New Testament · Parables · Simple Truths

Parable Surprises – Lost Sheep

This is a tremendously popular parable, especially for use as an evangelistic motivator. I want to warn you though, that when I read it, I find there are other challenges that the Lord may have intended that should cause us and the original audience some pause.

Don’t get me wrong. It is obvious that the intent of the parable is the joy that is experienced in heaven over the restoration/repentance of the sheep/sinner. And yet I personally find other challenges in the parable that I feel we need to consider.

First off though – lets read the passage.

Luke 15:4-7

4 “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.

Questions to Consider

Who were the audience?

It is important to understand the original audience to understand a bit better the intent of the message. This parable is no exception. Lets read the first three verses to ensure we know who is hearing this story for the very first time!

Luke 15:1 Now the tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to hear him.
Luke 15:2 And the Pharisees and the scribes grumbled, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”
Luke 15:3 So he told them this parable:

Ok – so we have tax collectors and sinners drawing near to Him! But look – them Pharisees and Scribes are lurking about, checking out this preacher, protecting the nation from heresy and false prophets. You see, these Pharisees and Scribes are the guardians of the people, the ones who protect the nation of (from?) unwashed sinners, tax collectors, thieves and generally all round bad people – you know anyone that isn’t in their club!!!

When did the Lord give this parable?

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

Where did the Lord teach the parable?

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

Why did the Lord give this message?

Why did the Lord give this message? It seems obvious, given that tax collectors and sinners are the audience. The Lord describes the reckless love of the shepherd, in abandoning the safe, “obedient” sheep, in order to seek out and find the rebellious sheep, the sinner that had wandered off from the sheep fold, from a safe area.

By the way – why do sheep leave safe areas? Sheep have a very strong flocking instinct and feel safe when gathered together. For a sheep to leave the flock is generally against its nature.

Notice that the Lord opens the parable describing a man, not as a shepherd, and questioning his apparent care for the sheep. It is only a normal shepherd’s care for all His sheep that He recovers the one that is wandering, that He recovers the sinner that is not in the flock. The normal shepherd would seek the sinner!

Sheep also will follow a leader they trust and know.

The normal shepherd would then receive the sinner! And the reaction in heaven is joy, but alas, the reaction on earth by the earthly shepherds seems to be a wee bit different!

What was the message for the original audience?

A normal shepherd loves the lost sheep. A normal shepherd seeks out the abnormal, rebellious sheep. A normal shepherd rejoices in finding the lost sheep.

This “normal” shepherd in the parable is used to describe God the Father in His method of care and love for His sheep in sending the True Shepherd, the One who receives the rebellious, lost sheep of Israel.

Remember the context here – the lost sheep were of the house of Israel. The tax collectors and sinners that were being drawn to the Lord Jesus were those who had rejected the religious leadership of the nation, a leadership who had become oppressive overlords, using the people, instead of caring for them. (Consider a study in Ezekiel for some thoughts on the shepherds of Israel – Ezekiel 34)

Having the lost sheep returned was a matter of great joy for a normal shepherd, in that he would advertise his great joy to his neighbors and friends, speaking of his happiness and not of the lost sheep’s original rebellion. (This might be a topic to consider in another post, but not now!)

Although this parable is often rightfully used to speak of the Lords great love in seeking out the lost sheep, I see also a back handed slap to the Pharisees and Scribes in this parable. They murmured and complained, finding ways to hinder the return of Israel to the living God. They sought to cause resistance to the move of God amongst them, the obvious appeal of the Lord Jesus in accepting, even receiving losers!

What is the message for us today?

Where are you at in “receiving sinners”? It seems to be a priority for the normal shepherd! At work or at home, in the grocery store or at the hardware store, how do you live in front of others? Are you an accepting person, one who is open to those about, or are you suspicious, fearful and self protective? I know I tend that way, and fight against being “offended” by those that are not like me. This is wrong. Of course, accepting the person is not the same as accepting the sin that they may being trapped in. Yet I need to see the person as the one who needs to be received.

The 99

One item that I haven’t discussed in the parable is the normal shepherds abandonment of the 99. As believers, I would consider each of us as a part of the 99. Are you alright in this scenario? With the Lord leaving us behind in seeking out others?

