New Testament · Parables · Simple Truths

Parable Surprises – Shrewd Manager

I am writing this introduction before any serious study on this parable for one reason. In my four decades of Christian life, this parable has always caused me concern. I need my readers to understand I may not (most likely will not) have any hard conclusions, and that I may create more questions than answers. You see, this parable seems to imply that Jesus commends a dishonest action.

I just don’t get it.

Lets read the passage and ask for help!

Luke 16:1-8

1 He also said to the disciples, “There was a rich man who had a manager, and charges were brought to him that this man was wasting his possessions. 2 And he called him and said to him, ‘What is this that I hear about you? Turn in the account of your management, for you can no longer be manager.’ 3 And the manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do, since my master is taking the management away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg. 4 I have decided what to do, so that when I am removed from management, people may receive me into their houses.’ 5 So, summoning his master’s debtors one by one, he said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ 6 He said, ‘A hundred measures of oil.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.’ 7 Then he said to another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ He said, ‘A hundred measures of wheat.’ He said to him, ‘Take your bill, and write eighty.’ 8 The master commended the dishonest manager for his shrewdness. For the sons of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light.

Questions to Consider

Where was this parable taught?

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.

Who were the audience?

This parable was directed to His disciples. The Pharisees heard the message. They were still lurking about, finding ways to be on the outskirts of the Lord’s following.

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.

Why did the Lord give this message?

Asking the five W’s (what, why, where, when and how) when studying a passage can be very illuminating. This particular parable, intended for the disciples, speaks of a believers relation with money, or possessions.

As a matter of fact, the gospel of Luke speak often of how believers are to relate to possessions. From John the Baptist preaching about material goods (Luke 3:11-14) to our last parable about the two sons and their handling of possessions, Luke returns to this theme often. The theme of things!

Also note that the Lord had two audiences. The primary audience of course, were His disciples, and yet the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, were hanging out, lurking about and spying on the One who was seeking their best.

No matter who the audience is, truth is truth. If it cuts, then the cut was necessary.

What was the message for the original audience?

Thankfully, Luke gives us the message intended for the original audience, and does not leave us to wonder of the Lord’s intent in bringing up His commendation of the dishonest manager. But maybe I am assigning blame where there is no blame to be had, for the Lord did not commend the thieving manager. The Lord provided this parable, indicating that “the rich man” was the one commending the thief. This of itself is fairly amazing, that a man who got ripped off, commends the ripper offer. But that is beside the point!

The message is that believers don’t deal with their own people as shrewdly as the men of this world! Consider verse 8

Luke 16:8

The master commended the dishonest manager for his shrewdness. For the sons of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light.

Shrewd

Not a common word for me. Let’s check a definition.

It is the Greek word phronimos, and can be translated as intelligent, wise or prudent. A bit more illumination from Strong’s Dictionary for those readers who are a bit more curious

φρόνιμος phrónimos, fron’-ee-mos; from G5424; thoughtful, i.e. sagacious or discreet (implying a cautious character; while G4680 denotes practical skill or acumen; and G4908 indicates rather intelligence or mental acquirement); in a bad sense conceited (also in the comparative):—wise(-r).

So what is the point Carl? Only that the comparison of believers with non-believers is not flattering for us. Is the Lord referring to the Pharisees at this time, or is He referring to His own people. and by extension to us? That isn’t clear to me. No matter, the statement stands and we need to seek understanding for our selves.

Jesus then tells His followers to make friends for yourselves by using cold hard cash, by using possessions, so that when the moolah, when the coin fails, (and He didn’t say if the penny fails!), we may be received into eternal dwellings.

Okay, now what does that mean? This eternal dwellings thing? Heaven?

I’m telling you, this is one difficult passage. Oh I know the standard teaching is that if we give to the church we will have a greater reception on the shores of heaven, more rewards don’t you know!

But is that what He is saying? Read it one more time carefully.

Luke 16:9

And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous wealth, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal dwellings.

Notice that the reception is not a qualitative reception. In other words, the reception is not speaking of being better if you are more shrewd in using the unrighteous mammon. It seems to be a matter of being received at all.

Like I said above, what is He referring to when He speaks of “eternal dwellings”?

For a consideration of the term “eternal” check out my post “A Study of Eternal / Everlasting” The term dwellings, refers to either a tent or the tabernacle, upon which the temple was fashioned.

