Revelation 18-19:10, It’s All About Perspective.


1] After these things I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was illuminated with his glory.  2] And he cried mightily with a loud voice, saying, “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has become a dwelling place for demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird!  3] For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich through the abundance of her luxury.”

4] And I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues.  5] For her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities.  6] Render to her just as she rendered to you, and repay her double according to her works; in the cup which she has mixed, mix double for her.  7] In the measure that she glorified herself and lived luxuriously, in the same measure give her torment will and sorrow; for she says in her heart, ‘I sit as queen, and am no widow, and not see sorrow.’  8] Therefore her plagues will come in one day – death and mourning and famine.  And she will be utterly burned with fire, for strong is the Lord God who judges her.

9] “The kings of the earth who committed fornication and lived luxuriously with her will weep and lament for her, when they see the smoke of her burning, 10] standing at a distance for fear of her torment, saying, ‘Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city!  For in one hour your judgment has come.’

11]  “And the merchants of the earth will weep and mourn over her, for no one buys their merchandise anymore:  12] merchandise of gold and silver, precious stones and pearls, silk and scarlet, every kind of citron wood, every kind of object of ivory, every kind of object of most precious wood, bronze, iron, and marble; 13] and cinnamon and incense, fragrant oil and frankincense, wine and oil, fine flour and wheat, cattle, sheep, horses and chariots, and bodies and souls of men.  14] The fruit that your soul longed for has gone from you, and all that things which are rich and splendid have gone from you, and you shall find them no more at all.  15] The merchants of these things, who became rich by her, will stand at a distance for fear of her torment, weeping and wailing, 16] and saying, ‘Alas, alas, that great city that was clothed in fine linen, purple, and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls!  17] For in one hour such great riches came to nothing.’  Every shipmaster, all who travel by ship, sailors, and as many as trade on the sea, stood at a distance 18] and cried out when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, ‘What is like this great city?’

19] “They threw dust on their heads and cried out, weeping and wailing, and saying, ‘Alas, alas, that great city, in which all who had ships on the sea became rich by her wealth!  For in one hour she is made desolate.’

20] “Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you holy apostles and prophets, for God has avenged you on her!”

21] Then a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying, “Thus with violence the great city Babylon shall be thrown down, and shall not be found anymore.  22] The sound of harpists, musicians, flutists, and trumpeters shall not be heard in you anymore.  No craftsman of any craft shall be found in you anymore, and the sound of a millstone shall not be heard in you anymore.  23]  The light of a lamp shall not shine in you anymore, and the voice of bridegroom and bride shall not be heard in you anymore.  For your merchants were the great men of the earth, for by your sorcery all the nations were deceived.  24] And in her was found the blood of prophets and saints, and of all who were slain on the earth.” 

19:1 After these things I heard a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, “Alleluia!  Salvation and glory and honor and power belong to the Lord our God!  2] For true and righteous are His judgments, because He has judged the great harlot who corrupted the earth with her fornication; and He has avenged on her the blood of His servants shed by her.”  3] Again they said, “Alleluia!  Her smoke rises up forever and ever!”  4]  And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who sat on the throne, saying, “Amen!  Alleluia!”  5] Then a voice came form the throne, saying, “Praise our God, all you His servants and those who fear Him, both small and great!”

6] And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, “Alleluia!  For the Lord God Onmipotent reigns!  7]  Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.”  8]  And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. 

9] Then He said to me, “Write:  ‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!”  And he said to me, “These are the true sayings of God.”  10] And I fell at his feet to worship him.  But he said to me, “See that you do not do that!  I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus.  Worship God!  For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”  

This might seem a strange title, but I think it’s borne out by the text we printed above, which has several different viewpoints in it.  In verse 7, the woman says, “I sit as a queen and will see no sorrow.”  When she’s judged, the kings of the earth weep and lament for her, v. 9.  The merchants of the earth, who’ve been made rich by her – how much do you suppose it would cost to rebuild the Vatican? – lament at the blow to their bottom line.  Read the list of things they no longer will be able to sell her.  Most of them are luxuries.  Expensive.  The maritime world, with all its enormous cargo ships holding hundreds of shipping containers, is also devastated, v. 19.

The reaction in heaven?

“Rejoice over her…, v. 20.

The point is, we live in a time when there are no absolutes.  There is no “objective reality.”  For example, a biological man or woman can say they’re the other, and it is so – at least as far as the world is concerned, regardless of what they are genetically.  Indeed, reality has become simply a subjective idea.  It is what you or I think it is.  We have become the Creator.  And the idea that God might have something to  say about anything is as far removed from most people’s thinking as the far side of the moon.

