Calvinism, Contradiction, Doctrinal

Book Look – The Inescapable Love of God

Sometimes I get confused with all the details, and need to pull back and look at the forest instead of the trees.

Such is the case in this post. As some of you may recognize if you follow my blog, I have dipped into the theistic determinist discussion of soteriology. Wow Carl – bring it down a bit eh? What did you just say?

Calvinism. Did God choose certain people to be saved and damn all the rest?

It is a logic that seems to be flawless, and I spent close to a decade in it until I snapped. It was becoming more and more confirmed in my mind until it wasn’t. I should not have considered what some other passages in the Word might be saying.

But back to the forest idea.

Recently I picked up a book titled “The Inescapable Love of God”, by Thomas Talbott, and within the first 1/4 of the book, found three general propositions that are contradictory.

Let me share them with you. This information is found in pages 43 – 45 of the aforementioned book, along with a few verses that are used to support the statement.

  1. It is God’s redemptive purpose for the world (and therefore His will) to reconcile all sinners to Himself.
    • 2 Peter 3:9, 1 Timothy 2:4, Romans 11:32, Ezekiel 33:11, Lamentations 3:22, 3:31-33
  2. It is within God’s power to achieve his redemptive purpose for the world.
    • Ephesians 1:11, Job 42:2, Psalm 115:3, Isaiah 46:10b & 11b
  3. Some sinners will never be reconciled to God, and God will therefore either consign them to a place of eternal punishment, from which there will be no hope of escape, or put them out of existence.
    • Matthew 25:46, 2 Thessalonians 1:9, & Ephesians 5:5

These three propositions cannot seemingly exist together. With three propositions together creating a contradiction, it became necessary to strike out one proposition to provide the basis of one of three historically accepted Christian theologies. This is the intent of the following three sections.

Calvinism

  1. It is God’s redemptive purpose for the world (and therefore His will) to reconcile all sinners to Himself
  2. It is within God’s power to achieve his redemptive purpose for the world.
  3. Some sinners will never be reconciled to God, and God will therefore either consign them to a place of eternal punishment, from which there will be no hope of escape, or put them out of existence.

Let’s strike out the first proposition.

The remaining two propositions provide the basis for the logical framework of Calvinism. This particular thinking arose with St Augustine, (354 430 AD). My understanding is that this teaching existed previous to the Augustine’s promotion of it within the church, but was within a Persian religion called Manichaeism. Christianity had not previously taught the deterministic philosophy associated with this religion. That is, until St Augustine popularized it.

God has the power to save all, but has decided to choose a limited number of souls to save in order to bring greater glory to Himself.

In this philosophy, God’s power and justice are emphasized but it is not within His redemptive love to reconcile all sinners to Himself.

Summary statement – God’s love is questioned

Arminianism

  1. It is God’s redemptive purpose for the world (and therefore His will) to reconcile all sinners to Himself
  2. It is within God’s power to achieve his redemptive purpose for the world
  3. Some sinners will never be reconciled to God, and God will therefore either consign them to a place of eternal punishment, from which there will be no hope of escape, or put them out of existence.

This time, let us strike out the second proposition

This has been my default position, except for a decade of Calvinism beginning in the late 90’s. I simply ignored the aspect that Arminianism implies a restriction of God’s power in the plan of salvation. Of course my teachers would not emphasize (or mention) this weakness, so my ignorance was well founded, but still without excuse.

Arminianism is a teaching that was somewhat codified by Jacobus Arminius followers. Jacobus was a student of Calvin’s successor Theodore Beza, and in his study, rejected Calvin’s theology. Arminius and his followers taught that God loves all, but has granted free will to His creation, giving His created beings choice. This choice impacts God’s ability to save, (and therefore reflects on His power).

In this philosophy, God’s love and justice are emphasized but it is not within His redemptive power to reconcile all sinners to Himself.

Summary statement – God’s power is questioned

Universal Reconciliation (UR)

  1. It is God’s redemptive purpose for the world (and therefore His will) to reconcile all sinners to Himself
  2. It is within God’s power to achieve his redemptive purpose for the world
  3. Some sinners will never be reconciled to God, and God will therefore either consign them to a place of eternal punishment, from which there will be no hope of escape, or put them out of existence.

This time, let us strike out the third proposition

UR is a teaching I had always rejected assuming there was no justification from the Word to consider it. I was surprised to hear a claim from a teacher I respect, that in the first four centuries of the New Testament church, a majority of theological schools leaned to this doctrine. Origen, as far as I can tell, was a major proponent of this teaching in the first century.

UR implies that God’s holiness is limited, a holiness that demands eternal suffering in hell for sinful acts performed against Him. UR teaching does not reject the concept of punishment after death, but the eternality of it. UR teaches of judgement after death, but that hell has an exit door to it.

I know, I know – Scripture doesn’t teach that Hitler could leave hell after a period of time! That is and has been my response my entire Christian life. This is because I only listened to the one who stated their case first!

Proverbs 18:17

The one who states his case first seems right,
until the other comes and examines him.

But as I have mentioned in my purpose for this blog, it is important to at least consider other Christian teachings, to test them and understand their scriptural basis, if any. Not testing a teaching is a blindness we should not allow.

In this philosophy, God’s will and power are emphasized but it is not His redemptive purpose to punish sinners eternally in hell.

Summary statement – God’s holiness is questioned

Conclusion

The three philosophies are supplied here as a 30,000 foot overview, immensely simplified. As stated in the introduction, the intent is to pull away from the details and try to get a general overview of three positions. I am currently looking into UR since I have not spent any time in studying it, and have considered the other two positions earlier in my faith.

I hope this post will generate edifying discussion and I look forward to others providing assistance in my research of all three philosophies.


Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

Standard
Uncategorized

Song Squawk – Bannerman

In the mid nineties, I had a little red Buick and a big ol’ bass box in the trunk, and would listen to “Christian Rock”, cranked to 11.

(What did you say?  Huh?  Can  you say that again, I didn’t hear you….)

I have gotten away from that genre for many reasons, the least of which may be a loss of hearing, but some songs have stuck with me over the decades.

The artist’s I listened to sought to reflect Scriptural teaching for the most part. They ranged from “preaching” pop culture religion to significant theological teaching. As I listened to the lyrics, I found some to be quite challenging.

To be honest, I listened because I could justify the rock beat with “sanctified lyrics”.

Occasionally I will post a song, supply the lyrics and make a comment or two. If you decide to listen to the tune, turn the speaker down unless you are already deaf. Some of the songs tend to have a certain “volume” about them!


This post will consider the song

Bannerman – by Steve Taylor

Steve Taylor, in my humble opinion, was an ace at sarcasm, and provided much truth through a seemingly silly song.

One man’s grinning from behind the net
Waits ’til the camera’s adjusted
Don’t you worry ’bout the flak you’ll get?
Aren’t you scared of getting busted?
The ball gets booted, it hits the crossbeam
Up goes the banner, John 3:16

Oh, he don’t worry ’bout the critics
(They tow the line)
He don’t worry ’bout the cynics
(They live to whine)
He ain’t gonna change the world
But he knows who can
Bannerman

Prime time football in the Buffalo snow
Freezing his little epidermis
Lifts that banner at the first field goal
Drinks clam chowder from a thermos
He’s never missed a game, he never spells it wrong
He never talks back when they tell him “move along”

Oh, he don’t worry ’bout the critics
(They’ll howl for days)
He don’t worry bout the cynics
(They navel-gaze)
He ain’t gonna change the world
But he knows who can
Bannerman

Sports fans everywhere are dying for a drink
But they’ve gotta find the well first
One man’s ready with a banner and a wink
A whole lotta souls are getting well-versed
Every time I see him, I smile a little more
I can’t help praying for another high score


Oh, he don’t worry ’bout the critics
(They’ll howl for days)
He don’t worry bout the cynics
(They navel-gaze)
He ain’t gonna change the world
But he knows who can
Bannerman

He don’t worry ’bout the critics
(They’ve met their match)
No, he don’t worry ’bout the cynics
(They sniff and scratch)
He ain’t gonna change the world
But he knows who can
Bannerman

Take a listen!