Okay, I’m going to take a stab at this, only to get conversation going.

Take the following with a grain of salt and correct me where I am falling down on this thinking, but could Jesus be communicating to His disciples the life of an apostle/itinerant preacher, of distributing possessions amongst other believers, understanding that what “comes around goes around”.

Wow – that is a leap Carl!

There is a bit of support for this, (albeit little) when the Lord sent out His disciples without cash or staff, and speaking of those who would welcome them in to their homes. Luke 9:1-6 . Luke again refers to the disciples and their relation to support amongst the people of God in Luke 10:3-9

Also, in the past, as I was studying the concept of salaried pastors, I came across a passage in the Didache, which is NOT Scripture, yet gives us some direction as to how the church understood money in relation to preachers. The blog post I am referring to is Salaried Pastors? A discussion with a Pastor 3, and you can scroll to the bottom for the quote found in chapter 11 of the Didache.

It is a wee bit shocking!

What is the message for us today?

Going from the intent of the parable for the original audience, which is difficult to say the least, to the intent for us nowadays is a problem on steroids.

Should I give money in order to get to heaven? Remember the passage speaks of giving money in order to be received into eternal habitations! This interpretation is beyond my current understanding, and smacks of being used to fill the coffers of some organizations. But you know how I feel about that, so I won’t go into some rant that wastes both our times.

I suppose I have come clean on the commendation of the Savior to be dishonest, a Savior, “who is such a high priest, holy, innocent, unstained, separated from sinners, and exalted above the heavens”. He did not commend the actions of the dishonest manager. The rich man did. Any story or parable that the Lord spoke does not imply that all the actions performed in the story are of the approval of the Father in heaven. That is simply ascribing too much to any parable under consideration.

Secondly, for my own understanding one thing comes through crystal clear. When it comes to a competition of possessions and people, God wants people to win! Possessions are to be used for people, not the other way around.

Quick story before I leave you today.

Our family spent a few years in northern Quebec, doing mission work, and in that time we came to hear of a term that was common to the area. “Stepping on heads”. At least that is the English translation of the Quebecois phrase.

It’s a term describing the actions of those who use people to get ahead.

Don’t step on heads!

Be a blessing to others with your possessions, sharing and providing help to others for their sake, and not your own.

Nuff said.



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Calvinism · Contradiction · Doctrinal · Universalism

Book Look – Jesus Undefeated – Passage 1

As I have stated in previous posts, I was surprised with the number of passages that seem to support an evangelical universal reconciliation teaching. Of course many may think, as I initially thought, that this teaching didn’t include a form of hell, or that the cross was not necessary.

Please do not think that this teaching is the same as the “all roads lead to heaven” teaching, which I consider to be blasphemous. There is only one way to the Father, and that is through the Lord Jesus Christ.

With this, I would like to begin delving into some of the New Testament passages Mr. Giles brought to my attention, for your consideration, edification and civil discussion.

Our next post will consider 1 Timothy 4:10

Passage 1

1 Timothy 4:10

For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.

This verse always confused me as a Calvinist. I remember actually skipping this verse (mentally) as I read through the 1 Timothy. It turns out I tend to avoid passages that conflict with my current understanding of the Word. A difficult position to be in, but then again, we aren’t called to be readers of cartoon comics.

It is important to consider the entire Word of God in formulating a belief, and as I continue to study and ask for direction in understanding, I find I am accumulating more questions than answers. One of these questions is in relation to the teaching on hell. And one of the passages that provides some of God’s thoughts on the topic of hell is the one we are looking at today.

So what does this verse say? Does it teach the damnation of a portion of God’s creation? Or that only some reach the golden shores of heaven?

Of course, if the apostle Paul meant to insert the words “kinds of” so as the verse would read ….the living God, who is the Savior of all kinds of people..

If that is what Paul meant, we might have to begin inserting words elsewhere to make the Word more comfortable for us. But again, I think that is too easy a way out of this possible dilemma, for this verse definitely throws a monkey wrench in our standard “orthodox” way of thinking.

First off, he states that God is the Savior of all people, which seems clear. If he intended to insert “kinds of” into the verse, it would still not resolve the dilemma. (By the way, I am not advocating the insertion of words into any text!) The kicker is the next phrase, “especially of those who believe”. What does that mean?

