What Jesus Probably Didn’t Mean – John 14:1-6 – Part 1

 Interpretation Is Jesus preparing a mansion for you?

I was in Sunday School a while back and we ventured into John 14 for some discussion.  It was a good class but I was distracted with something I discovered a while back.

I suppose that is why I am writing this very post.

Whenever I read John 14:1-6, I previously understood it as follows. (italicized inserts my understanding)

John 14:1-6

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.

2 In heaven are many buildings. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to heaven to build a castle/palace/house for you?

3 And if I go and prepare a castle/palace/house for you, I will come again at the end of time and will take you to myself in the rapture, that where I am in heaven you may be also.

4 And you know the way to where I am going.”

5 Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?”

6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Is this the message the apostles understood from the Master?  I am not so sure and I would like to try to explain why.

This message was given to the disciples after the last supper and prior to the arrest of the Messiah.  At this point in the life of the Messiah, the apostles had not yet accepted the idea of the Master being taken from them in death.  Jesus had informed them of His departure,  but they did not want to accept it, they had no idea of a resurrection, and the rapture as we understand it was a completely foreign concept to them.  (To insert the idea of a rapture into this passage seems to be a very fine example of eisegesis*.)

But Carl – he talks of mansions in heaven.  Does He?  Does he really?  Consider the following.

Is Jesus referring to heaven when He speaks of His Fathers house? Are there any passages in the Old or New Testaments that are able to reinforce this teaching?

Consider all of the passages I found in the Bible that equate the Fathers house to heaven.

…tick tock tick tock…..

Dang – I couldn’t find any either.

But I did find passages that speak of the Fathers house as being the earthly temple of God.  Try these passages out, eh?

John 2:16

And he told those who sold the pigeons, “Take these things away; do not make my Father’s house a house of trade.”.

At no time have I ever considered that the thief’s had set up shop in heaven – It was in the temple that the thieves created a “house of merchandise”

Often in the Scriptures, the Lord speaks of dwelling with His people on earth.  Currently I understand that His house is with the saints, the Body of Christ and we are the living stones, creating a holy temple for the Lord.  These concepts and truths are easily recognized by those who have spent time in the Word.

But I still can’t find where the Fathers house is equated with heaven.  Maybe – just maybe that wasn’t His message.  Maybe heaven is what Jesus probably didn’t mean.

Well then – what did He intend for his disciples to understand?

Lets consider this question in our next post.  Hope to see you then.

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.


Patience – A Goal in the Christian Life

Patience – No one asks for it. To do so, brings catastrophe. At least in the here and now.Patience 2

Yet, as painful as trials are, exercising patience in the trials of our lives, produces plenty of fruit.

Hebrews 12:9-11

9 Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live?

10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness.

11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

Patience 3

Patience is a Goal in the Christian Life

Colossians 1:9-11

9 And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,

10 so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God;

11 being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy,

I have often considered this set of verses my favorite text in the Bible.  So much in the prayer of Paul for the Colossians, and it all ends with patience and longsuffering.

But isn’t patience the same thing as longsuffering?

There are many similarities between these two terms.

I really like the explanation given by the The Complete Word Study Dictionary, AMG Publishers.

Longsuffering (makrothumía) is patience in respect to persons while patience (hupomone) endurance, is putting up with things or circumstances. Both words are often found together (2Co_6:4, 2Co_6:6; 2Ti_3:10).

Paul doesn’t leave much room for a believer to be impatient.

Patience 1


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End Notes
1  The following information is found in The Complete Word Study Dictionary, AMG Publishers. (emphasis mine)
G2347 – θλίψις – thlípsis; gen. thlípseōs, fem. noun from thlíbō (G2346), to crush, press, compress, squeeze, which is from thláō (n.f.), to break. Tribulation, trouble, affliction.
(I) In a figurative manner, pressure from evils, affliction, distress (2Co_2:4; Php_1:16); of a woman in travail (Joh_16:21). Often as a metonym for evils by which one is pressed, i.e., affliction, distress, calamity (Mat_13:21; Act_7:10-11; Rom_5:3; 2Co_1:4; Heb_10:33). In apposition in Mar_13:19. With the syn. stenochōría (G4730), literally narrowness of room, anguish, distress (Rom_2:9); with anágkē (G318), constraint, necessity (2Co_6:4; 1Th_3:7). See Sept.: 1Sa_10:19; Psa_119:143; Isa_8:22.
(II) Related to stenochōría (G4730), distress, narrowness, occurring only four times with the connotation of narrowness, from stenós (G4728), narrow of room, confined space. In three of the four occurrences in the NT, stenochōría is associated with thlípsis (Rom_2:9; Rom_8:35; 2Co_6:4). Thlípsis refers more to being crushed while stenōchoría refers more to narrowness of room or discomfort. Tribulation may affect either body or mind or both.
2  The following information is found in The Complete Word Study Dictionary, AMG Publishers. (emphasis mine)
Patience – G5281 ὑπομονή hupomone
to persevere, remain under. A bearing up under, patience, endurance as to things or circumstances
Hupomonḗ is associated with hope (1Th_1:3) and refers to that quality of character which does not allow one to surrender to circumstances or succumb under trial.
Generally meaning endurance, patience, perseverance or constancy under suffering in faith and duty.
Specifically patience as a quality of mind, the bearing of evils and suffering with tranquil mind.
Longsuffering – G3115 μακροθυμία makrothumía;
To be long-suffering. Forbearance, long-suffering, self-restraint before proceeding to action. The quality of a person who is able to avenge himself yet refrains from doing so
In Heb_6:15, makrothuméō (G3114) is used of Abraham’s patient faith in God under the pressure of trying circumstances (Jas_5:7-8).
Makrothumía is patience in respect to persons while hupomonḗ (G5281), endurance, is putting up with things or circumstances. Both words are often found together (2Co_6:4, 2Co_6:6; 2Ti_3:10).
Makrothumía is associated with mercy (éleos [G1656]) and is used of God.

Thanks eh?

followed-blog-100-2x

When I started “Considering the Bible” last November, it was primarily for my own benefit.  I enjoy putting my thoughts together and working to improve my skill in communicating my beliefs in an orderly and irenic way.

Since beginning, I have received comments and “likes”, and some of y’all have even decided to follow me.

As a matter of fact, I just broke 100 followers.

I am humbled by this and would like to express my appreciation for your interaction with this blog.

As always, I enjoy your comments and would like to maintain an open and honest discussion with all.

Will we agree on everything?  Most likely not.

Will we understand each others thoughts and beliefs?

Hopefully, and because of that, we all become somewhat richer in the faith.

Thanks again – Carl


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Share His Holiness – 2

Holiness

A few posts back, I spent some time in Hebrews 12:10. considering the benefits of patience.