Bannerman – by Steve Taylor

Let me know what you think of the lyrics, and of the tunes!


Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

Standard
Bible, Faith, Jesus the Messiah, Old Testament in New Testament, Prophecy

Old Testament Messianic Prophecies – Prophecy #48

Bible Scroll

The prophecy of the Lord Jesus for our consideration and edification, written centuries prior to His earthly existence is

Prophecy #48
Description
Shall be an anointed King to the Lord
Old Testament Prophecy
 1 Samuel 2:10
The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken to pieces;
    against them he will thunder in heaven.
The Lord will judge the ends of the earth;
    he will give strength to his king
    and exalt the horn of his anointed.”
New Testament Fullfillment
Matt 28:18
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
 John 12:15
“Fear not, daughter of Zion; behold, your king is coming, sitting on a donkey’s colt!”

If you are just joining this blog, or are a first time visitor, welcome to Considering the Bible. We would like to offer a document that provides over 350 prophecies of the Messiah found in the Old Testament for your consideration.

351 Old Testament Prophecies Fulfilled in Jesus Christ

I make no claim to be able to comment on every one of these amazing prophecies in the future, but will occasionally bring one to the readers attention for their edification.

Hopefully you will follow “Considering the Bible” and begin an interaction with us


Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

Standard
New Testament, Parables, Simple Truths

Parable Surprises – Cost of Discipleship

Price, value, worth, expense, charge, fee, payment, fare, bill, surcharge, invoice – words that are associated with “cost”.

Cost is not a foreign concept to us moderns. As a matter of fact, the list above is a only a small fraction of synonyms available for the concept of cost in our society. One list online included over 1000 synonyms for the concept of cost.

Cost is defined as the amount or equivalent paid or charged for something, or the outlay or expenditure (as of effort or sacrifice) made to achieve an object.

Let’s take a look at a parable that centers around the concept of cost.

Luke 14

28 For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31 Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? 32 And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. 33 So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.

Questions to Consider

Who were the audience?

This parable is set up with the proceeding three verses, where the Lord is speaking to “great crowds”.

Luke 14

25 Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them,
26 “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.
27 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.

These verses not only tell us of who Jesus was addressing his comments to, but also the general topic of discipleship. Jesus finishes His discussion of cost with the summary statement of the cost of discipleship in verse 33. But I am getting ahead of myself.

When did the Lord give this parable?

This parable was given within three months of the passion week. For a helpful document, providing a list of all the events in Jesus Life, check out Events of Jesus Life.

Where did the Lord teach the parable?

During the last three months of the Lord’s time in Israel, much of it was spent in Perea, on the eastern side of the Jordan.

Why did the Lord give this message?

He must have been journeying, possibly towards Jerusalem, where the cost of our salvation may have been on His heart, when He turned to warn those who were with Him of the cost of following Him.

What was the message for the original audience?

The basis for this message is found in the verses before, where the Lord speaks of hating father, mother, wife, children, brothers and sisters, – even your own life!

As many who read this know, I have been discussing the concept of hate in the Word with some readers who lean in the theistic determinist camp, (i.e. Calvinists). I understand they take the concept of hatred quite literally in regards to Esau, and by extension, to all those not chosen by God for salvation.

This concept has focused my understanding of the verse in our reading today, in that when the Lord speaks of hatred towards father, mother…..,

In my humble opinion, He speaks of a “priority of love”, not a literal hatred against those whom the Father has commanded us to honor. (That alone introduces a contradiction I can’t get beyond!)

The message for the original audience was to count the cost, to realize that allegiance was to be to Jesus above all others, above every loved one in their life, even above their own self interest! This is radical, extreme, overboard and what the Lord demands from those who say they follow.

This message, just a number of weeks away from the passion of the Christ, was fitting, as a warning to all. It was a volley over the heads of those who claimed allegiance to Him, in order to understand the price they would pay.

Be prepared. Count the cost.

Jesus illustrated the shame of not preparing by speaking of two situations, where both subjects needed to count the cost to accomplish their end game.

First was a builder, one who wanted to build a tower. This I can readily connect with, since I am involved in the building industry. Clients request Class 3 construction cost estimates, in order to make decisions to allocate funds to the specific project under consideration. Providing this type of estimate is difficult, since so many variables are involved. Yet without some plan on paper, it is all just wishful thinking.

My clients need this information in order to count their cost to get a goal accomplished. It is interesting to consider that if the cost is too high, their is no shame in confessing that the project will be abandoned before it begins. No shame at all. The shame comes, as Jesus notes, in laying the foundation, and then not being able to complete it. The foundation will always be visible for all to mock!

Secondly, a king is going out to war, woefully undersized against his opponent. Planning, strategy and wisdom in war is required to decide on his best course of action. If he is a brilliant warrior, his army may succeed, and win the battle. Yet, he needs to understand his opponent, before he can make an informed decision. He must understand his opponent!

Both of these examples have one thing in common – that is the cost of a decision needs to be understood, they needed to count the cost.

What will each man need to pay in order to accomplish his goals?

What is the message for us today?

This is a cost/benefit analysis that the Lord is directing all to perform. I hope I am not becoming too technical in this application, but I trust that all who read the term cost/benefit get a taste of what I am trying to communicate.

Remember, one of the definitions of cost is “the amount or equivalent paid or charged for something, or the outlay or expenditure (as of effort or sacrifice) made to achieve an object.”

The object is to be a disciple of Jesus. The cost is “renouncing all that he has”.

So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.

ALL?

He must not literally mean “all”! That term must be modified in order to be understood with some clarification, some mysterious adjustment or revision to our common understanding of “everything”. Of course I am being waggish in my last statement, since the term “all” has also been a topic of discussion on a previous post.

Back to our parable.

When the Lord states “all” it is commonly accepted that the term “all” means “all”. And yet it appears that there are many instances where the disciples of the Lord, even after the resurrection, are still in possession of boats, and homes and fields.

Maybe the term all isn’t where the focus of the statement should reside.

Let’s consider the term renounce. This may give us some insight into how we relate to “all” that we are and have.

The term renounce is transliterated from the Greek text apotassō. This term is found in the following verses in the New Testament (italicized)

Mark 6:46 And after he had taken leave of them, he went up on the mountain to pray.
Luke 9:61 Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.”
Luke 14:33 So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.
Acts 18:18 After this, Paul stayed many days longer and then took leave of the brothers and set sail for Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila. At Cenchreae he had cut his hair, for he was under a vow.
Acts 18:21 But on taking leave of them he said, “I will return to you if God wills,” and he set sail from Ephesus.
2 Corinthians 2:13 my spirit was not at rest because I did not find my brother Titus there. So I took leave of them and went on to Macedonia.

This helps me immensely, since “taking leave” doesn’t imply a breaking of relationship with those being left. In Mark, Jesus left the disciples, those he was counting on to continue His mission, in order to pray, since this was a priority for the Messiah.

In Acts 18, Paul took leave of the brothers, because they were prioritized below God’s requirement on Paul’s mission. He stated he would return, based on God’s will. He wanted to be with them, but had prioritized his life above his desire to be with his friends.

