"Unto Us a Son Is Given"
Summary: The above title comes from the words of Isaiah 9:6, “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, ...
A Blessing in Winter?
Summary: Within the pages of the Bible, relatively few dates are mentioned. Because of this, and because God works in similar patterns and many of the prophecies have a dual fulfillment, when prophetic dates are mentioned, they take on a special significance. ...
Abraham's One God
Summary: The first commandment sets the stage for Mike Ford's review of Genesis 22, Abraham's sacrifice of Isaac. He suggests that God wanted to know one thing: Would Abraham put Him first and have no other god?
All in All
Summary: Have you ever wondered what "all in all" means in relation to God and Christ? John Ritenbaugh explains how this term has great significance to us today!
Summary: The old song speaks of "Amazing Grace" but do we really understand just how amazing it is? John Ritenbaugh fills in some details on this vital topic.
Breakfast by the Sea (Part Two)
Summary: Most translations fail to bring out that two different words are translated as "love" in John 21:15-17. Twice, Jesus asks Peter if he had agape love for Him, and both times ...
Called to Follow
Summary: If there is one great principle of Christian living, it is walking in Christ's footsteps. Sounds easy, but putting it into practice is one of the most difficult tasks of a Christian's life. ...
Can Theology Define God's Nature?
Summary: Matter interacts with energy in a different way at the atomic level than it does at the macro level. Earl Henn show that in a similar way human reason and logic are practically useless as tools in determining the nature of God. Only the Bible gives a complete revelation of God.
Summary: Throughout our lives, we have all confronted challenges and difficulties—from learning to walk as toddlers and learning to read as children to becoming adults and facing all the ...
Cleansing the Temple and Economics
Summary: In John 2:13-17, the apostle John records Christ's cleansing of the Temple near the commencement of His ministry: "Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem...."
Creator, Sustainer, Head (Part One)
Summary: The book of Hebrews is particularly poignant for the church of God at this time due to the strong parallels between our circumstances and those of the Hebrews in the AD 60s as they faced the end of an age. ...
Creator, Sustainer, Head (Part Three)
Summary: Jesus Christ has astounding power and creative ability; He is "upholding all things by the word of His power". He was not only intimately involved in the creation of all things, but He now also sustains all the natural laws and functions of His marvelous creation. This is in addition to the fact that "He is the head of the body, the church", in charge of all the activities of those whom God has called. ...
Creator, Sustainer, Head (Part Two)
Summary: Despite being perhaps the oldest text in the canon, the book of Job contains many detailed, even scientific, insights into the extraordinary creative and sustaining power of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Many of these are things humanity did not really understand until recent centuries. ...
Do You See God? (Part One)
Summary: It is true that we cannot physically "see" the invisible God, but that does not mean that we cannot recognize His involvement in our lives. John Ritenbaugh helps us to realize just how much God wants to be part of our lives.
Flag of Our Father
Summary: With the celebration of Independence Day having just passed here in the United States, we see many displays of Old Glory flapping in the breeze as we go about our daily activities. ...
Friends of the Friendless (Part One)
Summary: Recently, an old I Love Lucy show came to mind. After a bit of research, I found that the episode I had recalled was titled, “Lucy’s Last Birthday.” Thinking that everyone has forgotten ...
Friends of the Friendless (Part Two)
Summary: As we saw in Part One, friendship is a constant theme throughout God’s Word. We could even say that His plan of salvation is to restore friendship between Himself and humanity ...
Fully Man and Fully God? (2001)
Summary: The Bible clearly explains that Jesus of Nazareth's father was God and His mother was Mary, a human. What, then, was His nature? Was He a man? Was He divine? John Ritenbaugh urges us to understand Him as the Bible explains it.
God Is . . . What?
Summary: Questions about what God is have been debated, sometimes violently, since men began searching for God. Obviously, we cannot see God, but if He has described Himself in the pages of the Bible, why should what He is be so difficult to fathom? Why argue about what the Bible says directly or implies in its terminology, visions, analogies and symbols? John Ritenbaugh explains.
God Our Provider
Summary: The story of building the Tabernacle serves as an encouraging example for us today as we collaborate with God in building His church. God will provide what we need to finish the job to His specifications!
God's Enduring Mercy
Summary: The greatest example of mercy in the Bible is, of course, found in the life of our Savior, Jesus Christ. He walked in mercy every day, healing multitudes, feeding thousands, and casting out many demons. ...
God's Power: Our Shield Against Apostasy
Summary: As Christians, we realize that God is not only powerful, but He is also the source of all power. How do we translate this understanding into practical action? John Ritenbaugh explains how we can tap into God's power to avoid slipping into apostasy.
God's Promises Are Sure!
Summary: Using primarily the story of Joseph, John Ritenbaugh expounds the lessons we can learn and the encouragement we can glean from God's dealings with men during the time of the Feast of Trumpets.
Groping for Jesus
Summary: Jesus has sure been in the public eye lately. ...
Is God a False Minister?
Summary: John Ritenbaugh exposes the deplorable contradictions in the arguments of those who advocate doctrinal change. By their reasoning, they portray God as a confused and false minister who lacks the power to instruct his chosen leaders to "get it right." But that is not the way the Bible portrays Him!
