Peewee and the Believer

My wife has a dog. It is a snaggle toothed dog, with wiry hair, bad breath and a bit of a belly.

Peewee is a rescue dog. She was my wife’s second choice when we went to the pound to get a pup. (Her first choice had been spoken for prior to her seeing it.) Peewee was a timid pup, hiding in the back of the cage, a bit fearful and very quiet, but she caught my wife’s eye, and we brought her home. That was about three years ago.

Fast forward to today. I was taking care of some work in the master bathroom when I saw Peewee coming into the bedroom. Our dogs (we have three) are not allowed to be upstairs.

“What in tarnation are you doing upstairs, Peewee?”

A few seconds later, Paula entered the room and I understood. You see, my wife has a shadow, and that shadow is called Peewee.

Peewee is so bound up with my wife, so connected with her, so attached to her, that I can tell where Paula is by where Peewee is. Where Paula is, Peewee is sure to be near.

When Paula is in the house, Peewee is nearby. When Paula is outside, Peewee is outside.

If my wife is at work, Peewee is waiting on the back of the couch until she comes home. Peewee waits all day until Paula enters the house. I have been at home while Paula is at work, and watched Peewee patiently wait for Paula to return.

It seems the pup has no problem with the length of time Paula takes to return home. When she traveled recently, Peewee waited. Patiently. When she returned after a week of travelling, Peewee was happy to see her. When she left to go get some milk and bread recently, and returned within the hour, Peewee was happy to see her.

The length of time Paula is gone doesn’t seem to effect Peewee’s attachment to Paula. Peewee is simply happy to see her.

Early in Peewee’s time with us, Paula doted on that pup. The connection was initiated by Paula, and is strengthened every time Paula comes in that front door.

This is similar of the Father and the Son and the Spirit. They initiated the relationship with us. With me. They are constantly reaching out to us and encouraging us.

John 3:16

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

John 15:9-10

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love

2 Timothy 1:7

For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

When Paula comes in that door, Peewee sees an opportunity to be beside Paula, with Paula, next to Paula and near Paula until she leaves again. Peewee uses every minute to connect and be with Paula.

May I suggest – spend time with Him. Turn the TV off, the internet off, the radio off, the stereo off, all the distractions. Break open a Bible and spend some time with the One who is.

Psalm 46:10

“Be still, and know that I am God.
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth!”

BeStillandKnow

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Popular Prophecy

Biblical prophecy sure is popular!

End of the World 2A few days back I was browsing the internet, that great stealer of time and thought, and came across a list of known “End of the World” prophecies that have hounded the church since the very earliest days of the church.

I will attach the list below only after I bring to your attention that the end of the world for both you and me is definitely within our lifetime! I can absolutely guarantee that once you lifetime is complete, the effect of the end of the world will be accomplished. This is what we need get ready for.

Prepare to meet your God!

End of the World 1The end of the world may be centuries away. I can guaran-dog-tee you are gonna meet God in the next few decades (or less!) Don’t let the sensational fear mongers grab your attention. Daily be in touch with Jesus, seek to obey His will, walk humbly with Him and grow in the knowledge of His ways. Note that if you are not growing in the knowledge of His ways, you can be certain you are regressing and falling away.

According to the list below, we have missed many of the the “ends of the world” it is embarrassing!!

Predictions of the Second Coming-page-001Predictions of the Second Coming-page-002Predictions of the Second Coming-page-003Predictions of the Second Coming-page-004Predictions of the Second Coming-page-005Predictions of the Second Coming-page-006Predictions of the Second Coming-page-007Predictions of the Second Coming-page-008

 

 

Local Church Membership – Research Response

Church on a hill

Recently in Sunday School, I had the opportunity to chat with a fellow believer regarding his research on “Local Church Membership”  I think he was seeking some degree from a Bible School, and he was kind enough to let me ask him some difficult questions.

Eventually, in an effort to allow others to participate in the class, I suggested he send me his research to read.  He emailed it to me the next day and I took a few minutes to review it and make some comments.  I didn’t spend much time on the portion of church tradition’s as justification for church membership, since I was curious about the Biblical defence he used to justify this teaching.

What follows below are snippets of his research (in red) with my comments following.

Referring to Matthew 16:19, 18:17-18, he states

“Keys are a symbol of authority over who enters and who is excluded. Given the context of Peter’s confession of Christ in the former passage, binding and loosing here likely relates to deciding who by their confession is regenerate and therefore to be received into church membership.”

This conclusion is not required from the text.  I fear the “membership test” of determining who is regenerate and who is not, is placing a heavy responsibility on both the church leaders and the subject.

As you well know, confession is not a reliable indicator of true faith, unless by confession, you mean obedience to the faith and not just verbal assent to some teaching.  If this conclusion is warranted (that is, if a person is regenerate, he may be received into church membership), nothing in this passage describes a “local” church, and its membership.

Would the apostles have imagined a local group of believers to be required to test newcomers, instead of simply loving them and allowing them to join thier gatherings?

Would the apostles have required a believer to enter a membership agreement (other than commitment to the Lord Jesus?)

Does not the New Testament teach that to be regenerate IS to be in the Church, the Body of Christ?

Similarly given the context of the latter passage relating to church discipline (that is Mathew 18), the church is to decide who by their impenitence is unregenerate and therefore to be excluded from church membership.

Again, this is a difficult call to decide who is unregenerate.  Deciding the status of a person’s relationship with the God of Heaven is difficult to say the least.  Much time and experiences will supply some insight in the person’s status.  When I think of Peter’s 3 years of being with Jesus, I would have given him my full confidence right up to the denial.  And then I would have rejected him.  But then, I would have accepted him.   And then in Galatia, when he ate with the Jews only, I would have rejected him.  But then, sometime after that, I probablywould have accepted him. What a rollercoaster!!!

Exclusion of membership is only effective when it relates directly to relationships within the church, not a letter or form from church officials.  Many times, I have heard of those excluded from a church via a letter or form, and yet the excluded member maintains relationships within their sphere of “friends”, and simply moves on to another church, sometimes attaining the coveted membership again.  Something doesn’t seem to be working with this system, if the non-repentant can continue to be accepted in other bodies.

Just as the exchange of wedding rings symbolizes entry into the marriage covenant by the bride and groom, so baptism symbolizes entry into a new covenant by a believer with God through faith in Christ.

