Monday, August 6, 2012

Hello everybody on the party line!

Greetings from the old dinosaur still living in the 19th century; trying to claw my way past century 20 into the 21st!

Been a while since last we met on line; and I am determined to do something about that - like maybe - be here more often, and invite both of my friends to be here as well!

On April 22, I brought a message that played off the song title: "Blessed Assurance"; and that began what has become a series of unrelated Sunday morning messages with the only similar attachment being the "B A" initials:

BLESSED ADMINISTRATION - Christ as Head of the Church
BLESSED ADIEU - Things that will not be Heaven.

All these messages are available for you on DVD recording and in printed booklet form from our Media Ministry.

And there are more messages to come:


and on-and-on it will go!

God bless each of you!

Until He comes and we meet in the air,


Thursday, April 19, 2012



(Preached at West End Baptist Church of Newport, TN on April 15, 2012)

Easter comes only once a year; but it should be constantly in our hearts. It was the first Easter that gives us our Christian hope that we still claim today. It truly was, as Hal Lindsey says; “the week that changed the world”

The fact of having a Resurrected Savior gives us our hope of being a resur-rected Saint should it be our lot to die before the soon-coming Rapture of the Church.

That hope that we possess came about when God manifested His Awesome, Omnipotent Power in bringing His Son, Jesus the Christ, back from among the dead ones.

The New Testament Itself tells us that Jesus’ Resurrection is the ground zero, the focal point, the hub, the central axis, the very nucleus of our early Chris-tian belief, our present Christian belief, and our eternal Christian belief.

(1 Corinthians 15:1-6) – “Brethren, I declare unto you the Gospel which I preached unto you, which also you have received, and wherein you stand; by which also you are saved, if you keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless you have believed in vain.

For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures: and that He was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve:

and after that, He was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep”.

(1 Corinthians 15:14-17) – “If Christ is not risen from the dead, then our preaching is empty and so is your faith; and we are found to be false witnesses of God, because we have testified that God raised up Christ: Whom He did not raise if the dead cannot rise.

For if the dead cannot rise, then Christ could not rise (because He truly did die): and if Christ is not resurrected, then your faith in vain and you are still in your sins”.

Jesus Himself declared that the Resurrection was the chief sign that He was in fact, God’s Messenger:

(Matthew 12:38-42) – Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, “Master, we would see a sign from You”. But He answered and said unto them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but (except) the sign of the prophet Jonah:

for as Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

Peter tells us that our heavenly hope is firmly based squarely on the Resur-rection:

(1 Peter 1:3-4) - Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which ac-cording to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,

The Resurrection was the event that marked Jesus as God’s Spokesman:

(Acts 2:22-24) - Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man ap-proved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:

Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.

Paul preached that The resurrection was the evidence that everyone should repent and turn to Jesus Christ:

(Acts 17:30-31) - And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent: because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath or-dained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.

In fact, our resurrection is based repeatedly of Jesus’ rising from the dead:

(1 Corinthians 6:14) - And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power.

(Philippians 3:21) - Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to sub-due all things unto himself.

(1 John 3:2) - Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

Today’s message will ask you one question, in several parts: After we have heard a clear presentation in song and spoken word concerning the Resurrection; what do we do? What do we say? How do we react?


“Hallelujah” is a compound word that translates out to “Praise the Lord”.

A “Hallelujah Life” is one that centers on the Person and the Work of the Resurrected Lord and Savior Jesus Christ; and everything that person does is dedicated to the Praise and Glory of God Himself.

We are certainly not perfect people; but we can certainly be growing more and more in the Image of God’s Son every day; we can be people “after God’s own Heart”; meaning we can be people who sincerely try to life a life that praises God – that “hallells God” in every way. If we were to read our life history 100 years af-ter we have died, would there be any true and honest “hallelujahs” and “praises” there?

How is this possible in a world like we have today?

Actually, the Christian is the only person who has the right to be happy; he is the only person who knows HOW to be happy; he is the only person who has the key to true happiness and joy.

The Believer has the assurance that God is WITH him and FOR him instead of the alternative. Because of his faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, he has no fear of death, hell, or dying:

(Romans 8:38-39) - For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

When a person is a Christian, his whole life becomes a doxology of praise to God!


Amen in Hebrew means, “Let it be so”. In Greek, it is generally translated by the word, “Verily”. It is a word that indicates that something important, monumental, influential, notable, prominent, remarkable, stirring, essential, and emphatic is coming.

We must commit ourselves to living a life in such a way that God’s Word is a reality in our lives. We should be able and willing to say “Amen” and become an “Amen” to everyone with whom we come in contact.

To say this means that you will be responsible to allow the Person and the Work of Jesus Christ to move and breathe within you and come out of you. This person tells the world, “I have entered this church to worship; and now I leave this church to serve”.

He says, “I am the best Christian somebody knows and I might even be the only Christian somebody knows; and I am going to live such a way that if they are watching me, they will not see anything that will hurt them – but only help them; nothing that will pull them down, but build them up.


This person goes out into the world to live a thanksgiving life.

We publish a series of booklets under the name of the “Printed Pulpit”; available free from the display over in the hallway beside the secretary’s office; and I put this statement in them: “This material is the product of seventy-one years of living in a Christian home; twenty years under Godly parents; twenty-three years of listening to Godly teachers, many Godly pastors, and numerous Christian workers; fifty-one years of reading and studying the Bible, commentaries, encyclopedia, handbooks, maps and charts, and enjoying preached and published sermons and lessons of others; forty-six years of Christian life; forty-five years of Christian ministry; forty- three years in the pastorate; five years in Bible school; and countless numbers of hours spent in prayer.

No claim is ever made to originality of this – or any message in the “Printed Pulpit” series”.

I sincerely appreciate every opportunity I have had to study under some of God’s best men and women; and I sincere appreciate every comment I receive for the work God has led me to do; but let us never be negligent to thank God for al-lowing us to be His Children.

The Resurrection Afterglow should be shining brightly in our lives where ever we go, whatever we do, whomever we are with.

The New Testament hope moves from the Resurrected Jesus, alive in His immortal body, to the resurrection and immortality of Believers. To be absolutely sure of the former (the Resurrection of the Savior) is to have an absolutely cer-tain basis for the latter (the resurrection of the Saints).

The Resurrection of Jesus is firmly enmeshed in past history; while our res-urrection steadfastly constitutes our future – and both of them are most assured-ly confirmed.

For the earliest Christians, this truth was life-transforming. They went into all the world telling about it – and many of them (most of them, actually) died for it. You have to really believe in something to face a cruel, gruesome, painful death for it. That, in itself, is abundant evidence that the Resurrection really occurred; they didn’t make it up – as was told about them – they believed it happened, and they faced the executioner because of it!

Similarly, the fact that we serve a living Savior should be indelibly engraved into our innermost being!

Alfred Ackley (1887-1960) showed great musical promise at a very young age as a composer and performer. He was later ordained and went on to serve as Pastor of several Presbyterian churches in the United States. He worked for a few years with evangelist Billy Sunday and the Rodeheaver Music Company. He and his brother Bentley wrote the words and/or music for over 4,500 songs; including “I Never Walk Alone” and this one:

1. I serve a risen Savior, He's in the world today.
I know that He is living, whatever men may say.
I see His hand of mercy, I hear His voice of cheer;
And just the time I need Him, He's always near.

2. In all the world around me, I see His loving care;
And though my heart grows weary, I never will despair.
I know that He is leading, Through all the stormy blast;
The day of His appearing will come at last.

3. Rejoice, rejoice, O Christian, Lift up your voice and sing
Eternal hallelujahs To Jesus Christ the King!
The Hope of all who seek Him, The Help of all who find;
None other is so loving, So good and kind.

He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today!
He walks with me and talks with me along life's narrow way.
He lives, He lives, salvation to impart!
You ask me how I know He lives?
He lives within my heart.

The reality of heaven needs to be woven into our present lives. Both Jesus Christ and the New Testament writers taught that a heavenly perspective should be applied to our daily beliefs and actions.

Our thought should center on heavenly truths rather than earthly ones:

(Colossians 3:1-3) - If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

Now, would you turn around and face the rear of the auditorium, please.

Are those doors entrances or exits?

If you said, “Exits”, you would be correct. If you said “Entrances”, you would be correct. They are, in fact, BOTH; hence the name, “worship service”.

If your worship stops at the exit, it is worthless; and if your service stops at the entrance, it is empty. We enter to worship and depart to serve; but we are serving while we are worshiping and we are worshiping while we are serving – and that is the way it must be!



(Preached at West End Baptist Church of Newport, TN - Easter Sunday, April 8, 2012)

John 11:17-27

17 Then when Jesus came, He found that Lazarus had lain in the grave four days already.

18 Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, about fifteen furlongs off (about 2 miles):

19 And many of the Jews came to Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother.

20 Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met him: but Mary sat still in the house.

21 Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.

This is Martha acting like Martha. She is not rebuking Jesus; but stating the obvious; which she and Mary had obviously discussed: (John 11:32) – “Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if You had been here, my brother had not died”.

22 But I know, that even now, whatsoever you ask of God, God will give it thee.

That is remarkable that she believed He could ask anything; but apparently not a resurrection.

23 Jesus said unto her, “Your brother shall rise again”.

24 Martha said unto him, “I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day”.

This was a common belief among the Jewish people.

25 Jesus said unto her, “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believes in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:

26 And whosoever lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (“Can you grasp this concept?”)

27 She said unto him, Yes, Lord: I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.

John 20:24-31

24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus (“The Twin”), was not with them when Jesus came.

25 The other disciples therefore said unto him, “We have seen the Lord”. But he said unto them, “Except I shall see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into His side, I will not believe”.

26 And after eight days again His disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, “Peace be unto you”.

27 Then said He to Thomas, “Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing”.

It is not said that Thomas did in fact touch Jesus; but did believe.

28 And Thomas answered and said unto Him, “My Lord and my God”.

29 Jesus saith unto him, “Thomas, because you have seen me, you have believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed”.

30 And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book:

31 But these (“these things”) are written, that you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you might have life through His name.

Ok! What are we going to do with this Passage and particularly Jesus’ words: “I am the resurrection and the life”?

Any good news for us there? This might be an odd Passage to use today; but can we get anything, can we learn anything from it?


