Repent of Your Sins – Introduction

repent-of-your-sins-isnt-found-in-the-bible-even-one-time-e1599255371527.png

A brother asked me recently to check the Bible for the phrase “repent of your sins”.

As the attached graphic states, the specific phrase “repent of your sins” does not occur.

So, obviously repentance is not required of sinners, and evil men have twisted the pure gospel.

What?

That is ludicrous!

Lets get so particular that all we end up doing is finding unjustified specific claims to justify erroneous teaching that is broadly taught throughout the Scriptures.

This is a common tactic of those who despise and hate the message of a loving God who is looking for those who will worship in spirit and truth. This is also a tactic that believers have been warned of for centuries.

I think Paul supplied some counsel on this, in stating the need to understand the whole counsel of God.

Acts 20:27

..I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.

I could go looking for many specific phrases that describes clearly indisputable doctrines in the Bible and come up blank.

Lets try “God exists”. Doh – Nothing, not one single verse includes that phrase. Okay, using the same logic as above, there is no justification for teaching this truth since the specific phrase “God exists” doesn’t occur in the Bible.

As my momma used to say, “Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.”

I would like to suggest that repentance is an incredible truth that is required for both the lost and the saved.

Okay, now you’ve gone too far Carl.

I hear some of you out there thinking, why do I need to repent after I get saved? Or even, why do I need to get saved again?

Good questions! (I don’t think I could have come up with those on my own!)

As many of you know, I am an engineer by day, and love me them spreadsheets. Using this method gives me a high level view of the general teaching of the New Testament in relation to repentance.

So I retrieved all the verses that include the words repent and repentance in the New Testament, and compiled them in a handy dandy spreadsheet below.

Note that I used the Greek terms below to search for my verse.

Repent

  • Strongs # G3340
  • metanoeó μετανοέω

Repentance

  • Strongs # 3341
  • metanoia μετάνοια

One caveat about this spreadsheet.

I have categorized two groups of people that the call to repentance is given. Lost humanity, those that have had no relationship with the Eternal God of All. The second category deals with covenant people, and this is where I feel I need to explain some of my thinking.

The Lord Jesus came to a nation that was in covenant with the Eternal God and His focus in preaching repentance was two fold. First off, He was searching for those within the nation that did not personally know the Eternal God, and yet belonged to the covenant nation of Israel. An example may be Nicodemus.

As you may know by now, I found the remnant teaching in the Old Testament a few years ago, and it cleared up some questions I had. Very enlightening. If interested, see the “rant” in my post called Promises to Israel – 2. The Seed

Secondly He was seeking the nation of Israel (a covenant people) to repent of her ways nationally, and return to God. An example of this preaching can be found in Matthew 24 and 25, where He addresses the leadership of Israel.

In the spreadsheet below, I have identified those who were called to repent in relation to their status as covenant people first. Understand this group would also, for the greater part of the population, need to enter into a new covenant personal relationship with God through the Messiah.

If you are interested in taking this thought further, (and I am sure it can be taken further!) drop me a comment and I can send you a copy of the spreadsheet for your use.

I shall be posting the full verse lists for both of these terms related to repentance in the following days.

Who is Called to Repent?
New Testament Verse Strong’s # Covenant People Lost Humanity
Matthew 3:2 G3340 a
Matthew 3:8 G3341
Matthew 3:11 G3341 a
Matthew 4:17 G3340 a
Matthew 9:13 G3341 a
Matthew 11:20 G3340 a
Matthew 11:21 G3340 a
Matthew 12:41 G3340 a
Mark 1:4 G3341 a
Mar 1:15 G3340 a
Mark 2:17 G3341 a
Mar 6:12 G3340 a
Luke 3:3 G3341 a
Luke 3:8 G3341 a
Luke 5:32 G3341 a
Luke 10:13 G3340 a
Luke 11:32 G3340 a
Luke 13:3 G3340 a
Luke 13:5 G3340 a
Luke 15:7 G3340 a
Luke 15:7 G3341 a
Luke 15:10 G3340 a
Luke 16:30 G3340 a
Luke 17:3 G3340 a
Luke 17:4 G3340 a
Luke 24:47 G3341 a
Acts 2:38 G3340 a
Acts 3:19 G3340 a
Acts 5:31 G3341 a
Acts 8:22 G3340 a
Acts 11:18 G3341 a
Acts 13:24 G3341 a
Acts 17:30 G3340 a a
Acts 19:4 G3341 a
Acts 20:21 G3341 a
Acts 26:20 G3341 a
Acts 26:20 G3340 a a
Romans 2:4 G3341 a
2 Corinthians 7:9 G3341 a
2 Corinthians 7:10 G3341 a
2 Corinthians 12:21 G3340 a
2 Timothy 2:25 G3341 a
Hebrews 6:1 G3341 a
Hebrews 6:6 G3341 a
Hebrews 12:17 G3341 a
2 Peter 3:9 G3341 a
Revelation 2:5 G3340 a
Revelation 2:16 G3340 a
Revelation 2:21 G3340 a
Revelation 2:22 G3340 a
Revelation 3:3 G3340 a
Revelation 3:19 G3340 a
Revelation 9:20 G3340 a
Revelation 9:21 G3340 a
Revelation 16:9 G3340 a
Revelation 16:11 G3340 a

Thanks for dropping by. Drop me a line if something in this post made you think.


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A New Creation – 2 Corinthians 5:17

2 co 5 17

2 Corinthians 5:16 – 19

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

attitude

Soooooo.

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

Let’s admit something.

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

What a sorry existence.

blood transfusion

Upon conversion, I became a new creation!

