A Jealous God – Part 2

jealousy

 

Let’s continue our study on the jealousy of God, looking at one more Hebrew term translated as jealous in the Old Testament.

God’s Jealousy קַנּוֹא

The following words for jealous are used only of God, and the remainder of the post will consider God’s jealousy

The Hebrew word H7067,קַנּוֹא qannôwʼ, kan-no’; jealous or angry:—jealous, which occurs 6 times in the following 5 verses.

Exodus 20:5

You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me,
Jealous for me

Moses, in the first occurrence of this concept of God’s jealousy, directly links jealousy with worship and service.  This is a recurring theme in the verses we will look at.

Jealousy is also rooted in covenant, since the law is being given in this passage, and this passage is the establishment of the Sinaitic covenant, the covenant that establishes Israel as a Theocratic kingdom on earth.

Consider the marriage covenant.  Two people promise themselves to one another.  One breaks the promise by being unfaithful.  Jealousy rears it’s head.  As humans, we tend to immediately seek selfish revenge.  Can we attribute this selfish revenge to God?

The covenant warns those entering into it the severity of the covenant.  Iniquity will be visited up.  There were no secrets, or hidden clauses that Israel could accuse God of.  And yet, the visitation of God upon the nation of Israel was not swift and severe.  It tended to be forgiving, patient and merciful.

Now Carl you have gone to far!  

Consider the verse we are looking at. Note that God will visit the iniquities of the fathers generations later.  The average Israeli could expect judgment upon his life, or 60 to 80 years after the sin, (if I read this right, given that a generation is 20 years).

Exodus 34:14

(for you shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God),

A reiteration of the above conditions the nation entered into at Sinai.
 
Deuteronomy 4:24
For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.
Deut-4-24-200x300
This verse should sound very familiar if you read the New Testament.  The author of Hebrews quotes this passage, warning the people of Israel of the coming judgement on their nation.
 
The nation’s rejection of the Messiah certainly roused the jealousy of God.  They not only serve other gods, and worship other gods, but they wholesale murder the God whom they were to worship and serve.
 
And yet note, that the judgment that fell on the nation that killed the Son of God was held off for about 40 years.  Did I mention one of the differences between our selfish jealousy and God’s jealousy is the merciful forgiveness and patience He exhibits.
 
Please be clear that God’s jealousy is not to be discounted, assuming He is different somehow today than He was under the Old Covenant.
 
The author of Hebrews bring this passage into the Christian experience in order to remind us He is the same yesterday, today and forever.

Deuteronomy 5:9

You shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me,


As the book title means “Second Telling”, this verse repeats Exodus 20:5

Deuteronomy 6:14-15

You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples who are around you—

for the LORD your God in your midst is a jealous God—lest the anger of the LORD your God be kindled against you, and he destroy you from off the face of the earth.

God’s jealousy in this verse is directly associated with anger.  We will find this concept of anger /wrath associated with the second Hebrew word translated jealousy also, which we will look at in our next post.
 
But let us consider this verse for the time being.
 
The Lord their God in their midst is a jealous God.  Does this not imply that the Israelite’s were currently chasing other gods?  As many readers may know, this habit of chasing other gods became a consistent sin for the nation.
 
Due to this sin, the Jealousy of God was kindled and many passages in the Old Testament speak of this anger and wrath. (I may look into the difference on the two terms of anger and wrath in a separate post at a later time.)
 
The nation hobbled along for approximately 500 years before the Babylonian exile took the nation away from the land.  Even then, the Lord watched over His people for 70 years, sending them prophets and leaders to give them direction.  Eventually, the people returned to the land, with God again sending prophets and teachers for close to 600 years eventually culminating in the Messiah.
 
We are talking of approximately 1200 years of the Jewish nation, in varying degrees of idolatry, being patiently dealt with by the Father.  Yet the verse says He will destroy you (the nation of Israel) from off the face of the earth.
 
The Jealousy of God is so different from the human counterpart in many ways. 
Is anger a common thread?  Yes.  Is the competition of ones devotion involved in both?  Yes. 
Is both jealousies patient and concerned about the “traitors” life?  Not so much. 
Human jealousy is selfish and impatient, concerned only with my rights and refuses to consider the responsibilities of the relationship.
 
