3.02.08 ~ Faith or Flight: How we Respond to Crisis [Psalm 11] *Matt Kopp
(I highly recommend that you listen to this audio file
before reading this page.  It is awesome)

Ladera Ranch, CA

compiled by Dee Finney

If God is with me can’t no man be against me and I walk by my faith and that’s all I have.

6-14-08 - DREAM -  I was in a school for young children, but there were adults in the building as well who may or may not have been teachers. 

I came into a classroom where some boys were fighting and one boy was trying to kill another boy because a girl had complained that he had touched her 'dykstra'.

I had no idea what a 'dykstra' was but I made them stop because whatever it was, the boy still shouldn't have been killed over it. I needed to find out exactly what she was talking about.

I was carrying a small sized white Bible, one that was thick but not large in height or width.  I had been told that there were some books in the Old Testament that weren't complete, and I planned to write out the books in their entirety and add sheets of paper with the text that was missing. 

On the way to the room where the paper was, I opened a closet and found a bright blue upright vacuum cleaner that someone had hidden. As soon as I touched it, it turned itself on.  I didn't know who this vacuum cleaner belonged to, but I knew it didn't belong in that closet, so I took it with me.

On the way to the classroom where the paper was, I met my son Bill (William) who was about seven years old. (The age of reason) He told me about some friends of his who wouldn't watch television anymore  because someone else had said a man was saying things that made them lose their faith, but that another one of his friends said, "No man is going to make me lose my faith", and turned his television back on.

I didn't know whether that boy was 'stupid' or 'brilliant' because of his faith.  I had not heard the rumour for myself that caused the other boys to turn off their televisions.

As I reached the classroom where the paper was, a man came running past and I heard on his walkie-talkie radio, "the man is on three" and he went running off to take care of whatever was going on. (Todd, from One Life to Live TV show) We weren't sure if he meant 'room 3' or floor 3.  (Probably means physical realm)

A woman (Marcie from One Life to Live TV show) wanted to leave the room and follow Todd, but since there was something dangerous going on in the school, I refused to let her leave the room and get mixed up in it. 

Just as she was going to complain that I was keeping her captive, I had to move the vacuum cleaner and it turned itself on.  That forced me to turn my complete attention on the vacuum cleaner, away from everything else that was going on.

NOTE: I came to a new dream interpretation revelation of the symbology of the vacuum cleaner by listening to the sermon above.  It represents 'the upright'.

The name William means :

The boy's name William \wi(l)-liam\ is pronounced WIL-yum. It is of Old German origin, and its meaning is "will helmet, protection". For a long time after the Norman conquest in AD 1066, three out of four English boys were given some form of the conqueror's name, William. Short forms and variants came into being with a common basic meaning of "will", "determined", or "resolute".

The Name Marci is a girl's name. The origin of the baby name Marci is Latin with the meaning(s) depending on Gender/Origin being. Latin- Warrior, Warlike  one, of Mars. A feminine form  of Mark.

The boy's name Todd \t(o)-dd\ is pronounced tahd. It is of Middle English origin, and its meaning is "fox". The name possibly refers to a fox hunter. It remains a dialectal word for a fox in some parts of Britain. Tod is a Scottish nickname for a clever or wily person.


The Holy Bible: King James Version.

The Psalms


The Refuge of the Upright

To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.



In the LORD put I my trust:


how say ye to my soul,

Flee as a bird to your mountain?


For, lo, the wicked bend their bow,


they make ready their arrow upon the string,

that they may privily shoot at the upright in heart.


If the foundations be destroyed,


what can the righteous do?


The LORD is in his holy temple,


the LORD's throne is in heaven:

his eyes behold, his eyelids try, the children of men.


The LORD trieth the righteous:


but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth.


Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone,


and a horrible tempest: this shall be the portion of their cup.


For the righteous LORD loveth righteousness;


his countenance doth behold the upright.

Published by The American Bible Society


The Fifth Seal (Part One)

by Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Forerunner, "Prophecy Watch," September-October 2004


"When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar
the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held.
And they cried with a loud voice, saying,
'How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?'
And a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer,
until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed."

Revelation 6:9-11

As a child, the scariest movie I saw was Quo Vadis? To most people, this movie falls in the "Christian Epic" genre rather than "Horror," but for me, it evoked dread and nightmares. Unlike today's movies, it did not splash blood or gore on the screen, but it tastefully depicted the horrors of Rome's persecution and martyrdom of Christians in an arresting, heartrending manner. Its scenes of Christians being attacked and devoured by lions in the Circus or being immolated as torches for Nero's garden party were no less disturbing for being without the Gladiator-type realism.

Most Christian libraries are not complete without Foxe's Book of Martyrs, which contains accounts of dozens of persecutions of Christians down the centuries. In school we read histories of religious wars—from the bloody spread of Islam across the Middle East and North Africa and into Europe, through the Crusades to repulse the infidels from the Holy Land, to the Catholic-Protestant wars ignited by the Reformation—in which hundreds of thousands of professing Christians lost their lives. More recently, while millions of Jews suffered horrible deaths at the hands of Hitler and Stalin, large numbers of Christians died with them in the concentration camps.

Currently, professing Christians are suffering and dying for their beliefs in predominantly Muslim and Communist nations. Though most secular pundits do not care to admit it, the War on Terror is really a clash of two civilizations founded on mutually exclusive religions. The Islamic side is presently engaged in holy war to convert or exterminate its enemies, while the Judeo-Christian side, morally weak and increasingly secular, seeks a political and/or military solution to contain or roll back the jihadists. Some see this war as the latest chapter in a sporadic yet titanic conflict between the two predominant religions on earth, which had lain mostly dormant since the Spanish ousted the Moors from Europe in 1492.

On May 27, 2004, AgapePress reported in "Communist Asia, Mid-East Countries Top Church Persecution Charts" by Allie Martin and Jenni Parker on the primary international culprits:

On a list of the 50 countries around the world where persecution of Christians is greatest, North Korea is the leader of the pack.

Each year Open Doors, a ministry to the persecuted Church, compiles a world watch list of countries where Christian believers face the most severe persecution. North Korea topped the most recent list, followed by Saudi Arabia, Laos, the central highlands of Vietnam, and Iran.

Also included in the top ten worst countries is Burma, which has no constitution or laws to protect freedom of religion. Open Doors' Jerry Dykstra says the government of Burma favors Buddhists but treats Christians harshly.

"Christian homes and churches have been burned down," Dykstra notes, "especially among the ethnic tribes—persecution is really high. The government there is very restrictive, very wary of Christians. Christians suffer. They are not awarded jobs, and sometimes they don't get benefits." . . .

China also made the ministry's top ten list, Dykstra says. Persecution has not lessened under the new president, Hu Jintao, despite public commitments to human rights and religious freedom. In that communist nation, where Christians are required to register with the official state church, those believers who resist government control over their religious life must often face harassment by the police, detention, beatings, and torture, and other forms of government intimidation.

Nevertheless, we tend to think of Christian persecution and martyrdom in the past tense, believing that modern ideas of religious freedom and tolerance make such murderous events impossible today. However, to reach such a conclusion would be a mistake. Not only are professing Christians currently undergoing discrimination and maltreatment even in America—as extensively documented in David Limbaugh's recent book, Persecution—but the Bible promises us that large-scale persecutions and martyrdoms of the saints will also take place before Christ's return. We find this plainly prophesied in the fifth seal of Revelation 6:9-11.

Souls of the Slain

After Christ opens the fifth seal, the apostle John sees "under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held" (verse 9). No galloping horses or deadly riders appear in this seal, and their absence immediately sets this one apart from the previous four. There is no inviting, "Come and see," or expectant, "And I looked, and behold," but just a plain narrative describing his vision. In fact, the tone is so matter-of-fact as to be somber, befitting its subject.

The first striking detail is "the altar" with the definite article. That it is not further defined suggests that it has already been mentioned or that the reader is expected to know what it is. However, this verse contains the first mention of an altar in the book of Revelation. An altar is mentioned an additional seven times in the book, and in six of them, it refers to the golden incense altar that stands before the throne of God in heaven (see Revelation 8:3-5; 9:13; 14:18; 16:7). The only exception to this appears in Revelation 11:1, in which John is told to "measure the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship there," seeming to refer to evaluating the church, its ministers, and its worship in preparation for the work of the Two Witnesses. The "altar" of Revelation 6:9, with the prayerful souls of martyrs under it, conforms to the rule, not the exception.

The word "souls" (psuchás, plural of psuché) also requires explanation, as the Greek word is far too complex in meaning to define facilely as a person's immortal essence, as most Catholics and Protestants are wont to do. Its basic meaning is "breath," and is thus equivalent to the Hebrew nephesh and Latin anima (as in English "animal" and "animate"). One of its uses is as the New Testament version of what Genesis 2:7 calls "the breath of life," that is, the vital force that makes a body live: "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being [nephesh]." Luke 12:20 and Acts 20:10 use psuché in this manner.

From this basic meaning derives its extensions: as "life" (see Matthew 6:25; John 10:11; Philippians 2:30; Revelation 12:11) and "living being" (see I Corinthians 15:45; Revelation 16:3). In addition, psuché can refer to the seat of emotion, will, and desire, whereas we would use the terms "heart," "mind," "personality," or "being" today (see Luke 1:46; Acts 14:2, 22; Hebrews 6:19; II Peter 2:14). In a similar sense, it can also identify man's moral and spiritual life (see Hebrews 13:17; I Peter 1:22; 2:11, 25; 4:19; III John 2).

Some try to read immortality into certain biblical uses of psuché (for instance, Acts 2:27, 31; II Corinthians 1:23; Revelation 20:4), but the Bible does not support such an interpretation. In fact, in one of these, Matthew 10:28, Jesus confirms that souls can indeed be destroyed (also supported by the Old Testament in Job 33:22; Ezekiel 18:4, 20)! One must consult extrabiblical sources (such as Plato, Xenophon, Herodotus, and other Greek writers) to find usages of psuché that define "the soul as an essence which differs from the body and is not dissolved by death" (Thayer's Lexicon).

How then is this word used in Revelation 6:9? We must remember that John is viewing a vision (Revelation 1:10), a symbolic representation for mortal eyes and minds of future events, not reality. One cannot see a person's actual soul, that is, his being, his life, so what John saw were representations of those who had been martyred. He probably literally saw bodies (Greek soma) under the altar but chose to identify them as psuchás, "lives" or "persons," because, as the next verses show, the vision depicts them speaking and receiving clothing, things a person can do only while alive.

The important point to remember is that John specifically identifies them as having been "slain"—they are dead—and the Bible elsewhere shows that "the dead know nothing" (Ecclesiastes 9:5) and cannot work, plan, learn, or pursue any activity in the grave (verse 10). Thus, John, a Hebrew, is using psuché in the same sense as Old Testament writers sometimes use nephesh, as "dead body," a being that once had life (see Leviticus 21:11; Numbers 6:6; 9:6-7, 10; 19:11, 13; Haggai 2:13).