Are you suggesting baptism is equal to local church membership in God’s eyes?  That is, local church membership is one of the new covenant’s ordinances?

The church has a responsibility to discern the regenerate status of a candidate before administering baptism and likewise to restrict participation in the Lord’s Supper to those who are regenerate.

When the Ethiopian asked to get baptized, Phillip baptized him.  The church (Philip, in this case) simply baptized the Ethiopian. I don’t know of anywhere in the NT where a period of discernment is described or prescribed for the administration of baptism for a confessing believer.

35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus.

36 And as they were going along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?”

38 And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him.

Regarding the Lord’s Supper, please direct me to where the New Testament gives the church (leaders?) the right to restrict participation in the Lord’s supper.  I have heard of this teaching before, but never been given a passage to consider it’s veracity.

One passage does describe the believer’s responsibility of judging whether he/she should eat the Lord’s Supper

27 Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord.

28 Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup.

29 For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself.

We are told to not give up meeting together (Heb 10:25) and to use our spiritual gifts for the common good (1 Cor 12:7).

Regarding meeting together, would you restrict someone from meeting together with you and your members if he, for conscience sake, did not submit to adding his name to a roster?  As an aside , I once asked a pastor if he would rather have a faithful and active believer in his church (although not a member), or a pew sitting member in his church.  He did not respond.

Regarding 1 Corinthians 12:7, spiritual gifts for the common good need not be restricted to a membership of Christians but should be for the common good of ALL (Christian and non-Christian).

I cannot imagine how local church membership adds any value to a spiritual gift. (Other than being allowed to use it in a restricted membership environment – But if the restriction was lifted, would more blessing be available to others?)

All these (that is meeting together and spiritual gifts) imply that we can identify who are our fellow members in the body.

Christians should be able to identify their brothers and sisters by the fellowship of the Spirit and love to the Lord.  You know as well as I brother, that membership is not infallible, and that some fakers make it to a membership status.

The church publicly declares someone to be a member when it baptizes that person, and periodically reaffirms who is in its covenant membership through invitation to participate in the Lord’s Supper.

I assume you are referring to becoming a member of the local church. Is this implying that when a believer moves to a new geographical location, he has an obligation to be baptized again, in order to declare that person publicly? 

….the relation of church leader and church member must be clear for elders to be able to exercise oversight (1 Pet 5:1-5)  

So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed:

shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly;

not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.

And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive  the unfading crown of glory.

Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

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I suppose you equate submission to an elder to be within the local church I am a member of.  If so, could I submit to an elder of another local church?  Is there a restriction to my submitting to other believers (outside of my local church) who care for my soul, who may understand my circumstance better, who may have experienced like things in my life and been taught by the Word?

This passage does speak of submission to elders (but it seems to be in relation to age and not church office, since Peter directs the “younger” to be subject to the elder) Believers are rightfully to have an attitude of submission to all. (Remember that verse about “Submit to one another”?).

I do not see how this passage in 1 Peter defines local church membership for the believer, especially since the book was written for the diaspora, the dispersed believers, and not to a specific local body of Christians.

Referring to 1 Corinthians 12

The church as the body of Christ underscores the necessity of church membership (because members of the body cannot survive apart from the body)

Are you implying that Paul meant “members of a local church” when he said members?

If so, why was he not specific, and state that the members are to create a covenantal agreement to sign on to, in order to obey, and remove their immaturity and division.

I did a quick search of 1 Corinthians and did not find the term “membership” within the passage, although I found the term “members” often.  As a family man, I often think of my children as members of my family, and yet it would be an huge insult to them to ask them to formally join the family through a membership.

When believers are brought into the fold, they should clearly affirm the terms of the membership covenant they are entering, just as bride and groom must understand the terms of their marriage covenant.

The covenant a believer enters into is called the “New Covenant”, where the law is written on our heart – o heck let the apostle describe it for us

10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel
after those days, declares the Lord:
I will put my laws into their minds,
and write them on their hearts,
and I will be their God,
and they shall be my people.

11 And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor
and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’
for they shall all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest.

12 For I will be merciful toward their iniquities,
and I will remember their sins no more.”

And like a marriage, the church covenant requires its participants to continually work at abiding by it, taking advantage of every opportunity to reaffirm their vows. 

The church covenant you desire to justify seems to be amongst brothers and sisters, not husbands and wives.  I suppose you are likening covenants and not the parties to it, but it seems unnecessary, and clouds the issue for me

I would suggest that the insertion of a church covenant into a group of believers creates a distraction from the New Covenant, that Jesus shed His blood to ratify for our benefit.

Consider

  • If the church covenant adds responsibilities to believers beyond the new covenant, be careful.
  • If it states the same responsibilities as the New Covenant, why introduce it?

We need to be members of His body primarily, and as we travel through this life down here, we may have the priviledge to be a part of a group of loving believers.  If signing a membership role removes restrictions to a loving group of believers, may God bless you as you journey with them.


If you read something in this discussion that concerns you, please take the time to send me your comments or reply within the post.  I look forward to hearing from you.

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Conditional Security – Colossians 1:21-23

Conditional Security - if-150x150 - Red with SplashYears ago, when I was merely beginning to consider verses that may hint at the possibility of a chance that conditional security could have a tiny opportunity of gaining credibility in my understanding, this particular verse may have been the culprit that started my “descent into heresy”.

The circumstances, combined with my studying this verse in Colossians, seemed to be completely unrelated. It came about because I was meeting with a bunch of word of faith “believers”. I had been visiting with them, trying to understand their thinking, (instead of just taking someones word on their thinking.)

Anyhow, they were looking at the temptation of the Lord, and specifically the “if” statements the devil was throwing out at Him. I can’t recall the specific clause they landed on, but their conclusion followed the Arian heresy*. Two minutes after I asked some pertinent questions, and understood their settled stand on this matter, I spoke of my conviction, thanked them for their hospitality and quietly excused myself from thier home.

But the talk haunted me and set me on a bit of a study on the word “IF”. (Carl – you need to git a life!)

Anyway, I found a table (see end of post) that seemed helpful in explaining the different conditions in the Greek manuscripts that the English word “IF” was trying to communicate to us.

Colossians 1:23 uses the first class condition. But I am getting way ahead of myself.

Lets consider the passage first.

Colossians 1:21-23

And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.