My friends, this parable is about prioritizing the LORD above all, to consider all that you have and are, and your willingness to “say farewell” to all. I am persuaded that this is an ongoing struggle for all Christians, since at the start of anyone’s pilgrimage, he/she doesn’t understand all that will enter their lives during their walk with God.

The most obvious example is the decision to marry or to have children. Prior to these actions, when I read this passage of renouncing all, it was much less complicated than now. Now that I am married and have children, it is a different situation!

Is the condition of “renouncing all” any less binding? Of course not. Is it any less challenging? On the contrary, my struggles only deepen.

Let me give you an example.

At one point in my pilgrimage, I prayed for a certain outcome for the Lord to perform for me. I begged the Lord to answer my prayer, and for weeks heard nothing from Him. I pleaded, bargained, cried out to God, and yet never considered “Thy will be done”

I had to come to the point of allowing one of my children to be taken away from me, before the Lord would answer me in prayer. I had to renounce my will for my child in order for the Lord to be the One whose will I sought. This is no small matter, as many who read may have had similar experiences.

Yet, in all this, the Lord showed tremendous mercy to a poor sinner like I, in that after my repentance and sincere request for His will to be performed, my child was rescued from the danger, and has been allowed to flourish. Of course, there have been other times when the Lord has said no, even after my will has bent to His. This is the will of God!

To those who are struggling with a decision to obey, (and I am speaking to the one typing!) say farewell to those things that are more important than the Lord’s will.

Find the Lord’s will. Focus on the Lord’s will, not your own.



Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

Standard
Bible, Faith, Jesus the Messiah, Old Testament in New Testament, Prophecy

Old Testament Messianic Prophecies – Prophecy #47

Bible Scroll

The prophecy of the Lord Jesus for our consideration and edification, written centuries prior to His earthly existence is

Prophecy #47
Description
A Faithful Priest
Old Testament Prophecy
 1 Samuel 2:35
And I will raise up for myself a faithful priest, who shall do according to what is in my heart and in my mind. And I will build him a sure house, and he shall go in and out before my anointed forever.
New Testament Fullfillment
Heb. 2:17
Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.
Heb 3:1-3, 6
Therefore, holy brothers, you who share in a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession,

who was faithful to him who appointed him, just as Moses also was faithful in all God’s house.

For Jesus has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses–as much more glory as the builder of a house has more honor than the house itself.

but Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are his house, if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope.
Heb 7:24-25
but he holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever.

Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.

If you are just joining this blog, or are a first time visitor, welcome to Considering the Bible. We would like to offer a document that provides over 350 prophecies of the Messiah found in the Old Testament for your consideration.

351 Old Testament Prophecies Fulfilled in Jesus Christ

I make no claim to be able to comment on every one of these amazing prophecies in the future, but will occasionally bring one to the readers attention for their edification.

Hopefully you will follow “Considering the Bible” and begin an interaction with us


Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

Standard
Devotional

Let Me Tell You a Story – Sacrificial Love

let-me-tell-you-a-story.jpg

When we come to the topic of love, the deepest love I can imagine is the self sacrificial love of the Messiah. It is beyond comprehension, even beyond mental belief, if we are honest with ourselves.

He has shown a way that is to be followed by those who have seen His goodness, His self sacrificial giving of Himself, or denying His own glory in order to provide for others, even His enemies, those that call for His crucifixion and death.

It is a story, real as it is, that sometimes seems unreal. I am not denying the gospel – No no no. – yet to consider the message, and the man behind the message, the Lord Jesus as a breathing walking person who suffered, hungered, felt shame and fear, sometimes escapes me.

He travelled amongst those who hated Him, (and a few that loved Him, but didn’t “get” Him), and sought to serve them, either through mercy or hardness, through tough words that didn’t reach soft hearts, but refused to respond to His call.

He never gave up on His mission, even though everyone else did. Everyone abandoned Him, even His Father as He hung on the tree, bleeding and dying for sins He never committed.

How can that be understood?

I tell you, that the depth of it cannot be understood, other than in a faint way, a glimmer of that love that shines on us through our relations with others.

Without others, the story of the Savior, through true as truth, can become almost academic. Facts and figures of the story can sometimes dull the sense of the story, the “feel” of the gospel.

Love is an action word and because of that, we understand love through the actions of the Lord, through His creation, and especially through His people.

But as I have walked this pilgrim way for the past four decades, I have found that some of the cruelest people confess Christ, and it confuses me. Sure they may be false converts, and that is something I consider, yet I fear that some have lost focus on the goal of the Christian life. I know I do.

For you see, I am a studier, I love research. I have studied numerous topics in the Bible, and when I have just enough information to be dangerous, I go on the attack. Arguing a point to no end, shaming others that do not hold my very specific point of view, elevating myself (in my own view) over my brother and sister, even spreading gossip and lies in order to protect myself from the truth.

Christ died for our sins.

We need to remember that He died for His brothers and sisters, and not just ourselves. This is a challenge for myself since I have this tendency to consider myself better than others, better that those that I love deepest. And yet, when I do give up something I love in order to help someone else, when I leave behind a dream or aspiration, a possession or activity that I seemingly can’t live without, a tremendous freedom is experienced, and lightening of my soul.

This only do I need to say. Love the brethren, and remember, even just for today…

1 John 3:16

By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.

1 John 4:7

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.


Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Standard
Bible, Faith, Jesus the Messiah, Old Testament in New Testament, Prophecy

Old Testament Messianic Prophecies – Prophecy #46

Bible Scroll

The prophecy of the Lord Jesus for our consideration and edification, written centuries prior to His earthly existence is

Prophecy #46
Description
Christ, our kinsman, has redeemed us
Old Testament Prophecy
 Ruth 4:4-10
So I thought I would tell you of it and say, ‘Buy it in the presence of those sitting here and in the presence of the elders of my people.’ If you will redeem it, redeem it. But if youwill not, tell me, that I may know, for there is no one besides you to redeem it, and I come after you.” And he said, “I will redeem it.”
Then Boaz said, “The day you buy the field from the hand of Naomi, you also acquire Ruth the Moabite, the widow of the dead, in order to perpetuate the name of the dead in his inheritance.”
Then the redeemer said, “I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I impair my own inheritance. Take my right of redemption yourself, for I cannot redeem it.”
Now this was the custom in former times in Israel concerning redeeming and exchanging: to confirm a transaction, the one drew off his sandal and gave it to the other, and this was the manner of attesting in Israel.
So when the redeemer said to Boaz, “Buy it for yourself,” he drew off his sandal.
Then Boaz said to the elders and all the people, “You are witnesses this day that I have bought from the hand of Naomi all that belonged to Elimelech and all that belonged to Chilion and to Mahlon.
Also Ruth the Moabite, the widow of Mahlon, I have bought to be my wife, to perpetuate the name of the dead in his inheritance, that the name of the dead may not be cut off from among his brothers and from the gate of his native place. You are witnesses this day.”
New Testament Fullfillment
Eph 1:3-7
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places,

even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love

he predestined us for adoption to himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,

to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace,

If you are just joining this blog, or are a first time visitor, welcome to Considering the Bible. We would like to offer a document that provides over 350 prophecies of the Messiah found in the Old Testament for your consideration.

351 Old Testament Prophecies Fulfilled in Jesus Christ

I make no claim to be able to comment on every one of these amazing prophecies in the future, but will occasionally bring one to the readers attention for their edification.

Hopefully you will follow “Considering the Bible” and begin an interaction with us


Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

Standard
Devotional, hymns, Old Testament, Psalms

Psalms for Psome – Ps 29

My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart.

This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.

I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book.