Is the Kingdom of God Within You?
Summary: Luke 17:21 has tripped up Protestants for centuries. Using the context and the meaning of the Greek, Richard Ritenbaugh explains that this verse's meaning is very plain!
Is the Symbol of the Cross Idolatry? (Part Two)
Summary: In Part One, we saw that the New Testament authors say Jesus was crucified on a stauros, which is a pole or stake. However, the “traditional” cross is a stake with a cross-member ...
Summary: Some say Christ cannot be the Messiah because of His genealogy. Is this true? Richard Ritenbaugh shows why this argument is fallacious and why Jesus IS our Savior!
Jesus' Final Human Thoughts (Part One)
Summary: "While [Jesus] was being tortured, hated, and crucified, was He 'thinking' of all the dirty sins for which He was dying?" asked a correspondent. The Bible shows that Jesus' thoughts were elsewhere—and more constructively—engaged.
Jesus' Final Human Thoughts (Part Two)
Summary: What was Jesus thinking about during His last hours as a human? It seems highly unlikely that our pure and sinless Savior spent much time thinking about our sins. The gospel accounts reveal what Jesus knew about His suffering, death, and resurrection, as well as His relationship with the Father.
Led Outside the Gate
Summary: Meekness, we should understand, is not weakness. Though scoffed at by an assertive and bruising world, meekness demonstrates tremendous strength, for it is power under internal restraint. ...
Lessons From Roots (Part One)
Summary: Jesus Christ declares that among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist (Matthew 11:11; Luke 7:28). John was the forerunner of the Messiah ...
Life Doesn't Work on a Balance Sheet (Part Two)
Summary: As we saw in Part One, Hebrews 5:7-10 describes a facet of Christ’s suffering: "... who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications ..."
Making the Cut (Part Six)
Summary: In Part Five, we studied the three qualifications in Psalm 15:4 for those who would dwell with God both now and for eternity. Those specific criteria focus on the idea of honor: The upright individual ...
Power Belongs to God (Part One)
Summary: As the return of Jesus Christ marches ever nearer, Christians need to be sure of one critical matter: Where does real power reside? John Ritenbaugh shows that all power has its source in God—and not just the kind of power we typically think of.
Power Belongs to God (Part Two)
Summary: Human beings, even those who have been called to be children of God, have an innate fear that God will not always provide for us. John Ritenbaugh contends that this fear originates in doubt about God's power—a doubt that falls to pieces before God's revelation of Himself in the Bible.
Remember Me (Part Two)
Summary: As we saw in Part One, the apostle Paul teaches Christians in I Corinthians 11:27-29 to appraise themselves carefully before partaking of the bread and the wine in the Passover service: "So if anyone eats ...
Sons of Thunder (Part One)
Summary: In Mark 3:16-19, Jesus calls the disciples that were to follow Him throughout His time on earth. Verses 16-17 contain parallel statements: “Simon, to whom He gave the name Peter...
The 'Open Door' of Philadelphia
Summary: The modern church of God, particularly a few of its splinter organizations, have made a big deal out of Revelation's letters to the seven churches. Often highlighted is the "open door" promised in the letter to Philadelphia. David Grabbe provides proof from Isaiah 22 that our understanding of this image should be revised to reflect the insight given in this neglected Old Testament prophecy.
The Awesome Cost of Love
Summary: We assess costs and values all the time in our daily lives: Is it better to buy used or new? Should we prefer traditional or contemporary? Paper or plastic? John Ritenbaugh employs the same process to God's love for us in giving His Son as the sacrifice for sin. What costs have been paid for our redemption?
Summary: The Branch is a well-known Old Testament prophetic figure, identified as the Messiah by most people. Yet, is there more to it than that? Why is the Branch not mentioned in the New Testament? What does it mean to us?
The God of the Old Testament
Summary: In the professing-Christian world, an insidious, false belief exists: that the God of the Old Testament was a cruel, angry God, while Jesus, the God of the New Testament, is kind and loving. Pat Higgins, using the Bible's own testimony, shows that nothing could be farther from the truth! In fact, Scripture plainly shows that the same God has always communicated and interacted with humanity throughout its history.
The Names of God
Summary: The name of God is important—so important that He included its proper use among His Ten Commandments. What is His name? Martin Collins shows how God's names reveal His character to us. Includes the inset, "A Sampling of the Names of God."
The Offerings of Leviticus (Part Two): The Burnt Offering
Summary: The first of the offerings of Leviticus is the burnt offering, a sacrifice that is completely consumed on the altar. John Ritenbaugh shows how this type teaches us about Christ's total dedication to God—and how we should emulate it.
The Role of the Outcasts (Part Three)
Summary: In the first two essays of this series, we have seen that God has a special role for the outcasts of society—rejects, castaways, and exiles. We have learned that such people ...
The Shepherd's Guidance (Part One)
Summary: A significant title of Jesus Christ is “the Good Shepherd” (John 10:11, 14), and it is a perfect description for what He does in personally knowing and caring for His sheep. ...