Word and Testimony

The apostle John tells why these saints suffered martyrdom: "for the word of God and for the testimony which they held." For John, these two are important elements, and they occur several times in Revelation. In opening the book, the apostle contends that he himself "bore witness to the word of God, and to the testimony of Jesus Christ" in Revelation 1:2, and in verse 9 he says he "was on the island that is called Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ." Later, when observing a vision of God's people contending with Satan, he writes, "And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death" (Revelation 12:11). A statement similar to Revelation 6:9 appears in Revelation 20:4: "And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God."

The first element, the word of God, is straightforward: It is the truth, the inspired revelation of God, that we find today in the Bible. For John and many in the first century, it was the Old Testament combined with the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. Only later was this supplemented by the epistles of the apostles, Acts, and Revelation. (No one can be certain when the authoritative canon was compiled, but all the components were likely in place by the time John died. Using Isaiah 8:16, some believe that he authorized the present canon before his death, c. ad 100.) Unlike many today, these martyrs of the fifth seal do not take God's Word for granted, believing instead that its message is personally vital, current, and authoritative, and they are willing to die rather than compromise with its instruction.

The second element, the testimony which they held, can seem to some to be more complex. The key word, testimony, is the Greek word marturían, which means either "the act or office of testifying" or "what one testifies." In modern terms, it is either the giving of evidence, as before a judge in a courtroom, or the evidence itself. The word witness is similarly used, as, for instance, the Two Witnesses of Revelation 11 are called mártusín ("witnesses" or "martyrs"), a related word. Their "testimony," then, is evidence they give or a witness they provide.

We should not forget the final phrase, "which they held," as it adds definition and emphasis to their testimony. The evidence they give means something special to them! It is not as if they witnessed an auto accident and, as unbiased bystanders, simply testified about how it happened. Their testimony is something so precious that they hold it fast, bear it, maintain it, keep it in trust, possess it, consider it, believe it, and adhere to it.

How do they give their testimony? It could be different for each one, but notice Jesus' interpretation of this seal in Luke 21:12-19:

But before all these things [the heavenly signs of the sixth seal], they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and rulers for My name's sake. But it will turn out for you as an occasion for testimony. Therefore settle it in your hearts not to meditate beforehand on what you will answer; for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist. You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relatives and friends; and they will send some of you to your death. And you will be hated by all for My name's sake. But not a hair of your head shall be lost. In your patience possess your souls.

He specifically mentions testifying before religious authorities, in prisons, and before secular leaders. These are the "classic" occasions for witnessing of the truth, all of which are reported as happening to the apostles in the book of Acts. He also hints at other ways of testifying, more personal ones that involve relatives and "friends" seeing a Christian practicing his beliefs or hearing him propounding the truth, and betraying him to the authorities.

Hebrews 11 gives multiple examples of the heroes of faith making a witness of the true God and His way. Abel, for example, bore witness by making an acceptable sacrifice (verse 4). Enoch's translation was witness that He pleased God (verse 5). Noah's obedience in constructing the ark bore witness of his faith (verse 7). Abraham testified of his allegiance in many ways: leaving Ur (verse 8), dwelling in tents in Canaan (verse 9), and sacrificing Isaac (verse 17). Sarah, too, testified by conceiving and bearing the promised son, Isaac (verse 11). Later, Moses showed his faith by refusing royal rank (verse 24), forsaking Egypt (verse 27), and keeping the Passover (verse 28).

Likewise, we give testimony of our devotion to God and our beliefs in simple, everyday acts, many of which we probably never consider to be witnessing. We make a witness to other members of our families with our every word, act, and decision. We witness of our adherence to law in our public activities, from driving our cars to paying our taxes. Our diligence and thoroughness on the job testify of our godly character or lack thereof. One could go so far as to say that everything we say and do that is witnessed by others shouts out the testimony that we hold.

Are we, like these martyred saints, willing to lay down our lives for God's Word and our beliefs? It may never come to that for any of us personally, but do we have the sacrificial attitude applauded by Revelation 6:11 and many other New Testament verses? Do we value God's revelation of His way of life highly enough to defend it despite the cost? Do we, as Jesus warns in Luke 14:26, "hate" our lives enough to be His disciples?

© 2004 Church of the Great God
PO Box 471846
Charlotte, NC  28247-1846
(803) 802-7075


The Fifth Seal (Part Two)

by Richard T. Ritenbaugh
Forerunner, "Prophecy Watch," November 2004


"When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar
the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held.
And they cried with a loud voice, saying,
'How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?'
And a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer,
until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed."

Revelation 6:9-11

Persecution and martyrdom are not popular topics among Christians today, but they are facts of Christian life. Whether they reach the depths of Nero's or Domitian's persecutions of the saints in the church's first century or whether they are "merely" employment problems or social snubs, they still exist. They still hurt. They still take their toll.

In the New Testament, the apostles approach the subject of persecution courageously but matter-of-factly. To our eyes, looking back over the centuries to what we perceive to be a brutal, inhuman time, they come across as resigned to its eventual occurrence, and this should not be unexpected, since they had already endured a great deal of it personally and anticipated that it would strike most other Christians in due course. They certainly did not relish its appearance, but they considered it in the same vein we look at traffic-snarling accidents on our daily commute—as part of the journey to be endured with dignity and patience.

The apostle Paul—who suffered more than his fair share of persecution, even to near-death a few times (see his list in II Corinthians 11:23-28)—is known for a couple of such statements. In Acts 14:22, just after being stoned by Jews in Lystra, he and Barnabas are attributed as saying encouragingly, "We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God." At the other end of his ministry, imprisoned and awaiting trial before Nero, Paul writes Timothy, ". . . what persecutions I endured. And out of them all the Lord delivered me. Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution" (II Timothy 3:11-12). It is a given, he says, that the practice of true Christianity will attract persecution.

In his epistles too, Peter advises Christians to suffer their expected persecutions with joy, faith, grace, and patience:

For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully. For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer for it, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps. . . . (I Peter 2:19-21)

But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you are blessed. "And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled." . . . For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good, than for doing evil. (I Peter 3:14, 17)

Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try [test] you, as though some strange thing happened to you, but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings. . . . If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. . . . Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter. . . . Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator. (I Peter 4:12-14, 16, 19)

This is exactly what Jesus Himself taught during His ministry. He says in the Sermon on the Mount:

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:10-12)

Later, speaking to His disciples before His arrest, He warns:

If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. . . . If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. (John 15:18-20).

They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service. And these things they will do to you because they have not known the Father nor Me. . . . These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. (John 16:2-3, 33)

So it is no wonder that the fifth seal concerns persecution and martyrdom. A world deceived by false religion and racked by wars, famines, and diseases, can be expected to lash out at those who teach and live a different and better way, the way of God.

How long, O Lord?"

In his vision, the apostle John hears the souls under the altar beseech God, "How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?" (Revelation 6:10). Theirs is not a bloodthirsty cry for vengeance, as some have seen it, since this does not accord with Christian character (Romans 12:19-21), but a call for justice or judgment—a major theme of the seals—as well as a question about the proximity of Christ's return. It is well known that at His second coming, He will both reward His saints and judge His enemies (see Matthew 24:30-31; Revelation 11:15-18; Joel 3:9-17; Zechariah 14:1-5).

This plaintive cry, "How long . . .?" is a New Testament echo of the Old Testament prophets, many of whom were persecuted and slain for their testimony. The psalmists use it most frequently: from David in Psalm 13:1 ("How long, O Lord? Will You forget me forever?") to Asaph in Psalm 74:10 ("O God, how long will the adversary reproach?") to Moses in Psalm 90:13 ("Return, O Lord! How long? And have compassion on Your servants"). Even Ethan the Ezrahite gets in on the act: "How long, Lord? Will You hide Yourself forever? Will Your wrath burn like fire?" (Psalm 89:46; see also Psalm 6:3; 35:17; 79:5; 80:4; 94:3).

This question continues in both the major and minor prophets. Isaiah writes, "Then I said, 'Lord, how long?' And He answered: 'Until the cities are laid waste and without inhabitant, the houses are without a man, the land is utterly desolate. . .'" (Isaiah 6:11). Later, Habakkuk asks, "O Lord, how long shall I cry, and You will not hear? Even cry out to You, 'Violence!' and You will not save" (Habakkuk 1:2; see also Daniel 12:6; Zechariah 1:12). "How long?" has been a constant prayer to God through the ages, especially during times of great distress, particularly when God's servants are under intense persecution, when the surrounding culture has reached its nadir and the nation is ripe for judgment, or as it often works out, when both are happening simultaneously.

The intent of the request in Revelation 6:10 is for an indication from God of how long the saints have to endure the worst that Satan-inspired humanity can throw at them before He acts on their behalf as He has promised. As early as Deuteronomy 32:43, the conclusion of the Song of Moses, it is promised, "Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people; for He will avenge the blood of His servants, and render vengeance to His adversaries." Jesus Himself promises, "And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily" (Luke 18:7-8). Paul later expands this considerably:

. . . it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed. (II Thessalonians 1:6-10)

There is never a doubt about God's eventual intervention to avenge the deaths of His saints. God's promises are sure (Isaiah 46:11; 55:11; Matthew 24:35; John 10:35). Obviously, "How long, O Lord . . .?" is a query about the duration of events until God intervenes, and the souls under the altar ask it, not in impatience or exasperation, but in anticipation of the end of the saints' tribulations and of the receipt of their reward.

In reading this, however, we must not forget that these martyred saints are dead, resting in their graves, as Revelation 6:11 confirms. Thus, the answer to their question is not for them—they know nothing (Ecclesiastes 9:5), their testimony having finished in death (Acts 20:24; II Timothy 4:7; Revelation 11:7)—but for living saints, who will undergo persecution and eventual martyrdom.

God's Answer

Before God answers them, they are each given a white robe in Revelation 6:11. Much has been made of the fact that this robe is a stolé, a long, stately, often status-indicating garment, while the overcomer in Sardis receives a white himation, an ordinary outer garment like a cape or cloak (Revelation 3:5). This distinction should not be taken too far, as Christ Himself returns in a himation dipped in blood (Revelation 19:13), not a stolé. The important element is that the robe is white, the color of purity and righteousness, as well as joy, victory, and perfection (see "The Four Horsemen (Part Two): The White Horse," Forerunner, May 2004. p. 12). The giving of a white robe, formal or common, is a symbol of salvation for these martyred Christians.

Finally, God responds to their question: ". . . it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed." The immediate answer, "a little while longer" (literally, "yet a little time"), is ambiguously short-range. At this point in the prophetic timeline as we have learned it—the Great Tribulation has just commenced—this uncertain period is probably at most three and a half years long.

Yet, because Revelation was written to the church late in the first century—more than nineteen hundred years ago—this comforting and expectant phrase implies a longer duration for Christians through the ages since then. II Peter 3:8 reminds us "that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." There is even biblical backing to regard the day of the Lord as the whole period since Christ's first advent nearly two millennia ago! Written around the same time as Revelation, I John 2:18 goes even further: "[W]e know it is the last hour"! Certainly, God marks time differently than we do. Nevertheless, the phraseology assures us that, though it is still future, God's vengeance will fall justly on the guilty, and His saints will be free of suffering and receive their promised reward.

