Faith – Apistos – Unbelievable

Faith 2As mentioned in my earlier post, I was in discussion with my Sunday School teacher and we verred into the topic of faith.  This topic addresses the first Greek word in our table below

Faith

He had told me there are a number of Greek words in the New Testament that are translated “faith” in our English Bible, and I let him know I thought otherwise.

So I came home and did a quick study, using Blue Letter Bible web site.  The following table gives a summary of the New Testament Greek words used when describing our English word “faith”.

Strongs # Greek Transliterated English Equivalent
New Testament (Greek) for “faith”
G571 ἄπιστος apistos that believe not, unbelieving, faithless, unbeliever, infidel, thing incredible, which believe not
G1680 ἐλπίς elpis hope, faith
G3640 ὀλιγόπιστος oligopistos of little faith
G4102 πίστις pistis faith, assurance, believe, belief, them that believe, fidelity
G4103 πιστός pistos faithful, believe, believing, true, faithfully, believer, sure not tr
G6066 ὀλιγοπιστία oligopistia littleness of faith

This post will consider Apistos, ἄπιστοςNo Faith

Strong’s Definitions
ἄπιστος ápistos, ap’-is-tos; from G1 (as a negative particle) and G4103; (actively) disbelieving, i.e. without Christian faith (specially, a heathen); (passively) untrustworthy (person), or incredible (thing):—that believeth not, faithless, incredible thing, infidel, unbeliever(-ing).

Apistos

This is the root word discussed earlier, with the prefix of “a” attached.  Having this prefix, negates the word, or in other words, creates the opposite of the term.
Consider a man who calls himself a theist – one who believes in God.  Place an “a” in front of this term and you find Richard Dawkins. (an athiest).
Unbelievable/Incredible

Acts 26:8

Why is it thought incredible by any of you that God raises the dead?

unbelievableThis verse states that it takes faith to limit God.  What?
Let me rephrase this verse in a Carlism.
Why is your faith limited to God only working to the point of raising the dead, but not including the raising the the dead?
Is that limiting attitude considered faith?  Why do we limit God the Father?
He has given ample evidence to know the truth.
The gospel is not unbelievable – it is wholly within the realm of believability, based on historical evidence, the Biblical text, the growth of the early church and the death of the apostles, to name a few.
But as I think of it, in a sense, the gospel is unbelievable, that is, in the motive of the Father in sacrificing His Son for a sinner like me.  His love is beyond comprehension!  The Son’s love for me, in dying that cruel death, is beyond my understanding.  Oh the deep love of Jesus.
He has supplied the truth to us.  Do not let the unbelievable love of God escape your grasp.
Be right with God. 
Do not limit Him!

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Commandments for Christians – No False Witness

The-Ten-Commandments-Tablets-Are-Christians-Under-the-LawAs mentioned in a previous post, I was sent to studying the New Testament by a dear brother years back to understand the believers relationship to the Ten Commandments.

This post will continue with

Commandment #9 – No False Witness

Exodus 20:16

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

Lets remember the key questions we are looking to resolve as we go through each of the commandments.
  1. QuestionsIs each commandment included in Jesus or the Apostles teaching?
  2. If so, was there anything different about the command as expressed by Jesus or the Apostles?

The NO LYING command is included in Jesus and the apostles teaching, but primarily from the positive perspective, from the love angle, not the rule angle.

There is a difference.

We discussed the following verses in our previous post, regarding stealing, and the comments are readily applicable to the commandment of NO LYING.  The commands were given for many reasons, but I feel at this time, Jesus was using them to disclose the depravity, the darkness resident in our hearts.

Mat 15:19 – 20

For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.

These are what defile a person. But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone.”

Paul reframes this commandment, again showing that we have the power to obey, we

Colossians 3:8-10
But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth.
Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices
and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.

Do not LieDo not lie to one another.

Why Paul?  What motivating factor are you going to give us that will enable us to be truthful with one another?

At conversion, in repentance and faith, a great transaction happens. The new believer “puts off his old self”.  A new nature is implanted in the believer.  Life is sown in the believers heart and all things become new.  (I wanna discuss 2 Corinthians 5:17 at a later date – Don’t let me forget, eh?)

Notice that it is not simply, or better said, not only that the old self is put off, but that the new self has been put on!  Remember – nature abhors a vacuum, and the same is true in relation to the spiritual life.

putting-on-the-new-manThe new self, whether it is referring to the Spirit of God, or a renewed/resurrected  spirit within the believer is beyond me.  That is for those fellas that get paid to think God’s thoughts.  For me, I’m simply thankful that He has supplied life, encouragement, strength, direction and the ability to tell the truth.

I no longer have to lie.  I have a choice to refuse to lie, to speak the truth to one another.

For those reading, if you see I am blind to a truth in our time together, this passage speaks to all.  If you have the “new man”, continue to grow in the knowledge of the Messiah, and do not lie to one another, but speak the truth. 

Thanks again for coming to visit.  Have a good day, and enjoy being with the “new man.”


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Questions I’ve been Asked – Animals & the Ark – Part 2

Question GIFA while back a brudder asked me about the ark and all the animals that Noah had to “fit” in the ark.

Carl – There is no way in poop that all those animals could fit in the ark – it is foolishness.

Like I said in the last post, this post will deal with the size of the ark needed for the animals needed passage through the flood. But, alas – it isn’t so straightforward of a problems as I first suspected. Some assumptions need to be made!

Genesis 6

14 “Make yourself an ark of gopherwood; make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and outside with pitch.

15 And this is how you shall make it: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, its width fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits.

16 You shall make a window for the ark, and you shall finish it to a cubit from above; and set the door of the ark in its side. You shall make it with lower, second, and third decks.

17 And behold, I Myself am bringing floodwaters on the earth, to destroy from under heaven all flesh in which is the breath of life; everything that is on the earth shall die.

18 But I will establish My covenant with you; and you shall go into the ark–you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you.

19 And of every living thing of all flesh you shall bring two of every sort into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female.

20 Of the birds after their kind, of animals after their kind, and of every creeping thing of the earth after its kind, two of every kind will come to you to keep them alive.

21 And you shall take for yourself of all food that is eaten, and you shall gather it to yourself; and it shall be food for you and for them.”

22 Thus Noah did; according to all that God commanded him, so he did.

Second problem – How do we estimate the required space needed?

This problem requires some conservative assumptions.  Many scientists claim that the average size of an animal is somewhere between a rat and a sheep.  Lets take the sheep as the conservative estimate.

How much room does a sheep take?