I’ve been a believer for well nigh onto 4 decades and the phrase “share his holiness” in Hebrew 12:10 somewhat caught me off guard. I must have read it dozens of times, and yet it jumped off the page this time.

Hebrews 12:9-11

9 Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live?

10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness.

11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

What is tarnation is this holiness.  That “thing” we considered in our previous post that we are to receive, take, and have a right to?
I kinda understand the Bible to teach two truths about holiness.

Absolute Holiness – A State of Being for the Believer

1 Peter 2:9

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

We are a holy nation, having been set apart for service to the Master. This is what I am calling Absolute Holiness. Check out the cool graph below – and yes I think graphs are cool – I s’pose my geekiness is starting to ooze out in this post.

This Absolute Holiness is expressed by the yellow flat line residing at 100, and is the condition we, as believers find ourselves in. Peter describes it as being a citizen of a country – it is not a commentary of behavior (since there can be bad citizens and good citizens), so much as a privilege to accept and live up to. It is a condition that has been provided to us and is not dependent on our actions or obedience. His death and resurrection supplied this blessing to all who believe.

In a sense, it is the goal for which we strive, knowing that it is not only attainable (some day) but it is also the life to which we are called to.

Experiential Holiness – A Goal to Chase for the Believer

1 Peter 1:15-16

but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

Experiential holiness is a different animal. It is a command to the believer, not a statement of fact.
As a believer walks with the Lord, confessing his sin, and obeying the Master, his experiential holiness increases daily. The jagged solid blue line on my fancy graph below typifies 50 yrs of a believer’s sanctification. All through his journey with Jesus, he has had some victories and some defeats.
Some years, like his 27 and 28th year, this believer was experientially walking like the world, being dominated by the flesh and the devil. He was in rebellion, and some folk that knew him at that time felt he may have fallen away.
Repentance and renewal came for him in the 28th year, and he again began to seek the Lord, confess his sin and obey what he knew would please the Lord.

Progressive Holiness

I think this graph, if it portrays the Bible’s teaching on holiness correctly, shows the importance of keeping short accounts with the Lord. Continuously responding to the Lords urging and recognizing sin in our lives will produce the type of growth in holiness seen in the first 20 yrs of the believer typified on the graph.

The graph identifies points of repentance in the believers life. Each valley in the graph above is a point of decision, a decision to repent of an action or attitude. Each peak is a point of rebellion in the believers life.

Strive For Peace

Each day in a believers life is to be a life of repentance from dead works. While on this earth, we cannot attain to a sinlessly pure and absolutely clean lifestyle, thought life and emotional existence. Our hearts desire it, but we are in a struggle. A struggle/striving to receive the holiness of God in our lives through staying under the discipline of God.

Don’t give up in your struggle.  Strive for peace and holiness.  They are both goals to be sought for in our travelling with the Lord.

Hebrews 12:14

Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.


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Share His Holiness – 1

HolinessMy last post, I spent some time in Hebrews 12:10. considering the benefits of patience.

I’ve been a believer for well nigh onto 4 decades and the phrase “share his holiness” somewhat caught me off guard.  I must have read it dozens of times, and yet it jumped off the page this time.

Hebrews 12:9-11

9 Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live?

10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness.

11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

To Share His Holiness.

First off. lets consider what this sharing issue is.

The word translated “to share his” is metalambánō.  I found a word study  that seems to help.

  • 3335 metalambánō
  • from 3326 /metá, “change after being with,”
  • and 2983 /lambánō, “aggressively take or receive” –
    • properly, to lay hold of with initiative which prompts “a change afterward,” i.e. to show real interest which brings certain change.

This term is found in seven verses within the New Testament.  Lets take a quick look.

Act 2:46

And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts,

The believers took food into thier bodies, consumed the bread, ate the grub, internalized the material.  They chewed it, experienced it, took it for thier own.

Act 24:25

And as he reasoned about righteousness and self-control and the coming judgment, Felix was alarmed and said, “Go away for the present. When I get an opportunity I will summon you.”

Felix was in command of the situation.  He would decide when to summon Paul.  He was in control of this prisoner and, possibly in his mind, in control of the message (Not really!)

Act 27:33

As day was about to dawn, Paul urged them all to take some food, saying, “Today is the fourteenth day that you have continued in suspense and without food, having taken nothing.

Same concept as Acts 2:40, only in the negative – they hadn’t taken any food.

Act 27:34

Therefore I urge you to take some food. For it will give you strength, for not a hair is to perish from the head of any of you.”

Golly, this term is used alot in reference to gulpin’ food stuff into the machine.

2Ti 2:6

It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops.

Paul is simply setting priorities and making the observation that the farmer has a right to the first crops.  This idea of “a right” is interesting.  Could this term have the connotation of a right, and if so, how does that impact the verse we care considering?

Heb 6:7

For land that has drunk the rain that often falls on it, and produces a crop useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God.

What is the blessing that the land takes/receives?  Not sure that it is important in this study, but it is a curious statement, and makes me want to figger what that blessing is. Someone help me with this???

Heb 12:10

For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness.

Back to our original verse.

The term “share” in our verse is sometimes translated as take, receive, or even more interesting “ought to receive”, implying a right.

As believers this verse holds much promise.  Under the discipline of God, one of the intended outcomes is that we “ought to receive” His holiness.

Do I get this?  The aim of Godly discipline, if we are patient and stay under the discipline,  is that I have a right to receive holiness from the Lord.  I understand this as an experiential holiness, a holiness that a believer walks in, is part of his life and can be seen by others.

Check out the next blog to find out where I’m going with this.


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Patience – Brings Two Fruits

Patience – No one asks for it. To do so, brings catastrophe. At least in the here and now.

Patience 2

 

Hebrews 12:9-11

9 Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live?

10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness.

11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

Patience Brings Two Fruits

Yet, as painful as trials are, exercising patience in the trials of our lives, produces mucho fruito.  The patience exercised during a time of discipline allows us to share in His love.

Nope – that is not what it says Carl – Read the Word!!!

The patience we exercise during painful trials gives two fruits.

Fruit one is sharing His holiness.  Whaaaa?  Share His holiness – that is a bit beyond me right now.  I’m gonna have to ponder on that for a spell.  Reckon I will need some porch time.

Fruit two is the peaceful fruit of righteousness.  This is awesome. So often when I think of righteousness, I think of conflict, striving to do right, fighting the good fight.

This fruit of righteousness is peaceful.  Consider the ramifications of that statement.  How different than my expectations of what the Word should say.