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

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

He is the Lord.

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


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OT in NT – 1 Corinthians

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

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

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

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


 

7-OT in NT – 1 Corinthians

 


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OT in NT – Romans

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

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

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

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


 

6-OT in NT – Romans

 


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Surprise!

Surprise

Space

Another poem that reminds me of the unexpected mercy of God. I believe the author is Len Dean

I dreamt death came the other night

And heaven’s gate swung wide.

With kindly grace an angel came

And ushered me inside:

And there to my astonishment

Stood folk I’d known on earth,

Some I had judged as quite unfit

Or but of little worth:

Indignant words rose to my lips

But never were set free,

For every face showed stunned surprise

NO ONE EXPECTED ME!


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OT in NT – John

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

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

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

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


 

4-OT n NT – John

 


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OT in NT – Luke

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

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

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

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


 

3-OT in NT – Luke

 


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OT in NT – Matthew

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

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

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

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


1-OT in NT – Matthew


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Questions I’ve Been Asked – Thousand Years Part 2

Question GIF

Let’s continue in our second post based on the “Questions I’ve Been Asked”, regarding the binding of Satan, and more specifically, the term “a thousand years” in the book of Revelation.

You see, a brother asked me about the thousand year teaching in the Book of Revelation and if Satan is bound at the present time.

I hope I can address these concerns properly.

Let’s read the passage one more time.

Rev 20:2

And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,

As I mentioned at the end of our last post, this next question has been the most influential in my understanding of the passage.

1000-22.) Does the literalness of a passage increase due to the use of a precise number?

When John is writing this passage, he uses a specific number, and because of this, must mean what he writes, right?

(And isn’t that a cool gif? —->)

We must take his description of the thousand years literally since he specifically uses that specific term and did not modify it by using terms like “approximately” or “about” or “more than”. I must have heard this argument a million times! – Literally a million times!!!

But is that how a Jewish man would communicate 2000 years ago (not exactly 2000 years ago, but again, you know what I mean, right)?

John was a man steeped in the Old Testament, and surely knew of the instances the prophets used the very same term. Granted, sometimes the prophets would be defining a population, the result of a census, or a sum of money, and that seems to be an obvious use of the term in a literal sense. But sometimes the prophets used the term “thousand” to define an indefinite time, or an extended time.

Consider the following passages

Deuteronomy 1:11
May the LORD, the God of your fathers, make you a thousand times as many as you are and bless you, as he has promised you!

Was the LORD going to implement a birth control system once the population grew to a certain point? (Don’t be so sarcastic Carl!)

Deuteronomy 7:9
Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, to a thousand generations,

Ok, follow me on this – let’s assume that one generation is 40 years (just for giggles!)

OK, lets make one more assumption, and that is that Moses recieved this promise aproximately 2,000 years before the birth of our Lord. I know it was less, but let me make the math easy!

A thousand generations would be forty thousand years. 40,000 years! That means that this promise ceases to be valid in the year 38,000.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m glad my great great great …. grandchildren have a chance, but honestly, what about my lineage in the year 38,001? (Ok Carl now you are being ridiculous!)

Deuteronomy 32:30
How could one have chased a thousand,
and two have put ten thousand to flight,
unless their Rock had sold them,
and the LORD had given them up?

Although there are many instances of small contingencies of Israeli men taking on multitudes (I am thinking of Gideon and Jonathon for instance), I don’t know if the exact thousand to one or five thousand to one ratios ever exactly occurred.

The Psalms are very descriptive and poetic and often use terms in a very symbolic fashion – not very much unlike the book of Revelation.

Psalm 50:10
For every beast of the forest is mine,
the cattle on a thousand hills.

I am sure God owns all the cattle. I guess I need to google the actual number of hills on earth – I am sure it is one thousand exactly!

Again Carl – too sarcastic – tune it down a smidge!

Psalm 68:17
The chariots of God are twice ten thousand,
thousands upon thousands;
the Lord is among them; Sinai is now in the sanctuary.

Twenty thousand chariots are a lot of chariots!

Psalm 84:10
For a day in your courts is better
than a thousand elsewhere.
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of wickedness.

Could the psalmist be using “thousand” days as an expression extending beyond two years and 9 months? Why is he so short sigted? I would have used a million instead of a thousand – At least then I would have over 2700 years of being in His courts!

Psalm 90:4
For a thousand years in your sight
are but as yesterday when it is past,
or as a watch in the night.

Yesterday and a watch at night are two different spans of time, so if we are goings to be ‘literalists” regarding the use of the term thousand, we need to consider the literalness of some of the other time descriptions being used.

Psalm 91:7
A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.

The psalmist seems to use thousand and ten thousand interchangeably. Interesting.

Psalm 105:8
He remembers his covenant forever,
the word that he commanded, for a thousand generations,

The covenant is referred to as being forever and the generations are numbered at a thousand. Is there a hint here that thousand means more than a thousand?

It seems that when the writers of Scripture wanted to define an extended number or time , they used the term thousand.

When they wanted to really blow your mind Scripture writers would use the term “murias”, which comes down into the English language as the word myriad. This term seems to give the impression of an innumerable number.

Although this is a short study, it is rooted in the Old Testament. As I grow as a Christian, I am increasingly impressed with the importance of comparing Scripture with Scripture. especially in the book of Revelation.

I look forward to comments and questions, especially passages of Scripture that may help in understanding this topic better.


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Questions I’ve Been Asked – The Bottomless Pit – Part 5

Question GIF

On to the next verse we find in the book of Revelation, and trying to find some answers to the Bottomless Pit question a brother set me on to research. It seems I still have four verses to consider.

