Taxes & Churches – Introduction

taxes-150x150

The city I live in was trying to find support for an amendment to the city charter.  This amendment would charge a fee/tax (based on the size of the property’s impermeable surface, ie parking/roofing) to property owners to fund an account for the improvement of roads and drainage in the city.

I knew a fellow (an atheist friend) that was actually out among the population seeking to drum up support for this amendment.  He would chat with me about the reactions he would receive and the general feelings of the city population. 

Two groups stood out in fighting against this proposition. 

I suppose you could guess the first group to oppose this amendment – malls, with their profit driven focus and huge parking lots – this would definitely impact thier bottom line causing greater overhead and therefore smaller profit margins.  Business you know

The other group? – Churches.  

And this is where I began to struggle.  Consider the reason for taxes. 

Is it not to share the burden of services for the general public?

Did not the Lord state that it is better to give than receive? 

Are we not to be a blessing to the community we live in? 

Are we not to bear the burden of our brother, doing good to all?

Which brings me to my struggle.  

Where did the right for churches to avoid paying taxes come from?  I mean, did this right to avoid paying taxes come out of Bible teaching?  

Is this “right” that churches exercise grounded in the Bible?  

The next three posts will attempt to consider this question.   Use the contact form below to share your thoughts.


 

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Local Church Membership Q&A – 17

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.


Time for Questions

As I have been thinking on this topic, I have considered 9 questions.

One question will be offered for comment in the following posts Consider and respond, or again, if you want to discuss just let me know.

Does Local Church Membership assist in performing the work of the Body?

In one discussion with a brother, (he calls himself a pastor – I tell you this so you may understand the dilemma my question poses -) I asked the following question.

Would you rather have a faithful believer that is not a formal member of your church, or a formal member that is not necessarily faithful?

I don’t remember him answering.

Since I cannot find any place in the Scriptures that clearly demands this practice, the Body of Christ must be able to perform all of it’s duties without the imposition of this practice. Not only does the New Testament teach this, Christian history affirms the same.

The imposition of a formal church membership is associated more often than not with religious organizations that persecute believers.  Thankfully as believers in the west, we do not live in this condition today!

In the passages that specifically describe the working of the Body of Christ, (universally or locally), local church membership teaching or instruction is painfully absent.

It seems the Lord will build His church.

Matthew 16:18

18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.


Our next post will address another question concerning the teaching of local church membership.  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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Book Look – House Churches – Protect Them from the Church

Houses that Change the WorldI recently picked up a book called “Houses that Change the World” by Wolfgang Simson, and find it to be challenging.

I am not going to review the book so much as pull statements and concept out to discuss with the reader.

This next quote I want to share with you is hilarious.  You see, during the formative years of the Willow Creek Community Church, a seeker sensitive church, the leadership came up with a seven fold strategy of evangelism

  • Spend quality time with non-christians
  • Protect them from the church
  • Witness to those new friends about Jesus Christ
  • Protect them from the church
  • Lead them to Christ
  • Protect them from the church
  • When they have matured a bit and are ready for a culture shock, introduce them to the church for the first time

My question is – If these new believers are maturing a bit, why interrupt that by introducing them to a club/church that may become a stumbling block.

Somewhere I’m hearing the apostle whisper something out of his letter to the Galations.

You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth?


If any who are reading this and have found what I am describing, please let me know.  If any are hungry for church life that “connects”, that is living and breathing, reach out.  Others may be able to help you.

Comment as you see fit. I always love hearing from you.


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Conditional Security – 2 Chronicles 15:1-2

Conditional Security - if-150x150 - Red with Splash

2 Chronicles 15:1-2

1 The Spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Oded,

2 and he went out to meet Asa and said to him, “Hear me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin: The LORD is with you while you are with him. If you seek him, he will be found by you, but if you forsake him, he will forsake you.

Asa the king was a good king.

He understood where his security lay.

The history of the following passage is the battle between the children of Israel (specifically the tribes of Judah and Benjamin) and Zerah the Ethiopian.  Turns out that Asa had an army of 580,000 men, while Zerah had close to double the men, coming in at one thousand thousand men (1,000,000 men), with 300 chariots! In the midst of this threat, Asa sought out God and God gave a tremendous victory!

After the victory and the mop up operations, that brought in much booty for the children of Israel, the prophet Azariah comes out to meet the king and his troops.  His message to Asa is found in 2 Chronicles 15:1-2

Asa was informed of his conditional security in the following three phrases.

  • The Lord is with you while ye be with Him – Security!
  • If ye seek Him, He will be found of you – Security!
  • If ye forsake Him, He will forsake you. – Not so much!

Seems simple enough.  Not much to debate on this passage, or so it seems.

Of course, the direct application of security is for the king and the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, during their lives, but this promise given is instructive for us to consider.