Psalm 29

1 A Psalm of David. Ascribe to the LORD, O heavenly beings, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.
2 Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name; worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness.
3 The voice of the LORD is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the LORD, over many waters.
4 The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is full of majesty.
5 The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars; the LORD breaks the cedars of Lebanon.
6 He makes Lebanon to skip like a calf, and Sirion like a young wild ox.
7 The voice of the LORD flashes forth flames of fire.
8 The voice of the LORD shakes the wilderness; the LORD shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
9 The voice of the LORD makes the deer give birth and strips the forests bare, and in his temple all cry, “Glory!”
10 The LORD sits enthroned over the flood; the LORD sits enthroned as king forever.
11 May the LORD give strength to his people! May the LORD bless his people with peace!

This psalm of David has him watching a storm and contemplating the LORD above. His comparisons with the lightning and thunder of a storm makes for great comparisons with the voice of the LORD, His power, majesty and glory over all creation.

As many of you know, I am a bit of a technical geek and love to find out information that gives me a relative sense of a topic being described. As mentioned, this psalm is using a thunderstorm to try to describe the power of the voice of the LORD.

I found recently the following information that helps me understand (sort of) the massive power of a typical thunderstorm.

  1. The estimated peak power per lightning stroke is 1,000,000,000,000 (one trillion) watts.
  2. The total energy in a large thunderstorm is thought to be enough to power the whole of the USA for 20 minutes.
  3. A tall thunderstorm cloud can hold over 100,000,000 (one hundred million) volts of potential.

I am sure there are some out there that consider this information to be just so many numbers, and it a way it is, since it is sooo difficult to understand the term ” one trillion watts” or even “one hundred million volts”. I suppose the point is, that this may be the best example David had, though limited, to compare the power of the voice of the LORD to.

David, as he watches the storm in all his travels, had seen the lightning tear apart a massive cedar of Lebanon, and felt the land shake at a crack of thunder. His familiarity with the storms of the land gave him that sense of awe that as “moderns” we so sorely lack at times!

David mixes images by describing the voice of the LORD as sending out fire, that is, lightning bolts of power that nothing stands in the way of.

David speaks of the lightning breaking the massive trees of Lebanon. We can calculate the power it takes to destroy a tree, or create some havoc, but that is not the point in this psalm. David was in awe of the power that the LORD displayed, and used the things of nature (in our opinion) to consider the greatness of our God.

As the rain pours down in the middle of lightning flashes and thunder boomers, David considers the greatest rain event in the history of creation. The flood, with it’s related upheavals of the ground and releasing of the vents, reshaped the earth and controlled all things and everything on the face of the earth!

The LORD sits enthroned over the flood, and is enthroned as the KING forever.

This is the LORD we say we know, and yet even today, I was faltering a bit, confessing my weakness of faith and lack of love to Him. How powerful is His nature and being, and how tender of a Savior to us, in that He bends down to the lowly, seeks out our best, understands our weakness and loves us to the very end.

He is surely the great KING who is the servant of the lowliest, adversary to the proud, lover of sinners and walked amongst us to teach us of His compassion and goodness, to mimic and to follow.

May we learn to be more like Him as we look to Him for strength, wisdom, love and peace.

May the LORD give strength to his people! May the LORD bless his people with peace!


Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

Standard
Uncategorized

Song Squawk – Nothings Free

In the mid nineties, I had a little red Buick and a big ol’ bass box in the trunk, and would listen to “Christian Rock”, cranked to 11.

(What did you say?  Huh?  Can  you say that again, I didn’t hear you….)

I have gotten away from that genre for many reasons, the least of which may be a loss of hearing, but some songs have stuck with me over the decades.

The artist’s I listened to sought to reflect Scriptural teaching for the most part. They ranged from “preaching” pop culture religion to significant theological teaching. As I listened to the lyrics, I found some to be quite challenging.

To be honest, I listened because I could justify the rock beat with “sanctified lyrics”.

Occassionaly I will post a song, supply the lyrics and make a comment or two. If you decide to listen to the tune, turn the speaker down unless you are already deaf. Some of the songs tend to have a certain “volume” about them!


This post will consider the song

Nothings Free – by Alice Cooper

You, me
Understand
Shake my hand
Last chance, little man
Ain’t it grand
It’s a bargain, it’s a steal
30 pieces of silver
And a deal’s a deal

Sign upon the dotted line
I’ll be yours and you’ll be mine
Nothing’s free
Eventually
Nothing’s free

From the rules and laws of morality
Free to take your fill
Free from your own free will
Nothing’s free

My boy, it’s getting late
I’ll raise the stakes
So close
Control your fate, why hesitate
Seal the deal, close the sale
Take my hammer, drive the nail
Sign upon the bloody line
A drop of yours, a drop of mine
Nothing’s free
Eternally
Nothing’s free

From your conscience or
Free from the consequence
Free to sin and death
Free til your final breath
Nothing’s free
Free from the claws and flaws of your family
Free from obedient life
You’re cut like a double-edged knife
Nothing’s free, nothing’s free
Oh, you pay me

Free to ignore the bore of authority
Free to spit in the face
Be the winningest rat in the race til Judgement Day
Then nothing’s free
Bow to me if you wanna be free
Free from life, come die with me

And when we’re dead it’s for eternity
Come on little one and dance in the fire
The heat’s getting close and the flame’s
Getting higher
When the music’s over there’s a hush
In the choir Nothing’s free
When the trumpets sound and his light
Is all around
And the saints all raise from the graves
In the ground
We’ll be going way downtown
Way downtown

Nothings Free – by Alice Cooper

Alice is an outspoken believer and he is always interesting to listen to on podcasts and in his music.

Take a listen!

Let me know what you think of the lyrics, and of the tunes!


Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

Standard
Bible, Faith, Jesus the Messiah, Old Testament in New Testament, Prophecy

Old Testament Messianic Prophecies – Prophecy #45

Bible Scroll

The prophecy of the Lord Jesus for our consideration and edification, written centuries prior to His earthly existence is

Prophecy #45
Description
The Captain of our salvation
Old Testament Prophecy
 Joshua 5:14-15
And he said, “No; but I am the commander of the army of the Lord. Now I have come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped[a] and said to him, “What does my lord say to his servant?” 
And the commander of the Lord’s army said to Joshua, “Take off your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.
New Testament Fullfillment
Heb 2:10
For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering.

If you are just joining this blog, or are a first time visitor, welcome to Considering the Bible. We would like to offer a document that provides over 350 prophecies of the Messiah found in the Old Testament for your consideration.

351 Old Testament Prophecies Fulfilled in Jesus Christ

I make no claim to be able to comment on every one of these amazing prophecies in the future, but will occasionally bring one to the readers attention for their edification.

Hopefully you will follow “Considering the Bible” and begin an interaction with us


Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

Standard
Calvinism, Doctrinal, Interpretation

Calvin’s Concerns – Comment Response 7 – 1 Corinthians 2:14

As mentioned in the introduction, I have been been discussing the differences between Calvinism and Provisionalism with a fellow blogger. One particular response grabbed my attention and I am trying to understand his position, by referring to his proof texts and logic.

This is the second portion of his response (in red), along with the corresponding verses he referred to. I shall seek to comment on the verses and find his argument within the verses he has provided.

Original Comment

Scripture says God is sovereign in his decision to whom he will have mercy which is in accordance with Romans 9:16 and other scripture Romans 9:15,18 The natural man doesn’t come and can’t come 1 Corinthians 2:14 John 6:44 John 6:65 He doesn’t have the ability because he lacks spiritual discernment because he doesn’t have the spirit.