I want to be careful in speaking this way and not extending the parable beyond it’s intended purpose, and yet the message seems to be appropriate. The Lord is always with us, protecting, guiding, providing, and comforting us. And yet the normal shepherd left the 99 behind, making an assumption that they could care for each other, and themselves.

Is that fair? Can we care for ourselves in a manner that would allow a normal shepherd to have confidence in leaving us for a period of time?

In your church, if the shepherd is gone for a period of time, do you pick up the slack, visit those who may be weak, supply for those who have needs, comfort those who are suffering? Or do you take the attitude of simply hanging on until the preacher gets back?

If you are dependent on your local preacher for security, guidance, comfort and protection you may be dangerously close to become one of the sheep that would wander off.

The sheep left behind were not a concern to the normal shepherd in the parable.

What type of sheep are you?



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Bible · Faith · Jesus the Messiah · Old Testament in New Testament · Prophecy

Old Testament Messianic Prophecies – Prophecy #53

Bible Scroll

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

Prophecy #53
Description
The bodily ascension to heaven illustrated
Old Testament Prophecy
 2 Kings 2:11
And as they still went on and talked, behold, chariots of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.
New Testament Fullfillment
Luke 24:51
While he blessed them, he parted from them and was carried up into heaven.

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

351 Old Testament Prophecies Fulfilled in Jesus Christ

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

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Devotional · hymns · Old Testament · Psalms

Psalms for Psome – Ps 30

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

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

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

Psalm 30

1 A Psalm of David. A song at the dedication of the temple. I will extol you, O LORD, for you have drawn me up and have not let my foes rejoice over me.
2 O LORD my God, I cried to you for help, and you have healed me.
3 O LORD, you have brought up my soul from Sheol; you restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit.
4 Sing praises to the LORD, O you his saints, and give thanks to his holy name.
5 For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.
6 As for me, I said in my prosperity, “I shall never be moved.”
7 By your favor, O LORD, you made my mountain stand strong; you hid your face; I was dismayed.
8 To you, O LORD, I cry, and to the Lord I plead for mercy:
9 “What profit is there in my death, if I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise you? Will it tell of your faithfulness?
10 Hear, O LORD, and be merciful to me! O LORD, be my helper!”
11 You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness,
12 that my glory may sing your praise and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give thanks to you forever!

So often I read the psalms as a personal letter reflected in my own life. A psalm that describes a common struggle, or trial, or praise that all believers share in. This is a fair estimate of one of the values of the psalms. They were written with the intent of providing comfort to the battle weary believer.

Romans 15:4 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.

I would like to consider this psalm from a different angle this morning, as a number of verses shout out to me that the Lord Jesus must have identified with this psalm in a completely different manner than you or I.

Resurrection

Psalm 30:3 O LORD, you have brought up my soul from Sheol; you restored me to life from among those who go down to the pit.

I can imagine that during our Lord’s time on earth, He dwelled on the verse above. Sheol is the Hebrew term describing the grave and it is obvious that He knew His death was the focus of His ministry for those He loved. This verse speaks of the restoration of the author from the pit, from the grave. Of course the author wrote it figuratively, since David did not actually die, and was not physically resurrected. It was a description of the danger he faced, and the saving outcome he experienced.

Not so for the One who came to die. He most assuredly understood the reference of resurrection and clung to the promise, veiled as it may be in our eyes.

Joy

30:5 For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.

His death on the cross was His experience of anger produced by our sins against the Godhead. Our sins resulted in the “piling up” of anger that was poured out on the Son. The psalm speaks of anger, “but for a moment”. I refuse to consider the time of suffering He endured to be slight, or momentary, for it is surely something I will never fathom, understand or comprehend. It is beyond me, and rightly so.

Yet the Father’s favor is for a lifetime, to be experienced continuously. Yes, there is weeping for the night, and I can’t help but think of His suffering in the garden. His battle was in the garden, the tremendous burden He carried in those hours before His arrest.

Yet the joy was in front of Him, beckoning Him to follow through with His sacrifice for us.

Hebrews 12:2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Praise

30:9 “What profit is there in my death, if I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise you? Will it tell of your faithfulness?

This verse again speaks of the outcome of His death, of the intent of His death. Praise that will ascribe the faithfulness of God in the resurrection of His Son. The profit of His death is our deliverance and justification, but ultimately to the glory of the self sacrificing God, who stooped to our condition and entered death to provide forgiveness and life for an undeserving and rebellious people.