The children of Israel could claim a status before the Lord that no other nation could lay hold of.  They had incredible promises and privileges.

Rom 9:4

4 They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises.

5 To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.

And with all these privileges, the children of Israel, as the Old Testament Theocracy, is no more. Brought to extinction close to 2000 years ago, the children of Israel had the kingdom taken from them…

Matt 21:43

43 Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people producing its fruits.

I suppose the loss of the Kingdom itself speaks of the conditional security before the Lord and Master of the Covenant.  Continual rebellion (see an earlier post on Leviticus 26) brought about many, many efforts by the Lord to bring them back to the faith, with the final judgment falling upon the nation that showed their hatred of God by the crucifixion of His Son.

Conditional security of the believer is pictured often in the history of the nation of Israel. I think of Romans 15:4 and 1 Corinthians 10:11 when reading the Old Testament and the history of the nation as a warning for myself.  So often I can place myself in the shoes of the men in the stories I read.

Rom 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.

1 Corinthians 10:11

11 Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come.

And yet I have hope.  In the midst of rebellion, I can choose to cling to the One who rescues, Who is the Deliverer.

But I digress…

A Good King, with Good Fruit, Reminded of his Conditional Security

king ASAAs a recap, let’s remember that Asa, as a good king, had called out to the Lord at a time of need, had experienced God’s security (a great deliverance), and, as the following passages teaches, was following God’s leading.

1 Kings 15:11,13-14

11 And Asa did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, as David his father had done. …

13 He also removed Maacah his mother from being queen mother because she had made an abominable image for Asherah. And Asa cut down her image and burned it at the brook Kidron.

14 But the high places were not taken away. Nevertheless, the heart of Asa was wholly true to the LORD all his days.

Even the book of Chronicles gives high marks to King Asa, and the author of the Chronicles seems to be reluctant to give praise in comparison to the author of the book of Kings.  (Check it out.)  It seems the book of Kings generally grades in the political arena, where Chronicles grades in the religious area of a king’s life.

2 Chronicles 14:2-7

2 And Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of the LORD his God.

3 He took away the foreign altars and the high places and broke down the pillars and cut down the Asherim

4 and commanded Judah to seek the LORD, the God of their fathers, and to keep the law and the commandment.

5 He also took out of all the cities of Judah the high places and the incense altars. And the kingdom had rest under him.

6 He built fortified cities in Judah, for the land had rest. He had no war in those years, for the LORD gave him peace.

7 And he said to Judah, “Let us build these cities and surround them with walls and towers, gates and bars. The land is still ours, because we have sought the LORD our God. We have sought him, and he has given us peace on every side.” So they built and prospered.

So Asa had a great victory after calling on the Lord, had a great track record up till this point in his life, and then, it seems out of the blue, comes along the prophet Azariah, to give the assurance of God’s presence. That is IF Asa sought Him and did not forsake Him.

Fruit of the Conditional Security Teaching

Is it not usually claimed that the conditional security teaching is a teaching of fear and threats? It seems the opposite is happening here, where a godly man is reminded that he is with the Lord and that he needs to continue to seek Him out.  And Asa’s track record bears witness that the message was fruitful.

It is important to understand that a teachings veracity is not to be based on its fruitfulness but on its truthfulness.  Nevertheless, a true message, delivered and understood correctly, will produce fruit (eventually).

A true message understood correctly by a soft heart that seeks to follow the Master will respond with an admission of weakness and a desire to follow.

A true message understood correctly by a hardened heart will respond with argument, denial, blameshifting, name calling and such.

But brothers, we have not so learned Christ.


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Book Look – House Churches – Worshiping our Worship

Houses that Change the World

I recently picked up a book called “Houses that Change the World” by Wolfgang Simson, and find it to be challenging.

I am not going to review the book so much as pull statements and concept out to discuss with the reader.

The first quote I want to share with you caught my eye, and then after some considering left me with no argument and the memory of a story.

“The image of much contemporary Christianity could be summarized as holy people coming regularly to a holy place on a holy day at a holy hour to participate in a holy ritual led by a holy man dressed in holy clothes for a holy fee”

How often have I rounded up the family to bring them to a scheduled church meeting, all the while creating within those I love a disdain for church meetings, erecting walls to discussions that were completely unnecessary.

Kicking Kids out of Church

I remember a time when one of my sons was struggling with a personal issue during a sermon, causing a minor disturbance. At the time, he was about 16 years old.

For the sake of the show and the audience, he was “shut down quickly”, and the matter was swept under the rug. Two deacons actually got involved, and my son was out the door. Life (that is, the relationship between my son and a congregant within the church) was happening at that point. The deacons saw the show/program/sermon as being the priority and the my son as the exception, the disturbance.

I understand the logic of the greater good – that is the audience came to hear a message and should not be interrupted.