Like I said, Colossians 1:23 uses a first class conditional “IF”, and some teachers state that this term can be translated as “since”. This would definitely take any “conditionality” out of this passage, since Paul would be stating a settled fact, as in …. Since you will continue in the faith….

Boy, that would be devastating for the conditional position.

But wait! Lets try that same translation for other instances where the first class conditional “IF” is used in the New Testament.

How bout this one.

Matthew 5:29

Since your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell

This verse actually instructs believers to pluck their eye out, since their eye offends them!

OK – Lets try this verse

Ephesians 4:21

assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus,

Ephesians 4:21 seems to allow using “assuming” instead of “if”, but this seeming exception should not make the rule. Paul may be questioning these believers if they really heard “Him” to make a point.

OK Carl, how can you say it is the exception to the rule. Check out these verses to consider if translating this word as “since” makes sense.

Matthew 12:27

Since I cast out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges.

Matthew 17:4

And Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good that we are here. Since you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.”

Luke 11:18 

SINCE Satan is also divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand?

Luke 22:42

Father, SINCE you are willing, remove this cup from me . . .

John 10:37

SINCE I am not doing the works of my Father, do not believe me . . .

Acts 25:11

Now SINCE I am wrong and have committed a deed worthy of death, I am not refusing to die . . .

Romans 4:2

For SINCE Abraham was justified by works, he has a basis for boasting . . .

Romans 4:14

For SINCE those who follow the law are heirs, faith is canceled out and the promise is voided

1 Corinthians 7:9

But SINCE they are not exercising self-control, they should get married.

1 Corinthians 8:13

SINCE food causes my brother to stumble, I will never eat meat . . .

1 Corinthians 9:17

For SINCE I do this willingly, I have a reward; but since I do it unwillingly, I have been entrusted with a stewardship

1 Corinthians 11:6

For SINCE a woman will not veil herself, she should cut off her hair . . .

1 Corinthians 15:13

Now SINCE there is no resurrection from the dead, neither has Christ been raised

1 Corinthians 15:19

SINCE in this life we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most miserable

1 Corinthians 15:32

SINCE the dead are not raised, “let us eat and drink for tomorrow we die.”

Galations 2:21

For SINCE justification comes through the law, then Christ died for nothing.

Galations 3:18

For SINCE the inheritance is from the law, it is no longer from the promise.

Galations 5:11

Now brothers, SINCE I am still preaching circumcision, why am still being persecuted?

Hebrews 9:13

For SINCE the blood of goats and bulls . . . sanctifies those who have been defiled

Hebrews 12:8

SINCE you are without the discipline which all children share, then you are illegitimate and not sons

James 2:11

Now SINCE you do not commit adultery, but SINCE you murder, you have become a transgressor of the law.

OK – I think I made my point. A simple reading of the passage communicates the conditionality intended by the author. So it seems Paul is informing the Colossians of their conditional status before their Master.

Story Time

As an aside, a few months after my study on this passage was complete, I was attending a newly formed Bible study and coincidentally looking at the first chapter of Colossians. The spirit of the meeting was very cordial and I sensed an openness to ask questions. Since I had just learned of this passage, I thought I would bring it up.

NO DISCUSSION ALLOWED.

The leader actually stood up from his chair, and approached me in front of the rest of the group. “The preacher said those verses should be read differently.” Therefore that was all the discussion that was needed. I am sure he was seeking to maintain the purity of the faith, protect the weak, or enforce his leadership, but that night sticks with me.

A couple of practical applications come to my mind from this experience

If I feel threatened by a believer’s differing views, ask yourself…

  • Are you depending/trusting in a man’s interpretation of a verse, passage or theology? Professional Christians may have oodles of learning, but NOTHING replaces self study and prayer in seeking to understand the Word.

  • Have I “finished” searching out the Scriptures? They – the Scriptures – tend to speak of Him, and with that hope, the Word is worthy of trying to understand.

  • Do I discuss opposing views with respect and an honest effort to understand the position? The Word of Faith folks, in my opinion, were wringing the Scriptures of truth, but any mockery, dismissal, anger or intimidation would accomplish absolutely nothing positive. Trust me – I have personal experience of this!

Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.


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  • According to Wikipeadia – The Arian controversy was a series of Christian theological disputes that arose between Arius and Athanasius of Alexandria, two Christian theologians from Alexandria, Egypt. The most important of these controversies concerned the substantial relationship between God the Father and God the Son.

Conditional Security – Passage List

Conditional Security - if-150x150 - Red with SplashConditional Security – Passage List

I thought I would supply the listing of conditional security passages I will attempt to study as I blog. Note that this post is simply a list of Bible references that teach the conditional security doctrine (I think).

When I first saw all the potential verses (potential, since I haven’t come to any settled conclusions on many of them!), I was a bit dumbfounded. I thought a couple passages in Hebrews would be the extent of my study.

Conditional Security - Bible 2000x700

Of course, as you review and consider some of these passages, you may want to add, or question one of the passages. Let me know via the contact form at the bottom.

Now, without further ado, I present to you a working list of New Testament conditional security passages. As I study each passage I will link the post to the verse references below.

Old Testament

Exodus 23:20-22

Leviticus 26:14-45

Joshua 1:9

1 Kings 15:5

2 Chronicles 15:1-2 

Gospel of Matthew

Matthew 5:13

Matthew 6:23

Matthew 7:16-19

Matthew 18:21-35

Matthew 24:11-13

Matthew 24:23

Matthew 25:1

Gospel of Mark

 