We have a God that is beyond our comprehension. He is above our thoughts and to praise Him is simply a natural result of glimpsing at the Son, thinking of His time on earth, seeing His focus and dependence on the Father. He is truly the only One we are to look to and to praise.

Praise Him for His mighty love.


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Bible · Faith · Jesus the Messiah · Old Testament in New Testament · Prophecy

Old Testament Messianic Prophecies – Prophecy #52

Bible Scroll

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

Prophecy #52
Description
David’s house established forever
Old Testament Prophecy
 2 Samuel 7:16
 And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me.[a] Your throne shall be established forever.’
New Testament Fullfillment
Luke 3:31
the son of Melea, the son of Menna, the son of Mattatha, the son of Nathan, the son of David,
 Rev 22:16
“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”

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

351 Old Testament Prophecies Fulfilled in Jesus Christ

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

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


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Calvinism · Doctrinal · Interpretation

Calvin’s Concerns – Comment Response 8 – John 6:44

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

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

Original Comment

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

This post will consider what many Calvinist’s may consider their most powerful proof text. I know when I was deep into this philosophy, this was my go-to text to prove that natural, fallen man would not come to the Father, unless the Father quickened him first.

John 6:44 – No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.

One of the stronger arguments for this passage, from a Calvinist standpoint is the use of the term draw in the passage. Many would suggest that the term actually is synonymous with dragging, or compelling. If this is accurate, then this needs to be admitted to and we may need to reconsider our outlook on this topic.

There are a few verses that include this word that may support the drag/compel idea

Acts 16:19 But when her owners saw that their hope of gain was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace before the rulers.
Acts 21:30 Then all the city was stirred up, and the people ran together. They seized Paul and dragged him out of the temple, and at once the gates were shut.
James 2:6 But you have dishonored the poor man. Are not the rich the ones who oppress you, and the ones who drag you into court?

Each of the above verses translates our term as “drag”. Let’s continue with Strong’s definition.

ἑλκύωhelkýō, hel-koo’-o; probably akin to G138; to drag (literally or figuratively):—draw. Compare G1667.

Strongs provides some support for the term to by synonymous with “drag”.

One more resource – let’s consider Vines Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words for a bit of enlightenment on this term “Draw”

“to draw,” differs from suro, as “drawing” does from violent “dragging.” It is used of “drawing” a net, Jhn 21:611 (cp. No. 1, in ver. 8); Trench remarks, “At vv. 6 and 11helko (or helkuo) is used; for there a drawing of the net to a certain point is intended; by the disciples to themselves in the ship, by Peter to himself upon the shore. But at ver. 8 helko gives place to suro: for nothing is there intended but the dragging of the net, which had been fastened to the ship, after it through the water” (Syn., xxi).

This less violent significance, usually present in helko, but always absent from suro, is seen in the metaphorical use of helko, to signify “drawing” by inward power, by Divine impulse, Jhn 6:4412:32. So in the Sept., e.g., Sgs 1:4Jer 31:3, “with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.” It is used of a more vigorous action, in Jhn 18:10, of “drawing” a sword; in Act 16:1921:30, of forcibly “drawing” men to or from a place; so in Jam 2:6, AV, “draw,” RV, “drag.”

Notice that Vines describes this drawing as “drawing by inward power, by divine impulse”, and links two verses using this word in the gospel of John. This is important since it is the same author, the same book and the same speaker. But let’s move on with our consideration of John 6:44 before we consider the implications John 12:32.

Consider that the verse doesn’t state “No man comes” but that “no man CAN come”. The drawing of God the Father gives ability to the one coming. It does not state “No man will come…” In short, it is similar to a my sending out invitations to 100 folks in my neighborhood to a party on Saturday. All 100 people have been invited and they can come. Will all 100 people come? Maybe. Maybe not. The invite simply gives them the ability, it does not produce the outcome, it does not necessarily impact the will of the invited. When we place the emphasis on the term “draws”, without considering the intent of the drawing, we can come up with a deterministic slant to the verse.

Is this the message Jesus is giving to the crowds?

Lets check out the context of this passage to get a bit bigger view of the teaching the Lord gave to the crowd on that day.