The explanatory material that fills out the remainder of the verse provokes varied interpretation. The reason for this is that two similar but variant readings of "was completed" have come down to us in the manuscripts: plerothosin and plerososin. The former is aorist passive, meaning, as in the New King James Version, that "the number of their fellow servants . . . was completed," while the latter is plain aorist, changing the sense to either "their fellow servants . . . should be complete" (less likely, according to the experts) or they "should complete [their course]" or "should fulfill [their calling]."

Yet, this may all be just a semantic argument. By using italics, most Bibles make it clear that the number of is not in the Greek text but has been supplied by the translators. This was done to conform to their misunderstanding of the passive form, plerothosin. Since mainstream Christians, including translators, do not believe in the biblical doctrine of sanctification as a lifelong process—in cooperation with God—of spiritual growth toward perfection, translations of this verse contain a built-in bias toward a certain number being saved by grace alone through faith rather than those whom God calls being transformed into the image of Christ through grace and works. Thus, they insert the italicized phrase unnecessarily to preclude the idea of Christian works—despite the fact that the entire passage exalts the particular works of witnessing and martyrdom!

Nevertheless, the verb—whichever is chosen as the better of the two—appears in the plural form, as it refers to its plural subjects, "servants and . . . brethren." "Number" is singular. This provides additional proof that Revelation 6:11 is not referring to a specific number of martyrs but simply that others either will be completed or will complete their calling through martyrdom. The latter half of the verse, then, is better rendered, ". . . until their fellow servants and their brethren, who are to be killed as they were, should also be complete [or, should also complete (their course)]." In other words, whether passively or actively, more sons and daughters will come to perfection through suffering and death, just as God's Firstborn Son did as our Forerunner (Hebrews 2:9-11).

Vengeance Is Coming

Like the first four seals, the fifth is a judgment "on those who dwell on the earth" (Revelation 6:10). We are distracted from this because the action focuses on Christian martyrs who have endured the hostility of men and women who, as spiritual children of Satan (John 8:38, 41, 44), have accepted this world's anti-God attitudes and beliefs. Yet, judgment is present, appearing in God's promise that, because He is the "[Sovereign] Lord, holy and true," He will judge and avenge His faithful servants. Time may pass before this is accomplished, but it is assured.

As this world continues its downward spiral toward the end, Christians can take comfort in this otherwise horrific prophecy. Some of us may be called upon to pay the ultimate price to witness before the world of God's truth and way of life, but it is made "easier" knowing that God will not let it go unpunished and unrewarded. With God's faithful assurance backing us, we can "rest"—be at peace or at ease—knowing our sacrifice will not be in vain.

© 2004 Church of the Great God
PO Box 471846
Charlotte, NC  28247-1846
(803) 802-7075


Psalm 11: Confidence in God's Power

Jason Dulle


Translation of Psalm 11

11:1 (For the music director, by David) In YHWH I take shelter. How are you saying to my soul, "Flee1 to your mountain like a bird 11:2 For behold the wicked have prepared a bow, they have made ready their arrows on the strings, to shoot in the darkness at the upright heart. 11:3 For the foundations are being overthrown.2 What can the righteous do?"3 11:4 YHWH is in his holy temple,YHWH’s throne is in heaven; His eyes are beholding,4 His eyelids are examining the sons of men. 11:5 YHWH is examining the righteous, but the wicked5 and those who love violence his soul hates. 11:6 May he rain6 on the wicked, traps, fire and brimstone, And a scorching wind will be what they deserve.7 11:7 For YHWH is righteous, he loves righteousness; the righteous will behold his face.


The author of Hebrews exhorted those whose faith in Christ was wavering, "Do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward" (Hebrews 10:35). He went on to point out that the Lord would perform His promises, but that the Righteous need to live by faith to the fulfillment of that promise (vs. 37-38). Confidence in the power and goodness of God are absolutely essential to the life of a godly man or woman. Confidence is the by-product of the faith, much as fire is the result of an initial spark. Psalm 11 is an account of one man’s confidence in YHWH.

This psalm 11 is classified as "trust of the individual." In this psalm, only one person is in the foreground. Although there are a group of people who are represented as the antagonists to faith in God, there is only one man who is expressing trust in God. The focus of the psalm is on the trust of this one individual, presumably David.

That David is the author is taken from the Hebrew superscription at the beginning of the psalm, lamnatseach ldawid. The lameds (l) at the beginning of both words seem to indicate to and from. Habakkuk 3:1 uses the lamed in this fashion. Extrabiblically, the Samaria Ostraca and Lachish Letters, which are potsherds and dockets from the days of the divided monarchy, also verify this usage.8 According to the superscription then, this psalm was written to the chief musician, from David.

The Situation

From the internal evidence of the psalm, we are able to construct the basic situation which lay behind David’s writing of this psalm. The wicked enemies of David were preparing to attack his armies. There were those in David’s own camp (the Righteous) who were saying to him that he should run to his mountain, presumably Jerusalem (Mount Zion). The psalmist rejects the advice to flee from his dangerous enemies, even though it looked like the Righteous had no foundation to stand on. In response to their question of what the Righteous would do if their foundation were destroyed, David asserts that the Righteous would stand. Instead of fleeing from the ensuing battle to seek refuge in the safety of his mountain, David chose to seek refuge in the YHWH. David reminded his advice-givers that they need not fear because their God’s throne was in heaven, in His holy temple. He was aware of the Israelites’ situation, and was on their side. God would test the Righteous, but he hated those who were evil, loving ethical violence. David affirmed his confidence in God’s just character. Finally David, by faith, wishes that God would judge his enemies, and calls down judgment on evildoers. He had confidence that this desire of his would come to pass because YHWH loves righteousness. The Israelites could rest assured that those who were righteous would behold God’s face in the time of their calamity. He would show them favor and mercy, delivering them from their calamity.


The following synthesis will provide a basic overview of the psalm:


Even in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles, including evil oppression and ill-advice, we need not flee to our earthly fortresses of safety. We can take refuge in the YHWH to see that the righteous are upheld, and the wicked are punished for their evil.


      1. The Psalmist states His trust in YHWH and the advice of the Fearful Righteous (1-3).

        1. Expression of trust in YHWH (1a).

        2. The Fearful’s advice to flee (1b).

        3. The Fearful rehearse the activity of the Wicked (2).

        4. The Fearful express their concern for the fate of the Righteous (3).

      2. The Psalmist explicates the reasons he trusts in YHWH (4-7).

        1. YHWH is in heaven beholding all that is going on (4).

        2. YHWH is aware of who the Righteous and Wicked are, and He hates the Wicked (5).

        3. The Psalmist expresses his desire for the judgment of the Wicked (6).

        4. The character of YHWH is called upon to substantiate David’s claims (7a)

III. The Psalmist states the outcome of the fate of the Righteous—they will behold God’s face (7b).

Exegetical Exposition

YHWH is Our Refuge in Whom We Can Trust

The opening phrase of the psalm expresses trust in YWHW. David does not start His psalm with the doubt of the Fearful Righteous, but with an expression of His confidence in God. He openly and boldly sets the stage for the verses to come. There is no mistaking the faith of the Psalmist. We are not presented first with the problem, and left wondering what the Psalmist’s response will be, but are told right up front the spiritual vision of the Psalmist.

David claimed that the Lord was his refuge. The Hebrew word translated as refuge is gasah. This word is used sometimes in a literal sense, meaning to take shelter or refuge (Isaiah 4:6; 25:4; Job 24:8), but is more often used figuratively of seeking refuge in God, putting confident trust in Him. The Septuagint (LXX) translates this Hebrew word with peitho, meaning "trust" or "confidence." David sought refuge in YHWH, putting His trust in Him.

The Fearful Righteous Lose Confidence in Their God

When seeing the array of the enemy, some within David’s camp thought of turning back to seek refuge in Mount Zion, and desired to persuade David to think the same. They said to him, "Flee to your mountain like a bird." When a bird is in danger, it never tries to fend for itself on the ground, but immediately and swiftly flies away seeking a safe place to land away from harm’s way. The Fearful tempted David to turn his back on his trust in YHWH and fend for himself. The reason for such a statement to David could only come from those who were not looking to the God in heaven, which is where their help would come from (Psalm 121:1-2).

The Wicked Prepare an Attack on the Righteous

Having stated their case to David to flee, the Fearful Righteous begin to frantically state their case. They see the impending danger coming to meet them face to face, and realize there is not much time left. If David is going to flee, he must do so quickly. The wicked have prepared their bows, are placing their arrows on the string, and are ready to fire. They are at the last stage before discharging their attack.9

There is a sense of despair in the speech of the Fearful. They are ready to flee, and David probably contemplates doing so himself. The enemies are already arming their weapons. To stand firm and courageous would be to offer a target to the Wicked.10 Surely it would be easier to flee from the arrows shot in the dark than to stand and face them.

This phrase "to shoot in the darkness" implies that the enemy hoped to accomplish the defeat of David and his men without being seen.11 Although this was their plan, David knew that the eyes of the Lord were beholding their plans (v. 4). Surely the devices of the enemy would fail.

The "upright in heart" which the Wicked desired to shoot were none other than the children of Israel. The heart is here viewed as the seat of one’s moral character and motives. The "pure of heart" are God’s faithful followers who trust in and love the Lord and, as a result, experience his deliverance (Psalm 7:10; 32:11; 36:10; 64:10; 94:15; 97:11).

The dread of the Fearful was that the foundations were being overthrown. Overthrown is in the imperfect, indicating that the action was in process. These foundations seem to be that of the society of the righteous. I say seem because the Hebrew word translated foundations is not common.12 It is the name Seth, which accounts for nine of its twelve occurrences. It only appears elsewhere in the OT in II Samuel 10:4 and Isaiah 19:10 where it is translated as "buttocks." An Aramaic cognate of this word is used to describe the base of a mountain. David’s men believed that these Wicked men were about to destroy the very foundation of all that the righteous knew. It was in the wake of this fear that the Fearful asked, "What can the righteous do?"13

Confidence in YHWH Proclaimed

During David’s exposition of confidence in God, it should be noted that he never spoke to God directly. He only spoke about God to the Fearful. David never uttered a prayer to God for deliverance, but did express to the Faithful, his desire for the outcome of the Wicked.

David begins to give reasons for trusting in YHWH. First, David is assured that YHWH is in his holy temple, where His throne is too. The reference to the temple is not based off of the Temple in Jerusalem, for it had not yet been built. The Mosaic tabernacle was still being used at this time. This imagery of God on His throne in heaven signifies God’s transcendence over the affairs of man.14 His throne signifies His royal rule over all mankind. He is in control of the chaos that David is being presented with.

God is not blind to what is going on, but "His eyes are beholding, and His eyelids are examining the sons of men." The Hebrew word bachan, translated as examine or test, is used of the process silver or gold undergoes for purification (Jeremiah 6:27-30; 9:7; Psalm 7:9).15 Furthermore, this Hebrew word appears in the imperfect, stressing the process of examining men. God is continually examining the sons of men to see whether they are righteous or wicked. Because God is examining and testing men, He knows who is on His side and who is not.

David relied on this truth for assurance that God would be against the Wicked. God examines everyone including the Righteous, but it is with the Wicked and those who love violence that God hates. When the Wicked are observed and tried by God, the result is far different than when He tries the Righteous.

