HOLY STUFF OR HOLEY STUFF, WHOLLY?
Words with the same, or very similar, phonetic sounds are called homophones. Since they are often indistinguishable in sound, understanding them depends on proper context in spoken language, and proper spelling in written form.
“Holy” means sacred, worthy of reverence, etc. “Holey” means full of holes. “Wholly” means all, or complete. The homophonic quality of these words with meanings so different lends itself to a lesson application.
In an acute, spiritually anemic world of religion, many variant voices are heard purporting to be the will of the Lord. Such voices may have a well chosen “springboard” verse of scripture twisted out of biblical context to support the peculiar nuance of the speaker. Pity the poor listener who believes whatever may be set before him simply because a pet scripture has been used as a prop.
A sane and sensible question one should ask is, “Is this message holy stuff or simply holey stuff, wholly?”
Once a scripture has been twisted out of context, it no longer conveys the holy truth it is meant to convey within its context. It is full of holes, and will not hold spiritual water. The practice creates a common commentary of the last days.
Let it be underscored that the Bible is not a disjointed collage of opposing ideas, neither is it a code known only to a select few. It is not the gift of the church to the world, rather it is God’s gift to the church to share with the world that they may be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth.
The honest Bible student will not read into the scriptures pre-supposed ideas, but will read out of the scriptures the contextual ideas that are harmoniously conveyed.
Since the Bible is the plenary word of God, one may be sure that harmony, symmetry, and unity prevail in its presentation to the exclusion of any contradiction whatsoever.
The depth of the inspired instruction is such that the serious Bible student will continue to learn from it as long as he lives, but such learning will always harmonize with the elementary, indisputable lessons first learned.
But, the charlatan purveyors of that which is holey continue in increasing numbers as biblically predicted for the last days. By these things the necessity of a life anchor in the Holy Word is underscored. All who are blessed to know the Lord in these last days do well to “try the spirits” to determine from which source they come. This may take the initial form of simply questioning with a determination to know the answer: “Is this holy stuff, or is it simply holey stuff, wholly?” Every message must stand of fall by the unerring measure of Heaven’s unified Word!
NOT THE AGE OF AQUARIUS,
BUT OF PHARMACY
William Andrew Dillard
Parson to Person
“Pharmacy” is transliterated from the ancient Greek language (taken bodily from one language to another). There it appears as “pharmakeia.” It means the dispensing and use of drugs, but mainly in a bad sense. In both Old and New Testaments, this term, and its Hebrew equivalent “kashaph” are translated in English as “witchcraft(s) and sorcery.” It is a practice that plays a major role in the lives of men as the age comes to a close. This idea is not to be taken as an accusation of evil toward legitimate pharmacies whose purpose is to aid in treatment of the ills and pains of men in their physical infirmities. But it denotes the ages-long abuse and misuse of drugs in what is called recreational, and mind altering abuse. Moreover, the Biblical terms “witchcraft” and “sorcery” have definite metaphorical denotations in their usage throughout human history. Sometimes a drug is a physical substance. Sometimes it is a strong line of falsehoods meant to alter the thinking from that which is ultimately true, as in the Word of God. In ancient times idolaters used both. They used physical drugs as they knew them, but the aim and purpose was to captivate and alter the minds of men with forms of doctrine and ceremonies that were originated in hell itself. Why did this happen, and why does it continue to happen? It is as old as good and evil, God and Satan. It is Satan’s design and purpose to destroy the very images of Almighty God as much as possible. He is the destroyer, and that must not be forgotten.
The apostle, Paul names Pharmakeia” translated “witchcraft” as a work of the sinful flesh in Galatians 5:20. Additionally, as the false religious systems of the world, termed metaphorically as Babylon, are destroyed, their just and righteous charge among several other things is the practice and dissemination of (pharmakeia). sorceries, Revelation 18:23. It is by these things that false religion has been drunken with the blood of God’s people from the death of righteous Abel, to the prophets, and onward to New Testament times. Presently, the explosion of pharmakeia” in literal and metaphorical senses is bringing about the destruction of myriad lives, this nation, and the world at large. It is imperative then to the wellbeing of every person to have the firsthand, knowledgeable standing place. If it is deemed wise to avoid the literal “pharmakeia,” it is many times more wise to avoid the metaphorical “pharmakeia.” The only acceptable alternative is not the word of religious men or the alignment of stars, rather it is the inerrant, infallible Word of God. How dare anyone to let his copy of it collect dust in his home or his life.
