Sunday, May 31, 2015


The Spirit of the LORD set Ezekiel in a valley of dry bones and asked him, ‘Can these bones live?’ (Ezek. 37:3) What are bones anyway? I suppose that they are the internal scaffolding that supports the body. Why would Joseph wish to have his bones carried out of Egypt when God rescued Israel from slavery? (Gen. 50:25) Why would Moses take the bones of Joseph with him? (Ex. 13:19) Are we done with our bones when we die? Towards his latter years my father would often say that he was ready for the ‘bone-yard.’ Can bones live?

In the Bible it is considered a thing to be dreaded to have your bones left as food for the birds of the air and the beasts of the field (Ezek. 29:5). Abraham made such a big deal out of buying a burial plot for Sarah and himself (Gen. 23; 25:10). Isaac and Rebekah his wife were subsequently buried in the same cave. As was Jacob’s wife Leah. Then Joseph and his brothers buried his father Jacob in the same plot, just as Jacob had commanded them, ‘For his sons carried him to the land of Canaan, and buried him in the cave of the field of Machpelah, before Mamre, which Abraham bought with the field from Ephron the Hittite as property for a burial place’ Genesis 50:13; John 4:5. The LORD Himself buried the bones of Moses. No one knows exactly where (Deut. 34:6). None less than the Devil disputed about the body of Moses (Jude 9). Can bones live?

Some believe in cryonics, having their dead bodies frozen and stored in safety, hoping science will advance enough to be able to resuscitate them. I suppose the opposite to this might be cremation, which to most reasonable minds, would place the dead person well beyond the reach of resuscitation. For, who would expect human dust in an urn sitting on some mantelpiece ever to spring back to life? Can bones live?

As we have seen in the few pages of the Bible mentioned above, believers did not wish that their bodies be thrown on the scrap heap after death. Rather, they wanted to have their bones stored in a safe place. When Jesus was taken down from the cross His dead body was not thrown in the village dump as so much refuse. Rather, His body was carefully washed, wrapped in strips of linen with spices mingled through them. Why all this special care for bodies even after death? The answer is stated in the Apostles’ Creed so-called where therein is written: ‘I believe in the resurrection of the body … and the life everlasting.’ This is why we keep our graveyards neat and tidy! Bones can live!

In the Westminster Shorter Catechism, which has been taught to many young Christians since it was written in 1647, we read the following: ‘What benefits do believers receive from Christ at death? The souls of believers are at their death made perfect in holiness, and do immediately pass into glory; and their bodies, being still united to Christ, do rest in their graves till the resurrection.’ Notice that Christians believe that their bodies remain united to Christ – even in the grave! He has indeed promised never to leave nor forsake us (Heb. 13:5). Yes, I am more than mere flesh and bone. However, I am not less than flesh and bone either! I am body, soul, spirit. As the Apostle under inspiration of the Holy Spirit says, ‘Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ’ 1 Thessalonians 5:23. Thus we are soul-spirits with bodies. Jesus saves the whole man – including our bones! Bones can live!

The resurrected Jesus made sure that Thomas and the rest of the disciples knew that He was resurrected with the self-same body that was nailed to the tree. ‘“Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.” When He had said this, He showed them His hands and feet. But while they still did not believe for joy, and marvelled, He said to them, “Have you any food here?” So they gave Him a piece of fish and some honeycomb. He took it and ate it in their presence’ Luke 24:39-43. Bones can live!

Meanwhile back in the Valley of Dry Bones with Ezekiel: ‘So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and suddenly a rattling; and the bones came together, bone to bone. As I looked, the sinews and the flesh came upon them, and the skin covered them over; but there was no breath in them. And He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath, son of man, and say to the breath, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain that they may live.’” So I prophesied as He commanded me, and breath came into them, and they lived, and stood upon their feet, an exceedingly great army’ Ezekiel 37:7-10. Bones can live!

