The Apple Of God's Eye

March 14, 2011

Was Samson A Man Of God?

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One wonders, “How could God ever forgive Samson after the wretched mess he made of his life?” The life of Samson has always made good Hollywood copy. Some see a shaggy Samson chasing after bad women. They see him slaying a thousand men with the jawbone of an ass in hand. They see a blinded, bitter Samson ending his life in a last fit of vengeance. But Hollywood has told us only part of the story — and that not very accurately. Let’s look into his life and find the answer. You will learn a vital lesson from the life of this man of God!

What we were never told on the screen is that Samson is going to be in the first resurrection with Abraham and David. He is going to RULE with Christ and all the saints on this earth!

While listing the faithful righteous, the Apostle Paul includes Samson with men like Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, David, Samuel and the prophets (Heb.11:32). Paul says these righteous men endured many trials through faith, “that, they might obtain a better resurrection”! (Verse 35.)

Let’s now examine his life and receive a powerful lesson of hope from our Maker.

The accurate historical account of Samson is found in the book of Judges, chapters 13-16. The setting is the land of Israel, in the 12th century B.C.

Samson’s Miraculous Birth

Samson’s birth was a miracle. His mother wasn’t able to have children, but that was no problem for God. Since Samson’s parents were still loyal to God at a time of spiritual decadence in Israel, they were chosen to have a son.

A messenger (13:6) was sent by God to give them the news concerning Samson. They were told their son was to deliver Israel from the hand of the Philistines who were occupying the land and oppressing Israel. They were given instructions on how to care for and rear the child. (more…)

February 22, 2011

Did Old Testament Disobedience Result In Great Slaughter From God?

all-history.org

The King James Version states that at the time the ark of the covenant was returned to Israel by the Philistines, God slew 50,070 men because they had looked inside the ark. Many Bible translations and commentaries reject the number 50,070 as inaccurate and unreasonable. They argue that this verse should read that only 70 men were actually killed.

This conclusion, however, is inconsistent with the second part of this verse. The Bible plainly states that “the people lamented, because the Lord had smitten many of the people with a “great slaughter.”

The term “great slaughter” is used many times in the Old Testament to describe military engagements where tens of thousands of soldiers were killed. Notice I Samuel 4, verses 10 and 17, where 30,000 Israelite soldiers died at the hands of the Philistines in a “great slaughter.” Compare also Joshua 10:10, Judges 11:33, and II Samuel 18:7.

Nevertheless, Bible students still find the account of I Samuel 6:19 difficult to accept. The original Hebrew clearly reads “seventy men, fifty thousand men.” Scholars point to the unusual arrangement of the numbers in that the 70 stands before the 50,000. The smaller number appearing first, however, is not an unprecedented arrangement in the Hebrew language. Even the omission of a conjunction between the two numbers does not change the meaning of the original text.

The Bible very precisely states that 50,070 men died in a great slaughter because of the irreverence and presumption of the men of Bethshemesh. The critical arguments of Bible scholars to dismiss the number 50,000 as a scribal error or a deliberate corruption of the text are a misguided attempt to diminish this dramatic account.

February 21, 2011

Did Samuel The Prophet Come Back As A Spirit?

walk-by-faith.com

King Saul asked God about an impending battle with the Philistines, but God gave him no answer (I Sam. 28:1-6). In great fear (verse 5), Saul disguised himself and went to the witch at Endor, a woman who had contact with familiar spirits or demons. She asked, “Whom shall I bring up unto thee? And he said, bring me up Samuel” (verse 11).

The woman complied with Saul’s request — or at least she performed some ritual which made it appear that she did. And “when the woman saw Samuel, she cried with a loud voice” (verse 12) because she then realized she was dealing with King Saul and could well be in jeopardy of her life for practicing witchcraft (verses 3 and 9). But Saul told her not to be afraid and asked what she had seen. She replied “I saw a god-like being coming up out of the earth” (verse 13, Jewish translation).

Saul then asked the woman, “What form is he of? And she said, An old man cometh up; and he is covered with a mantle. And Saul perceived [thought] that it was Samuel, and he stooped with his face to the ground, and bowed himself” (verse 14).

In describing what she saw, the woman used these expressions: “a god-like being,” “an old man,” and “he is covered with a mantle.” There is not one word that it was actually Samuel himself! What did she see? She saw an evil spirit which presented itself in a way in which it could be mistaken for Samuel.

The Bible reveals that Satan is the prince of the power of the air (Eph. 2:2). He is the god of this world and can transform himself into an angel of light (II Cor. 4:4; 11:14). Satan and his demons have the power to produce apparitions and to appear in human or animal forms.

The next question in I Samuel 28 arises over verse 15: “And Samuel said to Saul, Why hast thou disquieted me, to bring me up?” Why does the account read as though Samuel were speaking to Saul? It is merely a matter of what Saul wanted to see and hear. Demons enjoy fooling people. This one took the opportunity to play into Saul’s hand by impersonating Samuel. It apparently knew the outcome of the battle and told Saul that he would die the following day and that his army would be defeated by the Philistines.

Deception is one of Satan’s devices (Rev. 12:9). I Samuel 28 records that “Samuel” spoke, although it was actually a demon speaking through what looked like a human (John Gill’s Exposition Of The Bible). Samuel was not there, either in body or spirit. He was, and still is, dead and in his grave, awaiting the resurrection. This account is written, at least in part, from the human point of view, that is, the way it appeared to the witch and to Saul.

This scripture in no way contradicts the multitude of clear scriptures proving that the soul is mortal.