A common method of transporting sheep is by rail.  To transport sheep via rail, it is common to fit 120 sheep within a level of a standard rail car.  A rail car is generally 60′ by 10′, which gives us 600 square feet.

600 square feet/120 sheep = 5 square feet /sheep

Therefore, each sheep takes up, on average, 5 square feet.  We will use this number later!

Remember that Noah built this box with three levels, and a roof.  Seeing that the box (ark) was 45 ft high, each deck had a 15’ ceiling.  Although not applicable for every animal, this space surely allowed for optional shelving.

Therefore the space available for an “average” animal would calculate out to-

5′ x 5′ x 5′ = 25 cubic feet (assuming 5′ vertical allowance for “head room”)

Third problem – How many animals actually boarded the ark?

First off, how many species of animals do we have on earth presently?  Famous taxonomers estimate this quantity at 1,000,000.

The following number of species were not required to be “rescued” since the flood would not completely exterminate their existence. (Note that every living thing in Genesis 6 is defined as “all flesh in which is the breath of life; everything that is on the earth shall die”. Could this imply that aquatic species were not to be considered?)

  • Fish –  21,000 species
  • Echinoderms (star fish, sea urchins, etc) – 600 species
  • Mollusks (mussels, clams, oysters, etc) – 107,000 species
  • Coelenterates (corals, sea anemones, etc) – 10,000 species
  • Sponges,  – 5,000 species
  • Protozoans, – 30,000 species
  • Arthropods (lobster, crabs etc) – 838,000 species
  • Worms – 35,000 species
  • Insects – ????????
  • Amphibians
  • Some mammals (whales, dolphins, etc)

With that said, some experts have defined the number of species that required “rescuing” to as little as 2,000.  Others have been more conservative and stated that 35,000 animals were led to the ark (including the 7 pairs of “clean” animals required by God to be present on the ark!)

Some have expanded the number to 50,000 animals to satisfy the most demanding skeptic.  I hope I have a sceptic reading – I am gonna take that number just to satisfy your skepticism!  So lets go with that number!

But lets go with that number in our next post.  Will I see you there?  (I’m asking that one sceptic out there – Hope you will come visit again.)

Hey as I was proofreading, I found a tiny mathematical mistake – Nothing that makes my general argument invalid, but I’m gonna leave the “mistake” in the post for any and all to find – even if you are not my sceptic!


 

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OT in NT – Galations

old_testament_law-450x300.jpg?format=originalHow did Jesus and the apostles interpret the Old Testament?

This post is simply a data dump of information for your struggle.

Find below a spreadsheet embedded into the post that lists  verses from the New Testament book of Galations and corresponding Old Testament references.

Good luck as you research each of the verses and try to understand Paul’s  justification for using the Old Testament passage the way he did.


 

9-OT in NT – Galations

 


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Ezekiel 34 – Shepherds as Rulers – 9

shepherd-carrying-sheepGood Shepherds Rule the Flock?

with force and harshness you have ruled them

Two leadership characteristics define the shepherds that tick off Ezekiel

Ezek 34 :4
The weak you have not strengthened, the sick you have not healed, the injured you have not bound up, the strayed you have not brought back, the lost you have not sought, and with force and harshness you have ruled them.

First off lets define the characteristics Ezekiel accuses the shepherds of.

Force

חׇזְקָה chozqâh, khoz-kaw’; feminine of H2392; vehemence (usually in a bad sense):—force, mightily, repair, sharply.

Harshness

פֶּרֶךְ perek, peh’-rek; from an unused root meaning to break apart; fracture, i.e. severity:—cruelty, rigour.

Seems these shepherds were being kinda nasty with the way they were shepherding the flock. Descriptions such as force, cruelty, rigour – these are simply negative terms. These shepherds were ‘ruling” as a king, or in my mind, like the typical worldly minded boss that has authority issues in his life (Those type were probably bullied in thier childhood, if you ask me.)

Hebrews 13 7

As always, there are exceptions to the “rule” – The New Testament freely revises the method of shepherding, since Hebrews 13:17, (at least in the ol’ KJV), allows for shepherds to rule over thier flock. (Hellooo – I am being waggish here!!!)

I have addressed the ruling of shepherds discussed in Hebrews 13:17 in five posts, called “Christian Accountability” Check it out when you have a chance.

Let’s look at the definition for rule in the Ezekiel passage

Rule

רָדָה râdâh, raw-daw’; a primitive root; to tread down, i.e. subjugate; specifically, to crumble off:—(come to, make to) have dominion, prevail against, reign, (bear, make to) rule,(-r, over), take.

Wow – these shepherds were actings as kings! Ruling with dominion, prevailing against the sheep, reigning!

No wonder the shepherds crucified the good Shepherd. He was atypical, and the light of His life shone on the bad shepherds, exposing thier cruel manner of shepherding.

The rub comes when I look around today. Do we see Ezekiel’s type of shepherd still reigning over God’s people? Of course.

Superiority of the Professional Shepherd

superiority

There are many instances of the superiority of the Shepherd in this culture, those who demand respect from thier flock. Fellowship of the Spirit has been replaced with faithfulness to the Pastor/Priest/Minister. Submission to the will of God has been replaced with subservience to the vision of the Pastor/Priest/Minister.

Don’t get me wrong – We are to submit to one another. That is clear from the book of Ephesians 5:21 .. submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Professional Cross

My concern is the superiority of the professional christian, and the desire of christendom to have it so.

We want a man (or woman) to tell us what God wants. But He has given the Spirit of God to believers for (subjective) guidance, and the Word of God for (objective) guidance. What a blessing to have both the Spirit and the Word. The Spirit of God will not guide you where the Word of God restricts! (Is that news to anyone out there?)

The Apostle Paul’s Superiority

Let’s check out the superiority of the Apostle Paul. Surely if any believer could demand obedience and respect, it would be the apostle Paul. But this concept took a hit in my thinking when I came across 1 Corinthians 16:12.

1 Corinthians 16:12

Now concerning our brother Apollos, I strongly urged him to visit you with the other brothers, but it was not at all his will to come now. He will come when he has opportunity.

Did you catch that? How audacious is that Apollos?!
First off, this is the urging of the Apostle Paul, a man who has seen the Lord, and been given revelations he isn’t allowed to speak of. How dare Apollos refuse a request, a strong urging of the Apostle. contumacious

OK – here comes one of my rants!
I tell you, if I was the Apostle, I would have strictly censored Apollos, brought him before the church leadership, stripped him of all fellowship, taken him to the middle of the town and placed him in stocks, with a sign over his head “CONTUMACIOUS” (a wee bit waggish don’t you know!)