Depositing Ashes Service

As Chaplain to "The Rats of Tobruk" in Brisbane I get attend and even officiate at various of their functions. We deposited the ashes of one of the "Rats" at the Military section at Pinnaroo, Brisbane, Queensland. A whole lot more was spoken but the following is an outline of the service for Eddie Stott:

"We are gathered together in the presence of God to remember His sovereignty in death as in life and to seek His Word for our hearts. Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life; he that believes in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live, and whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.” (John 11:25-26)." (Reformed Book of Common Order)

We meet here today to remember Edward Stott, a relative, a friend and a Rat of Tubruk, a member of the Bramble Bay sub-branch of the Rats of Tobruk, and to acknowledge his life and also to place his ashes in their resting place until the day of the general resurrection.

Let us pray:
“Eternal God, before whom the generations of people rise and pass away, we come together before You. As You have sent us into this life, so You have a appointed a time for our departure from it. As You give, so You take away, that we may be mindful of our frailty and acknowledge the brevity of all things here.

“Speak to us in the solemnity of this time as we wait upon You with reverent and submissive hearts. Speak to us through the Scriptures of things eternal and bring comfort, hope and courage to Your faithful people, God of our salvation. AMEN.” (Reformed Book of Common Order)

Jock Hunter, Secretary of the Rats of Tobruk to say a few words…

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
He leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul:
He leadeth me in paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil; for Thou art with me;
Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a place a table before me
In the presence of mine enemies:
You anointest my head with oil;
My cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life;
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. (Psalm 23)

Some words of encouragement:
As a “Rat” I’m sure Eddie would have known full well what it was like to walk through the valley of the shadow of death. And now Eddie has gone through the veil of death itself after living a long life. We give thanks for that long life.

But friends, if you have the Good Shepherd walking though the valley with you, travelling through life with you, life with all its hills and valleys, you can know the peace that transcends all understanding.

With the Lord as your shepherd you can know an inner peace, a comfort even in the presence of your enemies. For the Lord is as close as the mention of His name. And the Shepherd protects His flock – even as we go through death’s dark valley.

Scripture says that the Good Shepherd laid down His life for His sheep. He says that His sheep hear His voice and they follow Him. So we follow Him through the valley of the shadow of death. We come out the other side of death just as He did. He was raised again from the dead and at some future date so will all who follow Him.

Eddie’s remains can remain here until that future date.

Placing the Urn
“Eternal God who has been the dwelling place of our fathers in all generations, be to each of us our strength, our fortress, and our refuge in this day of our affliction, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

“O God, who of Thy compassion and pity did send Thy Son into this world to suffer and to die for our salvation, we give Thee thanks for His victory over sin on the cross of Calvary. We thank Thee for His triumph for us over death and for His wondrous resurrection which has brought life and immortality to light for all who believe His glorious Gospel. Grant unto us the assurance that, as Christ rose from the dead and became the first fruits of them that slept, so those who fall asleep in Christ rise with Him.

“Almighty God, who dost continue unto us the solemn trust of life, forgive us all our past unfaithfulness. Remind us now of that day when we too shall be called to render our account to Thee. Raise us, by Thy Holy Spirit, from the death of sin to the life of righteousness. Grant that we may so live by faith in Thy dear Son that when we shall depart this life we may hear Him say, “Come ye blessed of My Father, receive the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” We ask these things, most merciful Father, through Jesus Christ our only Redeemer and Mediator.

“The Lord bless you and keep you, the Lord make His face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you, the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and give you peace. Amen.” (Reformed Book of Common Order)

Sunday, May 24, 2015


The Republic of Ireland voted in favour of changing its constitution in order to permit same-sex or homosexual marriage. The people have spoken! Democracy lives in Ireland! However, is the redefining of marriage a wise thing?

Apparently 4% of the Irish population identify themselves as either homosexual/lesbian or bisexual. Sure, the figure may be more due to some wishing not to disclose their sexual preferences but the figure certainly includes homosexuals who are against redefining marriage.  

Be that as it may, but what was wrong with the definition that marriage is between one man and one woman forever (i.e., till death) that the Irish now wish to change it? Well, apparently the Irish wish to bring in “marriage equality,” suggesting that somehow marriage has been unequal up till now. The idea is that if two men or two women “love” each other then they should be allowed to enter into holy matrimony.