Paul preached to the nations the necessity of faith in the crucified Savior. He is the great apostle of the gospel of grace, the “faith plus nothing” gospel that began the expansion of the church in the first century, with the growth continuing even today. Who would have thunk it?

So, could Paul be hinting at the salvation of all people, (he seems to state that clearly) but that some “particular” people, those “particular” people that have believed, have already entered into salvation?

No no no.

That can’t be true, since there has to be a hell for those who refuse to accept the Messiah before death. This is utterly impossible. Beyond the scope of the written Word!

And yet…

When the Lord came to earth, He scandalized the religious community with His acceptance of sinners and tax collectors. His love for sinners, (and even Samaritans!) was beyond all the expectations of those who looked for the Messiah.

When the Lord was crucified and rose again, the infant church stayed in Israel. For whatever their strategy was in performing Acts 1:8, it took special revelation to both Peter and that newby Paul for the church to accept those dirty gentiles into it’s fold. His grace and love again expanded beyond the accepted bounds of religious understanding. The Old Testament made reference to the expansion of the Kingdom in many places, and yet the infant church stayed in Israel for years. Why?

I will not be dogmatic in the restriction of God’s grace and love for His creation, that He loves only some and hates the rest. This is not the nature of God, for the nature of our God is that “God is love”. Universal reconciliation may be offensive to some in the church, and may cause claims of heresy. That is fair, since we are to protect the truth of God. But let us consider all the truth of God, and not exclude the verses that may interrupt of systematic theology. God tends to upset the apple cart sometimes and His glory and grace, in reaching ALL would only be magnified if this is His will.

Granted, there are many questions universal reconciliation needs to address, and I am seeking to find answers with passages in the Word that argue against this teaching. Questions involving New Testament descriptions of perishing, of everlasting punishment, of judgement to come and of “post death conversion”.

It is a wild teaching, too good to be true?!

Surely there must be a hell to avoid. The judgement of our saving God must be a prime motivator in our day to day life, for the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.

What think you? This is the beginning of at least 10 posts that will provide passages that suggest (some quite clearly) of a universal reconciliation. I need your feedback, so as not to be simply hearing myself think.

I look forward to a civil and honest discussion.



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

Old Testament Messianic Prophecies – Prophecy #66

Bible Scroll

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

Prophecy #66
Description
Life comes through faith in Him
Old Testament Prophecy
 Psalm 2:12
Kiss the Son,
    lest he be angry, and you perish in the way,
    for his wrath is quickly kindled.
Blessed are all who take refuge in him.
New Testament Fullfillment
John 20:31
but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

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 12 – John 10:26

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 fourth 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

He told the Pharisees you don’t believe because you aren’t my sheep John 10:26 He didn’t say you aren’t my sheep because you don’t believe That should kill the idea of free will on the spot. If you analyze the Garden of Eden account with Eve you will see the serpent was baiting Eve with free Will through the delusion of gaining the knowledge of good and evil which was a stone cold lie.

Let’s read the verse my friend offers for his argument.

John 10:26 – but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep.

My friend offers a verse that makes his point, as he so humbly states. But in the middle of the argument, we always need to consider the context, audience and intent of the speaker.

The Jews were demanding Jesus reveal His identity!

John 10:24 So the Jews gathered around him and said to him, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, tell us plainly.”
John 10:25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me,

20 Grammar Jokes That All Grammar Nerds Will Definitely ...

It is interesting, that throughout Johns gospel, when he uses the concept of faith or belief, he occasionally uses the Present Active Indicative. I am not a grammar monkey, so I am fully open to correction on this stuff, but let’s see if we can find some insight from “da Greek”.

Below is a list from the Blue Letter Bible (BLB) website of the times John uses this particular verb. I find it interesting, challenging, (and above my pay grade) to understand all the implications, but alas, let us take a stab at it!

Present Tense

When the author uses present tense, I understand it to be continuous (check out BLB resource). It is not defining a past point in time when the action began, but the fact that the action is (or isn’t) “present” (sorry – bad pun!)

Active Voice

[Image - 541901] | Grammar Nazi | Know Your Meme

BLB describes the active voice as occurring “when the action of the verb is being performed by the subject.” As an example, “An ol’ man types on a keyboard”. This sentence tells you that I’m the one performing the action of typing on a keyboard.