David, knowing that YHWH was against the Wicked, expresses his desire that YWHW would pour out on the Wicked, traps, fire and burning sulfur, and a scorching wind. The traps are figurative of difficulties and troubles that would befall the Wicked that would hinder their plans.16 The fire and burning sulfur would be used to destroy David’s enemies in the same way that God used fire and burning sulfur to destroy Sodom and Gomorra. The scorching wind seems to be a reference to scirocco winds which blow through Israel during the seasonal changes from spring to summer, and from summer to fall. It brings in oppressive heats from the desert.17 It’s effects are devastating, destroying vegetation by turning it into parched, withered plants overnight.18 This hot wind is known in Israel today as hamsin (Arabic) or sharab (Hebrew). This scorching wind is what the Wicked deserve. Their judgment is compared to an allotted portion of a beverage that is poured into someone’s drinking cup. This same imagery is used in other Scriptures also (Psalm 16:5; 23:5; Isaiah 51:17; Jeremiah 25:15). The portion that the Wicked would receive would be that which was due them.

The Righteous Will Behold God’s Face

David’s final reason for believing that YWHW would deliver him from the Wicked was rooted in God’s character. YHWH is righteous, and he loves righteous deeds.19 Since David and the Israelites were righteous, they could be assured that God would side with them, and against the Wicked and lovers of violence. God’s character would not allow the Righteous to be destroyed by the Wicked.

David’s final words consist of a confession of faith that "the righteous will behold his face."20 The words do not necessarily mean that the Israelites would see a theophany of God, nor do they meant that this beholding of God’s face was to be in the eschaton.21 To "see" God’s "face" means to have access to his presence and to experience his favor (Psalm 17:15; Job 33:26). This phrase seems to be speaking of the impending vindication that the Righteous would receive from God. It would be in this deliverance from the Wicked that the Israelites would behold the face of God. At that time they would see a clear vision of His righteousness and power.


Sometimes there are circumstances in which it would be wise to flee from adversity. Jesus Himself fled from His enemies, and instructed His disciples to do so likewise (Matthew 10:23; John 10:39). At times, flight may be the will of God. Fleeing from the Wicked or evil does not always indicate a lack of confidence in God’s ability to deliver. On this occasion David was assured that it was the will of God that he stay and face the Wicked. Even though the Fearful’s advice to flee was logical and reasonable, David had an eye of faith that could see beyond the reasonable. He believed in God, and thus spoke of his confidence to all those who doubted YHWH (Psalm 116:10).

In this journey of faith, we do not walk by sight, but by faith (II Corinthians 5:7). David understood this well. He looked to the God who dwells in the heavens for his help. He would not trust in the natural world, but looked to the spiritual world. He was faced with a choice as to who he would put his confidence in: man or God? David chose to put his confidence in YHWH. His confidence was not based in man or self, but in the omnipotent God who loves righteousness. David did not cast off his confidence, but remained steadfast to the end, trusting in YHWH’s powerful hand, rather than in His own.

Works Cited


Craigie, Peter C. Word Biblical Commentary. Vol. 19. Waco, TX: Word Books, 1983.

Rawlinson, G. The Pulpit Commentary. Vol. 8: The Psalms. H.D.M. Spence, Joseph Exell, eds. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, Reprint 1984.

Ross, Allen P. Principles of Hebrew Exegesis in the Psalms. Vol. 2. Unpublished notes from Hebrew Exegesis class taught at Dallas Theological Seminary in Dallas, TX, 1983.

Van Gemeren, William A. Expositor’s Bible Commentary. Vol. 5. Frank E. Gaebelein, ed. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1991.




1. The Masoretic Text (MT) reads "flee [masculine plural] to your [masculine plural] mountain, bird [feminine singular]." Taking "bird" to be a vocative, the literal reading of the MT is, "Flee, O bird, to your mountain. Some have suggested that this is a proverbial expression used when warning a man to flee from impending danger (The Pulpit Commentary). This does not seem likely because there is no grammatical agreement between "bird" and "flee" and "mountain." "Bird" is singular, whereas the pronominal suffix and verb are plural. The Qere (marginal reading, which shows how the Jews were supposed to say the word) of the MT has "flee" in a feminine singular form, which agrees grammatically with the addressee, "bird." The Jews understood "bird" to be used as an accusative of manner, indicating how David and his army were to flee. This understanding is sustained in the reading of the LXX. The translators understood "flee" as a 2nd person singular verb, agreeing with the singular "bird." They understood "bird" to be used for comparison, using the particle hos. This reading is also held by the author. <back>
2. In the Niphil haras carries the idea of "overthrow." See Proverbs 11:11; Jeremiah 31:40. This word is in the imperfect stressing the progress of the action. The foundations were in the process of being overthrown. <back>
3. This verb appears in the qal. The qal form only appears in the poetic literature. <back>
4. The LXX adds the word eis ton peneta, meaning "the poor or needy person." This may represent an earlier Hebrew text that dropped out of use, or a variant reading of the Hebrew that was translated into the LXX. <back>
5. Some versions render connect this phrase to the end of the prior phrase so that it reads, "The Lord examines the righteous and the wicked…". I believe the context, along with the fact that there are two waw particle conjunctions in a row, indicate that there is a contrast being made between what God does with the righteous and what He does with the wicked. The "wicked" and "those who love violence" are synonymous parallels, both indicating the class of people that the Lord hates. <back>
6. This is a jussive form, indicating the wish of the author. <back>
7. Literally "the portion of their cup," meaning that portion which is rightfully deserved. <back>
8. Allen P. Ross, Principles of Hebrew Exegesis in the Psalms, Vol. 2 (unpublished notes from Hebrew Exegesis class taught at Dallas Theological Seminary in Dallas, TX, 1983), 22. <back>
9. G. Rawlinson, The Pulpit Commentary, Vol. 8: The Psalms, H.D.M. Spence, Joseph Exell, eds (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, Reprint 1984), 71. <back>
10. Peter C. Craigie, Word Biblical Commentary, Vol. 19 (Waco, TX: Word Books, 1983), 133. <back>
11. Ibid. <back>
12. The LXX does not use a noun for foundations, but the verb katariso, meaning "made." It reads, "That which you have made they have destroyed." It seems that the translators did not understand exactly what the foundations were, but figuring that they must have been created by God, chose to translate it in this generic sense. <back>
13. Most English translations agree with this rendering, however some render the Hebrew
tsadiq mah-pa'al as "What has the righteous done?". The LXX rendered the Hebrew phrase this way too. Grammatically this rendering is possible, but contextually the traditional rendering makes more sense. The Fearful were not questioning what they had done to deserve oppression from the Wicked, but were expressing their plight in the present situation. If they did not flee, the ready armies of the Wicked were about to destroy the foundations of the Righteous. The Fearful Righteous could not contemplate what they were going to do if this were to happen. They saw no other option than to flee from the Wicked. <back>
14. Ibid. <back>
15. William A. Van Gemeren, Expositor's Bible Commentary, Frank E. Gaebelein, ed. Vol. 5 (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1991), 133. <back>
16. The Pulpit Commentary, 72. <back>
17. Word Biblical Commentary, 134. <back>
18. Expositor's Bible Commentary, 133. <back>
19. The Hebrew word tsadiqoth is sometimes rendered simply as "righteousness." Although this rendering is acceptable, it seems better to understand this as "righteous deeds" because the word is in the plural, speaking of many 'righteousnesses' so to say. It seems apparent that it is many acts of righteousness, or righteous deeds. <back>
20. The singular subject ("upright") does not agree with the plural verb. However, collective singular nouns can be construed with a plural predicate. <back>
21. Word Biblical Commentary, 134. <back>





Have Faith in Tomorrow, Have Faith in God


For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.
Psalm 1:6 NIV

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 23:6 KJV

Cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you: He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.
Psalm 55:22 NASB

Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.
Psalm 62:8 NIV

In thee, O Lord, do I put my trust; let me never be put into confusion.
Psalm 71:1 KJV

Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
Proverbs 3:5-6 KJV

The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning. Great is Thy faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:22-23 NASB



Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
Matthew 6:34 KJV

For truly I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you shall say to this mountain, "Move from here to there" and it shall move; and nothing shall be impossible to you.
Matthew 17:20 NASB

When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee. (KJV)
Mark 2:5

For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.
Mark 6:23 KJV

For in the gospel a righteousness is being revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: "The righteous will live by faith."
Romans 1:17 NIV

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (KJV)
Romans 5:1

But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind.
James 1:6 NASB

Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.
I Corinthians 16:13 NASB

I can do everything through him that gives me strength.
Philippians 4:13 NIV

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Hebrews 11:1 KJV

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. (KJV)
Hebrews 11:5

For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. (KJV)
1 John 5:4


A Bible Lesson for Spiritual Faith


By Betsy Cobb Wise, published Jun 06, 2008


Many Christians consider the Abraham of the Bible as the father of spiritual faith. This Bible lesson summary will help us improve our lives as Christians as we look at the journey of the spiritual faith of Abraham as recorded in the Bible.

Abram Obeys God - Well, maybe

In Genesis 12, God instructed Abram to leave his homeland and get away from his kindred and go to another place. The spiritual faith of Abram is stretched in this circumstance because who wants to leave their home? Abram was not fully obedient because he took Lot with him, a nephew, considered kindred. In this Bible lesson, it is important to obey God fully when He gives a specific command for spiritual faith to grow.

Abram and Lot Separate

Strife begins between the herdsmen of both of these men so that they must depart from each other. Lot goes to the fertile plains of the Jordan River and Abram stayed in the land of Canaan. This Bible lesson points to where Abram did not fully obey God the first time. The Bible lesson here is there will be consequences for disobeying God (strife among people) and spiritual faith will be affected.

Abram's wife is Barren

God had already told Abram that He would give all the land from north, south, east and west to his descendants and that this seed would come from his body (see Genesis 15, 3-4). His wife, Sarai offers her handmaid, Hagar, to Abram so that the child will come through her. The third Bible lesson is to never step out ahead of God and try to bring His plans to pass. The Bible records that it was 15 years before God spoke to Abram again which would definitely affect a person's spiritual faith (Genesis 12:4, Genesis 17:1). Obviously, Abram didn't put up a fight when it came time to accept Hagar; however, Ishmael was sent away and the people in that region have been in strife to this day.



Hebrews 11:6

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. (NIV)

But without faith it is impossible to please and be satisfactory to Him. For whoever would come near to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and that He is the rewarder of those who earnestly and diligently seek Him [out]. (AMP)

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. (KJV)

Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

2 This is what the ancients were commended for.

3 By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.

4. By faith Abel brought God a better offering than Cain did. By faith he was commended as righteous, when God spoke well of his offerings. And by faith Abel still speaks, even though he is dead.

5 By faith Enoch was taken from this life, so that he did not experience death: "He could not be found, because God had taken him away." For before he was taken, he was commended as one who pleased God.

6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

7 By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.

8 By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.

9 By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. 10 For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.

11 And by faith even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise.

12 And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.

13 All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth.

14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own.