Gospel of Luke

Luke 8:11-15

Luke 11:24-28

Luke 12:42-46

Gospel of John

John 3:16

John 6:66-71

John 8:31,32, 51

John 10:28-29

John 13:8

John 15:1-6

John 15:11-17

Acts of the Apostles

Acts 5:23

Acts 11:21-23

Acts 13:43

Acts 14:21-23

Romans

Romans 6:11-23

Romans 8:12-14

Romans 8:17

Romans 11:20-22

Romans 11:29

Romans 14:15-23

1 Corinthians

1 Corinthians 1:4-9

1 Corinthians 9:23-10:21;

1 Corinthians 11:29-32

1 Corinthians 15:1-2

2 Corinthians

2 Corinthians 1:24

2 Corinthians 11:2-4

2 Corinthians 12:21;

2 Corinthians 13:1-5

Galations

Galatians 5:1-4

Galatians 6:7-9

Ephesians

Ephesians 3:17

Philippians

Philippians 1:3-11

 Colossians

Colossians 1:21-23

Colossians 2:4-8

Colossians 2:18-19

Colossians 3:4-25; Colossians 4:1

1 Thessalonians

1 Thessalonians 3:1-8

1 Timothy

1 Timothy 1:3-7

1 Timothy 1:5-11

1 Timothy 1:18-20

1 Timothy 2:11-15

1 Timothy 4:1-5

1 Timothy 5:5-8

1 Timothy 5:11-15

1 Timothy 6:9-12

1 Timothy 6:17-21

2 Timothy

2 Timothy 2:11-14

2 Timothy 2:22-26

2 Timothy 3:13-15

Hebrews

Hebrews 2:1-3

Hebrews 3:6-19

Hebrews 4:13

Hebrews 5:8-9

Hebrews 6:4-20

Hebrews 7:25

Hebrews 10:19-39

Hebrews 11:13-16

Hebrews 12

Hebrews 13:7

Hebrews 13:9-14

James

James 1:12

James 1:13-16

James 1:21-22

James 2:14-26

James 4:4-10

James 5:19-20

1 Peter

1 Peter 1:5-9

1 Peter 1:13

2 Peter

2 Peter 1:5-11

2 Peter 2

2 Peter 3:16-17

1 John

1 John 1:5-10; 1 John 2:1-11

1 John 2:15-29; 1 John 3:1-10

1 John 5:4-5

1 John 5:16

2 John

2 John 1:6

2 John 1:9

3 John

 

Jude

Jude 1:5

Jude 1:12

Revelation

Revelation 2:7

Revelation 2:10-11

Revelation 2:17-26

Revelation 3:4-5

Revelation 3:8-12

Revelation 3:14-22

Revelation 12:11

Revelation 17:14

Revelation 21:7-8

Revelation 22:18-19

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Conditional Security – Introduction

Conditional Security of Christian Believersif-150x150

SECURITY: the quality or state of being secure: freedom from danger, fear or anxiety

I have been a believer for over 35 years, having been saved at the ripe ol’ age of 21. One of the first teachings I received was the eternal security, “once saved always saved” (OSAS) doctrine. This doctrine teaches that once a person has placed faith in Christ (asked Jesus into his/her heart?), that person is eternally and irrevocably destined to heaven. It was, in my thinking, a contract I signed with God, a business transaction. Please understand, I am in no way reducing the covenantal promise He has provided to all who will trust in Him, but I suppose I question the duration of trust required.

Although I was never explicitly taught that sin could not break the contract I “signed” with God through faith, there was no fear to indulge in some peripheral sin. I was secure – I was going to be just fine! For close to 25 years I belonged to an eternal security denomination. I would only read eternal security books, eternal security pamphlets, and listen to teachers who taught eternal security. Every few sermons seemed to emphasize the eternal security of the believer, sometimes even using certain Scriptures to support the teaching. I vowed to never entertain that heresy of the “dark side”.

I just couldn’t risk the conflict in my mind.

I thought the OSAS logic was air tight. Certain Scriptures seemed to only teach the eternal security position. I would simply avoid the odd “bothersome” passages, (which began to pile up after a while), or find some way to explain the passage away.

It was a very comfortable place to be.

A Loss of Security

Then the church I was (heavily) involved in found sin in us and told us to leave. We were shocked and disoriented.

Just a few days previously, I had lost my job. We were living in a small Texas town with no possibility for work.

The security we found in our local church and our cushy job fell down around us.

I eventually found a position approx. 3 hours away. During my 3 hour commutes Monday morning and Friday afternoon, I began to listen to a Bible teacher who held different views than I. Initially I was drawn to this teacher’s eschatology, since my faith in dispensational teachings was slipping. He is a methodical and thorough Bible teacher who is not afraid to consider alternate viable interpretations of the Scriptural text.

I found him to be very challenging. Only one weakness – he had a “dark” side – he didn’t teach OSAS!

Another Security

As I listened to his teaching on Israel, the church and the end times, I would occasionally catch a reference to his “dark” side teaching and at first easily rebuffed his argument in my mind. That is until the passages became too numerous. It seemed that all I was doing was excusing, avoiding or rearranging Bible passages.

I started to study the passages and other authors from the dark side, until I found a book by Robert Shank, called “Life in the Son”. If you desire to continue in the OSAS camp, do not read this book. The exposition of numerous passages became too much for me.

So what is true security?

So far, I think true security is found in a consistent, direct relationship with the Savior. A desire to please Him and to do as He directs.

Although I have learned much since I began to consider conditional security, two thoughts come to mind.

  • The new covenant is an agreement between two parties.
    • He is faithful in all His activities and promises.
    • I am asking for help to become like Him.
  • If the nation of Israel, God’s covenant nation, was cut off and destroyed, how could I be so proud to think my relationship with the Living God could be ignored and not suffer?

No matter which camp you may fall into, we need to be motivated to please Him in all our ways.

Bible 2000x700As I publish on this blog, I will occasionally write on this topic, based on a Bible passage or topic.  I look forward to all comments and remarks.

I hope you will join me in “Considering the Bible”

2 Timothy 2:19

Howbeit the firm foundation of God standeth, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his: and, Let every one that nameth the name of the Lord depart from unrighteousness.

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Inherit the Kingdom? Who knew? – Part 2

Inheriting the Kingdom

Recently (yesterday!) I blogged on Paul’s passage in Ephesian 5:5 about inheriting the kingdom, and it got me thinking about the other two passages in the New Testament that line out lifestyles that are restrictive to inheriting the Kingdom.

The three passages are as follows

Ephesians 5:5

For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.

1Corinthians  6:9 – 10

Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

Galations 5:19 – 21

Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

I have this weakness, you see, of taking data and compiling it to compare information.  This is my intent with this post. I simply offer a table showing the characteristics of those who will not inherit the kingdom.

A bit surprising, being in the religious culture of the American life!