Jews of that day traditionally believed that God would raise His people to be with Him in the end times; and that is what Martha said. Jesus startled her and everyone else there that day with His words: “I am the resurrection and the life”.

In Jesus is Life; through Him, the spiritually dead can be ushered into the very presence of Life Itself; but that doesn’t have to be in some far-off, distant “end time day”. No! Wherever Christ is, there is Life; and that was then – and is now – a staggering claim that shakes the devil and all the demons to their very boots. He is Life! He is Lord of Life! He is the conqueror of death! He is Light and in Him is no darkness at all!

He came to give Life! He came to conquer death – in the here and now and the always!

Death is described as an enemy – the last enemy that will be destroyed; and Easter proclaims that this “last enemy” has soundly been defeated – not at the end of history – in the middle of history. Jesus’ Resurrection did not wait until the “end time; but after a brutal death on Calvary, a hasty burial in a borrowed tomb, and a pre-dawn coming forth out from among the dead ones.


We will be baptizing Darla Morgan in the next couple of weeks. Darla was saved in the Cocke County Youth Crusade for Christ of 1979, held at the high school. Some of you will remember that; many of you were involved in that – and the point is – the results are still happening!

That’s the way this thing works. Somebody led Bob Bevington to the Lord; he led me to the Lord; others have been led to the Lord through our ministry, one of them was Mike Winters, who is being used to lead many souls to the Lord in His ministry, and a young man who is serving as a missionary in an area that is so sensitive it can’t even be mentioned, and on and on it goes. That’s the way it works; that’s what it is supposed to do. Our ministry reaches a young man named Jordon, or an older man named R.V., or an even older named Paul – all who wonderful and varied ministries of their own; and souls are being changed. That’s the way it works.

My football coach used to say, “Each man get a man”; and if that were done, all the runner had to do is elude one defensive man and he would score every play. Each man get a man; each Christian make a difference in one person’s life this year!

You are the best Christian somebody knows; and that is the way it is supposed to be. Somebody is watching you and you probably don’t even know it!

A man got on a bus after preaching in a revival meeting; paid his fare; received his change; and took his seat. At the first stop, he approached the driver and told her that she had given him too much change. She smiled and said, “I know! I was just seeing if you practiced what I heard you preach tonight”.

A young kid watched his dad make a call from a phone booth; and when he finished, the dime came back to him. That man called the operator and told her what had happened and asked if he could just put it in the coin slot. That man would not give in and give up his principles for one thin dime. I was that young kid and that man was my dad; and I still remember that and know right where that phone booth was located in Spring City, Tennessee.

That’s the way it is supposed to work – The Resurrected Jesus Christ changes lives – and the changed lives go out and are agents of changing other lives – and on and on it goes.

Make no mistake, we are dying every day; we are living in a dying body physically; and most of us feel it more and more with every passing day.

But we should also feel that we are ALIVE spiritually and feel it more and more with every passing day.

There are situations into which we get that it seems there is no way out! The expression is “Do the crime, do the time”. That’s what Satan does; but there is no situation that has no solution if we allow the Living Christ to live within us and we live in Him – more and more with every passing day – we can find forgiveness for evermore.

The product of the Cross – the Resurrection of our Savior – gives us the opportunity to be forgiven and start all over again. It isn’t easy – who ever said that it would be? But it can be done!

The amazing part of this is that Jesus Christ loved us THEN, loves us NOW, and will continue to love us FOREVER! This goes even beyond the grave!

Resurrection Power is God’s amazing Gift to us now and always! The very same power that assures real and lasting existence for us in this earthly life will still be standing right there when we come to the end of our very short yellow brick road. He is there all along the way; and He will be standing right there at the end; and then new life begins – all because of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ – which is The Product – the End Result - of the Cross!

God’s Judgment has been brought against death! During those few hours between the Crucifixion and the Resurrection, it may have looked bad for the home team; but the end result was just as assuredly fixed as an old time rassling match.

The early preachers never preached the Resurrection as simply Jesus escaping from the grave in a physical sense; but as the return of the Master to His People. They always considered the Resurrection as The Living God in Omnipotent action. That which was behind the Resurrection was what mattered – and that was The First Person of the Eternal Godhead placing His stamp of approval on the sacrifice by the Second Person of the Eternal Godhead. The Deity had to accept the sacrifice for it to work – that is the way it always worked; and we know that God accepted the Sacrifice for our sins because of the Resurrection three days later.

It was God vindicating the dreams for which Christ died.

It was God ratifying the righteousness against the evil powers that stood against Him.

It was God adjudicating the justice against all the satanic opposition he could muster.

It was God testifying to the truth that Salvation was now available to every man and woman, boy and girl who comes to Him in faith, believing!

It was God overcoming the opposition of worldly works and carnal actions.

It was God announcing to the world that Jesus The Christ is The Way, The Truth, and The Life; and that no man can come to the Father except by Him!

It was God proclaiming to the world that all of Jesus’ Words were – and still are – true.

It was God reporting to the world that Jesus the Christ was far above and beyond mortal man!

It was God broadcasting to the world that Jesus the Christ died for men – all mankind – every man, woman, boy and girl.

It was God publishing to the world that Jesus the Christ demonstrates that all believers – you and I and everyone who has accepted Him as personal Savior will rise again if it be our portion to die before He comes in the Rapture.



(Zechariah 9:9-10)
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, your King is coming unto you (not as a ruthless conqueror, but a humble king): He is just (justice is Messiah’s basic prerequisite to ever having world peace), and having salvation (of what use a political peace to a soul out of tune and touch with God); lowly (in contrast to Alexander or Caesar), and riding upon an ass (the animal of a peaceful king), and upon a colt the foal of an ass. And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem, and the battle bow shall be cut off (skipping over thousands of years, Messiah will destroy all instruments of carnal strife): and He shall speak peace unto the heathen (He will accomplish what peace treaties have never ever been able to do): and His dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth (His Kingdom will be universal).

(All the words expressing limits to his authority (sea, river, ends) have no definite articles, showing no specific limits)

Beginning in Chapter 9, Zechariah gives us some remarkably precise messianic prophecies of “end times”; such as The King slowly and lowly riding into the Holy City.

Rulers come and go, rise and fall; the strongest of the world’s empires have ascended to seemingly endless heights of earthly power and worldly glory, only to begin that long slide to the end of the rope. The trash heaps of world history are filled with ruins of the empire capital cities and throne rooms whose monarchs once soverignly ruled and reigned with iron fisted authority.

Read the historical accounts and watch the Hollywood portrayal by professional actors and actresses, and see the magnificence of these world dominators; and then travel there and see nothing but ruins and relics of the remains of a once-dominant culture.

The tyrants who sat on these thrones are nothing but faded memories now; kept alive only in ancient historical accounts and television programs on Discovery and History Channels.

The fate of these dictators and potentates was sealed from the start; their time was firmly on the track that must come to an end; but the awesome power of “Yeshua Ha Meshiach” was – is – and always will be for all time!

Zechariah 9:10
“… His dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth”.

The Lord of Hosts would be – was to be – is – and always will be the Redeemer of His people who are cleansed and sanctified by His shed blood.

When King Jesus entered Jerusalem in what has been called His “Triumphal Entry” (but, in all reality was really His “Royal Entry”); He was entering as Messiah, King; to make a final appeal to His people. But He was rejected and crucified. His actual “Triumphant Entry” was yet to come – and is still yet to come.

“Rejoice greatly; your King is coming unto you”.


His coming was pronounced in the Garden of Eden:

(Genesis 3:15) - And I will put enmity between you (‘o satan) and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; it (the enmity) shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.

The Psalmist added:

(Psalm 10:16) - The LORD is King forever and ever: the heathen are perished out of his land.

The prophets issued and uttered statement after statement in pronouncement of His coming:

(Isaiah 9:6-7) - For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon His kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.

Turn through the pages of Old Testament Scripture and you will see the light of these Messianic Pronouncements getting more and more intense as the years go by. The burden of the Old Testament is that “The Lord WILL come”.


Shepherds saw a great light and the great choir of angels proclaiming and pronouncing that “The King has come”.

Zechariah had proclaimed it; and His Coming fulfilled that when He rose into Jerusalem. They cried out:

(Luke 19:38) - Blessed be the King that comes in the Name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest.

The Pharisees told Him to rebuke His disciples for saying such a thing; and He pronounced:

(Luke 19:40) - And He answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.

The time had come for Him to be proclaimed King.

The stone rolled away and the Son of God came forth pronouncing that death could not conquer the King of Life and Death and time and eternity!


His coming into Jerusalem forces us into one of two possible scenarios:

1. We can sing His praises, cast our palm branches at His feet in adoration and praise and pronouncement of “Hosanna, Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the Lord”; then watch Him be led out the back gate to a hill called Calvary, and hear Pilate’s pronouncement: “I find no fault in Him but you take Him and let Him be crucified”.

2. We can receive Him as King of our lives and dedicate ourselves to Him and to His cause.

Up to this point, He had refrained from being addressed as “The Son of David” – or the promised Messiah-King. But the time was right and He was pronounced as King.

The Pharisees and leaders were indignant but the excitement swelled over and over. They had tried to make Him their King to no avail; and now they could see Him marching in and throwing out the hated Romans and taking the throne – but when that did not happen, their excitement cooled very quickly.

Judas pronounced where He was; the Temple police and Roman guards pronounced that He was being arrested; the High Priest pronounced that He was guilty of blasphemy; the people got caught up in the melee; and Governor Pilate pronounced Him innocent, then guilty and issued his pronouncement that Barabbas should go free and Jesus should be crucified!

Weak-kneed, milquetoast Governor Pilate tried to appease the masses with his pronouncement from the ecce homo arch; “Behold the Man”; and then surrendered to the will of the people, he placed a plaque over His head on the center cross: “This is the King”, written in Latin, Hebrew, and Greek (John 19:19).

The pronouncement was officially made; they were crucifying their King. Their pronouncement was “crucify Him, let His blood be upon us and our children”.

Seventy-two hours later (as we will cover next week), the King was pronounced the Son of God with Power:

(Romans 1:4) - … declared (pronounced) to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:

Fifty days later, the King was pronounced:

(Acts 2:36) - Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.

… and 3000 souls were saved.

John the Revelator pronounced:

(Revelation 11:15) - … There were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the Kingdoms of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign forever and ever.

And on a higher note:

(Revelation 17:14) - … He is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.