The Roman Catholic Church (which is big but waning in Ireland) considers marriage to be one of its seven sacraments. Therefore, this new definition of marriage cannot be incorporated into its Church dogma without papal authority. If we remember this is a church that, for example, without Biblical authority tells its priests that they cannot marry then we will understand that perhaps it may be swayed by public opinion. However, for Biblical Christians the issue is simple. The question is: Is same-sex marriage Biblical? In other words, does God’s Word teach that marriage is only between one man and one woman forever? Of course it does! And there is the rub. Jesus in Matthew 19:3-6 by referring us to Adam and Eve in Genesis 1 and 2 is clearly teaching us that marriage is between only mature males and mature females.

To be sure those who do not care what the Bible says about marriage do not care if two people of the same sex get hitched. Some people may be indifferent on this issue. However, those who voted in Ireland have consciously and unequivocally voted to endorse and promote homosexuality in their society. Is this a good thing? What does the Bible say?

The Bible takes a scientific or empirical approach and calls homosexual acts ‘unnatural.” So that you do not miss what the Bible teaches about homosexual acts consider the following: Someone once said, “A square peg in a round hole may be possible with a bit of force – but it is ugly!” Homosexual “marriage” endorses sodomy and buggery and other unnatural acts. And for the record God forbids such unnatural actions between husbands and wives.  

Some may conclude that what two consenting adults (two males or two females) do in private is their business but the whole of the voting public of Ireland have made it their own personal business. The majority has voted to redefine marriage to include what the Bible describes as something unnatural (e.g., Romans 1). That is Ireland’s prerogative as a sovereign state. But is it wise? The Bible says it isn’t. However, the people of Ireland have spoken.

Monday, May 11, 2015



 As human beings we are subject to various moods. Certain things may put us in a bad mood, e.g. our sports team losing the grand final or the loss of your wallet. A good mood may come upon us when our team wins or we come into money. When it comes to moods we can run the whole gamut from elation all the way down to depression. Our moods are tied to our emotions. If grumpy someone may ask if we got out of the wrong side of the bed this morning, and if happy we may be asked if we have just won the lottery! Some of us may spend years trying to keep a lid on our emotions; anger, anxiety etc. However, moods are part of human nature. Mood swings usually relate to responses to events.

Jesus, the perfect human, wept beside a friend’s grave, got angry with money-lenders, and experienced both joy and sorrow. Jesus, being God, has two natures, divine and human. Theologians debate whether Jesus’s divine nature felt pain and suffered when He was on the cross. If we keep in mind that Jesus is one divine Person with two distinct natures forever we’ll get something of an idea how hard it is to know if God has emotions. In other words, a Person not a nature experiences emotion. Oil and water don’t mix and neither do Christ’s two natures. Oil on water can be set on fire but not the water. This is because oil and water have different properties. Therefore, it would seem safe to assume that the divine Person of Christ would experience emotion on two distinct levels, i.e., the physical level and the divine level. The following example may be a tad gruesome but a person having their leg amputated without anaesthetic could be asked how the pain they were experiencing was affecting them emotionally. In other words, we too are affected on different levels.

    Was God in a good mood the day He poured out His angry wrath on His Son as He hung on the cross for the sins of His people? Did the Father experience sadness when His Son died? Did the Spirit mourn or grieve when the Son was laid in the tomb? Did God shout for joy when His Son was raised from the dead? I think we can safely say that God experienced all these moods – humanly speaking! And there’s the rub. We simply have to say that God is without human passions. Otherwise we run the risk of confusing the two natures of Christ.

Is there any practical application in knowing that God through Jesus Christ knows human emotion at a human and divine level? Well, first off let’s acknowledge that God is not subject to moods. You’ll never catch God having a bad day! He’s not subject to His creation or any events. He’s in sovereign control of all things. Hence we hold that Almighty God is without passions (at least as we understand them). Secondly, because in God ‘there is no variation or shadow of turning’ we can approach Him knowing  He won’t chew our heads off for disturbing Him! As the Prophet Jonah said, ‘You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm’ Jonah 4:2b, (cf., Exodus 34:6-7). And thirdly, because of God’s grace we can say ‘“No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and live self-controlled, upright and godly lives’ Titus 2:12. Therefore, let’s work towards controlling our moods rather than having them control us.

