Tuesday, December 21, 2010



And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).

This season of the year, much is said about the birth of Christ. There are manger scenes on lawns of homes, churches, parks, etc... Some good Christmas hymns, and carols are played on the radio, and in the shopping malls, among the more jolly and frivolous music, and largely meaningless songs that are also played. Some of those hymns have a wonderful message. I am speaking of Joy to the World, written by Isaac Watts in 1719; Away in a Manger, called Martin Luther‘s Cradle Hymn, but likely written by James R. Murray 1887; Silent Night by Franz Gruber and Joseph Mohr 1816-1820; and Hark the Herald Angels Sing by Charles Wesley, 1739, with music by Felix Mendelssohn, 1840. These, and some others, at least touch on the reason for Christ’s birth. So much that we see and hear during the Christmas season is void of any real mention of Jesus Christ. Instead, there is stuff about Santa Claus, presents, decorations, Christmas parties with drinking (and God knows what else!) People are scrambling to buy gifts (often people are charging things on credit cards that they cannot afford).

There is a lot about Christmas activity for the true Christian not to like. Much that we cannot partake of, in good conscience. Remember, the Puritans did not celebrate Christmas, as well as many other Christians of the past, and the situation was not as extreme as it is now. Be that as it may, I am not writing this to condemn Christmas. It likely would do no good; it is here to stay. But if we are going to observe any of it, we should know what it purports to represent. I hope to stir your conscience to put Christ first.

Several things: First We know Christ was born, in Bethlehem, in a manger; that shepherds were told by the angels, and came to see Him. Second We know that wise men of the East sought him, went to Herod to inquire, which set Herod off on a quest to kill this King whom he feared may take his throne. Third We know that his parents were from Nazareth; that He was born of a virgin, so though Mary was His mother, Joseph was not His real father. Fourth His real father was Almighty God. Most of us have, at least, heard these things about Jesus (whether we believe them or not).

Here is something you may not have heard. Christ did not begin life at Bethlehem. He did not begin to be the Son of God at Bethlehem. He is the Eternal Son, having always been so. Neither was the Holy Spirit a created being; He is God, and has always been so. Three Gods, you say? No! it is beyond our human understanding, but this God we serve has always been one God in three persons, or as The Philadelphia Confession of Faith of 1742 declares:


3. In this divine and infinite Being there are three subsistences, the Father, the Word or Son, and Holy Spirit, of one substance, power, and eternity, each having the whole divine essence, yet the essence undivided: the Father is of none, neither begotten nor proceeding; the Son is eternally begotten of the Father; the Holy Spirit proceeding from the Father and the Son; all infinite, without beginning, therefore but one God, who is not to be divided in nature and being, but distinguished by several peculiar relative properties and personal relations; which doctrine of the Trinity is the foundation of all our communion with God, and comfortable dependence on him. (1 John 5:7; Matt. 28:19; 2 Cor. 13:14; Exod. 3:14; John 14:11; I Cor. 8:6; John 1:14,18; John 15:26; Gal. 4:6)

(This is identical with the Second London Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689. The Westminster Confession (Presbyterian) of 1647 is almost identical on this portion except it says persons).

Checking the words persons and subsistences, I favor subsistences as being more correct. Remember though, we are speaking of the mystery of godliness, and what mere creature can fully grasp these truths? “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.” (1 Timothy 3:16)

In the Incarnation, as traditionally defined, the divine nature of the Son was joined, but not mixed, with human nature in one divine Person, Jesus Christ, who was both "truly God and truly man". The Incarnation is commemorated and celebrated each year at Christmas. That is what it is really supposed to be about. It’s not about Santa Claus; presents, parties, revelry and holiday. It is supposed to be about the incarnation of the Son of God. As John Gill (1697-1771), stated:

"The incarnation of Christ is a most extraordinary and amazing affair; it is wonderful indeed, that the eternal Son of God should become man; that he should be born of a pure virgin, without any concern of man in it; that this should be brought about by the power of the Holy Ghost, in a way unseen, imperceptible and unknown, signified by his overshadowing; and all this in order to effect the most wonderful work that ever was done in the world, the redemption and salvation of men: it is a most mysterious thing, incomprehensible by men, and not to be accounted for upon the principles of natural reason; and is only to be believed and embraced upon the credit of divine revelation, to which it solely belongs." From John Gill; Incarnation of Christ ; Body of Doctrinal Divinity, Book 5 Chapter 1.

Philippians 2:7a tells us “But (Christ) made himself of no reputation” (Greek κενόω ἑαυτοῦ =emptied Himself). He emptied Himself of rights and privileges He had as King of Glory to come here and die for our sins. Hymn writer Charles Wesley in his great song And Can It Be That I Should Gain? says that Christ emptied Himself “of all but Love”. Can that be? I told you already that what He did cannot be fathomed by finite, human minds. Oh, What a saviour!

We observe that Matthew and Luke tell us more about His birth, and where He was born. John gets right down to who He is; Incarnate Deity! Oh come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord! Do you know Him? Do you worship Him? Every knee will bow, every tongue will confess Him to be Lord. Have you done that yet? Bow down before Him, love and adore Him! He is Lord and Christ!

Monday, December 13, 2010



"Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said. We will not walk therein" (Jeremiah 6:16).
Anyone who has ever gone hiking will immediately relate to the teaching found in Jeremiah 6:16. An old path, a trail which has been well worn by other hikers before, is a good way. It beats having to blaze an entirely new trail through the thick woods and underbrush. There is no rest in this new trail blazing, but constant work. But many have proven the old paths and arrived to rest safely. Spiritually speaking, God has said in Jeremiah that these Old Paths would bring rest for your souls and yet He says there are those that say, "We will not walk therein" (v. 16).

Today the Old Paths are not in vogue. Modern theologians, rightly called Modernists, higher critics, and unfaithful Bible revisers, are departing from the Old Paths and blazing new trails where God did not direct, and they are asking Christians to follow their leadership. They have nothing to offer. Instead of an inspired, inerrant, infallible Word of God they offer a mutilated, untrustworthy, so-called higher criticism that dares to judge God's Word instead of submitting to its authority. 

Here I am not talking about honest translators, or expositors; for we need sound, godly scholars to translate and interpret scripture. Even the King James Version translators said this in their introduction to the 1611 Authorized Version. I am speaking of those translators who do not approach God’s word in reverence. Many of these are simply unbelievers, in it perhaps to simply destroy God’s word. This goes for the neo-modernist and emergent church teachers also. Include seeker sensitive preachers in that very bad lot also. They have done their damage!