But that is my point.

What is the purpose of meeting together as believers?

To hear one man spend time telling you what to believe? How to live?

I much rather see someone walk the walk, and then spend time with him or her. I think that may be what the apostles did.

May I suggest in the church I hope for, when interpersonal relationships conflict, the body of Christ focuses on people, and not a program.

Programs conflict with people.

My son didn’t come back to that church, if I remember correctly. As a matter of fact, the church was fairly consistent in this behavior of prioritizing program over people.

We eventually left the church, finding work in another city.


If any who are reading this and have found what I am describing, please let me know. If any are hungry for church life that “connects”, that is living and breathing, reach out. Others may be able to help you.

Comment as you see fit. I always love hearing from you.


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Daniel 9:24-27 – 10

Daniel 9 is a linchpin of prophetic teaching.

As I have studied this topic over the years, a particular teaching has garnered favor among believers. I followed that teaching faithfully for most of my pilgrimage.

I would like to offer an alternative viewpoint for a fellow believer to consider.

When I first encountered this viewpoint, I struggled with it. I refused it, then ignored it, then argued with it. But I also believe as Christians, we need to wrestle with the Word.

Sure, we may come away limping, like old Isaac, but as always, encountering the Word produces fruit.

So with that thought let’s continue and read the verse under consideration first.

OK – now we enter into the deep stuff

Rescue me as you see me drowning….

Daniel 9:27

And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.

Daniel refers to one week, and something pertaining to the midst of the week.

It is critical that this verse allows for a indeterminate time to be inserted into this time dependent prophecy, for the dispensationalist interpretation to withstand any muster.

The divergent interpretations of the verse hangs on the allowance of a break in the chronology.

Is the 490 year period 490 continuous years?

It would seem that the answer is obvious, and that the weight of proof would fall on disproving continuity.

  • If the 70th week immediately follows the 69th week we have a possible solution.
    • We will look at it shortly.
  • If not, this allows for the insertion of any amount of time between the 69th and 70th week. I can not find anything in the text that warrants this insertion of time.
    • Can you?

First off, lets discuss the covenant spoken of in the verse.

What covenant is he speaking of?

If it is the Messiah, based on New Testament verses it seems obvious that the covenant is the New Covenant, promised by Jeremiah, and confirmed by the Messiah.

Jeremiah formerly announced the covenant, promising its establishment. The Messiah’s mission was to confirm the covenant for His people, and His Holy City.

Jeremiah 31: 31 – 34

Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more..

Hebrews 12:22

But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering,

Confirm the covenant

Mathew 26:28

For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.

Hebrew 8:6

But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises

Malachi 3:1

Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.

Hebrews 12:24

And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.

Hebrews 9:14,15

How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.

He shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease

Hebrews 10:18

Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.

Hebrews 10:26

For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,

For the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation.

This same judgement was performed in the days of Ezekiel when the Babylonians came into Israel. Habakkuk struggled with this concept of God allowing/using a heathen nation to discipline the chosen nation. Should we be surprised that the judgement on the city and people be any less harsh, due to the leaderships decision to murder the Messiah?

70th week

Now, concerning the 70th week, and its chronological completion – You thought I would have avoided this by forgetting about it, right? Well no so fast, bucko.

Although the following is possible, and allows for the completion of this time dependent prophecy to be fulfilled chronologically, I need to research this more. But I am under a bit of a time crunch, so here goes.

1. And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week

a. This period of time, that is one week, or the accepted 7 years that all consider Daniel to be speaking of, would extend from His baptism to the release of the gospel to the Gentiles.

b. Although admittedly I cannot find exact dates for the stoning of Stephen it was early in the life of the church and may have happened 3 ½ years after the crucifixion and resurrection of the Messiah. If this is true, the covenant was confirmed to the house of Israel for 7 years, giving the generation that called for His crucifixion another chance to repent. Sadly the nation did not.

c. The gentiles poured in!!! (The prophecy did not state exclusivity with the physical nation of Israel – And the holy people of God began to include all nations, just as He wanted all along.)

2. In the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease.

a. If the Messiah’s baptism was the beginning of the 70th week, the crucifixion would have occurred in the midst of that week – 3 ½ years after His baptism, He was murdered.

b. This act of mercy was the fulfillment of every day of atonement the Israel nation celebrated, and in heaven, before the throne of God, the final sacrifice was performed and supplied.

c. He caused the sacrifice and oblation to cease. Of course sinful man wants to maintain religion, so in rebellion the sacrifices continued for a few decades.

One thing that overwhelms me in this passage, is the tremendous plan of grace the Lord has in place for all – even beyond “the many” that were in the old covenant.

The new covenant far exceeded any of the apostles wildest dreams, and continues to grow as we experience His grace in our lives and pass it on to others.

