New Free Booklet: How Do We Know God Exists?

New Free Booklet: How Do We Know God Exists?
By Kelly McDonald, Jr.

Consider the world around you. Did it come about by chance or by divine intervention? This work will examine the question of origins—how did everything that is come to be? In other words, how do we know God exists?

In this free booklet, we examine a profound proof of God’s existence. We experience it every week, but many of us do not stop to think about its eternal implications.

Click on the picture below to download this free booklet!


WARNING: Anger May Cause Cracks in Your Armor of God

WARNING: Anger May Cause Cracks in Your Armor of God

By Julia Benson

“I have a secret that a lot of people wouldn’t think could be possible about me. Sometimes I become quite angry (I’m fairly sure I’m not alone in this phenomenon.) But, usually, I find a way to get over it. However, sometimes I don’t let go of the anger and it is still there under the surface. BEWARE!

What starts out as irritation quickly works its way into frustration and soon becomes full-blown anger that rages into a spirit of disobedience to God. I can think of a time when I was angry at my husband for three days, and for three days I was so consumed by my anger I barely prayed or thought about Christ, let alone read the Bible. If I did pray, it was really chintzy, and I prayed out of obligation, not because I wanted to.

At the time when this happened, I thought I was out of that mode of not praying or praying without heart. Here I thought I was in this great “spiritual renewal.” Then boom. It was gone….”

(this article is an excerpt from the September–October 2005 edition of the Sabbath Sentinel)

To read the rest of this article, which starts on page 9, click this link: https://biblesabbath.org/tss/515/tss_515.pdf

Living in Anticipation of Christ’s Return

Living in Anticipation of Christ’s Return

By Kelly McDonald, Jr.

In this article, we want to continue the discussion we started sometime ago. We live in the last days of this age, which started with Christ’s first coming. We know He will come back because His promises are sure. But exactly when is not for us to know; “no man knows the day or the hour” (Matthew 24:36-37).

While Jesus is certainly coming back, we don’t want to use His return as an excuse for inaction. The attitudes of “He’s coming back so it doesn’t matter” will lead to apathy and spiritual discontentment. There are prophecies in the New Testament that people would get weary of waiting for Jesus return. I have some examples below:

“The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep” (Matthew 25:5).

“Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Every since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation…” (2 Peter 3:3-5)

We want to avoid falling asleep spiritually and being lulled by the cares and desires of this world. We also don’t want to lose heart or become bitter about not seeing His return in the time frame that we thought it would happen (see also Mark 13:35-37, Matthew 24:48). As mentioned last week, we also don’t want to set dates.

We should look forward to the return of Jesus! “The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come!’ And let the one who hears say, ‘Come!’ Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life” (Rev. 22:17). We want our Savior to return and should always want this event to happen.

However, we have duties to carry out as we long for His coming.

“Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25).

While we certainly have been in the last days of this age for nearly 2,000 years, we live even closer to Christ’s return than the earliest disciples. As we see the day drawing closer, we are supposed to meet together even more and encourage each other. This means isolationism is not God’s will for the Christian. Even in the time of quarantines and other restrictions, we can still communicate and keep in touch with each other (we have tools such as online media).

Later in Hebrews 10:35-36, Paul wrote: “So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. 36 You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God you will receive what He has promised.”

Another key as we anticipate the return of the Lord is not to lose confidence. While we anticipate His return, our enemy, satan, will try to discourage us about this event. He will use attitudes, other people and the world as instruments to suppress your hope.

Third, we need to stay busy for the Kingdom of God. In Luke chapter 19, Jesus taught the parable of the minas. In the parable, the man of noble birth gave minas to ten of his servants. When He gave the minas, He said, “occupy until I come.” The goal of this story was to teach us about working for the Kingdom as we await Christ’s return. The Greek word translated as ‘occupy’ means to transact official Kingdom business. We should be busy carrying out acts of service for the Kingdom of God during this time. We want to be found doing so when He returns (see also Matthew 24:39-51).

Fourth, learn to think trans-generational. We should not look down on the young (I Timothy 4:12), but we should also respect the older (I Tim. 5:1-5, I Peter 5:5). If we live long enough, we will experience both! We cannot neglect to remember the old or to train the young.

As discussed in the article “Are We Living in the Last Days?” (click here), there have been certain groups and individuals that tried to predict the coming of Jesus. This was a problematic approach. A significant number of people in these groups didn’t get necessary medical work done for their own health. Some people quit their jobs and/or sold all their possessions. They neglected to teach their children the basics of the faith. In a sense, the concept of ‘Jesus is coming back, so it does not matter’ became the answer for everything.

