Augustine1 Conservative Christian Worldview Blog

September 1, 2014

All Scripture……..

Filed under: Bible,Theology — augustinehippo1 @ 11:50 am
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The Nature of Bible Inspiration

What does it mean to say: “The Bible is inspired”? Answers to this question are legion (cf. “Theories…,” 1864, 6:312-349). Some regard the Bible as “inspired” in the same way that great authors in history have risen above the average person in their literary pursuits, e.g., Homer, Shakespeare, Dickens, or Eliot. Others would say that the writers of the Bible were influenced by supernatural connections, but that their written records of those connections suffer from the same flaws that mere humans are prone to make. Many people fail to assess the Bible’s own claims regarding its inspiration. Before the Bible can be determined to be “inspired,” it is necessary to conceptualize the meaning and nature of that inspiration. The Bible literally is filled with descriptions of the essence of its own inspiration.

 Paul boldly claimed, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God” (2 Timothy 3:16). The Greek term underlying the word “inspiration” means “God-breathed” (Vincent, 1900, 4:317). Paul was affirming that Scripture, referring primarily  to the Old Testament, is the product of the breath of God. God actually breathed out the Scriptures. The Bible is God’s Word—not man’s—though He used man to produce them. Three verses later (4:2), Paul declared, “Therefore…preach the word…” Why? Because it is God’s Word. Just as surely as God’s breath brought the Universe into existence (Psalm 33:6), so the Bible is the result of God’s out-breathing.

2 Timothy 3:16 (NKJV)  16  All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 

Psalm 33:6 (NKJV)  6  By the word of the LORD the heavens were made, And all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.

Peter alluded to the momentous occasion of Christ’s transfiguration when God literally spoke from heaven directly to Peter, James, and John (2 Peter 1:19-21). God orally boomed forth His insistence that Jesus is His beloved Son, and human beings are commanded to listen to Him (Matthew 17:5). Peter then declared, “We also have the prophetic word made more sure,…knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation.” Peter was saying that the Scriptures provided to us by the prophets are just as certain, and just as authoritative, as the voice of God that spoke on the mount of transfiguration.

2 Peter 1:19-21 (NKJV)  19  And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; 20  knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, 21  for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. 
Matthew 17:5 (NKJV)  5  While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a

voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!” 

Peter further explained that the prophetic word, meaning the whole of the Old Testament Scriptures, did not originate on its own, or in the minds of those who wrote them (the meaning of “private interpretation”). Scripture did not come from “the will of man.” Scripture was not the result of human research or human investigation into the nature of things. Scripture was not the product of its writers’ own thinking (Warfield, 1974, 3:1474). Where, then, did Scripture come from? Peter claimed, “but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” The word “moved” in the original language is the usual word for being “carried” or “brought” (Arndt and Gingrich, 1957, pp. 862-863), hence, to be moved or under a moving influence (Perschbacher, 1990, p. 427). Peter was stating that the Holy Spirit, in essence, picked up the writers, the prophets, and brought them to the goal of His choosing (Warfield, 3:1475). That means that the Scriptures, though written by means of human instrumentality, were so superintended by God that the resulting writings are truly God’s.
This same Peter, while awaiting the coming of the Spirit in Acts 2 on Pentecost, stood up among fellow disciples and declared, “Men and brethren, this Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke before by the mouth of David concerning Judas,” and then he quoted from the Psalms (Acts 1:16ff.). Peter affirmed that the Holy Spirit governed what David wrote, and the results of David’s writing therefore are designated as “Scripture.”
This same Peter, in 1 Peter 1:10-12, explained: (1) that the inspired spokesmen of the Old Testament did not always understand all the information given by God through them; (2) it was the Spirit of Christ that was operating upon them; (3) this same inspired information was being presented in Peter’s day by the apostles; and (4) the same Holy Spirit was directing their utterances. It is very important to note that Peter was claiming that inspired men had their own minds engaged as they produced inspired material, but the product was God’s, since they did not always grasp all of the significance of their own productions.
1 Peter 1:10-12 (NKJV)  10  Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, 11  searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. 12  To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven–things which angels desire to look into. 

