My parents drove up from Florida over the weekend, so I’m spending time with them.
I’ll post again when I can.
Now, we will all agree that there are divisions in Scripture, after all, the language of ‘Old’ and ‘New’ Testaments naturally lends itself to some sort of division. And Jesus does say, “The Law and the Prophets were until John; since then the good news of the kingdom of God is preached, and everyone forces his way into it.” (Luk 16:16 ESV) But then in the very next verse he says, “But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one dot of the Law to become void.”(Luk 16:17 ESV)
So, which is it? Is the Bible a book divided into separate stories and methods of salvation? Or is it a unified history of God’s eternal purpose of salvation through Christ? Could it be that it is both? Sorry to lead you on, because it’s not both.
The Bible is, however, one book that has been written in 66 acts, so to speak. (Unless you add Ruth to the end of Judges, and combine 1 and 2 Samuel into one book, 1 and 2 Kings into one book, and 1 and 2 Chronicles into one book, which would make the Bible one book written in 62 acts.) This fact of the Bible as one book can most clearly be seen as we study the opening chapters of Genesis in light of the closing chapters of Revelation. 66 works+45 writers+1500 years+the Holy Spirit=1 book, united around one central theme…and here’s where it gets hairy, what is that theme?
Many think that the one theme of the Bible is their own personal salvation. Others view Israel, or the ‘promised land’ (either Canaan or Heaven) as the central theme. Still others view the Church as the theme that unites all of Scripture. Don’t get me wrong, all of these are important themes in Scripture, themes that should never be downplayed in their importance, but none of these themes are the theme that unites the Bible as one book. So what is this theme? The theme that unites all of Scripture as one book is God.
Time for a theology lesson! The God of Scripture is a Trinity. That is, he is one in essence, yet distinctively three in person. So when I say that God is the theme that unites all of Scripture, I am saying that Scripture is united in it’s revelation of the Triune God. Now we could get specific and talk about all of God’s attributes and how they are revealed to us in the pages of the Bible, but I don’t have time to do that right now. Instead we’re going to g a little broader and catch the scope and significance of this one complete revelation of God.
Back to the theology lesson…The God who is revealed in Scripture is three persons, united in one substance, undivided yet distinct. One God, three persons. Nobody said it was easy to understand. But it is true, so it is to be believed. God is a Trinity. He is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The classic definition of the relationship that exists among the three Persons of the one God goes something like this…
God the Father is neither begotten nor proceeding. The Son is begotten but not proceeding. The Spirit is proceeding but not begotten. The Son is begotten by the Father and the Spirit proceeds from the Father and Son together. Though the Son is begotten by the Father, and the Spirit is proceeding from the Father and the Son, they are all three co-eternal and co-existent.
The Son is eternally begotten as the Father is eternally begetting, and the Spirit is eternally proceeding as the Father and Son are eternally sending. So the order is not first the Father, then the Son, then the Spirit. But they are each eternally existing since, the Father as begetting is eternally begetting, therefore the begotten Son must needs be from eternity. And as the Father and Son are eternally sending, the Spirit must needs be eternally proceeding. So when the Father is, so the Son and the Spirit united with Him are. And when the Son is, the Spirit and the Father united with Him are. And when the Spirit is, the Son and the Father united with Him are. These three are one God, united in nature and substance, distinct in person.
So what does all of this have to do with the unity of the Bible? I’ll tell you Monday.
These quotes by Calvin was recently listed on Pulpit Live Blog.
[The] error of allegory has been the source of many evils. Not only did it open the way for the adulteration of the natural meaning of Scripture but also set up boldness in allegorizing as the chief exegetical virtue.
[And in a different place]
Let us know that the true meaning of Scripture is the genuine and simple one, and let us embrace and hold it tightly. Let us . . . boldly set aside as deadly corruptions, those fictitious expositions which lead us away from the literal sense. Online Source
Fact #1 Calvin was a Literalist.
Fact #2 Calvin was not an Allegorist.
Fact #3 Calvin was not a Premillennialist.
This means one of two things;
1. Calvin was an inconsistent Literalist, or,
2. Calvin’s Literal Hermeneutic did not make him a Premillennialist.
Talk amongst yourselves.