This was the hook Satan caught Adam and Eve with – “you will be like God, knowing good and evil,” Genesis 3:5.

“You don’t need God.  You can decide for yourself what is good or evil.”

How has that worked out?

There are so many applications that could be made here, but we’ll leave it to the Holy Spirit in this case.

What does God say?

It matters.

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Hebrews 10:26-31, Truth or Consequences

[26]For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, [27]but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries.  [28]Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses.  [29]Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?  [30]For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is mine,” says the LORD.  And again, “The LORD will judge His people.”  [31]It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.  (NKJV)

We have written that the warnings of Hebrews are connected and cumulative and that to ignore them is to invite certain destruction.  We’ve pointed out that these warnings focus on an attitude with reference to the truths of Scripture.  This attitude begins with a casual attitude toward the things of God and ends with a forsaking of them altogether.  But the “things of God” impinge on eternity and we ought to be interested in the fact that we’re all hurrying toward eternity as fast as we can, notwithstanding the fact that sometimes it seems like a snail’s pace.
I’m 75 years old as I write this.  Now I don’t feel old until I begin to realize how long ago some things happened.  And how quickly it seems I’ve gotten from there to here.  And one of these days, folks will gather around at a “memorial service” and, I hope, have some good things to say.  But the thing is, I won’t be there.  I’ll have gone from the place where time is measured in ticks of a clock to a place where it’s measured in the passing of ages.  What I’ve done here will have an effect of what happens there.  And, one day, that will be true for you, as well.  (If you’ve recently experienced the passing of a loved one, I’m truly sorry.  I don’t mean to add to that.)
So you see, it’s important to pay attention as we travel through this life.  That’s what the writer to the Hebrews wanted them, and wants us, to remember.  That’s why there is so much warning in the book, like the one before us.

1. Statement of the warning, v. 26a

At least from v. 25 goes with this warning, and perhaps from v. 19.  This warning tells us that there’s more to it than just “going to church.”  It includes faithfulness and perseverance in “holding fast the confession of our faith.”  It includes what we are and do on Monday as well as what we do on Sunday.  It’s not just about which day of the week we “worship,” but rather that we “worship” every day of the week.
By “worship,” I don’t mean that we’re go to church every day, or that we have the right kind of “worship music,” with guitars and loud drums.  No, no.  The word “worship” comes from an older word:  “worthship.”   It was used as a title, “your worthship,” a title of respect and honor, whether those addressed were “worthy” of it or not.  So, when we say that we “worship God,” it’s not talking about routine or ritual or raucous music.  It’s talking about an attitude of respect and honor for God.  And if this respect isn’t shown by the general attitude and actions of our lives every day of the week, then it doesn’t mean anything on one day of the week.

2. Seriousness of the warning, vs. 26b-31.

 There are three parts to this warning.

1.  the absence of a “sacrifice for sin” if the truth is rejected, v. 26.
2.  the avowal of judgment on “adversaries,” vs. 27-29.
3.  the assurance of God’s vengeance, vs. 30-31.

1. the absence of a “sacrifice for sin” if the truth is rejected, v. 26.  This verse tells us that more than “church attendance” is involved.  “The knowledge of the truth” is involved, and “willful sin,” we believe in regard to the things mentioned in vs. 26-31.  The way of access to God is involved, vs. 19-21.  The life we are to lead with regard to faith and obedience is involved, vs. 22, 23.  Our interest in and concern for other members of “the assembly” is involved, vs. 24, 25.
Many professing Christians, to say nothing of those of the world, reject all these ideas.  They say, “You’re too narrow and old-fashioned, too exclusive in what you teach about the approach to God.  All roads lead to heaven.  Every religion worships God in their own way.”  They say, “we will decide how to live our lives.  We’re under grace; no legalist can make rules for us!”  They say, “We’re not supposed to judge or be judgmental.  We wouldn’t dream of imposing our personal views on others.”  And so, through the traditions and unbelief of men, the Word of God is made of no effect.
But if you reject God ‘s way, there is no other way!  There is no sacrifice for sin, no forgiveness.  To reject God’s way is still to be in our sins.  If we live without God, we will die without God.  Oh!  Be warned!  There is no other “sacrifice for sins,” but God’s sacrifice, Jesus Christ!  There is no other way but God’s way – except the way that leads to hell!