John 6:44 No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.
John 6:45 It is written in the Prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me–

Jesus repeats the condition of the one who comes to the Father, speaking of all being taught of God, and that those who have heard and learned, are the ones who actually come to the Father. Those that actually have come to the Father have exercised their will by listening and learning (note past tense!) from the Father.

So, the Father draws those to give them ability to come, and yet there is the decision to hear and learn that is required in the ones who come. (They actually read the invite and decide to come to the party!)

But wait – there is more!

Remember when Vines connected the term draw from John 6:44 with John 12:32? This becomes a bit of a problem for those who would demand that it should be understood as a dragging that is irresistible, that cannot be refused.

Remember that those who teach of a deterministic salvation would demand that God determines who is saved and who is eternally lost. That God chooses who is “dragged” into the Kingdom, using John 6:44 as a proof text.

Fair enough, for if that is true, that is that the term is to be understood as a literal “dragging”, we have great news, for the Lord used the same term in John 12:32.

Let’s read it the way our Calvinist friends understand the term “draw”.

John 12:32 And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will “irresistibly drag” all people to myself.”

Does this not tells us that all people will be irresistibly dragged into the Kingdom, that all people have been chosen to be included in the salvation provided by Jesus death on the cross.

Simple deductive reasoning of these two verses, using the Calvinistic supplied definition of “draw” as “drag”, produces the result that God chooses everyone that has ever had a heartbeat.

My point is – using one or two verses to support a teaching may be a very unwise approach for the believer. There are many teachings in the church nowadays due to the emphasis on a few well chosen verses.

Regarding John 6:44, my personal thoughts are that we have a living God that is active in our lives before we decide to follow Him. He sends “the invite” allowing us to decide for Him. He has provided the Savior for our forgiveness and justification, the Spirit of God to comfort and direct us, and the love of the Father to woo us to His side. His patience and mercy are everlasting, and His grace is abounding towards us.

To consider the drawing as dragging cheapens the invite.

I have never “dragged” folks to my party and found that they ever had a good time. I imagine they would just look at me and wander off, shaking their head.

No, the very act of love that the Lord displayed for all is the greatest of reasons to accept the invite. Forcing an acceptance implies that the singular greatest act of love was not quite enough.

Thanks for taking the time to read and consider. I would appreciate a chance to honestly discuss this verse and topic, and look forward to an edifying discussion.



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Uncategorized

Song Squawk – Dogman

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

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

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

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

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

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


This post will consider the song

Dogman – by King’s X

Give me a dollar or give me fifty cents
Let me take it back, if that ain’t what I meant

Give me a coat or give me a bite
Give me a light bulb and make sure it’s bright

Give me the moon or give me everywhere
Give me some powder to spray up in the air
Or give me air

Let me take my thoughts away to think about another day
Remembering the times I pray to help me deal with me
To be the dogman

Give me some attention lend me your ear
Give me what to do and get me out of here

Give me a book give me something to read
Give me a horse race and give me who’s the lead

Let me take my thoughts away, to think about another day
Remembering the times I pray, to help me deal with me

To be the dogman
To be the dogman
To be the dogman
To be the dogman
To be the dogman
Dogman

All the sleeping never waking, all the leaves in need of raking
All the business undertaking, all my bones and muscles aching
Thoughts and mind are surely flaking, over luncheons hands are shaking
Surety of no mistaking, cars and horns and glasses breaking

Give me a color make it black or white
Give me a newspaper tell me if it’s right
Tell me won’t you

Give me a nail or give me a bat
Give me a skinny or give me a fat
Give me please give me

Remembering the times I pray, to let me take my thoughts away
To think about another day, to help me deal with me
To help me deal with me, yeah

To be the dogman
To be the dogman
Dogman
To be the dogman
To be the dogman

Oh to be an obedient dogman!

Take a listen!

