August 31, 2003


All day long, Jesus had been teaching the multitude. "And when the day was far spent, His disciples came to Him and said, 'This is a deserted place, and already the hour is late. Send them away, that they may go into the surrounding country and villages and buy themselves bread; for they have nothing to eat.' But He answered and said to them, 'You give them something to eat.' And they said to Him, 'Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give them something to eat?' But He said to them, 'How many loaves do you have? Go and see.' And when they found out they said, 'Five, and two fish.' Then He commanded them to make all sit down in groups on the green grass. So they sat down in ranks, in hundreds and in fifties. And when He had taken the five loaves and the two fish, He looked up to heaven, blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to His disciples to set before them; and the two fish He divided among them all. So they all ate and were filled. And they took up twelve baskets full of fragments and of the fish. Now those who had eaten the loaves were about five thousand men." (Mark 6:35-44). Matthew tells us there were also some women and children in the multitude, Matthew 14:21.

This miracle was recorded in all four of the inspired accounts of the gospel. John's account, written several years after the other three, adds some facts not mentioned by Matthew, Mark, and Luke. It is John's account that informs us that the five barley loaves and two fish actually belonged to a young boy in the crowd, John 6:9. Because this boy was willing to put what he had at the disposal of Jesus, Jesus was able to use it to bless many.

There are several lessons we might take note of in this particular incident, but we must center in on just a few. First, we should note that what may seem rather meager by human standards can be used greatly when it is put to the full disposal of the Lord.

Second, notice that as Jesus received the loaves and fish, He "blessed them" by giving thanks for them to the heavenly Father. A quick assessment of Jesus' action on other occasions where food was received and eaten will show that it was His normal practice to give thanks for the food which God makes available. If we are in the habit of eating our meals without pausing to think of where the blessings come from, and without pausing to express our thanks to God for those blessings, we should take note, and be more careful to express our gratitude.

Finally, we note that after the multitudes had eaten their fill, Jesus "said to His disciples, 'Gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost.'" (John 6:12). We are not told what further use the Lord made of the fragments, but we may be assured they did not go to waste. Even the scraps were not wasted. We need to learn to be less wasteful, more efficient with the blessings that God gives, and let Jesus bless others through us, as He blessed the multitudes through the usefulness of the loaves and fish supplied by a young boy.

--Clarence R. Johnson


The Bible teaches that indeed, there shall be a day of judgment for all who have ever lived. See Rev. 20:11-12. That day will be a day of many surprises.

1. Some will be surprised that there will be a judgment - but indeed there will be, Heb. 9:27.

2. Some will be surprised to learn that the judgment has not yet occurred. Some hold various theories to the effect that God has pre-judged mankind. The Bible teaches that the final judgment is future, Acts 17:31. 

3. Some may be surprised to learn that not all professed Christians will be saved in that last day, Matt. 7:21; Heb. 5:9; 2 Thess. 1:7-9.

4. Some will perhaps be surprised to learn that the words of Christ will be the standard of judgment, John 12:48. And some may be surprised to learn that the entire New Testament is His words. The red words in our red letter editions are the words Jesus spoke while He was on earth. The black letters are the words He has revealed from heaven since He ascended to His throne, Heb. 12:25; Gal. 1:11-12, etc.

5. Some will be surprised to learn that all man-kind will be there, 2 Cor. 5:10; Rom. 14:12.

6. It may surprise many to note that the judgment of which we speak will be final. There wilt be no appeals to a higher court, Matt. 25:45-46.

7. Some will be surprised to learn that we will be judged according to our works. They have been misled to think that works are unessential and unimportant, Matt. 16:27; Rev. 20:12.

8. Perhaps many will be surprised to learn that each person must account for himself in that day. Many of us are accustomed to acknowledging the sins of others and ignoring our own. Many are accustomed to hiring an attorney to answer for them. Such will not suffice in "that day", Rom 14:12; Ezek. 18:20.