They present Christ as a mere man, not the God-man; not the virgin-born Redeemer who came to save His people from their sins, but not in their sins. If they preach atonement at all, they do not preach a definite one. They show us a Christ who went to the cross puzzled over whether He had done right, or even if anyone would believe He was the Saviour. They show us men with a spark of goodness that needs to be kindled instead of a totally depraved being that in our father Adam fell completely and helplessly into sin. This spark is called freewill, and is given much more standing than God’s free and sovereign grace. 

Man’s will is free alright, but only free to act as his nature dictates. Man needs a new nature! Only God can give it to him! The sinful, unregenerate nature cannot will to please God, or go to God until, and unless, God gives spiritual life through free grace. But free grace is an Old Path.

These cutters of new paths show us a “new” morality which is really a dressed up old immorality. This humanism promoted as “true Christianity” goes to various extremes. Some have expected the true, Bible believing, churches to receive as members unrepentant homosexuals. The Bible refers to them as Sodomites! (Deut. 23:17). Sodomy has affected the ministry so much that some so-called pastors are justifying their own involvement in that sordid lifestyle, and justifying it before their congregation, as one “pastor” did recently here in the Atlanta area. The most shocking thing is that his church has accepted him, and wants him to continue as “pastor!” His wife is divorcing him, though she calls him a wonderful man. But, she is getting out, so maybe she exhibits more sense that most of his church members!

Abortion is called by these modernists “freedom of choice.” But, the babies have no choice! The Bible calls it murder! (Exodus 1:16 ; Matthew 2:16). They call living together without marriage a relationship; the Bible calls it fornication! See 1 Corinthians 5:1; 7:2. Just as you can call a garbage man a sanitary engineer, and a coal miner an energy cultivator, you still can't cover up the fact that both have dirty jobs!

The fact is, according to the Bible, these new pathfinders don't really have a gospel to preach, or anywhere to lead people, but to hell. Don’t forget this! When it is all over and we each give account to God, and all of us will (see Rom. 14:12), those who would not submit to God's Word will be cast into the lake of fire (the hellfire that they don't believe in either!)

Modern tools of evangelism such as radio, television, and the internet, are good, if used in a God-glorifying manner, but not to promote humanism, socialism, liberalism, neo-modernism, entertainment substituting for the gospel, and just plain sin! There is ONE LORD, ONE FAITH, ONE BAPTISM, and it is these Old Paths in which we seek to walk and lead others.

Ask For the Old Paths was written in the late 1970’s by Charles Woodruff, revised and re-published in 2006, and extensively revised by the author in 2010 for this issue of Word of Truth.

Saturday, December 04, 2010



We must be more afraid of flattery from the camp of the enemy than persecution. Read the pages of Church history. Persecution never did the Church of God any harm, but compromise with the world has always robbed it of the power of its purity. ... Potpourri Evangelism consists of two features: mixed evangelistic campaigns and mixed Christianity. By mixed evangelistic campaigns I mean the alliance of Modernistic and Evangelical churches together in an evangelistic effort.

When religion gets up a revival, it must have from five to twenty churches of heterogeneous creeds and sectarian bodies to go into a great union effort; it must have a mammoth choir with great musical instruments, and many preachers and multiplied committees, and each committee headed by some banker, judge, mayor, or millionaire’s wife. It signs cards as a substitute for the broken-hearted cry of scriptural repentance. It must count its converts by the hundreds in a few days’ meeting. It must apologize for natural depravity.

Human religion’s enterprises have an atmosphere of earthliness about them. It despises the day of small things and scorns little humble people and lonely ways. It is eager to jump to the height of prosperity. Its music has no pathos in it, its laughter lacks divine cheerfulness, its worship lacks supernatural love, its prayers bring down no huge answers, it works no miracles, calls forth no criticism from the world, and has no light of eternity in its eyes. It is a poor, sickly thing, born of the union of the heart of the world with the head of Christian theology--a mongrel, bastard thing with a backslidden church for its mother and the world for its father. Oh, my dear brother and sister, never forget that this unnatural monster will be destroyed at the coming-again of our Blessed Lord Jesus Christ.

(Excerpted from Evangelism, James A. Stewart, Asheville, NC: Revival Literature, pp. 25-28).

Sunday, November 21, 2010


As we approach Thanksgiving Day 2010, let’s take a moment to reflect on the goodness of God. To many, this day means only “Turkey Day” with everyone gorging themselves with a huge meal. Then there are the football games, big movie openings, and overall a big holiday, while preparing for shopping on “Black Friday”, the day merchants live for all year that will put their revenues “in the black” as they kick off Christmas sales in earnest (even though the Christmas merchandising began with some stores in late August).

Commercialization was certainly not the goal of the first Thanksgiving back in Plymouth colony in the autumn of 1621. (Click for a concise account of Thanksgiving Day’s history)
http://wilstar.com/holidays/thankstr.htm Some of the stories written about Plymouth, the Pilgrims, and even the Mayflower totally ignore the religious aspect of it all in keeping with today’s totally insane “political correctness”. But the fact is, the Pilgrims, who were essentially English Puritan separatists, came to America to find freedom to worship God Almighty. They had been persecuted in England, disappointed in the general carnality of Dutch life, even though they had more freedom in Holland. So they contracted a sailing vessel to strike out for the new world with a hope of freely serving God, and building their own society here.

The Mayflower Compact, which they drew up on the way over, is one of the bedrocks of America’s foundation, for they set up a “civil body politick” which was the first sort of a “declaration of independence”. It expressed their determination to govern themselves under God, with due allegiance to the British government. It begins unlike any secular document, with these words “In ye name of God, amen”.

Thus it began, and upon arrival in the new world they landed briefly at Cape Cod, finally settled at Plymouth Rock in 1620, and after losing 46 of the original 102 passengers, the rest struggled to survive. They were provided help by the local native Indians. One year later they gathered all over the colony for meals shared with the native Wampanoag. It lasted for several days straight, giving thanks and remembrance of God’s blessings on them all. It did not become a tradition until a few years later (more online info about this first feast).