My friend continues with his verse list, intending (I believe) to supply a volume of verses with seemingly obvious messages that support his teaching of Calvinism.

The next verse we are to consider is a verse that Paul wrote to the Corinthian church, and when considered in the larger context, may not have the intended effect my friend assumes. But lets read the verse before we go any further.

1 Corinthians 2:14 – The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.

Lets consider the larger context. Paul speaks of wisdom in the beginning of this chapter to the most carnal and foolish saints of all his church plants.

1 Corinthians 2:6

Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away.

Who would consider the church Paul is addressing to be mature? Is that something anyone reading may argue, that the Corinthian church, or even the bulk of individuals in the church were mature? Could Paul be implying the following message to his childish church?

Yet among the mature (but not you guys!) we do impart wisdom.

1 Corinthians 2:7

But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory.

When did you impart this secret and hidden wisdom Paul? Did you preach this secret and hidden wisdom as part of the gospel message to those lost Corinthians? It seems in the beginning of chapter 2, Paul writes he proclaimed the testimony of God without lofty speech or wisdom, but with only one message – Jesus Christ crucified.

In other words, he preached the gospel to these Corinthians at the start. He did not disciple them. He preached to them! Discipling was to come later!

1 Corinthians 2:10

these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.

God reveals the deeper wisdom through the Spirit, and as believers in the Messiah, the Corinthians had no excuse to ignore the deeper things as they sought to follow after God as dear children. God’s spirit, who lives in the believer, is willing (and able) to communicate this wisdom if the believer is open and willing. Alas, it appears the Corinthians may not have been willing. Alas, they may be acting like a natural man – Yes, it appears a believer may act as a natural/carnal man.

1 Corinthians 3:1

But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ.

Brothers are addressed as babes in Christ. Not mature. Not ready for the deep things of God.

So where does this lead us to.

Paul is saying that the things of God in verse 14 is a discipleship issue, not a salvation issue. The Corinthians were believers, and yet not mature. The context of chapter 2 is of wisdom for the mature. The natural man, whom the Corinthians are acting like, cannot understand the deep mysteries of God This is the Corinthians responsibility – that is to receive the wisdom of God in their following Christ.

For the natural unregenerate man, the responsibility is not understanding the deep things of God, or the hidden wisdom of God. It is to repent and believe the gospel. In so doing, the the lost man finds life in the Son.

Let’s get things ordered in a chronological manner, for our God is a God of order.

This I believe is the context of the passage.

But even with this overview, my friend may argue that I am being too general, missing the point or provide some other reason to argue. Fair enough. But what of it? Does the verse, on it’s own teach of the inability of the lost to decide for Christ? Let’s see.

My friend speaks often of the natural man not accepting the things of God because he is dead in sins. Ooops I mixed two verses there – I’m sorry. Let’s try this again

The natural man doesn’t accept the things of God because they are foolishness. The natural man hears the message, makes a judgement on the message and does not accept it. Does the verse say that he cannot accept it? Not yet at least. It seems the natural man’s inability isn’t described so much as his poor decision making skills.

But Carl, the very next clause in the verse states that he is not able to understand the things of the spirit. Is that because he is dead in sins (Oops – did it again!) I mean because he is not spiritual. Yes. of course!

So where does this passage teach that the natural man always refuses to believe the gospel? Yes, he decides (intellectually) against the message, and yes, he cannot understand the spiritual things of God. This seems clear. What is still unclear is where this verse states that the lost can not repent and believe the gospel.

If only Paul had added, “and he can not believe the gospel from the heart and he can not voice his confession unless God first regenerates him”

Let’s try the passage the way I think my friend understands it, (with the italicized portions added to hopefully supply clarity on my friends behalf).

The natural person does not accept the gospel the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand the gospel them because they are spiritually discerned, and he cannot believe the gospel from the heart and he can not voice his confession unless God first regenerates him.

OK so where does this lead us now.

Paul is speaking to a carnal immature church, believers that had not progressed, true saints according to the opening verses of the letter. Yet he delves into speaking of a wisdom that is for the mature, and that the natural man doesn’t accept or understand.

But that simply makes sense. The sinner needs to believe in order to have the spirit of God in their life, in order to seek out and accept the deep things, the wisdom of God intended for the mature.

When I became a believer at approx. 9:30 pm on Feb 19 1981, I repented of my sins and trusted the Lord Jesus for my salvation.

  • Did I (as a natural man) accept the things of the Spirit of God, that wisdom that is imparted to the mature (vs 6), the secret and hidden wisdom of God (vs 7)?
    • Of course not. I needed the gospel of Jesus, the milk of the word that gives life to those who believe. The wisdom that is imparted to the mature is for the mature. I was a baby! (Kinda like them darn Corinthians!)
  • Was I (as a natural man) able to understand the wisdom that is imparted to the mature (vs 6), the secret and hidden wisdom of God (vs 7)?
    • Obviously not, but I was alive once I believed! For the next four decades I sought to understand the wisdom for the mature, the secret and hidden wisdom of God, through study of the scriptures, hearing God’s direction and learning from other believers!
    • I just don’t see the sinners passage into life to be dependent on knowing the secret and hidden wisdom God intends for the mature.

So, I am not convinced this passage supplies a solid argument for the inability of the sinner to decide to believe. But, my friend supplies a plentitude of verses that I will continue to look through. We will see!

I do hope you will continue with me as I seek to understand the verses he supplies and if the verses he supplied support his argument of fatalism/determinism which he speaks of.



Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

Standard
Bible, Faith, Jesus the Messiah, Old Testament in New Testament, Prophecy

Old Testament Messianic Prophecies – Prophecy #44

Bible Scroll

The prophecy of the Lord Jesus for our consideration and edification, written centuries prior to His earthly existence is

Prophecy #44
Description
Cursed is he that hangs on a tree
Old Testament Prophecy
 Deuteronomy 21:23
his body shall not remain all night on the tree, but you shall bury him the same day, for a hanged man is cursed by God. You shall not defile your land that the Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance.
New Testament Fullfillment
Gal 3:10-13
For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.”

Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.”

But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.”

Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us–for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”–

If you are just joining this blog, or are a first time visitor, welcome to Considering the Bible. We would like to offer a document that provides over 350 prophecies of the Messiah found in the Old Testament for your consideration.

351 Old Testament Prophecies Fulfilled in Jesus Christ

I make no claim to be able to comment on every one of these amazing prophecies in the future, but will occasionally bring one to the readers attention for their edification.

Hopefully you will follow “Considering the Bible” and begin an interaction with us


Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

Standard
Devotional, hymns, Old Testament, Psalms

Psalms for Psome – 28

My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart.

This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.

I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book.

Psalm 28:1-9

1 Of David. To you, O LORD, I call; my rock, be not deaf to me, lest, if you be silent to me, I become like those who go down to the pit.

2 Hear the voice of my pleas for mercy, when I cry to you for help, when I lift up my hands toward your most holy sanctuary.

3 Do not drag me off with the wicked, with the workers of evil, who speak peace with their neighbors while evil is in their hearts.

4 Give to them according to their work and according to the evil of their deeds; give to them according to the work of their hands; render them their due reward.

5 Because they do not regard the works of the LORD or the work of his hands, he will tear them down and build them up no more.

6 Blessed be the LORD! For he has heard the voice of my pleas for mercy.
7 The LORD is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.

8 The LORD is the strength of his people; he is the saving refuge of his anointed.

9 Oh, save your people and bless your heritage! Be their shepherd and carry them forever.

Communication.