In John 14:12, Jesus said to His disciples: “You shall do greater works.” It is the duty of every generation to want the upcoming generation to accomplish more, go further, and reach higher than they did.

In this article, we have reviewed definite actions we can take as we anticipate the Second Coming. In summary: Live in holiness and humility before God as if Christ was coming back any moment, but plan your life like Christ is not coming back for 100 years. Don’t stop contributing to your retirement plan and managing your money wisely and responsibly. Take care of your health. Don’t stop believing in His promises!

Our love for Him and to be with Him should drive us to keep going forward.

The idea that our Lord could return any moment is part of our hope! Paul called it the blessed hope! “…while we wait for the blessed hope – the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ..” (Titus 2:13). Let’s run the race and seek His face like never before as we keep these things in mind. Let’s continue the work begun almost 2,000 years ago by those who started to labor in the last days.

Kelly McDonald, Jr

BSA President www.biblesabbath.org

Quiet, Personal Faith

Quiet, Personal Faith

by Brian Knowles

“When you reach a certain point in your own spiritual development, you begin to take certain things as axiomatic. You realize, for example, the futility of arguing doctrine with anyone. You can’t change people’s basic ideas. Once they’ve internalized them, they’re ensconced for life. The more you want someone to “see” your point of view, the less likely they are to see it.

You realize that you can’t re-engineer people to conform to your own ideas of how they should be – and that includes your children, your husband, your wife or even your parents, friends and employees. We are who we are, and that’s that. Apart from the work of the Holy Spirit on the inside of us, the dye is pretty much cast from an early age. Once you get to know people, they tend to act predictably.

We all tend to hunker down in comfort zones. Once there, we flood the moat, pull up the drawbridge and try to insulate ourselves from the chaos that’s going on in the world around us. Change is threatening, so we resist it….”

(this article is an excerpt from the January–February 2006 edition of the Sabbath Sentinel)

To read the rest of this article, which starts on page 17, click this link: https://biblesabbath.org/tss/517/tss_517.pdf

The Sabbath in Africa

The Sabbath in Africa
By Kelly McDonald, Jr.

About 586/587 BC, the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar conquered Jerusalem. A number of Jewish people were taken captive, but many remained in the land of Judah. The Babylonian king set up a governor named Gedaliah to rule the land on his behalf. Some of the Jewish people rejected this idea and killed Gedaliah. Out of fear, many Jewish people fled to Egypt. This occurred despite the warnings of the prophet Jeremiah not to go to that place (see Jeremiah chapter 42). As the book of 2 Kings reads:

“In the seventh month, however, Ishmael son of Nethaniah, the son of Elishama, who was of royal blood, came with ten men and assassinated Gedaliah and also the men of Judah and the Babylonians who were with him at Mizpah. At this, all the people from the least to the greatest, together with the army officers, fled to Egypt for fear of the Babylonians.” (2 Kings 25:25-26).

The archaeological record confirms the Bible! One place that these Jewish people settled was called Elephantine island in the southern part of the country we call Egypt today (at times this area was ruled by other nations). While there, they built a Temple to God where sacrifices were made. This was likely an attempt to re-establish the Temple worship that was interrupted in the days of Nebuchadnezzar.

Among the archaeological findings that confirm the Jewish presence on Elephantine are papyri (which is a type of paper made from a plant in Egypt) and ostracon (pieces of pottery with writing on them). These findings contain a variety of details from the community including marriage contracts, information about daily life, and references to the Biblical Sabbath. These findings are of paramount importance in that they give evidence that this Jewish community did not forget the Sabbath.

The Elephantine Ostracon

The Elephantine Ostracon is a series of pottery shards found on Elephantine Island in the early twentieth century. They date to about 475 BC and belong to a Jewish community who had migrated there sometime beforehand (likely in connection with the Babylonian conquest of Judea, which happened not long after Josiah’s reign). Elephantine Island is located in modern-day southern Egypt. Several pieces of pottery refer to the Sabbath.

“Greetings Yedanyah! She has been put in jail, and orders have been given that she is not to be provided with bread and water. […] Ahutab has […] to me, except […] the Sabbath day. If Natan has not been taken captive there, let him come over to where I am, so I can go grind [meal (?)]. Also send me […]. And I will write […]. Do not (?) […] (Lindenberger, p 40).

“Greetings Ahutab! About this bread – eat it until tomorrow (Friday).* There is still an ardab of flour left here.” *The text note says that the Aramaic word used is ‘rwbh and it can mean the eve of the Sabbath (ibid, pp 41, 51).