This post concludes my venture into this difficult passage. Thanks again for considering my thoughts. As always, if you see items of concern that the Scriptures can correct me on, please supply.

I hope you will join me again as we continue Considering the Bible.


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Book Look – House Churches – Introduction

Houses that Change the World

I recently picked up a book called “Houses that Change the World” by Wolfgang Simson, and find it to be challenging.

I am not going to review the book so much as pull statements and concepts out to discuss with the reader.

As many who read this blog know, I struggle with the current modern gathering of believers.

I confess I am looking for less structure, less church office authority, but greater real life believer influence. Less uniformity to the preferences of men and women within church positions, but greater unity to the intent of the New Testament message.

Is this possible? It is my hope.

If any who are reading this and have found what I am describing, please let me know. If any are hungry for church life that “connects”, that is living and breathing, reach out.

Others may be able to help you.

Comment as you see fit. I always love hearing from you.


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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.

Daniel 9:24-27 – 9

Daniel 9 is a linchpin of prophetic teaching. 

As I have studied this topic over the years, a particular teaching has garnered favor among believers.  I followed that teaching faithfully for most of my pilgrimage.

I would like to offer an alternative viewpoint for a fellow believer to consider.

When I first encountered this viewpoint, I struggled with it.  I refused it, then ignored it, then argued with it.  But I also believe as Christians, we need to wrestle with the Word.

Sure, we may come away limping, like old Isaac, but as always, encountering the Word produces fruit.

So with that thought let’s continue and read the verse under consideration first.

Daniel 9:25

25 Know therefore and understand that from the going out of the word to restore and build Jerusalem to the coming of an anointed one, a prince, there shall be seven weeks. Then for sixty-two weeks it shall be built again with squares and moat, but in a troubled time.

There is debate about which decree is considered the start of the seventy weeks.

  • The Decree of Cyrus – An order to rebuild the Temple – see Ezr 4:11-13, 23-24
  • The Decree of Darius  – Temple building resumed and completed – see  Ezr 5:17, 6:1-2, 7, 15
  • The Decree of Artaxerses – Rebuilding of City Wall and Jerusalem – see Ezr 7:1,6,8, 7:11-13,21, 9:9

It is interesting (not another rabbit trail?) that during the completion of the wall in the days of Nehemiah, the remnant Israelites were experiencing some troublesome times.

Neh 1:2-3

That Hanani, one of my brethren, came, he and certain men of Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jews that had escaped, which were left of the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem. And they said unto me, The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire.

Does anybody else hear an echo of Dan 9:25???

History tells us that Artzxerxes gave his decree in the seventh year of his reign, having begun his kingdom about 465 BC.  That would place the decree at about 455 – 457 BC.  If the Messiah began his ministry in 26 – 28 AD, this would fit with the beginning of the 483rd year of Daniels prophecy.

Since the baptism/anointing was the formal declaration of the Messiah’s commencement of His ministry, He arrived as expected.

Let us continue onto verse 26

Daniel 9:26

And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined.

Notice that it is after the 69 weeks that Messiah is cut off.  Not at 69 weeks.  As described above, there is a good argument that the 69th week may have begun at the Messiahs baptism/ beginning of His ministry.

People of the prince (not the prince) that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary – note that the time indicator in this verse defines the action as being AFTER threescore and two weeks (and the 7 previous weeks).

Unto the end of the war desolations are determined.  Josephus says that the Roman army then “brought their ensigns to the temple and set them over against its eastern gate; and there did they offer sacrifices to them, and there did they make Titus imperator with the greatest acclamations of joy.”

Josephus The Wars of the Jews 6.6.1.

Notice also the concept of a flood (” end thereof shall be with a flood”) in describing judgement on Jerusalem / Israel, in various other Old Testament passages.

Isa 8:7

Now therefore, behold, the Lord bringeth up upon them the waters of the river, strong and many, even the king of Assyria, and all his glory: and he shall come up over all his channels, and go over all his banks:

Isa 17:12

Woe to the multitude of many people, which make a noise like the noise of the seas; and to the rushing of nations, that make a rushing like the rushing of mighty waters!

Jeremiah 46: 7,8

Who is this that cometh up as a flood, whose waters are moved as the rivers?
Egypt riseth up like a flood, and his waters are moved like the rivers; and he saith, I will go up, and will cover the earth; I will destroy the city and the inhabitants thereof.

Dan 11:40

And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him: and the king of the north shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, and with horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter into the countries, and shall overflow and pass over.

OK – now we enter into the deep stuff – Rescue me as you see me drowning…. oh wait – this may be a good place to stop for this post and begin in the next post with “the deeep stuff.

Give me a break Carl – haha!

I hope you will join me again as we continue Considering the Bible.


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Local Church Membership Q&A – 16

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.