I will address the last two in the next post.

Lets consider our first verse.

Rev 11 :7
And when they have finished their testimony, the beast that rises from the bottomless pit will make war on them and conquer them and kill them,

Nagging questions…..

Who is the beast?

  • He fights against the two witnesses (whoever they represent I don’t know, but at the very least they are on God’s side).
  • He is coming out of the pit so he probably smells of death (2 Cor 2:16)

Is his ascension a present activity or is it describing the beasts origin?

In other words, does the beast ascend to make war, or has he ascended previously and John is simply describing the origin/source of the Beast?

The word ascendeth in the Greek is the Strong # G305,

  • verb – present active participle – nominative singular neuter
  • anabaino an-ab-ah’-ee-no: to go up
  • arise, ascend (up), climb (go, grow, rise, spring) up, come (up).

Notice that Johns verb choice is a present active participle. I do not know greek, but from what I can find out, the use of a present tense signifies continuity, or continuously coming out of the abyss.

One website that tries to explain greek grammar states that the present tense signifies “a continuous action, habitual action, often reflects a lifestyle”

(Now I don’t know about you, but I have a hard time considering the continual ascending of the beast as a lifestyle, but the point is taken, that this does not seem to be a one time event.)

Other than defining where the beast is rising from, this verse doesn’t shed much light on the pit.

Rev 17 :8
The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to rise from the bottomless pit and go to destruction. And the dwellers on earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world will marvel to see the beast, because it was and is not and is to come.

What is going on here?

Dang – I am glad the only thing I have to consider is the portion describing the bottomless pit, cause this thing about “the beast that was, and is not, and yet is” is simply beyond me. Also, the book of life thing is confusing for me, so I am glad I don’t have to address that topic!

What I do have to address is the pit.

What does this passage teach me concerning the pit?

  • Well – the beast comes out of it – but we saw that in an earlier passage (Rev 11:7).
  • Could this be the same time, same ascendancy as in Rev 11:7?
  • I think John is describing a different time, this being the time(s) the beast goes into damnation/perdition.
  • Rev 11:7 speak of the beasts ascendancy and seeming success over the two witnesses.
  • This passage speaks of the downfall of the beast.

I am tempted to think that the mention of the bottomless pit is more of a description of this beasts origin, as opposed to defining a physical location. I don’t have much to base that on other than this is a highly symbolic book and trying to identify a location for the pit may be a fools errand.

Also, whatever John is trying to describe escapes me since his verb tenses are confusing to me. The beast shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and yet is not, and yet is.

I guess the one thing that I know is that the pit is a real bad place – real bad! Other than that, I am not seeing much more that this verse is telling me of the bottomless pit.

If you have some input, I would welcome it! Hope to see you again for our final post in this series.


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Questions I’ve Been Asked – The Bottomless Pit – Part 4

Question GIF

Welcome back friends

In this post, we will continue looking at the question of the Bottomless Pit by delving into chapter 9 of the book of Revelation.

So lets get at it!

Rev 9 :11

They have as king over them the angel of the bottomless pit. His name in Hebrew is Abaddon, and in Greek he is called Apollyon.

Who are “they”?

Verse three describes locusts coming out of the smoke that was released from the bottomless pit, and the following verses describe these “locusts”.

Locust gif

Locusts are a common picture of judgement in the Old Testament. Even as discussed in the previous post, when I referred to Exodus 10:14-15, the darkness was created by the locusts. Joel also describes a locust invasion. I will leave it to the reader to consider if John may be using some of Joel’s writings in these verses.

These “locusts” that come out of the pit have a king over them, the angel of the bottomless pit.

Some of the things to notice about the bottomless pit are

  • There is authority within the “Bottomless Pit”
  • Remember earlier that we found that it took authority to open the bottomless pit.
    • Is the authority within the pit the same as the authority over the pit? (Me thinks not!)

The King of the Bottomless Pit is named. Abaddon

This is very interesting since the Hebrew word that translates Abaddon is G3 Abaddon (ab-ad-down’) n/p.

    • a destroying angel
      • (abstractly) a perishing
      • (concretely) Hades [intensive from H6] KJV: destruction.Root(s): H6 Apollyon

As an aside, it is of note that this angel (Abaddon) is a destroying angel, not necessarily a torturing angel.

If John is considering that the pit represents death, which I think he is, the king of the pit, being a destroying angel, seems to give some weight to the annihilation theory of the existence of the damned.

Of course a little later in our study, death and hell are thrown into the lake of fire (Rev 20:14).

If I am consistent with John, this would mean that death and hell – that is, hades or the grave – are thrown into the lake of fire to experience the second death.

That is amazing!

Death is put to death!

Jesus did much more than I can imagine, did He not?


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Questions I’ve Been Asked – The Bottomless Pit – Part 3

Question GIF

Thanks for coming back to our study.

In this post, we will begin to get to the meat of the question by delving into the book of Revelation. This is where the modifier “bottomless” is applied to the pit concept, and is the subject of the original question! (Finally, eh?)

I have continued to underline the English word in each verse that has been translated from the Greek “abussos”. Note that sometimes the word is translated as “pit” and sometimes it is translated as “bottomless pit”.

Lets begin the book of Revelation.

abussos

As an aside, a very interesting layout within the Book of Revelation is the placement and structure of “Abussos” in Revelation.

Consider the symmetry of the Word of God. It is amazing to see the unnoticed structure of the Word and the beauty of the message, not only in the content, but in the presentation of the message!

Abussos in Revelation

A Rev. 9:1-2, Rev. 9:11. Key – Let loose – Locust scourge. The Angel called in Hebrew Abaddon in Greek Apollyon.