Things I am thankful for include:

-My dear wife of almost 49 years, and how she has been faithful and true.
-My four children, three of which survive. All have declared faith in Christ.
-My twelve grandchildren. They are all precious to me.
-Our church where Christ is preached, and the brothers and sisters there.
-The renewed ministry God has given me in writing and pulpit.
-Many brothers and sisters in various places who pray for me.
-A land that still has much freedom, though it is being undermined.
-I am thankful for generally good health for my wife and myself.
-The graciousness and mercy of God every day that I live.

These are just a few of the many things for which I thank God. As you enjoy this Thanksgiving, hopefully with your family, take time to reflect on the mercies of God in your own life, as well as a prayer for our nation and it’s future, and the cause of God and truth through Jesus Christ our Lord.

“In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (First Thessalonians 5:18).

“By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to His name” (Hebrews 13:15).

“Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6).

Published by Charles Woodruff. Email: oursong2000@yahoo.com

Monday, November 15, 2010



I have had this article on here before, over two years ago. After writing on The Brazen Serpent, I decided to run it again, slightly revised, to expand on Moses for those who did not read it the first time. cw

Moses was keeping the flock for Jethro, his father-in-law, and as he approached Horeb, called the mountain of God, the angel of God appeared to him in a flame of fire out of a bush. “and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. And Moses said, I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt” (Exodus 3:2,3).

There was both curiosity and fear in Moses as he saw the burning bush. More fear came when a voice revealed just who it really was there in the burning bush. “Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God” (Exodus 3:6). Fear of God is necessary, and normal. A sign of the decadence of our society is -- “There is no fear of God before their eyes” (Romans 3:18). It was a mark of identification for God to reveal Himself this way. He was to be feared and respected as the God of Moses' ancestors. This was progressive revelation. He had revealed Himself to Abraham as Elohim, the true God who should be feared and obeyed, and as El Shaddai (Almighty God). Then upon the test of offering Isaac, Abraham, as well as Isaac understood God to be Jehovah Jireh (The Provider, or Jehovah Will Provide). “And Abraham called the name of that place Jehovah-jireh: as it is said to this day, In the mount of the LORD it shall be seen” (Genesis 22:14).


God spoke to Isaac several times in his life and was almost always called Jehovah (perhaps because Moses, the human writer of Genesis, was given the fuller revelation of Jehovah). (1) Then we have Jacob (later called Israel). God also met with him in a special way: “And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it. And, behold, the LORD stood above it, and said, I am the LORD God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed; And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of. And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the LORD is in this place; and I knew it not. And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place! This is none other but the house of God and this is the gate of heaven” (Genesis 28:12-17). Jacob had the encounter with God at Bethel (House of God) and went on to be a prince of God named Israel. He had 12 sons. One of his sons was Levi. This became the line of the priesthood. Moses and Aaron came from that line. Remember Aaron became the high priest, while Moses became a prophet of God, and he was also the civil authority; the leader of the nation. At the bush God meets with Moses and reminds him of His history with these patriarchs.


The experience at the burning bush was preparing Moses for later miracles when God would reveal Himself as the all sufficient I AM. Moses had no doubt been told that Horeb (Sinai) was the mount of God and that it was a place of awe. (2) God used this to rouse up Moses’ curiosity leading him to investigate Mount Horeb. But even more awesome was to see that bush-- that burned and yet was not consumed! Then God reminded Moses that the place was holy ground; holy only because God Himself was there. “And when the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, here am I. And he said, draw not nigh hither: put of thy shoes from of thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground”(Exodus 3:4-5). We go on to see that God had a task for Moses. God was going to use him to deliver His people. God uses men. He doesn't have to. He made the universe. He controls all things. He is before all things. He will be here after all things are gone. He is working out all things according to His purpose. Part of that purpose involves man. Here He was getting ready to use a man. Through the ages He has used many men (and women too at times), to work out His plan. God even became a man to finish the greatest part of His plan of redemption.


Moses was perhaps the greatest man in the Bible, with the exception of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Pretty remarkable when you consider that if God had not providentially rescued him from the bulrushes by the Nile River, he would not have survived. How God rescued him was more remarkable. Pharaoh’s daughter had mercy on him and took him and hid him and raised him as her own. It is even more remarkable that Moses’ sister (Miriam is the only sister of Moses ever mentioned – it was most likely her), was at the river when Pharaoh’s daughter saved the baby Moses (see Exodus 2:4,7).It is remarkable also, that she had the sister choose a Hebrew woman to nurse him, and it was Moses own mother, Jocebed. Remarkable too that Pharaoh’s daughter even paid her wages to care for “her” child. Remarkable that Moses obtained position and received the best education possible in the land of Egypt. Later it was remarkable that “By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season” (Hebrews 11: 24, 25). It is remarkable that he sided with the slaves rather than be their taskmaster. Remarkable today that three religions revere him as a prophet. “Lord, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God” (Psalm 90:1-2).Those words were written by Moses as the psalmist, many years after this first encounter. It is said that Moses spent 40 years in Egypt learning all of man's wisdom available at that time, 40 years on the backside of the desert unlearning all this worldly wisdom, and then 40 years with God learning divine wisdom. Then Moses was ready to be one of the psalmists, as well as a prophet and leader. More later-- D.V.

(1) The King James Version usually renders Jehovah as LORD, but transliterates Jehovah seven times. Later translations, starting with ASV, using Jehovah almost exclusively, then to later versions going back to LORD (e.g. ESV), and some simply Lord (e.g. AMP). It’s obvious that scholars are divided on what to call Him. Yahweh is accepted, even preferred by many. Of course the ancient Jews wouldn’t pronounce the sacred name. In Hebrew there are no vowels, so it comes out like YHWH or JHVH. It is said the scribes would use a pen to write it once, and then discard it. The point being that this God told Moses to tell Pharaoh that I AM was sending Moses. He said His name was I AM THAT I AM (Exodus 3:14). That is good enough for me!

(2) These mountains are called Horeb, and sometimes Sinai. Some think that Horeb is the name of the whole range, and Sinai is the name of a particular mountain; others, that Sinai is the range, and Horeb is the particular mountain; while Stanley suggests that the distinction is one of usage, and that both names are applied to the same place. (Smith’s Bible Dictionary)

Friday, November 05, 2010



“And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived” (Numbers 21:8,9).

The people of Israel had sinned, and Jehovah sent venomous snakes among them, with a bite like fire, and venom that killed many of them. What was the great sin that caused this? Some of the Hebrew people themselves tell us, as they told Moses. “Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD, and against thee; pray unto the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people”(Numbers 21:7).