2. the avowal of certain judgment on “adversaries,” vs. 27-29.  Contrary to the belief of many, there is no such thing as “neutrality” in spiritual matters, Matthew 12:30.  Many who believe they have merely rejected some “fundamentalist Bible-thumper” may one day discover that they have really rejected God.  Call them what you will – “backslidden,” “carnal Christian,” whatever – God says that those who turn away from “the knowledge of the truth” are His adversaries and will be dealt with as such.
The thing in particular which infuriates God is the rejection of the sacrifice of His Son, which He calls “trampling” Him “underfoot.  This rejection includes “insulting” the Holy Spirit, Who enabled Him to go through with the Crucifixion, Hebrews 9:14, and carefully supervised all those things leading up to the Crucifixion to insure that God’s purpose in the Crucifixion would be carried out.
Is not this a great warning to our culture?  We live in a time of great “toleration,” where it seems that everything except the truth is to be accepted.  In the US, there is no “established church,” for which we thank God and our forefathers, but this has meant that a tremendous variety of religious viewpoints has developed.  Because we have no such religious “central authority” to tell us what to believe, this is taken to mean that we can believe what we like, or not believe anything at all.
With reference to salvation, some have rejected “the blood” altogether, and so come under condemnation, but what about those who might teach “salvation through blood,” but also believe that you can lose that salvation?  Some of these are always talking about “the Spirit,” the “gifts of the Spirit,” “the ministry of the Spirit,” being “filled with the Spirit.”  Is it possible that they actually “insult” the Spirit because they deny the power of Christ’s sacrifice and the Spirit’s work to save believers?
And what of those who teach that Jesus died for all men without exception, and that men can resist the utmost efforts of the Spirit to bring them to salvation?  Isn’t this also “trampling under foot the Son of God,” and insulting the Spirit of grace?
You see, “the knowledge of the truth” is more involved than we might at first think.  Most of those who hold the above views believe that they do so with the warrant of Scripture.  But the question isn’t, “can we point to one or two ‘proof-texts’, but rather “do we know the truth”?

3. the assurance of God’s vengeance, vs. 30-32.  The reason all this is important is that there is a day of judgment coming.  All roads do not lead to heaven.  I’m afraid the God of Scripture is as unknown today as He was to the Athenians when Paul preached to them, Acts 17:23.  These verses in Hebrews are solemn indeed for a generation of church people who apparently are almost totally ignorant of or in opposition to the God of heaven.

God’s Blueprint for Believers

No doubt, there are many things that could be said about this.  The most important one is the verse which says that we’re to be conformed to the image of His Son, Romans 8:29.  Without doubt, perfect Christlikeness is the ultimate goal of our salvation, 1 John 3:2.

Paul also had something to say about it.  In 1 Timothy 1:15, 16 (NKJV), he wrote,

This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.  However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life. (emphasis added).

What??

How can we be like Paul?  Travelling all over his world with the Gospel, starting churches, writing a lot of the New Testament…how can we do that?

I don’t think that’s what Paul had in mind.  True, there are those today who are successful at church-planting, as well as those who claim that they, too, receive direct revelation from the Lord.  For those who plant churches, I thank the Lord that He uses people and that His Word accomplishes what He sends it out to do.  As for the others, well, I’m not the final judge on such things, but I think they are misled.

Paul wrote that he was to be “a pattern”.

We get our word “schematic” from the Greek word translated “pattern”.  A schematic shows how something’s put together so it’ll work the way the designer wanted it to. Though they’re a little different, it’s the same thing with a blueprint.

So Paul wrote that he was an example, “a pattern,” of how salvation is supposed to “work.”

How so?

  • Pattern of Great Sin. 

Paul never forgot that he started out by trying to stamp out the name of Jesus, Acts 26:9-11.  He was exceedingly enraged against those who confessed that name.

It’s probable that very few, if any, of us have gone to that extreme, but the Scripture is still true that says, …all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, Romans 3:23.

It doesn’t matter how far “short” we have fallen, either.  I was talking with a fellow and somehow we got around to the Grand Canyon.  I made the comment that it didn’t matter if you could jump 10 feet off the rim, or only one foot, you would still plunge to your death.  The fellow said he saw someone he had to meet and rushed off.

I might add to that and say that if you could take the pole a pole-jumper uses and propel yourself 20 or 25 feet from the edge, you would still die.

Compared to the holiness and righteousness of God, the Grand Canyon isn’t even a crack in the sidewalk.  You can step over that.