Father Son HugGod is not so.  When a relationship is broken, the Father heart of God seeks restoration. 
 
When the idolatry/adultery is raging, and the anger is building, the heart of restoration continues to beat in the breast of God.
 
Jesus pronounced woes on the nation of Israel throughout the 23rd chapter of Matthew, speaking of the judgement to fall upon that generation.   Jesus left the mount of Olives that last time, speaking of the broken heart of God, and giving a lament of the stubbornness of the nation to the patient kindness and long suffering of God.

Matthew 23:37

“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!

God is a jealous God, and His patience and longsuffering in the midst of His anger is beyond understanding. 

But it isn’t beyond some limit.

 


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Faith – Peíthō – Have Confidence

Faith 2As mentioned in my introduction to faith post, I was in Sunday School class a while back and had the opportunity to discuss Christian maturity with the teacher, and as you may have guessed, we wandered off into the subject of faith.

Faith

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

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

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

faith 4I’m glad he challenged me to look it up and I think we were both sort of correct.

The root word found in each of the above greek words is pistos/pistis, and when checked in that web site I like (see above), both are derived from the Greek word “peíthō”.

Strong’s Definitions
πείθω peíthō, pi’-tho; a primary verb; to convince (by argument, true or false); by analogy, to pacify or conciliate (by other fair means); reflexively or passively, to assent (to evidence or authority), to rely (by inward certainty):—agree, assure, believe, have confidence, be (wax) conflent, make friend, obey, persuade, trust, yield.
For future posts, I would like to explore the concept of faith, and each of the terms found in the table above.  But for now, I would like to consider the root word peíthō.

Peíthō

In the Strongs Concordance definition above I have italicized a number of synonyms that are synonyms for the root word Peíthō.  
Consider the following shades of the Greek word Peíthō.
Have Confidence
Confidence As mentioned above, and as further clarification (I hope) of the thought above, having confidence I feel is the continually growing and deepening of the initial belief.
As I have falteringly followed the Master through this journey, I have found His trustworthiness to be beyond my original hopes.  His mercies are new everyday and I have sensed a growing confidence in the Saviors ability (not mine!) to guide and protect, to supply and correct, to help and to encourage.
To “Peíthō” is to have confidence in the One who is the object of faith.
Will you OBEY your curiosity and come visit my next post?  Hope so, since I am really enjoying this study and hope to hear from those who find value in the posts.  Thanks again!

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Commandments for Christians – No Dishonoring God’s Name

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

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

This post will continue with

Commandment #3 – No Dishonoring God’s Name

Exodus 20:7

You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.

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

The NO DISHONORING GOD’S NAME command is included in Jesus and the apostles teaching, but again, primarily from the positive perspective, from the love angle, not the rule angle.

There is a difference.

Matthew 6:9

Pray then like this:
“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.

Jesus exalts the name of the Father, speaking of His holiness, and that is, that His name is holy.  Jesus is making a declaration in this prayer.  I can’t see a command.  Jesus loves the Father, intimately knows the Father and the holiness the Father inhabits.

It is interesting that Jesus says to “pray like this”..  Back in verse 7, Jesus is reiterating the relationship aspect of prayer.  Don’t heap up empty phrases…

That is awesome, you know, the phraseology.  How often I have prayed a prayer and walked away feeling like I have done my duty.  Said a lot of words, completing a duty I feel I have, and then walked away, feeling kinda proud of myself, for “my many words.”

walking alone at nightI remember as a young believer, being out late at night, on a lonely street, walking and talking to Him.  For some reason, I decided to forget about all my requests, and just remind Him of His great qualities, His magnificent character, His unbounding love.  You know, I don’t remember how many words, or the time I spent.  I was simply realizing who I was praying to.

And I was content in prayer.

Philippians 2:9 – 10

Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name,
so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth

Therefore symbolAlways ask why the “therefore” is there for. Some action is taken and then the consequence of that action is described.