The Indicative Mood:

Again, BLB describes this mood as “assertion or presentation of certainty.” I understand it to be a simple statement of fact.

So Carl, what is your point? I’m glad you asked.

It looks like Jesus isn’t telling us of the beginning of the faith of the Jews or of the sheep, just the existence of faith. The present tense is simply saying that the sheep got faith and that the Jew’s ain’t got faith (at that time) in the Messiah.

Could the verse be understood as saying, You do not presently have faith in Me, as evidenced by the fact you aren’t among My sheep, that is one that is acting as a believer. (Or – My sheep have a present visible faith!)

My apologies the the Apostle John for this ragged translation!

It seems to me that Jesus is telling the Jews that faith has a fruit, or is evidenced by a visible attitude towards the Master. An argumentative / demanding position (“Tell us plainly!”) does not reflect the nature of faith, at least not in the identification of the Messiah, which is the point in this passage.

One other issue that I will not labor, but would like the reader to consider, is that this believing in Jesus is in the active voice. Remember, the action of the verb “believing” is being performed by the subject, that is, the sheep. This particular passage describes the activity of faith as that of the sheep, not the Shepherd.

Given this foray into some grammar, it seems the grammar, if correctly understood, leans away from the proof text my friend has provided to support the claim that a particular point in time a sheep (one who is elect) will be given faith. This passage contains Jesus describing the continuous nature/attitude of His sheep at that time towards His claim of Messiahship.

I do hope you will continue with me as I seek to understand the verses he supplies and if the verses he supplied support his argument of fatalism/determinism which he speaks of.




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

Old Testament Messianic Prophecies – Prophecy #65

Bible Scroll

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

Prophecy #65
Description
Rule the nations with a rod of iron
Old Testament Prophecy
 Psalm 2:8-9
Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,
    and the ends of the earth your possession.
You shall break[a] them with a rod of iron
    and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”
New Testament Fullfillment
Rev 2:27
and he will rule them with a rod of iron, as when earthen pots are broken in pieces, even as I myself have received authority from my Father.
Rev 12:5
She gave birth to a male child, one who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron, but her child was caught up to God and to his throne,
 Rev 19:15
From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty.

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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Bible · Hymns

Wayfaring Stranger – Simon Khorolskiy

English and Russian voices together in a beautiful song of going home.

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

Old Testament Messianic Prophecies – Prophecy #64

Bible Scroll

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

Prophecy #64
Description
The Crucifixion and Resurrection intimated
Old Testament Prophecy
 Psalm 2:7-8
I will tell of the decree:
The Lord said to me, “You are my Son;
    today I have begotten you.
Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage,
    and the ends of the earth your possession.
New Testament Fullfillment
Acts 13:29-33
And when they had carried out all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree and laid him in a tomb.

But God raised him from the dead,

and for many days he appeared to those who had come up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are now his witnesses to the people.

And we bring you the good news that what God promised to the fathers,

this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus, as also it is written in the second Psalm, “‘You are my Son, today I have begotten you.’

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 · Contradiction · Doctrinal · Universalism

Book Look – Jesus Undefeated – Intro

Recently I have been in discussions with some friends that read my blog fairly consistently and they have, in an effort to understand my beliefs, have baited me by calling me a universalist.

That is fair, since I may not have defined every specific teaching as they may want, most likely due to the fact I honestly haven’t come to a settled persuasion on some of the teaching they may ask about me.

After all, I am not quite sure how many angels can sit on the head of a pin!

I want to focus on the bigger picture, the fact that He is the One to look to, to love and listen for, and not necessarily “pure doctrine” that is sometimes advertised as being required to be right with God.

Don’t get me wrong, we need to look to the Word of truth for truth, and yet we need to go beyond simply truth seeking and mature into loving others that may believe the Word from a different perspective!

If you have a different doctrine of where the New Jerusalem will be (Peoria Illinois?) or if you feel that there will be no dogs in heaven (don’t tell my wife!), I believe it is acceptable to love y’all who have a different view. Golly, it is commanded to love all y’all, believers or non-believers, enemies or friends!

You know that whole “love your enemy” thing applies to those who think differently about God also.

Enough of the general rant, I wanted to introduce the book “Jesus Undefeated”, by Keith Giles in this blog. His topic is Universalism, and the debunking of the Eternal Torment teaching. I picked up this book due to some who claim I am a Universalist. Thought I would find out what I believe, or at least get a bit more familiar with my assumed faith.