And on a still higher note:

(Revelation 19:6) - … The voice of a great multitude, as the voice of many waters and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.

This is the hope and change for the Child of God and believer in Jesus Christ. There is no hope except in Him, the King! Every other kind of life is bounced by the limits of this shrinking world; but Christianity – and only Christianity has all its windows open toward the limitless expanse of eternity!

“Hallelujah; the Lord God Omnipotent reigns”.

This is the Christ Who stands at the door to our hearts. What is our response going to be towards Him. Let it be: “Blessed and only King of Kings and Lord of Lords; O merciful Christ, come now. My life belongs to You. Come into my heart and reign – both now and forevermore.”

Sunday, March 25, 2012



Preached at West End Baptist Church of Newport, Tennessee on Sunday Morning, March 25, 2012. It is the third in a series of five messages under the general title: "The Via Dolorosa - The Way of the Cross".

My dad was a volunteer firefighter back in the days when Robert Tucker was the chief; and as they got closer and closer to the fire, the adrenalin would begin to kick in.

Firefighters run into a burning building when it is only natural to run out of it. Law enforcement and emergency personnel face horrendous problems when it is only natural to try to avoid them.

In much the same way, as our Lord traveled the “way of the cross”, His soul was increasingly more and more troubled with every step. As Cal-vary loomed up ahead, the natural instinct was to run away or fight it; but Jesus did not turn away:

(Philippians 2:8) – “And being found in fashion as a man, He hum-bled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross”.

Notice the word, “even the death of the cross” which should read “even the cross death”; which was well-known as the most brutal, agoniz-ing, intolerable, insufferable, unbearable, excruciating form of capital pun-ishment known to man – described simply as “the cross death”.

Luke notes that Jesus refused to pray for deliverance from “the cross death” when He was challenged by on the thieves:

(Luke 23:39-43) – “And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on Him, saying, If you are The Christ, save yourself and us. But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Do you not fear God, seeing that you are in the same condemnation? And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but This Man has done nothing amiss. And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when You come into your kingdom. And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto you, Today you shall be with me in paradise”.

Not only did He refuse to pray for deliverance; but He yielded to the express purposes of His Heavenly Father for this hour:

(John 12:27) – “Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? ‘Fa-ther, save me from this hour’: but for this cause I came unto this hour”.

At Calvary, the horror of death met headlong against the honor of obedience!

Jesus had already settled in His Mind what He was to do when He ex-pressed with a great amount of deep settled conviction:

(John 12:32) – “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me”.

Jesus was going to Calvary because He loved us more than He loved His own life; and He wanted to pay the price of bringing every man, woman, boy and girl into a vibrant, living, throbbing relationship with Himself – and present His Followers as forgiven and redeemed to God the Father:

Not everyone would come to believe in Him; but He was dying for everyone so that could believe in Him!

The appeal was to be universal; and everyone could feel the tug of His Love for them as was demonstrated on the cross on which He was lifted up.

Author William Hull wrote: “Judaism offered men a national shrine, a racial circumcision, and a sectarian religious law”; but Jesus offered Himself – obedient, gracious, loving, dying – and in that sacrifice of His own life, we are drawn to Him to be released into a life more abundant and accepted, full, forgiven and free, rich and redeemed.

The message this morning concerns the process or procedure of the cross. What happened up there on the knarly and knuckled, contorted and distorted hillside outside the city walls of Jerusalem?


Luke 23:33 describes how they crucified Jesus in the “place of dishon-or” – the center position:

(Luke 23:33) – “And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified Him, and the malefactors, one of the right hand, and the other on the left”.

Reckoning Him to be the worst criminal of the three, they put Him be-tween the other two. They heaped upon Him the utmost scorn which they could give to a malefactor; and in so doing they unconsciously honored Him. Jesus always deserves the chief place wherever He is. In all things He must have the pre-eminence. He is the “King of Sufferers” as well as the “King of Saints”.

With His back torn to shreds by the flying whip with its nine leather thongs imbedded by pieces of metal and sharp rocks as it administered blow after blow; He was thrown brutally on the rough splintery wooden surface of the cross.

His Head was encircled with a crown of interwoven huge, sharp, tough thorns which was roughly jammed painfully down until it dug into His brow and scalp.

The rusty nails were expertly driven into the flesh and muscle tissue of His wrists and feet to hold Him to the cross with wave after wave of pulsing, excruciating pain. They were carefully placed to miss the major arteries; but to damage the extensive nerve clusters that can be found there. Every movement against those nails was tremendous pain to the Savior.

The cross was lifted into position and dropped into its socket in the rocky mountain surface, tearing His flesh still further.

As He hung by His hands, He could not breathe. His diaphragm was so distorted that no air could enter His lungs. The only relief afforded Him was to push against the nail in His feet to relief the pressure on His arms which were elongated by as much as two inches in each of the three joints (wrist, elbow, and shoulder).

When in His Humanity, He could stand that pain no longer, He fell back on His arms and pressed His back against the rough wood of the tree to begin the excruciating cycle all over again.

But the physical agony which we can somehow picture to a small de-cree was actually nothing but a small part of the sum total when we try to examine the spiritual agony – which our finite, sinful, carnal minds cannot comprehend.

There is a program on television called “Dirtiest Jobs” in which the host shows how people perform the most disgusting duties in the most loathsome of environments. I haven’t even watched a complete program because of the vileness presented.

In the same way, Jesus had never known sin in His own life; and now He was covered with the most horrendous, repulsive, foul sin ever known.

(2 Corinthians 5:21) – “For He (God the Father) hath made Him (God the Son) to be sin for us, Who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him (God the Son).

Jesus Christ, God’s Son, our Savior had never known one second of time apart from the Father; never experience one moment of isolation from Almighty God - cried out:

(Mark 15:34) – “And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?’ which is, being interpreted, ‘My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?’”

Those of us who have lost a dear loved one can begin to understand what anguish Jesus was enduring when He was separated from His Heavenly Father. He was “cut off” from the Holy, Heavenly Father by sin which He did not, had not, and never would commit – our sins.

He was offered there – once for all:

(Romans 5:8) – “But God commended his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us”.


God is the great physician; and He has written a prescription for us that is exactly what we need.

For our sin of unbelief, He prescribed a liberal application of the blood of His Son’s Sacrifice. For our daily sins of omission and commission, He prescribed an acceptance of His Love and Forgiveness. Nothing gets through to us like His Love.

Robert Moyer wrote, “A sinner may go to hell unsaved; but he cannot go there unloved”.

Calvary is a public display of the remarkable Love of Almighty God, the Creator of the Universe towards us while we are still in our sins.


It is not easy to forgive; as we can all attest; but we have a perfect example in the events of Calvary.

Luke says that Jesus implored the Father to forgive those who had taken Him to Calvary and in mockery, hung Him there to die:

(Luke 23:34) – “Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted His raiment, and cast lots”.

Jesus did not say one word in His own defense. He very well could have prayed, “Father, notice what they are doing to me; and judge them harshly for that”; but that is not what He prayed. Isaiah had written:

Isaiah 53:12B) – “ … He was numbered with the transgressors; and He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgres-sors”; and that prophecy is here fulfilled as Jesus plead for His murderers: “Father, forgive them”.

He did not utter a single word of rebuke: “Why are you doing this to Me, the One who loves you, feeds you, wants to bless you?” No; nothing like that: “Father, forgive them”.

He had laid aside His majesty to be fastened to the cross; and there-fore He took the humble position of a servant and a sacrificial victim, rather than the more lofty place of one who had power to forgive.

Though we were not there, and we did not actually put Jesus to death, yet we really caused His death, and we, too, crucified the Lord of glory; and His prayer for us was, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do”.

They did not ask for forgiveness for themselves, Jesus asked for for-giveness for them. Their hands were imbrued in His blood; and it was then, even then, that He prayed for them. Let us think of the great love wherewith He loved us, even while we were yet sinners; even then, He prayed for us:

(Romans 5:6) – “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly”.

He prayed for you when you did not pray for yourself. He prayed for you when you were crucifying him.

Notice: “Father, forgive them”. He was the Son of God, and He put His divine Sonship on the scale on our behalf. He seems to say, "Father, as I am Your Son; grant me this request, and pardon these rebels. Father, for-give them”.

His rights as The Son were very great. He was the Son of the Highest. "Light of light, very God of very God", the second Person in the Divine Trini-ty; and he puts that Sonship here before God and says, "Father, Father, forgive them”!

While He is wounded and dying in agony; He says, "Father, Father, grant my one request; O Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do;" and the great Father in Heaven bows His head, in token that the petition is granted.

Notice that the Son asked the Father to “Forgive them” or “grant them full absolution” – “grant the guilty ones full pardon” – “grant My enemies full forgiveness” – “Do not punish them; forgive them. Do not remember their sin; forgive it, blot it out; throw it into the depths of the sea. Mention it not against them any more forever. Father, forgive them”.

What a wonderful prayer from the Son of God! The forgiveness of God is so much more broad and deep than the forgiveness from man. When man forgives, he leaves the remembrance of the wrong behind; but when God pardons, he says, "I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more”. This is what The Christ was requesting for you and me long before we had any repentance, or any faith; and in answer to that prayer, we were brought to feel our sin, we were brought to confess it, and to believe in him; and now, we can bless Him for having pleaded for us, and obtained the forgiveness of all our sins.

How startled those rough, tough Roman soldiers must have been to hear such words from one who was about to be put to death for a supposed crime! The men that drove the nails, the men that lifted up the tree, must have been shocked and surprised back with amazement when they heard Jesus talk to God as his Father, and pray for them: "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do”.

Had they ever heard such words before? No! They were so distinctly and diametrically opposed to the whole spirit of Rome. They believed in blow for blow, retaliation, reprisal, retribution, measure for meas-ure, tit for tat, give and take, eye for eye, repayment in spades, get even with, pay off the old scores, take revenge, having a bone to pick, harboring a grudge, and being relentlessly vindictive – only in the case of Jesus they gave blows where none had been received. The crushing cruelty of the Roman must have been startled indeed at such words as these, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do."

In His moments of utmost darkest darkness, He took the time to hear a penitent sinner cry out to Him. He personally assured him that they would be together at the end of the day – and for ever after:

(Luke 23:43) – “And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To-day shall thou be with me in paradise”.