These verses give the consequence, that is that the name of Jesus be honored and worshiped.  But to have His name honored, surely the verses before describe a harsh command given, a strict law supplied, or a very serious threatening voiced.

No command.  No – He was crucified for our sins, and God the Father raised Him from the dead.  That singular action was performed in order that His name be honored.

James 2:7

Are they not the ones who blaspheme the honorable name by which you were called?

There are some who dishonor the honorable name by which we were called.  The rich.  Notice that the rich James is referring to are the rich that are attending meeting.  What?  And James is ticked off about the distinctions the church elders are making, favoring the rich.

The church elders have it all upside down.

Why are they favoring the rich who do not favor God’s name, and yet do not honor the poor man, who has been called by the honorable name of God?

A good take away from this post for today is to open your eyes to see those who are poor in the family of God and honor them.  Ignore the rich – they got their money…


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***By the way, how many of you recognized the symbol for therefore?

Proverbial Thoughts on Children

Proverbs 4 23Thoughts on the topic of children from the book of wisdom

My wife and I have 5 beautiful children, whom we love and cherish. Each of them are out of the house now, but not out of our heart.

We understand better now than ever the wisdom the following passages supply to parents, and my regret is in not paying better attention to the details of the precepts supplied below.

Oh – we sought to obey the following verses, but I have to admit, that discipline was administered sometimes without the child’s best interest considered.

Proverbs 13:24
Whoever spares the rod hates his son,
but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.
Proverbs 19:18
Discipline your son, for there is hope;
do not set your heart on putting him to death.

All those parents out there who have sometimes disciplined thier child without seeking thier child’s benefit, but only a release of frustration, please raise your hand. I admit my weakness in this.

And yet the Lord has been very kind to this family.

When reading a passage such as above, keep in mind the one below.

Colossians 3:21

Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.

A very wise lady, who was raising a teenager on her own, being abandoned by her husband, once told me a great secret on raising kids, specifically teens.

Are you ready? Talk to them and with them. That’s it! If you can maintain communication with your child from the preteen years through the teenage years, the battle is half done.

Teenagers

Sometimes when a teenager is fearing the discipline, it creates a wall that blocks discussions.

Do teenagers need discipline? Yes. I am not advocating a free for all.

What I am advocating is communication. Talk. Chatting. Chewing the fat. About the weather, drugs, the price of rice in China, or why the sky is blue. If your child knows he or she can talk to you, the chances are better (not guaranteed) that they will weather the storm of the teenage years.

Proverbs 22:6
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

autism_011

Notice that the verse does not say – Train up a child in the life you dream of. (Ahem – every child is not a sports superstar!)

Nor does it say, Train up a child in the way you are living. In other words, passive training. Kids are sponges, and they will soak up the bad habits the parents exhibit easier than the few good habits practiced.
Train up a child in the way he should go. The only way a parent will know that is through understanding the Word & Will of God and prayer. Oh and one more thing. The parent needs to understand the child. Which means back to the talking, chatting, discussing, chewing the fat – oh never mind – I think you get the idea.

Proverbs 22:15
Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.
Proverbs 29:15
The rod and reproof give wisdom,
but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.

These passages do not quantify the amount of the rod of correction. Each child is different and a wise parent will know that. Correction should be done as much as possible, privately, since shaming of the child is not necessarily to his or her benefit. Of course if the child has done something against a sibling, the discipline may need to be observed, but the wise parent will understand each of the children’s character to best decide how to accomplish that.

Finally, when raising children, seek to make thier paths easy. The world will chew them up and spit them out on a daily basis. As a parent, follow after God, and walk in integrity.

Your children will be blessed.

Proverbs 20:7
The righteous who walks in his integrity—
blessed are his children after him!

Drop me a line to discuss. Love hearing from you.


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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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Ezekiel 34 – Shepherds Compared – 3

shepherd-carrying-sheepShepherds Compared

In an earlier blog, I mentioned how the passage describing shepherds in Ezekiel 34 seems so very modern.

Many times I have come across men (and women) who say they are shepherds and yet might not like to consider what Ezekiel says. Some may say they have had a calling, a vision, a dream.