Let those with ears enough to hear, hear the admonition to abandon the drunken course of this world and its influence on eternal verities. God offers to all sobriety, but those in “pharmakeia” will meet the sure judgment already set forth in the clear terms of Holy Writ!
A tremendous article by Randall A. Terry
This label is nearly as bad as the Scarlet Letter in many American Christian minds. Hostile unbelievers cast this insult like the first “without sin” stone on anyone who dares to take an uncompromising stand on issues. The fear of being condemned as an “extremist” has been so effective that many tepid Christian leaders in pastorates, seminaries and ministry leadership positions have joined Christianity’s enemies and launched their own quiet, thoughtful, reasoned attack on “extremism.”
The practical result of this is that battalions of young “Davids” sit fidgeting on the sidelines, while the King Sauls of the Church explain to the Davids why it is not God’s will to slay the Goliaths.
However, the charge of extremism – rather than an accusation to be ashamed of – is actually an accolade to relish and revel in; because without doubt Christianity is the ultimate extremist religion. No other religion, no other faith, no other deity even comes close. I submit that the war on extremism from inside or outside Christianity is ultimately a war on Christianity itself.
Consider the extremes of Christ’s attributes and offices.
He is the Lamb of God; he is the lion of the tribe of Judah.
He is the Prince of Peace;
He is the Man of War. A bruised reed He will not break;
He shatters the nations with a rod of iron.
Jesus weeps; He has eyes of fire.
He does not lift up His voice; out of His mouth goes a two edged sword.
Christ is the Savior; Christ is the Judge.
He made Himself a servant; He is the Master and Lord of all.
His kingdom is not of this world; He is King of Kings and all kings will bow at His feet.
He wore a crown of thorns; He offers a crown of life.
He is fully God; and He is fully man.
Those extremes nearly tore the “Christian” religion apart.
Reflect on God the Father.
God is love; God is a consuming fire.
God is light; God dwells in the thick darkness.
Jacob He loves; Esau He hates.
The extreme the mandates and the fruit of Christianity in our lives:
The Bible demands that we love our enemies; the Psalmist boasts of his perfect hatred for God’s enemies.
Christ promised to leave his peace with us; yet he declared he did not come to bring peace, but a sword.
Christ brings unity to Gentile and Jew; he divides a mother-in-law from her daughter-in-law.
He commands us to rejoice evermore; he adjures us to let our joy be turned to sorrow and our laughter to weeping.
God’s dealings with men and nations are equally extreme.
He will save the city for the sake of 10 righteous men; he destroys tens of thousands for the sin of one man.
One errant son loses Paradise by one act; one obedient son redeems the world by one act.
God forgives the woman taken in adultery; he kills the man for steadying the Arc of the Covenant with his hand.
He sends blistering drought in Elijah’s day; he drowns the world in Noah’s.
He brought the first son of David and Bathsheba to the grave; he brought their next son to the throne.
The Lord and the angels rejoice when sinners are converted; converted sinners will judge the angels.
Biblical heroes are a study in extremes.
David is the sweet Psalmist of Israel wedding poetry; David is the fierce
warrior who presents Goliath’s head to the king.
Elijah stands and conquers 400 prophets of Baal; he flees in terror at the word of one woman.
Abraham begs God for a son; then willingly offers him as a sacrifice until God intervenes.
Peter declares he will die for Jesus; within hours he denies he even knows him. Timid Gideon begs God for a sign; brave Gideon slays two kings on a stone. Saul of Tarsus kills Christians; he is finally killed for being one.
The extremes of Christianity may startle us; they may make some comfortable; but they are not contradictions.
The tightrope walker that balances his acts with a long pole holds but one pole. It is the extremes of that pole that keep them in balance. Should he favor one side of the pole and lop off the other, he could not maintain his balance–he would fall.
This is the plight of modern theologians and preachers. Having accepted the false notion of Christianity’s enemies that certain aspects of our God and faith are extreme (and therefore extremely embarrassing), they have lopped off the extremities that preserve them on precarious heights–and they have fallen; fallen into the safety net of fallen man’s opinions. But this safety net is actually a snare.