What did Paul do? The Apostle of the Gentiles submitted(?) to Apollos’ will – Apollos will come when he has opportunity. How outrageous! How can Paul’s ministry withstand such an insult, such a shaming of authority?

Secondly, I myself wouldn’t have informed the Corinthians of the lack of influence I had over Apollos. Such weakness on Paul’s part. Doesn’t leadership demand obedience?

Unless there was a greater lesson. Hmmmmm.

Self Appointed Apostles & Prophets

Joe the Apostle

The superiority of the professional christian seems to be in full bloom in my neck of the woods. A current fad that has erupted recently in my city is the self proclaimed apostle or prophet. Signs (I mean advertising signs) are all over the city touting of the glorious ministry these apostles and prophets are displaying. Thier billboards and signs have glossy pics of thier person, with crowds feigning at thier presence, with airbrushed highlights and endorsements from other self proclaimed apostles or prophets.

For some reason I fear these “great” christians may never discuss thier weakness and frailty, or the time they had to escape the city in a basket. (Read the last post if this makes no sense)

shepherdcarrysheep4

My friend, if you are under a professional christian that is forcing his way on your life with harshness, run away. Save your soul from the destruction he or she is inflicting on you.

On the other hand, if you currently have found a shepherd that exhibits the humility of the Lord Jesus, and is a man of like passions as yourself, honouring God in his weakness, you have found a blessing. A rare blessing. Let him know, and he just might blush.

Give thanks to the Good Shepherd for your human shepherd.


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Chatting with a Dispy – 8

mount-olives-split-2

A brother in the Lord asked if I would discuss dispensationalism and Zechariah 14 with a blogger who owns a bible prophecy website. I gladly acceptedx.,, cvnX n the inviation and will provide to the reader the discussion as it occurred.. I have changed the web site owners name to “Brother” for the sake of his privacy, and each of my responses are italicized and indented for clarity sake.

With that introduction, lets continue our chat with a “Dispy.” We pick up in continuing my previous response to statements on his web site.

Genesis 10:25
And unto Eber were born two sons: the name of one was Peleg; for in his days was the earth divided; and his brother’s name was Joktan.next subject.

Does God walk literally upon the mountains? I know not, nor do you. I live near a mountain. I know that nobody lives on top of the mountain, and the vast majority of the time, nobody is on top of the mountain. I know that Mt. Everest is desolate, and thus, there is nobody who lives near who could confirm or deny such a thing, therefore, the question is impossible to confirm or deny.

But even more, it is IMPOSSIBLE to deny!

As we know from scripture, Jesus, in resurrected form, appears to his disciples in ways that they cannot discern that it is even Jesus. The Bible also says that God is invisible.

Colossians 1:15
Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:

If an invisible God walks literally upon the mountains where there is nobody around, how in the world are you able to deny such a thing? You are completely incapable to say that God does not literally walk upon the mountains, and you are completely incapable of making a doctrine, or teaching, that God does not do such things, when the Bible clearly says that he does.

Be careful. It’s best to just believe scripture, rather than try to deny it. And if it requires the denial of scripture, then you are on very bad ground.

Sincerely,

Brother

Brother

In your last response you said – “Does God walk literally upon the mountains? I know not, nor do you. “Why does Amos say He does? Is it not to inform us of something?

In the original post, I believe you said that you expect Jesus to touch down on the Mt of Olives and because of this, that the mount would split (or something to that effect). This is the context of my discussion. Is the prophet Zechariah describing a literal touching of the mount with God’s literal feet? Correct me if I have read you wrong, but I think you would interpret Zechariah that Jesus would land/touch/set/stand/ etc on Mt of Olives in fulfillment of Zech 14. I merely brought Amos and Micah into the discussion to ask if these incidents are of the same literalness.

No one wants to deny the Word. I surely do not, and I am convinced you are striving to be faithful. Finding the intent of a scripture should not be construed as a denial of scripture if it rubs you or I the wrong way. Remember that the Word is to transform us, not us try to conform the Word (to our liking!)

I would agree the Bible clearly teaches that God “treads on the high places of the earth” and “the LORD cometh forth out of his place” and that He will “tread upon the high places of the earth” causing the mountains to be “molten under him” and the valleys “shall be cleft, as wax before the fire…”.(v4). My concern is to try to understand what the prophet was trying to communicate.
If, as you say, no one can deny or prove whether an invisible God walks on the mountains, to what point did the prophet tell us these things?

Next question

If we take Zechariah in a literal manner

Verse 8 – the “fountain of living waters,” Could this phrase represent a spiritual truth? Zech 13:1 states “a fountain will be opened for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for impurity”
If we understand the fountain literally, the natural conclusion would be that the waters cleanse from sin. Would this be acceptable to you, and if not, on what basis do you reject the fountain as being literally able to cleanse from sin, but accept “And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives”, as the physical return of Christ (Notice that it does not say that He lands on the mount, or descends on the mount, or even that he climbs the mount to get to the top.)

Please do not respond asking me if I believe in the physical return of Christ – I surely do and with every day expect it sooner and sooner!

Looking forward to your response

Be blessed


Please visit next time as we continue to discuss issues that arise between my dispensational friend and myself.

Thanks for visiting and as always, I love getting comments from those who read this blog.


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A Jealous God – Part 7

jealousy

Jealousy in the New Testament reveals our weakness and insecurity in many passages.  Let’s continue to consider passages that address this emotion.

Philippians 1:15

Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will.

Paul again brings up the issue of envy within the church, and this time he hits preachers /  leadership.  (By the way, what does envy in a believer tell you about his maturity?)
 
These preachers were preaching, and Paul was defining two types of preachers.  One that preached out of envy.  One that preached out of good will.  Two types.
 
Which group might you fall into.  Want one more notch on your gun handle?  One more decision?  One more one more one more….
 

1 Timothy 6:4

he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions,

Boy does this verse bug me.  Most of my Christian experience I have lived in the middle of this verse, seeking a controversy here or a quarrel over there.  Anything to satisfy my need to feel superior over my brother or sister in the Lord. 
 

Let me tell you that the envy, dissension slander and evil suspicions that took hold in my life ate me up.  

Avoid at all costs the temptation to separate yourself from your brother over some insignificant finding or doctrine.  No one cares what I think about the location of the New Jerusalem, or where the Ark of the Covenant is, when all they see is dissension, disunity and continual bickering.   

Titus 3:3

For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.

Funny how Paul mentions that we passed our days in malice and envy, and yet looking back over my life, even after my conversion (to my shame!) I have spent far too much time comparing myself with others, nursing thoughts of malice, and wishing I had a better situation. 
 