15 If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. (NIV)


3And in the course of time Cain brought to the Lord an offering of the fruit of the ground.    
4And Abel brought of the firstborn of his flock and of the fat portions. And the Lord had respect and regard for Abel and for his offering,    
But for Cain and his offering He had no respect or regard. So Cain was exceedingly angry and indignant, and he looked sad and depressed.    
And the Lord said to Cain, Why are you angry? And why do you look sad and depressed and dejected?    7If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin crouches at your door; its desire is for you, but you must master it.     
And Cain said to his brother, Let us go out to the field. And when they were in the field, Cain rose up against Abel his brother and killed him.  
And the Lord said to Cain, Where is Abel your brother?
And he said, I do not know. Am I my brother's keeper?    
And [the Lord] said, What have you done? The voice of your brother's blood is crying to Me from the ground.

zCopyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation       Amplified Bible (AMP)


  [Gen. 5:21-24.]

21   When Enoch was 65 years old, Methuselah was born.
22   Enoch walked [in habitual fellowship] with God after the birth of Methuselah 300 years and had other sons and daughters.
23   So all the days of Enoch were 365 years.
24   And Enoch walked [in habitual fellowship] with God; and he was not, for God took him [home with Him]. 

[Gen. 6:13-22.]

13God said to Noah, I intend to make an end of all flesh, for through men the land is filled with violence; and behold, I will destroy them and the land.
14 Make yourself an ark of gopher or cypress wood; make in it rooms (stalls, pens, coops, nests, cages, and compartments) and cover it inside and out with pitch (bitumen).
15 And this is the way you are to make it: the length of the ark shall be 300 cubits, its breadth 50 cubits, and its height 30 cubits [that is, 450 ft. x 75 ft. x 45 ft.]16  You shall make a roof or window [a place for light] for the ark and finish it to a cubit [at least 18 inches] above--and the door of the ark you shall put in the side of it; and you shall make it with lower, second, and third stories.
17  For behold, I, even I, will bring a flood of waters upon the earth to destroy and make putrid all flesh under the heavens in which are the breath and spirit of life; everything that is on the land shall die.
18  But I will establish My covenant (promise, pledge) with you, and you shall come into the ark--you and your sons and your wife and your sons' wives with you.
19  And of every living thing of all flesh [found on land], you shall bring two of every sort into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female.
20  Of fowls and birds according to their kinds, of beasts according to their kinds, of every creeping thing of the ground according to its kind--two of every sort shall come in with you, that they may be kept alive.
21  Also take with you every sort of food that is eaten, and you shall collect and store it up, and it shall serve as food for you and for them.
22Noah did this; he did all that God commanded him.


  1. Genesis 6:13 Enoch had warned these people (Jude 14, 15); Noah had preached righteousness to them (II Pet. 2:5); God's Spirit had been striving with them (Gen. 6:3). Yet they had rejected God and were without excuse.

  2. Genesis 6:16 Noah's ark possibly had a window area large enough to admit light and provide ventilation.

  3. Genesis 6:16 "Here can only be meant an entrance which was afterward closed, and only opened again at the end of the flood. And since there were three stories of the ark, the word is to be understood, perhaps, of three entrances capable of being closed, and to which there would have been constructed a way of access from the outside" (J.P. Lange, A Commentary on the Holy Scriptures).

[Gen. 12:1-8.]

NOW [in Haran] the Lord said to Abram, Go for yourself [for your own advantage] away from your country, from your relatives and your father's house, to the land that I will show you.
And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you [with abundant increase of favors] and make your name famous and distinguished, and you will be a blessing [dispensing good to others].
And I will bless those who bless you [who confer prosperity or happiness upon you] and curse him who curses or uses insolent language toward you; in you will all the families and kindred of the earth be blessed [and by you they will bless themselves].   
So Abram departed, as the Lord had directed him; and Lot [his nephew] went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he left Haran.
 Abram took Sarai his wife, and Lot his brother's son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the persons [servants] that they had acquired in Haran, and they went forth to go to the land of Canaan. When they came to the land of Canaan,
Abram passed through the land to the locality of Shechem, to the oak or terebinth tree of Moreh. And the Canaanite was then in the land.
Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, I will give this land to your posterity. So Abram built an altar there to the Lord, Who had appeared to him.
From there he pulled up [his tent pegs] and departed to the mountain on the east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east; and there he built an altar to the Lord and called upon the name of the Lord.


  1. Genesis 12:3 To look with disfavor on the Jews was to invite God's displeasure; to treat the Jews offensively was to incur His wrath. But to befriend the Jews was to bring down upon one's head the rewards of a promise that could not be broken.

10 For he was [waiting expectantly and confidently] looking forward to the city which has fixed and firm foundations, whose Architect and Builder is God.

11 Because of faith also Sarah herself received physical power to conceive a child, even when she was long past the age for it, because she considered [God] Who had given her the promise to be reliable and trustworthy and true to His word.

[Gen. 17:19]

19 But God said, Sarah, your wife shall bear you a son indeed, and you shall call his name Isaac [laughter]; and I will establish My covenant or solemn pledge with him for an everlasting covenant and with his posterity after him.

[Gen 18:11-14]

11 Now Abraham and Sarah were old, well advanced in years; it had ceased to be with Sarah as with [young] women. [She was past the age of childbearing].
12 Therefore Sarah laughed to herself, saying, After I have become aged shall I have pleasure and delight, my lord (husband), being old also?
13 And the Lord asked Abraham, Why did Sarah laugh, saying, Shall I really bear a child when I am so old?
14 Is anything too hard or too wonderful for the Lord? At the appointed time, when the season [for her delivery] comes around, I will return to you and Sarah shall have borne a son.   


  1. Genesis 18:14 The word "Lord" as applied to God is obviously the most important word in the Bible, for it occurs oftener than any other important word--by actual count more than 5,000 times. Nothing is "too hard or too wonderful" for Him when He is truly made Lord.

[Gen; 21:2]

For Sarah became pregnant and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time God had told him.

12 So from one man, though he was physically as good as dead, there have sprung descendants whose number is as the stars of heaven and as countless as the innumerable sands on the seashore.

[Gen. 15:5]

5  And He brought him outside [his tent into the starlight] and said, Look now toward the heavens and count the stars--if you are able to number them. Then He said to him, So shall your descendants be.
6And he [Abram] believed in (trusted in, relied on, remained steadfast to) the Lord, and He counted it to him as righteousness (right standing with God).

[Gen. 22:17]

17  In blessing I will bless you and in multiplying I will multiply your descendants like the stars of the heavens and like the sand on the seashore. And your Seed (Heir) will possess the gate of His enemies

[Gen. 32:12]

12  And You said, I will surely do you good and make your descendants as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.


13 These people all died controlled and sustained by their faith, but not having received the tangible fulfillment of [God's] promises, only having seen it and greeted it from a great distance by faith, and all the while acknowledging and confessing that they were strangers and temporary residents and exiles upon the earth.

[Gen. 23:4]

I am a stranger and a sojourner with you; give me property for a burial place among you, that I may bury my dead out of my sight.

[Ps. 39:12]

12  Hear my prayer, O Lord, and give ear to my cry; hold not Your peace at my tears! For I am Your passing guest, a temporary resident, as all my fathers were.

14 Now those people who talk as they did show plainly that they are in search of a fatherland (their own country).

15 If they had been thinking with [homesick] remembrance of that country from which they were emigrants, they would have found constant opportunity to return to it.


Finding the correct person named Dykstra is not an easy matter as there are so many people with that surname:  This is a worthy example:

Faith Development and Fowler by Craig Dykstra and Sharon Parks (Paperback - Nov 1986)

Buy new: $24.95

38 Used & new from $3.85

Growing in the Life of Faith: Education and Christian Practices

Dykstra, Craig

ISBN# 0664500331

publisher - Geneva Press, Louisville, KY

date- 1999

From the Publisher
Craig Dykstra worked with Rev. Dr. Dorothy Bass to write Practicing Our Faith -- another classic book high on the recommended reading list. Growing in the Life of Faith explores the areas of ministry and Christian education with flair, sensitivity, and an imaginative compassion that is sure to touch and inspire readers, ministers, and educators. Dykstra's compassionate stance and creative and subtle nuances, respectful of varying points of view without denigrating any and beign supportive of general enlightened approaches parallels his work in the Lilly Foundation. Theological Education.

Ministerial Formation
Religious Education

Iran's Secret Terror
Devoted Christians are being targeted because of their faith.
By Jerry Dykstra

Pastors and other Christians in Iran have given their lives for their faith in Jesus Christ.

In November 2005, Ghorban Dordi Tourani, a 53-year-old Muslim convert to Christianity, was arrested by the secret police. A few hours later, his stabbed and bloody body was thrown in front of his home in Gonbad-e-Kavus, where Tourani lived with his wife and four children, according to Compass Direct.

A year before his death, Tourani wrote this prayer: "Lord Jesus, please let me glorify Your holy name in every moment of my life. I am willing to give my life that belongs to You, for the sake of You and Your church."

Within days of Tourani's murder, representatives of Iran's dreaded secret police, the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS), arrested and severely tortured 10 other Christians in several cities and raided the homes of all known Christians in Tourani's town.

Christians report that persecution has increased markedly and that believers are experiencing greater hardship since the election of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in August 2005. He has pledged to restore an Islamic government in Iran. Islam is the official religion in Iran, and all laws and regulations must be consistent with the official interpretation of Shari'ah law.

Christian prisoners face strong psychological pressures, including threats to kill their family and other Christian believers, in order to force them to recant their Christian faith and return to Islam. Christians have lost their jobs and have had their shops shut down.

Still, a large group of Christians with a Muslim background continue to practice their newfound belief. One Christian worker said of the once-Muslim believers: "They aren't intimidated by the government and continue to spread the gospel. Muslims who came to the Lord in the past few years fear nothing and no one."

Persecution Report is presented in cooperation with Open Doors USA, which serves the Persecuted Church through training, Bible distribution, and community development. For more information,
call 1-888-5-BIBLE-5 or visit

Pray for:
• Christian converts from Islam who have been arrested and beaten.
• Freedom for people of all faiths.
• New church leaders to emerge.
• Praise for believers who remain strong in the Lord.

Copyright © 2007 by the author or Christianity Today International/Today's Christian magazine.
Click here for reprint information.

March/April 2007, Vol. 45, No. 2, page 53

Guilty of Faith in Christ
In Indonesia, Islamic extremists are making life hard for Christians.
By Jerry Dykstra

Credit: Courtesy of Open Doors Intl.

Prisoners of the Gospel: These three Indonesian women were sentenced to prison for running a Christian school.

On Sept. 1, 2005, an Indonesian court found Dr. Rebekka Zakaria, Eti Pangesti, and Ratna Bangun guilty of breaching the 2002 Child Protection Law and sentenced them to three years in prison.

The three were convicted simply for running a Christian education program for children in their community. Islamic leaders became angry when several Muslim children were attracted to the classes. Muslim fundamentalists then put pressure on the judges to convict the women while also threatening the women with death if they were released. They even brought caskets to the courthouse.

The conviction of the three Christian women is just the tip of the iceberg regarding the escalation of persecution in Indonesia, which has the world's largest Muslim population (172 million compared to 34 million Christians). Attacks on Christians in 2005 alone included the beheading of three girls from a private high school, the shooting of a man and woman leaving a church service, and a machete attack that killed one and left two more in serious condition. And on New Year's Eve, eight people were killed and 45 injured—mostly Christians—by a bomb that went off in a meat market in the Central Sulawesi town of Palu.

