern useful in the examination of these lamentations is Elisabeth Kubler Ross's grief-model, positing five stages of grief: 1.) denial and isolation, 2.) anger, 3.) bargaining, 4.) depression, and finally 5.) acceptance. These five stages of grief processing seem to be universal, even though outward manifestations may vary from person to person. In Lady Jerusalem's case, isolation, anger and blaming, and inconsolable depression seems to dominate in the first two chapters of Lamentations. She is a long way from acknowledging her own fault, a confession which would lead to the peaceful acceptance of her lot. To this point, she has not even expressed a credible Mea Culpa. In chapter 2, the priests and prophets come under intense scrutiny for relying on their own feelings rather than God's counsel, proclaiming lies rather than truth. The narrator also chastens the people for enabling the false ministers by insisting on their comfort zone, believing they were God's people because they had Solomon's temple in their midst, while at the same time they tacitly accepted the 'pleasures' of sin. In chapter 2, Lady Jerusalem, wallowing in ocean currents of grief, still points an accusing finger at God.
John Ritenbaugh, using Paul Harvey's technique of exposing the "rest of the story," learned that the elderly lady who had sued McDonald's because of third-degree burns from excessively hot coffee only wanted remuneration for the cost of her medical attention and her attorney's fees. However, after McDonald's refused payment, she hired an attorney; subsequently, the jury found that the passing of the 190-degree coffee from the clerk to the driver to the woman constituted an accident waiting to happen, and because of McDonald's reckless conduct, awarded the woman approximately $3 million dollars. When McDonald's countersued, the tort attorneys adjusted the figure to $600 thousand dollars, even though the woman would have settled for far less. Few of us ever heard of the last wrinkle of that episode. We hear the "whole truth" as seldom as we hear the "whole story." By nature, news requires a sense of urgency to grab our attention, whether from the town crier or the drive-by media. The bogus news about the Russians hacking the elections came from the Jeff Bezos -controlled Washington Post and Amazon. MSNBC, CNN and the rest of the state-controlled media rely on CIA (the American equivalent of the defunct Soviet KGB) propaganda, both agencies that have routinely hacked the intelligence networks of other countries. Both Loretta Lynch and F.B.I. Director Comey warned that this story was a lie, but the mainstream media continually resuscitated the lie and gave it life. Satan is the author of slander and fake news, whether generated by the state-controlled media or independent blogs. We must be diligent, not allowing out minds to be twisted along with a sizable portion of our fellow citizens.
Joe Baity cautions us that we are in the middle of a continual media warfare in which God's truth is challenged with Satan's lies, forcing us, as God's called-out ones, to develop spiritual discernment to penetrate the widespread fog of disinformation perpetrated by Satan's society. Satan has been able to artfully blend lies with half-truths to create a poisonous blend which appears deceptively harmless to us. The state-controlled media has given our civil leaders a pass, enabling them to lie about the state of our nation, completely removing any stigma connected to lying. Philosopher David Livingstone Smith believes our culture has hard-wired into us the propensity to lie as a kind of defense mechanism to protect our self-esteem. Our culture, he explains, possesses an insatiable thirst for stories of deception such as Shakespeare's King Lear and Othello. For most of society, Satan has effectively taken over the cultural narrative. Consequently, as God's called-out ones, we must steadfastly remain separate from the world, keeping a safe distance from the hypnotic satanic intrigue served out by the media, trusting only in the pure word of God.
John Ritenbaugh, referring to the peppery interchange of Donald Trump, labeling the mainstream reporters as liars, and the political reporters as incredible liars, focuses on the revision of a television miniseries, Roots. The original production alleged to be a 'true' history of Alex Haley, while in fact it vastly distorted the truth. Alex Haley did not even write the original story, but plagiarized it from Harold Courlander's, The African, a totally fictional account of an African boy sold into slavery by white European slave traders. Even that part of Courlander's story is a distortion of the truth, since the slave trading on the African continent was done by dark-skinned Muslims, a culture whose history has always been replete with trading of human flesh for sexual or labor purposes. When Courlander sued Alex Haley for plagiarism, the court awarded him $650,000, but ordered him to remain silent while the poisonous false propaganda permeated the airwaves, brainwashing over 100 million gullible Americans, leading to uncontrollable racial tension. Colleges and universities got on board by developing courses based upon the 'historical' events surrounding the Roots series, one of the biggest con-jobs of the 1970's, a lie which Hollywood and the leftist media eagerly wants to resuscitate to cause more tension and hatred between the races.