Golly Carl – you need to grow up!
 
 

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Faith – Apistos – Disbelieve

Faith 2

As mentioned in my earlier post, I was in discussion with my Sunday School teacher and we verred into the topic of faith. This topic addresses the first Greek word in our table below

Faith

He had told me there are a number of Greek words in the New Testament that are translated “faith” in our English Bible, and I let him know I thought otherwise.

So I came home and did a quick study, using Blue Letter Bible web site. The following table gives a summary of the New Testament Greek words used when describing our English word “faith”.

Strongs # Greek Transliterated English Equivalent
New Testament (Greek) for “faith”
G571 ἄπιστος apistos that believe not, unbelieving, faithless, unbeliever, infidel, thing incredible, which believe not
G1680 ἐλπίς elpis hope, faith
G3640 ὀλιγόπιστος oligopistos of little faith
G4102 πίστις pistis faith, assurance, believe, belief, them that believe, fidelity
G4103 πιστός pistos faithful, believe, believing, true, faithfully, believer, sure not tr
G6066 ὀλιγοπιστία oligopistia littleness of faith

This post will consider Apistos, ἄπιστος

No Faith

Strong’s Definitions
ἄπιστος ápistos, ap’-is-tos; from G1 (as a negative particle) and G4103; (actively) disbelieving, i.e. without Christian faith (specially, a heathen); (passively) untrustworthy (person), or incredible (thing):—that believeth not, faithless, incredible thing, infidel, unbeliever(-ing).

Apistos

This is the root word discussed earlier, with the prefix of “a” attached. Having this prefix, negates the word, or in other words, creates the opposite of the term.

Consider a man who calls himself a theist – one who believes in God. Place an “a” in front of this term and you find Richard Dawkins. (an athiest).

Disbelieve

John 20:27

Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.”

disbelieve

Jesus gave Thomas an opportunity to believe. It is an act of the will, and Thomas had the opportunity to exercise his will, upon the evidence Jesus supplied him, to believe that Jesus rose from the dead.

In other words, to believe the gospel.
God is not reluctant to supply evidence. He is active if we have eyes to see, and ears to hear.
This is your decision.

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Commandments for Christians – No Stealing

The-Ten-Commandments-Tablets-Are-Christians-Under-the-Law

As mentioned in a previous post, I was sent to studying the New Testament by a dear brother years back to understand the believers relationship to the Ten Commandments.

This post will continue with

Commandment #8 – No Stealing

Exodus 20:8

You shall not steal

Lets remember the key questions we are looking to resolve as we go through each of the commandments.
  1. QuestionsIs each commandment included in Jesus or the Apostles teaching?
  2. If so, was there anything different about the command as expressed by Jesus or the Apostles?

The NO STEALING command is included in Jesus and the apostles teaching, but primarily from the positive perspective, from the love angle, not the rule angle.

There is a difference.

Mat 15:19 – 20

For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander.

These are what defile a person. But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone.”

Jesus is teaching the populace the upside down nature of His kingdom, or in other words, how backwards we have the truth when it comes to relating to God and His rule in our lives.

This teaching starts off seemingly innocently in my mind. Dietary laws are of little to no influence in the culture I live in, other than for the sake of appearance and health. Religious observance of diet are essentially non-existent.

no stealing

What has dietary laws got to do with stealing you may ask? The teaching started out with correcting the teaching of defilement. How and what to eat were massive influences within the Jewish culture, and rules upon rules were established to perform these rites.

But Jesus is defining the source of defilement. It is in me. All the food restrictions in the world won’t change that.

And theft comes out of my heart, my inner person. This defiles me. I defile me.

O wretched man that I am. How could I find any hope other than in the person of Jesus. I need an external Savior, some one other than I.

Rant #1

Note how Jesus deals with the Pharisses offence.

Matthew 15:13 – 14

He answered, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up.
Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.”

Blind man

How often do I get upset about those who are obviously teaching error, and the victims they are feeding off of. The mercy and love of God is ever extending to all of us who have that “self” in us, that destructive defiling “self” resident in us. Yet, Jesus seems to dismiss the Pharisees, and their followers as being destined to the pit.

This passage is difficult for me personally. We are all blind to varying degrees, completely blind to the Messiah prior to conversion, and yet mercy was displayed. How can He dismiss these when the gospel reaches out to all?

The only resolve I have, in my current understanding, was that at this specific time and topic, when Peter brought this concern to Jesus, it had become obvious that the die was set, and the Pharisees were doomed, as a religious and political party. It may take 40 years for the nation to fall, but fall it would. The teaching of the Pharisees would evaporate, and those who clung unto their falsehoods would also be finished.

It is interesting that the Lord used the “root up” symbology, which hearkens back to the days of Jeremiah, when he was prophesying of the first destruction of Jerusalem.

Does Paul re-frame this commandment? I think this particular commandment is the one that helped me turn a corner on how the New Testament does not abandon the moral code of the ten commandments, but exalts the law, re-framing the code in the light of the gospel.

Ephesians 4:28

Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.

Thief gif

Paul is most likely addressing a problem within the Ephesian church, that is, a possible thief that has not understood the ramifications of the gospel call on his life. God’s nature has not changed and His people, in reflecting that nature, need / want to conform to that nature.

Some times it is just a matter of teaching, that will provide the information to the believer in order to direct his/her life properly. I like to think this is what is happening in this passage.

Some young believer is still swiping stuff, having had the habit for possibly years, and yet now having acquired the new nature, is informed of the higher life. Provide for others, instead of taking from others.

It is encouraging to see lives changed by the gospel. This is a concrete response to the gospel .

Give don’t take – Its kinda a no brainer, since He gave and gave and gave.

Hey thanks for giving some of your time to consider the Bible with me. I look forward to your comments and will respond to each one as the day affords.

May God bless you and your loved ones.


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Questions I’ve Been Asked – Animals & the Ark – Part 1

Question GIFA while back a brudder asked me about the ark and all the animals that Noah had to “fit” in the ark.

Carl – There is no way in poop that all those animals could fit in the ark – it is foolishness.

Well I take that as a personal challenge to find out if it is possible. But lets define the parameters that I need to review.

The question has a few points to it

  • How did all the animals fit into Noahs Ark?
  • How did the animals reach the different parts of the earth?
  • Why are some species (eg a moose) only present in certain areas of the world?

How did all the animals fit into Noahs Ark?

I suppose the first question demands that we determine the size of the ark initially. To do this, we need to refer to the Bible to find the dimensions Noah used for the construction of the Ark. We will find these dimensions in the book of Genesis, chapter 6.