Indonesian media reported that over 150 churches have been destroyed or closed down in Jakarta and throughout the island of Java in recent years.

The increase of terrorism, intimidation, and persecution of Christians is part of the fundamentalist Muslims' goal to implement Shariah Law—strict Muslim law—throughout Indonesia.

Despite facing three years in prison and missing the companionship of their husbands and children, Rebekka, Eti, and Ratna are still preaching the gospel. They are leading worship in prison and have led several Muslim women to the Lord.

Rebekka said: "It is hard being here, but I know I am pleasing God by doing His work."

Persecution Report is presented in cooperation with Open Doors USA, which serves the Persecuted Church through training, Bible distribution, and community development. For more information, call 1-888-5-BIBLE-5 or visit

What to pray for:

• That the three imprisoned Christian women and their families will stand strong in their faith.

• That those who lost loved ones, homes, and jobs in the tsunami will not be forgotten while they continue to put their lives back together.

• Freedom of religion for people of all faiths.
Copyright © 2006 by the author or Christianity Today International/Today's Christian magazine.
Click here for reprint information.

May/June 2006, Vol. 44, No. 3, page 61

Synod 2006: Synod Appoints New Executive Director

by Gayla R. Postma

Synod 2006 voted unanimously to appoint Rev. Gerard L. “Jerry” Dykstra to lead the Christian Reformed Church in North America.

Dykstra told delegates his leadership style is modeled on the shepherds of the Bible such as Moses and David. “A shepherd doesn’t lead from the front or from behind,” he said. “The shepherd walks with the sheep, but he also knows where they’re going.”

Dykstra, 56, said that his vision for the church is a diverse family of healthy congregations. “My passion is for churches to become everything God meant them to be,” he said, “alive, vibrant, multiplying, reaching out, transforming lives and communities, not only in North America but around the world.”

Dykstra has been a minister in the CRC since 1990, serving congregations in Michigan and California. For the past year he has been the director of denominational ministries. He was the single nominee for the position of executive director and will take up the position July 1. He succeeds Rev. Peter Borgdorff, who is retiring.

After making the appointment, synod surrounded Rev. Dykstra and his wife, Linda, with prayer.

Excerpted from:



Ruth Bell Graham: A Legacy of Faith

Meghan Kleppinger


 June 18, 2007

"I must faithfully, patiently, lovingly, and happily do my part – then quietly wait for God to do His.”

Ruth Bell Graham, who died Thursday, said this in reference to being a mother, but she exhibited this patient, quiet strength and complete trust in her Creator throughout her life.   

Wife of world renowned evangelist Billy Graham, Ruth was called to be a mother and wife first, but Mrs. Graham was also an accomplished author and gifted poet in her own right. Christian women, especially the wives of pastors, are thankful for her contributions and credit her as an inspiration and role model. 

 Born to missionary parents in 1902, Ruth was raised through adolescence in China.  Moving to the U.S. when she was 17-years-old, she attended Wheaton College in Illinois where she majored in Bible and joined several evangelistic ministries. While there, she also met Billy Graham a fellow student and her future husband. They were married shortly after her graduation in 1943. 

In a statement released from Wheaton College Thursday, Dr. Duane Litfin, president of the school, remarked, “Strong, steady, and dauntless, Ruth Bell Graham was the glue that held the many of the parts of their lives together.”  Understanding the importance of his calling, Ruth joined Rev. Graham willingly in his ministry, though she preferred her role to behind the scenes.

Rev. Graham’s love and respect for his wife was evident in her final days.  In a statement released by Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) the day before her death, he said, “Ruth is my soul mate and best friend, and I cannot imagine living a single day without her by my side. I am more in love with her today than when we first met over 65 years ago as students at Wheaton College.”

Preaching year after year to millions of people through the Billy Graham Crusades, and serving as a spiritual counselor to political leaders, required much of Rev. Graham’s time and energy. While he was ministering to presidents and diplomats, Ruth was ministering to him.  Rev. Graham once said, “I have been asked the question, ‘Who do you go to for counsel, for spiritual guidance?’ My answer: my wife, Ruth. She is a great student of the Bible. Her life is ruled by the Bible more than any person I’ve ever known.”

Billy Graham was often on the road while Ruth remained the stable force back home.  Her presence left a lasting impression in the lives of her five children and 19 grandchildren, many of whom currently serve with the BGEA or other ministries. Ruth’s daughter Anne Graham Lotz, remarked on her mother’s example, “I believe that our heavenly Father, our Savior, saved my mother from loneliness because of her daily walk with the Lord Jesus – He was the love of her life. I saw that in her life. It was her love for the Lord Jesus, with whom she walks every day, that made me want to love Him and walk with Him like that.” 

Battling with the loneliness of an evangelist’s wife and the hardships of turbulent times, she spiritually recharged through prayer, Bible study, and writing.  In her book Footprints of a Pilgrim, she explained, “Sometimes, I wrote to capture a moment or reflect on a thought.  Sometimes, I wrote because I had to.  It was write or develop an ulcer.  I chose to write.” 

The poetry she wrote, books she authored,  lives she touched, husband she loved, and the godly children she raised, are all testaments to Mrs. Graham. Ruth Bell Graham left a godly heritage here on earth and a legacy vividly pointing to the God she loves, and the place she now calls home. 



How can I live the life of faith?

By offering yourself to God. Ideally we do this day by day. But sometimes we can't. Sometimes it is just too difficult or we are too distracted by all that is going on around us. At those times, we ask God to be patient with us until we can get back to offering ourselves to God.

I have a good friend who is a monk at a monastery in the middle of a large city. One day a woman was walking by the monastery. The monastery is enclosed so that all one sees is the chapel and a fence that separates the monastery from the outside world. On this day the woman saw my friend sweeping the steps of the chapel. She stopped and said, "You know, I have lived in this part of the city for years and have passed by this monastery for years, and I have always wondered about it." Pointing toward the cloistered buildings, she asked, "What is it that you all do in there?" He looked at her with the kind eyes that he has and said, "We fall down and we get up."

That is what the life of faith is about. We offer ourselves to God, for the glory of God. And we fall down and we get up.

--The Reverend John B. Fritschner

Lots and lots of people hate the story of Abraham taking his son Isaac up Mt. Moriah to kill him at God’s request. It seems cruel and nasty of God, and it’s hard to imagine how Abraham could have thought of complying with the request, even though God stops him before the deed is actually done.

This is a story from about 2000 BC that was passed down orally for centuries, and I think the original hearers heard different things. The purpose of telling this story is to show the incredible faith of Israel’s founding father. It’s a story that speaks of a test by God, which should clue us in that God never had Isaac’s death in mind. This is a test of Abraham’s faith.

It’s easy to get caught up in debating whether God should be doing such testing, but I think those discussions are missing the real truth in the story. This is a story of what it means to be completely faithful. It justifies God’s selection of Abraham as the person to take the word of God out to all nations, and his faith is touted throughout the millennia that follow.

Abraham puts God first…above everything else. We saw that he put God above himself when God first asks him to leave home and go to an unknown land. This is the ultimate test. Will Abraham put God’s desires before his only son? It’s not just a question of a father’s love for his son. Isaac is more than that. Isaac represents the promise of God to bless Abraham and to bless all the nations of the earth through him. Could he give that up? If he can, God can use him.

The question the story asks of us is, “What would stand in the way of my obedience to God’s commands?”

--The Rev. Anne Robertson




The integrity of the upright shall guide them but the perverseness of transgressors shall destroy them

The integrity
tummah  (toom-maw')
innocence -- integrity.

of the upright
yashar  (yaw-shawr')
straight -- convenient, equity, Jasher, just, meet(-est), + pleased well right(-eous), straight, (most) upright(-ly, -ness).

shall guide
nachah  (naw-khaw')
to guide; by implication, to transport (into exile, or as colonists) -- bestow, bring, govern, guide, lead (forth), put, straiten.

them but the perverseness
celeph  (seh'-lef)
distortion, i.e. (figuratively) viciousness -- perverseness.

of transgressors
bagad  (baw-gad')
to cover (with a garment); figuratively, to act covertly; by implication, to pillage

shall destroy
shadad  (shaw-dad')
to be burly, i.e. (figuratively) powerful (passively, impregnable); by implication, to ravage -- dead, destroy(-er), oppress, robber, spoil(-er), utterly, (lay) waste.


  • God is perfect in.
    Isaiah 26:7 The way of the just is uprightness: thou, most upright, dost weigh the path of the just.


  • God has pleasure in.
    1 Chronicles 29:17 I know also, my God, that thou triest the heart, and hast pleasure in uprightness. As for me, in the uprightness of mine heart I have willingly offered all these things: and now have I seen with joy thy people, which are present here, to offer willingly unto thee.


  • God created man in.
    Ecclesiastes 7:29 Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions.


  • Man has deviated from.
    Ecclesiastes 7:29 Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions.




    • Heart.
      2 Chronicles 29:34 But the priests were too few, so that they could not flay all the burnt offerings: wherefore their brethren the Levites did help them, till the work was ended, and until the other priests had sanctified themselves: for the Levites were more upright in heart to sanctify themselves than the priests.
      Psalms 125:4 Do good, O LORD, unto those that be good, and to them that are upright in their hearts.


    • Speech.
      Isaiah 33:15 He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil;


    • Walk.
      Proverbs 14:2 He that walketh in his uprightness feareth the LORD: but he that is perverse in his ways despiseth him.


    • Judging.
      Psalms 58:1 Do ye indeed speak righteousness, O congregation? do ye judge uprightly, O ye sons of men?
      Psalms 75:2 When I shall receive the congregation I will judge uprightly.


    • Ruling.
      Psalms 78:72 So he fed them according to the integrity of his heart; and guided them by the skilfulness of his hands.


  • The being kept from presumptuous sins is necessary to.
    Psalms 19:13 Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.


  • With poverty, is better than sin with riches.
    Proverbs 28:6 Better is the poor that walketh in his uprightness, than he that is perverse in his ways, though he be rich.


  • With poverty, is better than folly.
    Proverbs 19:1 Better is the poor that walketh in his integrity, than he that is perverse in his lips, and is a fool.




    • Fear God.
      Proverbs 14:2 He that walketh in his uprightness feareth the LORD: but he that is perverse in his ways despiseth him.


    • Song of Solomon 1:4 Draw me, we will run after thee: the king hath brought me into his chambers: we will be glad and rejoice in thee, we will remember thy love more than wine: the upright love thee.


    • Countenanced by God.
      Psalms 11:7 For the righteous LORD loveth righteousness; his countenance doth behold the upright.


    • Delighted in by God.
      Proverbs 11:20 They that are of a forward heart are abomination to the LORD: but such as are upright in their way are his delight.


    • Their prayer delighted in by God.
      Proverbs 15:8 The sacrifice of the wicked is an abomination to the LORD: but the prayer of the upright is his delight.


    • Prospered by God.
      Job 8:6 If thou wert pure and upright; surely now he would awake for thee, and make the habitation of thy righteousness prosperous.
      Proverbs 14:11 The house of the wicked shall be overthrown: but the tabernacle of the upright shall flourish.


    • Defended by God.
      Proverbs 2:7 He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly.