Ezekiel doesn’t seem to care about stories. He is looking at the impact of the shepherd’s shepherding on the sheep.

Stories are fun and lately have become outlandish as to how some are “called” to be His shepherds. But in the end, they are simply stories, stories that the gullible or (too) trusting want to believe, because of dry skin on thier ears (itchy ears – get it?).

Lets consider what Ezekiel is trying to teach us. In the following blogs on Ezekiel 34, I would like to settle on the 4th verse for a bit.

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

This verse defines the failures of the shepherds of Israel during Ezekiel’s time. Instead of simply finding fault, (due as it may be), I would rather contrast these shepherds with the Good Shepherd that we seek to follow.

The Good Shepherd Is Against The Bad Shepherds.

Ezekiel 34 :9-10a

9 therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the LORD:

10 Thus says the Lord GOD, Behold, I am against the shepherds, and I will require my sheep at their hand and put a stop to their feeding the sheep. No longer shall the shepherds feed themselves. I will rescue my sheep from their mouths, that they may not be food for them.

God will put a stop to these bad shepherds from feeding His flock. The food these shepherds were feeding the sheep must have been bad food, food that might be described as “leavenous” in a few hundred years after Ezekiel preached! (Jesus ofter warned His disciples of the leaven of the….)

The Good Shepherd God Has Placed Over Us.

Ezekiel 34 :23-24

23 And I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd.

24 And I, the LORD, will be their God, and my servant David shall be prince among them. I am the LORD; I have spoken.

God’s servant David, otherwise known as the King of Glory, Jesus Christ the Messiah, the Great and Good Shepherd, He shall feed us.

Are you being fed by the Master? Are you in communion with Him? Do you hear His voice? He is teaching us, are we listening?

By the way – I didn’t ask if you are going to church regularily, or doing good things in the sight of men, or obeying some preachers wishes.

Is He teaching you?

In the next few posts, let’s look at each of the complaints against the bad shepherds. Hope to visit with you again.

May God bless you and your loved ones!

He is Good.


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Chatting with a Dispy – 2

mount-olives-split-2

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

With that introduction, lets continue our chat with a “Dispy.”

There is no debate that Revelation 19 and Zechariah 14 teach on the physical return of the Lord Jesus Christ in power after the tribulation.

Disagree

There is much debate that both Revelation 19 and Zechariah 14 teach on the physical return of the Lord Jesus Christ in power after the Tribulation

Let’s discuss Zechariah 14 first. Zechariah is considered an apocalyptic book, with the last chapters containing visions that are difficult to understand, and is very similar, in some aspects as the book of Revelation. For Zechariah to mention that “His feet shall stand on the mount of Olives” and considering the highly symbolic nature of the vision (see below for considerations on the symbolic nature of the vision), it is difficult for me to take this completely literally.

It is important to compare scripture with scripture, so with that in mind, consider some of the OT prophets who spoke of similar circumstances – ie His feet on mountains….

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

Does God literally walk on the mountains?

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

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

It seems Zechariah, along with many of the prophets, are describing future times of judgment (for at least the prophets current generation) in pictures that communicate to the Hebrew mind. (Remember that we live in a scientific, analytical age, that might not be as conducive to understanding the prophets as it is to understanding physics or mathematical concepts.)

Symbology of Zechariah

A few question to address if we take Zechariah in a literal manner

Zechariah 14:8 – the “fountain of living waters,” Could this phrase represent a spiritual truth? Zechariah 13:1 states “a fountain will be opened for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for impurity”

If we understand the fountain literally, the natural conclusion would be that the waters cleanse from sin.

Zechariah 14:10 – All the land shall be turned as a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem: and it shall be lifted up, and inhabited in her place, from Benjamin’s gate unto the place of the first gate, unto the corner gate, and from the tower of Hananeel unto the king’s winepresses.

I assume that if the Mount of Olives will be literally split, the same interpretive stance would be used to understand verse 10. If so, all of Jerusalem will be lifted up. Comparing scripture with scripture, I see Micah making some similar comments about Jerusalem (house of the Lord) in Micah 4:1

Micah 4:1 But in the last days it shall come to pass, that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established in the top of the mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills; and people shall flow unto it.

