Scripture and the Number 66

The number 66’s significance with regard to the scripture can be found in its two main factors of 6 and 11.  Both of these numbers are used in the scriptures to point to the great divide between man and God.  6 is the number of man in the scriptures and it is used in contrast to the number of God, 3.  11 is used in the scriptures in two main ways.  The first is the faithfulness of God and the second is man falling short (see the number 11).

There are 66 books in the Bible because the entire Bible from beginning to end is about the faithfulness of God and man’s need for the Savior.

The book of Isaiah has 66 chapters and is a summary book for the entire Bible.  The book of Isaiah is quoted 66 times in the New Testament.  The division between the Old Testament and New Testament is seen in the book of Isaiah where there is a noticeable change in style between the 39th and 40th chapter.  Malachi is the 39th book of the Bible and last book of the Old Testament.  The prophecy of John the Baptist as the one who would prepare the way of the Lord is given in Isaiah 40 and is fulfilled in Matthew, the 40th book of the Bible.

Matthew 4:4 says,

But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

Leviticus 24:6 speaking of the showbread in the temple of the Lord says,

And thou shalt set them in two rows, six on a row, upon the pure table before the Lord.

So there were twelve cakes of fine flour to point to the twelve tribes of Israel but they were arranged in two rows of 6 to point to the completed revelation of God; 66 books of spiritual bread which man can and shall live by.

One final reference to the number 66 in the scriptures.

1 Kings 8:66 says,

66 On the eighth day he sent the people away: and they blessed the king, and went unto their tents joyful and glad of heart for all the goodness that the Lord had done for David his servant, and for Israel his people.

Read this scripture in a prophetic context.  The seventh day of world history is the millennium.  The eighth day is the new heavens and the new earth.  The Lord Jesus Christ is the blessed king.  Please note the chapter and verse.  The new heavens and the new earth are mentioned in Isaiah 66:22 (also 65:17) and they are also mentioned in the 66th book of the Bible, Revelation in its last two chapters, 21 and 22.

The number 66 is pointing us to a day of joy and gladness of heart for all the goodness the Lord has done.

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The Relationship Between the Old and New Testaments

A question in the Church today is what is the relationship between the Old and New Testaments of the Bible.  There are many in the Church today who believe the Old Testament has nothing to say to the Christian or that there are somehow two different Gods described in the two testaments;  the angry, judgmental God of the OT as compared to the merciful, loving God of the NT.  This view has at its foundation a misunderstanding of grace and a low view of the holiness of God where man is somehow equipped to judge God.  The Bible reveals one God whose character remains the same.  Hebrews 13:8 says,

Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.

The Old Testament reveals the character of both God and man.  It shows God as holy and loving.  The Old Testament reveals the Law of God and shows man continually falling short of its demands.  The Old Testament shows man’s need for a Savior and makes many promises that point to the coming of Christ.  The Old Testament provides a record of the history of the nation that God chose for Himself, the nation of Israel.  Within the history of the nation of Israel, God showed His design for civil government and His design for the family.

The main purpose of the Old Testament is to point to the Lord Jesus as the coming Messiah who would be Prophet, Priest, and King.

The New Testament lifts up Jesus as the fulfillment of the Old Testament.  He is the fulfillment of the Law.  Not only did He keep the moral law perfectly but Jesus is the reason for the ceremonial law.  The many sacrifices and feasts of the Old Testament all point to something in the person or work of Jesus Christ.  The New Testament looks back and explains (interprets) how Jesus fulfills the Law and the many promises God has made.

Jesus is the fulfillment of the message of the Old Testament prophets.  They preached man’s rebellion, the need for repentance, God’s judgment, and God’s restoration.  The New Testament begins with four Gospel accounts describing the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ.  The Gospels continually quote the Old Testament and show Jesus as their fulfillment.

The main purpose of the epistles of the New Testament are to explain the mystery of the Church in light of Christ’s redeeming work.  The epistles of the New Testament have a general common structure.  The first part of the epistles describe what is now true about the Church because of the person and work of Jesus Christ.  The second part of each epistle tells members of Christ’s Church because these things are true, now live this way (see Ephesians 1-3, orthodoxy and Ephesians 4-6, orthopraxy).