B Rev. 11:7. The Beast ascends out of the abyss, overcomes saints
B Rev. 17:8. The Beast ascends out of the abyss. Lamb overcomes (Rev. 17:14).

A Rev. 20:1-3. Key – Shut up – Loosed – Deceive (Rev. 20:8). Serpent, called Diabolos (Greek) and Satan (Hebrew).

Our first verse to consider is found in chapter 9.

Rev 9 :1

And the fifth angel blew his trumpet, and I saw a star fallen from heaven to earth, and he was given the key to the shaft of the bottomless pit.

Who received the key to the bottomless pit? The fifth angel? The star?

As I glanced at this verse I initially assumed it was the star that received the key to the bottomless pit, but considering the mission of each of the seven angels in the book of Revelation, (see below) it seems possible that the recipient of the key was the fifth angel.

Other translations seem to favor the opposite, that is that the star that fell receives the key to the bottomless pit. I assumed that John may be assigning the term “star” to Satan, but after checking with other New Testament instances of a star falling, came up short. I was recalling Luke 10:18, where Jesus saidI beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.” Not quite the same, but a study of the word “lightning” in Matthew 24:27 is very interesting! Check out Return of the LORD as Lightning? if interested.

Whoever obtained the key, one principle truth comes through in this verse regarding the bottomless pit. Authority was required to open the bottomless pit! The key was required to open the shaft and representative of authority over the shaft. Think of it this way. Who has a key to your home or apartment. Those that have authority to enter it. A key represents authority.

As another aside, I found it interesting to consider other verses referring to the assignments of the angels in Revelation.

8:7 The first angel blew his trumpet, and there followed hail and fire, mixed with blood, and these were thrown upon the earth. And a third of the earth was burned up, and a third of the trees were burned up, and all green grass was burned up.

8:8 The second angel blew his trumpet, and something like a great mountain, burning with fire, was thrown into the sea, and a third of the sea became blood.

8:10 The third angel blew his trumpet, and a great star fell from heaven, blazing like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water.

8:12 The fourth angel blew his trumpet, and a third of the sun was struck, and a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of their light might be darkened, and a third of the day might be kept from shining, and likewise a third of the night.

9:1 And the fifth angel blew his trumpet, and I saw a star fallen from heaven to earth, and he was given the key to the shaft of the bottomless pit

9:13 Then the sixth angel blew his trumpet, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar before God,

11:15 Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.”

Back to the topic at hand – that is, the bottomless pit.

Rev 9:2,3

He opened the shaft of the bottomless pit, and from the shaft rose smoke like the smoke of a great furnace, and the sun and the air were darkened with the smoke from the shaft.

Then from the smoke came locusts on the earth, and they were given power like the power of scorpions of the earth.

Who opened the bottomless pit? Don’t know! (see above)

Some of the things to notice about this verse are

  • Smoke arose out of the shaft of the pit
  • Sun and air were darkened by the smoke.
  • Smoke was like the smoke of a great furnace.

smoke 1 gif

This verse doesn’t teach that the pit is the great furnace. Simply that the shaft of the pit, when opened, spewed forth smoke. This smoke is likened to the smoke of a great furnace.

So many similes and metaphors – Helpppppp!

Darkness and smoke (along with the appearance of locusts) are associated with Old Testament themes of judgement and death.

Consider the following.

Exod 10:14-15

The locusts came up over all the land of Egypt and settled on the whole country of Egypt, such a dense swarm of locusts as had never been before, nor ever will be again.
They covered the face of the whole land, so that the land was darkened, and they ate all the plants in the land and all the fruit of the trees that the hail had left. Not a green thing remained, neither tree nor plant of the field, through all the land of Egypt.

Joel 2:2

a day of darkness and gloom,
a day of clouds and thick darkness!
Like blackness there is spread upon the mountains
a great and powerful people;
their like has never been before,
nor will be again after them
through the years of all generations.

Joel 2:10

The earth quakes before them;
the heavens tremble.
The sun and the moon are darkened,
and the stars withdraw their shining.

Also, consider Genesis 19:24-28, for themes of judgement, angelic messengers and a description of smoke as of out of a furnace,

Genesis 19:1, 13, 24-28
1 The two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them and bowed himself with his face to the earth
13 For we are about to destroy this place, because the outcry against its people has become great before the LORD, and the LORD has sent us to destroy it.”
24 Then the LORD rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from the LORD out of heaven.
25 And he overthrew those cities, and all the valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground.
26 But Lot’s wife, behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.
27 And Abraham went early in the morning to the place where he had stood before the LORD.
28 And he looked down toward Sodom and Gomorrah and toward all the land of the valley, and he looked and, behold, the smoke of the land went up like the smoke of a furnace.
Could John be thinking of some of these passages when he is penning this portion of the book? He was immersed in the Old Testament. The book of Revelation is full of Old Testament quotes and references. I wonder….
It is important to remember that smoke signifies fire, or at least a lingering burn, and that the smoke is part of that which was burned up.800px-Dachau_006

You know, my wife and I visited Dachau in Germany a few years back and in our exploring of the WWII concentration camp, we stumbled upon a small shrine, where it is said that thousands of Jews rested, in the form of ashes. The rest of their corporeal bodies went up in the smoke! A harsh truth is found in that shrine.
The wickedness of man seems to know no bounds, and the furnaces of Dachau are a testament to that wickedness. Man has no right to take life. He did not create life.
No so with God. The bottomless pit may speak of this judgement.
Hopefully, further study will clarify the “Bottomless Pit” and it’s part in the judgement of sinful men and rebellious angels.
Hope to visit with you during our next post. May God bless you and encourage you in your walk with Him.