Charles Dickens authored story titled A Christmas Carol. Ever heard of it? The main character in the story was Ebenezer Scrooge. I’m not going to rehash that story, because you all know what the story is about…old Ebenezer Scrooge is stingy and doesn’t like Christmas, ghosts from the past, present, and future haunt him on Christmas Eve, he wakes up on Christmas morning a changed man, which in this case means, generous.
OK…so I did rehash the story, but then again, you read along while I rehashed it!
I’m not really concerned about Scrooge in this post, but I am very interested in his first name, ‘Ebenezer’. You see, Ebenezer is a Bible word. And the Bible tells us in 1 Samuel 7:12 that the prophet Samuel named a rock ‘Ebenezer’.
So now we have two ‘Ebenezers’! The name ‘Ebenezer’ we find is in reality a Hebrew word which means stone of help (eben=stone, ezer=help). I’m not sure if this was of any significance for Charles Dickens when he picked this name for the main character in his story, but when Samuel named the stone in 1 Samuel 7 ‘Ebenezer’, the name took on a great theological significance for Israel.
Let’s set the context, very quickly. Israel has been in the Promised Land for around 300-400 years. During this time in the Canaan, they have repeatedly fallen into sin followed by captivity or oppression from the Canaanite tribes around them. After a period of time God sends a Judge, Israel repents, and God delivers them from their oppressors. The context of 1 Samuel 7 is no different.
Israel has sinned once again. They have added pagan rituals into the worship of Jehovah. (1Samuel 2:12-17, 22-25) God promised to judge the house of Eli because of these pagan practices. (1Samuel 2:34) And, just as God promised, Eli’s two sons are killed on the same day as they carry the Ark of the Covenant into war. Eli dies and the Ark of the Covenant is taken from Israel by the Philistines. (1 Samuel 4:11, 17-18)
God miraculously brings the Ark back to Israel, where after being profaned by the Israelites of Beth-shemesh, God slaughters some of the people. (1 Samuel 5, 6) So the men of Beth-shemesh send the Ark to Kirjath-jearim, where it remains for twenty years. (1 Samuel 7:1-2)
During all of this time, the Philistines ‘oppress’ Israel. The Philistines have taken control, as it were, of the land that had been promised to Israel. But also during this time, Samuel is faithful to preach the Words of God to Israel. His message to Israel is,
“If you are returning to the LORD with all your heart, then put away the foreign gods and the Ashtaroth from among you and direct your heart to the LORD and serve him only, and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.” (1 Samuel 7:3)
Over time the message sinks in and Israel’s heart is turned towards Jehovah once again. And God fulfills the promise that He has made through the mouth of his prophet, Samuel. Samuel gathers all of Israel at Mizpeh where they fast before the Lord. When the Philistines hear that Israel has congregated at Mizpeh, they send their armies to put down what they presume is an insurrection.
When Israel hears that the Philistines are coming they are afraid. contrast this with the rashness and over-confidence twenty years earlier as they assume that God will not let them lose to the pagan Philistines. This time is different. They have been broken. Instead of making sure God was on their side, they make sure this time to be on God’s side.
And God thunders from heaven against the Philistines, who are then easily routed by the Israelite armies. As Israel returns from the battlefield, Samuel sets up a stone as a monument to mark the occasion. He calls the stone ‘Ebenezer’.
As he does this he is making known to all Israel that God is their Rock. But he is also reminding Israel of their past. He calls the stone Ebenezer because, “Till now the LORD has helped us.”
Till now…As Samuel utters these words, he does not only acknowledge God’s help in the battle that was fought that day, but he acknowledges God’s help throughout Israel’s history. From the time that God called Abram out of Ur, to the exodus out of Egypt, to the crossing of the Jordan, through all of the battles and conquests, Samuel tells Israel, “God did it all.”
When Robert Robinson penned the words to Come Thou Fount, he remembered Samuel’s words at Mizpeh. He then applied those words to his own life,
“Here I raise mine Ebenezer, Hither by Thy grace I’ve come…”
These are good words. They are words that we need to continually be reminded of. As we pass through each day that God has given us, we must never forget where He has brought us from. And with that recognition we must daily acknowledge His grace in our lives. The only reason the Apostle Paul could give for his status as an Apostle was,
“But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.” (1Co 15:10 ESV)
This too, is our testimony, I am what I am only by the grace of God. Hither by God’s grace we’ve come. It was God who knew us before we were, who created us, who sent His Son to die for us, who raised His Son from the dead, who sent His Spirit to seal us, and it is God who will bring us safely home. And all of that apart from any merit on our part.
