Category Archives: Commentary

THE VALUE OF EDUCATION


THE VALUE OF EDUCATION

William Andrew Dillard
Parson to Person

From earliest times, opportunities and tremendous blessings from the Creator were underscored for those prepared to receive them. Recipients’ key requisites most often were education and faith in His word and works. It remains that way! Think with me a moment.
Antediluvian world folks, far afield from the primitive state imagined by modern man, show excellence in education. Adam must have been created with the equivalent of a Ph.D. since he gave names to everything in creation, Gen. 2:19. Jabal excelled in animal husbandry; Jubal in music, especially in harp and organ; Tubalcain was a master artificer in brass and iron; Nimrod built a city: on and on it goes. Then God called upon Noah to build an ark to the saving of air-breathing life. It was approximately 450 by 45 by 30 in foot dimensions. Now just what dumb-bunny was able to do that? Noah was a righteous man, but he was also an educated man and prepared for the job.
Looking at other instances, Moses stands out as exemplary of educational readiness. He had the best Egypt could provide plus 40 years of personally examining the terrain of Sinai. David was a mighty warrior, but also a master of strategy, faith, and music. Notice also that Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego) were specially selected by King Nebuchadnezzar, not because he knew them, but because they fit his criteria of service, to wit: “. . . no blemish, but well-favored, and skillful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had an ability in them to stand in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans.” Daniel 1:4. They were ready for both spiritual and material education to seize upon opportunities to serve both God and man.
Finally, in the important initial evangelism of the first century world, God chose Saul of Tarsus, a Hebrew of Hebrews, more zealous in his faith that all his brethren, and who could not only evangelize with the New Testament doctrines after God got through teaching him, but who could by his excellent education in the tradition of his fathers persuade thousands of Jews and Gentiles alike to embrace New Testament faith. Men should excel in something, faith notwithstanding and underscored, and then use that excellence to help others as God provides opportunities which He most certainly will do.
Through brick and mortar institutions, and online educational offerings, the present generation has more information and outreach ability than all the past generations had in all their collective forms. Still, the propensity to submit to the lure of inertia manages to hinder both individual and church progress. Perhaps we all would do well to hear God’s still small voice to Elijah saying, “What are you doing here?”

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Opinion


Opinion: It is my opinion that one reason we don’t want to admit that we have a heart problem in America is because you can’t pass any legislation to solve it. The only One who can take care of this heart problem is the Great Physician.

I think this settles the issue. It is a heart problem.

Matthew 15:19
“For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, MURDERS, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:”

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UNEQUALLY YOKED A NO—NO!


HEBREW HONEYCOMB

William Andrew Dillard
UNEQUALLY YOKED A NO—NO!

In Old Testament Law, a number of commandments were written that cause modern men to scratch their head. However, they make perfect sense when considering that those things were types and shadows of the will of God for His people in New Testament times. Consider with me one such instance.
Deuteronomy 22:10 commands, “Thou shalt not plow with an ox and an ass together.” This is not an uncommon occurrence in third world countries presently. Does God pity the ox or the ass for enduring unequal yokefellows or is it said for our sakes. Perhaps a better understanding of it is revealed in specific New Testament passages such as 2 Corinthians 6:14, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers:. . .” This is usually taught to mean that believers should not be married to unbelievers (which is a good thing) but doubtless greater applications are intended, as is clarified in 1 Cor. 7:12-13. The marriage yoke should not be broken if all else is compatible.
What is specifically meant is written in terms that need not be misunderstood. The context of the verse is written to the church of the Living God at Corinth, and is to be interpreted in church context. Believers in the faith once delivered to the saints are not to be yoked together with those who not only fail to believe said faith, but vehemently reject many of the tenants of it. In short, true New Testament churches should not be co-laborers with those of unlike faith, for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness: or what communion does light have with darkness? What agreement has the temple of God with idols? ( 2 Cor. 6:14-16 paraphrased).
Baptist churches are NOT Protestant churches. They have never been associated with Rome, nor will they ever be. But they can go astray as did the small group of them that created the Roman Catholic church, preferring to be married to the Roman Empire than to be separated to the Lord Jesus Christ.
True churches stand or fall in relationship to their creator and founder by how they embrace or lay aside the tenants of the faith once delivered to the saints. One of the quickest ways to fall is to esteem that faith of little value or as a roadblock to progress with other unlike religious organizations in the community.
Returning to 2 Cor. 6, the conclusion is inescapable. God says, “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” May two walk together in disagreement? To disregard God’s Word for the fellowship of others who disregard it, is to fly in the face of the Creator! To submit to an unequal yoke is a NO –NO!