I have published two other posts describing this teaching, but they were fairly high level introductory blogs ( God – What is HE Like & Universal Reconciliation & the Church Fathers).

With this series, I would like to begin delving into some of the New Testament passages Mr. Giles brought to my attention, for your consideration, edification and civil discussion.

Initially, as I have stated in previous posts, I was surprised with the number of verses that support an evangelical universal teaching. Please do not think that this teaching I am trying to describe is the same as the “all roads lead to heaven” teaching, which I consider to be blasphemous. There is only one way to the Father, and that is through the Lord Jesus Christ.

In the following blog posts in this series, I would like to provide a number of New Testament passages which teach the universal salvation of all through the redemption that is found in Christ Jesus.

Regarding the book itself, I read it in one sitting, not simply because it was under 200 pages, but that it challenged my though process and I found it enjoyable reading. If this topic interests you, please pick up a copy. It is well worth your time.

Our next blog post will begin with passage 1, First Timothy 4:10.

Talk to you then – Thanks for dropping by!



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Calvinism · Doctrinal · Interpretation

Calvin’s Concerns – Comment Response 11 – John 1:12-13

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 third 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

God gave to the man Jesus the spirit without limit. God doesn’t give faith to everyone because He doesn’t want to according to Romans 9:16 John 1:12-13.

My friend is telling me that God doesn’t want to give faith to everyone, according to Romans 9:16 (dealt with last post) and the current set of verses being considered.

So lets take a look to see if this set of verses gives support to the claim that God doesn’t give faith to everyone, because He doesn’t want to.

First, let’s read the passage.

John 1:12-13 – But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

It seems the ability to believe is not addressed in this passage, but simply stated as a condition. The result of the belief is that the one believing receives the right to become a child of God. I suppose I could state that the order of salvation is addressed in this verse, in that belief comes before the right to become children of God, but this isn’t my friends intent with this verse, so I will move on.

I think he is referring to the last three clauses in the verse, to speak of where the belief comes from, but that doesn’t seem all that clear in my opinion.

It seems the “being born” is the action being defined in this passage, in that the “being born” is an act of God. It seems to be a stretch to consider the “believing in His name” as being the object of the action.

So if one believes in His name, the believing one acquires the right to become a child of God. It is the result of the faith exercised in the name of the Messiah, that God provides the life, or in other words, “the birth” of a child of God.

Does the faith of the believing one perform the action of becoming a child of God, of being born? No. The action of being born is sourced, or found, in the will of God, not in any other agency.

One more time for a bit of clarity – The faith allows the believing one to acquire the right to become a child of God. God provides the birth upon the faith that is directed to the Messiah.

This passage doesn’t seem to address the topic my friend is seeking to prove, that God doesn’t give faith to everyone, because He doesn’t want to. As a matter of fact, it seems to be an open invitation to any who would trust in His name.

I do hope you will continue with me as I seek to understand the verses he supplies and if the verses he supplied support his argument of fatalism/determinism which he speaks of.



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

Old Testament Messianic Prophecies – Prophecy #63

Bible Scroll

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

Prophecy #63
Description
Declared the Beloved Son
Old Testament Prophecy
 Psalm 2:7
I will tell of the decree:
The Lord said to me, “You are my Son;
    today I have begotten you.
New Testament Fullfillment
Matt 3:17
and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”
 Rom 1:4
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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Devotional · Hymns · Old Testament · Psalms

Psalms for Psome – Ps 32

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 32

1 A Maskil of David. Blessed is the one whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.
2 Blessed is the man against whom the LORD counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.
3 For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.
4 For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer. Selah
5 I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” and you forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah
6 Therefore let everyone who is godly offer prayer to you at a time when you may be found; surely in the rush of great waters, they shall not reach him.
7 You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with shouts of deliverance. Selah
8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.
9 Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding, which must be curbed with bit and bridle, or it will not stay near you.
10 Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the LORD.
11 Be glad in the LORD, and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart!

David was a man after God’s own heart, and yet he struggled with sin issues, sin such as murder, adultery and deception. He was a man who sought the Lord and yet fell violently into sin, into a darkness that enveloped him, that pulled him into conflict with the One he loved. He was under the hand of God, and he kept silent. Confession and repentance for this man of God was refused.