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Questions I’ve Been Asked – Thousand Years – Part 1

Question GIF

Our first 2 posts under the topic of “Questions I’ve been Asked” have been somewhat controversial!

Lets start this one off with the binding of Satan. (Carl – can’t you find something a bit less debateable?) More specifically, lets look at the term “a thousand years” in the book of Revelation and how it relates to the binding of Satan.

You see, a brother asked me about the thousand year teaching in the Book of Revelation and if Satan is bound at the present time.

I hope I can address these concerns properly.

Let’s read the passage first

Rev 20:2

And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years,

Revelation 20:2 is the first of six references of a thousand years between verse 2 and verse 7. I have argued before that since John repeats himself six times, he must be making a point about the actual length of time that Satan is bound.

But lets think about this.

1.) Does the literalness of a passage increase due to the repetition of a word?

1000 multi

If repetition is a method to emphasize literalness, consider the following passage. Same author – John – writing down the words of Jesus, in describing Himself as a “door”. No Christian I know will say that Jesus is a literal door. (Hint – it is a metaphor for something greater!)

John 10:1-2

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door but climbs in by another way, that man is a thief and a robber.
But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.

John 10:7

So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep.

John 10:9

I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.

I do hope that this one instance (there are many more!) of repetition of a word shows the weakness of this argument. I understand there are differences between the two passages (six repetitions in the book of Revelation, as opposed to only four in John 10), but the point needs to be considered.

Our next post will consider if the literalness of a passage increases due to the use of a precise number? I think understanding the question of precision has actually been the most beneficial for me in this study. I hope you will come join me.

I look forward to comments and questions, especially passages of Scripture that may help in understanding this topic better.


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Questions I’ve Been Asked – The Bottomless Pit – Part 2

Question GIF

Thanks for coming to visit and enter into our study on the bottomless pit.

My hope is that with a bit of study and a few choice questions, a bit of clarity may come to some.

So, lets Consider the Bible and what it teaches about the bottomless pit. We will begin with looking at the greek equivalent of the english word “pit”.

The greek word “abussos”, translated pit or abyss, is the direction the current post will follow. The definition is as follows, per Strongs Concordance.

abussos

Strong’s Number: G12
Greek Base Word: ἄβυσσος

Usage: Deep, (bottomless) pit

Detailed definition:

  1. Bottomless.
  2. Unbounded.
  3. The abyss.
    1. The pit.
    2. The immeasurable depth.
    3. Of Orcus, a very deep gulf or chasm in the lowest parts of the earth used as the common receptacle of the dead and especially as the abode of demons.

Where is this greek term “abussos” found in the New Testament Scriptures? This term is used once in Luke, once in Romans and 7 times in Revelation. This post will deal with the first two references.

I have italicized the specific term/terms that “abussos” has been translated as.

Luke 8 :31

And they begged him not to command them to depart into the abyss.

This is the story of the demons and the pigs, where Jesus approached a man by the name of Legion (since he had so many demons in him), and the demons began to deal with the Messiah, (as if they had any bargaining power). The first thing they request is not to be sent to the abussos, the pit.

My initial thoughts about the pit have been justified in this very verse – it is bad, real bad!

Other than that, the primary issues I understand are:

  • Demons are associated with the abyss (pit).
  • Jesus had the authority to send the demons there.
  • The demons knew it.

It is of interest that the demons ended up “down the steep place into the lake and drowned”

The lake is not the pit, (or it would have been called a pit, I suppose), but a certain link between the pit, water and demons might be found. The demons requested to be in the swine, and the Lord allowed it, but the host swine for the demons did not exist long.

Where did the demons go after their host (the pigs) were destroyed? This text gives us no answers to this question!

Rom 10 :7

“or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).

Paul is directly associating the abussos, “the deep” with death. He takes Dt 31:11-14 and freely translates it into the Christian experience.

Dt 30 11 & Rom 10

First off, notice how Paul interprets Dt 31:13, where he defines “beyond the sea” as descend into the deep (abussos). This connection of the sea with the pit seems to come up occasionally in this study, and it may be beneficial to note.

Rant #1

OK here comes rant # 1 in this post.
As I continue trying to understand the Bible, I am finding it increasingly important to see how the apostles understood the Old Testament.
A number of challenges have erupted in my studies and I realized that I want to depend on my cultural settings to find the meaning in the passage.
This is not wise!

Ticked off

This freedom of the apostles to interpret the Old Testament (differently than I) used to really tick me off, since I was a dyed in the wool literalist.

It was difficult to defend my understanding of some of the promises in the Old Testament. I kept banging up against this type of passage, where an apostle would not interpret an Old Testament passage per Carl’s methods.

How dare they

How dare those apostles!

Instead, let’s consider a few lessons.

  1. The Apostles Consistency
    • The apostles are being consistent with Jesus’s understanding of the Old Testament. Remember when Jesus referred to “the Temple” (John 2:19 -22) being destroyed. Everyone (including me, if I had been present) misunderstood Him. The apostles no longer misundertand Him. (Luke 24:45). If we seek to apply the apostles teaching according to our understanding, we may be missing out on what the message is trying to communicate to us.
  2. My Growing Understanding
    • By that I mean, I am constantly finding passages that challenge my previous understanding of the Biblical message. And this is OK – heck this is great, since it allows me to remain(?) humble. (hahaha!)

As an aside, I heard the story of a highly respected theologian hundreds of years ago, who wrote a massive commentary before he was thirty, and then spent his life defending it. Either he was a genius, or too stubborn to admit error as the Word challenged his beliefs. This approach does not appeal to me. I am convinced that the Christian life is a life of repentance and a willingness to adjust our thinking and actions to glorify God.