I struggle with it everyday, seeking to translate my thoughts into noises in order for others to comprehend my questions, needs or warnings. But that is only half the effort of communication. I may elucidate my thoughts perfectly, (in a theoretical world that is!) and if the one(s) I am addressing do not hear, understand and receive the message, it is all for naught.

David is letting us know of the communication between the God of Israel and himself. David is crying out for help, and nothing is happening. After years of open communication between the King and his King, David is calling out to God in some emergency.

The first verse has a bit of ambiguity to it when the ESV coins the phrase  “be not deaf to me”. A few of the other translations translate the phrase as “Do not be silent to me”.

There is a difference in my mind. The end results are the same of course, in that the praying saint seems to find no response from the One who can help. But David’s tone of the psalm changes based on this difference.

If the term is rightly understood to be “be not deaf to me”, David is implying that God isn’t hearing the prayer. God’s willingness (or ability?) to hear David has changed. He is not allowing any prayer to reach His understanding.

If the term is “do not be silent to me”, David is simply reiterating the same truth in the next phrase. The tone of the psalm then becomes that the saint isn’t receiving a response, though God may be hearing of the complaint.

You see, it is a different scenario if one doesn’t hear, and then doesn’t respond, than if one does hear and doesn’t respond. The ESV understands David’s complaint to be twofold. God isn’t hearing his prayer, and He isn’t responding to his prayer.

I think this allows us to see a bit deeper into David’s relationship with his God. He understood when his God heard his prayers, and when his God would answer his prayers. This is incredible, for many believers (my self included) struggle with this assurance and knowledge of God’s hearing and responding to our prayers.

Of course this may be a one-off for David, meaning this may be a specific time when David understood this situation. Therefore, I don’t mean we are to constantly know how and if God is receiving and responding to our prayers. But that is not the main point.

David had the sense, the discernment of knowing God’s attitude toward the prayer he offered up. And based on this knowledge, made his complaint anyway! He would not take no for an answer, and continued with his plea.

David pleads to the One on the throne, claiming that if his God is silent, he will die. God is the only One whom David leans on. If God doesn’t help, David’s life is over.

Get a feel for this situation.

You have spent your life seeking to hear and follow God, (imperfectly of course) and have come to a point when all is against you. At the time when all hangs in the balance, and you seek help from your God, all communication falls silent. No help comes. You are stranded, left to your enemies and the fate of death.

King David had to wait for his rescue, but it came.

Psalm 28:6

Blessed be the LORD! For he has heard the voice of my pleas for mercy.

David’s voice was heard. The LORD responded and saved his anointed one before he went to the grave.

Psalm 28:8

The LORD is the strength of his people; he is the saving refuge of his anointed.

David’s voice was heard and the grave was avoided. The greater David, our Lord Jesus, his prayers were heard, and yet the grave was not avoided. As a matter of fact, the grave was inevitable. Where David sought rescue from the grave, Jesus sought strength to endure entering to the grave.

Hebrews 5:7

In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence.

David’s salvation and Jesus salvation, both men facing the grave, followed different trajectories.

David was saved from the grave. (At least in relation to the current plea!)

Jesus was saved out of the grave, in resurrection power, not only to live forever, but to become the priest of a new creation, bringing many others into the same resurrection life.

Jesus prayers were heard. God the Father’s ears were (and are) always open to the Anointed One. The Fathers answer to the Saviors prayers were greater than any may have imagined, thought or wished for

Hebrews 5:7

In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence.

Jesus was heard by the Father. He is alive and praying for us.

Romans 8:34

Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died–more than that, who was raised–who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.

David sought deliverance from the grave. Jesus sought to enter the grave, to go through death in order to be “taken up”.

Luke 9:51

When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem.

He is the One to follow, if for no other reason than the incredible bravery and faith He exercised. The single minded focus of His life was to enter the grave, to obey the call of the Father on His life and to prove (ultimately) the great love wherewith He has loved us.

Love. It is the difference.

Let us love one another as the One who loved us has taught us.


Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

Standard
Bible, Faith, Jesus the Messiah, Old Testament in New Testament, Prophecy

Old Testament Messianic Prophecies – Prophecy #43

Bible Scroll

The prophecy of the Lord Jesus for our consideration and edification, written centuries prior to His earthly existence is

Prophecy #43
Description
Whoever will not hear must bear his sin
Old Testament Prophecy
 Deuteronomy 18:19
And whoever will not listen to my words that he shall speak in my name, I myself will require it of him.
New Testament Fullfillment
Acts 3:22-23
Moses said, ‘The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brothers. You shall listen to him in whatever he tells you.

And it shall be that every soul who does not listen to that prophet shall be destroyed from the people.’

If you are just joining this blog, or are a first time visitor, welcome to Considering the Bible. We would like to offer a document that provides over 350 prophecies of the Messiah found in the Old Testament for your consideration.

351 Old Testament Prophecies Fulfilled in Jesus Christ

I make no claim to be able to comment on every one of these amazing prophecies in the future, but will occasionally bring one to the readers attention for their edification.

Hopefully you will follow “Considering the Bible” and begin an interaction with us


Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

Standard
New Testament, Parables, Simple Truths

Parable Surprises – The Great Banquet

The great banquet. The end times? Apocalypse, revelation and the antichrist? Eewwww this could get juicy.

Let’s read the passage and consider the message

Luke 14:16-24

16 But he said to him, “A man once gave a great banquet and invited many. 17 And at the time for the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ 18 But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. Please have me excused.’ 19 And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused.’ 20 And another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ 21 So the servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house became angry and said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame.’ 22 And the servant said, ‘Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’ 23 And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. 24 For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.'”

Questions to Consider

Who were the audience?

Jesus had been invited to “dine at the house of a ruler of the Pharisees” (Luke 14:1)

Some commentators link this parable with the healing of the demoniac. Although applicable I suppose, I will continue with the flow of thought found in Luke’s telling.

When did the Lord give this parable?

This parable was given within three months of the passion week. For a helpful document, providing a list of all the events in Jesus Life, check out Events of Jesus Life.

Where did the Lord teach the parable?

During the last three months of the Lord’s time in Israel, much of it was spent in Perea, on the eastern side of the Jordan. This particular parable was given at a party.

Why did the Lord give this message?

The Lord had given a parable moments before, concerning who we should invite to parties. (See “Parable Surprises – Giving a Feast”) Out of that parable, some one said to Jesus, “Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!”

This is all it took, for I sense the Lord gave this parable ’cause the message just might not have sunk in. Sure, the previous parable was about “losers”, (those who had no influence, and may be considered a burden to society), but this parable had a similar message, directed to a different group of outcasts.

What was the message for the original audience?

You’ve read the parable. The message is simple. Those who are privileged often reject an invitation. The party goers Jesus was speaking to were not only healthy, wealthy, and wise (?), they were of the privileged class of people, the chosen ones whom God called because they were so special, they were the better “lot of people”. Not like those others! They weren’t them!

Three of the privileged were invited to a great banquet.

  • Who buys a field without looking at it?
  • Who buys a couple of oxen without inspecting them?
  • Who marries a wife? You know this one may have some merit, since the OT makes reference to the first year of marriage to be dedicated to no warfare, etc, But honestly, no banquet either? (See Deuteronomy 24:5)

Let’s just agree that these reasons are fairly thinly veiled excuses to avoid saying no the invite!

The party giver was determined, and he went to those he initially invited to bring them in, but to no success. Well servant, the food is getting cold – go get some of them there poor and crippled, blind and lame folk.

Sound familiar to the tone of the earlier parable? Even with that done, there was more room!

Go get those foreigners.

As an aside, this verse was used by a certain dark ages church to justify forcibly converting pagans to Christianity. Certainly an obvious misapplication of this parable. The Masters desire to have guests is very evident with the word choice of compel. Drag them into the party by whatever means necessary.