Taken literally, the house of the Lord will be close to 6 miles above sea level (Mt Everest, at 29,000′ above sea level is 5.5 miles above sea level) How people will flow into this is hard to understand, with winds up to 177 mph, and temps dropping to -76^. (I hope the living water has antifreeze in it!)

I hope you understand that I am being a bit facetious, and I hope it is taken in with a “grain of salt”. (You see, even nowadays, we understand each other using phrases that are particular to our culture – ie a grain of salt.)

I find it to be a great challenge to try to understand the mindset of the OT prophet, and it takes time and patience to fit it all together.

One example is that when a prophet mentions “mountains” in a vision, he can sometimes mean a “kingdom. Check it out – it is a quick study that helped me in a somewhat better understanding of the Old Testament prophets.


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

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


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A Jealous God – Part 1

jealousy

I was in my favorite Sunday School this morning, when the teacher challenged us to find out more about the God we serve.  He suggested attributes such as grace, mercy, and jealousy.

Jealousy?

Jealous muchI told him that would be my topic for study for the following week and I would get back to him about my findings.  Hence this series on the Jealousy of God


During class he did warn us that when studying the attributes of God, a natural reaction is seeing the sin in us.  I fully expect this, and was surprised when, as a young believer experienced this for the first time.  I was hanging out with the brother who led me to the Lord, and was discussing how dirty I felt. He asked me what I had been studying and told me to get used to it.

OLD TESTAMENT JEALOUSY

To start with, I wanna know if the jealousy that God is defined by is the same as that which, by association, is evil in us.  

General Jealousy

The English word jealousy is first found in Genesis 26:14.

Green eyed monster

Genesis 26:14

He had possessions of flocks and herds and many servants, so that the Philistines envied him.


The Hebrew word is H7065, קָנָא qânâʼ, kaw-naw’; to envy, be jealous, be envious, be zealous.

This word occurs 42 times in 29 verses. 

I understand this word to define common or general jealousy, since it seems to be dealing with jealousy and envy between men.

Another good example of this jealousy being displayed is between the sons of Israel (God’s people?).

Genesis 37:11 describes Israel’s sons attitude toward Joseph.

Genesis 37:11

And his brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the saying in mind.


In this world we tread, suspicion, fear and competition enter into our experience and create a sometimes irrational emotion described as jealousy.   Actual (or feared) loss of the love of a friend, sibling or parent will cause jealousy to rear it’s ugly head.  The results of this jealousy is at most times evil.  From spreading slander to fits of rage, to murder and self destruction, jealousy has some wicked fruits.

To be jealous is to see true love slipping away, to fear the attention of your love to be directed to someone else.  The results or outcome of jealousy can vary wildly.  I believe this will become obvious as we venture on.


As you can see from a cursory glance of the verses following, jealousy is closely associated with worship, the act of love from the saint to the Savior. 

This makes sense since jealousy is closely related to the competition for ones love. 

Hope you can visit with me next time we look at this topic of jealousy.  In the mean time, Love God and His Son.  


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Faith – Peíthō – Believe

Faith 2As mentioned in my introduction to faith post, I was in Sunday School class a while back and had the opportunity to discuss Christian maturity with the teacher, and as you may have guessed, we wandered off into the subject of faith.

Faith

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

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

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

faith 4I’m glad he challenged me to look it up and I think we were both sort of correct.

The root word found in each of the above greek words is pistos/pistis, and when checked in that web site I like (see above), both are derived from the Greek word “peíthō”.

Strong’s Definitions
πείθω peíthō, pi’-tho; a primary verb; to convince (by argument, true or false); by analogy, to pacify or conciliate (by other fair means); reflexively or passively, to assent (to evidence or authority), to rely (by inward certainty):—agree, assure, believe, have confidence, be (wax) conflent, make friend, obey, persuade, trust, yield.
For future posts, I would like to explore the concept of faith, and each of the terms found in the table above.  But for now, I would like to consider the root word peíthō.