“Greetings Yislah! Look, I’m sending you the vegetables tomorrow. Get there before the boat comes in – on account of the Sabbath – so they won’t be spoiled. I swear to God, if you don’t, I’ll kill you! Don’t trust Meshullemet or Shemayah to take care of it. Trade the barley for me. Try to get a lamb…I swear to God, if you don’t, you’ll have to pay the bill yourself!

As for the…you sent in exchange for the wine, I have sent it all on to them (?). If Meshullement doesn’t get here, what will you say? May we see each other soon!” (ibid, p 46)

“To […]yah: Greetings! May YHH [of hosts] bless you at all times. When the [shipment] or Wahpre son of […] arrives, send me […] and a lamb (?), and some salt […] before the Sabbath.
[I am having] Meshullam [bring you] some fish […], and [having] Beadi [bring] three big (?) […]. I am giving it to him today […] cut up (?) […]” (ibid, p 49).

Bezalel Porten describes a fourth ostracon that reads, “I am going and will not come until the eve (of the Sabbath)” (Porten, 117). He also noted that the name Shabbethai was used at that time, which is a refers to a baby born on the Sabbath. At the very least, these references to the Sabbath show that the Jewish people at Elephantine kept track of the Sabbath day.

Bibliography
Lindenberger, James M. Ancient Aramaic and Hebrew Letters. Edited by Kent Harold Richards. Society of Biblical Literature. Atlanta, GA: Scholars Press, 1994, pp 40-51.
Porten, Bezalel. “The Religion of the Jews of Elephantine in Light of the Hermopolis Papyri.” Journal of Near Eastern Studies, vol. 28, no. 2, 1969, pp. 116–121. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/543317. Accessed 18 Feb. 2021.

Are We Living in the Last Days?

Are We Living in the Last Days?

By Kelly McDonald, Jr.

Biblical teaching about the last days is typically called Eschatology. Teachings and sermons on this subject typically focus on the events that occur just before, up to, and after the return of Jesus. In this article, we will address some fundamental questions on this subject, such as: Are we living in the last days? If so, when did these days begin?

First of all, teaching about prophetic events concerning the last days is not new or recent (contrary to what some people say). We will look at a few examples. In the 1520s, Hans Hutt taught that Christ’s second return would take place on Pentecost 1528. In the 1840s, William Miller taught that Jesus was imminently returning. In the 1900s, other Bible teachers set dates and tried to predict Jesus’ return. All of us realize that none of those prophetic predictions came to pass.

We know that Jesus is coming back because He promised that He would do so (John 14:1-4). It is prophesied many places in the New Testament (such as I Thess. 4:13-18, Hebrews 9:26-28, and Rev. 19:11-20). But when exactly did the ‘last days’ begin? Is modern teaching missing a dimension of balance on this subject?

To get to the heart of this question, one must understand some basic concepts of time in the New Testament. There are three basic Greek words relating to time: Chronos, Kairos, and Aion.

Chronos refers to time as God designed for us to experience in the natural world. Another way to look at it is measurable time. Some examples: Sunday, Monday, Tuesday…etc. 1 pm, 2 pm, 3 pm, etc. Chronos in the Bible can also refer to a measurable period of time. For instance, the gestation period of a woman is 9 months. Thus 9 months is a chronos (Luke 1:57). In Acts 7:23, forty years old is called forty chronos.

Kairos refers to a season either natural or spiritual. The usage tends to be mostly spiritual in the New Testament. This refers to time as a promise from God comes to pass or some other season God allows. Most of the time it is not clearly predicted by chronos or natural time. In Galatians 6:9, Paul said that we will reap a harvest in due season (Kairos) if we do not give up. We don’t know when in chronos time we will reap, but it will happen in God’s ordained timing. Many prophecies in the Bible utilize the word kairos, especially relating to prophecies about Jesus first coming and future second coming (see Matthew 13:30, 16:3, 21:34, 26:18, Mark 1:15, Luke 1:20, Acts 1:7). We don’t know exactly when these prophecies will come to pass in chronos, but God the Father has established when the kairos will occur according to chronos

The third Greek word is aion, which is among the more misunderstood words in New Testament. Most of the time, it refers to an epoch of time and is best translated as AGE. Unfortunately, not all translations of the Bible render this word as age. Our understanding of this word will greatly clarify the meaning of the phrase ‘Last Days.’

“…none of the rulers of this age knew for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory” ( I Cor. 2:7-8, NKJV). Paul and Jesus lived in the same age. When did this age start?

Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, prophesied in Luke chapter 1. He said: “As He spake by the mouth of His holy prophets, which have been from the age…” (Luke 1:70, Young’s Literal Translation). It can also read “from the beginning of the age.” The age that John the Baptist and Jesus lived in began with the first prophet. In Luke 11:50-51, Jesus said that Abel was the first prophet to be slain. This means that the time of Adam, Eve, and their offspring was the beginning of the age in which Jesus lived. 