It was not then, nor is it now, a light thing to speak against the LORD. Through Moses, Jehovah had led them out of Egypt where they had been in cruel bondage. But in the process of traveling through the wilderness from Mount Hor, they murmured and complained. It was bad enough to complain against Jehovah’s servant, Moses, but to also complain against Jehovah Himself; this was very dangerous. “And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there water; and our soul loatheth this light bread” (Numbers 21:5).

What kind of serpents were these? We are not told exactly, but they were possibly of a golden
color. They were native to that wilderness around Arabah as they were going around Edom by
way of the Red Sea. Arabah is a desolate rift that runs from the Gulf of Aquaba in the south for
103 miles up to the Dead Sea, which at 1,368 feet below sea level, is the lowest point on the
earth. There is almost no rain in the Arabah, so it is incredibly dry. In the middle of Moses’
magnificent reminder to Israel of God’s provision for them, he speaks of this wilderness and the
serpents. “When thou hast eaten and art full, then thou shalt bless the LORD thy God for the good land which he hath given thee. Beware that thou forget not the LORD thy God, in not keeping his commandments, and his judgments, and his statutes, which I command thee this day: Lest when thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt therein;

And when thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all
that thou hast is multiplied; Then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the LORD thy God, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage; Who led thee through that great and terrible wilderness, wherein were fiery serpents, and scorpions, and drought, where there was no water; who brought thee forth water out of the rock of flint; Who fed thee in the wilderness with manna, which thy fathers knew not, that he might humble thee, and that he might prove thee, to do thee good at thy latter end.” (Deuteronomy 8:11-16).

It was the divine plan of God to bring them through that wilderness. It was their complaining and murmuring that brought about His judgment. They even complained about the manna He
provided for their food, calling it “this light bread”.

This wilderness was a desolate and dangerous place, but until they rebelled God had protected
them from the snakes and scorpions. We know in the Middle East there are, even today, snakes in the desert areas. There are vipers, and asps (cobras). “that the naja haie was the ‘fiery serpent’, or serpent inflicting a burning bite, appears from the name Ras-om-Haye (Cape of the haje serpents) in the locality where the Israelites were bitten. (Numbers 21:6)” According to Fausset, the haje naja is an Egyptian Cobra, very fiery and deadly indeed. (From Robert Fausset‘s Dictionary; online at esword; article on ‘adder‘).

Here in the southern USA, we are used to seeing snakes from time to time. When I lived in the
city of Atlanta, I did not often see snakes, except sometimes a Garter Snake, or in woodsy areas
perhaps an occasional Copperhead. Now, I live in a rural area about 40 miles south of Atlanta,
and we frequently see Copperheads, Cottonmouths, and sometimes Timber Rattlers. That’s three out of the four species of venomous snakes found in North America! We are a little too far north for the other one, the Coral Snake. With all that said, we don’t see them every day menacing us, but be careful in the woods and brush, for they are around, especially in the summer.

I personally think snakes are interesting--from a distance! Up close and personal, they’re not
much fun. Two years ago I was in my back yard and I heard an animal cry (actually more of a
squeak). I looked in the grass to my left in time to see a snake wrapping around a field mouse as
he convulsed in death. I watched him swallow the mouse from my vantage point about three feet
away. This is something I had never before seen, in person, and it was fascinating. I think the
snake was a Copperhead. It was about three feet long. I wasn’t scared. You know why? He had
his mouth full! After he ate the creature, I started to kill him, but I couldn’t. I went away and let
him go.

A neighbor released three non-venomous King Snakes in the neighborhood this spring. His
reasoning was that King Snakes eat rats, and also eat Rattlesnakes and Copperheads. When my
grandson first saw one of the King Snakes slithering through our yard, he cried out loudly
“Diamondback! Diamondback!” We got a laugh out of it, for my wife, my son and I knew what it
was. Thankfully, the Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake (the most deadly, and largest rattler in the south), are not generally found this far north, but usually south of Macon, about 100 miles away.

The wilderness the children of Israel were crossing was much more dangerous, and, of course
Jehovah Himself sent the serpents in large numbers to do His bidding. They did, and many of the people who were bitten and dying, cried out to God. It is said that when the people gazed on the brass serpent that Moses had made, and put on the pole, they were healed of the deadly bites. The medical profession in modern times adopted the serpent on a pole as a symbol. This is from the Bible. You may have seen it at hospitals, doctor’s offices, and on some medical literature. It is still used today. This was a real event in history, but like so much in Israel, it was also a type. It represented something much more far reaching that the localized snake bites.

Jesus Christ Himself tells us what it meant when He said “And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:14,15). Can you not see immediately what the brass serpent typified? You see all humans have been bitten by the serpents of sin and there is no remedy except the lifting up of Jesus Christ on the cross in His death. You may say “But Christ was not typified in the brass serpent”. Oh yes He was. The Bible says “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:11). That does not mean Christ was a sinner. As it says here, “He knew no sin.” But, God regarded Him as a sinner on our behalf. He wasn’t bitten. He carried none of the deadly poison, yet He died for us. “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call His name JESUS: for He shall save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). (His name, Jesus, means saviour). “God commendeth His love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:12). So this saviour, Jesus, who is the Christ (the Messiah), who had none of the poison of sin, was treated as if He were the vilest sinner who ever lived. He did that for me! He did that for you! That is, if you have looked at Him on that cross with a God-given faith to believe. Just as the look at the brass serpent took away the poison; a look at the Lamb of God sacrificed for us takes away the poison of sin. In Him we live! Hallelujah!

Charles Haddon Spurgeon of England, was perhaps the most gifted 19th century preacher of all. In his conversion testimony, he tells of being under conviction of sin for quite some time. On a
snowy morning in London, he ducked into a small Primitive Methodist chapel. According to his
own testimony it was January 6, 1850. He was 16 years old. The regular preacher wasn’t even
there. A fill-in preacher was doing his best to declare Christ. He used this text: “Look unto me,
and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else” (Isaiah 45:22). The words hit the young Mr. Spurgeon like a hammer. I am going to let the great preacher tell us in his own words the rest of the story.