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CATHEDRAL IMPRESSIONS


CATHEDRAL IMPRESSIONS

William Andrew Dillard
Parson to Person

In the many regions of the United States, there are extremely few buildings that would compete with the awesomeness of a great cathedral. Truly, most are large, bedecked with stained glass windows, a pipe organ, and other trappings of religious luxury. But, a cathedral, often a century or more in the erection, extends its unique architectural power to arrest attention. It has been my pleasure to visit such massive structures in the eastern part of the U. S., England, Mexico, Canada, etc. The painstaking details of construction, and the massiveness of it all consistently impressed me.
However, memories of a visit to the Washington D.C. Cathedral dominate my thinking. The great sanctuary would not hold nearly as many as smaller mega-church buildings that dot the country, but the great height of the structure and the echo of footsteps on marble flooring, the quaintness of the environment with pulpit to one side and massive pipe organ were a sight to experience. It was in such an environment as this that an aged woman spoke up from her group to inquire in a high-pitched voice that seemed to echo extra well, “Has anybody been saved here lately?” Well, had you been there, you could have heard a pin drop. But the guide quickly recovered and spoke about other things that he knew a little about.
My question to the guide of our group: “Who owns and operates this cathedral?” was ignored two different times. I suppose that was easy enough to do since I was not in front of the group, but anyone who knows me knows my voice is not weak. So, a little later, and closer to the guide, the question was posed again. It was fairly apparent that it was not in Catholic hands.
With great reluctance, the guide revealed that it was owned and operated by the Episcopal Church, but was quick to add that it was not built as an outreach facility of the Episcopal movement, but for important services including religeo/political ones. Understanding that I may have touched a nerve, the topic was not pursued further.
Here then is the apex of the manifestations of religious men far afield from the evangelical enterprise Jesus gave to His New Testament church, and the baptism, and teaching of the Word that is to be their constant, age-long activity. To Bible students, impressions of the cathedral were confined to the architectural structure, and not to what went on inside. .
As one reads the messages of Jesus to the churches in early Revelation, it should give pause to think that what happened to the Temple in Jerusalem, to other religious movements may be happening to the churches of the Lord Jesus Christ when adequate provisions for the saints to meet together to worship and study are razed for bigger and better to attract a lost world. Let the question then fall on spiritual ears: “Has anyone been saved here lately?” Is New Testament truth taught here?

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FIGURES OF SPEECH


HEBREW HONEYCOMB

William Andrew Dillard
IN FIGURES OF SPEECH

In every language known to mankind, there is no shortage of figures of speech that serve to color, emphasize, and deepen the points of thought being presented. The Bible, far from being an exception to this, is a repository of dozens of kinds, and multiple usages of practically all of them.
Unfortunately, many students of the Word have not been exposed to a survey of the Bible from a “figures of language” viewpoint. So, some chap will roar in negative reply that the Bible must always be interpreted literally. Really? So, the Bible says “All flesh is grass.” What grass is your flesh: Bermuda or Zoysia? Johnson grass or Centipede? Obviously, a figure of speech is in play. If it were to use “Like” or “as” it would be a simile, but since it omits those words and simply call one thing another it is a metaphor.
It is impossible for this article to be inclusive of all the figures of speech in the Bible. But a few are offered as an encouragement to recognize them, and to appreciate them for their rich enhancement to understanding the vivid points under consideration