Peíthō

In the Strongs Concordance definition above I have italicized a number of synonyms that are synonyms for the root word Peíthō.  
Consider the following shade of the Greek word Peíthō.
Believe
Believe 2
I suppose it is obvious that the root word for faith has a synonym of believe, but it may be instructive to consider that the next synonym given, is the term “Have confidence”
Difference?  I don’t know “off the top” what the difference is, but I am willing to consider a difference since both descriptive terms were supplied.  To believe, I sense is to have the mental assent of a fact, to consider a message true.
To believe is to accept an opinion, a statement, a message, a thought or a concept.  It is the seed of faith, out of which all confidence, agreement, obedience and yielding grow.  It is the germ of life out of which grows the fully mature Christian life.
To “Peíthō” is to believe the One who is the object of faith.
Come visit our next post.  I HAVE CONFIDENCE you will gain a bit more appreciation for the full meaning of Peíthō.  See you then!

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Commandments for Christians – No Idols

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

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

This post will begin with

Commandment #1 – No Idolatry

Exodus 20:2 – 6

I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.

You shall have no other gods before me.

You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.

You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me,

but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.

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

Matthew 22:37

And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.

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

There is a difference.

Please don’t miss the command to love here.  By the way, when was the last time that worked.  To command to love is not to love.  That implies the loss of free will, does it not?  And love requires the exercise of free will.  So is Jesus commanding to love?

Maybe.

Maybe not.

Maybe He stating a fact, that is, after realizing what love God has for you, you shall love Him.  You will naturally respond to love by loving that one who initiated the love.

1Corinthians 6:9 – 10

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

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

warning 1

Paul supplies a warning in the above verses, and it is interesting that he is speaking of the unrighteous, those folk within the church group who have not conformed to the Spirit of life which is the character of God.

Paul is seeking to communicate that self deception is deadly, (ie the lie that my character does not have to reflect the character of God, for God to accept me)  That non conformity to the character of God is a signal that all is not well.

Don’t hear me say that sinless perfection is required. Our acceptance is in the Beloved, in the Messiah.  Not possible in this life, if I understand 1 John 1:9 correctly.

But our acceptance in the Beloved means we have the Spirit of God, and that the fruit of the Spirit, the love joy peace will be evident in our lives.  It is the desire and growth of the believer into the character of Jesus that is the issue.  For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.  The Spirit of God does not lead me into adultery, theft or idolatry.  That, my friends is the flesh!

1 Corinthians 10:14

Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.

1 John 5:21

Little children, keep yourselves from idols.

Both John and Paul relate to their audience, their brothers and sisters in the Lord, by framing this command in love.  Being beloved, I am more apt to listen to my brother’s warning.

Telling me to NOT have idols, tends to make me want an idol.

Wow Carl, are you saying the ten commandments were supplied only to stir up sin?  Did God provide the decalogue to create sin in us?

Rant #1

Lets consider some of what the Bible teaches about the law.

Romans 4:15

For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression.

Romans 5:20

Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more,

Romans 7:5

For while we were living in the flesh, our sinful passions, aroused by the law, were at work in our members to bear fruit for death.

Let’s get it right.
The law brought wrath, not sin.  The sin was in us all along.  The law revealed it to those who were sensitive to the Spirit of God.
By the way, are you recognizing sin in your walk with Him?  The Christian life is a life of repentance.  And Christians are to flee idolatry.
This may be the western churches greatest challenge, given the tremendous wealth we enjoy.
Please feel free to comment.  I look forward to discussions, in order to learn from you.

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Tradition and the Calf Path

calf-path

One more time where I find a poem in my travels that teaches more than I expected.  I hope you enjoy.


by Sam Walter Foss

Tradition and the Calf Path

One day, through the primeval wood,
A calf walked home, as good calves should;
But made a trail all bent askew,
A crooked trail, as all calves do.

Since then three hundred years have fled,
And, I infer, the calf is dead.
But still he left behind his trail,
And thereby hangs my moral tale.