Dogman – by King’s X

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


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Bible · Faith · Jesus the Messiah · Old Testament in New Testament · Prophecy

Old Testament Messianic Prophecies – Prophecy #51

Bible Scroll

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

Prophecy #51
Description
The Son of God
Old Testament Prophecy
 2 Samuel 7:14a
I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. 
New Testament Fullfillment
Luke 1:32
He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David,
 Rom 1:3-4
concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh

and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord,

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

351 Old Testament Prophecies Fulfilled in Jesus Christ

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

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


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Bible · hymns

Holy is the Lord – Simon Khorolskiy

Holy Holy Holy

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Bible · Faith · Jesus the Messiah · Old Testament in New Testament · Prophecy

Old Testament Messianic Prophecies – Prophecy #50

Bible Scroll

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

Prophecy #50
Description
His Kingdom is everlasting
Old Testament Prophecy
 2 Samuel 7:13
He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.
New Testament Fullfillment
2 Pet 1:11
For in this way there will be richly provided for you an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

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

351 Old Testament Prophecies Fulfilled in Jesus Christ

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

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


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Calvinism · Doctrinal · Interpretation

Calvin’s Concerns – Free Will & God’s Soveriegnty

The big debate.

Free will and God’s sovereignty.

So many straw men are set up, giving both sides enemies to argue with, yet to no resolve.

The following clip may give you something to consider in relation to the debate.

The following 10 minute clip addresses some claims of a Calvinist and the response was helpful. I hope you find it informative, or challenging, depending on your position. Take a few moments to consider the question with Dr. Flowers.

Thanks for joining me in this series on Calvinism.

Years back I came out of this system of thought. I am grateful for the blessings of a loving God that has expressed His love lavishly, beyond human comprehension.


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Bible · Faith · Jesus the Messiah · Old Testament in New Testament · Prophecy

Old Testament Messianic Prophecies – Prophecy #49

Bible Scroll

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

Prophecy #49
Description
David’s Seed
Old Testament Prophecy
 2 Samuel 7:12
 When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom
New Testament Fullfillment
Matt 1:1
The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.

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

351 Old Testament Prophecies Fulfilled in Jesus Christ

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

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Calvinism · Contradiction · Doctrinal

Book Look – The Inescapable Love of God

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

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

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

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

But back to the forest idea.

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

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

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

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

Calvinism

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

Let’s strike out the first proposition.

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

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

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

Summary statement – God’s love is questioned

Arminianism

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

This time, let us strike out the second proposition

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

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

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

Summary statement – God’s power is questioned

Universal Reconciliation (UR)

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

This time, let us strike out the third proposition

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

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

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

Proverbs 18:17

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

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

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

Summary statement – God’s holiness is questioned

Conclusion

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

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


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Uncategorized

Song Squawk – Bannerman

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

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

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

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

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

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


This post will consider the song

Bannerman – by Steve Taylor

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Take a listen!

Bannerman – by Steve Taylor

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


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Bible · Faith · Jesus the Messiah · Old Testament in New Testament · Prophecy

Old Testament Messianic Prophecies – Prophecy #48

Bible Scroll

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

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

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

351 Old Testament Prophecies Fulfilled in Jesus Christ

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

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


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New Testament · Parables · Simple Truths

Parable Surprises – Cost of Discipleship

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

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

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

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

Luke 14

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

Questions to Consider

Who were the audience?

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

Luke 14

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

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

When did the Lord give this parable?

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

Where did the Lord teach the parable?

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

Why did the Lord give this message?

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

What was the message for the original audience?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be prepared. Count the cost.

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is the message for us today?

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

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

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

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

ALL?

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

Back to our parable.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let me give you an example.

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

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

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

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

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



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Bible · Faith · Jesus the Messiah · Old Testament in New Testament · Prophecy

Old Testament Messianic Prophecies – Prophecy #47

Bible Scroll

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

351 Old Testament Prophecies Fulfilled in Jesus Christ

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

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


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Devotional

Let Me Tell You a Story – Sacrificial Love

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

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

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

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

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

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

How can that be understood?

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

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

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

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

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

Christ died for our sins.

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

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

1 John 3:16

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

1 John 4:7

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


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Bible · Faith · Jesus the Messiah · Old Testament in New Testament · Prophecy

Old Testament Messianic Prophecies – Prophecy #46

Bible Scroll

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

351 Old Testament Prophecies Fulfilled in Jesus Christ

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

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


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Devotional · hymns · Old Testament · Psalms

Psalms for Psome – Ps 29

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

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

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

Psalm 29

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Song Squawk – Nothings Free

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

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

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

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

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

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


This post will consider the song

Nothings Free – by Alice Cooper

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nothings Free – by Alice Cooper

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

Take a listen!

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


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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.

Follow Considering the Bible on WordPress.com

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