There are a lot of people who’ve got their “poles” all ready for the “jump”.  They’ve been baptized or joined the church or take the Eucharist (communion/mass) or any of a hundred other things that folks say can be done to get us to the other side.  Doesn’t matter.  We’re still gonna “fall short” and die.

A lot of people use the “pole” of “Well, I’m not so bad.  Look at so-and-so,” as if another sinner were the standard.  But the Lord Jesus is the standard, and He said, “I always do those things which please the Father.”  That word, “always,” condemns all of us ’cause we can’t say that.  If anyone could, as I’ve remarked before, then they could go up to the throne when they get to heaven and say, “Move over, Jesus.  Now there are two of us.”

  • Pattern of Gracious Salvation.

A lot of people believe that God must be very careful when approaching sinners about being saved.  Unless they are “willing,” God can’t do anything.  They have to take that first step, do “their part” before He can do “His part.”

Really?

How does that work with Paul?

What do you suppose would have happened if, on the morning of his trip to Damascus, some Christian had asked him if he would like to “accept Jesus”?

The last thing on Paul’s (Saul’s) mind would have been that, before he got to Damascus, he would be a disciple of that One whose very name he was trying to destroy.  He was breathing out threats and murder against Christians.  It may be that he was being convicted by the testimony of those he persecuted, but up until the second that the light struck him down, he thought he was serving God.  He wasn’t asking God to show him the right way; he thought he already had it!  Jesus didn’t come to him and ask him if he’d like to be saved.  The Holy Spirit didn’t try to “woo” him, or to “cooperate” with Saul’s will.  Saul’s “will” was to kill Christians!  That was his “decision.”  According to Acts 26:11, 12, it was while thus occupied and being exceedingly enraged against them, that the Lord appeared to him.  He didn’t even know whose brightness it was which knocked him to the ground: “Who are you, Lord?”  

Modern religion entirely misses the point on this.  Apart from the grace of God, we’re not the least bit interested in what God really says or wants.  We might have religion, or even a (great) knowledge of Scripture, like Saul.  We might talk about God, even “believe” in Him, but we don’t know nor love the God of Scripture,  or we might be strenuously opposed to Him and His Word, like Saul.  This brings us to our next point.

  • Pattern of God’s Sovereignty. 

Oh, this is where the rubber meets the road.  This is where the Word sticks in our throats.  The very idea!  That God could act like God!  I don’t know of another doctrine that makes us angrier or arouses our opposition more quickly or vehemently than the doctrine that God is sovereign in salvation.

This is already a long post, so we won’t get into the discussion of all this.  Just hear what Paul said about it in discussing his life before Christ, when he persecuted the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it: … But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me through His grace,… Galatians 1:13, 15.

It pleased God…. 

As much as modern Christianity tries to deny it, Paul didn’t take the first step…

God did.

  •  Pattern of  Grateful Service. 

From that moment on, Saul was completely different.  Eventually, he became known as Paul.  In Galatians 1:23, he wrote of his early experiences as a Christian with the churches in Judea:  that they were hearing only, He who formerly persecuted us now preaches the faith which he once tried to destroy. 

God doesn’t call every believer to be a preacher or missionary, yet at the same time He does.  The world needs godly janitors and godly auto mechanics.  It needs people everywhere who demonstrate that this world isn’t all there is to life.  It needs godly teachers, godly politicians (no, that shouldn’t be an oxymoron).  Our Lord taught that believers are salt and light.  No matter where we are, the world needs what we have. That doesn’t mean it wants it, just needs it.

Paul was a pattern for those who believe on the Lord Jesus for everlasting life.  If the “building inspector” came around, would we be “up to code”?  Do we match the blueprint?

Voices of Christmas: Herod

Not everybody was thrilled with the news of One “born King of the Jews.”  Herod was about as nasty as any “king” has ever been.  He had only become king through political and social machination.  Besides, he wasn’t even a Jew.  He was an Edomite!

There was a lot of unrest under his rule.  When he heard the news of men searching for One “born King,” the Scripture says, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him, Matthew 2:3.  Now, the Jews weren’t concerned about him; they were concerned about what he might do!  A concern borne out by his actions several months later.