Patience 3

 


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End Notes
1 The following information is found in The Complete Word Study Dictionary, AMG Publishers. (emphasis mine)
G2347 – θλίψις – thlípsis; gen. thlípseōs, fem. noun from thlíbō (G2346), to crush, press, compress, squeeze, which is from thláō (n.f.), to break. Tribulation, trouble, affliction.
(I) In a figurative manner, pressure from evils, affliction, distress (2Co_2:4; Php_1:16); of a woman in travail (Joh_16:21). Often as a metonym for evils by which one is pressed, i.e., affliction, distress, calamity (Mat_13:21; Act_7:10-11; Rom_5:3; 2Co_1:4; Heb_10:33). In apposition in Mar_13:19. With the syn. stenochōría (G4730), literally narrowness of room, anguish, distress (Rom_2:9); with anágkē (G318), constraint, necessity (2Co_6:4; 1Th_3:7). See Sept.: 1Sa_10:19; Psa_119:143; Isa_8:22.
(II) Related to stenochōría (G4730), distress, narrowness, occurring only four times with the connotation of narrowness, from stenós (G4728), narrow of room, confined space. In three of the four occurrences in the NT, stenochōría is associated with thlípsis (Rom_2:9; Rom_8:35; 2Co_6:4). Thlípsis refers more to being crushed while stenōchoría refers more to narrowness of room or discomfort. Tribulation may affect either body or mind or both.
2 The following information is found in The Complete Word Study Dictionary, AMG Publishers. (emphasis mine)
Patience – G5281 ὑπομονή hupomone
to persevere, remain under. A bearing up under, patience, endurance as to things or circumstances
Hupomonḗ is associated with hope (1Th_1:3) and refers to that quality of character which does not allow one to surrender to circumstances or succumb under trial.
Generally meaning endurance, patience, perseverance or constancy under suffering in faith and duty.
Specifically patience as a quality of mind, the bearing of evils and suffering with tranquil mind.
Longsuffering – G3115 μακροθυμία makrothumía;
To be long-suffering. Forbearance, long-suffering, self-restraint before proceeding to action. The quality of a person who is able to avenge himself yet refrains from doing so
In Heb_6:15, makrothuméō (G3114) is used of Abraham’s patient faith in God under the pressure of trying circumstances (Jas_5:7-8).
Makrothumía is patience in respect to persons while hupomonḗ (G5281), endurance, is putting up with things or circumstances. Both words are often found together (2Co_6:4, 2Co_6:6; 2Ti_3:10).
Makrothumía is associated with mercy (éleos [G1656]) and is used of God.

Patience – Brings Experience

Patience – No one asks for it. To do so, brings catastrophe. At least in the here and now.Patience 2

 

 

Patience Brings Experience

Romans 5:3, 4

3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance,

4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,

This is the famous text, that when mentioned in a study, invariably invokes a statement like – “Oh Carl – don’t ask for patience – all you are gonna get is problems!”

I suppose asking for tribulation is not prescribed here, but when tribulation (pressure) does come, it is not to be feared, although that seems to be my first reaction. If we understand that pressure works patience in us, and we have our long term goals correctly positioned in our lives, we can glory (boast, exult?) in our tribulations.

I need work in this!

I have seen that in the past 3 decades, as my wifey and I go through tough times, the experience we gain, by properly reacting (occasionally) gives us experience to fall back on in future trials. We have learned experientially that the Lord is merciful, kind, full of goodness and tender hearted to His people.

Have you experienced the kindness of the Lord lately?

Be patient.

Patience 1


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End Notes
1 The following information is found in The Complete Word Study Dictionary, AMG Publishers. (emphasis mine)
G2347 – θλίψις – thlípsis; gen. thlípseōs, fem. noun from thlíbō (G2346), to crush, press, compress, squeeze, which is from thláō (n.f.), to break. Tribulation, trouble, affliction.
(I) In a figurative manner, pressure from evils, affliction, distress (2Co_2:4; Php_1:16); of a woman in travail (Joh_16:21). Often as a metonym for evils by which one is pressed, i.e., affliction, distress, calamity (Mat_13:21; Act_7:10-11; Rom_5:3; 2Co_1:4; Heb_10:33). In apposition in Mar_13:19. With the syn. stenochōría (G4730), literally narrowness of room, anguish, distress (Rom_2:9); with anágkē (G318), constraint, necessity (2Co_6:4; 1Th_3:7). See Sept.: 1Sa_10:19; Psa_119:143; Isa_8:22.
(II) Related to stenochōría (G4730), distress, narrowness, occurring only four times with the connotation of narrowness, from stenós (G4728), narrow of room, confined space. In three of the four occurrences in the NT, stenochōría is associated with thlípsis (Rom_2:9; Rom_8:35; 2Co_6:4). Thlípsis refers more to being crushed while stenōchoría refers more to narrowness of room or discomfort. Tribulation may affect either body or mind or both.
2 The following information is found in The Complete Word Study Dictionary, AMG Publishers. (emphasis mine)
Patience – G5281 ὑπομονή hupomone
to persevere, remain under. A bearing up under, patience, endurance as to things or circumstances
Hupomonḗ is associated with hope (1Th_1:3) and refers to that quality of character which does not allow one to surrender to circumstances or succumb under trial.
Generally meaning endurance, patience, perseverance or constancy under suffering in faith and duty.
Specifically patience as a quality of mind, the bearing of evils and suffering with tranquil mind.
Longsuffering – G3115 μακροθυμία makrothumía;
To be long-suffering. Forbearance, long-suffering, self-restraint before proceeding to action. The quality of a person who is able to avenge himself yet refrains from doing so
In Heb_6:15, makrothuméō (G3114) is used of Abraham’s patient faith in God under the pressure of trying circumstances (Jas_5:7-8).
Makrothumía is patience in respect to persons while hupomonḗ (G5281), endurance, is putting up with things or circumstances. Both words are often found together (2Co_6:4, 2Co_6:6; 2Ti_3:10).
Makrothumía is associated with mercy (éleos [G1656]) and is used of God.

Local Church Membership Q&A – 8

Church on a hill

Previous posts in this series were based on a pamphlet provided to me in my search for direction regarding local church membership.  A brother named Cody sought to help me and I wish him well.

When I replied with the previous responses, I did not hear from him for a period of time.  Of course, I feared I may have come off a bit strong, and in the interest of maintaining communication, reached out to him again.


Cody

Since we last chatted, I have been thinking about our discussions on the church membership teaching, and in reflection, I fear I have have probably come off as one who only tears something down, and we know that as believers, we need to encourage and exhort one another also.  With that in mind, I would like to offer a few positive comments in relation to church membership from the Word of God.  Again, if you have any time in the future you would like to discuss these issues, please let me know.

A few additional comments before I begin.

In no way am I suggesting abandoning the gathering of the saints in any act of worship or fellowship.  This is not the point of the past posts.  The point is that I can not find the added requirement of formal church membership in the Word, and that the concept seems to be actually condemned in the New Testament.

One of the strongest passages that alerted me to this teaching is found in 1 Corinthians 1.  Paul is condemning the seeds of denominationalism (what a long word!) and disunity, as believers learn to follow men’s opinions, or separate from other believers, boasting they follow Christ (only?)