As I have been thinking on this topic, I have considered 9 questions.

Time for Questions

One question will be offered for comment in the following posts Consider and respond, or again, if you want to discuss just let me know.

Does Local Church Membership foster an “us vs them” mentality?

By this I mean among believers.

How many times have you heard those under your care speak of other believers as “those over there” or “that other church on the corner”? I understand that we live in a fallen world, but creating or maintaining a system that fosters this attitude is counter-productive in my opinion.

Notice Paul’s method of teaching the Corinthian body, by using the practices of other groups of Christians to “shame them” into conformity with the rest of the Body of Christ.

1 Corinthians 11:16

16 If anyone is inclined to be contentious, we have no such practice, nor do the churches of God.

How often does a local church seek to be different from the rest of the Body, and by that activity, miss out on many blessings. Of course, this should not apply in individual personal holiness, for we are all called to follow the Lord and not others, but the expression of that life in Christ should be to be at peace with others.


Our next post will address another question concerning the teaching of loacal church membership.  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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Daniel 9:24-27 – 8

Daniel 9 is a linchpin of prophetic teaching.

As I have studied this topic over the years, a particular teaching has garnered favor among believers. I followed that teaching faithfully for most of my pilgrimage.

I would like to offer an alternative viewpoint for a fellow believer to consider.

When I first encountered this viewpoint, I struggled with it. I refused it, then ignored it, then argued with it. But I also believe as Christians, we need to wrestle with the Word.

Sure, we may come away limping, like old Isaac, but as always, encountering the Word produces fruit.

So with that thought let’s continue and read the verse under consideration first.

Daniel 9:24

“Seventy weeks are decreed about your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and prophet, and to anoint a most holy place.

In this post we will finish up with the last phrase in the 3rd couplet, that portion of Daniels prophecy that is defining what actually will happen within the time frame determined for this people and the holy city. It is the heart of the passage, and we checked out the first two couplets in previous posts.

COUPLET 3 – Second Thought

To Anoint the Most Holy

It is true that the passage in Daniel speaks of the most holy and some Bible believing Christians teach that it may refer to a future temple.

The Most Holy

But consider – Did not the Master describe Himself as a temple, that could be destroyed and would be raised up again?

John 2:19-21

Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? But he spake of the temple of his body.

Do not the apostles often speak of the church as a temple of God on earth (– there is no temple in heaven don’t ya know…)

1 Corinthians 3:16-17

Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.

1 Corinthians 6:19

What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

2 Corinthians 6:16
And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

Ephesians 2:21

In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:

It is such a great thing that the temple concept, begun in the Messiah, is continuing both through individual believers and groups of believers.

The Anointing

Was not the Messiah anointed? Messiah literally means “the anointed One”

The passage in Daniel is speaking of the anointing of the Messiah, of His empowerment to perform the saving work of our souls.

Luke 4:18

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,

Almost exclusively, the Messiah would refer to Himself as the Son of Man, and Daniel 7:13-14 is the primary link that all consider to be Jesus’ link in the NT.

Acts 7:56 (compare with Daniel 7:13,14 Son of Man reference)

And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.

Daniel 7:13,14

I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.

Right after the stoning of Stephen, the gospel goes out to the Samaritans and Gentiles.

Acts 8:5

Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them.

Before we move onto the next verse it may be important to remember that these 6 goals were to be performed on “Thy People” and upon “Thy Holy City”

Warning – Rabbit Trail Ahead

This may be a good time to remind my readers that throughout the OT, God had a remnant, a people that were truly Gods, and a city, even Thy Holy City. The obvious passage that comes to mind is 1 Kings 19:18 where God reminds the prophet of his remnant.

1 Kings 19:18

Yet I will leave seven thousand in Israel,
all the knees that have not bowed to Baal,
and every mouth that has not kissed him.”

Isaiah also speaks of the faithful remnant in 46:3

3 “Listen to me, O house of Jacob,
all the remnant of the house of Israel,
who have been borne by me from before your birth,
carried from the womb;

Micah also speaks of the remnant, even in a verse that speaks of all of Jacob

Micah 1:12

12 I will surely assemble all of you, O Jacob;
I will gather the remnant of Israel;
I will set them together
like sheep in a fold,
like a flock in its pasture,
a noisy multitude of men.

Zephaniah mixes his message with the following

Zephaniah 1:18

18 Neither their silver nor their gold
shall be able to deliver them
on the day of the wrath of the Lord.
In the fire of his jealousy,
all the earth shall be consumed;
for a full and sudden end
he will make of all the inhabitants of the earth.

Even though Zephaniah prophesied of a “full and sudden end… of all the inhabitants of the earth”, just a few short verses later he claims in chapter 2.