    • Upheld in it by God.
      Psalms 41:12 And as for me, thou upholdest me in mine integrity, and settest me before thy face for ever.


    • Recompensed by God.
      Psalms 18:23-24 I was also upright before him, and I kept myself from mine iniquity. Therefore hath the LORD recompensed me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his eyesight.


    • Find strength in God's way.
      Proverbs 10:29 The way of the LORD is strength to the upright: but destruction shall be to the workers of iniquity.


    • Obtain good from God's work.
      Micah 2:7 O thou that art named the house of Jacob, is the spirit of the LORD straitened? are these his doings? do not my words do good to him that walketh uprightly?


    • Obtain light in darkness.
      Psalms 112:4 Unto the upright there ariseth light in the darkness: he is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous.


    • Guided by integrity.
      Proverbs 11:3 The integrity of the upright shall guide them: but the perverseness of transgressors shall destroy them.


    • Walk surely.
      Proverbs 10:9 He that walketh uprightly walketh surely: but he that perverteth his ways shall be known.


    • Direct their way.
      Proverbs 21:29 A wicked man hardeneth his face: but as for the upright, he directeth his way.


    • Kept by righteousness.
      Proverbs 13:6 Righteousness keepeth him that is upright in the way: but wickedness overthroweth the sinner.


    • Scorned by the wicked.
      Job 12:4 I am as one mocked of his neighbour, who calleth upon God, and he answereth him: the just upright man is laughed to scorn.


    • Hated by the wicked.
      Proverbs 29:10 The bloodthirsty hate the upright: but the just seek his soul.
      Amos 5:10 They hate him that rebuketh in the gate, and they abhor him that speaketh uprightly.


    • Abominated by the wicked.
      Proverbs 29:21 He that delicately bringeth up his servant from a child shall have him become his son at the length.


    • Persecuted by the wicked.
      Psalms 37:14 The wicked have drawn out the sword, and have bent their bow, to cast down the poor and needy, and to slay such as be of upright conversation.


    • Praise is comely for.
      Psalms 33:1 Rejoice in the LORD, O ye righteous: for praise is comely for the upright.


    • A blessing to others.
      Proverbs 11:11 By the blessing of the upright the city is exalted: but it is overthrown by the mouth of the wicked.


  • The truly wise walk in.
    Proverbs 15:21 Folly is joy to him that is destitute of wisdom: but a man of understanding walketh uprightly.


  • The way of, is to depart from evil.
    Proverbs 16:17 The highway of the upright is to depart from evil: he that keepeth his way preserveth his soul.




    • Possess good things.
      Proverbs 28:10 Whoso causeth the righteous to go astray in an evil way, he shall fall himself into his own pit: but the upright shall have good things in possession.


    • Have nothing good withheld.
      Psalms 84:11 For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.


    • Dwell in the land.
      Proverbs 2:21 For the upright shall dwell in the land, and the perfect shall remain in it.


    • Dwell on high and be provided for.
      Isaiah 33:16 He shall dwell on high: his place of defence shall be the munitions of rocks: bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure.


    • Dwell with God.
      Psalms 15:2 He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart.
      Psalms 140:13 Surely the righteous shall give thanks unto thy name: the upright shall dwell in thy presence.


    • Be blessed.
      Psalms 112:2 His seed shall be mighty upon earth: the generation of the upright shall be blessed.


    • Be delivered by righteousness.
      Proverbs 11:6 The righteousness of the upright shall deliver them: but transgressors shall be taken in their own naughtiness.


    • Be delivered by their wisdom.
      Proverbs 12:6 The words of the wicked are to lie in wait for blood: but the mouth of the upright shall deliver them.


    • Be saved.
      Proverbs 28:18 Whoso walketh uprightly shall be saved: but he that is perverse in his ways shall fall at once.


    • Enter into peace.
      Psalms 37:37 Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace.

      Isaiah 57:2 He shall enter into peace: they shall rest in their beds, each one walking in his uprightness.


    • Have dominion over the wicked.
      Psalms 49:14 Like sheep they are laid in the grave; death shall feed on them; and the upright shall have dominion over them in the morning; and their beauty shall consume in the grave from their dwelling.


    • Have an inheritance for ever.
      Psalms 37:18 The LORD knoweth the days of the upright: and their inheritance shall be for ever.


  • A characteristic of saints.
    Psalms 111:1 Praise ye the LORD. I will praise the LORD with my whole heart, in the assembly of the upright, and in the congregation.

    Isaiah 26:7 The way of the just is uprightness: thou, most upright, dost weigh the path of the just.


  • Saints should resolve to walk in.
    Psalms 26:11 But as for me, I will walk in mine integrity: redeem me, and be merciful unto me.


    • Have not, in heart.
      Habakkuk 2:4 Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him: but the just shall live by his faith.


    • Leave not the path of.
      Proverbs 2:13 Who leave the paths of uprightness, to walk in the ways of darkness;


    • Do not act with.
      Micah 7:2 The good man is perished out of the earth: and there is none upright among men: they all lie in wait for blood; they hunt every man his brother with a net.
      Micah 7:4 The best of them is as a brier: the most upright is sharper than a thorn hedge: the day of thy watchmen and thy visitation cometh; now shall be their perplexity.


  • Pray for those who walk in.
    Psalms 125:4 Do good, O LORD, unto those that be good, and to them that are upright in their hearts.


  • Reprove those who deviate from.
    Galatians 2:14 But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?


Psalm 20:8

They have bowed down and fallen, But we have risen and stood upright.

Psalm 112:2

His descendants will be mighty on earth; The generation of the upright will be blessed.


Do you want to mess with Children??

6 reasons not to mess with children.

1) A little girl was talking to her teacher about whales.
The teacher said it was physically impossible for a whale to swallow a
human because even though it was a very large mammal its throat was very small.
The little girl stated that Jonah was swallowed by a whale.
Irritated, the teacher reiterated that a whale could not swallow a human; it was physically impossible.
The little girl said, "When I get to heaven I will ask Jonah".
The teacher asked, "What if Jonah went to hell?"
The little girl replied, "Then you ask him ".

2) A Kindergarten teacher was observing her classroom of children while they were drawing. She would occasionally walk around to see each child's work.
As she got to one little girl who was working diligently, she asked what the drawing was.

The girl replied, "I'm drawing God."
"The teacher paused and said, "But no one knows what God looks like."
"Without missing a beat, or looking up from her drawing, the girl replied, "They will in a minute."

3) A Sunday school teacher was discussing the Ten Commandments with her five and six year olds.
After explaining the commandment to "honour" thy Father and thy Mother, she asked, "Is there a commandment that teaches us how to treat our brothers and sisters?"
Without missing a beat one little boy (the oldest of a family) answered,
"Thou shall not kill."

4) The children had all been photographed, and the teacher was trying to persuade them each to buy a copy of the group picture.  "Just think how nice it will be to look at it when you are all grown up and say, 'There's Jennifer, she's a lawyer,' or 'that’s Michael, He's a doctor.'
A small voice at the back of the room rang out, "And there's the teacher, she's dead."

5) A teacher was giving a lesson on the circulation of the blood. Trying to make the matter clearer, she said, "Now, class, if I stood on my head, the blood, as you know, would run into it, and I would turn red in the face."
"Yes," the class said.
"Then why is it that while I am standing upright in the ordinary position the blood doesn't run into my feet?"
A little fellow shouted, "Cause your feet ain't empty."

6) The children were lined up in the cafeteria of a Catholic elementary school for lunch. At the head of the table was a large pile of apples. The nun made a note, and posted on the apple tray:
"Take only ONE. God is watching."
Moving further along the lunch line, at the other end of the table was a large pile of chocolate chip cookies.
A child had written a note, "Take all you want. God is watching the apples."




LIVING STONES OF THE MAYA - Are you a Living Stone?
NOV 2006 - New moon in Scorpio - 2 MANIK - 5 TIJASH - 11/26/2006


Many years ago, while in Tikal, I was awoken before dawn. I had an intense calling to go into the jungles of Tikal before sunrise. As I walked into the jungle, misty clouds clung to the trees. The first predawn light filtered through the jungle canopy giving a surreal feeling. I could hear the first bird awakening and calling in the day. It was wonderful to be in the site free from the tourist buzz. I thought I was going to the main plaza of Tikal, but instead I was drawn toward another path leading me toward the north.

I kept following my heart until I came to a standing stone. I could feel it call me. I sat behind it and placed my back against its back. As I did this, I was filled with grief, and yet, a deep remembrance entered my heart. The rest of the history of the Living Stones came back to me.

But before I get ahead of myself, maybe I should start at the beginning . . .

The Ancient ones (a.k.a. The Star Elders), over eons of time, have worked to find ways to anchor a highly rarified form of universal, spiritual light on the Earth. This light ignites the evolution of all life. They wanted to anchor this light to keep the Earth from going into total darkness during various predictable "dark" cycles. The dark cycles are necessary for evolutionary advancement and act like a womb to birth new and more advanced cycles of time on the Earth. Without this light, we would have ended up like the Moon or Mars.

While in these dark cycles, Earth is in a state that we might see similar to a planetary comma. During these "dark" cycles, it is not possible to let this type of rarified light out into the planet, since it would accelerate the darkness, as darkness is the dominant force during these times. So this light was anchored so it would not be totally lost; it was locked away for safe keeping until the planet woke up from its catatonic state. This anchoring created little threads of light that keep the planet tied to the universal source of all that is. After this was done, all they could do was wait for the "dark" cycle to end before releasing this light once again into the world.

The ancient ones anchored this rarified light in many ways over eons of time. Long before any recorded history, Star Beings anchored this rarified light in stones that are part of a universal living library. We know these stones today as the "Stones of Ica". You can still listen to them in a little museum just south of Lima, in Peru. Later on, Andean Masters had the ability to hold this rarified light in living mummies. They still speak to you if you have the ears to hear them. They are scattered all over the Andes.

The Egyptians locked this light in ones that had obtained a certain level of advancement. They locked them body and soul in magnetically sealed pyramids and tombs to hold the light there.

The most tangible and easiest way to experience this rarified light is in the Maya lands. Over the last 20 years, I have had the blessings to spend time in all the major Maya sites and many smaller sites. I feel that Palenque and its surrounding area, Tikal and its area, Copan and Quirigua, and the mystical valley between these two, to be the most vocal of the Maya areas. Many of the Living Stone Stela (carved standing stones) speak about different things for different reasons. They can hold maps of consciousness, maps of the universe, spiritual knowledge, sacred geometry, advanced technology (like time travel and immortality), and some keep doorways open for us to use to travel. This is just the tip of the pyramid by the way. There is much more for us to uncover.

Why this is important to you now . . .

So getting back to that morning in the jungles of Tikal . . . some of the history that was shared with me, I can pass onto you now. I have been holding onto this information for 9 years. Because of the events that transpired during our last trip to Tikal, I now I feel that I can share the rest of the story.

As I sat in the mist with my back to this living stela, I began to have a conversation with an old friend in the stone. I could feel his pain, joy and wisdom. It felt like what he told me happened yesterday, but it didn't. It happened a long time ago. He began to tell me things that I had forgotten, and maybe things that you forgot as well.