In His final word, “Tetellesti”, He refused to retaliate in anger against those who were doing this:

(John 19:30) – “When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, He said, It is finished: and He bowed His head, and gave up the ghost”.

He yielded his life. He did not die, as we have to do, because our ap-pointed time has come, but willingly the great Sacrifice parted with His life: "He gave up the ghost." He was a willing sacrifice for guilty men.

He did not give up the ghost, and then bow His head, because He was dead; but He bowed his head as though in the act of worship, or as leaning it down upon His Father's bosom, and then gave up the ghost.

Jesus forgave those who took Him, nailed Him, and watched Him on the cross. He pardoned and forgave the guilty criminal on His right; and completed the task of providing salvation and forgiveness. His message of “It is finished” had taken Him all the way to remove each and every sin of each and every person in each and every part of the world.



Preached at West End Baptist Church of Newport, Tennessee on Sunday Morning, March 18, 2012. This is the second in a series of five messages under the general title: "The Via Dolorosa - The Way of the Cross".

(Isaiah 53:10) - Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief: when thou shall make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand.

We are very familiar with the phrase: “check on the progress of whatever” and “things are proceeding according to plan”. Every project of every business or military endeavour has a “progress report” or “status check”.

The space program brought a simple little expression to the forefront: “Everything is AOK”; and we have adopted many such expressions: We refer to something being “on track” when it is moving “according to Hoyle”. Something is “on the button” when it is “rolling with the tide”. Something is said to be “on the high road” when it is “going great guns”.

The sign says, “Christian, it’s “game on” so “let’s get cracking”; and I have yet to have someone tell me they don’t understand. Something is said to be “making headway” when it is “making rapid strides”, “gaining leeway”, or “by the book”.

We understand when a plan is “gaining ground”, “going with the flow”, or “rising with the tide”. Something is said to be “on schedule” when it is “on course”, or even “right smack dab on the old bazoo”. When a “game plan” has to be “tweaked”, we comprehend what is meant. When a “timetable” has to be adjusted, we can “dig it”.

All of these familiar phrases are part and parcel of our dictionary; and we hear them and perceive their meaning. All these expressions are important to us because all our plans are subject to change like the “best laid plans of mice and men go oft astray”. Our plans are never “written in stone” and “alterations” are always included in the “ebb and flow”, the “wax and wane”, the “veer and yield” and we often have to “take a different tack”.

God had a plan for the Salvation of the world of every man, woman, young person, and old-enough child; and that plan is proceeding “right down the middle”. “straight to the front”. It can be seen and felt as it proceeds without one modification or resolve.


The Scripture plainly tells us that Christ was born “in the fullness of time”; not one second too early or late – but right on time, according to the plan.

Everything that was supposed to have happened had occurred:

A sacrificial system had been established in the Garden of Eden after the first sinner committed the first sin; and an innocent animal – actually several of them – had to die to make “long coats of skins” to cover Adam and Eve. This was a sacrificial system in which the people understood the principle of substitution – a sacrifice took the place of the guilty one and suffered the pain of his sin – in his place – the innocent one suffering for the guilty one!

They had practiced that principle day after day for hundreds of years in their homes in Egypt, in the Tabernacle in the wilderness, in the First Temple that King Solomon had built in Jerusalem, in the reconstructed Temple of Ezra on the exact same spot, and in the Second Temple that had been built by King Herod the Great, likewise on the exact same spot.

They were familiar with the first born male blood-shed sacrifice principle involving lambs, bulls, goats, rams, heifers, doves, and pigeons; with the food offering, with the garden produce “first-fruit” offering, with the drink offering.

Animosity had developed between the Israeli and the Philistines from day one of the Joshua conquest of the land; and there was always a constant power struggle between these two. That was very important because an incredibly complex and excruciating form of capital punishment was allegedly designed by these forerunners of the Gaza Strip – crucifixion!

Crucifixion was reportedly so brutal that Rome had outlawed it for any of its citizenry – no matter what their crimes. And Rome was in charge of the world.

The plan called for a Roman ruler that could be manipulated by a mob of angry Jewish leaders. The title of the ruler of the Roman Empire had evolved from “Imperiter” to “Principer” (“principle emperor”) to “The Caesar”; and the title has passed from General Pompey (63 BC) to Emperor Julius (49 BC) to Caesar Augustus (27 BC) (Luke 2:1) to Caesar Tiberius (14 AD) (Luke 3:1).

The Roman plan of governing called for its enslaved and/or captured people to fall under either a “proconsul” (if they “played ball”, paid their taxes, and did not complain) or a more strict “procurator” (for the more rebellious city states and people).

Judea was a complicated political situation and ended up being divided into different administrative districts at different times and governed by various levels of the Roman political bureaucracy. Also, political leadership was granted as a reward for being in favor with Caesar, and could be withdrawn just as quickly because of disfavor or perceived threat. As a result, various parts of God’s Land passed back and forth between supervised monarchial rule and total control under Roman procurators or governors. No one really wanted to be there; but many “strong-arms” had been assigned to rule there: Caponius (6-10), Ambivius (10-13), Annius Rufus (13-15), Valerius Gratus (15-26); and the fifth one was Pontius Pilate (26-36). Governor Pilate was under strict, unbending orders from Caesar Tiberius to bring those people in line – or else – and he was not willing to find out what “or else” meant.

But he was weak and corrupt. He made his home on the beach in Caesarea on the Mediterranean Sea; and did not wish to have any uprising from these crazy Jews. He hated these people and their “scruffy” little capital city of Jerusalem; and was incensed because he had to be there to keep the peace for Passover, when he was probably awakened by mobs of Jewish citizens screaming for him to “do something” with this “criminal” they had examined and found to be guilty of blasphemy.

The hated Roman leaders clashed with the mistrusted Jewish leaders; and the stage was set and the plan progressed hour upon hour.

Judas Iscariot was a willing conspirator who was in over his head!

Governor Pilate was a willing weak-kneed cooperator who was afraid for his job.

And finally, Jesus was willing to allow the Plan to proceed as distasteful as it was to His purity and righteousness, His piety and holiness, His sinlessness and Godliness!


When you see Christ going up Mount Calvary, you should be able to see all of Christ’s Believers going there: when you see Christ hurled upon His back upon the wooden cross, you should be able to see the whole company of His followers there; and when you see the nails driven through His blessed hands and feet, it is the whole body of His Church who, in Him, are being brutally fashioned to the tree.

The intense agony that is seen there should be seen as the intense suffering of those of us who follow Him into the Church; and when Christ bows His Head, breathes His last, and dies; you should be able to look upon that death as not being for Him, but for His being the scape-goat and the substitute for every man, woman, youth, and child.

It is true, Christ died really IN Himself; but it is equally true that He did not die FOR himself; but He died as the substitute, in the room, place, and stead of all Believers who did then, and have since, and ever will believe in Him and accept His as their Savior.

When you die you will die for yourselves; but when Christ died, He died for you, if you are a Believer in Him. Whether you are a Believer or not, when you pass through the gates of the grave; you represent yourself, and are not the representative of anyone else. While Christians who die are accompanied by an innumerable company of angels, we will pass through the gates of death as an individual; but, remember, when Christ went through the sufferings of death, He was the representative Head of all His people.

Understand, then, the sense in which Christ was made a sacrifice for sin. It was as a substitute for sin that He did actually and literally suffer punishment for the sin of all His believers. Man for his sin was condemned to eternal fire; when God took Christ to be the substitute, it is true, He did not send Christ into eternal fire, but He poured upon Him grief so desperate, that it was a valid payment for even an eternity of fire.

Man was condemned to live forever in hell. God did not send Christ forever into hell; but He put on Christ, punishment that was equivalent for that. Although He did not give Christ to drink the actual hells of believers, yet He gave Him a quid pro quo - something that was equivalent thereunto. He took the cup of Christ's agony, and He put in suffering, misery, and anguish such as only God can imagine or dream of, that was the exact equivalent for all the suffering, all the woe, and all the eternal tortures of every one that shall at last stand in heaven, bought with the blood of Christ. And you might be thinking, “Did Christ drink it all?” Did He suffer it all? Yes, He took the cup, and drained it dry to the last ounce of damnation.

He suffered all the horror of hell: in one huge storm of wrath it fell upon Him, with hail-stones as big as those that will fall during the Tribulation Period; and He hung there on that cross until that foreboding spiritual storm cloud had emptied itself completely. There was our sin debt, huge and immense, falling full upon Him; and He paid it off in full; and now there is not so much as a penny due to the justice of God in the way of punishment from any believer. Although we do owe God a huge debt for His Love to us; we owe Him nothing to His justice; for Christ in that hour took all our sins, past, present, and to come, and was punished for them all there and then, that we might never be punished, because He suffered in our stead.

Do you see, then, how it was that God the Father bruised him? Unless He had so done, the agonies of Christ could not have been an equivalent for our sufferings; for hell consists in the hiding of God's face from sinners, and if God had not hidden His face from Christ, I do not see his Christ could have endured any suffering that could have been accepted as an equivalent for the woes and agonies of His people.

Someone might be thinking, “Are you sure that Christ’s death was for ME?” Are you a sinner? Do you feel convicted and condemned? Has God, the Holy Spirit, made you feel that you are a lost sinner? Do you want salvation? If you do not want to be saved; that does not take away the fact that He wants YOU to be saved; but if you really feel that you want it, you can receive your salvation by receiving Him as your Savior. If you have a desire to be saved, a desire given you by the Holy Spirit, that is a good thing! If you have begun believingly to confess your sins and accept His Salvation; you have sure and certain evidence that He can be your Savior. It is a sure and certain thing; that Christ was punished for you.

It might manifest itself as a desire, a need to come clean with Him, a thirst after righteousness; and “want to” to be a Christian – whatever – but it always works that way – every time, never changes; sure and stable, secure bad constant, uniform and unvarying. Everybody who has ever been saved from the crucifixion until now; and everyone who will be saved from now until the King comes to establish His Kingdom – has been, is now, and will be saved exactly the same way – whether it was in a church, Sunday school, Bible school, revival meeting, or a country music concert! It is always through Jesus Christ’s shed blood; solely through Jesus Christ’s shed blood; uniquely through Christ’s shed blood; exclusively thorough Christ’s shed blood!

What are the effects of the Cross?

A. "He shall see His seed."

Humans have offspring by life; Christ has offspring by death. Humans die and leave their children, and might not see their families past possibly five generations; but Christ is still alive forevermore, and every day sees His seed brought into the unity of the faith.

