Biblical Commentary by Ken Ryland
Forgetting the Lesson of Balaam
Freedom depends on morality. This truth is repeated countless times in every way imaginable in the writings of the Founding Fathers of the United States. And morality, of course, must be based on universal spiritual principles that transcend nations and time before it can truly be called “morality.” Any concept of morality that cannot pass the test of transcendence and timelessness is really nothing more than a set of social mores—convenient customs that ebb and flow with the tide of society’s mood. Right now, that mood is antimoral, often displaying an open hostility to any idea of universal, timeless values. Read Article.
Originally published 1/27/2004
A Terrible Court Decision: Deliver Those Who Are Drawn Toward Death
In the beginning, God carried out two great acts designed to preserve the spiritual and social health of the nations. He created the Sabbath to bring man into fellowship with Himself and into a bond with his fellow man. All mankind was to come together and appear before their Creator on that blessed day each week. God also created marriage between a man and a woman to guarantee that His laws and His values would pass to each succeeding generation. Since the beginning of time, whenever any nation has cast aside the Creator’s grand design for the nations, it has fallen into moral debauchery and chaos. As I write, God’s first great institution, marriage between a man and a woman, is being pulled down in, of all places, the world’s largest Christian nations. Read Article.
Originally published 7/4/2003
Israelites, Gentiles, and New Covenant
It occurred to me the other day that I have been taking this matter of the Old and New Testaments all wrong. For years I heard terms like “Torah Story” and “Whole-Bible Approach” from people like Dr. Charles Dorothy, but being a little slow on the uptake, the implications of such concepts found somewhat shallow soil in my brain. I had for too long been locked into the belief that we have Israel in the Old Testament and the Church in the New — a sort of divine schizophrenia. Read Article.
Originally published 8/14/2000
The Great Thanksgiving Day Disappearing Act
As we passed that last week in November, I was lamenting the loss of Thanksgiving from our national calendar. To be sure, the day is still listed in the month of November every year, but its importance as a national day of recognition of the blessings and protection of Almighty God over our nation and over our personal lives is all but gone. We still get together as families; the family is the last bastion of “thanksgiving” to God in our great country. However, in the malls and public squares, there is not even a shadow of remembrance of our need of gratitude for the Lord’s giving us such favor among nations. Read Article.
Originally Published 12/13/1999
Is New York City Babylon the Great?
There are lots of theories about what that phrase of Revelation 17:5 means. One traditional view contends that this Babylon, at the time of Christ’s return will be the Catholic Church. The principal reason for this view is that over the centuries the Catholic Church has been blamed for the deaths of several million non-Catholic Christians, and many protestants believe that given the opportunity, the Pope would again demand conversion to the Catholic faith on pain of death. Scripturally, Babylon, the mother of harlots, is portrayed as being “drunk with the blood of the saints.” (Rev. 17:6) Also, this Babylon is pictured as a city sitting on seven hills, which is the traditional picture of Rome. Read Article.
Originally Published 10/20/1999
When Does The Tribulation Begin
One of the most commonly asked questions among Christians these days is “When will the tribulation begin?” I, like many others, believe that the return of Christ is imminent, which means that the tribulation (or “the great tribulation” as some refer to it) is even nearer. This is a legitimate question for Christians to ask, but in this land of plenty what is often meant is “When will my way of life begin to be upset?” Read Article.
Originally published 10/20/1999
Why Study Prophecy
Recently I had the opportunity to participate in a prophecy roundtable via the miracle of modern telecommunications. We were in rapt conversation about the “fourth beast” and where all the events of Daniel 11 fit in the prophetic timetable of human history. Some of the information was truly inspiring because it made plain the exactness with which God detailed the future to his prophet Daniel.
While preparing for this discussion, the thought occurred to me that we were not just participating in an academic exercise. Even though with studied gaze we viewed how prophecy was transformed into history, to the people who witnessed the unfolding of these divinely foretold events, the prophecies were anything but academic. And, to those who knew the Bible and its God, the march of these predicted events was truly an astoundingly beautiful, and often terrifying, testimony to the very real, personal activity of their Almighty Creator in shaping their lives and the politics of the nations that surrounded them. Read Article.
Originally published 10/19/1999
We have heard many times the Scripture that refers to “the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus.” Have you ever thought about what that means?
Excellency has to do with surpassing the current standard, exceeding the norm. That is certainly true of Jesus’ work on this earth. The norm was for a man or woman to present an animal to the priest for sacrifice to atone for sins. But, Jesus presented himself. He not only exceeded the norm; He surpassed it to the ultimate. After his sacrifice, no other was necessary. In doing so, He took upon Himself the very worst of every man and every woman, so that they might be freed from the penalty of their own sins and cleansed to the core of their being. The exchange was that the Son of God would die for man — the highest and best for the lowest and worst. There is no more excellent thing in all of God’s creation than this. Read Article.
Originally published 10/19/1999
Does God Still Shape the Affairs of Nations?
Throughout the Bible we see God acting in and shaping the affairs of nation states as well as individual lives. In spite of the skepticism of modern man, it is easy to see how God has intervened in specific historical events to shape the order of history. For example, an account of a universal flood is rooted in the cultures of most of the nations of the world, whether we are talking of the Aborigines of Australia, the Mayas of Central America, or the civilizations of the Middle East — just to name a few. Read Article.
Originally published 10/13/1999
Great Joy In Tribulation
Last night I sat down to read our monthly magazine from Voice of the Martyrs http://www.persecution.com/. It is very inspiring because there are personal stories and photographs of people from all over the world who are living under tyrannical dictatorships and are still joyously following Christ. I am reminded of the Bible verse that says, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials” (James 1:2). That is something that we in America find hard to comprehend or even believe. How can people “count it all joy?” Read Article.
Originally published 8/10/1999
Brother How Was Your Feast
When I was asked to speak at the Feast of Tabernacles in Colorado this past fall, I began to think about how nice and pleasant my surroundings would be high in the Rockies. The air would be crisp and clean, the mountains beautiful, and the hotel luxurious. I could really not ask for anything better than what I was being given. Maybe it was when I began to muse on how wonderful it was to be a Christian in this beautiful country that a contrasting picture began to fill my head. What came to mind was the vision of Christians in other parts of the world and what they might be doing as I lounged by the pool or filled my belly with the most sumptuous cuisine that money could buy. Well, the comparison was too stark not to be my sermon topic. Read Article.
Original Publish Date Unknown
Salvation on a Sunday?
As Eddie and I sat there at his desk talking, Eddie turned away for a moment to grab his Bible from the shelf above his desk. When he turned back toward me, he said, “Just a minute, I want to show you something.” He opened his Bible to the back, to a page that had once been blank, but I could see that there was quite a bit of writing on the page, some in blue ink, some in black. His scribbles were all in numbered rows with checks at the beginning and end of each item. “This is my list of answered prayers. My pastor told me several years ago that if I kept a written prayer list and checked off each answered prayer, I would really be surprised and have something that I could always praise God about.” Read Article.
Original Publish Date Unknown