This same Peter, in 2 Peter 3:15-16, referred to “our beloved brother Paul” as having “written to you.” He then noted: “as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which those who are untaught and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.” Peter made clear three salient points: (1) Paul wrote epistles; (2) those epistles are classified with “the other Scriptures,” which means that Paul’s letters are Scripture every bit as much as the Old Testament and other New Testament writings; and (3) these writings are divinely authoritative, since to twist them is to invite “destruction”—an obvious reference to God’s disfavor and the spiritual/eternal harm that results from disobeying God’s words, not man’s words. Cornelius well-understood this principle, for when Peter came to his house, he stated: “Now therefore, we are all present before God, to hear all the things commanded you by God” (Acts 10:33, emp. added).

2 Peter 3:15-16 (NKJV)  15  and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation–as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, 16  as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures. 

 While on Earth, Jesus demonstrated a high regard for Scripture, i.e., the Old Testament. On one occasion, He involved Himself in an interchange with some Jews who accused Him of blasphemy (John 10:33). He repelled the charge by quoting Psalm 82:6, referring to the passage as “law” (vs. 34). But how could Jesus refer to a psalm as “law,” since the Psalms were poetic wisdom literature and not a part of the Torah (the Pentateuch)? He referred to a psalm as “law” in the sense that the Psalms are part of Scripture. Jesus was thus ascribing legal authority to the entire corpus of Scripture (Warfield, 3:1475). He did the same thing in John 15:25. Likewise, Paul quoted from the Psalms, Isaiah, and Genesis and referred to each as “the Law” (1 Corinthians 14:21; Romans 3:19; Galatians 4:21).

John 10:33-34 (NKJV)  33  The Jews answered Him, saying, “For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy, and because You, being a Man, make Yourself God.” 34  Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your law, ‘I said, “You are gods” ‘?


Psalm 82:6 (NKJV)  6  I said, “You are gods, And all of you are children of the Most High.


John 15:25 (NKJV)  25  But this happened that the word might be fulfilled which is written in their law, ‘They hated Me without a cause.’

After Jesus quoted from a psalm and called it “law,” He added, “and the Scripture cannot be broken” (vs. 35). Notice that He was equating “law” with “Scripture”—using the terms as synonyms. When He declared that “law,” or “Scripture,” “cannot be broken,” He was making the point that it is impossible for Scripture to be annulled, for its authority to be denied, or its truth to be withstood (Warfield, 3:1475). Jesus considered every part of Scripture, even its most casual phrases, to be the authoritative Word of God (p. 1476).

This attitude toward Scripture as an authoritative document is intimated by the customary formula: “It is written.” For example, when facing Satan, Jesus repelled his attacks all three times with a simple, “It is written,” which was sufficient to establish authoritative credibility (Matthew 4:4,7,10)—so much so that Satan attempted to copy Jesus in this respect (Matthew 4:6). After His resurrection, Jesus equated the entire Old Testament (i.e., the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms) with “Scripture,” and again noted “it is written” (Luke 24:44-46). He insisted very emphatically that “all things” in the Scriptures concerning Himself “must be fulfilled.” Earlier in the chapter, He equated “Moses and all the prophets” with “the Scriptures” (vss. 25-27).

Luke 4:4-7 (NKJV)  4  But Jesus answered him, saying, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.’ “ ……… 7  Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours.” …….10  For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you,’

Luke 4:6 (NKJV)  6  And the devil said to Him, “All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. Luke 24:44-46 (NKJV)  44  Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which
were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.”
45  And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. 46  Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day,

No wonder Jesus would rebuke His religious challengers with such phrases as, “Have you not read even this Scripture?” (Mark 12:10; cf. Matthew 21:42); or, “You do err, not knowing the Scriptures” (Matthew 22:29); or, “if you had known what this means…” (Matthew 12:7); or, “Go and learn what this means…” (Mark 9:13). The underlying thought in such pronouncements is that God’s truth is found in Scripture, and if you are ignorant of the Scriptures, you are susceptible to error. Jesus therefore was affirming that God is the Author of Scripture.

Even the words of Scripture that do not constitute direct quotes of deity are, in fact, the words of God. For example, Jesus assigned the words of Genesis 2:24 to God as the author (Matthew 19:4-6). Yet, in the original setting of Genesis 2:24, no indication is given that God was the speaker. Rather, the words are simply narratorial comment written

down by the human author—Moses. By Jesus attributing the words to God, He was making clear that the whole of Scripture was authored by God. That means that even the words of Satan, or the words of evil people, are the words of God—in the sense that God has given us an accurate report of what those people said. Paul treated the matter in the same way (1 Corinthians 6:16).