He would not admit his sin! It would cost too much, (from a purely human standpoint).

Happy Birthday Accountant Gif | Happy Birthday

How often have you experienced the hand of God on your life? In the darkness, in the quiet of your soul, you have a balance sheet, a kind of ledger that you base decisions on. You weigh the pros and cons of each decision you make in your life, some of which are instantaneous, and some of which you spend time deliberating, considering the cost of certain actions.

Deciding to commit adultery with Bathsheba was an instant decision. (2 Samuel 11:2-3) David’s decision to commit adultery with Bathsheba did not consume much of David’s time.

A different story when it comes to cleaning the mess up. David spent nights tossing in his bed, conjuring up plans of action, determining methods of escaping the hand of God on his life, calculating his next move, trying to minimize the damage and maximize the benefits. He was running the numbers, and by his calculations he had to bury the sin!

First off, a little deception! Let’s pull an innocent man, no the victim of David’s sin, into the mix!

Call for Uriah and deceive him, appeal to his desire to serve the King, offer him a privilege of rest and renewal with his wife. David didn’t see the godliness of Uriah – how could he, his vision was clouded with his sin! Uriah, Bathsheba’s husband, the man David cheated against, came to David and humbly served him, seeking David’s welfare above his own. He slept at the door of the King’s house, ever ready to serve!

David was in a bad place! He couldn’t cajole Uriah to be with his wife! David got the poor man drunk, tried to bribe him, sought to puff him up, and what became of it? Uriah served his King.

David had a decision to make. He consulted his ledger of options, and decided after serious calculation through the night, that Uriah had to die!

Note that David’s decisions caused one man’s death, one man becoming an accomplice, and one child’s eventual death. One woman became a byword through Israel, and yet attained the position of queen eventually. And the king was in sin!

Joab obeyed his king and abandoned the godly man Uriah in battle. Uriah died without any knowledge of the treachery going on in his world. The sacrifice had to be made based on David’s cold and calculating schemes.

And David fell deeper into the darkness, struggling against the chains of his own making. His self inflicted burden weighed him down and tore at his sleep. Constant raging in his soul all the day long. A never ending slavery to the decisions he made based on his calculations, his balance sheet of pro and con.

Sometimes the love of God draw’s us to His side. Sometimes the pain and agony of our current situation pushes us to the Fathers side. This concept of realizing our position before our Father is a recurring theme in my thinking lately. (Consider Parable Surprises – Lost Son).

When you are in the dark spot, that period of time that the struggle with choice is so fierce, when your calculations sheet of obedience/disobedience is tottering back and forth, remember the great love of God. Remember the first time you found the great forgiveness of God. Remember the freeing grace that opened up opportunities and confidence for your heart.

Confess you sin. Admit it to God, at least primarily. Agree with God in the existence and offence your action(s) have on the Father. Find forgiveness at the foot of the cross.

If you have sinned against someone, ask them for forgiveness.

Romans 5:20 …where sin increased, grace abounded all the more

He has provided grace that abounds. The calculation sheet during times of darkness does not consider the grace of God. It is uncalculatable!

Psalm 32:5 I acknowledged my sin to you, and I did not cover my iniquity; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,” and you forgave the iniquity of my sin.



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

Old Testament Messianic Prophecies – Prophecy #62

Bible Scroll

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

Prophecy #62
Description
To own the title King
Old Testament Prophecy
 Psalm 2:6
“As for me, I have set my King
    on Zion, my holy hill.”
New Testament Fullfillment
Matt 2:2
saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

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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Bible · Hymns

Amazing Grace – Simon Khorolskiy & Sounds like Reign

One of my favorites

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

Old Testament Messianic Prophecies – Prophecy #61

Bible Scroll

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

Prophecy #61
Description
His Character-Holiness
Old Testament Prophecy
 Psalm 2:6
“As for me, I have set my King
    on Zion, my holy hill.”
New Testament Fullfillment
John 8:46
Which one of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me?
 Rev 3:7
“And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write: ‘The words of the holy one, the true one, who has the key of David, who opens and no one will shut, who shuts and no one opens.

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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New Testament · Parables · Simple Truths

Parable Surprises – Lost Son

If there is a parable that is famous, this is the one! The prodigal son has much in it to speak on, and if we are lucky, I will be able to get my thoughts out in one post, but that is highly unlikely!