Gk Strongs # Greek Transliteration KJV Translation 1 Cor 6:9-10 Gal 5:19-22 Eph 5:5
94 adikos unrighteous x
139 hairesis heresies x
167 akatharsia uncleanness x
169 akathartos unclean person x
727 harpax extortioners x
733 arsenokoitēs abusers of themselves with mankind x
766 aselgeia lasciviousness x
1370 dichostasia seditions x
1495 eidōlolatria idolatry x
1496 eidōlolatrēs idolaters x
1496 eidōlolatrēs idolator x
2052 eritheia strife x
2054 eris variance x
2189 echthra hatred x
2205 zēlos emulations x
2372 thymos wrath x
2812 kleptēs theives x
2970 kōmos revellings x
3060 loidoros revilers x
3120 malakos effeminate x
3178 methē drunkeness x
3183 methysos drunkards x
3430 moicheia adultery x
3432 moichos adulterers x
4123 pleonektēs covetous x
4123 pleonektēs covetous man x
4202 porneia fornication x
4205 pornos fornicators x
4205 pornos whoremonger x
5331 pharmakeia witchcraft x
5355 phthonos envyings x
5408 phonos murders x
and such like x

CSLewis (1)

 

 

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Inherit the Kingdom? Who knew?

The New Testament uses two words for “know”, ya know?

When I see a two Greek words translated as one English word, my spider senses start tingling. It interests me. One instance where two Greek words are used, (translated as one English word), is found in 1 John 2:29

 1John 2:29

If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.

John uses two Greek words, defining which translates to our word “knowledge “.

  • The first Greek verb referring to “knowledge” is εἴδω, eídō. (Strongs #1492) See Thayers definition below.

  • The second Greek word to show up in this verse referring to “knowledge” is γινώσκω, ginṓskō. (Strongs #1097), See Thayers definition below.

Story time that helps me remember the difference in these two Greek words.

charlie brown pitching.gifWhen I was younger my brother and I were playing softball with an older teenager (Scott and I were 8 and 12 at the time.) The batter was a 19 yr old fella that stayed with us. Lets call him Hank.

Scott bugged me to let him pitch, and I was stuck out in the outfield chasing balls. Everything was going along just fine (for Scott) until Hank connected on one of Scott’s pitches, and drove a line drive ball right into Scott’s face.

I know about this incident. Scott knows about this incident

Do you think there is a difference between Scott’s knowledge and my knowledge? If you were to say that Scott “ginṓskō” of this incident while I “eídō” of this incident, you would be right!

So lets summarize – “ginosko” refers generally to experiential knowledge, while “eídō” generally refers to factual knowledge.

So lets get to the point of the post. I was looking at Ephesian 5:5 when I was reminded of this “knowledge” concept.

Ephesians 5:5 Wuest

for this you know absolutely and experientially, that every whoremonger or unclean person or covetous person, who is an idolator, does not have an inheritance in the kingdom of the Christ and of God.

So What?

So whats the big deal on this verse about knowing, Carl. Consider the message in the society we live in. Three characteristics are called out of those who will not inherit the kingdom.

  • The sexually immoral

The Greek word translated sexually immoral is πόρνος, pórnos. (Strongs #4205), See Thayers definition below.

The transliteration pornos gives it away. The word originally meant “to sell”, and defined specifically a male prostitute. Eventually this word came to simply mean a fornicator, whether a man or a woman.

  • The impure

The Greek word translated impure is ἀκάθαρτος, akáthartos. (Strongs #169), See Thayers definition below.

This term is very broad, describing moral filth in thought, word or deed. The term leans towards sexual impurity. Check out Galatians 5:19 to see the link of impurity with sexual filth.

“The impure“ is a kind, gentle translation.

  • The greedy

The Greek word translated greedy is πλεονέκτης, pleonéktēs. (Strongs #4123), See Thayers definition below – (not really necessary cause we all know what greed is!!!)

This Greek word is made up of two words –  pleíon = more + écho = have. It speaks of one who is grasping for more, more than is due, and especially of those things that belong to someone else.

So lets think about this

If you are chatting with a friend and he or she speaks of pornography as a normal or common lifestyle, you can know he/she will not inherit the kingdom.

Is that what Paul is trying to get us to understand?

If they are constantly spewing filth from their mouth, or their actions imply filth, (which in this culture is becoming so widely accepted by so many!), you can know they are definitely not going to inherit the kingdom.

If they only need one more dollar, and live their lives in the grasping of the wind, you can know they will not inherit the kingdom.

Please understand me – I am not suggesting we go tell every person who is living a life of pornography, impurity and/or greed of this truth. They don’t care and they will only mock. They need to see the gospel and be open to the grace of God before they will accept any bad news.

We do though, need to know (both experientially and factually) who it is we are speaking to. As your friend or coworker exhibits these characteristics, Paul says you can (experientially and factually) know of their relation to the kingdom. They will have “no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. “

Which brings up an exception and conflict.

The Exception and Conflict

CSLewis (1)This exception occurs when he/she lives a life of pornography, impurity or greed and professes of being a believer.

I need to inform him or her that he or she is deceived.

How do I do that? A lot depends on your relationship with the person. Remember we are to be wise as serpents, knowing when and how to “strike”.

Some may respond to gently referring them to the passage we have been discussing, and some may need to be strongly rebuked. But with both efforts, the Word needs to be referenced and not simply our opinion. Asking them what they think of the passage usually is a good method to begin the discussion, or asking them what the passage means. Depending on the Spirit to guide in your discussion is critical.

Considering the moral temperature of the society we live in, and the many surveys telling us that a high percentage of Americans consider themselves believers, this exception and conflict will surely occur in our day to day lives.

As an aside, I fear the church of God is blindly accepting everyone’s profession as true, that the Christian life is not what defines a man or woman as a Christian. It seems that if you grew up in a christian home or nation, if you “asked Jesus into your heart” 44 yrs ago, made a decision for Christ (whatever that may mean) or just assume God is nice, everything will be just fine.

My friends, to know Jesus is the difference. To know him experientially on a daily basis, this is life.

Do not be lulled into a false security simply by trusting in a knowledge of Jesus, a sterile factual (εἴδω, eídō) knowledge. Many have that knowledge and are living a life that tells us they are not going to inherit the kingdom.

To “know” (γινώσκω, ginṓskō) Jesus is to be changed by Jesus, to experience His kindness and mercy, to sense His willingness to guide and correct. This is life! As you “know” (ginosko) the kindness of the Master, it will draw you into wanting to “know” (eido) more truth (found in the Word!) about Him. As you “know” (eido) more truth about Him, and obey the knowledge of Him in your life, you will “know” (ginosko) greater and greater joy and contentment, a settled peace, even in the midst of tragedy and pain.

Don’t lose out on life by being satisfied with simply a sterile, factual only, knowledge of Him.