Over and over again, the apostles and writers of the New Testament did the same thing that Jesus did, i.e., they referred to Scripture in such a way that it was clear they considered it to be the authoritative, inspired words of God (e.g., Acts 8:35; 17:2; 18:28; 26:22; Romans 12:19; 1 Corinthians 15:3-4; 1 Peter 1:16; James 2:8). Perhaps Luke well summarized the prevailing mindset of the Bible writers: “[T]hey received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily, to find out whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11). In other words, what Scripture says, God says.
Genesis 2:24 (NKJV)  24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. Matthew 19:3-6 (NKJV)  3  The Pharisees also came to Him, testing Him, and saying to Him, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for just any reason?” 4
 And He answered and said to them, “Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning ‘made them male and female,’ and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6  So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what
God has joined together, let not man separate.”
1 Corinthians 6:16 (NKJV)  16 Or do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? For “the two,” He says, “shall become one flesh.”  

Acts 17:11 (NKJV)  11  These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. 

Additional evidence of the Bible’s own view of itself is manifested in statements like, “For the Scripture says to Pharaoh” (Romans 9:17), or “And the Scripture…preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand” (Galatians 3:8). But Scripture did not speak to Pharaoh, and Scripture did not preach the Gospel to Abraham. Rather, God did! So the word of Scripture is the word of God! The inspired writers of the New Testament considered “God” and “Scripture” to be so closely linked that they could naturally speak of “Scripture” doing what Scripture records God as doing (Warfield, 3:1477).
It works the other way as well. God is said to say certain things that are, in their original setting, merely words of Scripture. For example, Hebrews 3:7 reads, “Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says…,” and Psalm 95:7 is then quoted. In Acts 4:25, God is said to have spoken, by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of David, the words of Psalm 2:1. In Acts 13:34-35, God is represented as having stated the words of Isaiah 55:3 and Psalm 16:10. Yet, in both of these cases, the words attributed to God are not, in their original setting, specifically His words, but merely the words of Scripture itself. So the writers of the New Testament sometimes referred to the Scriptures as if they were God, and they sometimes referred to God as if He were Scripture. The Bible thus presents itself as the very words of God.
In Hebrews 1:5-13, the writer quoted seven Old Testament passages: Psalm 2:7; 2 Samuel 7:14; Deuteronomy 32:43; Psalm 104:4; Psalm 45:6-7; Psalm 102:25-27; and Psalm 110:1. The Hebrews writer attributed each of these passages to God as the speaker. Yet in their original setting in the Old Testament, sometimes God is the speaker, while sometimes He is not the speaker, and is, in fact, being spoken to or spoken about. Why would the writer of Hebrews indiscriminately assign all of these passages to God? Because they all have in common the fact that they are the words of Scripture, and, as such, are the words of God.
The same is true with Romans 15:9-12 where Paul quoted from Psalm 18:49, Deuteronomy 32:43, Psalm 117:1, and Isaiah 11:10. The first one he introduced with the formula “as it is written”; the second one is introduced by “again he says”; the third with simply “again”; and the fourth is prefaced with “Isaiah says.” Yet, in the Old Testament setting, only in the Isaiah passage is specifically God talking—and Paul assigns those words to Isaiah. So “it is written,” “he says,” and “Isaiah says,” are all different ways of saying the same thing, i.e., “God says”! Sometimes the New Testament writers assigned Scripture to its human authors. Yet it is clear that when the writers said, “Moses said,” or “David said,” such was simply another way to say, “Scripture says,” which, again, was the

same thing as saying “God says.”


Notice that the inspiration that the Bible claims for itself is “verbal” inspiration, i.e., God’s superintendence extends even to the words of the writer. Paul based his argument on a plural noun, and insisted that God intended the word to be understood in its singular sense (Galatians 3:16). As noted previously, Jesus based an argument on the precise verbal form of Scripture (John 10:34). He based His point on a particular word in Matthew 22:43, on a particular tense in Matthew 22:32, and even on the letters and their minute strokes in Matthew 5:17-18. In the latter passage, Jesus said that Exodus 3:6 was spoken to the Sadducees with whom He was conversing—even though the original context of Exodus 3:6 has God speaking to Moses. That proves that Jesus expects all people on Earth to understand that the Bible is written to every single accountable human being, and that Scripture is intended to be authoritative for human living.