Parable: a continued simile such as Matt. 13, the parable of the sower, etc.
Idiom: particular words or phrases such as “break bread” to indicate “eat a meal.”
Hyperbole: exaggeration. Of Saul and Jonathan, David said, “They were swifter than eagles, they were stronger than lions.” Again, David said, “Rivers of water run down mine eyes. . . “ Psalm 119:136.
Omission: words or meaning are purposefully left out, but the meaning of them are obvious. “For John came neither eating nor drinking.” Note Matt. 11:18. Obviously John had to eat and drink to live, but “declining invitations to eat with others” is the sense understood in the omission.
Allegory: a continued metaphor as Paul so wonderfully stated in Galatians 4:24.
Oxymoron: an apparent contradiction of word meanings as Wise-fool or as one might humorously say in modern times. “military intelligence.”
There are more, so many more that a course in Biblical Figures of Speech is offered in many liberal arts colleges, and theological schools. Figures of speech make ideas vivid, more understandable and memorable. After all, that is what language is supposed to do. So, far from weakening the inference of an implication, it strengthens it, and enhances the success of both speaker and hearer in sharing ideas. Surely, the author of language provided for our understanding these marvelous figures which fill His Word, and which He used in His mission on earth. Their presence enhances one’s love of the Word!

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TERMS MUST DISCRIMINATE


HEBREW HONEYCOMB

William Andrew Dillard
TERMS MUST DISCRIMINATE

Surely the title of this article is elementary. If terms did not precisely identify mental ideas and/or discriminately identify people, places, things, then language would be meaningless, and civilization could not advance from what would surely be a pool of constant confusion. Even in an advanced society, the inadequacy of language, and/or the pollution of terminology continually hinders many efforts, giving rise to lawsuits in attempts to pinpoint precise ideas that weakened language sets forth.
It is of little surprise then that religious heresy, and many misunderstandings arise from failures to use terms of language more discriminately. Illustrating this point one need only to ask any number of people to define major doctrinal terms of the Bible such as salvation, baptism, church, etc. The degree of misunderstanding is staggering. Another such common usage error is the term “soul.” It is used indiscriminately in pulpit and pew, most often to convey the idea of the spirit of man. However, the trinity of man is soul (psyche, mind life), body, and spirit. I Thess. 5:23. Precise terms for each of these are used in the scriptures. Nowhere does the Bible indicate that the soul is the spirit of man. The soul is conscious life. Conscious life exists as a combination of the trinity of man, but it also exists without the body.
But wherein lies any danger in failure to use these terms discriminately? Well, to use “soul” to mean “spirit” fosters powerful, erroneous ideas. For instance, both the Bible and God’s people promote evangelism with the goal being the initial bringing of men to Christ, or the new birth. But the clear teaching of the scripture is that being born from above is an event affecting the spirit of man for both time and eternity. Upon that foundation one may embark on a lifetime of winning his own soul by which life is disciplined into conformity to Bible doctrine. But when soul is substituted for spirit, the idea is inferred that the soul is complete in its salvation at the point of the new birth. Is it any wonder then that non-bible reading Christians easily sleep in fundamental error fostered by indiscriminate terminology? Moreover, that will cost them dearly, and forever at the judgment seat of Christ.
It must be understood that salvation for mankind is threefold. The spirit of man is saved and sealed in repentance of sin, and placement of trust in Christ Jesus as one’s personal Savior. The mind-life (consciousness) is being saved progressively as one disciplines him/herself in conformity to God’s Word. Physical salvation will not come until the resurrection or rapture. Until then, it behooves all men to be discriminatory in the use of terminology lest destructive ideas find root and blossom into a successful undermining of one’s faith, or worse, into full blown heresy, affecting great numbers of people.