The salvation of multitudes is the first effect of Christ's death; and this was not, is not, and never will be an accident or “happenstance of circumstance”. There was not so much as one atom of chance work in the Savior’s death. Christ knew what He bought when He died; and everyone who has progressed to accept that death as his substitutionary sacrifice shall one day meet around the throne,

B: “He shall prolong His days”.

Simply spoken, when He died, His Life and Ministry did not end. Oh, for an instant in the eternal scheme of things, Jesus died; but the third morning came, and the conqueror, rose from among the dead ones , and came forth from His prison house, no more to die. He ministered for forty days and “ascended up on high”.

In His death, you died; in His life, you live; and will ever live, no more to die!

C. “The pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand”.

By Christ's death the Father's good pleasure was effected and prospered. God's good pleasure is, “that as many as received Him to them gave He the power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His Name”. Christ's death has made that possible.

The hour is coming when the capitals of the world shall shake with the sound of Christ’s footsteps; when all the gods of the heathens shall lose their thrones and be cast out on the garbage heaps of this world; and then, from pole to pole, from the east to the west, Christ shall be honored, the Lord shall be paramount of earth, when from land to land, from the river even to the ends of the earth, one King shall reign, one shout shall be raised, "Hallelujah, hallelujah, the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth."

Then, we shall see the progress of the Cross of Christ. It shall be evident what Christ's death has accomplished – in the world; but what about in you?

Has His death made any difference in you?




(From Internet Sources)

Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Mr. John Common-Sense, who had been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape; but he will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:
- Knowing when to come in out of the rain -
- Why the early bird gets the worm -
- Life isn't always fair -
- It was my fault -

Brother Common-Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don't spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).

Sadly, his health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations from government bureaucracies were set in place. Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate, teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch, and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student only worsened his condition.

Common-Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children.
It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student; but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Our friend John lost the will to live as the churches became businesses; and criminals received better treatment than their victims.

His outlook on life took a beating when you couldn't defend yourself from a burglar in your own home; while the burglar could sue you for assault if you did.

He finally reached the end of his rope, and gave up the will to live after Stella Leibeck failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot; and when she spilled a little in her lap, she was promptly awarded a huge settlement (See this space next week).

Common-Sense was preceded in death, by his parents, Truth and Trust, by his wife, Discretion, by his daughter, Responsibility, and by his son, Reason.

He is survived by his many stepbrothers and sisters;

I Know My Rights; I Want Them Now;

Someone Else Is To Blame; I'm A Victim;

My disturbing childhood caused all my criminal traits;

Why work when fools will pay me not to;

Being gay is not abnormal, it's only another lifestyle;

It’s ok if your children do not know who their father is;

Having lots of babies means lots of money coming in from the government (taxpayers to the government); and has an added benefit when my thirty year old mother can be named as official foster caregiver and also get paid;

Selling illegal drugs and paying no taxes is a great way to earn a living, and no one is harmed;

Prisons should be a clean, comfortable, fun place to live with lots of good food and free time;

Government employees do not need to live by the rules they set for other citizens;

Creating debt is necessary; others can deal with it later;

Terrorists need to be reasoned with and they will become good people;

Supporting people and countries who hate and deceive us will change their feelings toward us;

Women are not equal to any men and should have no rights;

Children can be traded or sold for any reason to anyone!

Because of limited time and a quick funeral, many members of John Common-Sense’s step family could not be listed; and they are spread out so far and wide, they could all be contacted. Most people meant well; but not very many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone until after the funeral service.

Friday, March 23, 2012



Preached at West End Baptist Church on Sunday Morning, March 11, 2012. This is the first of five sermons under the general heading: "THE VIA DOLOROSA" (LATIN - "The Way of the Cross")

(Isaiah 53:10) - Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He (The Father) hath put Him The Son) to grief: when thou shall make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand.

In my seventy-one years, I have either participated in or observed quite a few memorable events. A touchdown catch against Jefferson City; graduation after my seven years in high school; marrying Anita; the Cuban Missile Crisis; the assassination of JFK; my Salvation experience; my call to preach; the births of our children and grandchildren; the salvation and baptisms of our children and grandchildren; your gift of our trip to Israel; and many wonderful experiences in forty-four years of ministry.

There is one great event, which should be at the top of every person’s list; the death of our Lord Jesus Christ. The eyes and hopes of all the saints who lived before the Christian era were always directed forward to the Cross; and the eyes and faith of all the saints who have since received Jesus Christ as their Savior are always looking backwards to the Cross.

The ancient prophets spoke in future terms; and the angels in heaven are continually gazing intently upon Christ:

(1 Peter 1:10-12) - Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.

This morning, we begin a series of five messages on “The Via Dolorosa” – “The Way of the Cross”. When we look at Calvary; let us try to determine in our minds why that knuckled, gnarled old hilltop is the focus of the joy and delight of all the citizens of heaven.

Let’s let the Scripture Text guide us in our visit to the “Way of the Cross”; and allow the Holy Spirit to look on the One who died there.

First: the CAUSE of Christ’s Death: "It pleased the LORD (YHWH) to bruise Him (The Son); He hath put Him to grief."

Secondly, the REASON of Christ's death: "Thou shall make His soul an offering for sin." Christ died because he was an offering for sin.

Thirdly, the EFFECTS of Christ's death: "He shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand”.


"It pleased Jehovah to bruise Him; He hath put Him to grief."

If we read about Jesus merely as a historical figure; if we consider His death as merely a result of the hatred of the Jewish leaders and the stupidity of Governor Pilate; we miss the entire point.

But if we look at Calvary with the eye of faith, desiring to discover its hidden secrets; we can see something more in the Savior’s death than Roman cruelty, or Jewish malice. If we really look at it, we will see that it was done by the solemn decree of God, and carried out by men who were ignorant, but guilty instruments of its accomplishment.

If we look beyond the Roman spear, whip, and rusty nails, beyond the Jewish taunts and jeers; we can follow the clearly blood-marked trail right up to the One Who not only ALLOWED it to happen; but Who actually PLANNED it to happen!

Peter stated it very clearly:

(Acts 2:22-23) - Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain.

I know what you are thinking! You do not want to level the charge at God; I get the heeby-jeebies myself about preaching this; but at the same time, we have to face the fact that “It pleased Jehovah to bruise Him”.

When we look at Calvary this way, we overlook both the ignorance of Pilate and the evil of Herod, and we can see the PLAN of Calvary – The Heavenly Father, the First Person in the Divine Trinity. "It pleased the LORD to bruise Him, He has put Him to grief." It was not solely the Jews or the Romans that caused Jesus to go to His death; it was us and our sin!

Now there are a lot of well-meaning, but uninformed and misguided people who attend churches all over the world; and have it firmly embedded in their minds that God the Father is just an indifferent spectator to the Plan of Salvation.

There are multitudes of others who look upon God as an unloving, severe Being, who really had no love to the human race, and could only be made loving by the death and agonies of our Savior. Where in the world did that heresy come from? That is a black mark on the fair, just, merciful, and glorious Grace of God the Father, to whom be glory and honor forever.

Jesus Christ did not die to make God loving; He died because God WAS loving!

Christ was sent into the world by his Father because God “so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life”.

The fact is, that the Father as much decreed salvation, as much effected it, and as much delighted in it, as did either God the Son, or God the Holy Spirit.

And when we speak of the Savior of the world, we are usually speaking about Jesus Christ; but shouldn’t we also include the One Who Planned it (God the Father), the One Who Performed it (God the Son), and the One Who Pursued it (God the Holy Spirit) – because these Three, as one God, save us from our sins.

The Text clearly tells us that “it pleased Jehovah to bruise Jesus Christ”. The death of Christ is traceable to God the Father.



The Triune God of heaven and earth wrote the “Plan” for Calvary. Nobody else helped Him, in even the smallest parts. From beginning to end, it was marked out, designed, sketched, and planned by the mind of the all-wise, all-knowing God. Because of that, not even Christ's death was exempt from it.

The God Who directs all the millions upon millions of angel hosts of heaven, and yet pays attention to one single sparrow on the immenseness of earth; the God Who created every single particle of the vastness of the universe, and yet pays attention to the very hairs of the head, the color of the eyes, and the individuality of each and every snowflake; the One Who decreed the greatest wonder of each and every one of the miracle of heaven and earth was not about to make a mistake in His generation of the greatest of the greatest wonder of the wonders of all of earth's miracles - the death of Christ!

No; through the blood-stained pages of Scripture, God Almighty “planned” the “Plan”; and the past, present, and the glorious future all the words concerning the pivotal point of it all – Cavalry!

God the Father planned and determined that Christ should be born of the Virgin Mary; He planned and determined that Christ should suffer and ultimately die an agonizing death under Governor Pontius Pilate; that He should descend into Hades to appear to all the Old Testament Believers in Paradise; that He should rise again in three days; that He should someday come again secretly to gather His Followers home and then come again publically to establish His long-awaited Kingdom; and that He should usher in eternity when He shall reign for ever at the right hand of the Majesty on high!

The death of Christ is the very center piece and main-spring by which God did fashion all His other decrees, making this the first and foundation-stone upon which the sacred architecture should be built.

Christ was put to death by the absolute foreknowledge and solemn decree of God the Father, and in this sense "it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief."


Now, we come to a more difficult part to understand!

Jesus did not come into thus world on His own! No; He had been the constant companion of God the Father and God the Spirit from before all worlds, eternally delighting himself in his Father, and being himself his Father's eternal joy. But, “In the fullness of time” God sent His Son, His only-begotten Son, and freely delivered Him up for us all.

This simply cannot be understood by mankind. This was a matchless, peerless love that mankind cannot grasp – that the offended Judge should permit His co-equal Son to suffer the pains of death for the redemption of a rebellious people.

The Bible speaks of a bearded old patriarch, who took his young strapping strong young teen aged son to go on a trip - three days journey with their men; until they come to the Mountain, of which the LORD had spoken to the patriarch.

You know the patriarch; Abraham is a holy memory to both Christians and Jews, as well as Moslems. I don’t imagine the father spoke too much to the son; his heart was too full, too heavy for words; he was overwhelmed with grief. God had commanded him to take his son, his only son, and slay him upon the mountain as a sacrifice.