The trail was taken up next day
By a lone dog that passed that way;
And then a wise bellwether sheep
Pursued the trail o’er vale and steep,
And drew the flock behind him, too,
As good bellwethers always do.

And from that day, o’er hill and glade,
Through those old woods a path was made,
And many men wound in and out,
And dodged and turned and bent about,
And uttered words of righteous wrath
Because ’twas such a crooked path;
But still they followed — do not laugh —
The first migrations of that calf,
And through this winding wood-way stalked
Because he wobbled when he walked.

This forest path became a lane,
That bent, and turned, and turned again.
This crooked lane became a road,
Where many a poor horse with his load
Toiled on beneath the burning sun,
And traveled some three miles in one.
And thus a century and a half
They trod the footsteps of that calf.

The years passed on in swiftness fleet.
The road became a village street,
And this, before men were aware,
A city’s crowded thoroughfare,
And soon the central street was this
Of a renowned metropolis;
And men two centuries and a half
Trod in the footsteps of that calf.

Each day a hundred thousand rout
Followed that zigzag calf about,
And o’er his crooked journey went
The traffic of a continent.
A hundred thousand men were led
By one calf near three centuries dead.
They follow still his crooked way,
And lose one hundred years a day,
For thus such reverence is lent
To well-established precedent.

A moral lesson this might teach
Were I ordained and called to preach;
For men are prone to go it blind
Along the calf-paths of the mind,
And work away from sun to sun
To do what other men have done.
They follow in the beaten track,
And out and in, and forth and back,
And still their devious course pursue,
To keep the path that others do.

They keep the path a sacred groove,
Along which all their lives they move;
But how the wise old wood-gods laugh,
Who saw the first primeval calf!
Ah, many things this tale might teach —
But I am not ordained to preach.

The following is the core of the matter.

A hundred thousand men were led
By one calf near three centuries dead.
They follow still his crooked way,
And lose one hundred years a day,
For thus such reverence is lent
To well-established precedent.


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OT in NT – Mark

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 Mark and corresponding Old Testament references.

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


 

2- OT in NT – Mark

 


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Ezekiel 34 – A Good Shepherd Described – 2

shepherd-carrying-sheepA Good Shepherd Feeds the Flock

Recalling the previous verses in Ezekiel 34, the emphasis of God’s complaint against the shepherds is that they are not feeding the sheep.

Lets read the verses again and consider a key characteristic of a good Shepherd.

Ezekiel 34 :1-3

1 The word of the LORD came to me:

2 “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy, and say to them, even to the shepherds, Thus says the Lord GOD: Ah, shepherds of Israel who have been feeding yourselves! Should not shepherds feed the sheep?

3 You eat the fat, you clothe yourselves with the wool, you slaughter the fat ones, but you do not feed the sheep.

The key characteristic of a true shepherd is to feed the flock.

The Good Shepherd Fed His Flock

When Jesus was restoring Peter, He reiterated three times to feed the flock.

John 21 :15-17

15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.”
16 He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.”
17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.

It is instructive to remember that the last words Jesus told His apostles was to be “teaching them to observe all that I command”

Peter Fed the Flock as a Faithful Shepherd

Peter got it! I think he really got it! He understood a shepherd’s responsibility and passed on this key characteristic to his readers.

1 Peter 5 :2

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;

Paul Fed the Flock as a Faithful Shepherd

Paul got it too, and he passed it on to his readers!

2 Timothy 2:24

24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil,

Paul Expects His Converts to Shepherd by Feeding the Flock

Interesting that Paul expects to get some milk from the flock. This is even described as a right for apostles to expect some milk from the flock (see verse 12). Paul teaches this, but relinquishes that right in order for the gospel to have one less obstacle (Paul’s word not mine).

Notice that in the next two passages, Paul expected his converts to continue to feed the flock, to pass truth on, since the truth is the very lifeblood of the church, and by it we are able to stand.

Acts 20 :28

28 Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.

2 Timothy 2:2

2 and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.

Chief-ShepherdThe Chief Shepherd Feeds His Flock

Golly – the very passage in Ezekiel 34 speaks of the priority of teaching within the Shepherds ministry to His flock. God will set up the Shepherd, and the first activity He is seen to perform is to feed the sheep.