Don’t wait till you’re in the mood: call on Christ today!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

The Waning (Christian) West

"According to Friday's Scottish edition of the English Daily Telegraph (page 6 flagged *** Sc) under the headline - Do not vote, it's a sin... Muslims are intimidated in the street - "Some Muslims were told not to vote while others were allegedly ordered by spiritual leaders to back Labour as Tower Hamlets became the centre of election controversy yesterday". "Two types of leaflet were distributed in Tower Hamlets [east London]. One displayed the words 'Don't vote' and '#StayMuslimDontVote'. It also read: 'None have the right to legislate except Allah.' The other read: 'Warning. Voting for man-made law is Shirk [idol worship] associated with Allah.'"

As we see above, during the lead up to Britain’s General Election (May 7, 2015) some Muslims wereurging other Muslims not to vote. These “Don’t vote” type of Muslims don’t sound that much different to many present day “Christians” who have come under the influence of Anabaptist theology that is stifling Christianity’s influence in the world. “[Jesus] said, “To what shall I liken the kingdom of God? It is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened.” Luke 13:20-21. E.g., the Amish and the Mennonites have turned their backs on society and have no Christian influence whatsoever apart from being cultural curiosities. Then there are others who think the Ten Commandments have nothing to do with Christians!
Then there are others who don’t believe in the following use of the Law, i.e., “A second purpose for the law is the restraint of evil. The law, in and of itself, cannot change human hearts. It can, however, serve to protect the righteous from the unjust. Calvin says this purpose is ‘by means of its fearful denunciations and the consequent dread of punishment, to curb those who, unless forced, have no regard for rectitude and justice.’ The law allows for a limited measure of justice on this earth, until the last judgment is realized.” RC Sproul.[1]
Then there are those who believe there are only Nine Commandments. They remove the Fourth Commandment of the Decalogue, the one regarding the Christian Sabbath.

Anyway, I’ve shortened to bumper-sticker size what the wise Presbyterian Robert Lewis Dabney says somewhere – here’s the bumper-sticker, “Healthy Pulpit, Healthy Nation.” We hear very little about God’s Law from the pulpits and that is why the West is crumbling. As the West continues to implode Socialism with its attendant Atheism and Islam with its attendant Sharia is rushing in filling the void.

Bottom line? Christians need to get educated on what the whole Bible teaches! Then we will again be an influence for good on this earth. Why? Because “The earth is the LORD’s, and all its fullness, the world and those who dwell therein.” Psalm 24:1. Antinomianism is as much an enemy of Christianity as Islam. The West needs to return to the foundation s it was built on.

"For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, and rebuke many people; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore." Isaiah 2:3a-4.

My old professor actually had the following bumper-sticker on his car's bumper: "God's Law or Chaos."[2] 

Friday, May 1, 2015


Recently I got engaged in an honest but albeit brief conversation by a 100% Atheist. I told him that I’d never met an Atheist who was a one hundred-percenter and quickly drew attention to the fact that even Richard Dawkins didn’t claim to be 100% Atheist. I used the example of Dawkins’s double-decker bus advert: “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.” That word “probably” betrays a healthy doubt about God’s non-existence. Perhaps God is hiding on the dark side of the moon!

Unfazed by Dawkins’s wimpy equivocations,  my 100% Atheist contender proceeded to enquire after my evidence for God. To which I responded that my evidence for God’s existence was the same evidence he uses to deny God’s existence, i.e., creation and all that’s therein.

Wanting to cut to the chase I quickly dispensed with all and sundry “other gods” by telling my sparring-partner that I am a follower of the Triune God, i.e., the God who has revealed Himself in Scripture.

He wanted to talk about the age of the universe. I told him that I was a “Young Earther.” “Six thousand years old?” he asked. I asked him why not! He mentioned the speed of light from distant planets. I told him that I wasn’t a scientist and neither was he but that, as I had done, he also should read Russell Humphreys' (who is a scientist) book called (Starlight & Time). Humphries has done his sums and gives a good answer rebutting the notion that the speed of light travelling from distant stars seems to suggest a universe very much older the six thousand years.