The Revelation of Jesus Christ sums up the Old Testament and New Testament prophecies concerning the second coming of Jesus Christ, the Millennium, and the New Heavens and New Earth.  Revelation allows the Christian to apply prophetic passages correctly from both testaments.  It is very fitting that the last book of the Bible is the Revelation of Jesus Christ for that is the purpose of the entire Bible; to reveal the Lord Jesus Christ to a world that desperately needs Him.

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The Ordinances of the Church

The scriptures give two ordinances which the Church is to observe.  They are baptism and the Lord’s Supper.  Christ commanded baptism to be observed in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19).  Christ also commanded that we observe the Lord’s Supper in remembrance of Him (Luke 22:19,20 and 1 Corinthians 11:24,25).

Receiving baptism by immersion by a believer in Christ is an act of obedience proclaiming with an outward and physical sign what has already been made a spiritual reality.  Through the act of baptism, the believer in Jesus Christ is saying that they have been spiritually baptized (immersed by the Holy Spirit) into Christ’s body by participating through faith in His death, burial, and resurrection (Romans 6).  It is not water baptism that saves us but it is a spiritual baptism into Christ’s body that saves (1 Peter 3:21).  Christians are made alive by faith in the person of Jesus Christ and His redeeming work.  Believers are baptized once physically because they are baptized once spiritually into Christ’s body.  Christians do not move in and out of Christ’s body depending on their obedience or disobedience in daily living.  Once truly saved by grace through faith the Christian is in Christ not to be removed.  He will persevere in the faith.

The Lord’s Supper is a remembrance (memorial) of the Lord’s death.  It looks back at His great act of love in giving His body for ours to overcome death in the breaking of the bread.  In the drinking of the cup of the fruit of the vine it looks back to the shedding of His blood to ratify a New Covenant of grace through faith.  Just as the Passover feast was a symbol of the Old Covenant that God had with the nation of Israel, the Lord’s Supper is a symbol of the New.  Just as Christ gave thanks over this meal, the celebration of the Lord’s Supper promotes thanksgiving for His sacrifice in the Church.

The Lord’s Supper also looks to the Church’s great hope for the future for we are to keep it until He comes again for His Bride.  In Matthew, Mark, and Luke, when Jesus instituted the Lord’s Supper, He looked forward to His coming and the coming of the Father’s kingdom.

While baptism is celebrated once in an individual believers life; the Lord’s Supper should be celebrated many times in the context of the fellowship of believers.  It is the ordinance where the corporate body partakes together.  To not discern the body of Christ while taking the Lord’s Supper is to take it in an unworthy manner and to bring judgment.  The Lord’s Supper is an ongoing proclamation of the Church’s dependence on Christ and His redeeming work.  To celebrate it often is to never get too far away from the main reason the Church exists:  to worship, love, and serve our Lord Jesus Christ.

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The Son of God

One of the titles of the Lord Jesus Christ is the Son of God.  This post will examine what this phrase means and what it does not mean concerning Christ.  I will begin by describing what this phrase does not mean.

To call Christ, the Son of God does not mean that He was a created being.  Colossians 1:16,17 says,

16 For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:

17 And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

Clearly, Christ is the creator of all things and also the sustainer of all things.  Micah 5:2 says of Christ, “whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.”

To call Christ, the Son of God does not mean that He was some kind of lesser god.  John 1:1 says,

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

The Word (logos in Greek), the second person of the triune Godhead, has always been with the Father and always has been God Himself.  At the beginning of time, He already “was” and there has never been a time when He was not.  One of the major points of the Gospel of John if not the major point is to say that Jesus is the “I AM” of the Bible.  John 8:58 says,

58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.

The Lord, Himself claimed equality with God in John 10:30,

30 I and my Father are one.

Hebrews 1:8 calls the Father and the Son both equally God.  Christ does what only God can do.  He receives worship (John 20:28) and forgives sins (Mark 2:7).