 

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Thayer’s Definitions
1. eídō
to see, to perceive with the eyes, to perceive by any of the senses, to perceive, notice, discern, discover, to see i.e. to turn the eyes, the mind, the attention to anything, to pay attention, observe, to see about something i.e. to ascertain what must be done about it, to inspect, examine, to look at, behold, to experience any state or condition, to see i.e. have an interview with, to visit, to know, to know of anything, to know, i.e. get knowledge of, understand, perceive, of any fact, the force and meaning of something which has definite meaning,, to know how, to be skilled in, to have regard for one, cherish, pay attention to
2. ginṓskō
to learn to know, come to know, get a knowledge of perceive, feel, to become known, to know, understand, perceive, have knowledge of, to understand, to know, Jewish idiom for sexual intercourse between a man and a woman, to become acquainted with, to know
3. pórnos
a man who prostitutes his body to another’s lust for hire, a male prostitute, a man who indulges in unlawful sexual intercourse, a fornicator
4. akáthartos
not cleansed, unclean, in a ceremonial sense: that which must be abstained from according to the levitical law, in a moral sense: unclean in thought and life
5. pleonéktēs
one eager to have more, esp. what belongs to others, greedy of gain, covetous

 

Godly Intimidation

bad-teaching-methodsHow doth thee teach?

A short while ago, I attended a small Bible class, with a teacher and four students in attendance. The topic is of little consequence since the manner of discussion is the topic of this post.

Prior to the formal teaching portion, the teacher and a student were discussing racism and prejudice, and the feelings that the student was experiencing regarding personal interactions with a race not her own. The discussion elevated to the point where the teacher warned the student that if she refused to change her feelings, she would have to leave the classroom. The student (I think) simply regarded the threat as a hollow remark and mentioned the topic again, stating she feels a certain way. Again, the teacher threatened the student that she would have to leave his class.

animated gifAt this point I shut down. I stayed in the class since a good friend asked me to come, and I didn’t want to create more friction, but I was dumbfounded.

And I thought of 2 Timothy 2:24.

 2 Timothy 2:24

And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, (KJV)

And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, (ESV)

And the Lord’s slave must not engage in heated disputes but be kind toward all, an apt teacher, patient, (NET)

And I considered what was driving this teacher to feel so threatened by honest discussion. I have had a few conversations with this teacher previously and he seems sincere and desirous of pleasing the Lord. I have noticed though, that when challenged on certain teachings, he depends heavily on teaching he has heard from professional Christians over the radio or internet, or from books (other than the Bible) that he has read.

I feel this student may have been opening a door to honest discussion, and a possible venture into a specific focused consideration of what the Bible has to say about racism, judgement and forgiveness.

As the verse states, the servant of the Lord should be kind, able to teach, and patient. Alas, the class experienced anger, condemnation and impatience from the teacher.

Chirping Crickets

At the end of the class, when asked if anyone had any questions, it was not surprising to hear the crickets chirping.

Not these Crickets!

Since then, as I have thought about this experience, I seem to be drawn to another passage in the New Testament that may be applicable.

Luke 9:51-56

And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem,

And sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him.

And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem.

And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did?

But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of.

For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.

They did not receive Him.

Why did the Samaritans not receive Him? The Samaritans came about due to the splitting of the theocracy after Solomon’s time, and to keep the people of the northern tribes happy, established a temple and had their own “expectations”.

When the two messengers (the Greek word is “angelos”) went ahead into the Samaritan villages to prepare for the Messiahs arrival, the Samaritans rejected Him. Why? Because His face was set to go to Jerusalem.

But the true temple, according to the Samaritans, was at Mount Gerizim. If Jesus is going to walk through Samaria, (which He was planning on) surely He intends to validate the Samaritans beliefs. Visit the temple and congratulate the Samaritans on their achievements? Who know what the Samaritans were expecting. But they didn’t want to see the Master go to the competition temple – that is for sure.

I found a list practical applications for this concept while ruminating in an old commentary, called Barnes’ notes on the Bible.

  1. That people wish all the teachers of religion to fall in with their own views.

  2. That if a doctrine does not accord with their selfish desires, they are very apt to reject it.

  3. That if a religious teacher or a doctrine favors a rival sect, it is commonly rejected without examination. And,

  4. That people, from a regard to their own views and selfishness, often reject the true religion, as the Samaritans did the Son of God, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.

All of these truths I have experienced internally for years, and still struggle with. I suppose the point I identify most with is number 3. I mentioned on the “About” page of my own struggles with considering alternative teaching. I confess that this decision brought many challenges and doubts, but also expanded my understanding of the message of the Bible!

So what did the disciples do about the Samaritans reaction to the Master? The natural, normal, easy thing to do! Lets kill em! Let’s just shower fire down on these Samaritans. That will teach them! Condemning others based on their beliefs is natural. It is the normal condition we humans find ourselves in. It is not the lowest level we dip to but the normal reaction of our heart towards others. It is easy.

Jesus rebuked them, stating that the disciples didn’t understand the spirit they were of.

The disciples thought they were engaging in religious zealotry, like the prophet Elijah. Jesus informed them they were not following after the spirit of the Master, but reflecting a spirit of destruction.

The disciples were completely confused. I suppose they hadn’t had a chance to read and understand the apostle Paul’s instructions!

And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, (ESV)

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Promises to Israel – 4. A Conclusion

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In a previous post “Promises to Israel – Introduction” we considered a central question.

Should the nation of Israel expect realization of Old Testament promises in the future?

I suggested that God supplied three promises to the people of Israel in the Old Testament. Each of the following promises have been discussed in previous blogs.

  1. Promises to Israel – The Land
  2. Promises to Israel – The Seed
  3. Promises to Israel – The Nation

Let’s wrap up and try to provide a conclusion.

A SIMPLE CONCLUSION

The conclusion of the matter is that each of the three central promises of God to Israel (via Father Abraham) have been fulfilled physically. The people of Israel enjoyed the status of nationhood and resided in all or part of the land for centuries. Jesus the Christ is the seed upon all the faithful flock to.

Abraham’s physical offspring received the physical promises.

Joshua 23:14

14 “And now I am about to go the way of all the earth, and you know in your hearts and souls, all of you, that not one word has failed of all the good things[a] that the Lord your God promised concerning you.

All have come to pass for you; not one of them has failed.