Genesis 6

14 “Make yourself an ark of gopherwood; make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and outside with pitch.

15 And this is how you shall make it: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, its width fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits.

16 You shall make a window for the ark, and you shall finish it to a cubit from above; and set the door of the ark in its side. You shall make it with lower, second, and third decks.

17 And behold, I Myself am bringing floodwaters on the earth, to destroy from under heaven all flesh in which is the breath of life; everything that is on the earth shall die.

18 But I will establish My covenant with you; and you shall go into the ark–you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you.

19 And of every living thing of all flesh you shall bring two of every sort into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female.

20 Of the birds after their kind, of animals after their kind, and of every creeping thing of the earth after its kind, two of every kind will come to you to keep them alive.

21 And you shall take for yourself of all food that is eaten, and you shall gather it to yourself; and it shall be food for you and for them.”

22 Thus Noah did; according to all that God commanded him, so he did.

First problem – What da heck is a cubit?

cubit

A cubit is an old (ancient) form of measurement that, since I found out what it is, have realized that I have used it much of my life without realizing it. When I don’t have a measuring tape on me, and the distance is relatively short, I will “measure” it with my forearm. The cubit was the ancients way of standardizing a measurement, and it is commonly accepted that the cubit was the distance from the elbow to the finger tip of an average man. For me that comes to aprox 18″, and proves that I am average! (1 cubit = 1.5 ft)

So with that said, the ark’s dimensions come to 450′ long X 75′ wide X 45′ high. It is also important to note that this vessel is not considered a boat, but an ark. Noah built a box – a really big box. And this box had three decks, according to verse 16.

So we figgered the basic size, or volume of the ark.

Next post we shall deal with how much space ol’ Noah needed in the Ark for all those animals. In other words, How in poop did Noah fit those gazillion animals into the Ark?

Hope you can come visit with me for the next installment. I think you may be surprised!!!

Thanks for dropping by.


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OT in NT – 2 Corinthians

old_testament_law-450x300.jpg?format=originalHow did Jesus and the apostles interpret the Old Testament?

This post is simply a data dump of information for your struggle.

Find below a spreadsheet embedded into the post that lists verses from the New Testament book of 2 Corinthians and corresponding Old Testament references.

Good luck as you research each of the verses and try to understand Paul’s justification for using the Old Testament passage the way he did.


8-OT in NT – 2 Corinthians


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Ezekiel 34 – Shepherds & The Lost – 8

shepherd-carrying-sheepTrue Shepherds Seek the Flock

the lost you have not sought

In our last post, that is on those sheep that were straying, we found that the shepherds were acting on the sheep, forcing them out, banishing them, thrusting the sheep away. The sheep were straying away from the flock due to the active work of the shepherds.

No so in this instance. But first, lets read the passage.

Ezek 34 :4
The weak you have not strengthened, the sick you have not healed, the injured you have not bound up, the strayed you have not brought back, the lost you have not sought, and with force and harshness you have ruled them.

Let’s define the term “sought” first. The Hebrew word is baqash. The definition is as follows
בָּקַשׁ bâqash, baw-kash’;

  • to search out (by any method, specifically in worship or prayer); by implication, to strive after:
    • ask,
    • beg,
    • beseech,
    • desire,
    • enquire,
    • get,
    • make inquisition,
    • procure,
    • (make) request,
    • require,
    • seek (for).

I hope you get the impression that this seeking represents a drawing action on the part of the shepherd, a rescuing effort.
It may seem I am laboring an obvious point, but these last two terms represent a duality that the bad shepherds were getting completely backwards.
The previous blog described the shepherds as actively rejecting the sheep. Not so in this phrase. The shepherds were simply indifferent. The shepherds were acting passively in regards to the sheep they were responsible for.

True Shepherds Seek the Flock

Luke is the gospel that displays the seeking heart of the Messiah. His life and character stand in stark contrast to the shepherds Ezekiel is describing

Luke 5:31 – 32

31 And Jesus answered them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.
32 I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.”

Again, the Master is describing His heart, and the extent of effort and risk He will undergo to find that one sheep, and to rescue it, bring it home and celebrate with His loved ones.

Good Shepherd seeking lost sheep

Luke 15:4 – 74 “What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it?
5 And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.
6 And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.’
7 Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

Note that the shepherd lays the sheep on His shoulders. I have heard that shepherds, when finding a lost sheep, will break one of the sheeps legs, to dissuade the sheep of ever leaving again. I don’t know if this was common practice in Jesus day. No matter, it is the Shepherds perogative to disciplinie His sheep, and He does so with our benefit in mind.

The truth that stands out for me, is that the Shepherd carried the sheep, the wandering sheep that caused ths shepherd to leave the comfort of His home, and to search, search search. He carries the sheep, and that with rejoicing, not anger or resentment over having to search all day, possibly missing the football game after church, or loosing out on the bbq over at Sally’s home.

One of the first Bible verses I memorized speaks of this intent of the Messiah. His desire to not only save the lost, but to seek them. He is actively searching.

seeking the lost

Luke 19:10For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.

This verse actually confused me for many years. I was considering a popular teaching of how Jesus’ mission was to save only those He knew would trust Him, those that, from the foundation of the world, would be destined to believe and be saved.

In my opinion, seeking them seemed to be unneccessary since they would come to faith no matter. Currently, I understand the seeking is the first step, an effort independant of the saving effort. He seeks. And He saves.

Back to Ezekiel 34. From verse 5 – 6, the Lord describes the current condition of the sheep. And what is that condition? The sheep were scattered, dispersed, strewn about.

scattered sheep

Ezekiel 34:5-6

5 So they were scattered, because there was no shepherd, and they became food for all the wild beasts.
6 My sheep were scattered; they wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. My sheep were scattered over all the face of the earth, with none to search or seek for them.

The sheep were scattered due to the shepherds actions (or inactions)!

Verses 7-10, the Lord speaks of the sheep becoming prey for beasts, while the shepherds lived a life of self indulgence.

The Lord states He is against the shepherds. The shepherds are the enemy. He will rescue the sheep from these shepherds. Rescuing speaks of danger, danger at the hands of the shepherds that the Lord has declared to be the enemy.

He is against the shepherds, and will no longer allow the sheep to be food for the shepherds.

Current Conditions

Times have not changed. During the apostle Paul’s ministry, false apostles in the Corinthian church brought believers into bondage, exalting themselves, taking advantage of the sheep, and speaking of how important they were as shepherds.