Isaiah 44:6 is a verse which illustrates the equality of the Father and the Son.  It says,

Thus saith the Lord the King of Israel, and his redeemer the Lord of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.

It shows them to be distinct persons (plural) of the Godhead with distinct roles in salvation (King and redeemer) while saying together as one God, “I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.”

The word “Son” in the phrase Son of God is best understood in terms of the incarnation.  God took on flesh and became man.  The Lord Jesus Christ humbled Himself by taking on the form of a servant.  He submitted His will to the Father’s will as a perfect Son should.  His perfect obedience to the point of death and then His resurrection provided the way for many to be made the sons of God and to receive the inheritance with Him as joint-heirs.  Now He is both the Son of God and the Son of Man, the one mediator between God and man, the only way to the Father.



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Two Conferences

Below are links to two conferences that my family will be attending.  I think the Worship of God conference is very important.  Also my son and I have been down many times to the Father and Son retreat in NC.  The conference on fatherhood is an expansion of the annual father and son retreat.  I hope to see many of you there.  Click on the links below to get any info you need.


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Benita and I have joked before about a book to write called, Finding Joy In The Misery Of Others.  We even have a scripture verse to use to make this book look “Christian”.

Proverbs 1:26

26 I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh;

Of course if anyone bothered to look at the context of Proverbs 1, they would find that the context of the chapter does not support our make believe book title.  This is one of the issues in the Church today.  There is a whole movement in the Church today, called the word, faith movement or the prosperity gospel which uses single scripture verses out of context to support false teachings.  Most cults take some of the harder to understand scriptures and twist them to lead people away from the true Gospel.

Although deception is not always easy to see, a place to start in guarding against false teaching is to combine prayer with Bible reading.  Pray that the Holy Spirit would guide you into all truth and then read the scriptures.  Read chapters of scripture at a time to get the context of the entire passage.  Start at the beginning of a book of the Bible like you would normally read a book.  No one reads books like the modern church reads the Bible (jumping around to sentences they like without ever really getting to what the author was truly saying).  God has designed the Bible so that there are several witnesses (different verses describing the same thing) so that we can understand what God means if we will study the Bible.  A concordance is very helpful in finding what God means when He uses different words and symbols in the Bible.  Beware of teachers who are constantly trying to convince their hearers that the plain teaching of a passage doesn’t really mean what it says.  (The false teachers would say, “What this word really means in the Greek is” or “a better translation is.”)  Usually the main idea of a chapter is plain to see if you simply start at the beginning and read to the end.  Context takes a little diligent study and the rewards are great.


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A Ministry For Young Men – You Can Begin Right Away

Recently, a man who leads a large ministry commented on his appreciation of the encouraging words I often send to him.  Although I am not a young man anymore (turned 45 a little over a week ago), there is a ministry which young men can begin right away with almost no competition in the worldwide Church for this ministry.  This ministry has two parts:  prayer and encouragement.

Many young men want to begin to have influence and a voice in the Church.  Over the years, I have watched many young men do this in a dishonorable way.  The world’s way to be heard is to say outrageous, hyperbolic, things in public; find some weakness in others to exploit for gain.  Here are two scripture passages for the young man who wants to be heard in the Church:

Hebrews 4:16

16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

1 Timothy 2:1-3

2 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;

For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.

For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;

Anyone who wants to be heard can immediately have a voice at the throne of God.  Intercession for those in authority in the Church (elders) is good and acceptable to our Lord.  For those who want to be immersed in the grace of God, there is humility and honor.  Encouragement and prayer are a great place to start if a young man desires to honor his fathers (physical and spiritual).

1 Peter 5:5

Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

A scripture passage concerning encouragement is below.  How many leaders would be kept from falling and how many churches would be protected from schisms if the young men would take the admonition below to heart.

1 Thessalonians 5:11-13

11 Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.

12 And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you;

13 And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves.

Galatians 6:9 says, “And let us not be weary in well doing.”  Young men should consider that their prayers and encouragement are part of the means of God’s grace whereby our leaders might be sustained.


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A Plan For Kingdom Building

Below is a verse (Acts 1:8) that I believe applies today to how we approach being a part of building the Kingdom of God.

