Snakes, gasoline and demons (Part 2)

Jesus said: “These signs shall follow them that believe” (Mark 16:17) (Part 2 of 3)

In the previous article (here), we gave four reasons why modern snake-handling as a religious act is not what Jesus was referring to in Mark 16:17-20. In this second article, we will continue the exploration of the modern phenomenon of snake-handling, and why it is not the fulfillment of what Jesus prophesied.

Jesus certainly said that miracles would accompany the disciples in their ministry. He listed several examples of the kinds of things they might expect: Continue reading “Snakes, gasoline and demons (Part 2)”

Snakes, gasoline and demons (Part 1)

“These signs shall follow them that believe…” (Mark 16:17)

Some years back, when I lived in Appalachian Kentucky and conducted a weekly radio program, I aired a program that argued against snake-handling as a biblically-sanctioned religious activity. Some might say that was a more dangerous stunt than the snake-handling itself. During the course of that program (I still have all the manuscripts), I said concerning Mark 16:20:

This passage no more authorizes the use of snakes in worship than it authorizes the drinking of bleach…Yet, if the passage teaches one, it surely teaches the other, does it not? Why snakes and not bleach? Why not snakes and bleach? I’ll tell you why, because you can get away with handling a snake for a long time – especially if you know what you’re doing – but you can’t get away with drinking bleach even once!

Continue reading “Snakes, gasoline and demons (Part 1)”

What is our verdict?

“A single witness shall not suffice against a person for any crime or for any wrong in connection with any offence that he has committed. Only on the evidence of two witnesses or of three witnesses shall a charge be established” (Deuteronomy 19:15 ESV).

As the nation of Israel approached the Promised Land, God insured that they would have a fair system of justice. One aspect of this was that eye-witness testimony was only good if it could be corroborated. It wasn’t enough just to have one person testify against someone else.

There was a good reason for this. One person might give false evidence because he did not like the person. There was even a part of the law to deal with this. Continue reading “What is our verdict?”

Seven purposes of Jesus’ miracles

” ‘Young man, I say unto thee, Arise.’ And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak” (Luke 7:14-15).

There were several people who became instruments of God’s miraculous power in biblical history: Moses, Elijah, the apostles – including Judas – were all instruments of God’s miraculous power. Did this prove they were divine? Of course not.

What about Jesus’ miracles? Did they prove he was divine? Jesus’ miracles – taken alone – no more point to his deity than miracles performed by these other individuals of the Bible prove their deity. However, the miracles of Jesus do collaborate with other evidences to build the case for his deity. Interestingly, Jesus’ miracles also served several other purposes: Continue reading “Seven purposes of Jesus’ miracles”

Complex King Nebuchadnezzar

Nebuchadnezzar is one of the more complex individuals in the Bible. He’s impulsive and emotional yet at other times he was thoughtful and reasonable. In the first few chapters of Daniel, we see all of them in action.

Nebuchadnezzar asked the impossible in chapter two when he demanded that someone tell him his dream and then interpret it perfectly for him.

Fear spread through the kingdom as the King’s murderous rage threatened to exterminate his magicians, astrologers and sorcerers. Continue reading “Complex King Nebuchadnezzar”

Does sin really exist?

“Man, your sins are forgiven” (Luke 5:20).

Most of us can identify with Charlie Brown. We set some goal: “This time, I’m going to kick that football!” then somebody pulls the ball away at the last second, and we fall flat on our back. But there was one man in the Bible who set his sights high, and got even more than he asked for. That was because his goal was to encounter Jesus. Continue reading “Does sin really exist?”

When Jesus gagged a demon

“Hold thy peace, and come out of him” (Luke 4:35)

In the biblical text, demonic presence coincides almost exclusively with the ministry of Christ. Like a meteor grazing the atmosphere, it explodes on the scene and just as quickly fades away. I concur with those who assert, if only on the swiftness and coincidental nature of their presence, that they were allowed by God to appear during the life of Christ to manifest his glory and power. Continue reading “When Jesus gagged a demon”