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LEFT THY FIRST LOVE!


LEFT THY FIRST LOVE!

William Andrew Dillard
Parson to Person

The church of the Living God at Ephesus played a prominent part in the initial spread of Christianity as well as in the makeup of the New Testament. The book that bears its name features some of the best loved verses in the Bible.
The church was born in an idol worshipping city, creating significant, violent protests, yet it was a tremendous work of the Apostle Paul, who went out of his way to pay it one last visit near the end of his free ministry. It was also home to the ministry of Aquila and Priscilla, and a preaching station of glib Apollos.
It was this writer’s delight to visit the ruins of the ancient city which still bears ample evidence of its early prominence, including remains of winding streets, shops, libraries, homes, and huge storage facilities of grain. There are also remains of city laws engraved in stone in prominent places. Indeed the ancient amphitheater that hosted a protest crowd of some 50,000 in the days of Paul is there together with remains of an ancient church house and deep water baptistery. There are also prominent brothels, speaking to the sensuality of the idol worship so prominent, water cooled houses, epicurean regurgitation stations, and other indicators of material excesses of the day.
Again, the church is directly addressed in Revelation chapter two. The underscored criticism of it is that they had left their first love. Commentators, and other theologians have conjectured just what that means, and often skewed it to their own thinking more than to contextual evidence.
It is abundantly clear that the church, and indeed the entire city suffered from devastation of disease and earthquakes, yet the ruins of what once was remains. Evidence abounds that what happened to the church at Ephesus is what continues to happen to churches throughout the age: they left their first love, and their candlestick was removed, even though they may have continued to operate religiously for a time. What is that first love? The same that we all have. It is love for the God of the Word, of whom we want to know more from our spiritual birth onward. Carnality often deals that a mortal blow. Do you love the Word more than this material world? How much time do you spend with it?

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TO BE SAVED IS TO BE SAFE


HEBREW HONEYCOMB

William Andrew Dillard
TO BE SAVED IS TO BE SAFE

In the state of New South Wales, Australia, several miles out of the city of Sydney, lies a national park called Three Sisters, so named after three rock columns that rise 3,000 feet above sea level.
Visiting the park a number of years ago, an open air train ride took us to the floor of the great canyon which is comparable to the Grand Canyon in the U.S. Upon returning to the top, a cable car with a glass bottom offered us a ride across the top of the canyon. From that vantage point, one could see the interesting canyon floor thousands of feet below. However, as the car came to about the halfway crossing of the vast canyon, a strong wind began to cause it to swing sideways. It was scary and doubtless unsafe. The conductor immediately apologized for the canceled trip putting the car in reverse motion. No one complained. It is indeed scary to be in an unsafe environment even if only for a short time.
It may seem redundant, but it is unsafe not to be saved, and to be saved is to be safe!
When God brought the Hebrews out of Egyptian bondage, He reminded them when they had safely crossed the Red Sea, “Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself.” 
Exodus 19:4. Truly, when things appeared to be impossible, the safest place for the Hebrews was under the direct leadership of Almighty God. It is still the absolute best place in the whole universe to be.
The prophet Isaiah reminded his people, and us, too, “ But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”
Isa. 40:31.
In God, one is safe, and it is never dangerous to be safe! How different life is for the unbelieving world. Men see ways that appear right to them, but the end are the ways of death. It was in such a fleshly minded environment that Jeremiah cried out to his people who were about to go into Babylonian captivity: “Thus saith the LORD; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD.” 
Jer. 17:5.
The world cries “Peace and Safety, Peace and Safety!” It eludes them. Wise are those who hear the words of 
Isaiah 57:21, “There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.”
David said, “I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD only makest me to dwell in safety.” 
Psalm 4:8. In whom are you trusting for safety?