And so they walked together; one in anguish of soul who had heard the command and didn’t understand, and the other one who did not hear the command and maybe just beginning to understand. That son meant everything to that old father; and he knew that he was going to be his executioner. At the foothills, they told the servants to stay and they would go and worship – and return!

The son, Isaac finally asked, "Father, behold the fire and the wood; but where is the lamb for a burnt-offering?" Can you conceive how the father, Abraham, stifled his emotions, and, with sobs, exclaimed, "My son, God will provide himself a lamb”. He was telling his son that God had demanded his life.

Isaac, who might have struggled and escaped from his old father, declared by his actions that he was willing to die, if God had decreed it. The father took his son, bound his hands behind his back, piled up the stones to make an altar, laid the wood, and had his fire ready. And now where is the artist that can depict the anguish of the father’s countenance, when the knife is unsheathed, and he holds it up, ready to slay his son?

The ram caught in the thicket supplies the substitute, and Abraham did not need to go any further physically; but we are told in Hebrews that in the Mind of God, Abraham DID go through with it:

(Hebrews 11:17-19) - By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, That in Isaac shall thy seed be called: accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure.

Now skip from this scene to a far greater one. What faith and obedience led Abraham to do; love constrained God to do!

God had but one son, His Only Begotten Son; but He covenanted to yield Him up for our redemption. He did not violate His promise; and when the fullness of time was come, He sent His Son to be born of the Virgin Mary, for the express purpose that He might suffer and offer Himself as the Sacrificed for the sins of man.

Can you explain that kind of Love that He completed in reality what Abraham only did in intention? Look up here at the facsimile of the place where God’s only Son hung dead upon the cross! Here is love indeed; and here we see how it was, that it pleased the Father to bruise him.


This is the most difficult of all to understand.

Down through the years, there have been martyrs in prison with chains on their wrists; under sentence that they will die tomorrow. Unbelievably, they think, “I shall eat breakfast alone down here in fiery tribulations, but have supper with Jesus in heaven”.

History has recorded that thousands of them died; and many of them singing while the flames leapt up or wild beasts leapt out to consume their physical bodies and they slipped into eternity. Hundreds may have been in the crowds watching and praying for them!

At Calvary, the Savior is going up the Via Dolorosa; weak from the beating; His soul sad within Him. He falls under the load; and they whip Him back to His feet. He is nailed to the tree with the sound of utter silence of singing. Just a few followers are there to comfort His mother.

When He spoke, it was not a song but a cry: “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” The martyrs died and God was with them; but God was not with His Son when He died. You see, it was not pleasing to God that the martyrs die; but “it pleased God to bruise Him”.

The sunshine of God's countenance that has cheered many a dying saint, was withdrawn from Christ; and therefore he suffered in thick darkness of mental agony.

Underneath the church are the everlasting arms; but underneath Christ there were no arms at all, but his Father's hand pressed heavily against Him to bruise Him; and not one drop of joy or consolation was afforded to Him. "It pleased Jehovah to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief." This was the climax of the Savior’s woe, that His Father turned away from Him, and put Him to grief.

And that was all according to plan!

Now what are we going to do with that?

NOTE: I am grateful to Pastor Charles Spurgeon for many of the seed thoughts contained in this message.

Saturday, February 11, 2012








2:1] Now the days of David drew nigh that he should die; and he charged Solomon his son, saying,

2:2] I go the way of all the earth: be you strong therefore, and show thyself a man;

2:3] And keep the charge of the LORD your God, to walk in His ways, to keep His statutes, and His commandments, and His judgments, and His testimonies, as it is written in the law of Moses, that you may prosper in all that you do, and whithersoever you turn thyself:

This verse is very similar to the language of Psalms 119.

2:4] That the LORD may continue His word which He spoke concerning me, saying, If your children take heed to their way, to walk before me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul, there shall not fail you (said He) a man on the throne of Israel.

These “days” may have been an extended period of months. The words do not necessarily refer to immediate death. David's charge to Solomon may be regarded as twofold:

(1) an exhortation to obey the law of Jehovah (3-4);
(2) an admonition to deal wisely with David's enemies and friends, according to their deserts (5-9).

2:5] Moreover you know also what Joab the son of Zeruiah did to me, and what he did to the two captains of the hosts of Israel, unto Abner the son of Ner, and unto Amasa the son of Jether, whom he slew, and shed the blood of war in peace, and put the blood of war upon his girdle that was about his loins, and in his shoes that were on his feet.

2:6] Do therefore according to your wisdom, and let not his hoar head go down to the grave in peace.

David specifically instructed Solomon to eliminate his enemies: Joab and Shimei. Some critics had claimed these instructions to be “extremely cruel”. However, it should be noted that the inflicting of penalties upon them was not just because of David's personal desire for revenge. Joab, captain of the host, was guilty of a double murder — Abner (2 Sam 3:27) and Amasa, son of Jether (2 Sam 20:10). In fact, Joab had been correctly accused by David of committing acts of war in times of peace. He therefore must die at once; as illustrated by the picturesque figure of speech with the bloody girdle and shoes (5).

2:7] But show kindness unto the sons of Barzillai the Gileadite, and let them be of those that eat at your table: for so they came to me when I fled because of Absalom your brother.

The aged Barzillai had sustained David in his flight from his son Absalom (2 Sam 19:3Iff); without which, David might have succumbed to starvation in the wilderness.

2:8] And, behold, you have with you Shimei the son of Gera, a Benjamite of Bahurim, which cursed me with a grievous curse in the day when I went to Mahanaim: but he came down to meet me at Jordan, and I swore to him by the LORD, saying, I will not put you to death with the sword.

During the rebellion of Absalom, Shimei came out to meet the fleeing King, cursing as he came and flinging dust and stones (an extreme insult) at David and his entourage (2 Sam 16:5-13). After the rebellion had been repressed, Shimei asked for pardon which David gave him as far as execution of punishment was concerned.

There are two views of David's charge to Solomon to “hold him (Shimei) not guiltless (innocent)” (verse 9):

(1) David actually feared that the curse he had pronounced might come true; and the best way to avoid it was to remove the one who had uttered it, and thus render it inoperative.

(2) Since Shimei was a Benjamite from the neighborhood of former King Saul, David feared that he might strike at the throne again, once his protective custody was withdrawn.

Before any actual penalty was imposed, Solomon gave Shimei a reprieve which was strongly conditioned on his “good behavior”.

2:9] Now therefore hold him not guiltless: for you are a wise man, and know what you ought to do unto him; but his hoar head bring you down to the grave with blood.

2:10] So David slept with his fathers, and was buried in the city of David.

The city which David (actually Joab) had wrested from the “Jebusites” and later claimed for his capital city became the burial ground for the great King. Though David was born in Bethlehem (also known in places as “The City of David” – remember the announcement of the birth of Jesus), Jerusalem henceforth was to be designated “The City of David”.

2:11] And the days that David reigned over Israel were forty years: seven years reigned he in Hebron, and thirty and three years reigned he in Jerusalem.

There is no particular chronological problem involved here. David died at the age of seventy, having reigned forty years. He had reigned seven years over the Hebron area, a small southerly sector within the Tribe of Judah, and thirty-three years over the entire nation of Israel (c 1010—971 BC).


2:12] Then sat Solomon upon the throne of David his father; and his kingdom was established greatly.

2:13] And Adonijah the son of Haggith came to Bath-Sheba the mother of Solomon. And she said, Comest you peaceably? And he said, Peaceably.

2:14] He said moreover, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And she said, Say on.

2:15] And he said, you know that the kingdom was mine, and that all Israel set their faces on me, that I should reign: howbeit the kingdom is turned about, and is become my brother's: for it was his from the LORD.

This last statement clearly tells us that Adonijah knew that Solomon had been designated as the heir apparent. It could also be inferred that all the children knew of David’s decision – and that David had been led of God Himself in making it.

2:16] And now I ask one petition of you, deny me not. And she said unto him, Say on.

2:17] And he said, Speak, I pray you, unto Solomon the King, (for he will not say you nay) that he give me Abishag the Shunammite to wife.

He approached Solomon's mother with a seemingly harmless but really insidious request. He said, in effect, "Let Abishag be given to me." This young girl had been David’s private “hospice nurse” in his declining state. Bath-Sheba did not have God’s Leadership skills and could see nothing unusual or perverse in this request; but simply an "affair of the heart," and so she readily agreed to talk to the king.

2:18] And Bath-Sheba said, Well; I will speak for you unto the king.

2:19] Bath-Sheba therefore went unto King Solomon, to speak unto him for Adonijah. And the King rose up to meet her, and bowed himself (“showed proper respect”) unto her, and sat down on his throne, and caused a seat to be set for the King's mother; and she sat on his right hand.

She innocently became a go-between for Adonijah. With great courtesy the King received his mother . . . until she placed the request before him.

2:20] Then she said, I desire one small petition of thee; I pray you, say me not nay. And the King said unto her, Ask on, my mother: for I will not say you nay.

2:21] And she said, Let Abishag the Shunammite be given to Adonijah your brother to wife.

2:22] And King Solomon answered and said unto his mother, And why dost you ask Abishag the Shunammite for Adonijah? Ask for him the kingdom also; for he is my elder brother; even for him, and for Abiathar the priest, and for Joab the son of Zeruiah.

Solomon’s language here is sarcasm; as he could see right through this plot. Even though David had not “known” Abishag sexually, she could have nevertheless been considered an inheritor. With her could go the rights to the throne. Having once failed in an abortive attempt to seize the kingdom, Adonijah now sought in a more subtle way to gain his objective.

This time he would not be pardoned. Adonijah had failed to appreciate the mercy that had been shown him; therefore relentless judgment fell.

It should be noted that this is before God’s “Gift of Wisdom” was granted to Solomon. He already was ahead of the game.

2:23] Then King Solomon swore by the LORD, saying, God do so to me, and more also, if Adonijah have not spoken this word against his own life.

2:24] Now therefore, as the LORD lives, which has established me, and set me on the throne of David my father, and who has made me a house, as He promised, Adonijah shall be put to death this day.

2:25] And King Solomon sent by the hand of Benaiah the son of Jehoiada; and he (Benaiah) fell upon him (Adonijah) that he died.

2:26] And unto Abiathar the priest said the King, Get you to Anathoth, unto your own fields; for you are worthy of death: but I will not at this time put you to death, because you bore the ark of the Lord GOD before David my father, and because you have been afflicted in all wherein my father was afflicted.

