Zechariah: God Determines the Fate of Nations (The Second Vision)

Just as it takes blacksmiths and carpenters to craft horns out of metal or wood, those same blacksmiths and carpenters have the power to destroy what they had made.  History has shown that nations who destroy other nations often find themselves being destroyed from within.  This is all done according to the will of God.  A few decades before Zechariah, God had warned Nebuchadnezzar that “the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind, and bestows it on whom He wishes” (Dan. 4:17).  Nebuchadnezzar would not listen and had to learn that lesson the hard way (Dan. 4:1-37).  Paul would later tell the Athenians that God has “determined (all nations’) appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation” (Acts 17:26).  God certainly does determine the fates of nations.  It would be wise for us to remember that today.                                                                                                       … Read More Zechariah: God Determines the Fate of Nations (The Second Vision)

Zechariah: Comfort From The Lord (The First Vision)

Zechariah’s purpose was to join the prophet Haggai in encouraging the Jews in their efforts to rebuild the temple (Ezra 4:1-5; 5:1-2; 6:14-15).  Thus, this first vision’s message was to inform Judah that while everything appeared to be fine with the nations surrounding them, God would bring judgment on them while showing mercy to Jerusalem.… Read More Zechariah: Comfort From The Lord (The First Vision)

Zechariah: Introductory Thoughts

The book of Zechariah is one of the most difficult books in the Old Testament to study and interpret.  One of the reasons is due to the highly symbolic, apocalyptic style in which it is written. Any study of Zechariah should certainly be done with prayer and humility, and it is my hope that these next few articles will be of some help to you, the reader, in your efforts to become more familiar with this section of Scripture.… Read More Zechariah: Introductory Thoughts

James: Restoring Christians Who Stray

In light of passages like James 5:19-20, it amazes me that anyone could believe the Calvinistic teaching that once salvation is obtained it could never be lost regardless of one’s obedience and faithfulness to God.  He’s writing to Christians, and in doing so clearly gives the possibility that “any among you” could “stray from the truth.”  It is a Christian whom James describes as a “sinner.”  It is a Christian whom James says needs to be turned “from the error of his way.”  It is a Christian of whom James says other Christians need to “save his soul from death.”  It is a Christian who, as implied by James, needs to repent and thus “cover a multitude of sins.”  If it is true that once one is saved, one will always be saved no matter what, then why is this passage in the New Testament?… Read More James: Restoring Christians Who Stray

James: Keep Your Word

If we want to let someone know that we’re being honest, we might say something like,“Hey man, I didn’t take the money!  Really!  I swear!” as opposed to simply saying, “No, I didn’t take the money.”  We think that adding “I swear!” will communicate to the hearer this idea: “You can trust me this time, because this time I’m swearing that it’s true.”  Both Jesus and James denounced the hypocrisy behind this fallacious thinking by condemning this type of arbitrary swearing (Matt. 5:34-36; James 5:12a).… Read More James: Keep Your Word

James: How Should We React to Hardship?

The Christians to whom James had been originally writing were likely impoverished Christians of Jewish ethnicity who were being oppressed by fellow Jews who were wealthy and were withholding wages from them,  as well as killing them (5:1-6).  Yet the instruction which God inspired James to give to these persecuted Christians is note-worthy. Do we react to hardship and oppression in the same ways God instructed them to react?… Read More James: How Should We React to Hardship?