2 Corinthians 11:19-20
19 For you gladly bear with fools, being wise yourselves!
20 For you bear it if someone makes slaves of you, or devours you, or takes advantage of you, or puts on airs, or strikes you in the face.

Does this not smack of the same attitude, the same superiority, and abuse that Ezekiel was confronting? Is not this an all too common condition of the western church?

Don’t get me started!

Paul tries to shame the believers in this passage, but it also reveals that false teachers/shepherds are a constant problem for the people of God, no matter what time we live in!

How did Paul exhibit his authority? By the shameful (cowardly?) escape from Damascus.

Paul in basket

Paul was a man of like passions, with fear and weakness. He regretfully boasted of the sufferings for the Lord in the previous verses – he was forced to speak of it.
He would rather have “boasted” of his humanity and exalted the Lord in his life.
Strange credentials to say the least!
Lets get back to Ezekiel, and end this post on a positive note!

Ezekiel 34:15-16

15 I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I myself will make them lie down, declares the Lord GOD.

16 I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them in justice.

Parable of lost sheep

The Lord Himself, in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ

  • will make them (the sheep) lie down
  • will seek the lost
  • will bring back the strayed
  • will bind up the injured
  • will strengthen the weak

He is the Good Shepherd!


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Chatting with a Dispy – 7

mount-olives-split-2A brother in the Lord asked if I would discuss dispensationalism and Zechariah 14 with a blogger who owns a bible prophecy website.  I gladly accepted the inviation and will provide to the reader the discussion as it occurred.I have changed the web site owners name to “Brother” for the sake of his privacy, and each of my responses are italicized and indented for clarity sake.

With that introduction,  lets continue our chat with a “Dispy.”  We pick up in continuing my previous response to statements on his web site.

Brother

I admit error in the Rev 19 passage concerning the trumpet. Thank you for noting it!  If we continue in the Word of God, our faith will increase, and this discussion will be fruitful.

When God judged the earth in the Flood, the geography changed significantly, God both raised up the land, and he separated the earth in the days of Peleg.  It would not surprise me if God changed the physical mountains in a restored earth, to level out much of the high places around the globe, by bringing down Mt. Everest to more reasonable levels of elevation, in fact, scripture hints at that very thing.  But yes, mountains can also mean spiritual strongholds.

Brother

I understand about the Flood issues, and that the topographic “adjustments” were a result of judgement.  It is certainly possible that this may happen. (I am not so sure about the Peleg thing, but that is immaterial!)

It is interesting that the mountain of the Lords house is referred to as being above the hills/mountains, not that the hills/mountains are lowered.  Laying waste to mountains and hills may refer to the bounty being produced on them being destroyed (see the next line where the Hebrew poetry commonly uses the second line to further explain the first line, ie the vegetation being dried up further explains “the mountains being laid waste”!), not that the mountains would be flattened.

Isa 2:12 merely states that the day of the Lord will “come upon everything high…, upon all the high mountains”.  This does not mention that the mountains are lowered, but that the day of the Lord will come upon the mountains –  whatever that means is not specifically mentioned (that I can see at least!)

Two quick questions for you to consider from our previous discussions

Amos 4:13 – God “treads on the high places of the earth”

    • Does God literally walk on the mountains?

Micah 1:3-4 – states “the LORD cometh forth out of his place” and that He will “tread upon the high places of the earth” causing the mountains to be “molten under him” and the valleys “shall be cleft, as wax before the fire…”.(v4)

    • Will God will literally come down out of heaven and walk on the high places causing the mountains to melt?

Thanks for the response – Able to get back to you during coffee break so it worked out well.  Looking forward to your next comments.

Be blessed.

Carl


Please visit next time as we continue to discuss issues that arise between my dispensational friend and myself.

Thanks for visiting and as always, I love getting comments from those who read this blog.


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A Jealous God – Part 6

jealousy
 

In our previous post on Jealousy, we looked at the last Hebrew words associated with jealously that described God and some of it’s implications for the believer.

With this post, I would like to consider the New Testament teaching on jealousy and if this characteristic is continued to be associated with God.

 

NEW TESTAMENT JEALOUSY

As we considered in our previous post, jealousy is associated with men and with God.  This first portion of our post will deal with jealousy on the horizontal, that is between created beings.

Common Jealousy

The following two verses describe the same jealousy / envy of the priests of Israel had concerning Jesus. 

Matthew 27:18
For he knew that it was out of envy that they had delivered him up.

Mark 15:10
For he perceived that it was out of envy that the chief priests had delivered him up.

The priests were driven with jealousy and envy over the popularity of the Messiah with the masses.  Of course, popularity is an addictive drug, and jealousy is it’s pit of danger to fall into.  

Brothers and sisters, find no satisfaction in loving popularity.  This is a huge challenge for myself, since I seek approval from many in my life.  This is not to be sought after.

Romans 1:29
They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips,

Paul brings envy into the picture as he describes the debauched life of the lost sinner.  (Careful Carl, let’s not get too judgmental here.  Some fingers may start turning back on me!!!)

1 Corinthians 3:3
 
for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way?
 
Envy
As believers, when we exhibit jealousy, which as believers we sometimes do, we are described as children, immature believers. 
 
I love it that Paul clears the air and states that jealousy typifies believers that are acting human.
 
Just human.   That should be an indictment to me.  The Christian life is not a life that includes jealousy and strife.  
 

Galations 5:26

Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

Paul tells us not to envy in Galations.  Should be simple enough, eh?  Envy is a work that erupts out of competition, and whether it be the competition for love, or status or wealth or whatever, if it is found in your church, you may want to consider the wisdom of being involved in it.
 
sunday-school-high-attendance-promotionsOne church I was involved in often had contests for the highest Sunday School membership or attendance for the quarter. 
 
I didn’t think too much of it at the time, but looking back, I’m thinking it has some serious drawbacks.
  • The competition sets teachers against each other
  • The competition considers numbers more important than the students
    • If a student would benefit from Bobby’s class, but I needed one more student to win the booby prize, welllll….
  • The competition allowed for an “ends justifies the means” method of attracting students
  • The competition created a spirit of dissatisfaction in all the teachers who were not “winning”.
 
Paul was right. 
 
Let us love one another.  
 
 

 


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Faith – Apistos – Unfaithful

Faith 2As mentioned in my earlier post, I was in discussion with my Sunday School teacher and we verred into the topic of faith.  This topic addresses the first Greek word in our table below

Faith

He had told me there are a number of Greek words in the New Testament that are translated “faith” in our English Bible, and I let him know I thought otherwise.

So I came home and did a quick study, using Blue Letter Bible web site.  The following table gives a summary of the New Testament Greek words used when describing our English word “faith”.