The word “compel” can be understood to range from asking permission of the invited to threatening or forcing someone to attend.

Compel (anagkazō)

Outline of Biblical Usage

  1. to necessitate, compel, drive to, constrain
    1. by force, threats, etc.
    2. by permission, entreaties, etc.
    3. by other means

It is my understanding that during the crusades this verse was used to justify the horrific manner of “evangelism” the church entered into.

Back to the point, the party giver was determined to have a successful party. He wanted to share his possessions and good fortune with any and all. Kinda sounds like God.

And yet, the punch line has not been discussed yet. Those who reject the invitation, eventually will be refused an opportunity.

What is the message for us today?

However you read this parable, the meaning for us in this modern society is evident. We are invited to the banquet daily, and yet we refuse. A continual refusal will bring about a continual rejection.

Maybe there is an end times flare to this parable, in that in the end, our willingness to accept the invitation is crucial while we have an opportunity.

Isaiah 55:6

“Seek the LORD while he may be found; call upon him while he is near;



Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

Standard
Uncategorized

Song Squawk – Personal Judgement Day

In the mid nineties, I had a little red Buick and a big ol’ bass box in the trunk, and would listen to “Christian Rock”, cranked to 11.

(What did you say?  Huh?  Can  you say that again, I didn’t hear you….)

I have gotten away from that genre for many reasons, the least of which may be a loss of hearing, but some songs have stuck with me over the decades.

The artist’s I listened to sought to reflect Scriptural teaching for the most part. They ranged from “preaching” pop culture religion to significant theological teaching. As I listened to the lyrics, I found some to be quite challenging.

To be honest, I listened because I could justify the rock beat with “sanctified lyrics”.

Occassionaly I will post a song, supply the lyrics and make a comment or two. If you decide to listen to the tune, turn the speaker down unless you are already deaf. Some of the songs tend to have a certain “volume” about them!


This post will consider the song

Personal Judgement Day – Big Tent Revival

This group was one of the first “Contemporary Christian Groups” I began to listen to, and this song was typical of this group’s sound.

Gonna be a hot time on the old town tonight
We’re goin out; gonna do it up right
But in the middle of a casual grin–
In the blink of an eye, He’s coming again
Don’t have to listen to what I say
Don’t have to bow your head and pray
But your personal judgement day
Is only a breath away

Accepted Jesus at Forty-Five
Said “Man I’m glad to be alive
All my friends are dead you see
And one bad trip and it could’ve been me”

The bible talks about a book of names–
Souls rescend from the flames
So brother tell me, when it all is through

Do you know Jesus, and does He know you?

BTR was a very popular group in it’s day and found success with each of their albums

Take a listen!

Personal Judgement Day – Big Tent Revival

Let me know what you think of the lyrics, and of the tunes!


Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

Standard
Bible, Faith, Jesus the Messiah, Old Testament in New Testament, Prophecy

Old Testament Messianic Prophecies – Prophecy #42

Bible Scroll

The prophecy of the Lord Jesus for our consideration and edification, written centuries prior to His earthly existence is

Prophecy #42
Description
Sent by the Father to speak His word
Old Testament Prophecy
 Deuteronomy 18:18
I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him.
New Testament Fullfillment
John 8:28-29
So Jesus said to them, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me.

And he who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to him.”

If you are just joining this blog, or are a first time visitor, welcome to Considering the Bible. We would like to offer a document that provides over 350 prophecies of the Messiah found in the Old Testament for your consideration.

351 Old Testament Prophecies Fulfilled in Jesus Christ

I make no claim to be able to comment on every one of these amazing prophecies in the future, but will occasionally bring one to the readers attention for their edification.

Hopefully you will follow “Considering the Bible” and begin an interaction with us


Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

Standard
Calvinism, Doctrinal, Interpretation

Calvin’s Concerns – Comment Response 6 – Romans 9:15, 18

As mentioned in the introduction, I have been been discussing the differences between Calvinism and Provisionalism with a fellow blogger. One particular response grabbed my attention and I am trying to understand his position, by referring to his proof texts and logic.

This is the second portion of his response (in red), along with the corresponding verses he referred to. I shall seek to comment on the verses and find his argument within the verses he has provided.

Original Comment

Scripture says God is sovereign in his decision to whom he will have mercy which is in accordance with Romans 9:16 and other scripture Romans 9:15,18 The natural man doesn’t come and can’t come 1 Corinthians 2:14 John 6:44 John 6:65 He doesn’t have the ability because he lacks spiritual discernment because he doesn’t have the spirit.

Romans 9:15 – For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”

Romans 9:18 – So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.

This set of two texts, as proof texts for individual election are very powerful if provided without the general context. All those of the reformed inclination focus on these verses and seem to give more weight than any other verse or set of verses that might temper or provide guidance in the overall teaching of the New Testament.

As reading this set of verses in Romans 9, I have suggested a corporate reading of the text. One way to consider this viewpoint is in the following “picture”

A king wished to be entertained by a singing group, and called upon a nearby town to provide a singing group. All the townspeople had an opportunity to join the singing group, and eventually, one month before the appearance before the king, a group was established.

Of course, as the day of appearing before the king grew near, an occasional singer may fall sick, choose to drop out or simply give up. Also during this time, those within the town have changed their mind and requested to join the group. In the kings invitation, the stipulated requirement was to provide the choir, not specific people to make up the singing group.

In front of the king, on that fateful day, the choir sang before him and the invitation to perform in front of the king was a success. Specific townsfolk decided (willfully or otherwise) to either join or ignore the opportunity. But the calling (invite) was for a singing group. Specific people in the group still retained the freedom the join or abandon the opportunity, yet the calling of the singing group was complete.

As you read through that feeble attempt to explain my understanding, there will be those who find fault in the picture. That is to be expected, since I (as all others) are looking through a glass darkly. I do not want to imply this is the only way to understand Romans 9, as a text on its own.

Yet, in the larger context of Romans 9-11, I find passages that have a very inclusionary feel about the gospel.

Rom 3 has clearly stated that

All have sinned and come short of the glory of God

Pauls theological teaching on the gospel of God comes t a close with Romans 22 and immediately prior to the praise Paul beaks into of the inestimable riches, wisdom and knowledge of God, he makes the following summary statement.

The supposed calling of a specific individual election to salvation, prior to the foundation of the world seems to be left behind in this summary statement.

How could Paul, in giving so strong of an argument convining his readers of the sinfulness of all in Romans 3, and continuing with the all inclusive language of God consigning all to disobedience in verse 32, then immediately restrict His ability to have mercy on only a subset of the all?

Romans 11:32 tells us of the intent of God consigning all to disobedience. He desires to have mercy on all.

Following are a number of translations for the reader to consider of Romans 11:32, in order to quell any doubt as to the intent of the apostle

KJV
For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.

NKJV

For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He might have mercy on all.

ESV

For God has consigned all to disobedience, that he may have mercy on all.

RSV

For God has consigned all men to disobedience, that he may have mercy upon all.

NIV

For God has bound everyone over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.

Thanks for dropping by.

As many who read this bIog may know I have spent many of the days of my pilgrimage in dwelling on specific passages that seem to support my thinking. I spent many years rejecting any teaching (or passage) that seemed to challenge a specific belief. I found I wanted to indoctrinate others to find support for my own faith, as opposed to simply seeking a balanced view of the Scripture, not emphasizing one portion of the Word over another. This is far more difficult than it may seem, and although I believe my intentions are good, my skill level at navigating through this effort is far inferior to many who may read this blog.