1 Corinthians 1:10-12

10 I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. 
11 For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there is quarreling among you, my brothers. 
12 What I mean is that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Christ.”

At this point, I feel it would be beneficial to take a tour of the New Testament and review passages that actually define church.  It is important to understand that the Word defines the Church as One Church.

NEW TESTAMENT TEACHING OF ONE CHURCH

Rom 12:4-5

4 For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, 
5 so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.

submit-to-authority-728x5001 Corinthians 10:17

17 Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.

1 Corinthians 12:12-13

12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 
13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body–Jews or Greeks, slaves or free–and all were made to drink of one Spirit

1 Corinthians 12:20

20 As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.

1 Corinthians 12:25

25 that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.

Ephesians 4:4

4 There is one body and one Spirit–just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call–

Colossians 3:15

15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.

Time for QuestionsWould you agree that all who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ have already joined the Church?   And to join the church has one prerequisite, per Paul in Galations 3:26 (among many other verses)

Galatians 3:26

26 for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.

Our next post will address additional definitions of the church as found in the New Testament.  I hope you will join me future posts and supply comment or correction from the Word for our mutual edification.  Thanks for visiting and I hope you found some truth that has edified your life today.


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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Patience – Associated with Suffering

Patience – No one asks for it. To do so, brings catastrophe. At least in the here and now.Patience 2

Yet, as painful as trials are, exercising patience in the trials of our lives, produces plenty of fruit.

Hebrews 12:9-11

9 Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live?

10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness.

11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

Patience 3

Patience is Associated with Suffering

2 Thessalonians 1:4

4 Therefore we ourselves boast about you in the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith in all your persecutions and in the afflictions that you are enduring.

Paul boasted of the patience of the Thessalonians.

In our fast paced demanding society, patience is considered to be a hindrance.
We want church growth NOW, and sometimes will stop at nothing to see it happen.  We want instant maturity and will chase every Christian fad to try to find it. We want immediate relief from trials, and will consider every option available.  (Check out 2 Thessalonians 1:6 for Paul’s counsel on our response to tribulations)

Patience is a virtue that our society has sought to degrade.  But the patience of the believer, in the midst of trials, is a reflection of the hope we have in the Lord Jesus.  He is the King of Kings right now.

We can live in that truth.

Romans 12:12

12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.

In the midst of a machine gun spray of quick exhortations, Paul mentions hope and patience in the same breath.  Hope is to be rejoiced in. Tribulation is an opportunity to exercise patience.

Note that tribulation, in this verse, is the translation of the greek word thlipsis.

When I see this term, I automatically think of pressure or crushing.  When I am being “crushed”, I find it critical to remember that the crushing is an opportunity, a test to reorient myself to a correct perspective.

But let’s go a bit further.  The term “patient” is the greek work hupomeno.

To be patient means to remain under, to persevere, endure, sustain, bear up under.

So let’s get this straight.  When something is crushing me, I am to remain under it.  I am not to seek an inappropriate escape or relief.  I am to exercise a willingness to remain under, waiting for the salvation of the Lord in each trial.

Story time

Years ago, my wife and I were in the midst of a trial, and we were reading about David’s response to King Saul at the same time.  Over a year and a half, we sought to bless those who persecuted us, and pray for our enemy.

The Lord’s deliverance was very obvious to us.

We sought to remain under the crushing, though many good hearted believers advised us to escape or even seek revenge.  We are thankful for the Scriptures that comforted us in our attempt to be patient!

Be patient – The Lord is good!

Patience 1


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End Notes
1  The following information is found in The Complete Word Study Dictionary, AMG Publishers. (emphasis mine)
G2347 – θλίψις – thlípsis; gen. thlípseōs, fem. noun from thlíbō (G2346), to crush, press, compress, squeeze, which is from thláō (n.f.), to break. Tribulation, trouble, affliction.
(I) In a figurative manner, pressure from evils, affliction, distress (2Co_2:4; Php_1:16); of a woman in travail (Joh_16:21). Often as a metonym for evils by which one is pressed, i.e., affliction, distress, calamity (Mat_13:21; Act_7:10-11; Rom_5:3; 2Co_1:4; Heb_10:33). In apposition in Mar_13:19. With the syn. stenochōría (G4730), literally narrowness of room, anguish, distress (Rom_2:9); with anágkē (G318), constraint, necessity (2Co_6:4; 1Th_3:7). See Sept.: 1Sa_10:19; Psa_119:143; Isa_8:22.
(II) Related to stenochōría (G4730), distress, narrowness, occurring only four times with the connotation of narrowness, from stenós (G4728), narrow of room, confined space. In three of the four occurrences in the NT, stenochōría is associated with thlípsis (Rom_2:9; Rom_8:35; 2Co_6:4). Thlípsis refers more to being crushed while stenōchoría refers more to narrowness of room or discomfort. Tribulation may affect either body or mind or both.
2  The following information is found in The Complete Word Study Dictionary, AMG Publishers. (emphasis mine)
Patience – G5281 ὑπομονή hupomone
to persevere, remain under. A bearing up under, patience, endurance as to things or circumstances
Hupomonḗ is associated with hope (1Th_1:3) and refers to that quality of character which does not allow one to surrender to circumstances or succumb under trial.
Generally meaning endurance, patience, perseverance or constancy under suffering in faith and duty.
Specifically patience as a quality of mind, the bearing of evils and suffering with tranquil mind.
Longsuffering – G3115 μακροθυμία makrothumía;
To be long-suffering. Forbearance, long-suffering, self-restraint before proceeding to action. The quality of a person who is able to avenge himself yet refrains from doing so
In Heb_6:15, makrothuméō (G3114) is used of Abraham’s patient faith in God under the pressure of trying circumstances (Jas_5:7-8).
Makrothumía is patience in respect to persons while hupomonḗ (G5281), endurance, is putting up with things or circumstances. Both words are often found together (2Co_6:4, 2Co_6:6; 2Ti_3:10).
Makrothumía is associated with mercy (éleos [G1656]) and is used of God.

Patience – A Component of Hope

Patience – No one asks for it. To do so, brings catastrophe. At least in the here and now.Patience 2

Yet, as painful as trials are, exercising patience in the trials of our lives, produces plenty of fruit.

Hebrews 12:9-11

9 Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live?

10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness.

11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

Patience 3

Patience is a Component of Hope

Romans 8:25

25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

Patience is not simply waiting! If so, this verse would be non-sensible. Consider  –….then do we wait for it with waiting?

What?

What is the point? No no no.

It is a quality of waiting, a specific manner in which we wait.  It is not simply waiting.  It is, in the midst of a trial, a particular manner in which we handle the delay, the waiting, the seeming frustration of our circumstances.

