by Peter Ditzel
Is the Bible a health manual? Are the dietary laws found in the Bible God’s ways of telling us what is healthy and unhealthy to eat? Or did God have an entirely different reason for putting these laws in the Bible? What’s more, do these laws given to ancient Israel have anything at all to do with Christians today?
by Peter Ditzel
“Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world” (1 John 4:2-3).
“For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist” (2 John 1:7).
Many people speculate about antichrist. Some speak of the Antichrist, referring to a particular person, such as the Pope or all of the Popes. Often, the Antichrist is seen as an end-time figure equated with the man of sin in 2 Thessalonians 2:3. While there may be some validity in calling the Pope and the man of sin Antichrists, John’s concept of antichrist is much broader. He is not speaking of a particular person, but says that many deceivers have entered the world and that each of these deceivers is an antichrist. Notice 1 John 2, verses 18 and 22: “Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time…. Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.”
by Peter Ditzel
Judges 17:6 and 21:25 concern the era in Israel’s history known as the time or period of the judges. These verses have significance for us today: “In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25). Preachers almost always quote these verses as indicating how terribly bad things were at the time of the judges and use them as examples of how we must work to avoid being that way today. The assumption is that the Bible is here being critical of the idea of people doing what is right in their own eyes. There’s a problem with this interpretation. The Bible not only doesn’t back it up; it directly contradicts it. In this article, I’m going to show you where the Bible disagrees with what many commentators say about these verses, in what way the time of the judges is a shadow of the assembly Jesus’ founded, and how the time of the judges can be a significant lesson for Christians and even illustrate a valuable political principle for everyone.
by Peter Ditzel
Almost all English Bibles translate Romans 8:15 as teaching our adoption: “For you didn’t receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!'” So also verse 23 and Galatians 4:5 and Ephesians 1:5, in English translations, refer to our adoption. Many preachers and Christian writers have praised God for His adopting us as His children. Certainly, adoption by the loving, all-powerful God of the universe would be a wonderful thing, and I would be very thankful for it, if it were what the Bible teaches. The thing is, the Bible doesn’t teach it. Everywhere the word “adoption” appears in an English-language New Testament, it is a poor translation that does not accurately convey the concept the Holy Spirit is revealing. Fortunately, what the Bible is saying is far greater and better than what we understand in English by the word “adoption.”
A. The Scriptures you are asking about are Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21; and 21:7. Many preachers, radio and television evangelists, and Christian writers utterly misunderstand and misapply these verses to support a false doctrine of works salvation or at least lessen the full scope of Christ’s atonement. Certainly, these verses speak of overcoming. But do they mean that we are to work at overcoming?
A. The Bible clearly equates the devil with Satan, the serpent, and the dragon (Revelation 12:9 and 20:2). We also frequently hear people refer to the devil as Lucifer. This name comes from only one Scripture: “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!” (Isaiah 14:12, King James Version). But is this verse really calling the devil “Lucifer”? Is it speaking of anyone as Lucifer? Let’s look at the context of the verse.
A. This is a common question. Some other ways that it can be asked are, “How can I know that God has chosen me as one of His children?” and, “How can I be assured of God’s love for me?” It is, in fact, a question of what theologians call assurance.
I know people who have come up with all sorts of elaborate ways to answer this question. They tell people to look at themselves and see how they have changed since the time they think they became a Christian. They tell them to look at their love for others, their Christian works, their growth in Scriptural knowledge, their better morality, how much they love the law, and so on. Others will also advise people to wait for a vision, a voice, or a feeling to know they are saved.