7 The seacoast shall become the possession
of the remnant of the house of Judah,
on which they shall graze,
and in the houses of Ashkelon
they shall lie down at evening.
For the Lord their God will be mindful of them
and restore their fortunes.

Zechariah expands on the blessing on the remnant in Zechariah 8:11-13

Zechariah 8:11-13

11 But now I will not deal with the remnant of this people as in the former days, declares the Lord of hosts.

12 For there shall be a sowing of peace. The vine shall give its fruit, and the ground shall give its produce, and the heavens shall give their dew. And I will cause the remnant of this people to possess all these things.

13 And as you have been a byword of cursing among the nations, O house of Judah and house of Israel, so will I save you, and you shall be a blessing. Fear not, but let your hands be strong.”

Finally, James and Paul seem to echo some of these thoughts.

James links to the Zechariah passage, using the phrase “sowing in peace”, associating it with the New Testament body of believers.

James 3:18

And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.

Paul follows up on the remnant idea clearly when he writes…

Romans 9:6

Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel:

Two chapters later, Paul speaks of all Israel’s being saved in the famous Romans 11 passage.

Romans 11:26

And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:

As an aside, (Whoa Carl – Is this a rabbit trail within a rabbit trail?) it is interesting in my mind that the little word “so” in 11:26 could be translated “in this manner, likewise, on this fashion, so in like manner. The method of God, that is of supplying blindness in part to Israel, supplies the gentiles entrance into the kingdom. This method has the result of all Israel being saved. This makes perfect sense if Israel being referred to in 11:26 is the faithful remnant, i.e. all those who have faith as Abraham, not just the blood line.

Let’s proceed in our next post – I think I sometimes do dah rabbit trail too much (?), but when I find something of interest, I tend to wander – My apologies!!!

I hope you will join me again as we continue to “Consider the Bible”.


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Conditional Security – Acts 14:21-23

Conditional Security - if-150x150 - Red with SplashContinue in the Faith

Acts 14:21-23

21 When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch,

22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.

23 And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed.

It was Paul’s first missionary trip so we can forgive him for not understanding all the missiology that modern Christians now know and practice.

He must have returned to the Lystrians, Iconiumians and Antiochians to help them understand their eternal security I suppose he hadn’t yet written the letters that clearly teach the eternal security doctrine.

ContinueYet his message was “Continue in the Faith”. But Paul, once saved, you automatically continue in the faith, right?

Something must be wrong – Paul is wasting time with believers since the entire world needed to hear the gospel.  Why didn’t he simply keep going into new territory to reach more and more of the lost?  If those who truly believe are eternally secure, Paul seemed to waste his time visiting and encouraging the saints to remain faithful.

It is great that as modern believers we have finally come to the knowledge and wisdom to efficiently evangelize! 

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Daniel 9:24-27 – 7

Daniel 9 is a linchpin of prophetic teaching.

As I have studied this topic over the years, a particular teaching has garnered favor among believers. I followed that teaching faithfully for most of my pilgrimage.

I would like to offer an alternative viewpoint for a fellow believer to consider.

When I first encountered this viewpoint, I struggled with it. I refused it, then ignored it, then argued with it. But I also believe as Christians, we need to wrestle with the Word.

Sure, we may come away limping, like old Isaac, but as always, encountering the Word produces fruit.

So with that thought let’s continue and read the verse under consideration first.

Daniel 9:24

“Seventy weeks are decreed about your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and prophet, and to anoint a most holy place.

Thanks for sticking with me in this journey through the hottest passage in Daniel. I taught this study in a Sunday School class that had never heard of this approach, and I appreciated the gracious (but firm) discussion during some of the previous couplets.

These next two posts we will finish up with those infamous six, that portion of Daniels prophecy that is defining what actually will happen within the time frame determined for this people and the holy city. It is the heart of the passage, and we checked out the first two couplets in previous posts.

This post we will take a look at the third couplet

COUPLET 3 – First Thought

To Seal Up the Vision and Prophecy

Vision – in the OT, this term only has the concept of a vision, whether ecstatic or as a prophecy.

Since it is coupled with the idea of prophecy, it may best be understood to be regarding visions, such as Daniel experienced.

Prophecy – in the OT, this term is translated as prophet 312 times, and as prophecy 1x. Our passage is the only time in the OT that this term is translated as prophecy.

Could Daniel be speaking of prophets being sealed up?

General Questions I Got

How does this relate to the resurgence of the apostolic ministry presently?

If Daniel 9:24-27 is time dependent, as he states in the beginning, does this verse teach that prophets were sealed up in the first century?

And how does this compare with the visions some have had in centuries past? Does this invalidate those visions?

Remember, as discussed in previous posts in this series, that to seal something does not imply permanence (Check out my 2 part study on Sealing, beginning with Sealing – Old Testament Basis).

OK, so how does that relate to the NT canon. Is it completed?