Often, it seems that one passage will impact many prior beliefs. My repentance from a wooden literal-ism has brought about more questions than answers. Not a comfortable position to be in as one who prided himself in his ability to answer bible questions! But being stubborn in error is still error!

In conclusion, I am open to corrective teaching, and this blog is one avenue to find that correction. As a matter of fact, I look forward to finding an apostle quote or refer to an Old Testament passage. It makes me stop, consider and evaluate why he may have used that particular passage in his message.

End of Rant #1

With all that said, the points of interest in Romans 10 seem to be

  • Paul associates “the deep” (pit) with “beyond the sea”.
  • The pit is associated with death.
  • No mention of satan, demons, torment, fire, smoke or darkness is mentioned in this passage.

I hope we can continue in our next post, where we will continue with passages in the book of Revelation that address the “pit”.

May you have a great day and continue to seek Him. Hope to see you during our next post – Promise no rants on the next post!


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Questions I’ve Been Asked – The Bottomless Pit – OT References

Question GIF

In our first study on the topic, “The Bottomless Pit” I offered a list of verses of all OT references to the English word “pit” terms can be found in a post called “Questions I’ve Been Asked – What about the Bottomless Pit – OT References”)

This so happens to be quite a list, so I have supplied links for each of these words, with a brief definition (Strongs). The term most likely sought in this study is #6 – H7585 sh’owl (Sheol)


1.) H875 ‘er (be-ayr’) n-f.
a pit
especially a well

בְּאֵר (H875)


2.) H953 bowr (bore) n-m.
a pit hole (especially one used as a cistern or a prison)

בּוֹר (H953)


3.) H1360 gebe (geh’-beh) n-m.
a reservoir
by analogy, a marsh

גֶּבֶא (H1360)


4.) H1475 guwmmats (goom-mawts’) n-m.
a pit

גּוּמָּץ, gûmmāṣ


5.) H6354 pachath (pakh’-ath) n-m.
a pit, especially for catching animals

פַּחַת (H6354)


6.) H7585 sh’owl (sheh-ole’) (or shol {sheh-ole’}) n-f.
Hades or the world of the dead (as if a subterranean retreat), including its accessories and inmates

שְׁאוֹל, šĕʾôl (H7585)


7.) H7745 shuwchah (shoo-khaw’) n-f.
a chasm

שׁוּחָה (H7745)


8.) H7816 shchuwth (shekh-ooth’) n-f.
Pit

שְׁחוּת (H7816)


9.) H7882 shiychah (shee-khaw’) n-f.
a pit-fall

שִׁיחָה (H7882)


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Questions I’ve Been Asked – The Bottomless Pit – Part 1

Question GIF

Our next topic under our “Questions I’ve Been Asked” is gonna take a few posts, and I hope you will continue with me on this study.

I was listening to a Bible teacher on you tube a while back and he was teaching on the topic of the Bottomless Pit. Although many of the issues he raised were very questionable (IMHO) , a friend asked me what I thought the Bible taught concerning it.

You know, at the time, all I knew was that it was bad – real bad!

But I don’t think that would satisfy this brother, so off I go into studying – “The Bottomless Pit”

First off – Definitions!

Strong’s concordance explains “abussos” as follows:
G12 abussos {ab’-us-sos} AV – bottomless pit 5, deep 2, bottomless 2; Total: 9

  • bottomless
  • unbounded
  • the abyss
    • the pit
    • the immeasurable depth
    • of Orcus, a very deep gulf or chasm in the lowest parts of the earth used as the common receptacle of the dead and especially as the abode of demons.

Secondly – Source Material

What might the Old Testament teach us about the “Pit” before we venture into the New Testament? At this time, I understand the term bottomless to be a modifier to pit, and not necessarily defining a proper name.

The following nine Hebrew terms are translated pit in the Old Testament and have varying degrees of importance in our study as we consider how the Old Testament may give light in relation to the apostles understanding of this topic, and especially John’s use of “pit” in Rev 20.

(Links for lists of verses of each of these OT terms can be found in a post called “Questions I’ve Been Asked – What about the Bottomless Pit – OT References”)

1.) H875 ‘er (be-ayr’) n-f.
a pit, especially a well
2.) H953 bowr (bore) n-m.
a pit hole (especially one used as a cistern or a prison)
3.) H1360 gebe (geh’-beh) n-m.
a reservoir
by analogy, a marsh
4.) H1475 guwmmats (goom-mawts’) n-m.
a pit
5.) H6354 pachath (pakh’-ath) n-m.
a pit, especially for catching animals
6.) H7585 sh’owl (sheh-ole’) (or shol {sheh-ole’}) n-f.
Hades or the world of the dead (as if a subterranean retreat), including its accessories and inmates
7.) H7745 shuwchah (shoo-khaw’) n-f.
a chasm
8.) H7816 shchuwth (shekh-ooth’) n-f.
Pit
9.) H7882 shiychah (shee-khaw’) n-f.
a pit-fall

The majority of these terms define a simple hole in the ground, usually with dire consequences. An example would be – Joseph was thrown in a pit.

Sometimes the term used simply defines a well, sometimes, though rarely, with a positive connotation (a well of living waters – Song 4:15)

Where it gets interesting is in the 6th term – Sheol. This term is used 63 times in the Old Testament, translated as

  • grave – 29 times
  • pit – 3 times
  • hell – 31 times

Sheol is usually referring to a hole in the ground, but it represented death, decay and the end. Although there are two texts that speak of a resurrection …

Job 19:26

And after my skin has been thus destroyed,
yet in my flesh I shall see God

Dan 12:2

And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.