Raise your Ebenezer.
This is my first post since I moved my blog to WordPress. I guess that means we’re officially open for business.
Understanding Amillennialism is also open for business. There are currently two posts, written by myself, but other contributors will posting very soon.
In an age of uncertainty and an Apocalyptic warnings coming through the media, whether in fictional accounts produced by Hollywood, ‘documentaries’ and ‘evidence’ of global warming coming interestingly enough again from Hollywood, media accounts of the state of the war on terror, or mainstream Christian retailing of End Times novels, speculations, and conjecture, The Man Of Sin stands as a welcome resource for those who wish to look at what the Bible has to say about the Anti-christ.
Uncovering a truly biblical understanding of the Anti-christ is a daunting task when you begin to see all the presuppositions that have been attached to the person in all the fore-described media. But it is a task that Kim Riddlebarger faced head-on and, in my opinion, produced for us a Biblical picture of the Man of Sin.
The book begins with the immediate context of American culture as it relates to the Anti-christ. Dr. Riddlebarger draws a picture of the contemporary view of the Anti-christ and of the expectancies of what he will be and when he will appear and begins the task of separating fact from fiction.
He then provides an overview of the forerunners of the Anti-christ from the Old Testament. Riddlebarger’s discussion of the many ‘types’ and foretellings of the Anti-christ found in the Old Testament lays the necessary foundation for understanding all that the Anti-christ has been foretold to embody in Scripture. Tracing these types from the serpent in Paradise, through Cain, Nimrod, Pharaoh, Nebuchadnezzar, to Antiochus Epiphanes, and through the study of specific prophecies of the Anti-christ, Riddlebarger provides a comprehensive picture of the Anti-christ as expected by Jewish society before the time of Christ.
Moving then into a discussion of the doctrine of the Anti-christ in the New Testament, Riddlebarger lays another foundation for a more complete picture of the Anti-christ by discussing the interaction between Jesus and Satan in the Gospels, the “already/not yet” eschatological focus of the New Testament, and a look at prophetic perspective and fulfillment of prophecy in the New Testament.
The next section of the book begins a discussion of the ‘anti-christs’ (small ‘a’ and plural) that have already gone out into the world. Noting that the word ‘anti-christ’ only appears in the first two of John’s letters and never in the book of Revelation, he goes on to list some identifying traits of these anti-christs, the chief being a denial of the incarnation of the Son of God. Interacting with B. B. Warfield, he notes that Anti-christ is anyone who that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh and that we should not import John’s description of these heretics into our view of the Man of Sin or the False Prophet who will arise at the end of time. He concludes, “…”the final manifestation of the beast and the false prophet…seems to indicate that John’s series of antichrists…will indeed give way to a final …persecutor of the people of God”.
The next chapter focuses on the doctrine of the Anti-christ in the book of Revelation. Once again, he lays the foundation from the Old Testament, showing how the forerunners of the Anti-christ shape the language used to describe the beast and the false prophet. Nero and the cultic emperor-worship of the Roman Empire is discussed while he shows the significance of the number ’666′.
Chapter Six is a discussion of Paul’s doctrine of Anti-christ in II Thessalonians. Once again, Riddlebarger is careful to bring all the background information we need to interpret correctly Paul’s statements concerning the ‘Man of Lawlessness’. In this chapter Riddlebarger interacts with the various views from Dispensationalism, preterism, futurists, and historicists in their interpretations of the Man of Sin, the coming Apostasy, and the Restrainer. For those of you who are wondering, Riddlebarger concludes that Gospel preaching is the ‘restrainer’ Paul speaks of in this passage.
Riddlebarger continues forward with a look back at the various interpretations of the Anti-christ in Church history. Beginning with the Fathers and walking through history, he discusses the various views of the Anti-christ which were often colored by the world they lived in. There is also a helpful chart showing the differing beliefs of the Fathers, Dispensationalism, the Reformers, etc. at the beginning of the book, but I thought it would be better located here.
The final chapter of the book is a summary and compilation of the conclusions from preceding chapters. The final section is an admonition to trust in God and not spend time on useless speculations not consistent with Scripture, but to rather look for the glorious appearing of Christ. Satan is a defeated foe. Evil runs rampant because Satan and his minions know their time is short. Don’t fear them, but have faith in God.