“I sometimes think I might have been in darkness and despair until now had it not been for the
goodness of God in sending a snowstorm, one Sunday morning, while I was going to a certain
place of worship. When I could go no further, I turned down a side street, and came to a little
Primitive Methodist Chapel. In that chapel there may have been a dozen or fifteen people. I had heard of the Primitive Methodists, how they sang so loudly that they made people's heads ache; but that did not matter to me. I wanted to know how I might be saved, and if they could tell me that, I did not care how much they made my head ache. The minister did not come that morning; he was snowed up, I suppose. At last, a very thin-looking man,* a shoemaker, or tailor, or something of that sort, went up into the pulpit to preach. Now, it is well that preachers should be instructed; but this man was really stupid. He was obliged to stick to his text, for the simple reason that he had little else to say. The text was,—

He did not even pronounce the words rightly, but that did not matter. There was, I thought, a
glimpse of hope for me in that text. The preacher began thus—"My dear friends, this is a very
simple text indeed. It says, 'Look.' Now lookin' don't take a deal of pains. It ain't liftin' your foot
or your finger; it is just, 'Look.' Well, a man needn't go to College to learn to look. You may be
the biggest fool, and yet you can look. A man needn't be worth a thousand a year to be able to
look. Anyone can look; even a child can look. But then the text says, 'Look unto Me.' Ay!" said
he, in broad Essex, "many on ye are lookin' to yourselves, but it's no use lookin' there. You'll
never find any comfort in yourselves. Some look to God the Father. No, look to Him by-and-by. Jesus Christ says, 'Look unto Me.' Some on ye say, 'We must wait for the Spirit's workin'.' You have no business with that just now. Look to Christ. The text says, 'Look unto Me.'"

Then the good man followed up his text in this way:—"Look unto Me; I am sweatin' great drops of blood. Look unto Me; I am hangin' on the cross. Look unto Me; I am dead and buried. Look unto Me; I rise again. Look unto Me; I ascend to Heaven. Look unto Me; I am sittin' at the Father's right hand. O poor sinner, look unto Me! look unto Me!

When he had gone to about that length, and managed to spin out ten minutes or so, he was at the end of his tether. Then he looked at me under the gallery, and I daresay, with so few present, he knew me to be a stranger. Just fixing his eyes on me, as if he knew all my heart, he said, "Young man, you look very miserable." Well, I did; but I had not been accustomed to have remarks made from the pulpit on my personal appearance before. However, it was a good blow, struck right home. He continued, "and you always will be miserable—miserable in life, and miserable in death,—if you don't obey my text; but if you obey now, this moment, you will be saved." Then, lifting up his hands, he shouted, as only a Primitive Methodist could do, "Young man, look to Jesus Christ. Look! Look! Look! You have nothin' to do but to look and live." I saw at once the way of salvation. I know not what else he said,—I did not take much notice of it,—I was so possessed with that one thought. Like as when the brazen serpent was lifted up, the people only looked and were healed, so it was with me. I had been waiting to do fifty things, but when I heard that word, "Look!" what a charming word it seemed to me! Oh! I looked until I could almost have looked my eyes away. There and then the cloud was gone, the darkness had rolled away, and that moment I saw the sun; and I could have risen that instant, and sung with the most enthusiastic of them, of the precious blood of Christ, and the simple faith which looks alone to Him. Oh, that somebody had told me this before, "Trust Christ, and you shall be saved." Yet it was, no doubt, all wisely ordered, and now I can say,—
"Ever since by faith I saw the stream
Thy flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme,
And shall be till I die."


“ I looked to Him;
He looked on me;
and we were one for ever.”—C. H. S.

(From Spurgeon’s Autobiography; The Early Years; Banner of Truth edition, 1967. In chapter
seven “The Great Change-Conversion”)

So, can you not see, my sinner friend just what that serpent on the pole that Jesus referred to is all about. It is about your salvation. Like Mr. Spurgeon, you must look! Look my friend! Gaze on
Him, and the poison will be nullified. It is a figure, but so true! Look unto Him spiritually and you
too shall be delivered from your sins, and their just punishment. Oh, please look unto Jesus!

Published by Charles Woodruff- email: oursong2000@yahoo.com
Snail mail: 90 Raymond Ray Street, Newnan, GA 30265-1611

Wednesday, October 27, 2010



Excited Children masquerading as witches, ghosts, goblins, demons, and other grotesque characters skipping through the neighborhood knocking on doors chanting "trick or treat" while holding out a sack in which one is to drop a piece of candy or other goodies ... the party at school, or church, or Sunday School where they bob for apples, tell fortunes, or go through "haunted houses"... decorations of jack-o'-lanterns, witches on brooms, and black cats with arched backs ... It's "Halloween"--one of the strangest days of the year.

Are Halloween activities really just the simple, innocent holiday fun most people believe them to be? Where did this holiday originate? Why is this holiday celebrated?

History provides the answers. Though it was the Roman Catholic Church who designated the October 31st date as All Hallows Eve, or "eve of the holy ones" day, in prelude to their November 1st All Saints' Day, it was earlier pagan peoples who gave the annual holiday the sinister meaning and traditions it still holds.

"The American celebration rests upon Scottish and Irish folk customs which can be traced in direct line from pre-Christian times. Although Halloween has become a night of rollicking fun, superstitious spells, and eerie games which people take only half seriously, its beginnings were quite otherwise. The earliest Halloween celebrations were held by the Druids in honor of Samhain, lord of the dead, whose festival fell on November 1st." 1

"It was a Druidic belief that on the eve of this festival, Saman [Samhain], lord of death, called together the wicked souls [spirits] that within the past 12 months had been condemned to inhabit the bodies of animals." 2

"The Druids, an order of priests in ancient Gaul and Britain, believed that on Halloween, ghosts, spirits, fairies, witches, and elves came out to harm people. They thought the cat was sacred and believed that cats had once been human beings, but were changed as a punishment for evil deeds. From these Druidic beliefs come the present-day use of witches, ghosts, and cats in Halloween festivities." 3

Halloween "was the night for the universal walking about of all sorts of spirits, fairies, and ghosts, all of whom had liberty on that night." 4

The pagans believed that on one night of the year the souls of the dead returned to their original homes. "There was a prevailing belief among all nations that at death the souls of good men were taken possession of by good spirits and carried to paradise, but the souls of wicked men were left to wander in the space between the earth and moon, or consigned to the unseen world. These wandering spirits were in the habit of haunting the living ... But there were means by which these ghosts might be exorcised." 5

To exorcise these ghosts, that is, to free yourself from their supposed evil sway, you would have to set out food--give the demons a treat--and provide shelter for them during the night. If they were satisfied with your treat, it was believed they would leave you in peace. If food and shelter were not provided, or if they were not satisfied. these spirits, it was believed, would "trick" you by casting an evil spell on you and cause havoc.