But lets get at it, and read the passage.

Luke 15:11-32

11 And he said, “There was a man who had two sons. 12 And the younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.’ And he divided his property between them. 13 Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living. 14 And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need. 15 So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. 16 And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything. 17 “But when he came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.”‘ 20 And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. 23 And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. 24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate. 25 “Now his older son was in the field, and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 And he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. 27 And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf, because he has received him back safe and sound.’ 28 But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, 29 but he answered his father, ‘Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!’ 31 And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. 32 It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.'”

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 second 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:

As we pointed out in the last post, 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. What heros!

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?

This final parable continues with the theme mentioned previously, that is of reckless love for the sought and rejoicing with neighbors when the lost is found.

What was the message for the original audience?

This message speaks of the reckless love of the Father in seeking out both the prodigal and the elder son. Remember who the audience is in this telling of the story, in that the tax collectors and sinners are coming to see the Messiah, along with the guardians of the nation of Israel, the ones who are “working God’s field”!

Two audiences.

Sinners and Tax Collectors

It is obvious that sinners and tax collectors were attracted to the Messiah, and that this story speaks of their return to God the Father, of God’s reckless love to reach His lost and rejected people. It is a story of rejection by the younger son, and of an ever patient Father who waits for the son to come to his senses, humble himself and return to the One who loves him.

Elder Son

The Pharisees were working in the field, “faithful” sons, (which is so graceful of the Lord describe them such!) The Father spoke of the elder son as being with Him always, and that all that was His is the elder sons.

But the issue is the green eyed monster – jealousy.

The elder son wanted to live a sinful life, especially when he mentions prostitutes and wanton living. Sure he stayed behind, but reluctantly! It seems he did not work the farm out of love and devotion to the Father, but out of a sense of duty, or obligation. Seems like a bit of a soulless type of fella, one that didn’t experience joy or love, happiness or friendships. Yes – I am stretching the parable and making some assumptions, but I think somewhat justified. Notice that not once did he consider the pain the younger son experienced, the lostness and fears, the isolation and poverty his own brother must have went through. Kind of a soulless man, living in the grip of jealousy!

The Father

The Father is definitely not your typical Jewish farmer. Of course, there were some in the nation of Israel, in their faithful following of the God of Israel, that leaned into this self sacrificial love, but to go as far as the Father in this story was beyond belief. To be insulted by the younger son by demanding (note that the son didn’t ask politely – just “give me”), and to comply to the sons command, it is just too much! What utter weakness, and granting of such freedom, even to the point of allowing a destructive behavior to be followed by the son.

What type of father is this?

A Father who is self sacrificial, who loves his son in the long term, not the short term, a father who realizes a young heart needs to be hungry before it is satisfied. This father realized the younger son was determined to go, and forcing him to stay may keep him physically on the farm, but in spirit, the son was gone already.

As a matter of fact, it turns out both sons had left the father, but only one had the nerve to “grab the dough”, leave his father and go to a foreign land!

What is the message for us today?

Sinners and Tax Collectors

Do you remember finding out about the reckless love of the Father? I will not duplicate my testimony here, since it is available for my reader to access here. Suffice to say, the abounding love that I began to understand as a condemned man of 21, the intense grace that the Father provided to a sinner such as I, was more than I could have imagined.

If you have not experienced the love of God and the release from the guilt and dominion of sin, reach out to the Savior. Admit your sin to Him, repent of the enemy attitude toward Him, and join the body of believers you will meet as you walk with Him.

The prodigal “came to his senses” and decided to return to his father. Humility and repentance! He was willing to return to the father in a beggars position. He had to experience hunger and deprivation before he “came to his senses”. Is that necessary for you? Will you need to be humbled by your own decisions and the work of death they produce in your life? So unnecessary!

“Come to your senses”, humble yourself, repent of your sin, and trust the Savior for eternal life in the here and now?

Elder Son

Are you a religious man or woman? Keeping all the rules and ensuring each day’s duties are performed for the god you have created in your mind, or through your upbringing? Is it a burden that is continually bearing down on you? Sure you have a reputation of “working on the farm,” of keeping some law and resisting every vice (at least in appearance)?

