Book Look – Finding Church – The Garden

Finding ChurchI found a book called “Finding Church” by Wayne Jacobsen, and am on my second reading.  During my reading yesterday I came across a story he recounts of his grand daughters coming over to visit, and spending time in his wife’s garden.

During the visit, grandpa corrected one of the little girls on how to correctly rake some mulch.  Another time, a little girl was instructed to ask gramma if she could pick a flower.

As the visit comes to a close, and the grandkids are on thier way home, gramma turns to grandpa and say’s….

cottage-garden-path“Why do you make rules in my garden?  There’s nothing my grandkids can do in that garden that I can’t fix in ten minutes after they’ve gone.  I don’t care how many flowers they pick; that’s why I grow them.

The only thing I want is for them to enjoy being in  my garden.

Obviously this discourse applies directly to the message Wayne is trying to communicate.  God’s garden, the church, is intended to be an environment of joy and freedom, not rules and restrictions.

So lets consider this.  How often have I taken my children to church and the majority (if not all) of my instruction to them was restrictive.

  • Don’t run there.
  • Don’t laugh.
  • Don’t interrupt the teacher.
  • Don’t talk to your friend in class.
  • Don’t express doubts.
  • Don’t be late for class.
  • Don’t express dissatisfaction with the status quo.
  • Don’t ignore required church appearances – You know what I mean
    • implied dress codes.
    • church speak.
    • social acquaintances.
  • Don’t ask questions.
  • Don’t ask hard questions.
  • Don’t challenge accepted teaching.
    • (Ok that last one was for me!)
  • Don’t………..
  • Don’t………………….
  • Don’t………………………….

How often have you entered “the sanctuary” and felt the need to have extra respect for a building, a room, a temple made by hands.

Acts 7:48

Yet the Most High does not live in houses made by human hands….

Next time you enter a church “building”, consider where you are.  It is just a building with rules required by men.

Break free of this thinking.

WARNING WARNING WARNING

When Stephen broke free and declared that the Most High does not live in houses built by human hands, he paid a price….)


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

Others may be able to help you.  Comment as you see fit. I always love hearing from you.


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Local Church Membership Q&A – 18

Church on a hill

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

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


Time for Questions

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

One question will be offered for comment in the following posts

Consider and respond, or again, if you want to discuss just let me know.

Does Local Church Membership facilitate church discipline effectively?

This might be the most convincing argument for local church membership, if the church is modeled after an organizational structure, but the church is modeled after a family, so this argument is only effective if the premise of organizational church life is considered to be the norm.

Since this is not what the New Testament models the church after, we have to reconsider our thinking.

An example is always helpful for me.

As I have sought to be involved in local churches, being members for many many years, I have seen many families leave the fellowship and move onto other churches.  Not so often, I have seen individuals leave on bad terms, (whether under formal discipline or not, I don’t know, even though the Lord says the final step in discipline is to bring the offender before the whole church)  These disciplined folk usually end up in either another local fellowship, or end up wandering aimlessly.  In my opinion, it seems that the discipline did not have it’s intended effect, that is, the restoration of the believer to the church.

What is the answer?

Make the offender miss the group – that is, reach into the offenders life (prior to any offense) and invest time and effort so that the offender will miss the group.  Having a name taken off a list is not that effective!

Most, if not all offenders would admit that the reason they may have considered coming back to the original fellowship is because they missed the people, not the fact that their name was off a list.

So I have to ask you – What is the purpose of the list in relation to the act of discipline?

Matthew 16:18

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


Our next post will address a final question concerning the teaching of local church membership.  I do hope you will join me in my discussion with Cody, and supply comment or correction from the Word for our mutual edification.

If you read something in this discussion that concerns you, please take the time to send me your comments or reply within the post.  I look forward to hearing from you.

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Book Look – Finding Church – Introduction

Finding ChurchI found a book called “Finding Church” by Wayne Jacobsen, and am on my second reading.

Like previous “Book Looks” that I have posted, I am not going to review the book so much as pull statements and concepts out to discuss with the reader.

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

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

Is this possible?  It is my hope.

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

Others may be able to help you.

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


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Conditional Security – 2 Corinthians 11:2-4

Conditional Security - if-150x150 - Red with Splash

2 Corinthians 11:2-4

2 For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ.

3 But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.

4 For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.

Security

vacuum
Not this type of vacuum – Oh never mind….

You know it has been a few years now since it “clicked” that the New Testament didn’t arise out of a vacuum.

The New Testament is the flower that grew out of the Old Testament, and as such, is supported by the law and the prophets.

With this “revelation” I have finally took time to notice when the New Testament authors use the Old Testament writings.