Abiathar, a descendant of Aaron through Eli, was removed from his priestly office and sent back in disgrace to his home village. The reason for Abiathar's punishment, as stated by Solomon, was that he had participated in Adonijah's rebellion. Though expelled, he was not executed, because he had remained faithful to David in the rebellion of Absalom (2 Sam 15:24ff).

2:27] So Solomon thrust out Abiathar from being priest unto the LORD; that he might fulfill the word of the LORD, which He spoke concerning the House of Eli in Shiloh.

2:28] Then tidings came to Joab: for Joab had turned after Adonijah, though he turned not after Absalom. And Joab fled unto the Tabernacle of the LORD, and caught hold on the horns of the altar.

Solomon now began to carry out the orders of his deceased father regarding his enemies. The Taber¬nacle was located at Gibeon (see 3:4), to which Joab had fled, knowing that his doom was sealed. However, not even the “sanctuary of the altar” could afford refuge for the willful murderer.

2:29] And it was told King Solomon that Joab was fled unto the Tabernacle of the LORD; and, behold, he is by the altar. Then Solomon sent Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, saying, Go, fall upon him.

2:30] And Benaiah came to the Tabernacle of the LORD, and said unto him, Thus says the King, Come forth. And he said, Nay; but I will die here. And Benaiah brought the King word again, saying, Thus said Joab, and thus he answered me.

2:31] And the King said unto him, Do as he has said, and fall upon him, and bury him; that you may take away the innocent blood, which Joab shed, from me, and from the house of my father.

2:32] And the LORD shall return his blood upon his own head, who fell upon two men more righteous and better than he, and slew them with the sword, my father David not knowing thereof, to wit, Abner the son of Ner, captain of the host of Israel, and Amasa the son of Jether, captain of the host of Judah.

2:33] Their blood shall therefore return upon the head of Joab, and upon the head of his seed (his family) forever: but upon David, and upon his seed, and upon his house, and upon his throne, shall there be peace for ever from the LORD.

The King was giving concrete evidence as to the justice of the sentence. The words of the “benediction” imply that once bloodguilt was removed from the throne, it would then stand in a position of blessing before God. After the execution had taken place, Joab was interred in his own house. The old general was not dishonored after all. To be buried on one’s own property was a mark of distinction as in the case of Samuel.

2:34] So Benaiah the son of Jehoiada went up, and fell upon him, and slew him: and he was buried in his own house in the wilderness.

2:35] And the King put Benaiah the son of Jehoiada in his room (Joab’s position) over the host: and Zadok the priest did the King put in the room (place or position) of Abiathar.

After the replacement of Joab by Benaiah, Zadok succeeded Abiathar.

Zadok’s appointment is going to give a lot of problems because of political and parliamentery maneuvering by the state from that time forward.

The next problem for Solomon was to deal with Shimei.

2:36] And the King sent and called for Shimei, and said unto him, Build you a house in Jerusalem, and dwell there, and go not forth thence any whither.

2:37] For it shall be, that on the day you go out, and pass over the brook Kidron, you shall know for certain that you shall surely die: your blood shall be upon your own head.

The Kidron Valley divided Benjamin from Judah; and since Shemai was from Benjamin, this order forbade him to return to his own tribe. He was obviously placed under strict surveillance.

2:38] And Shimei said unto the King, The saying is good: as my lord the King has said, so will your servant do. And Shimei dwelt in Jerusalem many days.

2:39] And it came to pass at the end of three years, that two of the servants of Shimei ran away unto Achish son of Maachah King of Gath (in Philistine country). And they told Shimei, saying, Behold, your servants be in Gath.

2:40] And Shimei arose, and saddled his ass, and went to Gath to Achish to seek his servants: and Shimei went, and brought his servants from Gath.

He did this while clearly remembering the restriction to not leave town.

2:41] And it was told Solomon that Shimei had gone from Jerusalem to Gath, and was come again.

2:42] And the King sent and called for Shimei, and said unto him, Did I not make you to swear by the LORD, and protested unto you, saying, Know for a certain, on the day you go out, and walk abroad any whither, that you shall surely die? And you said unto me, The word that I have heard is good.

2:43] Why then have you not kept the oath of the LORD, and the commandment that I have charged you with?

2:44] The King said moreover to Shimei, you know all the wickedness which your heart is privy to, that you did to David my father: therefore the LORD shall return your wickedness upon your own head;

Whether or not the use of the death penalty was justified is something for seminarians to get bent all out of shape over; but clearly, Solomon read into Shemei’s actions a very serious motive, and punished him with death. Solomon had now completed everything David had charged him to do.

2:45] And King Solomon shall be blessed, and the throne of David shall be established before the LORD forever.

He is congratulating himself here; and saying that the curse placed on David (and his family) would now be removed with Shemei’s death.

2:46] So the King commanded Benaiah the son of Jehoiada; which went out, and fell upon him (Shemei), that he died. And the kingdom was established in the hand of Solomon.

It would have been better for Solomon if he had been as zealous in obeying the commands of God as he was in obeying the commands of David.




The Books now known as First and Second Kings were so named from their contents. In the Septuagint (LXX) the “Book of Kings” is regarded as a continuation of the material in the “Book of Samuel”.

The two Books obviously form one whole, covering Israel's history from the monarchy under Solomon to the nation's dissolution under Zedekiah. They deal with the fortunes of the nation of Israel in their relationship with the Lord; and point out the sins of the Kings who broke the covenant and brought about the dispersion of Israel and Judah.

2 Kings closes with the release of Jehoiachin from prison in the thirty-seventh year of his imprisonment (about 562/561 BC); therefore, the Book was probably not completed before that date. It also was not completed later than 536 BC since it says nothing about the return from the Babylonian captivity. The Book was probably written by an Israeli in captivity; and since it is one unit and not the product of several writers over several years, it is to be dated in the period about 562—536 BC.

The writer states plainly that he had sources for his history:
(1) Acts of Solomon (1 Kgs 11:41);
(2) The chronicles of the kings of Judah (e.g., I Kgs 14:29) and
(3) The chronicles of the kings of Israel (e.g., I Kgs 14:19).

The various writings that deal with the history of the kings of Judah are never mixed with those for the history of the kings of Israel; and therefore it is easy to see that each of them was a separate, distinct document. The citations from these works show that they contained much more material than is given in The Books of 1 and 2 Kings.

Specific authors of the firsthand sources are cited for us in the parallel Book of “Chronicles”: Nathan the prophet, Ahijah the Shilonite, and Iddo (2 Chr 9:29); Shemaiah the prophet and Iddo the seer (2 Chr 12:15); Iddo the prophet (2 Chr 13:22); Isaiah the prophet (2 Chr 26:22; 32:32); Jehu (1 Kgs 16:1). These sources are very pointed and blunt, giving us a forthright record of the deeds of the kings. No “official” royal historian would have dared to publish such incriminating facts about David or Jeroboam I as are here given.

The writer was concerned with David’s Monarchy in Judah, but had to deal with the Kingdom in Israel as well. While the people knew the prophetical sources of this history, the sources were too voluminous and cumbersome to display easily; so this Book was written to compile these sources.

The writer skillfully develops the history of Israel in respect to the Covenant of Jehovah (Ex 19:3-6). They were to have no gods but the Lord (Ex 20:2-6); and so idolatry and image worship are regarded in these Books as the worst of all sins, which since they were continued and repeated, brought about Israel's deportation.

The writer holds up the history of Israel and Judah before the captives to teach them that the only way to freedom is to repent of idolatry, return to God, keep the covenant, and trust in His divine promises. He seeks to teach them the truth of God’s Plan for them and to strengthen them in this conviction.

The prophets were God's messengers to remind the people of their relationship with God. It was their mission to seek by means of warnings, threats, and promises for the people to live by that divine relationship (Jer 7:13) (11:1-8). In these books, the kings are pronounced as good or bad as they adhered to or departed from that covenant relationship with God.

The Israelites were the first people of history to develop and maintain a true recorded history. Other nations (Assyria, Babylon, Egypt) all had a hodge-podge of historical documents of dates and figures; but only Israel actually wrote these events down as “one history”.

In David’s day, Egypt and Assyria had weakened; but as king after king assumed power and died, Assyria began to re-awaken under King Tiglath-Pileser III. In 721 BC, Samaria fell and Judah was invaded; but Jerusalem was never completely defeated by these attacks.

In King Josiah’s time, Egypt and Assyria were defeated by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, who promptly invaded Judah on three occasions, with the third one coming in 586 BC.





B. FROM AHAB TO JORAM (16:29-22:53)




1:1] Now King David was old (70 years old – 2 Sam 5:4) and stricken in years; and they covered him with clothes (“bed clothes”), but he got no heat.

The final blow to David had been Absalom’s rebellion.

1:2] Wherefore his servants said unto him, Let there be sought for my lord the King a young virgin: and let her stand before the King, and let her cherish him, and let her lie in your bosom, that my lord the King may get heat.

This was “acceptable” as a medical practice even as late as the Middle Ages. Nothing immoral should be inferred or imagined in that admittedly bizarre and unusual practice.

1:3] So they sought for a fair damsel throughout all the coasts of Israel, and found Abishag a Shunammite (of the Tribe of Issachar, in the Plains of Jezreel), and brought her to the king.

1:4] And the damsel was very fair, and cherished the King, and ministered to him: but the King knew her not (“did not have sexual relations with her”).

She is somewhat similar to a private practical or “hospice” nurse to the dying man. It is strictly professional!

1:5] Then Adonijah the son of Haggith exalted himself, saying, I will be king: and he prepared him chariots and horsemen, and fifty men to run before him.

Adonijah was David’s fourth son; his mother was Haggith. He was at that time the eldest living son.

But God had already chosen Solomon of Bath-Sheba; and David had agreed.

(Wives in lower case type; Children in upper case type)

Ahinoam - AMNONM
Abigale - CHILIAB
Maacha - ABSALOM
Haggith - ADONIJAH

(Wives in lower case type; Children in upper case type)

Bath-Sheba - SOLOMON

1:6] And his (Adonijah) father (David) had not displeased (“corrected or parented”) him at any time in saying (by saying), “Why have you done so?” And he also was a very goodly man; and his mother bore (“had born”) him after Absalom.

