Mankind’s Last Best Hope

In his “Second Annual Message” to Congress of December 1, 1862 President Abraham Lincoln proposed a plan for amendments to the Constitution to end slavery in the United States, with concessions he hoped would bring an end to the Civil War and reconcile the rebel states to the Union. In September of 1862 Lincoln had issued the Emancipation Proclamation, as an executive order which changed the legal status of enslaved persons in states in rebellion against the United States as of January 1, 1863, giving any enslaved persons in those states the status of free men or women under United States law. The Emancipation Proclamation applied only to slaves living in the rebel states, or serving in any segment of the executive branch of the U.S. government. However, it encouraged or required six states to abolish slavery during the war, including three Confederate states which had largely come under control of the Union army, and three Union border states. It also freed slaves living in other rebel areas which had been occupied by the Union. The plan for the Constitutional amendments proposed in 1862 was never acted on.

The plan was different from the thirteenth Constitutional amendment Lincoln championed in 1864-65 to permanently and immediately end slavery in the United States. By late 1864 the defeat of the Confederacy by Union forces was eminent, negating any rationale for concessions in the ending of slavery for political reasons. The thirteenth amendment was passed by Congress in January 1865, about two and a half months before General Lee’s surrender at Appomattox Court House, Virginia, which effectively ended the Civil War. The thirteenth amendment had been ratified by a sufficient number of states to become law by December 6, 1865.

In his “Second Annual Message,” early in the Civil War, when things weren’t going so well for the Union army (cf. Battle Cry of Freedom, James M. McPherson, pp. 560-561), Lincoln described the United States as “the last, best hope of earth.” William Lee Miller, a professor of ethics, who has taught at several universities, in his book “Lincoln’s Virtues,” states the following concerning the phrase “the last, best hope of earth”:

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God the Giver of Knowledge

Published October 7, 2018
Does God want to keep people ignorant? No! In fact, God is the source of all true knowledge, and he wants to share his knowledge with us. In this message God is revealed as the Giver of knowledge.

“God the Giver of Knowledge” by Messenger Church of God released under a cc-by-nc-nd Creative Commons License:

Why the Enigma of the Bible?

Published August 1, 2018
In this sermon, Rod Reynolds explores why it is that so many people do not understand the Bible. This sermon also explains some vital keys in unlocking God’s Word so you can understand it better. The Bible is the most widely circulated book in the world. Well over 2 billion copies of the Bible have been printed and distributed worldwide. Almost every household in much of the western world has at least one Bible, and yet it is a book that is little understood.

“Why the Enigma of the Bible?” by Messenger Church of God released under a cc-by-nc-nd Creative Commons License:
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Does God Lie?

Does God lie? Did Jesus Christ speak in parables to deceive people?

A reader asked for my comment, writing to me, “I know of someone who said that Christ deceived. He was referring to the… parable of the sower and the seed. [He inferred] that Christ used the parables to deceive people so they wouldn’t understand.” The reader went on to say that some who think of themselves as Christians justify lying if one’s motive is to achieve a “good end,” for example, “to get the abortion law altered” so there would be fewer abortions.”

Should we lie? Should we do evil that good may come?

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Does God Want People to be Deceived?

Question: I have read the article, “Are ‘Many’ or ‘Few’ Called in this Age?”. One part has me confused. It is Matthew 13:15: “For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them” (KJV).

I realize they could have seen but their hearts were dull, callous, insensible, their ears hard of hearing, and their eyes closed so they couldn’t see. That part I do understand. The part I don’t understand is the last part: “…lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart and should be converted and I should heal them.” Doesn’t that mean that their ears and eyes could be opened, which would lead them to understand with their heart?

If they were converted, would that mean that they repented and applied God’s law and obeyed Him, and He would heal them? If it isn’t referring to that, then I don’t understand what he was referring to. It sounds like He didn’t want them to understand or change. Would that mean that at times God doesn’t want someone to understand?

I don’t understand. I hope you can explain it for me. Thanks so much. Continue reading