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The Scarlet Worm

September 30th, 2007

“…God prepared a worm…”

(Jonah 4:7)

“But I am a worm and not a man”

(Psalm 22:6; Job 25:6)

In Henry Morris’ Bible and Science Series, Morris says of the scarlet worm (coccus ilicus)—“This is a scarlet worm and the reason it was called that was because it had the ability to secrete a scarlet fluid which was used in making scarlet dye that they used in ancient days…The worm was identified with the scarlet color. The life cycle of that worm is something like this: when the mother worm was ready to give birth to the baby worms, she would find the trunk of a tree, a post or a stick somewhere and then she would plant her body in that wood …so firmly in it that she could never leave it again. Then, the young would be brought forth and the mother would die, and in the process, the scarlet fluid would stain her body and the body of the young and the tree and so on…”

This we do know about Jesus the Christ and his New Covenant—

(1) Jesus identified, in a Messianic way, with the “worm” of Psalm 22:6; Isa. 41:14; Lk. 24:44
(2) Jesus was a sin-sacrifice of scarlet specifications (Isaiah 1:18; Numb. 19:6; Hebrews 9:13,14)
(3) The blood of the covenant also involved scarlet (Heb. 9:19)
(4) The Jesus of the gospel accounts appears in the role of fulfillment as a scarlet robed priest (purple=mixture of blue and scarlet Ex. 28:6,33; Matt. 27:28).

We thank God for the scarlet worm (see Gal. 3:27)!

Robert M. Housby

Categories: Bible, Jesus Christ, Jonah, Old Testament, Psalms Tags:

“The Rock of Ages:” The Being Behind the Belief

August 12th, 2007

“Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD God is an everlasting rock”

(Isaiah 26:4)

Augustus Montague Toplady (1740-1778) wrote that most popular of English hymns, Rock of Ages. It was this great hymn that echoed through Westminster Abbey during the funeral of Prime Minister William E. Gladstone. The history behind it is quite fascinating. The Christian lyrics arose from a theological debate. Especially important, in this regard, is the second stanza:

Could my tears forever flow, could my zeal no languor know,

these for sin could not atone-Thou must save and Thou alone.

It seems that Toplady was involved in a contention with John Wesley. Wesley was urging a seeking of salvation, while Toplady was denying the human role in salvation.
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The being behind the rock, in the text of Isaiah 26:4 is the LORD God. He is traceable to Deuteronomy 32:4, depicted as his people’s strength; refuge (Ps. 31:2-33); and, salvation Deut. 32:15; Ps. 89:26). In the New Testament, the Rock is identified with Christ (1 Cor. 10:4) from whom the Spirit flows (John 4:13-14); the foundation of the church (Matt. 16:18) and it’s corner-stone (Eph. 2:20).

Next time that you sing, Rock of Age, realize that there is indeed a being behind the belief.

– Robert M. Housby

Categories: Bible, God, Isaiah, Jesus Christ, Lord, Old Testament, rock Tags:

Hold On

December 17th, 2006

(Hebrews Chapter 1: Regarding Jesus Christ)

“…let us hold fast our confession”

(Hebrews 3:6, 14; 4:14; 10:23)

A number of years ago, I was in a public library when I overheard a gentleman going on and on about the first chapter of Herman Melville’s, Moby Dick. He bestowed on this particular chapter the ranking of— “best chapter in all of literature.” As I listened, I determined to go read this chapter from Melville. Although, we need not prefer one chapter in the Bible over any other, the first chapter of Hebrews does call our attention to Jesus in a classical style that is absolutely riveting. The Hebrew writer urges his readers to hold on to their faith in the face of difficulties (3:1;4:14). Then, he tells with certain and superior pride in his Lord just exactly who it is that occupies the substance of the Christian confession—

1. God’s prophet son (1:1,2)
2. the heir of all things (1:2)
3. the co-creator of the world (1:2)
4. the radiance of the glory of God (1:3)
5. the exact imprint of his nature (1:3)
6. [who] upholds the universe by the word of his power (1:3)
7. [who] making purification for sins, sat down (1:3)
8. [who] is greater than angels

What a dynamic foundation for Christians! The Hebrew writer opens in he most powerful way possible— clarification of Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2).

– Robert M. Housby

The Day Willy-Nilly, Shilly-Shally, and Dilly-Dally Met-Up With Verily, Verily

August 13th, 2006

“Verily, verily, I say unto you”

(John 1:51; 3:3,5,11; 5:19,24,25,26,32,47,53;8:34,51,58;
10:1,7;12:24; 13:16,20,21,38;14:12;16:20,23;21:18)

The “verily, verily” statements of Jesus express certainty in simplicity. Although the older English, “verily” is not conversational any longer, the Greek,“…AMEN, AMEN…” is translated: “Most assuredly” (NKJV); “Truly, truly” (NASB); and, “In truth, in very truth, I tell you” (NEB) (e.g. John 1:51). It appears that the largest concentration of this idiom occurs in the Gospel of John (Matthew – second; Mark – third and Luke – last).

We live in a willy-nilly, shilly-shally, dilly-dally world. From so-called Christian churches (which waffle on the word of God) to humanistic agencies, and societies (which provide transportation to the ancient cities of Sodom and Gomorrah), our times are under-going pervasive indecision, careless and wrong decision-making.

1. Shilly-shally indecision (from a reduplication of shall-I?) = to hesitate.
2. Willy-nilly – (contraction from, will I, nill I.) = either way is okay.
3. Dilly-dally a preoccupation with trifles.