Something I’d never really paid attention to until just now.  Having found out from the chief priests and scribes of the people where the Messiah was to be born, HEROD sent the wise men to Bethlehem, Matthew 2:8!  It ought to be a matter of some concern when the ungodly express an interest in the things of God.  It can mean no good!  Now, the wise men probably didn’t know about Herod, but took what he said at face value.  And perhaps it had only seemed to them the thing to do to look in the capitol city of Israel to find Israel’s king.  So they were apparently fooled by Herod’s expressed desire to worship with them this One for whom they looking.  Except for God intervening and spoiling Herod’s evil plan, they might have led to the murder of the Messiah.  Such a thing would have been impossible, but it took divine intervention to prevent it.

I think Herod may be considered emblematic of a world under Satan’s control.  This doesn’t cancel out God’s overall control of things, but Satan is called the god of this world, 2 Corinthians 4:4 (KJV).  Paul wrote to the Ephesian church about their preconversion life:  you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in [“energizes”] the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves…, Ephesians 2:2, 3 (NKJV).

In the Garden of Eden, Satan usurped God’s place as the one to whom men would look for guidance.  Where the Word of God has been valued and obeyed, Satan’s influence is minimized.  However, where the Word is unknown, ignored or rejected, as is increasingly the case here in the US, Satan blinds the minds of men to the fact that the way(s) of life he leads them in is or are ultimately only destructive, never beneficial.  He promises them “freedom” from the old Puritanical taboos, but in reality enslaves them to the desires of their own selfish being.  There is more than one kind of slavery.

In Herod and the magi, we clearly see the two-fold division of mankind:  those who are truly seeking the Savior and those who are not.  Granted, many do not know anything about the Savior, and many others have found Him, or, rather, have been found by Him, John 10:14-16.  Nevertheless, humanity may be divided into two classes, not rich or poor, but lost or saved.  We’re every one of us either one or the other.

The difference is found in our reaction to and our relationship with that One “born King of the Jews.”

Glimpses in Genesis: Creation and The Fall of Adam and Eve, Genesis 1-3.

This will by no means be an exhaustive look at Genesis.  That would take a whole library of books.  No, we’re just going to look at some interesting things along the way.  This study will take us up through the Fall of Adam and Eve.  Part 2, Lord willing, will cover the Flood and the Tower of Babel; part 3 will consider some things about the patriarchs, and maybe part 4.  I’m trying to make each post not too long.

Nor are we going to enter into the academic discussions about who wrote Genesis and the rest of the 5 books of the Pentateuch.  Our Lord accepted it and them from the hand of Moses, as did both Testaments in numerous references, Mark 12:26; Ezra 6:18; Romans 10:19.  That’s good enough for us!

As we come to the first chapters of Genesis, we find that it tells us where everything came from – not from some random cosmic explosion, but from the power and wisdom of God.  So Genesis is the book of origins.  It tells how the earth came to be, and where man came from.  It accounts for the entrance of sin into the world, and reveals that man is a moral being, different from all other earthly creatures, in contrast to evolution, which says that he came from them.  It gives us the beginning of the nation of Israel, as well as the origin and distribution of many of the rest of the nations of the world.

Genesis is also the foundational book of the Bible.  It tells of sin and redemption and forms the basis for most, if not all, the rest of divine revelation on these subjects.  It’s first redemptive prophecy contains in a single verse (3:15) the whole of prophecy given in the rest of Scripture.  It also gives a tremendous amount of vital information about the Abrahamic Promise, or Covenant, information which, it seems to me, is often overlooked in the interpretation of Scripture.

As to an outline, here are some ways Genesis might be outlined:

1.  The Beginning of Human History, chs. 1-12
2.  The Beginning of Hebrew History, chs. 12-50.

or

1.  The Beginning of Man’s Residence on the Earth, chs. 1, 2.
2.  The Beginning of Man’s Rebellion on the Earth, chs. 3-11.
3.  The Beginning of Man’s Redemption on the Earth, chs. 12-50.

or the more familiar:

1.  Creation, chs. 1, 2: Preparation for Man.
2.  The Fall, chs. 3-5: Presumption of Man.
3.  The Flood, chs. 6-9: Punishment of Man.
4.  The Tower of Babel, chs. 10, 11: Perversity of Man.
5.  The Patriarchs, chs. 12-50: Preference among Men.

As we look more closely at Genesis through this last outline, we note the following:

Creation, chs. 1, 2: Preparation for Man.

A. It refutes many errors, including:

1. Atheism.  “In the beginning, God….”  Note:  the Bible was written to people who believed in God, in many cases, had had personal dealings with Him.  The Bible never attempts to “prove” the existence of God, although there are “proofs” for those who will see them, Psalm 19:1-4; Romans 1:18-20.