…it is not completely clear (at least to me) what the Jewish population believed about the grave.

If the Old Testament Saints believed in a physical resurrection, Sheol, as a physical hole in the ground, represented the greatest enemy.

sheol-word-hell

If Sheol represented a specific place of reward or punishment, I have not found it stated as such in the Old Testament. (I said Old Testament folks – I heard some of y’all thinking bout Luke 16!!!)

With that said, at the very least we can know is that Sheol represented the grave.

The next post will begin dealing with New Testament light on this subject!

I hope you can join me as we dig into this interesting and somewhat emotionally charged topic.


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Questions I’ve Been Asked – Introduction

Question GIF

Occasionally I will be chatting with a friend or a stranger (some stranger than I) and a topic will come up that stirs my mind, and causes me to venture down that road of research that just might upset one of my theological apple-carts.

As this occurs, I intend to post on these questions and will offer my findings for your review and comment.

Hope to visit with you, even if it is only to see some of them apples strewn about my pilgrim path!


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Salaried Pastors? A discussion with a Pastor 3

Salary 2Quite awhile ago I sent out an email to a number of prominent pastors (8 or 9) within the area I live in.  One out of the nine responded in an effort to minister.  The following  conversation is with that one pastor who sought to help.  I appreciate his willingness to enter into a discussion with me.

This third post is simply some wanderings and considerations I have had after my discussion with the Pastor!  Give me some feed back if I’m way out of line.


Consider 1 Corinthians 9:12

Remember that the topic of this passage is support (not salary) of an apostle, a traveling minister.  These verses, IMHO, do not apply to elders and pastors of local churches, who are able to maintain outside employment to assist the local body if in need.

1 Corinthians 9:12

If others (referring to other apostles – check the context!) share this rightful claim on you, do not we (Paul and his party) even more? Nevertheless, we (Paul and his party) have not made use of this right, but we (Paul and his party) endure anything rather than put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ.

salary 3Is not Paul stating that using this “right”, (that is, support from a body of believers) actually hinders (places an obstacle in the way) the gospel? This is an apostle (not an elder or pastor) teaching this truth about an apostles right to support, which Paul is refusing to exercise.

How can local pastors refer to this same passage (1 Corinthians 9) to establish this right they believe they have, and yet miss this verse?

One important item that I need to clarify, for I know what some may be thinking.  I am not advocating abandonment of the Christian minister.  Support and salary are two completely different topics, and the New Testament exhorts believers to support those who are ministering among them.

Support for a Christian minister, coming from those blessed from his ministry, is a direct relational blessing.  If believers would remove themselves from unbiblical obligations, they could freely give funds, gifts and blessings to Biblically directed recipients, such as:

  • The poor (including widows, orphans, etc)
  • Travelling missionaries (those in a similar situation as the apostle in 1 Corinthians 9)
  • Christian ministers that trust in God.

An additional verse that some may appeal to, to justify the salaried position within the family of God is Galatians 6:6.

Gal 6:6

6 Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches.

Two things to notice

  • The context of this verse is general Christian living, not the requirements of a contractual obligation to a separate group of specialized Christians.  I once asked how this verse justifies the salary of a pastor but does not apply to a Sunday School teacher, or a “lay” Christian teaching in some manner.
  • The good things are just that – good things.  Encouraging words, financial help, a bag of groceries, an invitation to supper, a new car,  etc.

I love the opportunity to assist those I know of that are in need, or that I “sense” may need a “blessing”.  I believe the Lord is able to direct His people to assist His people.  Is that wrong?  Too simplistic?  Too ideal?

salary 1It is becoming obvious to me, that salaried positions for local elders/pastors seems to be foreign to the New Testament.

Help me find justification for the salaried position, so that I can sense that the modern church is still somewhat on track.

Although not scripture, it is interesting to review what an early church document reveals how Christians treated this topic.

Didache 2

Notice what the Didache (Also known as “The Teaching of the Twelve.”) teaches.

Chapter 11. Concerning Teachers, Apostles, and Prophets.

didache

Let every apostle that comes to you be received as the Lord. But he shall not remain except one day; but if there be need, also the next; but if he remain three days, he is a false prophet. And when the apostle goes away, let him take nothing but bread until he lodges; but if he ask money, he is a false prophet.

A little later in chapter 11…

But whoever says in the Spirit, Give me money, or something else, you shall not listen to him; but if he says to you to give for others’ sake who are in need, let no one judge him.

Wow

Story Time

This topic, since I have been considering it for a period of time, was on my mind this morning, when I was visiting with a brother.  He mentioned that the church he belongs to is putting on a Christmas pageant and that they had sold 14,000 tickets, ranging from $8 to $14 each.  I mentioned that, at an average price of $10 per ticket, that church pulled in $140,000, and that this should pay for the minister’s salary.

Oh no no, he says – Our pastor makes $200,000,  plus benefits, vacation and a yearly month-long sabbatical.  Oh and this particular church has a $20,000,000 capital budget for renovations and building projects.

Silver and gold have I none – Peter – 1st century


 

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Stupid Idiots – A Description

Stupid Idiots

I went to hear a brother speak a while back that advocated that Christians should be “stupid idiots”. (His words, not mine!)

To give this brother the benefit of the doubt, and to find out what the intent of the message was, I set off on a wee bit of study into Acts 4:13, his text for the day.

After my preliminary study, I decided to contact this brother, share with him what I found in my study, discuss his message and ask for any clarification. What follows is the beginning of the correspondence I had with this brother.