Having turned from the Harsh Master who reaps what he did not sow, they have enslaved themselves to harsher masters who sow the wind and reap the whirlwind. Our modern, sophisticated, would-be “heroes of the faith” slay no tyrants, conquer no kingdoms, risk no martyrdom. Instead, they get photos with tyrants, protect the status quo of the kingdom, and frequently martyr the reputations of their extremist brethren.
By trying to blend the heat of God’s mercy and the coldness of his judgment, the “balanced” have exchanged their glory for the similitude of a lukewarm, politically correct ox, fit only to be spewed out of Christianity’s mouth.
By the forced blending of God’s unapproachable light and the thick darkness in which he dwells, the moderates of Christianity have created the drab-grey-God who neither inspires wonder nor dread.
They have balance; the balance of a fixed, lifeless statue.
One achieves healthy balance by remembering both the goodness and severity of God; not by blending them into divine indifference. One maintains balance by accepting the extremes of black-and-white; not by creating a bland, grey divinity.
What Christianity’s detractors both inside and outside the church must accept is that Christianity is extreme – extreme to the wildest degree. Perhaps nothing reveals this extremism more than the final state of man. The righteous live in night-less light, the wicked are cast into outer darkness. The redeemed dwell in perpetual joy; the rebels weep and gnash their teeth forever. Those who die in friendship with Christ have eternal life; those who die rejecting His grace have eternal damnation. It does not get any more extreme than this.
Those who reject extremes must inevitably reject Christ and Christianity.
By rejecting the extremes of male and female, our seminaries have created religious eunuchs and barren heralds; neuters that cannot reproduce their kind. By castigating Christianity’s extremities, have castrated its vitality.
Please show to us the “balanced” moderate who has done anything great
in history. They have won no great battles, they have no tragic defeats. They
have no boast, they have no denials. They offer no heads of giants; their songs
are trite and predictable.
When moderates in the Church call for balance, they really want to lop off the embarrassing extremes of Christ, His Church, and His history. But by doing so, they make Christianity an embarrassment. It is no longer, “These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also…” but rather, “These men who want a place at the table have come to discuss compromises.”
Past enemies of the Gospel feared extremist Christians: “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marveled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.” Our modern leaders are learned, but not bold. Now our enemies marvel that Christian leaders won’t fight for Christianity; they take note that they have been with Balaam.
These new champions – pitiful eunuchs – inspire neither dread nor ecstasy, neither joy nor weeping. They inspire nothing, because only extremes inspire people. Mediocrity, gray, blandness… inspires no one. They cannot advance and conquer for Christianity, for they cannot even defend her. They are safe, and they are irrelevant or worse yet; they are relevant only as religious hostages to be paraded before enemies like trophies from a conquered kingdom. By the waters of Babylon they have sung skillfully. Unlike the three Hebrew children, they bow deeply.
Conquered brothers, captured sisters, be loosed of the chains of your safe, grey, lukewarm, mediocrity. Cease giving succor to the enemy. Your war on extremism is a war on Christianity itself, and you cannot win. Come, battle demons with us. Relish the exhilaration of triumphs; curse the hapless defeats.
You can only achieve great victories by risking great disasters.
Stop trying to give God a facelift; he doesn’t need your plastic surgery.
Stop trying to amputate the extremes of Christianity you find so embarrassing.
To the unbelieving rebels; behold the goodness and severity of God. If you repent and believe the gospel, you will receive forgiveness and mercy from the God who made you, and sent His Son to die for you. But if you continue to rebel, and die outside of God’s friendship, you will be judged. If you spurn His mercy, you will drink the terrifying cup of His wrath forever. And your accusations of Christianity’s extremes will taunt you for all eternity.
Finally, to young and old believers alike – who yearn for militancy in the
Church Militant – take this advice: flee the guidance of these barren doctors of divinity. Do not follow their lead into the ghetto of mediocrity. They will deliver you from extremes, but they will rob you of your strengths to deliver. They will inoculate you from the pain and anguish of childbirth, because they will sterilize you. Better to be in anguished labor for Christ than to be a quiet gelding for Jesus.
Rejoice in the boundaries of extremism. Rejoice in the God of extremes.
Find your balance in the extremes of Christianity.