Although Joshua was reminding the people of his day regarding the fulfillment of the promise of the land, this sentiment is also applicable for the promise to Israel of nationhood and the seed.

Abraham’s spiritual offspring (the Body of Christ) can look to the faithfulness of God to the physical offspring of Israel and learn much.

But we have so much more in the way of promises. So much more.

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Promises to Israel – 3. The Nation

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In a previous post “Promises to Israel – Introduction” we considered a central question.

Should the nation of Israel expect realization of Old Testament promises in the future? 

I suggested that God supplied three promises to the people of Israel in the Old Testament

  1. Promises to Israel – The Land
  2. Promises to Israel – The Seed
  3. Promises to Israel – The Nation
  4. Promises to Israel – A Conclusion

This post will address the Promise of the Nation.  So, “let’s get at ‘er”

THE NATION PROMISE

The promise of a nation, I feel is an extension of the land promise in some regards. (“Promises to Israel – The Land“) First off, the Lord stated that He would make Abraham a Father of many nations. We sometimes forget that, and the promise completely came to fruition with the many (mostly extinct) nations that grew out of Abraham’s physical seed. Consider the family tree below. Patriarch+Lineage+Abraham+through+Joseph.JPG?format=original

Kingdoms included the Ishmaelites, Edomites and those of Abraham’s last wife, Keturah. Dang – for a man who had all his children so late, his posterity is huge!!!

The promise of nationhood may be found in the following verses

Genesis 12:2-3

And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

Genesis 17:5-6

No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham,  for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations. I will make you exceedingly fruitful, and I will make you into nations, and kings shall come from you.

But what does it mean to be a nation? What was the Lord implying when He promised this?

One distinguishing feature of a nation is a governing body of authorities, a government, combined with laws and statues to frame a social order which defines the nation. A nation has to have a territory to reside in. A nation usually possesses, to varying degrees, a unifying culture, language and religion.

Abraham’s family, in Egypt possessed a unifying culture, language and religion. But without laws, statutes, and a land to reside in, they were simply a really big family, twelve tribes from the loins of Israel.

The laws and statutes came at Sinai under Moses. The land came during Joshua’s time. So could we say that between Sinai and Canaan, the Israelite’s were a nation without land?

But let us leave that for another post – The point is that the Lord fulfilled His promise in creating a nation of the family of Abraham. His word was true and faithful. He kept His word.

 Exodus 33:13

Now therefore, if I have found favor in your sight, please show me now your ways, that I may know you in order to find favor in your sight. Consider too that this nation is your people.

Deuteronomy 4:6-8

Keep them and do them, for that will be your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples, who, when they hear all these statutes, will say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’ For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as the LORD our God is to us, whenever we call upon him? And what great nation is there, that has statutes and rules so righteous as all this law that I set before you today?

II Samuel 7:23

And who is like your people Israel, the one nation on earth whom God went to redeem to be his people, making himself a name and doing for them great and awesome things by driving out before your people, whom you redeemed for yourself from Egypt, a nation and its gods?

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Promises to Israel – 2. The Seed

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In a previous post “Promises to Israel – Introduction” we considered a central question.

Should the nation of Israel expect realization of Old Testament promises in the future? 

I suggested that God supplied three promises to the people of Israel in the Old Testament

  1. Promises to Israel – The Land
  2. Promises to Israel – The Seed
  3. Promises to Israel – The Nation
  4. Promises to Israel – A Conclusion

This post will address the Promise of the Seed.  So “let’s get at ‘er”

THE SEED PROMISE

Growing up with the KJV, I always read the following verses with “seed” being used instead of “offspring”. Paul makes a deal about this in Galations. I am using the ESV below (and throughout the post) for clarity sake.

This promise is murky in my mind, and I am thankful we have an Apostle defining the intent of the promise in Galations 3.

Murky, cause it seems to emphasize Abraham’s genetic offspring, that is, all of his children. This isn’t Paul’s point in the New Testament. Paul emphasizes “the seed” as referring to Christ, not “the seeds”, referring to the multitudinous children of Abraham.

The offspring in this verse are linked directly to the promise of the land. We’ve considered the land promise and if this was the only verse relating to the “seed”, we might conclude that when the land was forfeited, the offspring would be effected somehow. (After all, where would the offspring settle without the land?)

Genesis 12:7

Then the LORD appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built there an altar to the LORD, who had appeared to him.

Genesis 15:5 seems to be defining the promise in relation to the volume of Abraham’s offspring. Abraham’s offspring would be innumerable!

Genesis 15:5

And he brought him outside and said, “Look toward heaven, and number the stars, if you are able to number them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”

Genesis 17:7 gets hairy – What is He promising? This promise relating to Abraham’s offspring has the intended result of an everlasting covenant of God being God to the offspring.

Genesis 17:7

And I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and to your offspring after you.

How did this work out? Before we get to Galations, lets consider the story of Elijah.

1 Kings 19:18

Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.

Abraham’s physical offspring resided in the nation of Israel at the time of Elijah, and yet God informed Elijah that a remnant existed within the nation. The apostate nation could not be considered to be included in the “everlasting covenant” since they were apostate. (God was not their God!)

But they were the physical offspring! This distinction is critical to note. Jesus made much of this concept in His teaching.

Matthew 3:9

“and do not think to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones.

 Matthew 8:11

“And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.

Luke 19:9

And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham;

 John 8:39-40

They answered and said to Him, “Abraham is our father.” Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would do the works of Abraham. “But now you seek to kill Me, a Man who has told you the truth which I heard from God. Abraham did not do this.

Notice that Jesus did not associate Abraham’s children as physically related, that is by blood, but by the actions performed in their lives.

It think my point is obvious and I don’t want to get too distracted so lets move on. (How ‘bout John the Baptist talking about repentance – No – I said I would stop!)

Galations 3:16

Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.

If Paul’s point is that the covenant promise was between God and His Messiah, things become somewhat clearer. The Christ is the only One who truly established an everlasting covenant for the offspring of Abraham. That is, the offspring of Abraham, those who have the faith of Abraham. Physical lineage was not crucial. Consider Ruth, Naaman, the Egyptians that joined the exodus, Rahab…. The remnant has always existed and that remnant recognized the Savior when He arrived.

OK, so we made a few minor detours going through the post. Sorry bout the remnant rant, but finding that thread of truth through the Word has helped me understand so much!