Overall, this book is a good read even for those who disagree with the author’s conclusions because he will make you think about what you believe and why. His conclusions are based on a literal interpretation of the Scripture and not a fanciful imagination, as is evident in many other books of this genre.
I’ve been working on a couple of different blog projects the past few days. Hopefully everything will be set by next Monday. But let me go ahead and tell you some of it.
I’m going to be moving to WordPress. If you are linked to this blog, then all you have to do is change the ‘blogspot’ part of the address to ‘wordpress’ and you’re done! All of the posts from here + all the posts at Old Doxoblogy have migrated over, and are available for viewing now. I will not officially begin posting there until Monday, but you are welcome to go take a look.
And the other project is a surprise. but I’ll let you know about it Monday…hopefully.
Of course, he is right. And I think he was nice about the way he said it. But now some of those involved in a homosexual lifestyle are demanding an apology. And I think if he doesn’t apologize, and he shouldn’t, he’s going to be tanked by our so-called ‘conservative’ leaders.
But what else did Peter Pace say? He said that adultery is immoral as well. And yet I don’t see adulterers asking for an apology. Because they know adultery is immoral. And yet both acts of immorality are condemned in Scripture! So if Peter Pace is using Biblical reasoning in his stand, which appears to be the case, he does very well to bring out the fact that we are not singling out homosexuality, but all kinds of immorality.
I received a question about homosexuality and the Bible a while back. I’m going to replay that post for you now, because it finishes my thoughts on how Christians should react to homosexuals.
I saw your email on a Christian site that talked about homosexuality issues and
so I wonder what your thoughts are on same sex romantic love are and if you
think this is a sin, where are we told this in the bible?
As far as ‘same sex romantic love’ goes, yes, I do believe it is a sin. Let me be clear, homosexual actions of any kind are sinful, romantic or casual. The standard rant from the other side is going to be that I am a homophobe.
I have many phobias, I’m very ‘Monkish‘ in that respect. Snakes scare me. As a matter of fact, most reptiles drive me nuts. Birds also scare me. But homosexuals don’t scare me. Murderers scare me. Adulterous women scare me. But not homosexuals. In fact, I have known some very pleasant gays and lesbians who would work side by side with me on the jobsite. One co-worker remarked to me how nice it was to be around a Christian who was nice to her. She went on to describe some of the injustices that Christians had committed against her, from lying about her job performance behind her back to open hostility towards her. I responded, ” You know I don’t agree with your lifestyle, and I believe that it is a sin. But that doesn’t mean I can’t love you and try convince you of the truth of the Gospel.” She responded, something to the effect of, “If you were the only Christian I knew, I would consider leaving my lifestyle and attending church. But I’ve been mistreated by too many Christians.”
She knew I thought she was living in sin. I didn’t avoid the issue when it came up. And yet when I would treat her with the respect that we have been taught by Christ that each and every one should expect from His followers, she knew that it was her sin that I disliked and not herself.
That homosexuality is said to be sin in the Bible is very clear.
Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the
dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth
about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the
Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. For this reason God gave them up to
dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those
that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with
women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased
mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of
unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder,
strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God,
insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish,
faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s decree that those who
practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to
those who practice them. (Rom 1:24-32)
There are a couple of things to point out here. First, that homosexuality is not the only sin that will condemn people to hell. Covetousness, envy, gossip, disobedience, and foolishness are also included in this list of sins that the Apostle says deserve death.Second, that homosexuality is not the unpardonable sin.
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. And such were some of
you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of
the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (1Co 6:9-11)
The same Apostle Paul now tells us again that those who practice sin, homosexuality and greediness both included, will not inherit the Kingdom of God. But he goes on to say to the Corinthian believers, “And such were some of you.” These Christians that Paul was writing to had formerly been sexually immoral, idolaters, adulterers, homosexuals, thieves, greedy, drunkards, revilers, and swindlers but now they were not. There is hope for all who sin. That hope is in the death of Christ.
Christ’s death cleanses, sanctifies, and justifies sinners. Sins are forgiven, repentance is granted, and righteousness is given by Christ for all who will come to Him. This includes the disobedient child and the homosexual.This, of course, is not an exhaustive treatment of the issues of homosexuality. I will leave that to better people than myself. But that homosexuality is a sin is stated clearly in Scripture. And equally as clear is the truth of the Gospel that can save homosexuals.