Acts 1:8

But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

The apostles were told that they were going to be witnesses starting in Jerusalem, then moving out into the region of Judaea, then further out into Samaria, and finally out to the far reaches of the earth.  This verse has a geographic application as well as a cultural application.

Jerusalem was where the Church was planted.  Judaea was the surrounding region of smaller towns and like minded people.  Samaria would have been the next step in moving out of the local region and also evangelizing another people group.  The same plan that began in Samaria would then be used to evangelize people groups from around the world.

The way we have applied this scripture to our family is that we try to have a three part approach to the Great Commission.  We are first of all preaching the Gospel in our local community.  The church which we attend is a Bible centered local gathering of believers where our family can share the Gospel and make an impact on our community.  In choosing a church we wanted to strike the balance of faithfulness to the scriptures and close enough to home to impact the community for Christ.  The second part of this approach to the Great Commission is to be involved regionally.  We try to support like minded believers in other areas and also try to support some larger ministries which are a part of building the Kingdom of God.   The third part of this approach to the Great Commission is our family has an international ministry.  We work with a pastor in New Delhi, India who is having a great impact in the slums of New Delhi.  We support a school for the least of the least and also fund an orphanage home focused on protecting young girls who are in danger of being sold into slavery or prostitution.

This plan is based on the scriptures and will help to focus any family or church on kingdom building.


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Man’s Desperately Wicked Heart

One of the most important scripture verses for the founding of our country and more specifically the writing of our constitution is Jeremiah 17:9.

Jeremiah 17:9

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?

What this verse meant to our founders with regard to civil government was that man cannot be trusted with power.  Men left to themselves become tyrants because power corrupts.  There are many checks and balances in our Constitution to account for the deceitfulness of the human heart.  Men (and women) can justify almost anything when they have just a little bit of power.

Careful consideration of this verse leads to a few conclusions:

1) Men are in darkness and need the light of the Word of God to think correctly about anything.

2) True liberty and the law of God go together.  As men move away from God’s will and lean on their own understanding, all three forms of government, family, church, and civil become corrupted.  Either licentiousness or tyranny will rule the day because of the deceitfulness of the human heart.

3) The Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ is the only hope for curing man’s heart problem.  Fathers, church leaders, and politicians cannot solve man’s heart problem with programs, education, religious ceremony, or entertainment.  Truth is the solution for deception.  Righteousness is the solution for wickedness.  Truth and righteousness are only found in Jesus Christ and His words, the Bible.

What is the solution for a man with family problems?  Be transformed by the Gospel and preach the Gospel to your family.  What is the solution for an impotent church?  It is for the pastor to believe and preach the whole counsel of God.  What is the solution for fixing a tyrannical government?  Elect people who have had their hearts transformed by the life giving power of the Holy Spirit.  The number one question to ask anyone in authority is have you been born again by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.



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Two Bible Books For Today

As I watch the death spiral of America right now, I would like to suggest to all of our readers that they become very familiar with two O.T. books, Daniel and Ezekiel.

These two books should encourage you as you come to the realization that we are living in a post-Christian country.  The themes of Daniel that should encourage you are:  1) God is sovereign over history and the future of nations, 2) God still listens to the prayers of His children (they are much beloved to Him),  3) God still knows how to deliver His children from fire and lions, and 4) God still promotes those who will honor Him.

In the book of Ezekiel, God takes quite a bit of time to show all of the reasons why Israel was conquered by Babylon.  This is the theme of the first half of the book.  The encouraging part of Ezekiel is the second half where God promises restoration for Israel.  We have already witnessed some of these promises begin to come true.  Israel became a unified nation again on 5/15/1948 for the first time in over 2900 years.  Our God is the God of promise.  He is merciful.  He is holy.  He is just.  He knows how to keep His children.

Deuteronomy 7:9-10

Know therefore that the Lord thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations;

10 And repayeth them that hate him to their face, to destroy them: he will not be slack to him that hateth him, he will repay him to his face.

Although it may look sometimes like evil is winning, Jesus is the victorious King.  We will reign with Him.  We have a glorious future.

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