"The modern custom of 'Trick-or-treat' began in Ireland hundreds of years ago ... A group of farmers went from house to house begging food for the village Halloween festivities in the name of their ancient gods. Good luck was promised to generous donors, and threats were made against those who would not give." 6 Thus these ancient pagan traditions continue today as youngsters, masquerading as ghosts, skeletons, and demons go "trick-or-treating"--begging in a sense for food while promising to refrain from evil deeds.

"It was the Celts who chose the date of October 31 as their New Year's Eve and who originally intended it as a celebration of everything wicked, evil, and dead. Also during their celebration they would gather around a community bonfire and offer as sacrifice their animals, their crops, and sometime themselves. And wearing costumes made from the heads and skins of other animals, they would also tell one another's fortunes for the coming year." 7

"The celebration remained much the same after the Romans conquered the Celts around 43 A.D. The Romans did, however, add a ceremony honoring their goddess of fruit and trees, and thus the association with apples and the custom of bobbing for them." 8

The apparently harmless lighted pumpkin face or "Jack-O'-Lantern" is an ancient symbol of a damned soul. Jack-O'-Lanterns were named for a man called Jack, who could not enter heaven or hell. As a result, he was doomed to wander in darkness with his lantern until Judgment Day." 9

"Fearful of spooks ... folks began hollowing out turnips and pumpkins and placing lighted candles inside to scare evil spirits from the house." 10

Since Halloween is unmistakably pagan in its origin and practice, how did the professing church come to accept and keep such a day? Again history provides the answer.

Ever since the time of Constantine--who made Catholicism the state religion--the Roman emperors realized how essential it was to have a unified empire, where as many as possible would be of one mind. The civil and religious leaders saw how important it was for the sake of unity to allow only one religion within the Roman domain.

A stringent state policy was implemented to force all non-Christians to accept the state religion. The condition for "conversion," of course, made it easy for the pagan population of Rome and elsewhere to "accept" 'Christianity'. Since "acceptance" of 'Christianity' was made simple, refusal was made difficult. This plan resulted in large numbers of the heathen population within the empire to flock into the membership of the church. These people brought with them many pagan practices and celebrations, Halloween merely being one of them.

How could the church deal with this problem? The church realized that to excommunicate these pagans would only reduce the membership of the church. This they were unwilling to do. The church had also learned in past times that it was not possible to force the people into discarding all their heathen practices
and adopting Roman ones.

There remained only one other way.

t was reasoned that if a pagan practice or festival could not be forbidden, let it be "Christianized." Let the recently converted pagans keep certain of their heathen festivals, such as Halloween or All Souls' Day--but label it "Christian." Of course they were asked not to pray to their ancient pagan gods on this day. They would now use this day to commemorate the death of "saints."

"In the A.D. 800's, the [Catholic] church established All Saints Day on November 1st so that people could continue a festival they had celebrated before becoming
Christians. The mass that was said on this day was called All Hallowmas. The evening before became known as All Hallow e'en or Halloween ... It means hallowed or holy evening." 11

"The celebration of Halloween is a survival of ancient pagan beliefs. When the early [Catholic] church was unable to stop pagan practices, it accepted them and gave them a religious tune." 12

Most of the ancient symbols and traditions of Halloween still exist today. Youngsters still dress in costumes and go trick-or-treating, begging in a sense, for food while promising to refrain from evil deeds. And, too, they still light their candles, although much smaller than a torch, and place them inside their pumpkins.

"It is the one night of the year in which a child experiences the emotion of fear, fantasy, and mystery." 13

In advising on what to do on Halloween, The Good Housekeeping Book of Entertainment says: "Orange, black, and red, the devil's colors, are the colors associated with Halloween, and this scheme should be carried out as far as
possible ... Have paper streamers and lanterns hanging from the ceiling, or if you would like to have something less usual, you could make a giant spider web with black and orange strings, or in narrow strips of crepe paper coming from the four corners of the room, complete with a large spider--one of the devil's followers." 14


Bible-believing Christians cringe and shudder at the thought of Satan worship and occult rites. But how many of these same people will dress their children as witches, ghosts, skeletons, or devils and send them out to "trick-or-treat"? How many smile approvingly at the church or Sunday School and youth organizations that have Halloween parties and sponsor "haunted house" activities?

The 18th chapter of the book of Deuteronomy; (vv 10-13) very explicitly forbids Christians to have anything to do with witchcraft, spiritism or the demonic. In verse 10 of that chapter we read:

"There shall not be found among you anyone that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire (this has reference to the worship of the pagan god, Moloch, which was state worship), or that useth divination (a false and pagan counterpart of prophecy; the art or act of foretelling secret knowledge, especially of the future), or an observer of times (astrology), or an enchanter, (to cast under a spell; charm; enrapture; to chant [magic words]), or a witch (divinations in connection with the worship of idolatrous and demoniacal powers), or a charmer (a fabricator of material charms or amulets to be worn especially around the neck as a charm against evil or injury), or a consulter with evil spirits (an inquirer by a familiar spirit), or a wizard (a false prophet, especially a conjurer; one who summons a devil by oath, incantation or magic spell), or a necromancer (one who in one form or another seeks to find information by consulting the dead)."

"Thou shalt not learn to do after their abominations ..." (Deuteronomy 17:9). Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I Am the Lord your God" (Leviticus

It is obvious that the elements, symbols, and traditions of the Halloween observance with its emphasis upon goblins and demons, witches, and skeletons, ghosts, and apparitions rising from cemeteries constitute a dabbling with the very things which Scripture forbids to God's people and an open invitation to demonic activity.

It is at this point that many will say, "But we don't worship demons or Halloween. It doesn't mean the same thing today as it did in the past. It's now just a harmless, innocent time of fun for the children and the young people."

Yet, history clearly shows that Halloween is unmistakably a "religious" (pagan and Roman) holiday. Religion is the adoration, obedience, and service rendered to the object of one's worship. It presupposes profession, practice, or observance of whatever belief and practice--in this case Halloween--as required by some superior authority. It is indisputably clear that Halloween is not commanded or sanctioned by the Lord God--the true Christian's Superior Authority--in the Scriptures.