Romans 15:4

4 For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

Patience in our daily circumstances, supported by the comfort found in the Scriptures, gives a believer hope.  Without a Scriptural hope, patience is surely an exercise in futility.  Scripture is the foundation we can build upon for a hopeful life, not simply hoping for the best, but for actual future events, the resurrection, the escape from this sinful world, and the release of the sinful tendencies I live with each day.

Like I said, a Scripturally hopeful life.

I need to focus on the big picture when in the midst of uncertainty and confusion.  Jesus did not come to deliver us from minor discomforts (although in His mercy He often does!), but to create in us a reflection of Himself.

Note that it takes both patience and the Scriptures comfort to produce hope in the believer’s life.  This combination I fear, is a lost concept. Many I speak with tend to have a cursory understanding of the Scriptures at best, usually pulling a verse (sometimes out of context) to support their “hope”. Paul mentions that the Scriptures were written for “our learning”, that after “our learning”, we might have hope.

I have assumed too many things in my life!

1 Thessalonians 1:3

3 remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Again, patience and hope are intrinsically combined.

In the previous verse, patience (along with understanding the message of the Scriptures) produced a hope filled life.  Patience was a foundation on which true hope could be built.

In this verse, patience is an aspect of the very hope itself.  As a believer has hope in the Lord Jesus, patience will be a characteristic of that hope.  If I consider my “hope” to be biblical, and yet am typically impatient, I need to reconsider what type of “hope” I am living in.

Of course, some may question this, referring to the many times the Word records believers asking why God is taking so long.  Patience allows for questions. As a matter of fact, at times patience requires questions to be asked. As we have considered before, patience is not simply waiting, detached from the trial.

Patience 1


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End Notes
1  The following information is found in The Complete Word Study Dictionary, AMG Publishers. (emphasis mine)
G2347 – θλίψις – thlípsis; gen. thlípseōs, fem. noun from thlíbō (G2346), to crush, press, compress, squeeze, which is from thláō (n.f.), to break. Tribulation, trouble, affliction.
(I) In a figurative manner, pressure from evils, affliction, distress (2Co_2:4; Php_1:16); of a woman in travail (Joh_16:21). Often as a metonym for evils by which one is pressed, i.e., affliction, distress, calamity (Mat_13:21; Act_7:10-11; Rom_5:3; 2Co_1:4; Heb_10:33). In apposition in Mar_13:19. With the syn. stenochōría (G4730), literally narrowness of room, anguish, distress (Rom_2:9); with anágkē (G318), constraint, necessity (2Co_6:4; 1Th_3:7). See Sept.: 1Sa_10:19; Psa_119:143; Isa_8:22.
(II) Related to stenochōría (G4730), distress, narrowness, occurring only four times with the connotation of narrowness, from stenós (G4728), narrow of room, confined space. In three of the four occurrences in the NT, stenochōría is associated with thlípsis (Rom_2:9; Rom_8:35; 2Co_6:4). Thlípsis refers more to being crushed while stenōchoría refers more to narrowness of room or discomfort. Tribulation may affect either body or mind or both.
2  The following information is found in The Complete Word Study Dictionary, AMG Publishers. (emphasis mine)
Patience – G5281 ὑπομονή hupomone
to persevere, remain under. A bearing up under, patience, endurance as to things or circumstances
Hupomonḗ is associated with hope (1Th_1:3) and refers to that quality of character which does not allow one to surrender to circumstances or succumb under trial.
Generally meaning endurance, patience, perseverance or constancy under suffering in faith and duty.
Specifically patience as a quality of mind, the bearing of evils and suffering with tranquil mind.
Longsuffering – G3115 μακροθυμία makrothumía;
To be long-suffering. Forbearance, long-suffering, self-restraint before proceeding to action. The quality of a person who is able to avenge himself yet refrains from doing so
In Heb_6:15, makrothuméō (G3114) is used of Abraham’s patient faith in God under the pressure of trying circumstances (Jas_5:7-8).
Makrothumía is patience in respect to persons while hupomonḗ (G5281), endurance, is putting up with things or circumstances. Both words are often found together (2Co_6:4, 2Co_6:6; 2Ti_3:10).
Makrothumía is associated with mercy (éleos [G1656]) and is used of God.

Local Church Membership Q&A – 7

Church on a hill

A fellow believer asked for clarification within these posts, and the following red text has been added to this and following posts to hopefully give clarification.

Let’s continue considering Cody’s effort to convince me of the necessity of local church membership, with the assistance of Mark Dever from 9 Mark’s ministries.

Cody’s document supplied several verses included below, claiming they taught Local Church Membership in 6 categories.

In this post, I examine the claim that Local Church Membership, as understood in our modern world is required in order To Glorify God.


6) To Glorify God

Matthew 5:13-16
13 “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. 
14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 
15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 
16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

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Unless the light shining can be clearly defined as members of a local church, and the members are the only ones who can shine, I am not seeing the justification of this set of verses to defend the local church membership doctrine.

Believers are to let their light shine.  Believers in a church, believers who are members of a church, believers who are persecuted, believers that have no fellowship, believers who are all alone.  All believers are to let thier light so shine.  But show me where the verse teaches that in order for a believer to shine, they must become a member of a local church.

1 Peter 2:12

12 Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.

Again, this verse does not defend local church membership, but simply an injunction for all believers to act honorably among those who do not believe (Gentiles).

Titus 2:14

14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

Where is the local church membership requirement here?

Might I suggest the following verse to justify local church membership?

Job 1:1

1 There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job, and that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil.

Job must have been a member of a local church, since he was blameless and upright – It’s right there in the verse – Can’t you see it?


In future posts, I will continue to address this topic, but from a different perspective. Having considered the defense Mr. Dever’s provided for local church membership, I will now provide additional deliberations from the New Testament that may shed additional light on the topic.

I do hope you will join me in my discussion with Cody, and supply comment or correction from the Word for our mutual edification.

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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Perishing in Eternal Torment

The lost will perish, but what does that mean?

To perish. What does it mean?apollumi 1

The greek word Apollumi is translated as

  1. perish
  2. destroy
  3. lose
  4. lost
  5. destroyed
  6. perished
  7. perisheth
  8. die
  9. loseth
  10. mar

I find it interesting that Apollumi is the word Jesus used in John 3:16, describing the fate of those that believe not.

Previously when I have considered John 3:16, I have consistently understood it like this…

John 3 :16

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not experience unending suffering, but have everlasting life.

Is that what the Master meant to communicate?

What if I understood Apollumi as synonymous with “experiencing unending suffering” in all the other instances it appears in the New Testament?apollumi 3

The following verses will have the greek term Apollumi replaced with “experience unending suffering”. As you may find out, some verses make no sense at all.