Since he was “4th” in line after Absalom (the 3rd in line of succession) and the first three children were dead; he was actually next in line to be the king. This, of course, assumed that the line was not rearranged by The Lord (which it was).

1:7] And he conferred with Joab the son of Zeruiah, and with Abiathar the priest: and they following Adonijah, helped him.

Zeruiah was David’s sister; and her children had been Joab, Abishai, and Asahel. Joab was apparently living in Bethlehem. He had proven himself as David’s commander in chief; but he was cruel and treacherous. He had captured the fortress of “Jebus” (which was expanded and is known today as Jerusalem) and besieged Rabbah; but had needlessly shed the blood of Abner and Amasa. Later, Solomon will command Benaiah to execute him. At his own request, Joab was killed beside the Altar in the Tabernacle, where he had taken refuge.

Abiathar was the only Priest who had escaped the brutal vengeance which Saul took on the priests at Nob because they gave aid and comfort to David. After he fled to David, he became his chief advisor and friend. Up to this point, he had remained true to David and Solomon; but now he had joined in the conspiracy of Adonijah against King Solomon. He was subsequently excommunicated from the priesthood; but he was not executed, as he deserved.

1:8] But Zadok the priest, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and Nathan the prophet, and Shimei, and Rei, and the mighty men which belonged to David, were not with Adonijah.

Zadok had joined David immediately after Saul’s death and accompanied him as he fled from Jerusalem and the rebellion of Prince Absalom. He has also been David’s “double agent”.

Nathan the prophet is not to be confused with one of the sons of David by the same name.

1:9] And Adonijah slew sheep and oxen and fat cattle by the stone of Zoheleth, which is by En-Rogel, and called all his brethren, the King's sons; and all the men of Judah the king's servants:

He threw this feast for selected people who could help him gain the throne. The “stone of Zoheleth” was an outcropping on the southern slope of the Hinnom Valley. It was very large and cast a big shadow.

1:10] But Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah, and the mighty men, and Solomon his brother, he called not.

Benaiah was the son of Jehoida (the high priest). He was the chief of police under David and was entirely loyal to him. It is easy to understand why Solomon was not summoned.

1:11] Wherefore Nathan spoke unto Bath-Sheba the mother of Solomon, saying, have you not heard that Adonijah the son of Haggith (one of David’s wives) does reign, and David our lord (“master”) knows it not?

Nathan had first appeared to tell David that he must defer building the Temple. Later, he reproved the King for his sin of murder and adultery. He now warns the new King’s people of the plot to overthrow him.

1:12] Now therefore come, let me, I pray you, give you counsel, that you may save your own life, and the life of your son Solomon.

1:13] Go and get you in unto King David, and say unto him, Did not you, my lord, O King, swear unto your handmaid, saying, Assuredly Solomon your son shall reign after me, and he shall sit upon my throne? Why then does Adonijah reign?

1:14] Behold, while you yet talk there with the King, I also will come in after you, and confirm your words.

This was to give assurances that she was not overreacting.

1:15] And Bath-Sheba went in unto the King into the chamber: and the King was very old; and Abishag the Shunammite ministered unto the king.

1:16] And Bath-Sheba bowed, and did obeisance unto the King. And the King said, What would you?

1:17] And she said unto him, My lord, you swore by the LORD your God unto your handmaid, saying, Assuredly Solomon your son shall reign after me, and he shall sit upon my throne.

1:18] And now, behold, Adonijah reigns; and now, my lord the King, you know it not:

1:19] And he has slain oxen and fat cattle and sheep in abundance, and has called all the sons of the King, and Abiathar the priest, and Joab the captain of the host: but Solomon your servant has he not called.

1:20] And you, my lord, O King, the eyes of all Israel are upon you, that you should tell them who shall sit on the throne of my lord the King after him.

She appealed to David to make a forthright and immediate declaration.

1:21] Otherwise it shall come to pass, when my lord the King shall sleep with his fathers, that I and my son Solomon shall be counted offenders.

1:22] And, lo, while she yet talked with the King, Nathan the prophet also came in.

1:23] And they told the King, saying, Behold Nathan the prophet. And when he was come in before the King, he bowed himself before the King with his face to the ground.

True to his promise, Nathan appeared to support what Bath-Sheba had told David, which otherwise might have appeared to the monarch as an exaggerated report. He repeated substantially the same story that David had just learned from Bath-Sheba's lips.

1:24] And Nathan said, My lord, O King, have you said, Adonijah shall reign after me, and he shall sit upon my throne?

1:25] For he is gone down this day, and has slain oxen and fat cattle and sheep in abundance, and has called all the king's sons, and the captains of the host, and Abiathar the priest; and, behold, they eat and drink before him, and say, God save King Adonijah.

1:26] But me, even me your servant, and Zadok the priest, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and your servant Solomon, has he not called.

1:27] Is this thing done by my lord the King, and you have not showed it unto your servant, who should sit on the throne of my lord the King after him?

1:28] Then King David answered and said, Call me Bath-Sheba. And she came into the king's presence, and stood before the king.

In Oriental fashion Bath-Sheba had discreetly withdrawn when Nathan entered, but now she was recalled to hear the King make his official pronouncement.

1:29] And the King swore, and said, As the LORD lives, that has redeemed my soul out of all distress,

This oath removed all further debate.

1:30] Even as I swore unto you by the LORD God of Israel, saying, Assuredly Solomon your son shall reign after me, and he shall sit upon my throne in my stead; even so will I certainly do this day.

1:31] Then Bath-Sheba bowed with her face to the earth, and did reverence to the King, and said, Let my lord King David live forever.

She conveyed her gratitude for his assurance that her son would reign.

1:32] And King David said, Call me Zadok the priest, and Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada. And they came before the king.

1:33] The King also said unto them, Take with you the servants of your lord, and cause Solomon my son to ride upon my own mule, and bring him down to Gihon:

This command to Zadok, Nathan, and Benaiah spelled the collapse of Adonijah's plot, for the coronation of the rebel's half brother Solomon was about to begin. The King gave specific instructions for the ceremony of crowning. David's own royal mule was to be used to signify that Solomon was the King's chosen one.

1:34] And let Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet anoint him there King over Israel: and blow the trumpet, and say, God save King Solomon (“Long live King Solomon”).

Both King and Priest in Israel were inducted into office through the rite of anointing, in distinction to the prophet, who held a non-anointed office. The blast of the trumpets was to announce to the people that Solomon had now legally taken the throne of his father David, even before David’s death.

1:35] Then you shall come up after him, that he may come and sit upon my throne; for he shall be King in my stead: and I have appointed him to be ruler over Israel and over Judah.

1:36] And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada answered the King, and said, Amen: the LORD God of my lord the King say so too.

Benaiah gave his acquiescence and his promise of obedience to all that David had stated in relation to the crowning of Solomon.

1:37] As the LORD has been with my lord the King, even so be He with Solomon, and make his throne greater than the throne of my lord King David.

1:38] So Zadok the priest, and Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and the Cherethites, and the Pelethites, went down, and caused Solomon to ride upon King David's mule, and brought him to Gihon.

The Cherethites and Pelethites were the royal bodyguards; and they carried out the instructions of the King in detail. Gihon, situated in the Kidron Valley just below the eastern hill (Ophel), was a spring which was at that time Jerusalem's chief source of water.

1:39] And Zadok the priest took a horn of oil out of the Tabernacle, and anointed Solomon. And they blew the trumpet; and all the people said, God save King Solomon.

Zadok, the custodian of the sacred Tent, went to it to get the visible symbol of God's invisible anointing (cf. II Sam 6:17).

1:40] And all the people came up after him, and the people piped with pipes, and rejoiced with great joy, so that the earth rent with the sound of them.

With a new and promising King on the throne, a new and promising era stretched out before Israel. Behind lay memories of great conquests under David; ahead lay a future of peace and expansion.

1:41] And Adonijah and all the guests that were with him heard it as they had made an end of eating. And when Joab heard the sound of the trumpet, he said, Wherefore is this noise of the city being in an uproar?

1:42] And while he yet spoke, behold, Jonathan the son of Abiathar the priest came: and Adonijah said unto him, Come in; for you are a valiant man, and bring good tidings.

1:43] And Jonathan answered and said to Adonijah, Verily our lord King David has made Solomon king.

1:44] And the King has sent with him Zadok the priest, and Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and the Cherethites, and the Pelethites, and they have caused him to ride upon the king's mule:

1:45] And Zadok the priest and Nathan the prophet have anointed him King in Gihon: and they are come up from thence rejoicing, so that the city rang again. This is the noise that you have heard.

1:46] And also Solomon sits on the throne of the kingdom.

1:47] And moreover the King's servants came to bless our lord King David, saying, God make the name of Solomon better than your name, and make his throne greater than your throne. And the King bowed himself upon the bed.

1:48] And also thus said the King, Blessed be the LORD God of Israel, which has given one to sit on my throne this day, my eyes even seeing it.

These verses relate the collapse of Adonijah's conspiracy to seize the throne.

1:49] And all the guests that were with Adonijah were afraid, and rose up, and went every man his way.

They feared, with good reason, that they would be regarded as traitors against the state, and be summarily dealt with.

1:50] And Adonijah feared because of Solomon, and arose, and went, and caught hold on the horns of the altar.

Forsaken and deserted by those who called themselves his friends, Adonijah fled in very terror of his life to seek asylum in the Sanctuary of the Tabernacle.

1:51] And it was told Solomon, saying, Behold, Adonijah fears King Solomon: for, lo, he has caught hold on the horns of the altar, saying, Let King Solomon swear unto me today that he will not slay his servant with the sword.

In Oriental practice, an insurgent like Adonijah would have been severely punished, if not put to death. However, Solomon dealt mercifully with him, remitting the death penalty and placing him under watchful observation, thus setting the pattern for his magnanimous rule. Not until Adonijah committed another act of treason was his judgment pronounced.

1:52] And Solomon said, If he will show himself a worthy man, there shall not an hair of him fall to the earth: but if wickedness (“another wickedness”) shall be found in him, he shall die.

1:53] So King Solomon sent, and they brought him down from the altar. And he came and bowed himself to King Solomon: and Solomon said unto him, Go to your house.

Solomon respected the sanctuary of the altar. Only one who was proved to be a murderer was to be removed from the altar without mercy. Adonijah professed to submit to Solomon and obey his rule. Had his submission been genuine, his subsequent life would have been more peaceful and his story far happier.