John Ritenbaugh, asserting that the term leadership never explicitly appears in the King James Version of the Bible,while the terms follow and follower are abundantly distributed, concludes that any form of leadership must be preceded by following. God tells us what we are to follow in the Covenants, legal entities, unfortunately, that neither the ministry nor the membership have exhibited much interest in studying. Because of lack of covenant knowledge, Israel (both ancient and modern) have been perennially cursed with a massive breakdown of leadership. The whole body from head to feet is sick, covered with putrefying sores; we are a people laden with iniquity. God places the blame for the lack of leadership on the shepherds: the ministry, the President, Congress, Supreme Court Justices, heads of Corporations, heads of educational institutions, mayors, city council members, and perhaps the most important shepherd of all, the parent. Our first parents Adam and Eve totally botched their child-rearing responsibilities, but our father Abraham provided us a better example of how to lead our families, pointing them to the laws of God. Our citizenry has rejected God's laws and have wallowed in a mire of incessant lies. Consequently, the world is hopelessly lost morally and spiritually. God's called-out ones must separate themselves from this despicable anti-God mindset. We need to qualify to lead by internalizing the contents of the covenants, not only believing God, but doing what He says, realizing that the covenants are not as complicated or complex as Satan has lead his 'ministers' to believe. God's word—the Bible, and especially the book of Deuteronomy—provides the keys to true leadership. The world's 'Christianity' has largely rejected Deuteronomy, especially the binding commandment to keep God's Sabbath forever. For those yet uncalled, God is truly not in their minds; we cannot afford to emulate them.
David Maas reflects that, after God has forgiven our sins, He has, nevertheless, allowed residual memories of these transgressions to remain in our memory banks, evidently to aid us in the overcoming and sanctification process. Three major purposes God may have for our retaining the trace memories of our former sins are1) We learn to love God's holy law by experiencing the painful consequences and disastrous effects of lawlessness, developing a hatred or abhorrence for sin, in order that we purpose to never again repeat that experience; 2) The sins serve as a thorn in our flesh to keep us humble and far away from pride; and 3) We experience the ache these trace memories bring in order to help others now, or in the Millennium, who suffer from the same weaknesses and vulnerabilities as we have experienced throughout our lives. Whatever Satan has intended for bad, God has purposed for good.
In a letter to subscribers, WND.com’s David Kupelian writes: "Half way through 2014, it’s incredible to behold what has happened to America. ..."
David Grabbe, citing a commentary referring to envy as the most precious daughter, makes a distinction between covetousness (desire for things) and envy ( emanating from a hatred for another person's success). Envy led Cain to kill Abel, and the Jewish leaders to crucify Jesus Christ. Satan was envious of a Superior Being. James links human wisdom with envy and self-seeking, attended with confusion and unease. Envy will separate the body of Christ if she (Satan's most precious daughter) can get her hooks into us. Envy led Joseph's brothers to plot to kill him for what they perceived as favoritism. Joseph, on the other hand, worked for the betterment of those above him. Retaining God in our knowledge is the key to keeping envy at bay. Any success or prosperity is because of what God has done; who are we to disagree with Him. Envy is the result of pushing God from our knowledge. It is easy to follow in Satan's footsteps, courting his daughter Envy, reaping the disquiet which accompanies envy.
"Abomination" is a word that is quickly becoming archaic in modern usage because so few things are considered abominable anymore. Martin Collins provides both secular and religious meanings for the term, as well as a survey of biblical Hebrew and Greek words that convey a similar idea.