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THE BUSINESS OF THE LICK-LOG


THE BUSINESS OF THE LICK-LOG

William Andrew Dillard
Parson to Person

It is time to come to the lick-log about this!” One may very well hear this expression in the South. It is quite old, but since it is used in varying contexts, one may wonder just what is meant by the term “lick-log.”
Dictionaries usually give two or three main definitions to cover the main ideas of it. Primarily it denotes a salt-lick, one framed in a log or felled tree which keepers set up for the convenience of cattle.
When growing up in the country community of Jenny Lind, Arkansas, there were usually two or three animals in the pasture. One would be a milk cow, and perhaps a calf or two, and a work horse. Dad always had a large salt block on a post about animal head high. There would be indentations in several areas of the block where the farm animals would occasionally lick it to acquire their needed salt. Of course I could never pass that salt block without taking a lick or two myself. So in that context coming to the lick log meant satisfying a basic craving; hence, resolution of the same.
Some cattlemen who were ethically challenged would feed their cattle lots of salt in their regular feeding times to get them to drink as much water as possible just before sale time. A few more pounds per head meant a fatter check.
In other contexts, “lick-log” is used in legal jargon to indicate the real reason or motive for actions. It has also been employed to mean standing firm or one’s ground. If one is negotiating a decision or a settlement of an issue, “down to the lick- log may mean “close to a resolution.” The term is used to indicate a finality in getting to the truth among so many untruths. In matters of time “Lick-log” may indicate the last second.
In eternal verities that affect the never-dying soul, it must be recognized that all men are sinful mortals, and life on earth indefinite. Moreover there are many ways that appear to be right for a man, but the end are the ways of death. However, there is one way of life, truth, blessings, peace, and that way is Jesus, John 14:6. Furthermore, He forthrightly said, “…no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” Allowing this information to sink in, and reside as the ultimate truth is coming to the “lick-log,” set for one’s eternal good by the Creator.

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SHEEP ROUNDUP


HEBREW HONEYCOMB

William Andrew Dillard
SHEEP ROUNDUP

Hyper-evangelism and the great debates of a couple of generations ago have produced in some an all encompassing point of spiritual completion in the experience of the spiritual new birth. For this reason, a host of scriptures that speak to the salvation of the mind-life are simply written off as applicable to the spiritual new birth which is thought to be the sum and substance of New Testament Christianity. Little thought is attributed to spiritual salvation by grace being 4,000 years old when Jesus was born in Bethlehem. Such a mindset produces error in rightly dividing and interpreting scriptures. For example, it is assumed that 3000 people were spiritually saved on the day of Pentecost, Acts 2. The Bible says no such thing! What it says is that 3,000 were added to them (the church). Of course some may have been saved on that day, but doubtless most of them were of old, saved Jews, and others under the ministries of John and those in the limited commission. At one time there was some controversy about that. John 4:1 records, When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptized more disciples than John, (Though Jesus himself baptized not, but his disciples,). It is evident that a great number of people were saved and baptized who did not have the privilege of accompanying Jesus and the apostles during His earthly ministry. Referencing those, Jesus said, “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.” John 10:16.
Inasmuch as Jesus’ prayer in John 17 was adamant in several expressions that His church body be one, even as He and the Father were one, it is reasonable to believe His statement in John 10:16 was referencing the many disciples who were to be coalesced into the one fold prior to the great, initial outreach. Pentecost and the days following, as in Acts 4:4, then would be. in a manner of thinking, a roundup of the sheep into one fold under one shepherd.
While this reasoning alone is not proof of the state of those added to the church on Pentecost, when coupled with the fact that the Bible pointedly does not say those 3000 did not all experience spiritual salvation on that day lends heavy credence to that being the case of their being already saved disciples, rejoicing over the New Testament message, and being brought into the one fold.
It is not good to build theology on an “assumed, thus add to the Word” mentality. It is better to coalesce reasonable, bible support, than to change what is said to fit an accepted line of theology. Either way, what difference does it make? Not much except one way is right and another is wrong, just the difference between right and wrong!

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