--Clarence R. Johnson


[Editor's Note: The following short article says much that needs to be said. This editor, however, does take exception to the writer's definition of a parable. Our English word parable comes from two Greek terms which mean "to throw beside." A parable, from the Greek, simply means to take that which is already understood and place it beside that which needs to be understood for purpose of comparison. This (which needs to be understood is like this (which is already known). The Oxford American Dictionary defines the English word parable: "a story told to illustrate a moral or spiritual truth."
It is this editor's conviction that that the parables of Jesus were not invented stories, but were illustrations taken from real life. That being said, read and enjoy this following article.]

A radio talk show host recently was asked by a caller about the story of Adam and Eve. Were Adam and Eve real people? Was the world really created as described in Genesis 1-2? The talk show host quickly informed the caller that the whole story about Adam and Eve was just a parable, an invented story to explain the origin of the world and certainly not to be taken literally.

A parable is an invented story designed to teach some truth. A myth, however, is an invented story designed to explain some phenomenon. There are many people who claim to serve God and yet believe that the creation account of Genesis 1-2 is nothing more than a story designed to satisfy people who were/are not knowledgeable enough to understand what REALLY happened. I wonder if those who are quick to dismiss the creation account as myth or fable realize the implications of such treatment of the creation story and Adam and Eve.

It is not just the first two chapters of Genesis which must be treated as myth if Adam and Eve were not real people. Genesis 5 contains the genealogy of Adam. How are we to understand that chapter if the beginning of the genealogy is based on a mythical character? Was Abel, son of Adam and Eve, a real person? Jesus referred to Abel as a real person (Matthew 23:35). Jesus clearly considered Genesis 1-2 to be a literal account (see Matthew 19:4-5). What is the implication for the deity of Jesus if He did not understand that Genesis 1-2 is really myth? How could He possibly be the Son of God?

The gospel writer Luke traced the genealogy of Jesus back to Adam (Luke 3:38). If Adam is a mythical character, merely window dressing in a creation myth, why is he included in a genealogy which obviously includes real people? Luke obviously considered Adam to be a historical person just as Mary, the mother of Jesus, was a real person.

The apostle Paul spoke of Adam and Eve by name. He contrasted Jesus with Adam (1 Corinthians 15:22, 45- 47). Writing to the Corinthians, the apostle mentioned Eve and the story of her temptation by Satan (2 Corinthians 11:3). That story is related in Genesis 3, but must also be mythical...if Eve was a mythical person. Paul also wrote about the relationship of men and women, drawing his conclusions from the story of the creation of Eve from the rib of Adam (1 Timothy 2:13).

--Allen Dvorak, from Teaching the Truth


There are three basic things which are used to determine whether life is present in the human body: breath, heart beat, and brain function. Medical evidence is overwhelming that these elements are all present in the developing fetus long before birth. Electrocardiogram recordings can be registered as early as nine weeks of development. Brain waves have been recorded as early as 43 days after conception. By 11 to 12 weeks the developing child is breathing fluid steadily and will continue to do so until birth, when he will begin to breath air.

Bible verses show that the unborn infant has life, and is already beginning to develop his own personality, Gen. 25:21-22; 33:27-30; Luke 1:36-44. 

Other Bible facts that may be brought to bear on this subject include the fact that where there is life, there is a spirit, John 6:63; James 2:26, etc.

It should also be noted that the spirit that gives life in the body of the developing human fetus is a human spirit. His flesh is human flesh, as can be clearly established by scientific methods, as Paul implied in 1 Cor. 15:39. The blood of the human fetus is human blood. It too can be distinguished from that of all other forms of life. And note that the life is in the blood, Lev. 17:4. Also the parents of the human fetus are both human. Both the Bible and reliable science acknowledge that like begets like, Gen. 1:11-25. There is indeed every reason to conclude that there is full human life in the human fetus long before birth.

So, what is wrong with induced abortion? It kills an innocent child. It snuffs out a life in one who has done no wrong. It sheds innocent blood, Joel 3:19.

--Clarence R. Johnson



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