Paul also affirmed verbal inspiration in 1 Corinthians 2. He claimed that his speech and his preaching were not “words of human wisdom” (vs. 4). Rather, his words were “in demonstration of the Spirit.” He claimed that he and his fellow apostles were speaking the wisdom of God (vs. 7). He claimed that the things which they had been speaking were revealed to them by God through the Holy Spirit (vs. 10). Then he affirmed very clearly: “These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches” (vs. 13). So inspiration involves the very words, and that makes itverbal inspiration.


Most of the passages examined thus far are New Testament references to the inspiration of the Old Testament. Liberal scholars have claimed that the New Testament does not make the claim of inspiration for itself. That claim is not true. As already noted, in 2 Peter 3:16, Peter classified Paul’s epistles as “Scripture,” and he affirmed that Paul’s writings carry such divine authority that those who twist them will be destroyed. It also was noted that Peter linked the apostles with the Old Testament prophets (1 Peter 1:10-12). And, as just seen, Paul made a comparable claim in 1 Corinthians 2.
As one reads the New Testament, it is clear that the writers made the extension of Old Testament inspiration to their own writings. They did not for a moment consider themselves—the ministers of the new covenant (2 Corinthians 3:6)—to be less in possession of the Spirit of God than the ministers of the old covenant (Warfield, 3:1482). Jesus, without question, declared the impending inspiration of the authors of the New Testament. In Matthew 10:17-20, and the parallels in Mark 13:11 and Luke 12:12, Jesus explained to the apostles that the Holy Spirit would direct their verbal activities in terms of both how and what they spoke. He reiterated the same thing in Luke 21:12-15, urging them not to worry how to defend themselves when hauled before the authorities, since He would provide them with “a mouth and wisdom” that their adversaries would not be able to withstand. So Jesus pre-authenticated the teaching of the apostles, and insured respect for their authority.Matthew 10:17-20 (NKJV)  17 But beware of men, for they will deliver you up to councils and scourge you in their synagogues. 18  You will be brought before
governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles.
19  But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; 20  for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.
Luke 21:12-15 (NKJV)  12  But before all these things, they will lay their hands on you and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues and prisons. You will be brought before kings and rulers for My name’s sake. 13  But it will turn out for you as an occasion for testimony. 14  Therefore settle it in your hearts not to meditate beforehand on what you will answer; 15  for I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist.

Jesus directed several promises to the apostles in John chapters 14, 15, and 16. Allusion to just one of these will suffice. Jesus promised the apostles: “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come” (John 16:12-13). Just prior to His ascension, Jesus promised to the apostles the impending baptism of the Holy Spirit, which would enable them to be Christ’s witnesses throughout the world (Acts 1:5,8). This promise commenced its fulfillment in Acts 2 when the apostles were baptized with the Holy Spirit and empowered to preach the message God wanted preached.

John 16:12-13 (NKJV)  12  I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. 13  However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide
you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.
Acts 1:5,8 (NKJV)  5  for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” …… 8  But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Numerous passages indicate the fulfillment of these promises to the apostles to the extent that the words which they spoke were God’s words (Acts 4:8,31; 5:32; 15:8,27-28; 16:6-8). As already noted, Paul claimed direct guidance of the Holy Spirit for the words that he spoke (1 Corinthians 2). He did the same thing in Galatians 1:12. In Ephesians 3:1-5, he claimed that his message was made known to him “by revelation” (vs. 3), along with the other apostles and prophets (vs. 5). Other passages reflect the same point (1 Timothy 4:1; Galatians 2:2; 2 Corinthians 12:7; 1 Thessalonians 2:13). A good summary of Paul’s claims to inspiration is seen in his firm declaration: “If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord” (1 Corinthians 14:37). His inspiration extended to both his oral utterances as well as his writings(2 Thessalonians 2:15; 3:6,14; cf. 1 Thessalonians 4:2,15; Galatians 1:7-8). In 1 Timothy 5:8, Paul quoted Luke 10:7 and referred to it as “Scripture.” So Luke’s Gospel record was already available and classified with the inspired canon of Scripture.

1 Timothy 5:8 (NKJV)  8  But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

Luke 10:7 (NKJV)  7  And remain in the same house, eating and drinking such things as they give, for the laborer is worthy of his wages. Do not go from house to house. 