Richard Ritenbaugh, cuing in on the "What is truth?" episode in John 18:32-37, suggests that John wants us to ask that question of ourselves. Pilate seemed to believe that all the charges against Jesus were built up on lies and trumped-up charges. Jesus, conversely, was the perfect witness and embodiment of the truth—the truth and the way to eternal life. Pontius Pilate was a Roman prefect, probably involved in intrigue and shady backroom deals. The reason behind Pilate's question—- the tone of voice he used when he asked "What is truth?", has been a matter of perennial speculation: Did he ask it sincerely, sarcastically, wistfully, curiously, or impatiently? Pilate realized that Jesus did not have a political motive. Perhaps, Pilate asked the question in a skeptical, world-weary, futile manner, despairing of ever finding a true legitimate answer, feeling that everybody shades their own realities to suit themselves and their preconceptions. Deceit is our most grave problem as we continue in the world and in the church. Post-modern standards deny the existence of truth. Some secular humanists, who control much of higher education, feel that some truths (as practiced by Christians) should not be tolerated. The Olivet Prophecy places deceit at the top of the dangers confronting Christians, who, at the end-times, will be living in the deluge of information age or the disinformation age, powerful enough to deceive the very elect. Satan wants to flood the environment of our minds with a deluge of lies. If a person practices what he preaches, he is likely to tell the truth; we judge by the fruit produced. We have to analyze everything we see and hear, filtering it through the standards and principles of the Holy Scripture, realizing that we have generally not been taught to do this. False teachers tend to chip away at truth one little piece at a time, trying to find an angle to cast doubt on the integrity of the entirety of our belief system. God's Word is the only pure thing in which we
John Ritenbaugh, reflecting on the May 15, 2014 opening of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum, noticed that former President George Bush and Vice President Richard Cheney were highly conspicuous by their absences, while President Obama, a rather timid warrior on the War on Terrorism was boldly front-and-center at this event. It gives one cause to reflect that the events of 9/11, and the subsequent reactions, may have all been carefully crafted by multinational conspiracy intent upon destroying the culture and dominance of the west. Sadly, the current Administration has developed the reputation for hyper-mendacity, unparalleled and unsurpassed for over 230 years. Senator Ted Cruz has documented 76 major lies since President Obama's tenure in office, including his birth status, the Fast and Furious Program, arming drug cartels to murder rivals, the cowardly retreat and cover-up of Ben Ghazi, IRS intimidation of political opponents, attempted bullying and land takeovers in Nevada and New Mexico, seemingly provoking anger and rebellion on a scale to justify martial law. The mendacious propaganda produced in Washington makes the work of Goebbels look amateurish.
Martin Collins, focusing upon various interpretations of who or what constitutes antichrists, examines several characteristics of this group of beings, including fostering deception and confusion, preventing fellowship, and creating intense spiritual conflict. Realizing that our real enemies are not human beings at all, but demonic principalities emanating from the spirit of darkness, we are mandated to put on the whole armor of God, embracing the truth. The mystery of evil and lawlessness has been extant from the beginning of the early church, recognized by Paul and John. Some teachers in the early church actually attained leadership and influence in the teaching of noxious false doctrine. Ultimately, the being or order emerging as the antichrist will be motivated directly by Satan. Historically, antichrist teachers have proclaimed that Jesus was only a man, or that He had a phantom body and never really experienced death. The syncretistic new religion of Chrislam is actually a prime example of antichrist doctrine. The false prophet and the great political leader in Revelation 13 and 17 will both be worshipped by people duped by Satan to believe a strong delusion. We need to be on guard for antichrist influences attempting to penetrate the greater church of God. We are admonished to test the spirits, realizing that heretical tares have been permitted to test our faith. The spirit of the antichrist is alive and well today, attempting to sabotage our spiritual welfare and steal our spiritual crown.