"Abstain from ALL appearances of evil" (1 Thessalonians 5:22).
"And many that believed came and confessed, and shewed their deeds. Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men" (Acts
19:18, 19).
"Whether therefore ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do ALL to the glory of God" (1 Corinthians

1. Halloween Through Twenty Centuries, Ralph Linton, P. 4.
2. Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th Ed. Vol. 12 pp. 857-858.
3. World Book Encyclopedia, 1959 Ed. pp. 3245-6.
Highland Superstitions, Alexander MacGregor, p. 44.
5. Folklore, James Napier, p. 11.
6. Holidays of Legend, Mildred H. Arthur, p. 87.
7. World Book Encyclopedia, quoted in Atlanta Journal & Constitution, Associated Press,
October 6, 1977.
8. ibid
9. World Book Encyclopedia, 1977 Ed., Vol. 9, pp. 24-5.
10. The Book of Festival Holidays, Marqueite Ickis, pp. 125-6.
11. World Book Encyclopedia
12. Holidays of Legend, p. 87
13. The Book of Festival Holidays, pp. 125-6.
14. Good Housekeeping Book of Entertainment, p. 168.

~~ Written and Compiled by Robert McCurry


I really could not add anything to Pastor McCurry’s excellent, concise study on Halloween, but it is worth noting that many Protestant churches observe Reformation Day on this date, or as a Reformation Sunday on the Sunday immediately following October 31st. This is because 490 years ago, on October 31, 1517, Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the church in Wittenberg, Germany and the Protestant Reformation was begun. The Catholic church, and many others would rather you didn’t remember that, but celebrate Halloween instead. An article at Wikipedia, submitted by a Lutheran, which I believe to be accurate, has this to say about it:

“Reformation Day is a religious holiday celebrated on October 31st in remembrance of the Reformation, particularly by Lutheran and Reformed church communities…… On this day in 1517, Martin Luther posted a proposal at the doors of a church in Wittenberg, Germany to debate the doctrine and practice of indulgences. This proposal is popularly known as the 95 theses, which he nailed to the Castle Church doors. This was not an act of defiance or provocation as is sometimes thought. Since the Castle Church faced Wittenberg's main thoroughfare, the church door functioned as a public bulletin board and was therefore the logical place for posting important notices. Also, the theses were written in Latin, the language of the church, and not in the vernacular. Nonetheless, the event created a controversy between Luther and those allied with the Pope over a variety of doctrines and practices. Luther and his supporters were excommunicated in 1520“.

On Reformation Day “The liturgical color of the day is red, which represents the Holy Spirit and the Martyrs of the Christian Church. Luther’s hymn, A Mighty Fortress is Our God is traditionally sung on this day. Lutherans customarily stand during the hymn, in memory of its use in the religious wars of the Sixteenth Century. It is also traditional in some Lutheran schools for schoolchildren to hold Reformation Day plays or pageants that re-enact scenes from the life of Martin Luther. In the 2003 movie Luther, an accurate portrayal of the story of Luther is given".

And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.”
(Revelation 18:4).

Saturday, October 16, 2010


The Shortest Prayer in the Bible!

Matthew 14:22-33

By Charles Woodruff

The Lord Jesus had recently fed the 5000 men, plus women and children, in Galilee. “The importance of this outstanding miracle can be gathered from the fact that it is the only one of our Lord’s miracles to be mentioned by all four gospels.”-Herbert Lockyer (1) The total number fed may have exceeded 10,000 people.

Just afterward we read: And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away. And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone” (Matthew 14:22-23). Jesus was likely in prayer regarding His upcoming ministry in the Gentile regions such as Tyre and Sidon, and perhaps for His coming ordeal in Jerusalem. Isn’t it striking that Christ, the Messiah, was so often in prayer?

After His time of prayer the Lord began the journey to rejoin his disciples, who by this time were about halfway across the Sea of Galilee. His method of travel was different from anything ever seen. As I said in my recent article, Walking on the Water, in our day there are many jokes about walking on the water. I mentioned the famous football coach (the late Paul ‘Bear’ Bryant of the University of Alabama), who was jokingly said to have such abilities as to be able to walk on water. I think we all know that such a feat is beyond the power of mortal men. But Jesus Christ was able to walk on water, and he was doing that for three or four miles to get to his disciples. In my previous article I had said seven miles, but my information was probably inaccurate. The sea of Galilee is not that wide. In total miles, it is about seven miles wide, and is about thirteen miles long. If He was only halfway across, it was not over four miles. Anyway, I would almost wager that you can’t walk that far on water. I would go further and say you can’t walk on water at all! Only the Son of God can do this. He was walking on water in an intense storm! As our text says: But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea” (Matthew 14:24-25). Note that the wind was contrary. It was against them. They were tossed with waves. It was not a pleasant boat ride! “The peaceful calm of the Sea of Galilee can quickly become transformed by a violent storm. Winds funnel through the east-west aligned Galilee hill country and stir up the waters quickly. More violent are the winds that come off the hills of the Golan Heights to the east. Trapped in the basin, the winds can be deadly to fishermen.(2)

These ships of that time were not like today’s modern ships with several decks, individual cabins, a restaurant or two, saunas, swimming pools and a ballroom. This was likely a vessel around 26.5 feet long, 7.5 feet wide and 4.5 feet high. It could hold 15 men. (Really, a boat!) (3)

The point is, such a ship was under great pressure in such a storm. Imagine a man walking on this storm tossed sea as if He was taking a stroll through a park! This was Jesus. The contrary wind did not bother Him. Remember in an earlier incident Jesus was with His disciples on a ship in a storm, and He was asleep. They were scared out of their wits. “And his disciples came to him, and awoke him, saying, Lord, save us: we perish. And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O ye of little faith? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm. But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!” (Matthew 8:25-27)

We are told it was the fourth watch of the night when Jesus approached their ship. By Roman military reckoning there were four watches of three hours each in a night; from 6.00 P.M until 9.00 P.M.; 9.00 P.M. until 12.00 A.M.; 12.00 A.M. until 3.00 A.M.; and 3.00 A.M. until 6.00 A.M.. This happened in the fourth watch, so the disciples had been in the sea for at least nine hours as Jesus approached them. When they saw Him, they thought He was a ghost. “And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid” (Matthew 14:26-27). Some translations have this as Jesus saying “Take courage! I AM! Stop being afraid!” (4) The Greek εγω ειμι (I Am) warrants this reading which reminds us of Exodus 3:14And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.” Also in John 8:58 “Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.”