Act 4:13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.

A Description or a Command?

With all these technical definitions, it remains that this verse is an estimation of the apostles by the enemies of the gospel, and not an imperative for Christians to obey.

I wonder if telling the congregation to become “stupid idiots” based on Acts 4:13 was wise. In a society that is increasingly being “dumbed down”, I would hope that Christianity would argue against the trend. I surely do not advocate knowledge for the sake of knowledge, for

“knowledge puffeth up, but love edifieth”.

The critical motivating factor and fruit in a believers heart, mind and soul is love to the Master and our neighbor. But the great commandment does include our minds, and that presupposes the intake of (proper) knowledge.

As I was discussing the message with my daughter, I remembered that the apostle Paul described himself (and his entourage) as “fools for Christ” in 1 Cor 4:10. Could Paul have been describing himself from the Corinthians viewpoint (ironically), and not from a point of motivation for him (us) to look to.

I know you believe that the body of Christ is made up of all kinds of folk, some common (like myself) and some professionally trained in the “rabbinical” schools of today. He is big enough to use any person who will spend time with Him and be willing to grow in grace and the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

I do appreciate the ability to converse with you – I look forward to your reply. I am sure I have misunderstood your intent and appreciate your time in helping me understand.

Thanks for your labors

Carl

What think ye? Should Christians seek the label of “stupid idiots”?

In our next post, we will review his response.


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Salaried Pastors? A discussion with a Pastor 2

Salary 2

Quite awhile ago I sent out an email to a number of prominent pastors (8 or 9) within the area I live in. One out of the nine responded in an effort to minister. The following conversation is with that one pastor who sought to help. I appreciate his willingness to enter into a discussion with me.

Our previous post supplied the initial question and the pastors response. This post will supply my response and appreciation to this pastor. I am still gonna call him Pastor X cause I still think it’s cool.

My response follows.


Pastor X

Thanks for getting back to me on this. Some of these verses seem to be helping with the argument for a salaried position but after looking at their context and setting, it doesn’t seem to be as strong an argument as I thought. I have been a believer for many years now, and have used the very same verses to defend my thinking in this topic, but …

Bound Sheep

OLD TESTAMENT BASIS
As for your reference to the levitical priesthood, we are under a New Covenant where each believer is a priest before God. I fear that I do not see any direct NT link between professional Christians (clergy) and the Levitical priesthood. (Although if you know of any clergy performing the levitical sacrifices to satisfy the old covenant that these provisions were specified under, let me know.)
THE RIGHT OF SUPPORT

salary 3

Your point referring to 1 Corinthians seems to be an argument for an itinerant preacher, and not a stationary pastor. The right of support (support same as a salary?) is valid, but not necessarily for the local pastor/priest associated with one local church body. The apostle Paul did much traveling, where the “pastor” (actually elders) of the churches were stationary and could hold down a “secular” job while ministering to the believers in their group.
As a matter of fact, Paul spoke in Acts that the elders/pastors were to give to the church and not be a burden to the group. They were to help the weak and remember that it is more blessed to give than receive. Notice that the context includes the topic of coveting silver and gold.

Acts 20:33-35

33 I coveted no one’s silver or gold or apparel.

34 You yourselves know that these hands ministered to my necessities and to those who were with me.

35 In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'”

1 Peter 5:1-3 seems to address this same topic. (I think Peter is addressing motivation in these verses.)

Peter is kinda rough – using terms like “shameful gain”.

Calm down Peter – you need to get with the program.

1 Peter 5:1-3

1 So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed:

2 shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly;

3 not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.

DOUBLE HONOR

salary 1

When you referred to 1 Timothy 5:17-18, this is the set of verses that started this concern for me.

1 Timothy 5:17-19

17 Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching.

18 For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer deserves his wages.”

As I was studying these verses earlier, I found that honor = Strongs greek # 5091. Thayer definitions below.

Strong’s # G5091, τιμάω timaō

Thayer Definition:

1) to estimate, fix the value

1a) for the value of something belonging to one’s self

2) to honour, to have in honour, to revere, venerate

As I look at these definitions, there doesn’t seem to be any specific thought of money being an issue. This of course does not take away from your argument, that Paul could be gently breaching the salary concept. But if he is, then we need to put widows on a salary, since the same word for honor is used in verse 3.

1 Timothy 5:3

3 Honor widows who are truly widows.

And we need to ensure that all slaves are placing their masters on a salary, since this word is also used in verse 1 of chapter 6.

1 Timothy 6:1

1 Let all who are under a yoke as bondservants regard their own masters as worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and the teaching may not be reviled.

Surely, the church of the living Christ is a priesthood of believers. At times, I fear that having paid clergy can work against the church body, creating a group of believers dependent on a paid staff (clergy).

As an aside, I found that Peter used the word cleros (a root for the english word “clergy”?) to define all of God’s people in 1 Peter 5:3. Kinda found that to be ironic!

I heard a believer once say that to find the strength of a church, one needs only to remove the pastor. I realize this is very difficult stuff, and I have feared even bringing this topic up for many months. I am thankful that you responded so quickly and sought to help.

If I am missing something, or you find that I am not understanding a truth, please be assured that I would be very happy to continue this discussion. It is truth that believers need to seek, and not just to blindly follow traditions.

Thanks again for your ministry.

Rom 5:3

Carl


Pastor X has not had the opportunity to reply with any additional exhortations or instruction. I appreciate this mans desire to help me, and I hope the best for him and his ministry.

After receiving the pastors notes, and waiting for a response, my mind started wandering and considering. Some of those wanderings and considerings will be in our next post.

Hope to see you there.


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