Strongs # Greek Transliterated English Equivalent
New Testament (Greek) for “faith”
G571 ἄπιστος apistos that believe not, unbelieving, faithless, unbeliever, infidel, thing incredible, which believe not
G1680 ἐλπίς elpis hope, faith
G3640 ὀλιγόπιστος oligopistos of little faith
G4102 πίστις pistis faith, assurance, believe, belief, them that believe, fidelity
G4103 πιστός pistos faithful, believe, believing, true, faithfully, believer, sure not tr
G6066 ὀλιγοπιστία oligopistia littleness of faith

This post will consider Apistos, ἄπιστοςNo Faith

Strong’s Definitions
ἄπιστος ápistos, ap’-is-tos; from G1 (as a negative particle) and G4103; (actively) disbelieving, i.e. without Christian faith (specially, a heathen); (passively) untrustworthy (person), or incredible (thing):—that believeth not, faithless, incredible thing, infidel, unbeliever(-ing).

Apistos

This is the root word discussed earlier, with the prefix of “a” attached.  Having this prefix, negates the word, or in other words, creates the opposite of the term.
Consider a man who calls himself a theist – one who believes in God.  Place an “a” in front of this term and you find Richard Dawkins. (an athiest).
Unfaithful

Luke 12:46unfaithful

The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will cut him in pieces and put him with the unfaithful.

This verse really needs to be dealt with in my Conditional Security posts, and I am sure it will come up soon.  The issue is that the servant will be cut up in pieces and placed with the unfaithful.
Does this imply he was not in that category earlier?
Look for that discussion in a related post.  For now, the passage speaks of unfaithfulness related to supplied instructions.  The servant knew the instructions, but decided to do his own will.
Not a good situation – The servant gained the distinction of becoming unfaithful.
Do not be unfaithful – Life hangs in the balance!

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Commandments for Christians – No Adultery

The-Ten-Commandments-Tablets-Are-Christians-Under-the-LawAs mentioned in a previous post, I was sent to studying the New Testament by a dear brother years back to understand the believers relationship to the Ten Commandments.

This post will continue with

Commandment #7 – No Adultery

Exodus 20:14

You shall not commit adultery.

Lets remember the key questions we are looking to resolve as we go through each of the commandments.
  1. QuestionsIs each commandment included in Jesus or the Apostles teaching?
  2. If so, was there anything different about the command as expressed by Jesus or the Apostles?

The NO ADULTERY command is included in Jesus and the apostles teaching, but primarily from the positive perspective, from the love angle, not the rule angle.

There is a difference.

Jesus reinterprets the commandment for us and again the commandment is extrapolted to the inner life, the life that only God and you know about.

Matthew 5:27 – 30

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’

But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

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

And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.

bible-say-about-adulteryJesus is telling me that lustful intent with the eyes is adultery in the heart.  That internal motivation is that which condemns the person.   In some specific way, adultery and lust is different from the other sins detailed in the decalogue.

Consider what the apostle Paul teaches

1Corinthians 6:18

Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.

How does this relate to the Lord’s reference about the whole body being thrown into hell?

I have a friend who often states that it doesn’t hurt to look.  And he looks alot, a whole bunch.  I wonder sometimes how he relates to his wife?

1 Corinthians  6:9 – 10

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

nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

Sexually immoral, adulterers, homosexuality.  Paul is emphasizing the sex!

Story Time

I used to work in a office where one of the fellas, a single man, had a serious issue with homosexuals, and in an effort to befriend me, he would sometimes make derogatory statements about gays.  He knew I was a believer, and for some reason thought I would find comfort in his ragging on the gay community.

I had just been considering the verses above, and eventually asked him if he and his girlfriend were living together.  Why yes Carl, of course.

Did you know buddy, that the Bible condemns fornication with the opposite sex prior to marriage?  You are in the same camp as a homosexual is in God’s sight.  Please understand that you need to clean your own room up before you tell someone else how dirty their room is.

Sex sells in this culture.  Don’t sell yourself.

By the way, I am still trying to understand the concept of marriage in the Bible.  If you have any direction in that regard, I would sure appreciate the help.

Thanks again for coming to visit.  Hope to hear from you and to see you again for our next topic.


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A New Creation – 2 Corinthians 5:17

2 co 5 17

2 Corinthians 5:16 – 19

From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation;
that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.
What in tarnation is Paul talkin’ bout here?
Is Paul letting us know he had met Jesus prior to the crucifixion? Prior to His suffering? I think so. If that is the message, it creates additional questions for me.
The verse that gets me in this passage is the popular verse – You know about the new creation.
If Paul knew Jesus prior to His ascension, He states that he does not know Him in that way any longer.
Two things occur to me at this point.
  1. Jesus is glorified, and due to His ascension and glorification, He is no longer simply of the flesh. (Remember – He is our man in heaven – Hebrews 9:24. He is of flesh and bones, currently in heaven pleading for you and I)
  2. Paul has had an attitude adjustment. He is not against the earthly rabbi named Jesus, who was such a thorn in the flesh of the Pharisee’s No no no – Now Paul has the Spirit of God residing in him, teaching him of the character of the servant he despised while He was on earth.

attitude

Soooooo.

Is the new creation simply another way of saying that my attitude towards Jesus is new? Different than before?

Let’s admit something.

Prior to my conversion, I had a disdain and hatred towards the One who claimed so much. Mostly fear of Him, to be honest, and out of that fear came all the other wicked attitudes and thoughts I carried around with me.

What a sorry existence.

blood transfusion

Upon conversion, I became a new creation!

None of my hair was replaced, nor did I have a blood transfusion. I repented, changed my mind about the Messiah.

He was not someone to ignore, sneer at or fight with.

He is the Lord.

Lord – may I have that attitude daily, walking in the newness of life, enjoying the multi-faceted grace of the Your love and life.


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OT in NT – 1 Corinthians

old_testament_law-450x300.jpg?format=originalHow did Jesus and the apostles interpret the Old Testament?

This post is simply a data dump of information for your struggle.

Find below a spreadsheet embedded into the post that lists  verses from the New Testament book of 1 Corinthians and corresponding Old Testament references.

Good luck as you research each of the verses and try to understand Paul’s  justification for using the Old Testament passage the way he did.


 

7-OT in NT – 1 Corinthians

 


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Ezekiel 34 – Shepherds & The Strayed – 7

shepherd-carrying-sheepTrue Shepherds Retrieve the Flock

the strayed you have not brought back

Notice a difference between the next two phrases we find in our study. The reason the sheep are not with the flock is twofold and God addresses both reasons.