Such is the case in 2 Corinthians 11:2-4, where Paul the apostle uses an Old Testament passage about Adam and Eve to warn the believers of the dangers inherent in listening to a false teacher.

What does this have to do with Security?

First off, lets consider the goal of Paul’s warning.  He is seeking to strengthen the believers thoughts of sincerity about the Christ. Could Paul have been worried (fearful) of the slippery slope of these believers falling away from the Master?

Singleness of mind towards the Lord is the topic here, and the context supports this. Within the very verses we are looking at, Paul introduces other spirit’s, other gospels, other Jesus’s and other teachers.

These teachers were introducing alternatives to the people of God, alternatives that competed with the truth. We must remember that security is based on truth, not on how we feel about something or what we want the truth to be.  True security is independent of our feelings.  But our feelings and fears sometimes desire to be placated, which makes us susceptible to those who are willing give us teaching simply to make us feel better.

Eve and the snake

This is exactly what happened in the Garden with Eve, which makes Paul’s reference to the deception so applicable. The alternatives that were being introduced to the Corinthians were such that they could not exist in harmony with the truth.

So where does a believer find security?

The people of God had to make decisions between two different types of messages, and the text is stating that they were “open-minded” enough to allow these teachers to guide them.

Accepting alternatives to the truth, as believers, was of great concern to Paul. Why did he use the Garden of Eden as a picture of what was going on?

Could he have implied the same results? You see – accepting the alternative message condemned Eve.  Although she continued to exist, her security vanished the moment she sinned.

jesus-christ-on-the-cross

For those who seek to defend the “Once Saved Always Saved” teaching, it may have been better if Paul used a different Old Testament example!

Security can only be found in a Person, and the faithfulness of that Person creates the security.  Will we listen to Him above all others, and in the process, find the security we so desperately want?


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Taxes & Churches – Avoid Offence – 3

taxes-150x150Where did the right for churches to avoid paying taxes come from? I mean, did this right to avoid paying taxes come out of Bible teaching?

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

Consider the first topic of discussion.


1. Christians are to avoid offence

Consider the following passage.

1 Peter 2:13-17

Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme,
 
or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good.
 

For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people.

 

Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.

Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.

Peter told the believers to submit to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake.  Of course we live in a nation that allows protest, but I wonder if believers are to protest as much as we do. 

 TAXES & CHURCHES

It is interesting that Peter uses the term “cloak of maliciousness” in reference to the freedoms we possess as Christians.  This cloak refers to a covering, and I think Peter is fearful that believers will use their declared freedoms, as a covering of actual malicious (evil) motivations and deeds.

I also understand that at the time of this discussion with my friend, the proposal was not an ordinance of man yet, so as far as I can tell, the church had every right to speak to God about this possible injustice.  But once this amendment passed, the church should, with well-doing, put to silence the ignorance of foolish men.  (Not be foolish men, who needed to be put to silence).

In each of these passages, the Bible seems to be telling us to take the loss for the sake of others.  Do not offend, humbly pay your taxes and do good.

What think ye?  Is there something I am missing? 

Use the contact form below to share your thoughts.


 

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Taxes & Churches – Avoid Offence – 2

taxes-150x150Where did the right for churches to avoid paying taxes come from? I mean, did this right to avoid paying taxes come out of Bible teaching?

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

Consider the first topic of discussion.


1. Christians are to avoid offence

Consider the following passage.

Romans 13:7

Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.

 TAXES & CHURCHES

In Romans 13:7 Paul told believers to pay their taxes, and since churches were in private homes, it seems obvious that if there was a property tax in those days, Paul was telling them to pay it.  If the ruling city officials request assistance from the general population to improve the living conditions of the community, does it not seem to be a sacrifice that would be well pleasing, in order to be a blessing on the community?

Fighting this proposal in the public arena was a no win situation for the church in my opinion.  The early church spoke to God about seeming injustices (see Acts 4:23, 12:5, etc.) and not to the general population.  (I guess the early church didn’t understand the power of public relations to turn the heart of a king/mayor!)

What think ye?  Is there something I am missing? 

Use the contact form below to share your thoughts.


 

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Taxes & Churches – Avoid Offence – 1

taxes-150x150Where did the right for churches to avoid paying taxes come from? I mean, did this right to avoid paying taxes come out of Bible teaching?

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

Consider the first topic of discussion.


1. Christians are to avoid offence

Consider the following passages.

Matthew 17:24-27

When they came to Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma tax went up to Peter and said, “Does your teacher not pay the tax?”
 
He said, “Yes.” And when he came into the house, Jesus spoke to him first, saying, “What do you think, Simon? From whom do kings of the earth take toll or tax? From their sons or from others?”
 
And when he said, “From others,” Jesus said to him, “Then the sons are free.
 