Give it up, repent of your self sufficiency, and join the family of God. You need to realize that His sacrifice was as much for you as the “sinner” out there. He has given all in order that you can have joy and contentment, peace and an assurance of everlasting love.

The Father

This father that Jesus speaks of is the One who patiently waits. He is the One who supplies what many may consider a destructive freedom to His creation. A freedom that many may argue against and find some way to limit, in order to protect God’s wisdom and holiness.

Yet the Father is the One who is represented, nay identified in the Son, the One who is the Master, yet serves, the Savior who freely forgives, yet was condemned, the King who is sovereign, yet provides freedom to His creation, the Source of all life, and yet was crucified as a common thief or insurgent.

The love of God the Father is beyond description.

I am reminded of an old hymn that describes the impossibility of defining the love of God. Years back, a lady who had just lost her husband to cancer (the week before), sang this song in chapel. It moved me then, and thinking of her reminds me of the beautiful God we have in our Father.

“Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.”



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Calvinism · Doctrinal · Interpretation

Calvin’s Concerns – Comment Response 10 – Romans 9:16

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 third 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

God gave to the man Jesus the spirit without limit. God doesn’t give faith to everyone because He doesn’t want to according to Romans 9:16 John 1:12-13.

My friend is trying to teach me that God doesn’t give faith to everyone because He doesn’t want to, and he refers to Romans 9:16 to support this claim.

So let’s read the passage and try to understand his point.

Romans 9:16 – So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.

Ok. I may be a bit daft, but I am not sure where faith is referred to in this verse, unless faith is the “it” at the start of the verse.

So what is “it”?

Let’s consider the immediate context.

Romans 9:14 What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means!
Romans 9:15 For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”
Romans 9:16 So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.

So the “it” in Romans 9:16 reaches back to the question posed in verse 14 – that is “Is there injustice on God’s part?” Faith doesn’t seem to be referred to here. As a matter of fact, this chapter does not address faith until verse 30, (14 verses later!) where it appears that the gentiles received a righteousness by faith. Verse 32 speaks of the Jews not attaining righteousness by faith, but by seeking to attain it by works. This is the only two references to faith in the chapter, and it doesn’t appear to address God’s willingness or reluctance to provide faith to anyone.

Oh, and the subject of faith (or belief) was last referred to in Romans 6:8, speaking of the resurrection, but not of God restricting faith or belief from anyone.

I am not sure why he referred to this verse to teach me that God doesn’t give faith to everyone because He doesn’t want to. Let’s see if the next set of verses in John 1 help us understand his thoughts.

I do hope you will continue with me as I seek to understand the verses he supplies and if the verses he supplied support his argument of fatalism/determinism which he speaks of.



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

Old Testament Messianic Prophecies – Prophecy #60

Bible Scroll

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

Prophecy #60
Description
To own the title, Anointed (Christ)
Old Testament Prophecy
 Psalm 2:2
The kings of the earth set themselves,
    and the rulers take counsel together,
    against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying,
New Testament Fullfillment
John 1:41
He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ).
 Acts 2:36
Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”

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 · Doctrinal · Interpretation

Calvin’s Concerns – Philippians 2:13

A few weeks back, I published the first of a series of posts offering 60 second video discussions on alternatives to the popular Calvinistic teaching in our churches these days.

The videos were provided by Dr. Leighton Flowers, and addressed a number of topics that related to Calvinism and it’s resultant effects on the believer.

Since then I have provided a few additional videos describing different aspects of a provisionalist perspective on the Scriptures.

The following video supply’s a good review of Philippians 2:13 and is offered to you for your consideration.


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

Old Testament Messianic Prophecies – Prophecy #59

Bible Scroll

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

Prophecy #59
Description
The enmity of kings foreordained
Old Testament Prophecy
 Psalm 2:1-3
Why do the nations rage[a]
    and the peoples plot in vain?
The kings of the earth set themselves,
    and the rulers take counsel together,
    against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying,
“Let us burst their bonds apart
    and cast away their cords from us.
New Testament Fullfillment
Acts 4:25-28
who through the mouth of our father David, your servant, said by the Holy Spirit, “‘Why did the Gentiles rage, and the peoples plot in vain?

The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers were gathered together, against the Lord and against his Anointed’–

for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel,

to do whatever your hand and your plan had predestined to take place.

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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Bible · Hymns

Sweet By and By – Simon Khorolskiy

A classic

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