“I am an extremist!” and then live out that extremism to the extreme.
By Randall A. Terry
THE RING OF TRUTH
William Andrew Dillard
Parson to Person
Truth! Questioned by rulers, sought after in misguided paths of philosophy, pseudo-science, and secular education, obscured by false religion, servants of mammon, and demonic powers, truth survives unscathed. It not only survives, it reigns supreme in the intellects of the universe, and shall evermore, and It has a ring to it!
Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” John 10:27. In this great Shepherd/sheep chapter, voice is underscored as the identifying factor of the true Shepherd. Doubtless, there was uniqueness in the voice of Jesus by which He could be identified, more-so than the telephone voice of dear ones in modern times. However, this discourse for the church throughout the age is not connected to tone, but to content.
After Jesus’ ascension, His physical voice was no longer audible to His saints, but the meaning of John 10 remains as effective as any other scriptures. His sheep hear His voice. He knows them. They follow Him. Inseparable from His voice are the meanings of words and ideas spoken and subsequently preserved in Holy Writ.
Unlike any other, the Shepherd’s voice is underscored by unity, harmony, and symmetry. But the uniqueness does not end there. The words (voice) of the Master are spirit, and they are life. John 6:63. The Shepherd’s voice is the voice of God preserved in the Bible, and carried by the Holy Spirit, the same Holy Spirit given to the sheep, by which discernment is possible. The carnal mind cannot perceive the Shepherd’s voice because it is spiritual, and spiritual things are spiritually understood. 2 Cor. 2:14.
Much is said in the Bible about ears and how they hear or do not hear. Jesus pronounced a blessing on those who had ears to hear, and sternly warned all of His people throughout the age to use their ears to hear (discern) what the Spirit is saying to the churches ( Rev. 2-3.)
From the Garden of Eden to this present day, there are other voices vying for one’s attention. They contain information which if followed end in eternal disaster more-so than Adam and Eve found out. So, try the spirits, listen for the Master’s voice. Truth always has a biblically harmonizing ring to it.
I recently began thinking of how different things are today than they were in Jesus’ day. The pews are padded, but the cross was not. We sit in the midst of friends, family, and other believers while our Lord died before strangers and between two thieves. We complain if the church house is not warm enough in the winter and cool enough in the summer, but the Son of God had “not place to lay his head.” We enjoy a degree of respect (among some) because we are called “Christians,” but Christ was mocked and ridiculed and accused of being from Satan.
We get angry and hold grudges for the least offenses, while our Lord prayed for those who crucified Him, “Father, forgive them.”
We have more money, more freedom, and more resources today, but we do less with them than 120 dedicated believers did with their witness on the day of Pentecost. And today we have the completed Word of God readily available though most church members read and know it less than those of ages past.
Yet, in all of these things we often contend that it is more difficult for believers to live for Christ today than it was for the believers of those previous times. The truth is that we live in a time that Jesus spoke of in Matthew 24:12, “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.”
I would to God that we would be the people who not only have more but who do more with what we have. May we so live that the term “Christian” is a description more than a title. We might then look forward to hearing a “Well done, thou faithful servant” from our Lord.
II. GOD’S INSPIRED WORD HAS SEVEN DISTINCT FACTS.
Because the Bible is inspired of God, we can affirm that:
- It Is Infallible.
Without error – Psalm 119:160
- It Is Invariable.
Without change – Numbers 23:19; Psalm 119:89; James 1:17b.
- It Is Inexorable.
Without yielding – John 10:35b
- It Is Invincible.
Without conquest – Isaiah 55:11; Jeremiah 23:29; Hebrews 4:12
- It Is Inevitable.
Without failure – Psalm 126:5,6; Matthew 5:18; 24:35; I Peter 1:23-25
- It is Incomparable.
Without equal – Psalm 119:72
- It is Invaluble.
- It convicts – Hebrews 4:12
- It Converts – Romans 10:17; James 1:18, 21; I Peter 1:23
- It Corrects – II Timothy 3:16
- It Cleans – Psalm 119:9,11; John 15:3; 17:17; Ephesians 5:26
- It Conceives – Matthew 4:4; John 6:63
- It Conquers – Ephesians 6:17; Hebrews 4:12
- It Comforts – I Thessalonians 4:18