As always, your comments are appreciated and will be considered as they are delivered. Thanks again, and may your day be blessed



Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com


Standard
Bible, Faith, Jesus the Messiah, Old Testament in New Testament, Prophecy

Old Testament Messianic Prophecies – Prophecy #41

Bible Scroll

The prophecy of the Lord Jesus for our consideration and edification, written centuries prior to His earthly existence is

Prophecy #41
Description
“Had you believed Moses, you would believe me.”
Old Testament Prophecy
 Deuteronomy 18:15-16
“The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers—it is to him you shall listen— 16 just as you desired of the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly, when you said, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God or see this great fire any more, lest I die.’
New Testament Fullfillment
John 5:45-47
Do not think that I will accuse you to the Father. There is one who accuses you: Moses, on whom you have set your hope.

For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me.

But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?”

If you are just joining this blog, or are a first time visitor, welcome to Considering the Bible. We would like to offer a document that provides over 350 prophecies of the Messiah found in the Old Testament for your consideration.

351 Old Testament Prophecies Fulfilled in Jesus Christ

I make no claim to be able to comment on every one of these amazing prophecies in the future, but will occasionally bring one to the readers attention for their edification.

Hopefully you will follow “Considering the Bible” and begin an interaction with us


Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

Standard
Devotional, hymns, Old Testament, Psalms

Psalms for Psome – 27

My wife and I are reading through the Psalms in our evening reading and occasionally a nugget of the Psalms jumps out of the page. Don’t you love it when, after years of reading the “Old Book” passages become alive, reinforcing old teachings or simply warming your heart.

This is the book of Psalms, and it is rich.

I pray I can communicate a portion of the blessing we receive from this wonderful book.

Psalm 27

1 Of David. The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
2 When evildoers assail me to eat up my flesh, my adversaries and foes, it is they who stumble and fall.
3 Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident.
4 One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple.
5 For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock.
6 And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me, and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make melody to the LORD.
7 Hear, O LORD, when I cry aloud; be gracious to me and answer me!
8 You have said, “Seek my face.” My heart says to you, “Your face, LORD, do I seek.”
9 Hide not your face from me. Turn not your servant away in anger, O you who have been my help. Cast me not off; forsake me not, O God of my salvation!
10 For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the LORD will take me in.
11 Teach me your way, O LORD, and lead me on a level path because of my enemies.
12 Give me not up to the will of my adversaries; for false witnesses have risen against me, and they breathe out violence.
13 I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living!
14 Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!

David was in trouble.

When he looked around, all he saw were evildoers, enemies, adversaries and foes. A brief look through this rich Psalm gives us some idea of the condition David found himself in.

David’s Condition

  • His enemies were after him

When evildoers assail me to eat up my flesh, my adversaries and foes, it is they who stumble and fall.
Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident.

  • He was removed from the House of the Lord

One thing have I asked of the LORD, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in his temple.

  • He experienced abandonment by mother and father

For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the LORD will take me in.

  • He was defamed by false witnesses rising up against him

Give me not up to the will of my adversaries; for false witnesses have risen against me, and they breathe out violence.

I don’t recognize a victim mentality coming from David, that I sometimes hear when a believer is under trials. Statements of his condition didn’t fall into that favorite category of mine, which I reserve for times like this, that is of blaming someone for my situation.

In all of his trials, David interspersed this psalm with confidence in God.

David’s Confidence

David’s life is a life of exhibiting confidence in God, when he was is serious trouble. Was David perfect – No, only the Messiah was able to live a life of perfection. But David did exercise confidence in the Lord when the chips were down, and this psalm typifies this character of David.

David’s life was in jeopardy, his kingdom is falling (this psalm was likely written during the insurrection of Absalom), his family was treacherous to him, and the political machine had turned against him.

What I find interesting is that he does not look for revenge directly. He begins with his confidence in the Lord and rhetorically asking of whom he shall be afraid. Everything had turned on David and he looks to the Lord as the stronghold of his life.

What is your stronghold? Family? Finances? Friends?

David had focused his confidence in the Lord through a continual faith. He had confidence since he had proven the Lord to be faithful. So many instances of David in his life seeing the faithfulness of the Lord may be noted, but it may appear to be giving obvious information. Suffice it to say, David’s trust in the Lord over the years had provided him the confidence he was living in during this crisis.

David’s Prayer

As I hinted at above, David does not look for revenge directly. Of course he is looking for a mighty rescue, for the Lord to pull him out of this jam. He doesn’t look for revenge, but looks to the Lord for the solutions. This is amazing in my estimation, since it is the default position to blame someone (usually God) for our troubles, and David sees the Lord as the focus and center of the situation.

Consider the last time you were being persecuted, abandoned or defamed. Did you focus on the condition you were in or on the Lord who is the Savior?

David looked to the Lord for strength.

When evildoers assail me to eat up my flesh,
my adversaries and foes, it is they who stumble and fall.

Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear;
though war arise against me, yet I will be confident.

David states that in the past, his enemies, adversaries and foes stumbled and fell. But David – you are in the midst of the greatest betrayal and fall from grace yourself. But dear reader, this is looking at the situation, and David is looking to the Lord, He comes back to his desire to “dwell in the house of the Lord” and to “gaze upon the beauty of the Lord”

How often have you been told that, in the midst of trials, this thinking is “pie in the sky” thinking, and that you need to plan, execute, do, prepare, analyze, organize, coordinate and designate.

Don’t get me wrong, for even in the time of David’s worst political danger, he executed plans to mitigate and overwhelm the enemy. Hushai was sent by David to that rebellious Absalom, in order to redirect him into a strategic error. David strategized and acted, but this psalm shows David’s source of strength, his priority and focus in life.

As David left his throne, his city and was being chased by his enemies, two truths come blaring out to me

Consider 2 Samuel 15, where we pick up David’s experience of leaving his capital.

But David went up the ascent of the Mount of Olives, weeping as he went, barefoot and with his head covered. And all the people who were with him covered their heads, and they went up, weeping as they went.

King David, after being rejected by the nation of Israel, his family and most of his support, climbed the Mount of Olives. This narrative speaks volumes of the Greater David, the Lord Jesus and His confidence in God the Father for His future trial. I have heard it many times that the victory was secured in the Garden. His strength for the torture of the crucifixion was found in the garden. David’s weeping and travail of soul was a picture of the Greater David, of His confidence in our Father God, and show’s us who we are to follow after.

And it was told David, “Ahithophel is among the conspirators with Absalom.” And David said, “O Lord, please turn the counsel of Ahithophel into foolishness.”

David did not send out an assassin for Ahithophel. David, if he was thinking only of his kingdom and of his own survival, may have reverted to taking revenge upon his friend and counsellor Ahithophel. This was not David’s response, but he prayed that the Lord would interfere with Absalom’s understanding. David knew Ahithophel would give excellent advice, but David prayed that the advice would be turned into foolishness.

How that happened was a combination of events. Hushai argued against Ahithophel in front of Absalom in giving “next steps” advice. Hushai wisely saw the subject he was providing advice to and fed Absalom’s arrogance and pride.

Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.

The prayer of David was accomplished through the planning of David and the vanity of Absalom.

David’s confidence was again strengthened due his continued trust.

When hard times come, trust Him. Do not seek revenge, but seek to know God’s will and to follow it in your heart, mind and actions.

Romans 12:19

Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”

Difficult times train us to stand up, and will produce a confidence in the Lord that prepares us for future struggles. There is a war we are fighting, and as David experienced in the civil war that was erupting before his eyes, the only wise approach is to seek God and his will.

David’s admonition is wise advice

Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!


Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.

Standard