The Living Stone said . . . "There came a time in Tikal's ancient past that one of these planetary dark cycles was expected very soon. It was time to hide away the light and the ancient knowledge for a future time . . . that which you are entering now. We knew that it was going to get really messy, and we didn't want the light to be misused to accelerate the dark cycle. Europe was already in the dark ages. We (Star Elders) had held this cycle at bay for a time, but it was spreading across the ocean like a virus, and it was too close for our comfort. We were going to have to leave, because we too hold this rarified light that can not be present in a living form during a dark cycle."

I was shown the intense focus, effort and deep spiritual practice it took to anchor their souls in a stone while retaining all the knowledge, wisdom and light that they carried.

The Living Stone said . . . "Once you were ready, your soul was anchored into the stone by means of a ceremony of sorts.*** While focusing upon the stone that you had prepared for yourself with great care, you were swiftly, but cautiously released from your physical body, while you projected your consciousness into the stone. If you failed, there was no turning back, because your body was gone. If this happened, you had to reincarnate. This is a great loss, because when you reincarnate, you lose much of the wisdom and basically have to start over. Hundreds and hundreds of these brave advanced souls were lost in this way. They were my friends. . . and this still makes me sad. But the victory was that many did indeed anchor their souls in the stone for a future time."

*** (This is where some of the sacrifice stories in history come from. Remember . . . history was written by those that conquered that area . . . and was written in order to justify their actions.)

I asked the Living Stone, "How did it feel when you entered the stone?" As he shared the story, I got a chill to the bone that had a huge déjà vu vibe to it. This sounded familiar, and I bet it will give many of you out there the same feeling.

The Living Stone said . . . "When you enter the stone, you still feel alive, as if you were still in your body. This is why it is so important when you pass away that you leave your body and go through layers of cleansing and clearing, so you forget what is was like to breathe and move in physical form. Also, so you forget your wounds and most everything, so you can start fresh and clean in the next life."

He went on . . . "But when you anchor yourself in a stone, you can not breathe and can not move. I felt like I was drowning, but I could not die. You know what I mean . . . that split second of utter terror just before you reach the surface of the water to breathe. I couldn't move either, causing me the feeling of pain because I was getting stiff. You stay in that terror and pain for years! We volunteered to do this. It was our choice out of service and love. We wanted to do this. We knew what we were signing up for . . . BUT I don't think we had any idea how horrifying it would feel at first. It was hard to adjust to."

The Stone continued . . . "Years later, when we became accustomed to being 'alive' in a stone, we could relax and enjoy the view from the angle that we entered the stone. First thing that I noticed was that time is different in a stone. The grass grew right before my eyes. The sun would come up and go down in what feels like an hour for you. By this point, the site had been abandoned for some time. But once in awhile, someone would go by and look at me. I would try to speak to them but they could not hear me."

The time difference made great sense to me. I know that the longer I sit in a site, the more I can hear. This is why we are called to sit atop a pyramid and just be there.

The Stone heard me thinking . . . "RIGHT YOU ARE! If you move through a sacred site too fast, you are just a flash to us. You have to stay in at least an hour or more in one spot for a stone to see you at all. It takes time to make a connection, so we can converse."

The Stone shared . . . "Everyone became quite lonely. In the loneliness, we had time to watch and map the stars, and watch the cycles for the time that we could live outside the stone. If the stone you were in fell down, face first, it was a real disappointment, as we could not watch the stars and life on Earth any more. It was just dark. Archeologists have now set some of these stones back upright again. What a blessing! But some of us were placed facing the wrong direction. There was a great importance to the direction that we faced."

I asked "If your body was gone, how could you come out to live again? What would your physical bodies look like?" I quickly learned that a very small part of each soul was sent out to reincarnate during this anchoring ceremony. This small part of yourself would reincarnate over and over and have no memory of the light that was anchored in the stone. This insured that you would have yourself, a body, to come back into. This way the light in the stone would be safe until it was time to come out.

I asked the Living Stone "How would this small part know how to find you again?"

 The Stone shared . . . "All these little parts of ourselves were set up on a cosmic time clock, and when the alarm sounded, we would feel an intense urge to search for something that was lost. In this searching, once the body gets close enough to the light in the stone, the body will have a download . . . a great spiritual awakening. This is a life changing moment."

Then I asked a question that is so important to us now . . .

"If you were a living stone, or had a connection with a living stone, how will it feel when we get a download from a stone?"

"Aside from the blissful spiritual awakening and feeling like you have purpose once again (this topic to be discussed later in an entire book; not an article), many strange and sometimes un-diagnosable health issues seem to arise. Because you are stuck in a stone, alive for hundreds, maybe thousands, of years, it causes a memory of being in that stone that sometimes is a part of the download you receive. The Star Elders had not anticipated these issues. Much of the training went into getting into the stone, and most didn't pay much attention about getting out again."

Are you a returning Living Stone?

Do you . . .
" Feel weird stiffness, aches and pains in the body for no reason that massage and other treatments seem to fail at helping?
" Breath shallow or have trouble with asthma and sudden allergies?
" Have frightful dreams of being alive, but everyone around you thinks that you are dead?
" Have claustrophobia and dislike closed in spaces?
" Have issues about being heard by others or find that you are too loud?
" Have a sudden need to completely shift your life?
" Have strange events in which time lines feel different?
" Have trouble finding home or maintaining deep relationships?
" Have a strange attraction to stones or live in a place with a lot of rock?

If this feels like you, and you feel you might be one of these beings who have begun the download process, just knowing this story can help you overcome the issues of re-entry quickly.

A simple re-entry process . . .
Call in Archangel Michael. Ask him to assist you in filtering the effects of the download. Ask that the memory of being alive in the stone is filtered out. Ask that everything you brought with you and placed into the stone, and all the things you learned while in the stone, can be brought forth into current memory in your physical body. This filter looks like a house screen that you keeps bugs out of your house. But this screen is like being inside a beach ball of screen. Ask that this screen be put in place around you through . . . All time, space and dimension . . . Past, present and future . . . Body, mind and spirit . . . 7 day a week, 24 hours a day, 365 day a year.

Every time you go to a place where your symptoms seem to get worse, tighten up the screen, so it filters out more. Sometimes re-entered ones can feel the effect of a sacred site quite physically, and this can be uncomfortable.

Do you hear us Archangel Michael? Plan to get busy : )


Aluna Joy Yaxk'in is an internationally known author, sacred site guide, and mystic.
Aluna Joy Yaxk'in, PO Box 1988, Sedona AZ 86339 Ph: 928-282-6292
Webpage: E-mail:

Copyright © 2006 - Permission is granted to copy and redistribute this article on the condition that the content remains complete, full credit is given to the author(s), and that it is distributed freely. Center of the SUN - Aluna Joy Yaxk'in,PO Box 1988 Sedona, AZ 86339 USA Ph:928-282-6292 Ph/Fax:928-282-4622 Email: website:

Dear Alunajoy, My name is Lita, it is an honor to be emailing you at this time. ... Please let me start by sharing with you that your recent letter that I read about the LIVING STONES OF THE MAYA are very well put as the description of myself. I can't tell you how I can relate to this stories of the stones. I have had lots of dreams in this life time that I have had to write them down just hoping that one day I would make since of them. One unparticular that stands out the most is that in this dream I seem to be in a tomb and I am lying on my backside on a stone and there is what I would describe a mummy figure standing over me with a knife getting reading to cut me open just below the heart area of my body. I am asking it with many tears, if it would hurry up and get this over with! this is killing me. Today I have all of those systems that you describe. My chest feels like there is a weight sitting on it. And while trying to sleep at night I feel hot balls of energy moving through out my body. Some times nausea, but never get's sick. I Love Life and the Joy with in it. I gratefully thank the spirits that I have encountered this life and may we all rise and stand to the Sun and meet the Moon. Love Always, Always Love, lilawata

Dear Aluna Joy, What a pleasure (as usual) it was to read this last Newsletter about The Living Stone. It never ceases to amaze me at how parallel our lives are. Back 25 years ago in late October 1981, I decided to visit Stone Mountain Park in Stone Mt., GA. It was a sunny day but the air was cool, and the sun warmed stone looked so inviting I decided to lay down on the stone and enjoy its warmth and hoped no one would walk by and see me stretched out spread eagle on the stone. I had only been meditating for about 3 years, but was still surprised when I heard the Stone speaking to me.

The conversation began with me thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to be a stone?” A great feeling of love washed over me and a clear voice in my head began describing to me what it was like to be a Stone. I won’t take time to relate the whole conversation, but I will relate this part because it always makes me laugh to recall it. The Stone said they were to be referred to as Stones and not rocks. It was a ‘respectful’ thing, I was told; and that they only felt love, and anchored and held the space for love energy on the planet. Blessings Always, LaVern, Heckawe Chief Uppa Creek

Hio Aluna~ Just a brief note to say thank you for your article on Living Stones. Something awoke in me as I read that piece. It was like a piece of the jigsaw came together again, a bit around the heart I think -even better! On a similar vein, several years ago I came across a memory of being a wizard, during which 'wizard games of transformation' would be played, like transforming oneself into something else, and back again. The hardest was a stone, because you could become trapped in such a form easily. I had a fairly clear recollection of doing that and getting caught. Certainly not the intention of the people you were talking about. But that's wizards for you -always showing off! I'll be in touch soon about a reading with your Star Buddies. Thanks for all the good work. Don't forget to rest & play. Namasté, Jacob Whitecloud

Hi Aluna, I received your newsletter this morning and it resonated completely! (Living Stones). I thought I would tell you of my own experience, here in Britain, of the living stones. I was working with Magnified Healing and Lemurian crystals, about five years ago. I would often hold the crystals in my hand as I fell asleep. One night, just as I was falling asleep, I was awoken with the shock of feeling an axe cleaving my head in two. I was now wide awake! Then it changed and I was in a standing stone. Although I wasn't just in it I was it! I knew that 'I' was a standing stone somewhere in the Bristish Isles and that one day I would find myself. The stone itself tapered towards the top and had a cleft on the top, right where I had felt the axe go through my skull. While studying a degree in Archaeology I discovered that many stone circles had one sacrifice buried beneath one of the stones. This was usually someone quite young and their skulls were cleaved in two! I understood this perfectly. The soul would enter the stone and then act as guardian for the circle and the area. It was not a gruesome event but one of service, a thing that most modern archaeologists just would not understand. This must have been something that happened at most sacred environments and the fact that you are now writing about this must mean that its nearly time for us everywhere to retrieve ourselves! Thank you for that and in the next few years I would love to go to the Mayalands with you on one of your journeys. Many thanks - Ann Murphy

The Journey has Just Begun.
Seek the Meaning of the Sacred Knowledge.
Seek the Meaning of the Cycles within Cycles.
The Stones Know.
They are the Old Ones who show the way.
They are the Stones that Speak.

The rest of the story is inside of you. Much more can be revealed with focus. If you have a calling to go to the Maya lands, we still have some space in our group to Tikal, Copan and Quirigua in March of 2007. We would love to have you join us, if this story feels like it could be your story too. For more trip details, go to:

Center of the SUN
Aluna Joy Yaxk'in, PO Box 1988 Sedona, AZ 86339 USA
Ph:928-282-6292    Fax:928-282-4622    Email:    Website:


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