The unbiased individual can easily see that the Bible claims for itself the status of “inspiration,” having been breathed out by God Himself. That inspiration entailed such superintendence by God that even the words came under His influence. Thus the Bible is “verbally inspired.” This conclusion does not imply that the writers merely took “dictation.” Rather, the Bible indicates that God adapted His inspiring activity to the

individual temperament, vocabulary, educational level, and stylistic idiosyncrasies of each writer. The Bible is “infallible” in that it is incapable of deceiving or misleading, and is therefore completely trustworthy and reliable. “Plenary” inspiration means that inspiration extends to all of its parts. Thus the Bible is fully inspired.


The Bible is also “inerrant,” that is, it is free of error. God used human beings to write the Bible, and in so doing, allowed them to leave their mark upon it, but without making any of the mistakes that human writings are prone to make. God made certain that the words produced by the human writers were free from the errors and mistakes characteristic of uninspired writers. This influence even extended to matters of science, geography, and history. Proof for the inspiration of the Bible is a separate and necessary inquiry. However, it is important that a person understand what the Bible means when it claims for itself “inspiration.”


Arndt, William and F.W. Gingrich (1957), A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press).

McGarvey, J. W. (1883), “Remarks on the Preceding Lectures,” The Missouri Christian Lectures(Rosemead, CA: Old Paths Book Club, 1955 reprint).

Perschbacher, Wesley J., ed. (1990), The New Analytical Greek Lexicon (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson).

“Theories of the Inspiration of the Scriptures” (1864), American Presbyterian and Theological Review, 6:312-349, April.

Vincent, Marvin (1900), Word Studies in the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1946 reprint).

Warfield, Benjamin (1974 reprint), “Inspiration,” ISBE, ed. James Orr  (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).


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August 31, 2014

Moses Sings a Song

Filed under: Bible,Theology — augustinehippo1 @ 3:03 pm
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Absorb God’s Teaching
Deuteronomy 32:1-4 (HCSB) 
1Pay attention, heavens, and I will speak; listen, earth, to the words of my mouth.  Let my teaching fall like rain and my word settle like dew, like gentle rain on new grass and showers on tender plants. 3  For I will proclaim Yahweh’s name. Declare the greatness of our God!  The Rock—His work is perfect; all His ways are
entirely just.
A faithful God, without prejudice, He is righteous and true.

1. What is the purpose of Moses’ song?

The Song of Moses acts as a witness against Israel.

This prophetic, poetic song has as its central theme Israel’s apostasy, which brings God’s certain judgment. The song begins with a short introduction emphasizing the steadfast God and the fickle nation.
The nation of Israel was to learn it. It was to be somewhat like their national anthem. It was a song given to them by God; every Israelite was to learn it and teach it to his children. JVM
The Hebrews have been wandering in the wilderness for 40 years until all those who rebelled and refused to enter the promised land have died. Now as the nation is about to finally enter the new land, and leadership is about to be transferred to Joshua, Moses now sums up God’s position and attitude toward His chosen people in a poetic “song” which they are supposed to remember and repeat.
In Deut. Chapter 6 we see the “Shema”, the prayer which all Hebrews were to teach their children and pray each day.
Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: 5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. 6 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: 7 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. 8 And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. 9 And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates. Deut 6:4-9 (KJV)
But they do all their deeds to be noticed by men; for they broaden their phylacteries and lengthen the tassels of their garments. Matt 23:5 (NASB)
2. Why does God continue to stress that His people remember, shouldn’t we be focused on the future?
“Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” George Santayana
We continue to forget who we are, who God is, what He has done for us in the past.

“Half of being smart, is knowing what you’re dumb at” ……..
3. Other than the Hebrews, who else is called upon to witness what God has to say, and why?
Give ear, O ye heavens—Let angels and men hear, and let this testimony of God be registered both in heaven and earth. Heaven and earth are appealed to as permanent witnesses. ACC
Give ear, O heavens … and let the earth hear. All of creation was called to be an audience to hear the message to Israel as in (30:19 I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live. because the truth Moses was about to proclaim concerned the whole universe. It did so because it involved the honor of God the Creator so disregarded by sinners, the justification of God so righteous in all His ways, and the manifestation in heaven and earth of God’s judgment and salvation. MSN
For all creation is waiting eagerly for that future day when God will reveal who his children really are.20 Against its will, all creation was subjected to God’s curse. But with eager hope,21 the creation looks forward to the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay.22 For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.Romans 8:19-22 (NLT)
It is all so wonderful that even the angels are eagerly watching these things happen. 1 Peter 1:12 (NLT)

All of God’s creation fell when Adam fell. Animals, plants, the climate, the

geology. God calls His entire creation as witnesses against the Hebrew people and their inability to remember their part of the covenant they made with God.