Ezekiel 34:23

23 And I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd.

God has set up His One Shepherd to feed His flock. Are you receiving sustenance from the One Good Shepherd?

It is obvious that God is feeding His sheep, and that He has supplied the Good Shepherd to perform this ministry. Feeding His sheep is the emphasis of the Good Shepherd, but God wants to express His all-encompassing concern for His sheep by describing the various other activities of the Shepherd that pleases God.

Although only One Shepherd fits this description perfectly, it is very instructive to consider the characteristics Ezekiel descibes in this passage, in order to understand God’s will for men who would call themselves shepherds of God’s flock.

(P.S. – Continually reminding someone they are a shepherd may be a clue!!)

This we will do in the following posts. Hope you can join me.


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Chatting with a Dispy – 1

mount-olives-split-2

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

With that introduction, lets chat with a “Dispy.”

Brother

A friend directed me to your page and mentioned that you are open to discussion. If you don’t mind, I would like to challenge you on some of your teaching. I hope I do not come off as offensive or argumentative, but I do want to know what the Bible, and only the Bible says.

I have been a believer for many years and have spent much of my Christian life in the dispensational camp. Although many of your points are familiar, I do not want to assume too many things. I have spent the last 3-4 years considering alternate approaches to understanding the Word of God and have slowly pulled away from a literalistic approach for some passages.

What I intend to do is to copy some teaching from your website and comment within the text. (my comments are indented & italicized)

Rapture in: 1 Thessalonians 4, 1 Corinthians 15:

There is no debate that 1 Thessalonians 4, and 1 Corinthians 15 teach on the rapture.

Agree

Both chapters also teach the resurrection and of the trumpet blast.

Disagree
Actually 1 Corinthians teaches that “the trumpet shall sound” and 1 Thessalonians that the Lord descends “with…the trump of God” Only 1 Corinthians specifically teaches the sounding of the trumpet.

Neither chapter mentions anything about having to endure the tribulation before the rapture comes.

1 Corinthians was written in response to heretical teaching about the resurrection, 1 Thessalonians was written due to “their ignorance” (verse 13).

I do hope you are not going to build doctrine out of silence. It is true that neither chapter mentions anything about having to endure the tribulation, but it also doesn’t teach on the indwelling of the saints with the Holy Spirit. The apostle was addressing a specific issue, and his silence on other issues neither proves or disproves anything!


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

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


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Proverbial Thoughts on Religion

Proverbs 4 23

Thoughts on the topic of religion from the book of wisdom

Religion

I have been listening to the book of Proverbs (The Message translation!) on my commute to work lately and it’s been real good. I listen to one chapter a morning, usually 3-4 times over, if the commute lasts that long.

Occasionally, as I am listening to the Proverbs, some thoughts may come to mind and I will post. At times, the verses jump out at me, and the following two verses certainly did that.
To think that the Bible says such about “religion” is kinda shocking. Both for the fella who has never considered the Book, and for those who may have lived by it for years.
Both may be shocked to consider that proper living is more important to God the Father than religious activities.
Say it ain’t so Carl!!!
Proverbs 21:3 is pretty dang clear
Proverbs 21:3
Clean living before God and justice with our neighbors mean far more to God than religious performance.

Do I hear Micah 6:7-8 echoing in the background? Check it out. (A little self study never hurt anyone!)

Proverbs 21:27
Religious performance by the wicked stinks;
it’s even worse when they use it to get ahead.
How twisted, when you think of the original intent of the sacrificial system that Solomon was likely referring to in this passage. Sacrifice was to give up something, not to get something!
How often have you attended a church meeting and out of nowhere, a brother will approach you about some business opportunity, or try to sell you something, like life insurance.
Never took a liking to that, even when I thought of the building as somewhat holier than other buildings. Now to bring up business opportunities in place of fellowship in the Son seems to grind me all types of wrong.
Nevertheless, I hope you have a great day and enjoy the time you have with your loved ones. Hope to visit with you soon!

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