What is the conclusion of the matter? Does God have any responsibility to the people of Israel?

Oh nooo! That is another problem – Who specifically are the children of Israel today? Can a Jewish person prove his lineage back to Abraham Isaac and Jacob? I understand that it is impossible to trace lineage back to the fathers since all the records were destroyed in the temple fires during the Roman siege. But that is another rabbit trail that I may tackle at a later date.

It looks like the New Testament confirms God’s promise of the Seed to be an accomplished fact in the person of Jesus Christ.

Contact me or make comment to further our discussion in Considering the Bible.  I look forward to your thoughts.

Hope to see you in the next post.

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Psalm 91 – Who’s ways?

I was trying to memorize Psalm 91:11 early one morning and noticed that the psalmist referred to God keeping thee in all thy ways.

What?

Shouldn’t God be keeping “thee” in all God’s ways?  Unless “thee” is God also, in the person of the Messiah.

Have I lost you yet?  I hope not.

But I never noticed this wrinkle and it set me off on a bit of discovery.  I wanted to find out who was being talked to, who is talking, who are the promises meant for specifically.

And so I began to insert pronouns into the text to identify the persons speaking or being spoken to.  (Being a bit slow, I find doing this sometimes clarifies the passage for me.)

Psalm 91:11

For he (God) shall give his (God’s) angels charge over thee (Messiah), to keep thee (Messiah) in all thy (Messiah’s) ways.

My memory verse opened up to me.  Jesus is the subject of the Word of God and this passage became a lightning rod for me to dig a bit deeper into the text.  Lets go a few more verses and see what we find.

Psalm 91:14 – 16

Because he (Messiah) hath set his love upon me (God the Father), therefore will I (God the Father) deliver him (Messiah): I will set him (Messiah) on high, because he (Messiah) hath known my name (God the Father’s)
He (Messiah) shall call upon me (God the Father), and I (God the Father) will answer him (Messiah) I (God the Father) will be with him (Messiah) in trouble; I will deliver him (Messiah) and honour him (Messiah).
With long life will I (God the Father) satisfy him (Messiah) and shew him my salvation.

xImagine the first time Jesus read this package of verses, and realized it was written specifically to Him. The entire Old Testament was a direct message to the Son and contained depths we will never understand, since the Word is a relational, personal and intimate message between the Father and Son.

This small glimpse into the meaning of this text though, is a double edged sword.  The message of encouragement to the Son of God the Father’s deliverance as an ever present promise must have given much comfort as He walked among us.

And yet there came a day when all and every circumstance seemed to be screaming that the promise of deliverance was void, null, empty.  No deliverance from death was to be provided prior to the cross.  The cross was the goal.

How upside down for my thinking!  The Messiah knew His day was coming and “He set his face like a flint to Jerusalem.”

Isaiah 50:6-7

I (Messiah) gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting.

For the Lord GOD will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed.

Consider the Messiah’s great faith and love for the Father.  The deliverance spoken of in Psalm 91 was real and the reward of the Father to the Son.  But the deliverance was not as I expected.

You see, the deliverance was not from death, but out of death.   This is the gospel. 

1 Corinthians 15:54 – 56

When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:

“Death is swallowed up in victory.” 

“O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.

But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Cor 15 57

Death is the final enemy for us all. 

We are to look on the Messiah’s work on the cross,  God the Father’s great love for us, and the victory of His resurrection. 

This is the gospel and is the great motivator of all holy living and giving of ourselves.  

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Promises to Israel – 1. The Land

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In our previous post “Promises to Israel – Introduction” we considered a central question.

Should the nation of Israel expect realization of Old Testament promises in the future? 

I suggested that God supplied three promises to the people of Israel in the Old Testament

  1. Promises to Israel – The Land
  2. Promises to Israel – The Seed
  3. Promises to Israel – The Nation
  4. Promises to Israel – A Conclusion

This post will address the Promise of the Land.  So, as my brother used to say – “Pitter patter, let’s get at ‘er”

THE LAND PROMISE

 Genesis 17:8

And I will give to you and to your offspring after you the land of your sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God.”

There you have it – He promised Father Abraham all the land of Canaan. Genesis 13:15 states that the land will be given to Abram and his offspring forever. The verse above speaks of an everlasting possession.

But there seemed to be a condition, as the next set of verses seems to indicate.

Deuteronomy 19:8-10

And if the LORD your God enlarges your territory, as he has sworn to your fathers, and gives you all the land that he promised to give to your fathers—provided you are careful to keep all this commandment, which I command you today, by loving the LORD your God and by walking ever in his ways—then you shall add three other cities to these three, lest innocent blood be shed in your land that the LORD your God is giving you for an inheritance, and so the guilt of bloodshed be upon you.

Joshua 23:15-16

But just as all the good things that the LORD your God promised concerning you have been fulfilled for you, so the LORD will bring upon you all the evil things, until he has destroyed you from off this good land that the LORD your God has given you, if you transgress the covenant of the LORD your God, which he commanded you, and go and serve other gods and bow down to them. Then the anger of the LORD will be kindled against you, and you shall perish quickly from off the good land that he has given to you.”

Even with this condition stipulated, and the nation of Israel rebelling constantly, the Old Testament speaks of God fulfilling His end of the bargain. Remember that this land promise was a bilateral contract / covenant and One of the parties in this agreement kept His word.

Nehemiah 9:7-8

You are the LORD, the God who chose Abram and brought him out of Ur of the Chaldeans and gave him the name Abraham. You found his heart faithful before you, and made with him the covenant to give to his offspring the land of the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Perizzite, the Jebusite, and the Girgashite. And you have kept your promise, for you are righteous.

Joshua 21:43-45

Thus the LORD gave to Israel all the land that he swore to give to their fathers. And they took possession of it, and they settled there. And the LORD gave them rest on every side just as he had sworn to their fathers. Not one of all their enemies had withstood them, for the LORD had given all their enemies into their hands. Not one word of all the good promises that the LORD had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass.

If these verses are to be believed, it looks like the concern over God’s honor is misplaced. He is faithful, and has performed all His promises in relation to the people of Israel in occupying and possessing the Promised Land.

It looks like the Old Testament confirms God’s promise of the Land to be an accomplished fact.  Contact me or make comment to further our discussion in Considering the Bible.  I look forward to your thoughts.

Hope to see you in the next post. 

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