2.  Pantheism, that is, God is everything, and everything is God.  Scripture shows that while God is indeed the Creator and Sustainer of everything, He is separate and distinct from everything.  He IS everywhere, not every thing.

3.  Materialism, that is, matter is eternal and has always existed.  This still doesn’t answer the question, “Where did ‘matter’ come from in the first place?”

4.  That everything came unintentionally and spontaneously into existence, i.e., “the big bang.”

B.  Genesis reveals the origin of the universe and the earth, 1:1.  It doesn’t particularly tell how or why.  Theistic evolution, in a sincere but misguided attempt to align materialistic science with Scripture, doesn’t seem to see what Scripture says about the origin of this earth.  I have no difficulty believing that the earth is older than 6,000 years.  I just have trouble with the idea, as we shall see in a moment, that it’s billions of years old.

Herbert Spencer, a scientist who died in 1903, taught that everything exists in one of five categories: time, force, action, space or matter.  Moses knew that millennia before Spencer:

1.  time – “in the beginning”
2.  force – “God”
3.  action – “created”
4.  space – “the heavens”
5.  matter – “and the earth”

C. Genesis has many features which do not agree with “evolution”.  We’ve seen some.  Some more are:

1.  It has an intelligent Creator, not a mindless, cosmic catastrophe, followed by aimless and random development.

2.  The earth was created before the stars!  They were made on the fourth day.  Earth was already in existence.

3.  Plants were created before the Sun.  If the “days” are geologic ages, then how did the plants survive without the Sun to nourish them?

4.  On the first day, God created “light” as something apart from Himself, Who is light, 1 John 1:5.  On the fourth day, creating the Sun, He created “time.”  Our “time” would have no relevance anywhere else in the universe.

5.  Each kind of animal was created fully developed as it came from the hand of God.  It had no need for further “development,” other than adaptation to an environment that changed.  There are many instances of such development within species; there are none between species.

6.  Each creature was made with the ability to reproduce according to its kind, 1:11, 21, 24, not mutate into another kind.

7.  Sea creatures and birds were created on the same day.  Birds did not somehow evolve after or from dinosaurs or amphibians.

8.  In a separate act, man was created from the dust of the ground, 2:8.  He did not “evolve” from “lower” life forms, nor did God simply choose one or two from a number of already existing hominids with which to develop a “special relationship.”

The Fall, chs. 3-5: Presumption of Man.

1.  Note that man fell because of a discussion over whether God’s Word was to be understood “literally”.  That discussion is still alive and well, especially in the area of prophecy.

2.  Note that man fell because he decided to replace God as the moral authority as to what was “good” or “evil”.  The essence of sin is the disagreement with God over jurisdiction: who decides what is “good” or “evil”?

3.  Because of his sin, man fled from God.  We are still fleeing, left to ourselves.  Man may be “religious”; witness the number of religions in the world, but how many of them, even those who claim to believe the Bible, actually follow the Bible, or believe it’s authoritative, or  even read it and have any real idea of what it says?  God must seek us, if we are to “find” Him, Isaiah 65:1.

4.  Man was taught that because of his sin the only way he could continue to live physically was through the substitution and death of an innocent sacrifice.  All religion revolves around this central issue:  how can a man or woman live before God, regardless of how “live” is defined, and whomever or whatever “God” is believed to be.

5.  Because of man’s sinfulness and God’s holiness, God’s justice bars the way to the tree of life, Genesis 3:24.  All religion seeks to answer the questions posed very early in human history, “how can man be righteous before God?”  “…Or how can he be pure who is born of woman?” Job 9:2; 25:4.

To put it another way, how can I satisfy God’s justice and the obedience His Word requires, or endure the penalty for disobedience that is required (which, by the way, is infinitely more than the mere rote repetition of some form prayer!)?  It is only Biblical Christianity (for there is a great deal in “Christianity” which has nothing to do with the Bible) that proclaims the answer foreshadowed and typified by the slain animals and coats of skin.  The only way God’s justice has ever been and ever will be satisfied is through the sinless life and shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.  By His death He paid forever the penalty demanded by a broken Law, and by His sinless life He obtained that righteousness imputed to believing sinners, by which and only by which we and they are able to stand before God uncondemned.

Friends, if we have ever committed even one sin, and who among us would not admit to that, though our sins are without number, we are lost and undone without the Lord Jesus!  O blessed life, that did what we could not, and blessed death, that did what we dare not!