I would suggest that the apostles and prophets that spoke on the authority of the Christ have supplied all we need to live godly in this present world. Visions and prophets that speak the same message may be sent to wake the church up, but any message that crosses the scripture must be ignored or opposed.

Regarding the completion of sealing up prophets and visions, the NT seems to clearly address this.

Lets get Specific

To be a bit more specific, is Daniel speaking of THE vision and prophecy, that is, the very prophecy he is giving forth?

It is interesting that in Daniels vision/prophecy we are studying, he is told that the prophecy and vision were to be sealed up until the end of the 70 weeks.

Remember the concept of sealing. It is important to note that to seal something does not necessarily mean the object sealed will be sealed permanently!

One example of this very concept can be seen when John makes mention of sealing in Rev 22:10

Rev 22:10

And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand.

What is even more interesting to my thinking is that time is a factor in this verse also.
With that connection made, it would seem obvious that the topic of all prophecy has the Messiah smack dab in the middle of it. When He came, prophecy was being fulfilled. A few (of many) verses to support this follows.

Acts 3:18

But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled.

John 5:39

Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.

Matthew 11:13

All the prophets and the law prophesied until John

As has become evident, I consider the first advent to be the core of the prophecy Daniel experienced.

Is He not the focus and sum of all Scripture? Is He not the One to whom all attention, focus, love and honor is to be given? Consider the intent of the Scripture as you consider your interpretation of this difficult passage.

I hope you will join me again as we will again be Considering the Bible


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Daniel 9:24-27 – 6

Daniel 9 is a linchpin of prophetic teaching.

As I have studied this topic over the years, a particular teaching has garnered favor among believers. I followed that teaching faithfully for most of my pilgrimage.

I would like to offer an alternative viewpoint for a fellow believer to consider.

When I first encountered this viewpoint, I struggled with it. I refused it, then ignored it, then argued with it. But I also believe as Christians, we need to wrestle with the Word.

Sure, we may come away limping, like old Isaac, but as always, encountering the Word produces fruit.

So with that thought let’s continue and read the verse under consideration first.

Daniel 9:24

“Seventy weeks are decreed about your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and prophet, and to anoint a most holy place.

This post we will continue to look at the second couplet

COUPLET 2 – Second Thought

To Bring in Everlasting Righteousness

Everlasting righteousness. Is there anything in this terminology that does not allow for the presence of sin alongside of the everlasting righteousness.

Everlasting is the Hebrew word `owlam, and is also, very very interesting. See A Study of Eternal/Everlasting if you want to be shocked. (I was)

Olam can mean for ever or everlasting, but is also a term that could mean a long duration. I personally believe Daniel is speaking of everlasting here, but the prophecy is so difficult to cipher, this issue may need to be revisited or reconsidered at a later date.

Anywho, I don’t understand this righteousness (that is everlasting) as speaking of filling/controlling/infecting all people on the earth. Daniels point is time dependent (either a long time or eternal), not the spread of righteousness within every person on earth.

With that refinement of thought, consider what the apostles wrote concerning the righteousness of Christ in the believer’s life.

1 Corinthians 1:30

But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:

Rom. 3:21-26

Even the RIGHTEOUSNESS of God…through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood to declare his RIGHTEOUSNESS for the remission of sins”

Rom. 5:17-21

By the righteousness of one…shall many be made righteous… unto eternal life by Jesus Christ

2 Cor. 5:21

For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the RIGHTEOUSNESS of God in him”

1 Peter 2:24

Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto RIGHTEOUSNESS”

1 John 2:29

Everyone that doeth RIGHTEOUSNESS is born of him

Righteousness in the believers life is a New Testament teaching that directly relates to Daniels prophecy, if you will allow it.

The concept of righteousness needs further consideration – I looked into this as a study when I was just a youngin (as a Christian), and found it to be kinda surprising. If I find my notes I will post.

This completes our second couplet, and next time we get together, we shall enter into the third and final couplet.

I hope you will join me again as we “Consider the Bible”.


Persecution in the Land of the Free – 2

An unbelievable account of a group of peace loving Christians!hutterite

Find below the conclusion of a story that surprised me so much, that I felt I had to post it for your reading pleasure.

Excerpted from “Hell, Healing, and Resistance”
Daniel Hallock

Jacob Wipf managed to send a telegram to their wives, and they traveled immediately to Leavenworth. They started out from their homes at night, leaving their small children behind them. But a railroad agent mistakenly gave them tickets to the wrong station, causing a delay of an entire day, so that when the women finally arrived at Leavenworth around 11:00 p.m., they found their husbands close to death and barely able to speak. By the following morning, Joseph Hofer was dead.