II Corinthians 6:14-16 contains a warning that good and evil do not mix, so as Christians, we must be careful to avoid having anything to do with what is wrong. Highlighting Proverbs 8:13, David Grabbe reveals that the fear of God plays a significant role in ridding evil from our lives.
The world is so full of lying and other forms of deceit that "bearing false witness" has become a way of life for the vast majority of humanity. In discussing the ninth commandment, John Ritenbaugh reveals the relationship between telling the truth and faithfulness, virtues that are necessary parts of an effective witness.
Richard T. Ritenbaugh: Since September 11, 2001—and frankly since long before then—the Western and Islamic worlds have increasingly collided. ...
Martin Collins asserts that American Presidents have had a long history of lying to their electorates. The Apostle Paul, as he tells us to put off the old man, says we must put away lying, adding that we must always apply the truth, and that the only way we can understand the truth is to apply the truth, putting on the New Man. Paul tells us to stop lying and start telling the truth. Satan deceives the whole world by mixing in a little bit of truth with a great deal of falsehood, promoting cultural pagans or tares among the wheat or members of the church of God. The differences between cultural pagans and Christianity consist of (1) the reasons Non-Christians give to lead their lives- theoretical and abstract, with no concrete basis in the truth.(2)Cultural pagans trust in their intellectual vanity while Christians depend upon God‚s leadership (3) Cultural Pagans, with their morality divorced from Christ, are led into pride and self satisfaction. (4) Cultural Pagans leave the old man untouched, merely whitewashing the surface. (5) Cultural Pagans cover over hideous sins like homosexuality and sodomy, embracing them as the norm. Jesus suggests if it even emanates from our minds, we are polluted and contaminated by our sins. (6) Cultural Pagans know only how to repress evil. Christianity mortifies the flesh, but also stresses the positive aspects of doing good, serving one another in love. Cultural Pagans, while proclaiming cultural diversity, press everyone in the same degenerate mold, inspired by their father-Satan the Devil. Christianity promotes self-governance, submitting to the will of God. (7) Cultural Pagans are perpetually cold and dead, exuding absolutely no warmth. A True Christian loves not only his neighbor, but even his enemy, radiating warmth and joy. Christianity, with its abhorrence of falsehood, is far more practical than cultural paganism- totally enmeshed in lying, destroying relationships in the process.
Martin G. Collins: Statistics show that the more education an American citizen has, the more likely he will support such human perversions as abortion and homosexuality. ...
Richard T. Ritenbaugh: Throughout a normal day, we are constantly reminded just how little we can trust what we hear or read. ...
We all know about the church grapevine. It's very good in spreading news, but it can be equally as evil when it spreads gossip and rumor. David Maas reveals how gossip harms the gossip himself.
The Ninth Commandment: You Shall Not Bear False Witness.
A Bible study into the meaning of the Ninth Commandment: You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
Our world is full of lies and liars, and many in God's church are ignorant of just how much deceit is out there. Jesus tells us, however, that the best way to resist deception is being convicted of the truth.
John Ritenbaugh insists that the hallmark of true Christian character is humility, which comes about only when one sees himself in proper comparison to God. Then he can see himself in proper comparison to other men. The opposite of humility—pride, arrogance, and an inordinate self-esteem—leads us to put down, scorn, or make perverted comparisons between others and ourselves. Because a pride-filled person feels overlooked or his accomplishments undervalued, harboring pride leads to depression, frustration, self-centeredness, self-pity, and rebellion, totally eliminating God from the picture. What makes pride so dangerous is that even though we instantaneously see it in others, we seldom detect it in ourselves. God scorns the proud, but accepts the lowly.
Laziness and fear are the greatest challenges to love. When Protestant theologians disparage "works," connecting them to salvation rather than sanctification and growth, they encourage spiritual laziness. If we are lazy, we might still be saved, but we will have built nothing to fulfill God's purpose in us. If we refuse to work hard at character building, the principle of entropy will turn our efforts into a state of disorganization. If we make no effort to overcome, the principle of inertia will keep us going in the same way we have allowed ourselves to drift. An irrational fear of loss prevents the development of agape love within us—we fear that keeping God's commandments will cause us to lose something valuable. Like a musician who practices everyday, by continual effort at commandment keeping, we will soon develop feelings of confidence by knowing what we are doing is right (I John 3:17-19; John 15:9-10).