Jesus did not hesitate; was not apathetic; and, was not a trifle with trivia. His way was resolute, purposeful, and significant. Do you live with a “Verily, verily I say unto you” or, do you live with contractions of confusion?

– Robert Housby

Categories: Bible, Jesus Christ, John, living, New Testament Tags:

Bread and Water

July 30th, 2006

“And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore,
but your eyes shall see your Teacher.
And your ears shall hear a word behind you saying,
This is the way, walk in it…”

(Isaiah 30:20,21)

“What’s for supper?” I’d ask my mom (translated—“Can we eat now?”). The usual response was, “Wait until your father gets home from work.” “Okay mom.” Five minutes later—we’d run through the same information again. This time, however, she’d reply to my question—“bread and water.” And, so, early on, I would frequently hear the expression “bread and water.”

The expression “bread of adversity and water of affliction” turns up in Isaiah 30:20-21. Historical research into the bread and water proves this phrase to be a prison reference. 1 Kings 22:27 reads, “Thus says the king, Put this fellow in prison and feed him meager rations of bread and water…” It carries the idea of difficult times coming to an end when the people of God would suddenly behold their “Teacher.” The English Standard Version capitalizes “Teacher.” We have reason to think that this Teacher is a Messianic reference. Jesus entered his public ministry, appearing, not just as another teacher, but as the Teacher (Mk. 12:14; John 1:38; 11:28; 3:2; 14:6). The Dead Sea Scrolls also state that the Qumran Community was waiting for the coming of one called, “the Teacher of Righteousness”.

Friend, do you sit at his feet today, or have you settled for bread and water?

Robert M. Housby

Categories: Bible, Isaiah, Jesus Christ, Old Testament Tags:

Learning at the Master’s Feet

October 9th, 2005

“Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s

feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me. But the Lord answered her, Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

(Luke 10:38-42)

The story of Mary and Martha offers many valuable insights. We use the term insight because an insight, in addition to being discernment, also means introspection. In other words, this story allows us to see ourselves. Consider some interesting observations about this event:

1. It was Martha, not Mary, who initiated the visit (Lk. 10:38).
2. Mary, by sitting at the Lord’s feet, chose close proximity (Lk. 10:39).
3. Martha makes two pointed statements, not one (Lk. 10:40).
4. Although, Martha is concerned about Mary’s behavior, a closer look reveals that she directs both of her statements to Jesus: “…do you not care…?” and “Tell her…” (question and command) (Lk. 10:40).
5. The doublet, “Martha, Martha” shows Jesus’ tender concern (Lk. 10:41).
6. Since this is a comparative study, “Mary has chosen…” infers that Martha has also chosen (Lk. 10:42).
7. Is Jesus’ last comment, “which will not be taken away from her,” in force today through Bible-Study?

Won’t you sit at the Master’s feet today, and learn while you may?

-Robert M. Housby

Categories: Bible, Jesus Christ, Luke, New Testament Tags:

On The Second Coming

October 2nd, 2005

“…This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way as you have seen him go into heaven.”

(Acts 1:11)

The Second Coming of Jesus is meant in Acts 1:9-11. The late J. W. Roberts, a recognized Greek scholar within the churches of Christ, said of Acts 1:10,11— “This declaration that the Lord will return is a basic tenet of the Gospel proclamation (Acts 3:21; 17:31; 1 Cor. 15:23; 1 Thess. 1:10) (Acts of Apostles, Part 1: Austin, TX: Sweet Publishing, 1967), 15. The respected 19th century scholar, J.W. McGarvey, wrote concerning this passage: “It is a positive announcement of a literal and visible second coming” (Original Commentary On Acts of Apostles. 7th ed. Nashville, Tenn, Gospel Advocate Co 1978), 19.

Unlike many other religions, Christianity is based upon a linear approach to history. That is, we believe that the world had a beginning and shall have an ending (Genesis 1:1; Acts 1:11). We do not believe in superstition, nor circular world-views, such as are found in the Eastern religions (re-incarnation, etc). Furthermore, the second coming of Christ teaches world judgment (Acts 17:31). But, both, the Second Coming of Christ and the judgment of mankind are currently being challenged: Namely, “Thou shalt not be certain about the truth of any one religion; and, Thou shalt not be morally conservative. Sin is often viewed as nothing more than a neurosis caused by socio-economic and psychological factors. And so, some say, the hope of salvation is available only through counseling, psychiatry, and education. Christians know better (Prov. 1:7). May the Second Coming serve to heighten our awareness of his expectations for us.

We await his return (2 Pet. 3:4; Heb. 9:28).

-Robert M. Housby

Categories: Acts, Bible, Jesus Christ, kingdom, New Testament Tags:

THE LAST CALL

August 7th, 2005

THE LAST WEEK IN THE LIFE OF JESUS OF NAZARETH

with Special Emphasis on the Gospel of John

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[Brother Robert Housby is preparing a Study-Guide to be used in the Sunday Morning Bible
Class. This class will take a look at the last week in the life of Christ. It is entitled, The Last
Call, and will begin in September, 2005]

“When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. The more they were called, the more they went away.”

(Hosea 11:1,2)

“Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him. And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt and remained there until the death of Herod.
This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, Out of Egypt I called my son.”

(Matthew 2:13-15)

Jesus was called by God (Matt. 2:15). That call had purpose (Isaiah 42:6). By John 13:1, Jesus’ call is in its final stages. It is associated theologically with the Passover; and with an appointed Hour; and, with the investment of agape Love. The Last Call will take us to the threshold of Calvary and beyond. You, too, are now called to participate (Romans 1:1,6,7; 8:28,30; 9:24; Phil. 3:14).

-Robert M. Housby