One of my favorite passages is John 18:4-6 where His awesome power is revealed in a simple answer: “Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye? They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith unto them, I am he. And Judas also, which betrayed him, stood with them. As soon then as he had said unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground.” (Note that “he” is supplied by the translators). Jesus Christ is the eternal I AM! (5)

Back in our Matthew 14 narration, suffice it to say that Jesus was once again reminding all of us of who He is, and of His abiding presence, and their protection in His hands. This account is also given in Mark 6:45-56, and John 6:16-21. But only in the Matthew account is Simon Peter’s part mentioned. This is the main reason for this article. I want to tell you about the only other person mentioned in the Bible who walked on water.

“And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” (Matthew 14:28-31)

Can we believe it was Simon Peter who walked on the water? Most Christians would probably rather be like Paul than Peter. We are probably all more like Simon Peter. Impetuous, outspoken, not always knowledgeable, but sure of himself. Before we criticize him too much, let us recall that there were 11 others in the ship, and none of them volunteered. What did that take? I agree with Scottish minister Dr. Hugh Martin (1822-1885) commenting on Peter “‘And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water to go to Jesus.’ He walked on the water. Unto Simon Peter it was according to his faith--his faith, grounded on his Master’s personal power and his Master’s faithful word. ‘He walked on the water, to go to Jesus.’ (6)

The Lord didn’t say in His rebuke “O ye of NO faith” He said “little faith”. Peter had a little faith. Maybe more than Andrew, James, John, Thomas, Bartholomew, Philip, James Bar-Alphaeus, Judas the brother of James, Matthew, Simon Zelotes, and Judas Iscariot. (Paul wasn’t there. Paul was not converted yet. That came years later). Which of these on board volunteered? Answer: NONE! But Peter started walking on the water toward Christ. Yes, he did it! The only other man that we know about that has ever walked on water. But, then he saw the wind boisterous (raging), and he took his eyes off of Jesus Christ. Then he began to sink. He was going down in to the raging sea. Was he thinking “this is the end of me?” J.C. Ryle has some good comments here “(Peter) did not reflect that he was nearer to Christ when once on the water, than he was when he first left the ship. Fear took away his memory. Alarm confused his reason,”(7)

But wait; did not Jesus Himself say Come? Can you not believe Him, the Son of God? Yes, you can. So, what did Peter do? He cried “Lord save me!” This is what we call “the shortest prayer in the Bible.” We see it answered. Jesus reached out and took him by the hand and saved him from death. He was already a called disciple of Christ, and to seal the bargain of Peter’s salvation, and ours, Jesus was yet to taste death at the cruel Roman cross. But Peter’s earthly life was here saved in answer to this shortest prayer. We must know that it is not how long we pray, or how short. Not necessarily how fervent (though this one was fervent, I assure you). It was effectual!

1. Peter prayed to the right person. 2. Peter prayed to the point. 3.Peter prayed in sincerity. 4.Peter prayed in urgency. 5. Peter prayed to the one that he knew had the power to answer him.

The Lord gave him a rather gentle rebuke, not harsh. He said to Peter “Why didst thou doubt?” He didn’t doubt at first, but later did. The wind and the waves were not his problems, unbelief was. The Lord has told us “All things are possible to them that believe.” “If you have faith as a grain of a mustard seed, you can say unto this mountain, be thou removed, and it shall be cast into the sea.” Then before you know it, they were all in the ship together on the calm sea. No problem for Jesus to calm a raging sea in your life or mine, blessed be His Name!

“And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased. Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.” (Matthew 14:32-33)

Some Good Related Thoughts from Matthew Henry

(See) “The concern Christ has for his disciples in distress: He drew nigh to the ship; for therefore he walked upon the water, as he rides upon the heavens, for the help of his people, (Deuteronomy 33:26). He will not leave them comfortless when they seem to be tossed with tempests and not comforted. When they are banished (as John) into remote places, or shut up (as Paul and Silas) in close places, he will find access to them, and will be nigh them. (3.) The relief Christ gives to his disciples in their fears. They were afraid, more afraid of an apparition (for so they supposed him to be) than of the winds and waves. It is more terrible to wrestle with the rulers of the darkness of this world than with a tempestuous sea. When they thought a demon haunted them, and perhaps was instrumental to raise the storm, they were more terrified than they had been while they saw nothing in it but what was natural. Note, [1.] Our real distresses are often much increased by our imaginary ones, the creatures of our own fancy. [2.] Even the approaches of comfort and deliverance are often so misconstrued as to become the occasions of fear and perplexity. We are often not only worse frightened than hurt, but then most frightened when we are ready to be helped. But, when they were in this fright, how affectionately did Christ silence their fears with that compassionate word (John 6:20), It is I, be not afraid! Nothing is more powerful to convince sinners than that word, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest; nothing more powerful to comfort saints than this, “I am Jesus whom thou lovest; it is I that love thee, and seek thy good; be not afraid of me, nor of the storm.” When trouble is nigh, Christ is nigh." --Matthew Henry on John 6:20


(1) Herbert Lockyer; All the Miracles of the Bible, page 197; Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 1961. Dr. Lockyer went on to say regarding this miracle “This repeated miracle is also referred to a second time in Matthew and Mark, making, in all, six mentions in the gospels. In this prominent nature miracle, the lordship of Jesus over nature and providence is clearly seen. He is concerned about bodily needs, as well as spiritual, and is before us as the All-Sufficient One. Because of His sovereignty, He is capable of creative power exercised on behalf of the needy.”

(2) Todd Bolen; Sunset, BiblePlaces.com; http://www.bibleplaces.com/seagalilee.htm

(3) From an illustration and note in English Standard Version Study Bible on Matthew 14. It is stated that the information and illustration is based on the remains found on the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee of an approximately 2000 year old fishing boat. More information may be found, along with a photo of the reconstructed ship at http://www.bibleplaces.com/seagalilee.htm under “Wooden Boat Reconstruction.”

(4) Amplified Bible, on Matthew 14:27: copyright 1987 Zondervan Corporation and the

Lockman Foundation; Published by Zondervan, Grand Rapids.

(5) See also Interlinear Greek-English New Testament by George Ricker Berry; on Matthew 14:27; John 8:58 and John 18 :4-6; Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 1967 edition.

(6) Hugh Martin, Simon Peter, page 44; Banner of Truth, London; 1967 edition; OOP

(7) J.C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels; Matthew, page 163, James Clarke,

London, 1965 edition

Published by Charles Woodruff- email: oursong2000@yahoo.com