Jesus death and resurrection changed the direction of the age which began with Adam. The author of Hebrews wrote the following: “God, having in the past spoken to the fathers through prophets at many times and in various ways, in these last days has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, through whom also he made the ages” (Hebrews 1:2, New Heart English Bible).

In this verse, the Greek word translated as last is eschatos. It means the last time or place or the final thing in a succession of events. This is where we derive the term eschatology. Why does the writer of Hebrews use the phrase “Last Days?”

Christ’s first coming marked the “Last Days” of the age which started with Adam. In other words, His first coming started the countdown to the very end of the age. When He returns again, He will end this age (and previous ages). Future ages will then begin.

“And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6-7).

In the ages that are to come, we will learn even more about the grace of God. 

The countdown to the end of this age (and all previous ages – see Hebrews 9:26) started with Christ’s first coming. While we don’t know when that is in chronos time, we can always exude balance in our doctrine and lifestyle regarding this subject. Three quick lessons for viewing the last days:

First of all, we always want to avoid setting dates for Jesus return. Jesus said no man knows the day or the hour (Matthew 24:36). We cannot know the chronos and kairos established by the Father (Acts 1:7). Secondly, we do not want to lose heart that He will return soon. His second return is called the blessed hope and should encourage His people (Titus 2:13, I Thess. 4:18). Lastly, we also want to avoid an apathetic attitude that ignores Jesus return (see Matthew 25:1-30). He taught us to discern the times and to be prepared (Matthew 24:42-44; Lk. 12:56).

Next week we will review our duties as a Christian as we await His return to end this age and all previous ages.

Kelly McDonald, Jr.

BSA President – www.biblesabbath.org

Journey of Sin and Grace

Journey of Sin and Grace

by Richard Wiedenheft

“During the 1996-97 school year at Spring Vale Academy, I taught Old Testament Survey to freshmen and sophomores. As my students and I completed Genesis and reflected on it, they were amazed that this book displayed so much human nature in the raw. It was as if the Devil were thwarting God at every turn, pulling humanity into the cesspool of selfishness and sin, making it impossible for God to be in loving fellowship with the beings He created in His image.

Even among the heroes in Genesis there were minor and major flaws, sins that underscored the fact proclaimed later by the apostle Paul: “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

Yet just as Genesis demonstrates the sinfulness of humanity, so it displays the inexorable power of God’s grace, before which all human beings must bow in reverence or be crushed in judgment. Nothing thwarts the redemptive plan of God!

Sinfulness of humanity

We don’t get through the third chapter of Genesis before we read about the rebellion of our first parents. Tempted by the Devil, they broke the one command God gave them. This is followed in chapter 4 by the murder of Abel by his brother Cain, a heinous crime that must have stuck a knife of disappointment and grief into the hearts of their parents and Creator…”

(this article is an excerpt from the May–June 2007 edition of the Sabbath Sentinel)

To read the rest of this article, which starts on page 6, click this link: https://biblesabbath.org/tss/525/tss_525.pdf

Are the Ten Commandments Mentioned in the New Testament?

Are the Ten Commandments Mentioned in the New Testament?

by Kelly McDonald, Jr.

There are some who believe that in the New Testament, especially after the resurrection of Jesus, the Ten Commandments are no longer relevant in the believer’s life. Below, we have listed references to all Ten Commandments in the New Testament before and after the resurrection.

1) No other gods before Him: Matthew 6:24, Mark 12:32, Luke 16:13, Acts 19:26, Rom 3:30, I Cor. 8:4-6, Gal 3:20, 4;8, Eph. 4:6, I Tim 2:5, James 2:19.

2) No graven images/idols (and by extension no other gods): Acts 15:20, 15:29, 21:25; Romans 1:25-27, I Cor. 5:10-11, 6:9, 8:1-10; I Cor. 10:7,14,19; 2 Cor. 6:16; Gal. 5:20; Eph. 5:5; Col. 3:5; I Thess. 1:9; I Peter 4:3; I John 5:21; Rev. 2:14, 20, 21:8, 22:15.

3) Do not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain (this literally means to bear or take up His name in vain): Matthew 15:9, Mark 7:7, Romans 1:21, I Cor. 15:2, 2 Cor. 6:1, Col. 2:8, I Tim. 1:6, Hebrews 6:4-6, 10:26-32, James 2:20.

4) Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy: Matthew 12:1-12, 24:20, 28:1, Mark 1:21, 2:23, 2:24-28, 3:2-4, 6:2, 16:1, Luke 4:16, 4:31, 6:1-9, 13:10-16, 14:1-5, Luke 23:56, John 5:9-10,16-18, 7:22-23, 9:14-16, Acts 1:12, 13:13-45, 15:21, 16:11-15, 17:1-4, 18:1-4, Col. 2:15-17, Hebrews 4:4-11.

5) Honor your father and mother:  Matthew 15:4, 6, Matthew 19:19, Mark 7:10, 10:19, Luke 18:20, Rom. 1:30, Eph. 6:1-2, Col. 3:20, I Tim. 5:4, 2 Tim. 3:2.

6) Do not commit murder: Matthew 5:21-22, 15:19, 19:18, Mark 3:4, 7:21, 10:19, Luke 18:20, Romans 1:29,13:9, Gal. 5:21, I Peter 4:15, James 2:11, 4:2, 5:6, I John 3:15, Rev. 21:8, 22:15.

7) Do not commit adultery: Matthew 5:27-32, 15:19, 19:9, 19:18, Mark 7:21, 8:38, 10:11-12,19, Luke 16:18, 18:11, 18:20, John 8:1-10, Romans 2:22, 7:3, 13:9, I Cor. 6:9, Gal. 5:19, Hebrews 13:4, James 2:11, 4:4, 2 Peter 2:14, Rev. 2:22.

8) Do not steal: Matthew 19:18, 21:13, Mark 10:19,11:17, Luke 18:20, John 10:10, Romans 2:21, 13:9, I Cor. 6:10, Ephesians 4:28.

9) Do not bear false witness (said another way, do not lie): Matthew 19:18, Mark 10:19, 14:56-57, Luke 18:20, John 8:44, 55, Acts 5:3-4, Romans 13:9, Col. 3:9, I Tim. 1:10, 2 Tim 3:13, Titus 1:10, 3:3, Hebrews 6:10, James 3:14, I John 1:6,10, 2:4, 2:22, 4:20, I John 5:10, Rev. 2:2,3:9, 21:8.

10) Do not covet: Mark 7:22, Luke 12:15, 16:14, Romans 1:29, 7:7, 13:9, I Cor. 5:10-11, 6:10, 2 Cor. 9:5, Ephesians 5:3-5, Col. 3:5, I Thess. 2:5, I Timothy 3:3, I Tim. 6:10, 2 Tim. 3:2, Hebrews 13:5, 2 Peter 2:3, 14.

New Free Booklet: How Do We Know Jesus is Real?

New Free Booklet!

How Do We Know Jesus is Real?

By Kelly McDonald, Jr.

Imagine for a moment that you did not have a Bible to learn about Jesus. How would you know that He ever lived on
earth? Would it be possible to prove His existence? In this book, we will address the historical, archaeological, and textual evidence to see if Jesus and His earliest followers ever existed.

To download this free booklet, just click the picture below!

Should I Kill Insects?

Should I Kill Insects?

by Dusti Howell

“There are 256 types of mosquitoes here in Thailand. A visit in Chiang Mai, Thailand to one of the many insect museums showcases the amazing designs of these fascinating blood suckers. Some of them are so small that you might mistake them for a fruit fly, but after swatting them, you marvel at how something so small could have been successful and sucking so much blood. As much as I dislike mosquitoes, ants are a bigger nuisance here. I’ve learned to always inspect my large 32oz big gulp cup drinking from it or before filling it up with water. One day I was in a bit of a rush to get to class. I still had nearly half a cup of water in the cup and decided to drink the entire cup in one gulp. I was half way through my enormous gulp when I noticed a huge trail of ants around the rim of the cup… Aaah… I’d just swallowed a bunch of small ants. Yuck. Interestingly, the ants will find my water cup everywhere, even on top of a seven foot bookshelf.

The ants here come in lots of sizes. One day I killed a big ant but left it on the carpet. The next day I just happened to notice a large trail of very small ants. They were working on devouring the body of the large ant I had killed the day before. So don’t kill a big ant on your bed or you’ll have a trail of ants there later. My son caught two small lizards just under three inches in length and put them in fairly large plastic bins as pets. He has a pet frog back home in Kansas, so he was pretty excited about this. The next day both were dead. They had been killed by ants. Large trails of ants were found working on devouring the bodies. It was after one of these instances that the scripture reading for church was from Proverbs, exhorting us to go to the ant you sluggard. They are relentless and they don’t stop….”

(this article is an excerpt from the November–December 2008 edition of the Sabbath Sentinel)

To read the rest of this article, which starts on page 17, click this link: https://biblesabbath.org/tss/534/tss_534.pdf