He entered into the whacky realm of Quantum Physics and Mechanics as he tried to respond to my question of how can something come from nother.

Rather than debate the meaning of stones and bones, Peking Man, Piltdown Man, Lucy, Australopithecus, DNA and Intelligent Design et al, I tried to get back to Bible. I said that he presupposes that the Bible is not God’s Word and that I presuppose it is God’s Word. I told him that the bottom line is that I presuppose that God is and that he presupposes that God is not. Therefore, it’s all about God.

My worthy and intelligent opponent took the bait and told me that he had once been a Christian but had rejected  its worldview on account of God’s immorality. I, of course, at this invitation lunged forward to pierce deftly the heart of his argument! “Atheists, especially 100% Atheists,” said I, “have no basis for morals!” Theirs is a dog eat dog world of no good or evil, a universe with no purpose.

He wanted to talk about God’s Ten Commandments. I said that the Decalogue is an expression of God’s character, His moral character. He said, “Even the one about ‘Thou shalt not kill?’” He then proceeded to make an obvious and perhaps very good point about God’s not keeping that particular Commandment when He sent His people into the Promised Land and told them to kill everyone they came in contact with.

I asked therefore what the difference was between God commanding His people to put a people to death and God putting them to death Himself. We digressed a little when I started talking about the rest of mankind drowning in the great flood in Noah’s day. I added that he could do a scientific study and take a pick and shovel and that he would find evidence for a global flood all over the planet. He would find millions of dead things that had been buried, being rapidly embedded in silt that became sedimentary rock. This is consistent with a global deluge.

I asked what was his biggest problem with God, the Bible and Christianity. From here it was back to the question of morals, God’s morals.

So, what are we to do with God when He seemingly breaks His own moral standards by telling human beings to do something He has already commanded us not to do? True, God has forbidden murder. However, the Bible clearly teaches us that murder is a capital offence. (There are other capital offences in Scripture but let’s stick to the case in hand.)

The whole Bible teaches us what the Apostle Paul under inspiration of the Holy Spirit summed up in the words, “The wages of sin is death.” Romans 6:23a. It’s been this way right from Adam’s sin against God and His Law in the Garden till today. God is the One who gives us life and God is the One who takes it away again.

But meanwhile back to God’s morals and the flood at the time of Noah. After Noah and his family came out of the ark, i.e., after God had put to death every other human being, God said to Noah and his family, eight in all, “And from each man, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of his fellow man. ‘Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made him.’” Genesis 9:5b-6. Thus the death penalty!

From the time of the Reformation in 1517 Western societies began to be built on the rule of law, i.e., God’s Law – with its attendant penalties. The right of kings and queens to put their subjects to death at a mere whim were challenged on Biblical terms. The so-called “Divine Right of Kings” was revoked when the monarch’s authority to rule was placed under God’s rule of law. The Reformation did the same with the papacy. Both Church and State would have authority only to do what God in His Word permitted them to do in their respective spheres of authority. Thus freedom for all!

Freedom in Western democracies comes from, and functions only because of, the rule of law, i.e., laws based upon God’s Ten Commandments. Western judiciary systems were to reflect God’s court of law. In other words, judges were to represent God and His justice on earth. However, let us quickly add that when Cain slew his own brother Abel God did not immediately put Cain to death. Neither did He execute King David when he committed adultery with Bathsheba and had her innocent husband killed. Therefore, though the death penalty is on a Christian-influenced nation’s law books for capital offences, it does not preclude mercy.

So, in answer to my 100% Atheist friend, justice and mercy go hand in hand with God. There is nothing immoral about God! God has condemned us to death for our sins but at the same time He extends to us the hand of mercy. “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23. As Jesus says elsewhere, “Repent and believe the good news.” Mark 1:15. I did! Rahab the harlot did – and she and her family were spared when the people of God under God’s supreme command  and instruction moved into the Promised Land.

Sure, we talked about a whole lot more than this but unlike my 100% Atheist friend I see no contradiction in God saying in the 6th Commandment, “You shall not murder” and Him Himself or His appointed judges lawfully putting people to death for having broken this Commandment.

(See my ebook "Why I Am Not An Atheist") -
 (See "Russell Humphreys Answers Various Critics" -