However, not to give offense to them, go to the sea and cast a hook and take the first fish that comes up, and when you open its mouth you will find a shekel. Take that and give it to them for me and for yourself.”

When Peter was asked about the temple tax, Jesus sent him fishing and paid the taxes with a coin from the fishes mouth.  It is interesting that the Lords motive for paying the taxes is to avoid offending.

The background is the temple tax that the Jewish religious aristocracy required for the maintenance of the temple.  But note that Jesus likens this temple taxation to the more common taxation of the overlords within the land, that is, the Romans, who are referred to as the “kings of the earth”.  Interesting comparison!

So who are the “strangers” in this text?  Who did the Romans tax?

It is common knowledge that one of the responsibilities of conquered lands within the Roman empire was to bear the tax burden for the kingdom of Rome.  When Jesus refers to the children is this passage, He is referring to those who were free-born children within the Roman nation, that is, those born to Roman citizens.  Therefore the strangers are those who are the conquered.  So the comparison that Jesus makes is to liken the temple tax responsibility to the strangers (the Jewish religious aristocracy?) and to state that those who follow Jesus were the true children.

If I am following the Lord’s logic, this means that true children of the kingdom are free of this responsibility – that is, to pay any (temple) tax.

But not free from the responsibility to love.  We are not to offend our neighbor and in standing up for our rights (in not having to pay some tax), I am afraid we offend.  (Golly, after I finally considered this topic, it offends me!).

 TAXES & CHURCHES

Remember the atheist friend that was doing the surveys about the future taxation.  He certainly saw an apparent contradiction between the churches words and works.  And he certainly was able to use this experience to shore up his belief that the church was simply a business.

What think ye?  Is there something I am missing? 

Use the contact form below to share your thoughts.


 

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Taxes & Churches – Introduction

taxes-150x150

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

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

Two groups stood out in fighting against this proposition. 

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

The other group? – Churches.  

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

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

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

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

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

Which brings me to my struggle.  

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

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

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


 

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Local Church Membership Q&A – 17

Church on a hill

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

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


Time for Questions

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

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

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

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

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

I don’t remember him answering.

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

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

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

It seems the Lord will build His church.

Matthew 16:18

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


Our next post will address another question concerning the teaching of local church membership.  I do hope you will join me in my discussion with Cody, and supply comment or correction from the Word for our mutual edification.

If you read something in this discussion that concerns you, please take the time to send me your comments or reply within the post.  I look forward to hearing from you.

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Book Look – House Churches – Protect Them from the Church

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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Conditional Security – 2 Chronicles 15:1-2

Conditional Security - if-150x150 - Red with Splash

2 Chronicles 15:1-2

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

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

Asa the king was a good king.

He understood where his security lay.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rom 9:4

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

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

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

Matt 21:43

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

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

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

Rom 15:4

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

1 Corinthians 10:11

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

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

But I digress…

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

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

1 Kings 15:11,13-14

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

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

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

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

2 Chronicles 14:2-7

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fruit of the Conditional Security Teaching

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

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

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

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

But brothers, we have not so learned Christ.


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Book Look – House Churches – Worshiping our Worship

Houses that Change the World

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

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

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

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

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

Kicking Kids out of Church

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

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

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

But that is my point.

What is the purpose of meeting together as believers?

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

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

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

Programs conflict with people.

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

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


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

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


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Daniel 9:24-27 – 10

Daniel 9 is a linchpin of prophetic teaching.

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

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

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

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

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

OK – now we enter into the deep stuff

Rescue me as you see me drowning….

Daniel 9:27

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

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

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

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

Is the 490 year period 490 continuous years?

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

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

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

What covenant is he speaking of?

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

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

Jeremiah 31: 31 – 34

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

Hebrews 12:22

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

Confirm the covenant

Mathew 26:28

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

Hebrew 8:6

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

Malachi 3:1

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

Hebrews 12:24

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

Hebrews 9:14,15

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

He shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease

Hebrews 10:18

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

Hebrews 10:26

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

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

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

70th week

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Book Look – House Churches – Introduction

Houses that Change the World

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

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

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

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

Is this possible? It is my hope.

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

Others may be able to help you.

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


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Daniel 9:24-27 – 9

Daniel 9 is a linchpin of prophetic teaching. 

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

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

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

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

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

Daniel 9:25

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

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

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

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

Neh 1:2-3

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

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

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

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

Let us continue onto verse 26

Daniel 9:26

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

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

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

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

Josephus The Wars of the Jews 6.6.1.

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

Isa 8:7

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

Isa 17:12

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

Jeremiah 46: 7,8

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

Dan 11:40

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

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

Give me a break Carl – haha!

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


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