His wife Maria was told his body had already been placed in the coffin and could no longer be viewed, but she was persistent and pushed past the guards to the commanding officer, pleading for permission to see her husband once more. Her request was granted, but she was not prepared for what she found: through her tears, she suddenly realized that the lifeless body of her beloved husband had been dressed in military uniform. Joseph had been faithful to the last, and now he was mocked in death.

Michael Hofer died only days later; at the insistence of his father he was allowed to lie in his own clothes. Immediately following Michael’s death, David Hofer was brought back to his cell and chained to the bars, unable to wipe away the tears that streamed down his face for the whole day. The next morning, with the help of a willing guard, David relayed a message to the commanding officer, requesting that he might be placed in a cell closer to Jacob Wipf. The guard returned an hour later and told David to pack up his things for immediate release.

David was at first incredulous, but left a brief message for Jacob and prepared to go. It is not clear what prompted this unexpected and sudden release, but it is probable that rumors of his brothers’ deaths were beginning to leak out, and the prison was worried that they would become martyrs in the public eye. Soon after, on December 6, 1918, the Secretary of War issued an order prohibiting handcuffing, chaining, and the otherwise brutal punishment of military prisoners – a token political gesture to counteract the case’s growing negative publicity. In reality, Jacob’s battle continued.

When two Hutterites visited him at Leavenworth five days later, they found him in solitary confinement, his hands still chained to the iron bars for nine hours a day. He was still receiving a diet of bread and water and sleeping on a concrete floor, although he had been given several blankets. In a message sent home to his family, he wrote:

Sometimes I envy the three who have already been delivered from their pain. Then I think: why is the hand of the Lord so heavy upon me? I have always tried to be faithful and hardworking and hardly ever made any trouble for the brotherhood. Why must only I continue to suffer? But then there is joy, too, so that I could weep for joy when I think that the Lord considers me worthy to suffer a little for his sake. And I have to confess that, compared with our previous experiences, the life here is like in a palace.

Considering that the Armistice was signed on November 11, 1918, it is hard to believe that the chaining of military prisoners was only stopped on December 12. The prisoners were given planks on which to sleep, and conditions gradually improved as the War Department continued to receive petitions on the men’s behalf. Jacob Wipf remained behind bars for four more months and was finally released on April 13, 1919, after being hospitalized for a brief illness.
But the deaths of the two Hofer brothers could not be so easily forgotten, and by the end of the year, the great majority of Hutterite colonies had emigrated to Canada to escape further persecution – including vandalism by their neighbors because of their refusal to buy war bonds.

So ended one of the most shameful episodes in American military history.


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Daniel 9:24-27 – 5

Daniel 9 is a linchpin of prophetic teaching.

As I have studied this topic over the years, a particular teaching has garnered favor among believers. I followed that teaching faithfully for most of my pilgrimage.

I would like to offer an alternative viewpoint for a fellow believer to consider.

When I first encountered this viewpoint, I struggled with it. I refused it, then ignored it, then argued with it. But I also believe as Christians, we need to wrestle with the Word.

Sure, we may come away limping, like old Isaac, but as always, encountering the Word produces fruit.

So with that thought let’s continue and read the verse under consideration first.

Daniel 9:24

“Seventy weeks are decreed about your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to put an end to sin, and to atone for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal both vision and prophet, and to anoint a most holy place.

In this post we will start looking at the second couplet.

COUPLET 2 – First Thought

To Atone for Iniquity

The term atone has some wonderful synonyms in the Old Testament. To reconcile or to cover over is the principle thought.

Reconciliation is a great thought, but it takes two. Two parties need to agree with one another, (or better, with the truth) in order for true reconciliation to occur. In the New Testament, the thought of reconciliation is best understood by having two people with their backs together.

The reconciliation that was performed on the cross is one person, that is God, turning around to face the sinner. But the sinner, to complete reconciliation, must turn also for reconciliation to be realized.

Remember the purpose of the seventy weeks is to supply these six goals we are trying to understand.

For this post, I will simply refer you to a few New Testament passages. For me, this process (or act) of reconciliation is addressed clearly in the New Testament. I simply ask the reader to consider each New Testament truth in relation to the phrase we are looking at.

Hebrew 2:17

Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.

2 Corinthians 5:19

To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

Colossians 1:20 – 22

And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight:

Ephesians 2:16
And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:

I have a difficult time seeing how this phrase could be more fully fulfilled (is that good grammar?) than through the work of Jesus the Messiah, and His death on the cross.

God provided the sacrifice of His Son to reconcile us to Himself, and as a byproduct, to reconcile each of us to each other. What other action could take precedence over that great work, making it insignificant compared to some future action that some may think Daniel is prophesying?

Is this understanding of Daniel 9:24 a viable interpretation that honors Jesus Christ and His work on the cross?

I will leave that to the reader, but it is good to remember that He is the sum and focus of all Scripture!


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