May 31, 2009

Is Suicide The "Unpardonable Sin?"

incredimazing.com

incredimazing.com

The Bible gives no specific command regarding suicide, nor does the word itself appear in the Bible. There are, however, references to seven people who killed themselves: Samson (Judges 16); Abimelech ( Judges 9); Saul (I Samuel 31); Saul’s armorbearer (I Samuel 31); Zimri (I Kings 16:18); Ahithophel (II Samuel 17:23); and Judas (Matthew 27:5). The earlier conduct of all seven was morally corrupt, and except for Samson their suicides were simply attempts to escape their well-deserved fates.

“Suicide means self-murder and murder is forbidden by the Sixth Commandment: “Thou shalt do no murder.”  God has not given an individual — even one who could rightly judge himself deserving of the death penalty (as could most of the above) — the right to pass such a sentence. Suicide is not an acceptable way of escaping punishment, dishonor or the like.”

In a different case, however, Samson died a hero, because his suicide was in fact a dedication of his life, at long last, wholly to the service of God in the liberation of Israel from the Philistines. His motive was not just to kill himself to escape. Christ Himself similarly gave His life for others.

Since a suicide experiencing quick death or unconsciousness has no opportunity to repent of his murder in this life, some have wondered if suicide is the unpardonable sin. The answer is no, because the unpardonable sin is only unpardonable because it is something a person refuses to repent of.

God is merciful, not willing that any should perish (II Peter 3:9), but He simply has not called most people to repentance in this life. They will have their chance in a resurrected life after the millennium in the period known as the White Throne Judgment.

April 2, 2009

What Is The Fate Of The Giants Of The Bible?

imablogger.net/.../

imablogger.net/.../

Did the giants of the Bible all die out? The Scriptures indicate that they did. Genesis 7 tells of a worldwide flood which God sent to destroy “all flesh” upon the earth (verse 21). Since the giants of Genesis 6:4 were simply a natural, genetic variation of human beings, they died along with the rest of the earth’s population. The only humans to escape that catastrophe were Noah and his family. 

Since Noah was of a stock of smaller people, most of his descendants were of his stature. However, some of the genes to produce giants survived through the wife of Ham, one of Noah’s sons. Therefore, a number of the sons of Canaan (one of Ham’s sons) were giants (Num. 13:32-33). 

Goliath, whom David killed, stood over 9 feet tall, (1 Samuel 17:4) and his coat of armor weighed 125 pounds (I Sam. 17:4-6)!  The forces of David later killed the remaining giants (II Sam. 21:22), one of whom was described as being of great stature and as having six fingers on both hands and six toes on both feet (II Sam. 21:20).

The best known giant besides Goliath would have to be Anak, even though we know little of him in particular. We do know that his father was Arba and he had three sons named Ahiman, Sheshai and Talmai, whom were spotted by the spies Moses sent to Canaan. Josh and Caleb eventually drove all of the Anakim out of Israel according to Joshua 11:22. They were driven out to the same area by the coast that the Philistines came from years later. This has led many to believe that Goliath was a remaining descendant of the Anakim.

In Deuteronomy 2:21 we read that God destroyed the giants which dwelt in Ammon so that the children of Lot could possess the land. Those giants — who apparently were from a line of a descendant of Canaan named Anak — eventually became extinct. King Og of Bashan was the last of them to inhabit Palestine east of Jordan (Deut. 3:11). He stood nearly 13 feet tall.  His bedstead was a bedstead of iron and measured 13 1/2 feet long by 6 feet wide (deut. 3:11).  His kingdom of Bashan was also called “the land of giants” (Deut. 3:13).

Both before and after the Flood, God was directly involved in the destruction of those giant men. The reason for their destruction is not stated directly. But, like Goliath, those men seemed always to be in opposition to God and to His people Israel.

February 21, 2009

Are Christians Allowed To Participate In Armed Conduct?

The Bible does not condone any participation in the armed forces, whether combative or non-combative. While it is true that ancient Israel fought in many wars, they did not do so with God’s approval. Yes, you read that right! There was simply no need to fight because God promised unequivocally to protect Israel from all their enemies in exchange for their obedience:

“If thou shalt indeed obey, and do all that I speak; then I will be an enemy unto thine enemies, and an adversary unto thine adversaries” (Exod. 23:22).

God wanted Israel to rely on Him solely for protection. He specifically led them around the land of the Philistines because He did not want them even to see war, much less participate in it (Exod. 13:17). The choice to participate in war was made by the Israelites themselves, not by God.

In one account, God protected the Israelites from a million-man Ethiopian army because King Asa relied on His protection. There was absolutely no need to fight. But even so, King Asa did not continue to rely on Him. He hired an ally—the Kingdom of Syria (II Chron. 16:1-3). Here’s what God thought of the situation:

“And at that time Hanani the seer came to Asa King of Judah, and said unto him, Because thou hast relied on the King of Syria, and not relied on the Lord thy God, therefore is the host of the king of Syria escaped out of thine hand. Were not the Ethiopians and the Lubims a huge host, with very many chariots and horsemen? Yet, because thou didst rely on the Lord, He delivered them into thine hand. For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him. Herein thou hast done foolishly: therefore from henceforth thou shalt have wars.” (II Chron. 16:7-9).

Of course, some will point out the fact that there were times when God instructed Israel to take lives by force. But, did God do wrong, in using the Israelites to drive out these murderous pagan nations? No, because God alone has the right to take human life, since He alone is the giver of life. Israel was war-determined and because of their faithlessness and disobedience, God used them as His instrument in taking life. Israel had chosen the way of sin in going to war. Even then, they could have changed their decision.

Christians should remember that the commandments state: “Thou shalt not kill.” A true Christian of God is a citizen of the Kingdom of God, and no longer a citizen of their own country. They are considered “strangers and sojourners.” Being led by a government that is fighting a war means they are led by that physical government, rather than following the government of God Almighty. If man followed God’s law of love, there would be no war.

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