|Volume 23 Number 7 July 2021
For over three thousand years, one of the most influential civilizations flourished on the banks of the river Nile. Egypt’s art and skill were unsurpassed. The mighty pyramids, over forty stories tall, remained the largest manmade structures until the Eiffel Tower was constructed in 1889. Even today, we are surrounded by their influence. The very building you are in probably has a pyramid shaped roof. Among their inventions are fluffy towels, makeup, toothpaste, cough drops and deodorant! We have much for which to thank them! Egypt never colonized other territories like the Greeks and the Romans, for they believed that in order for them to enter the afterlife, they must be buried with the correct rituals and only within Egyptian borders.
We Christians have a similar requirement; in order for us to enter our afterlife, we must be buried with Christ in baptism to enter the kingdom of Heaven (Galatians 3:27). So, if you are not in Him by His pattern of entrance, then you are not in His kingdom. Egypt was the first nation state in history and its ruler, the pharaoh, was a supreme monarch. He was unlike the kings of surrounding tribal peoples in that he was to his people the god king; he commanded, and it was done. There were no political squabbles in a land ruled by a pharaoh, and there were no government shutdowns or arguments about what’s to be done. The king said it, and it was done. This pattern was followed by succeeding empires in one form or another and has been the pattern for government for the majority of humanity and for the majority of history.
So, it is in the kingdom of God; Christ commands and that’s it – no discussion, except on how we shall achieve His will. For example, in Mark 16:15, the King commands us to preach the Gospel to every creature. We don’t get a say as to whom we share the Gospel! The apostles, at Pentecost, did not limit the good news to select groups or restrict their ministry to just locals. It was, and still is for all, for whosoever believeth in Him, not for whom we choose to deliver the Gospel message!
When the land has a single ruler, whose will is to be obeyed, things get done. Nations get built and people get defended. Families who need food and water receive. Christ came to build His kingdom, and we are tasked to give the bread and water of His Gospel for the nourishment of all. In John 6:35, He said, “I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.” In Revelation 21:6, the Lord declared, “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.”
Unlike those under the rule of the Egyptian god kings, we have a choice for whom we serve! Our King is truly God, and He requires that we do as He says – not out of an unwilling or complaining attitude but because we love Him (John 14:15).
Now, you may be asking, “What does Egypt have to do with the Bible and what is the relevance?” Open your Bible and very soon you will see that the ancient Egyptian empire – its power, people, ways, religion and influence – echo throughout the Word of God.
It is a fact that the first five books of the Holy Bible were written by a member of the Egyptian royal family. Moses was a prince of Egypt for forty years. He was raised in its cultural ways and in the very center of its religious and secular life. He was highly educated and saw the suffering of his own people. The tribes of Manasseh and Ephraim descended from Joseph and his Egyptian wife. So, there is plenty of Egyptian blood in the house of Israel. We are told in 1 Kings 3:1 that Solomon married pharaoh’s daughter. It was to Egypt that Joseph of Nazareth took his wife Mary and adopted son Jesus. In Matthew 2:13, Scripture tells us, “Behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him!”
There are simply too many connections between Egypt and the Bible to ignore. Through study of God’s Word, we discover the greatest treasure ever to come out of that ancient land – the Lord Jesus Christ. He is everything the pharaoh wished to be and was not! Our blessed Redeemer is everything for which the pharaohs’ people longed in their king. On the birthday of the church on Pentecost in Jerusalem, Jews residing in Egypt were among the first to hear the Gospel and some likely were among the 3,000 souls who accepted Christ as their Lord. Won’t you follow their excellent example?
According to Young’s Analytical Concordance, the word “ungodly” only appears in the Holy Scriptures 26 times. This is a very harsh word with such definitions as “worthless, without value, perverse, wrong, wicked, irreverent.” These are all words with bad definitions, and we can easily get the picture that ungodliness is evil and, therefore, something undesirable. To be ungodly is to be without God!
In short, the Epistle of Jude uses the word “ungodly” six times. This small epistle is a warning against false teachers. It applied to those false teachers of the time it was written and still applies in today’s Christian teachings. Jude didn’t mince words as he spoke of “ungodly men who turn the grace of God into lustfulness and deny… God and our Lord Jesus Christ” (v. 4). He cut right to the heart of the matter. To deny is to reject. These people rejected (that is, despised) God! Paul had something to say about this very matter. “…to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled. They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work” (Titus 1:15-16). It is such a sad commentary to know that there are those today who still say they are true believers of God but in their works, they deny His very existence.
In verse 15, in speaking of old prophecies, Jude truly was inspired as he spoke of the return of our Lord “to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.” He reminded them in verse 18 that the apostles “told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts.” The people of that day and of this day have every opportunity to mend their ways and become God-fearing, faithful people who will not have God’s judgment come upon them for being ungodly.
So how does one avoid such a sad pronunciation of judgment that will send him or her to an eternal place of fire and brimstone? The opposite of “ungodly” is “godliness,” and that’s for which those who want to avoid the fire and brimstone of Hell must strive. In instructing young Timothy, Paul told him to “be an example of the believers in word, in manner of life, in love, in spirit, in faith and in purity… give attention to reading, to exhortation and to doctrine” (1 Timothy 4:12-13). Timothy was a young man who had accepted God as his Creator and Jesus as his Savior, but he was living among people who didn’t believe in or serve God. Does that sound like what is happening today? Some make a pretense of godliness, but their lives say otherwise. The same things Paul told Timothy to do are still applicable today. Christians must be Christian examples to those who are not Christians. We must do that with what we say and how we act and live. When Christians do “ungodly” works, they cease to have any hope of setting a godly example to unbelievers. God’s faithful will strive to set examples to others by the way they live, talk, worship, respect others and the good works they do in reaching out to others.
How can Christians do this? Paul’s instruction to Timothy was to ‘spend time reading, exhorting and teaching doctrine.’ Christians must read and study to know God’s will to be able to teach and exhort others. Simply, godly folks will learn God’s Word, apply it to their lives and teach and exhort others to do the same. True Christians will practice what they preach rather than be guilty of ungodliness!