The first reason is that the sheep were driven away – the second is that the sheep wandered away or got lost.

God is addressing the bad shepherds and rebuking them for their lack of concern for His flock. I am assuming that both the lost and the strayed are those that are (or were) in covenant with God.

Let’s read the passage first..

Ezek 34 :4
The weak you have not strengthened, the sick you have not healed, the injured you have not bound up, the strayed you have not brought back, the lost you have not sought, and with force and harshness you have ruled them.

For this post, let’s consider the shepherds relationship to those who strayed, and lets define the term first. The Hebrew term is nadach.
נָדַח nâdach, naw-dakh’;

to push off; used in a great variety of applications, literally and figuratively (to expel, mislead, strike, inflict, etc.):—banish, bring, cast down (out), chase, compel, draw away, drive (away, out, quite), fetch a stroke, force, go away, outcast, thrust away (out), withdraw.

Notice this term generally speaks of outside forces acting on the one straying. A few of the translated terms seem almost violent – thrust away, banish, force, drive out.

True Shepherds Pull the Flock Together

Consider the prophet Jeremiah’s burden in Jerusalem at approximately the same time Ezekiel is prophesying

Jeremiah 23:1-2

1 “Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture!” declares the LORD.
2 Therefore thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, concerning the shepherds who care for my people: “You have scattered my flock and have driven them away, and you have not attended to them. Behold, I will attend to you for your evil deeds, declares the LORD.

Also consider Zechariah’s complaint of the foolish shepherd.

Zechariah 11:15-17

15 Then the LORD said to me, “Take once more the equipment of a foolish shepherd.
zech 11 17

16 For behold, I am raising up in the land a shepherd who does not care for those being destroyed, or seek the young or heal the maimed or nourish the healthy, but devours the flesh of the fat ones, tearing off even their hoofs.

17 “Woe to my worthless shepherd,
who deserts the flock!
May the sword strike his arm
and his right eye!
Let his arm be wholly withered,
his right eye utterly blinded!”

Is Jeremiah repeating the same concerns of Ezekiel? Are the shepherds of Israel driving the flock away?

Old Testament / New Testament Shepherds

Let’s think about something for a minute.

Is it the ministry of the shepherd to visit the flock? Or should the flock “minister” to the minister, by attending to the shepherds availability, needs and vision for the flock?

Although I do not seek to draw an exact parallel between the OT shepherds of Israel and the NT equivalent elders, I can’t help but see some recurring similarities. I have been a part of the body of Christ for close to 40 yrs, and I cannot remember one time when an elder/pastor visited with me simply to visit with me. Of course when a death or marriage requires their service, it is appreciated. But something tells me that caring for the flock, simply for the flocks sake might make a tremendous impact.

When I lost my job a few years back, the ministerial staff decided to also ask us to leave the church. It was simply coincidental to an issue that we were discussing with leadership (see below), but in my mind, this emphasized a “business” aspect of the institutional church.

Submit

In the separate circumstance referred to above, they asked us to submit to three wishes of the church staff. Two out the three could be defended Biblically, and we would gladly submit, but the third was arbitrary, and in good conscience we decided against the request. Therefore the church staff “requested that we leave”. They actually said submit or step down from all teaching/leadership ministries.

It was a few weeks later that one of the deacons told us privately that we should just leave – we had stepped down from all teaching by this time. – no discussion or desire to converse about the situation – just do as we say! I don’t get it. It was obvious we would have to move out of the area to seek other work, but the staff had it in their mind to “let us leave”.

By the way, due to losing my job, my entire family was at risk of being deported from the United States. It was a good thing that no one on the church staff took the time to know our situation, or this may have been a burden that was too heavy for my brothers. (At least I hope no one on the church staff knew of the implications of me loosing my position!)

Does this make me think that I am one who is “driven away”? At one time I may have thought that, but I have to consider what I have been driven away from, that is an institution that found it to be advantageous to follow rules instead of seeking relationship.

You know, if they had some authority to defend their decision to “let us leave”, it would be a different story. I would gladly defer to Scripture. All through the years we had attended this congregation, I had constantly deferred to leadership decisions, asking the Senior Pastor for permission for each action I was taking.

When asked about the reason for this ultimatum, it was simply stated that they were the authority – of course not in so many words, but there was no Biblical considerations discussed.

myopic

So am I “driven away”?

I guess, but I am not convinced that Ezekiel would consider this particular instance to be of any concern.

You see, I think I have been “driven” into a better place, where the Spirit of the Lord is allowing more freedom to see His Church as compared to my previously myopic perspective.


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Chatting with a Dispy – 6

mount-olives-split-2A brother in the Lord asked if I would discuss dispensationalism and Zechariah 14 with a blogger who owns a bible prophecy website.  I gladly accepted the inviation and will provide to the reader the discussion as it occurred.I have changed the web site owners name to “Brother” for the sake of his privacy, and each of my responses are italicized and indented for clarity sake.

With that introduction,  lets continue our chat with a “Dispy.”  We pick up in continuing my previous response to statements on his web site.

Is your standard Biblical, because it does not seem to me that you are consistent here in applying it.

I think you are asking me two questions here.

Biblical? – Since I am seeking to understand the apostolic method of interpreting the OT, I would hope that my methods are Biblical.

Consistent? – I may be (certainly AM) very much a novice at this, and with this admission, understand that consistency of application may be weak.  If you see a specific instance in which I am not interpreting a passage in light of its genre and context, a challenge would be most welcome.

In other words, you appear to be grasping at gnats, but swallowing a camel.

If I appear to be doing this, please give me an example from my previous texts.

Since you make a big issue over the “different” trump reference in 1 Thess 4 vs. 1 Cor 15, but the entire lack of a trumpet in Zech 14 and Rev 19 seems to not bother you at all, as if you are willing to “swallow” the idea that there is a trumpet in passages that do not mention it, and yet, claim that there is enough of a difference in the trumpet in 1 Thess 4, that it’s somehow significant of something?

Again, the issue (trump issue in 1 Thess and 1 Cor) is not a major point, simply an item to call to your attention for the sake of clarity.  I do not recall mentioning a trumpet with regards to Zech 14.  (That passage dealt with the topographic disturbance of the City of Jersusalem and the physical splitting of the Mount of Olives).  Rev 19, of course, has a trumpet mentioned within the text, but I do not recall the trump being an item of discussion within my message.

 Be blessed.


Please visit next time as we continue to discuss issues that arise between my dispensational friend and myself.

Thanks for visiting and as always, I love getting comments from those who read this blog.


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