I will offer a few verses to make my point in some areas, but if the reader would like to refer to each verse using “Apollumi”, see “Hell – Perish Word Study”

Bottles suffering unending torment?

Matt 9 :17

Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runneth out, and the bottles experience unending suffering: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved.

Hair suffering unending torment?

Luke 21 :18

But there shall not an hair of your head experience unending suffering.

Food (Meat) suffering unending torment?

John 6 :27

Labour not for the meat which experiences unending suffering, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.

Gold suffering unending torment?

1 Peter 1 :7

That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that experiences unending suffering, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

Those who do not take up the sword may escape suffering unending torment?

Matt 26 :52

Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall experience unending suffering with the sword.

Drowning is equivalent to suffering unending torment?

Mark 4 :38

And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we experience unending suffering?

The place of suffering unending torment is between the altar and the temple?

Luke 11 :51

From the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, which experienced unending suffering between the altar and the temple: verily I say unto you, It shall be required of this generation.

Sheep suffer unending torment?apollumi 4

Luke 15 :6

And when he cometh home, he calleth together [his] friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was experiencing unending suffering.

Prodigals suffer unending torment but can escape by changing their mind?

Luke 15 :24

For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was experiencing unending suffering, and is found. And they began to be merry.

Luke 15 :32

It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was experiencing unending suffering, and is found.

Self preservation results in suffering unending torment!

Luke 17 :33

Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall experience unending suffering; and whosoever shall experience unending suffering in his life shall preserve it.

John 12 :25

He that loveth his life shall experience unending suffering it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.

Wisdom suffering eternal torment?

1 Corinthians 1:19

For it is written, I will experience unending suffering the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.

A Christian suffering eternal torment?Lake-of-fire

Is this really saying what I think it is saying? Either it means eternal torment, which means a Christian may loose their faith/salvation or the word does not necessarily mean unending conscious torment and suffering.

Rom 14 :15

But if thy brother be grieved with [thy] meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Don’t force unending suffering on him with thy meat, for whom Christ died.

1 Corinthians 8 :11

And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother experience unending suffering, for whom Christ died?

The world experience unending torment?

2 Peter 3 :6

Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, experienced unending suffering:

The heavens and the earth will experience unending suffering – Now that is beyond me!

Hebrews 1 :11

They shall experience unending suffering; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment;

The resurrection of Jesus Himself may be compromised if the definition of Apollumi equals suffering unending torment.

We know that He was raised from the dead so this can only be an error on the part of Caiaphas! (If only John hadn’t mentioned that this statement was a prophecy of the Messiahs sacrifice!!!)

John 18 :14

Now Caiaphas was he, which gave counsel to the Jews, that it was expedient that one man should experience unending suffering for the people.

So what is the conclusion of the matter?apollumi 5

It is not as clear cut as I had once assumed! Apollumi seems to have the meaning of destruction/perishing/lostness, but not necessarily eternal unending suffering. Of course, some verses may seem to make sense by bringing this meaning to the verse, like the following

Matt 18 :14

Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should experience unending suffering.

One could import the idea of eternal suffering into this context, but it is not the only way to read it!

Luke 13 :5

I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise experience unending suffering.

Of course if Jesus meant that the hearers would be destroyed by invading armies due to their sin, the idea of eternal suffering need not be imported.

Matt 10:28

And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to experience unending suffering both soul and body in hell.

If Jesus was referring to hades/the grave when he mentioned hell (check Strongs Concordance), the Father is able to destroy both body and soul after death. Either both body and soul endure eternal torment, or both body and soul are destroyed. It is interesting to note that the first phrase does not use destroy but kill. The body is not destroyed, but simply lifeless. (Soul and body are separated!) The destruction of both is up to the Father.

Eternal Fire 3

Some verses may be used to prop up the eternal torment teaching and may be viable interpretations. If I seem to be doubting the teaching of eternal torment, it is because I think I wanna figger out what the apostles want to teach me.

I cant learn from them if I keep correcting them.


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Universal Reconciliation & the Church Fathers

ThatallshallbesavedIn years past, I delved into the doctrine of hell and came across the teaching often referred to as Universal Reconciliation (UR).  As a tried and true Eternal Torment (ET) believer, I struggled with the initial concept of this teaching.

Emotionally, this is my baby, this is my hope against all hope, my desire and heart.  But my heart is a deceitful animal and my flesh often (always?) whispers sweet nothings in my ear.  I so want to believe this in my heart, but my head is screaming no.  My understanding of the Word, at this point, will not allow this to become a settled belief.

But if I am honest with myself, the doctrine has much more biblical support than I first assumed. (More support than ET?)  A recent post on this blog  “God – What is HE like?” gives a list of verses that UR proponents point to in order to justify this teaching.  It may be interesting to consider in light of the quotes supplied below.

I’ve read that a great many of the church fathers expressed their faith in this teaching, and the following are quotes from them.

The Church Fathers on Universal Reconciliation (UR)

The mass of men (Christians) say there is to be an end to punishment and to those who are punished.

St. Basil the Great

There are very many in our day, who though not denying the Holy Scriptures, do not believe in endless torments.

Augustine (354-430 A.D.)

For the wicked there are punishments, not perpetual, however, lest the immortality prepared for them should be a disadvantage, but they are to be purified for a brief period according to the amount of malice in their works. They shall therefore suffer punishment for a short space, but immortal blessedness having no end awaits them…the penalties to be inflicted for their many and grave sins are very far surpassed by the magnitude of the mercy to be showed to them.

Diodore of Tarsus, 320-394 A.D.

And God showed great kindness to man, in this, that He did not suffer him to continue being in sin forever; but as it were, by a kind of banishement, cast him out of paradise in order that, having punishment expiated within an appointed time, and having been disciplined, he should afterwards be recalled…just as a vessel, when one being fashioned it has some flaw, is remoulded or remade that it may become new and entire; so also it happens to man by death. For he is broken up by force, that in the resurrection he may be found whole; I mean spotless, righteous and immortal.

Theophilus of Antioch (168 A.D.)

Wherefore also he drove him out of paradise and removed him far from the tree of life, not because He envied him the tree of life, as some dare assert, but because He pitied him and desired that he should not be immortal and the evil interminable and irremediable.

Iraneaus of Lyons (182 A.D.)

These, if they will, may go Christ’s way, but if not let them go their way. In another place perhaps they shall be baptized with fire, that last baptism, which is not only painful, but enduring also; which eats up, as if it were hay, all defiled matter, and consumes all vanity and vice.

Gregory of Nazianzeu, Bishop of Constantinople. (330 to 390 A.D.) Oracles 39:19

The Word seems to me to lay down the doctrine of the perfect obliteration of wickedness, for if God shall be in all things that are, obviously wickedness shall not be in them. For it is necessary that at some time evil should be removed utterly and entirely from the realm of being.