John Ritenbaugh warns that Satan's modus operandi has always been to use a lie to promote self-satisfaction over obedience to God. Like the Messiah, we must learn that the way to the kingdom is through self-denial rather than self-satisfaction. We are particularly vulnerable to Satan's disinformation when we feel we are not getting what we deserve or are being treated unfairly. In a world we perceive to be unfair, we need to emulate Christ who endured unfair treatment, suffering for righteousness sake all the way to his death, without complaining (I Peter 2:20-21) The major cause for the confusion and division of the Corinthian church (and the greater church of God) was Satan-inspired self-exaltation, finding excuses other than sin not to fellowship. The opposite of love is not so much hate ? but self-centeredness.
John Ritenbaugh indicts modern Israel for its blatant hypocrisy, playing games with God's truth. A community can only be established upon a foundation of stability and truth. The two most influential persons in any community are the preacher and king — roles that our Elder Brother Jesus has rightfully assumed by virtue of His inherent embodiment of truth. The Ninth Commandment carries some striking harmonic parallels with the Third Commandment, the latter regulating the quality of our relationships with others as the former regulates the quality of our relationship with God. God wants our relationship with other men to be based upon His truth, establishing a solid reputation for honesty, faithfulness, and reliability. Conversion (and being a good witness) hinges upon recognizing, submitting to, and embracing truth, totally uncovering and displacing any deceptive shameful hidden things in our lives.
In this study, John Ritenbaugh teaches us that Abraham's iron clad faith was developed incrementally as a result of calculating or "adding it all up," matching the promises of God (perceiving His overall intent) with the current situation, realizing from his ongoing relationship with God, that it was impossible for Him to lie. We learn from Abraham's experience to trust God even when we have incomplete data. We learn from Abraham's experience, that when we attempt to take the expedient way out (embracing a carnal or worldly solution), we will run into grave difficulties- forcing us back to the fundamentals of faith. As descendents of Abraham, we must learn to trust God, forming an on-going relationship with Him, realizing that God's ways and the world's ways do not mix.
John Ritenbaugh initially focuses upon the execution of Ananias and Sapphira for their deceit and hypocrisy (an event parallel to Aachan's deceit and execution), pretending to have sacrificed more than they actually had. In this same account, Luke records the volatile confrontation of the Apostles (who had been instructed by an angel to stand their ground and not back down) and the Sanhedrin. Amazingly, the Apostles found an ally in a prominent wise Pharisee named Gamaliel, a grandson of Hillel, advocating tolerance to a group he had considered another sect of Judaism. In Acts 6, a bifurcation of the responsibilities of physical serving (such as serving the widows) and spiritual serving (prayer and preaching) takes place (with the understanding that both aspects of serving are intertwined). One of the new appointees to the new physical office, Stephen, boldly proclaimed that Christianity was not just another sect of Judaism, thereby bringing down the wrath of the Sadducees and the Pharisees.
John Ritenbaugh, focusing upon the spiritual bondage (slavery to sin) Jesus referred to in John 8:34, warns against habitual sin- or sinning as a "way of life"- under the power, control, or influence of sin (graphically described by Paul in Romans 7:7-24.) As long as we are slaves of sin (following the dictates of our own lustful desires), we have no free moral agency. God liberates us from sin in order that we might be free to obey Him. Jesus warns the Pharisees that because righteousness and character cannot be transferred from one person to another, they cannot trust in their pedigree (as physical descendants of Abraham). Without the implanted Spirit of God, we have absolutely no capacity to receive or appreciate spiritual truth or to hear God's Word, allowing it to convict us, making an impact on our lives. The study concludes in John 9 with an examination into the healing of the man blind from birth, occurring near the Pool of Siloam.
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