The Shepherd's Guidance (Part Three)
Summary: Sometimes, circumstances conspire to scatter Christians into small groups or even from all contact with other believers and from the ministry that Jesus Christ gives to the church to equip them and encourage their growth (Ephesians 4:11-16)—in the biblical metaphor, leaving the sheep without a shepherd. ...
The Shepherd's Guidance (Part Two)
Summary: Although Jesus Christ is the Good Shepherd and the Chief Shepherd, He is not the church’s only shepherd. From the days of ancient Israel up through the New Covenant church era, He has also appointed under-shepherds to watch over His physical or spiritual flock.
The Shepherd's Voice
Summary: God's people are often compared to sheep. Lately, however, some have begun to question whether they need a human shepherd. How does one know whether a minister is a true shepherd of God?
The Sovereignty of God: Introduction
Summary: God's sovereignty is one of the most important issues a Christian must consider. Is God supreme in all things? Have we acknowledged that He has total authority over us in particular?
The Three Witnesses of Christ (Part Three)
Summary: The Trinitarian controversy surrounding I John 5:7-8 overshadows the record of who Jesus Christ was and what He did. It also hides key characteristics of God's called children and what they should be doing ...
The Three Witnesses of Christ (Part Two)
Summary: As we saw in Part One, the apostle John was the only gospel writer to record John the Baptist’s threefold testimony—of the water (covered in the last essay), the blood, and the Spirit. ...
The Wholeness of God
Summary: God is a multidimensional personality who always acts in accordance with His perfect character. John Ritenbaugh explains that God is a whole Being whose wonderful, perfect attributes work together—and whose traits we are to come to know and reflect.
Was Jesus a Vegetarian?
Summary: Vegetarianism has become a popular lifestyle choice for a vocal minority of people, and some assert that Jesus was too compassionate not to be a vegetarian too. Does the Bible indicate that our Savior abstained from eating meat? Mike Ford argues that Scripture does not support their claims, showing that they ignore plain statements and make unsupportable assumptions when making their case.
Was Jesus Christ's Body Broken? (Part Three)
Summary: Conceptually, the image of a “broken body” is one of defeat. An image that springs to mind is of a warrior beaten and dead on the battlefield. However, Jesus Christ was not ...
Was Jesus Married?
Summary: Over the past century and more, critical scholars have worked to undermine God and the Bible. In concert with sensationalist fiction writers, they have foisted spurious gospels and outlandish theories on an increasingly irreligious public. Mike Ford analyzes a recent find, dubbed "The Gospel of Jesus' Wife," that claims our Savior was married to Mary Magdalene. But was He?
What Did Jesus Do?
Summary: We have all seen "WWJD?" on bracelets, T-shirts, and the like. Perhaps a better question to ask is, "What Did Jesus Do?" because He left us the perfect example of godly living in the four gospels!
Where Is God's True Church Today?
Summary: This world presents us with a disordered array of religions of all kinds—from atheism to animism, ancestor worship, polytheism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Christianity, and many more besides. Where can we find the true religion, the true church, in all this confusion? John Ritenbaugh reveals that only one religion with its one true church has the answers to salvation and eternal life—the church Christ founded and heads today.
Who Fulfills the Azazel Goat—Satan or Christ? (Part One)
Summary: For years, the church of God has taught that the azazel goat, found in the instructions for the Atonement (Yom Kippur) offering in Leviticus 16, represented Satan taking man's sins on his own head and being led into outer darkness, taking sin with him. However, Scripture does not support this interpretation. David Grabbe focuses on the inappropriateness of Satan as a sacrifice for sin, as well as what the Bible shows that the azazel goat actually accomplishes.
Why 153 Fish? (Part Two)
Summary: As Part One detailed, the apostle John structured his gospel around eight signs that reveal Jesus Christ as the Messiah. He arranged these signs so that the first sign corresponds to the eighth, the second ...
Why Does God Keep Secrets?
Summary: Proverbs 25:2 says, "It is the glory of God to conceal a matter." Why? David Maas examines this principle from an educator's viewpoint, concluding that God does it to make us "dig deep."
Why Hebrews Was Written (Part Ten): Christianity's Claims
Summary: The opening chapter of the epistle of Hebrews makes several astounding assertions about Jesus Christ and the exalted offices He holds. If true - and the Bible assures us that they are - they require a reverential response. John Ritenbaugh posits twelve claims that the Father, the Son, and Their way of life make upon humanity's attention and loyalty, giving mankind no excuse for its failure to respond to God.
Why Hebrews Was Written (Part Twelve): The Son's Superiority Over Angels
Summary: The nascent church was not wholly "of one accord" on every doctrine. Some Jews among the early converts believed that Jesus Christ did not qualify to be the church's High Priest, considering angels to be greater and holier. John Ritenbaugh explains that the main goal of the author of Hebrews is to show Christ's superiority over every conceivable candidate for the office, and in chapter 1, specifically over angels.
Why the Transfiguration?
Summary: Why was Jesus transfigured on the mount? What did it mean? What was it designed to teach the apostles? Richard Ritenbaugh shows the significance of this wonderful miracle.