St. Macrina the Blessed

In the end and consummation of the Universe all are to be restored into their original harmonious state, and we all shall be made one body and be united once more into a perfect man and the prayer of our Savior shall be fulfilled that all may be one.

St. Jerome, 331-420

For it is evident that God will in truth be all in all when there shall be no evil in existence, when every created being is at harmony with iteself and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord; when every creature shall have been made one body.

Gregory of Nyssa, 335-390

The wicked who have committed evil the whole period of their lives shall be punished till they learn that, by continuing in sin, they only continue in misery. And when, by this means, they shall have been brought to fear God, and to regard Him with good will, they shall obtain the enjoyment of His grace.

Theodore of Mopsuestia, 350-428

We can set no limits to the agency of the Redeemer to redeem, to rescue, to discipline in his work, and so will he continue to operate after this life.

Clement of Alexandria

Do not suppose that the soul is punished for endless eons (apeirou aionas) in Tartarus. Very properly, the soul is not punished to gratify the revenge of the divinity, but for the sake of healing. But we say that the soul is punished for an aionion period (aionios) calling its life and its allotted period of punishment, its aeon.

Olnmpiodorus (AD 550)

Wherefore, that at the same time liberty of free-will should be left to nature and yet the evil be purged away, the wisdom of God discovered this plan; to suffer man to do what he would, that having tasted the evil which he desired, and learning by experience for what wretchedness he had bartered away the blessings he had, he might of his own will hasten back with desire to the first blessedness …either being purged in this life through prayer and discipline, or after his departure hence through the furnace of cleansing fire.

Gregory of Nyssa (332-398 A.D.)

That in the world to come, those who have done evil all their life long, will be made worthy of the sweetness of the Divine bounty. For never would Christ have said, “You will never get out until you hqave paid the last penny” unless it were possible for us to get cleansed when we paid the debt.

Peter Chrysologus, 435

I know that most persons understand by the story of Nineveh and its king, the ultimate forgiveness of the devil and all rational creatures.

St. Jerome

“In the end or consummation of things, all shall be restored to their original state, and be again united in one body. We cannot be ignorant that Christ’s blood benefited the angels and those who are in hell; though we know not the manner in which it produced such effects. The apostate angels shall become such as they were created; and man, who has been cast out of paradise, shall be restored thither again. And this shall be accomplished in such a way, that all shall be united together by mutual charity, so that the members will delight in each other, and rejoice in each other’s promotion. The apostate angels, and the prince of this world, though now ungovernable, plunging themselves into the depths of sin, shall, in the end, embrace the happy dominion of Christ and His saints.”

COMMENTARY ON THE NEW TESTAMENT – Jerome (347-420 A.D.)

Our Lord is the One who delivers man [all men], and who heals the inventor of evil himself.

Gregory of Nyssa (332-398 A.D.), leading theologian of the Eastern Church

While the devil thought to kill One [Christ], he is deprived of all those cast out of hades, and he [the devil] sitting by the gates, sees all fettered beings led forth by the courage of the Saviour.

Athanasius, the Great Father of Orthodoxy

Our Lord descends, and was shut up in the eternal bars, in order that He might set free all who had been shut up… The Lord descended to the place of punishment and torment, in which was the rich man, in order to liberate the prisoners.

Jerome

In the liberation of all no one remains a captive! At the time of the Lord’s passion the devil alone was injured by losing all the of the captives he was keeping.

Didymus, 370 AD

While the devil imagined that he got a hold of Christ, he really lost all of those he was keeping.

St. Chrysostom, 398 AD

Stronger than all the evils in the soul is the Word, and the healing power that dwells in him, and this healing He applies, according to the will of God, to everyman. The consummation of all things is the destruction of evil…to quote Zephaniah: “My determination to gather the nations, that I am assemble the kings, to pour upon them mine indignation, even say all my fierce anger, for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy. For then will I turn to the people a pure language that they may all call upon the name of the Lord, to serve Him with one consent”…Consider carefully the promise, that all shall call upon the Name of the Lord, and serve him with one consent.

Origen (185 to 254 A.D.) He founded a school at Caesarea, and is considered by historians to be one of the great theologians and exegete of the Eastern Church.

The nations are gathered to the Judgment, that on them may be poured out the wrath of the fury of the Lord, and this in pity and with a design to heal. in order that every one may return to the confession of the Lord, that in Jesus’ Name every knee may bow, and every tongue may confess that He is Lord. All God’s enemies shall perish, not that they cease to exist, but cease to be enemies.

Jerome (340 to 420 A.D), commenting on Zephaniah 3:8-10

Mankind, being reclaimed from their sins, are to be subjected to Christ in he fullness of the dispensation instituted for the salvation of all.

Didymus the Blind

So then, when the end has been restored to the beginning, and the termination of things compared with their commencement, that condition of things will be re-established in which rational nature was placed, when it had no need to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; so that when all feeling of wickedness has been removed, and the individual has been purified and cleansed, He who alone is the one good God becomes to him “all,” and that not in the case of a few individuals, or of a considerable number, but He Himself is “all in all.” And when death shall no longer anywhere exist, nor the sting of death, nor any evil at all, then verily God will be “all in all”

Origen, De Prinicipiis, 3.6.3. (Origen founded a school at Caesarea, and is considered by historians to be one of the great theologians and exegete of the Eastern Church.)

The Son “breaking in pieces” His enemies is for the sake of remolding them, as a potter his own work; as Jeremiah 18;6 says: i.e., to restore them once again to their former state.

Eusebius of Caesarea (65 to 340 A.D). Bishop of Caesarea

Our Savior has appointed two kinds of resurrection in the Apocalypse. ‘Blessed is he that hath part in the first resurrection,’ for such come to grace without the judgment. As for those who do not come to the first, but are reserved unto the second resurrection, these shall be disciplined until their appointed times, between the first and the second resurrection.

Ambrose, Bishop of Milan (340-397 A.D.)

We think, indeed, that the goodness of God, through His Christ, may recall all His creatures to one end, even His enemies being conquered and subdued…. for Christ must reign until He has put all enemies under His feet.

Origen (185 to 254 A.D.) He founded a school at Caesarea, and is considered by historians to be one of the great theologians and exegete of the Eastern Church.

For it is needful that evil should some day be wholly and absolutely removed out of the circle of being.

Gregory of Nyssa (332-398 A.D.), leading theologian of the Eastern Church

In the present life God is in all, for His nature is without limits, but he is not allin all. But in the coming life, when mortality is at an end and immortality granted, and sin has no longer any place, God will be all in all. For the Lord, who loves man, punishes medicinally, that He may check the course of impeity.

Theodoret the Blessed, 387-458

When death shall no longer exist, or the sting of death, nor any evil at all, then truly God will be all in all.

Origen

All men are Christ’s, some by knowing Him, the rest not yet. He is the Savior, not of some and the rest not. For how is He Savior and Lord, if not the Savior and Lord of all?

Clement of Alexandria

What think ye?  This is a list of fallible men’s thoughts and I by no means imply the list carries the weight of Scripture.

I suppose the quotes above bear the same weight as, I suppose, an elder or deacon you may know in your church, whom has lived for Christ and is worthy of listening to and comparing with Scripture.


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Local Church Membership Q&A – 6

Church on a hill

A fellow believer asked for clarification within these posts, and the following red text has been added to this and following posts to hopefully give clarification.

Let’s continue considering Cody’s effort to convince me of the necessity of local church membership, with the assistance of Mark Dever from 9 Mark’s ministries.

Cody’s document supplied several verses included below, claiming they taught Local Church Membership in 6 categories.

In this post, I examine the claim that Local Church Membership, as understood in our modern world is required in order To Evangelize the World.


5) To Evangelize the World

Deuteronomy 4:5 – 7

5 See, I have taught you statutes and rules, as the LORD my God commanded me, that you should do them in the land that you are entering to take possession of it. 
6 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.’ 
7 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?

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I assume the commandment to the children of Israel in verse 6 (Keep therefore and DO THEM) is the basis of church membership, but I fear there is no justification for this connection.

The children of Israel had no idea of the concept of church membership in the way it is understood in this culture.  Moses was defining the nation of Israel as a potentially great nation and the only connection I can find with the New Covenant would be where Peter defines the entire universal Church as a holy nation (1 Peter 2:9)

Applying this verse to a local body of believers may have some application (all scripture is profitable) but to connect to church membership seems to be a strain!

Matthew 5:13 – 16

13 “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. 
14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 
15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 
16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

When the Lord says “Ye” in the first verse, is He defining the local church? (As far as I can tell, the disciples have yet to hear of Jesus mentioning the word “church”, little lone the modern concept of church membership!)

Is the local church the city on a hill?  How about the candle?  I tend to think Jesus is discussing something other than church membership!

Act 5:13 – 14

13 None of the rest dared join them, but the people held them in high esteem.
 
14 And more than ever believers were added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women,

See the response in earlier post.

1 Peter 2:12

12 Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.

Individual Christians are to have an honest lifestyle among the Gentiles. This is so true, and so relevant for today’s modern church.  Not for the application of church membership, but for the moral strength that the church/believer is to exercise daily in a corrupt and sinful society.

I’m just not seeing a direct relationship of local church membership with this verse.


I will continue posting my response to each of the 6 reasons in following days. I do hope you will join me in my discussion with Cody, and supply comment or correction from the Word for our mutual edification.
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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Return of the LORD as Lightning?

 Lightning

We were at a Bible study a while back, chatting about Matthew 24 and the Lords soon return.

I had just been studying this passage and some of the words contained in the passage that may have been understood differently by the Lord’s audience than by us. Let’s consider the verse first..

Lightning out of the East

Matthew 24:27

For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.

One of these words is astrape. (Strong’s definition and verse list can be found at end of post.)

By the time we got to verse 27, I had to speak up, since what I found out earlier seemed to apply.

There is a teaching nowadays that implies that the Lord’s appearance will be like a local lightning strike – quick, bright and destructive. This may be true based on many passages, such as

2 Thessalonians 2:8

And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming.

But this passage in Matthew may not be reinforcing this teaching.

Lightning from a Candle?

Consider Luke 11:36 below. The same word (astrape) is used, but if translated as “lightning” would read as..

 Lightning from a Candle

Luke 11:36

If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, it will be wholly bright, as when a lightning with its rays gives you light.”

Now that don’t make no sense, now does it? So whats the point?

This word (astrape) may be understood to describe a shining, such as a sunrise or such. If so, this may be the better understanding of Matthew 24:27. This makes a bit more sense, since the Lord’s statement refers to the “astrape” coming out of the east and shining even to the west.

Literal Lightning (as an aside)

Literally speaking, lightning comes from the the sky and touches the ground, that is, it travels vertically, not horizontally! (By the way, if I wanted to be scientifically accurate, lightning travels from the cloud to the ground and then from the ground to the cloud again, but I don’t think Jesus was trying to be that literal.)

On the other hand, the sun does rise in the east and illuminates the west.

The point is that when the audience of Jesus’ day heard this reference, the idea may possibly be that of a sunrise. The sun rises in the east, and travels/shines to the west. If so, the Lord is describing His coming in a number of ways.

  1. It will be relatively slow (that is, if compared to a lightning strike!)

  2. It will be evident to all.

  3. It will be welcomed.

  4. It will expel darkness.

Lightning or a Sunrise

 Sunrise

The imagery of the Lord’s coming as a sunrise is used again in 2 Peter 1:19. Notice that 2 Peter 1:16, setting the topic of the passage, is describing the power and the coming of the Lord.

2 Peter 1:16-19

For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.
For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,”
we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain.

And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts,

His Coming

His “coming” is not necessarily as simple as I first thought.

His “comings” referred to in the 2nd and 3rd chapters of the book of Revelation are past events. (Only one of the churches mentioned remain to this day.) The candlesticks have been removed!

His coming described in James 5:7-9 may be referring to a past event. Compare the James passage with Jesus words on His coming in judgement to the Jewish nation. The judge is standing at the door! (gates in this translation!)

Matthew 24:33

So also, when you see all these things, you know that he is near, at the very gates.

Mark 13:29

So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates.

James 5:7-9

Be patient, therefore, brothers, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient about it, until it receives the early and the late rains.
You also, be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand.
Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing at the door.

His coming will surprise many. (Most likely myself!)

I think this little study has helped me see one thing. The how and when of His coming is so unimportant issue when it comes down to it.

The issue is to daily be ready.

I am ashamed of being so often distracted from focusing on that day when I shall be with the Lord.

Peace be unto you


Strong’s definition and verse list

G796 ἀστραπή astrape (as-trap-ay’) n.
1. lightning
2. (by analogy) glare
[from G797]
KJV: lightning, bright shining
Root(s): G797

Verse list

Matthew 24:27

For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.

Matthew 28:3

His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow.

Luke 10:18

And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.

Luke 11:36

If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, it will be wholly bright, as when a lamp with its rays gives you light.”

Luke 17:24

For as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day.

Revelation 4:5

From the throne came flashes of lightning, and rumblings[fn] and peals of thunder, and before the throne were burning seven torches of fire, which are the seven spirits of God,

Revelation 8:5

Then the angel took the censer and filled it with fire from the altar and threw it on the earth, and there were peals of thunder, rumblings,[fn] flashes of lightning, and an earthquake.

Revelation 11:19

Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple. There were flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail.

Revelation 16:18

And there were flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, and a great earthquake such as there had never been since man was on the earth, so great was that earthquake.