Stop Your Senselessness
Deuteronomy 32:5-9 (HCSB)
His people have acted corruptly toward Him; this is their defect they are not His children but a devious and crooked generation. 6  Is this how you repay the LORD, you foolish and senseless people? Isn’t He your Father and Creator? Didn’t He make you and sustain you?  Remember the days of old; consider the years long past. Ask your father, and he will tell you, your elders, and they will teach you. 8
 When the Most High gave the nations their inheritance and divided the human race, He set the boundaries of the peoples according to the number
of the people of Israel.
But the LORD’s portion is His people, Jacob, His own inheritance.
 4. Why is God so upset with His own special people?
In contrast to God’s righteousness stands the perversity of the Israelites, these “sons of God” who were actually his not-sons. This introduces the main burden of the song, namely, that Israel’s sin provided a completely adequate explanation of all the evil that would overtake them—WBC
(Isa 1:4 [ESV])
​​​​​​​​Ah, sinful nation, ​​​​​​​a people laden with iniquity, ​​​​​​​offspring of evildoers, ​​​​​​​children who deal corruptly! ​​​​​​​They have forsaken the LORD, ​​​​​​​they have despised the Holy One of Israel, ​​​​​​​they are utterly estranged. ​​​
(Matt 17:17 [ESV])
And Jesus answered, “O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him here to me.”
It seems to be a common thread which runs through the entire history of the nation.
5. Who are the real “sons of God”?
God is the Father of Israel because of creation — In one sense God is the Father of all mankind because He created all mankind. When God created Adam he was called a son of God, but Adam sinned. After that, none of the offspring of Adam are called the sons of God unless they have become sons of God by faith in Jesus Christ. The whole human family may be pictured as a crooked generation, a foolish people. JVM
God’s children are identified by faith, not by genetics.
(Gen 1:26 [ESV]) Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.
(Gen 5:3 [ESV]) When Adam had lived 130 years, he fathered a son in his own likeness, after his image, and named him Seth.
By this time Adam and all creation had fallen, Adam had died spiritually and his children were spiritually defective. Therefore man must be spiritually regenerated.
(John 3:3 [ESV]) Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
6.Remember the days of old;consider the years long past.” Remember what? Should we remember our days of old?
 The entire Passover celebration and dinner was a reminder of the miracle and deliverance out of Egyptian bondage. All the 7 feasts that the Hebrews took part in were all centered around reminding them of where they had come from and who was providing their very existence. Our Thanksgiving celebration is a reminder of our past and a reminder of who we need to be thankful too. It’s always fun ask the atheist why they celebrate Thanksgiving and who are they thankful too.
Adopt True Perspective
Deuteronomy 32:36-43 (HCSB)
36 The LORD will indeed vindicate His people and have compassion on His servants when He sees that their strength is gone and no one is left—slave or free.
37  He will say: “Where are their gods, the ‘rock’ they found refuge in? 38  Who ate the fat of their sacrifices and drank the wine of their drink offerings? Let them rise up
and help you;
let it be a shelter for you. See now 
that I alone am He; there is no God but Me. I bring death and I give life; I wound and I heal. No one can rescue anyone from My hand. 40  I raise My hand to heaven and declare: As surely as I live forever, 41  when I sharpen My flashing sword, and My hand Sword-of-the-spirittakes hold of judgment, I will take vengeance on My adversaries and repay those who hate Me. 42  I will make My arrows drunk with blood while My sword devours flesh— the blood of the slain and the captives, the heads of the enemy leaders.” 43 Rejoice, you nations, concerning His people, for He will avenge the blood of His servants. He will take vengeance on His adversaries; He will purify His land and His people.
 7. Why does God allow His people to fall so far before he rescues them?
(Exod 32:9 [ESV]) And the LORD said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and behold, it is a stiff-necked people.
As with the Hebrews we are just as stiff necked. We don’t turn to God until we run out of all other resources. The Sunday before Sept. 11 2001 the church we were attending was half full. The Sunday after it was standing room only.
8. “when He sees that their strength is gone and no one is left — slave or free. How was this manifested?
Multiple times God allowed the Jews to be persecuted and defeated by their enemies. He allowed the Babylonian captivity of 70 years, he allowed the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 AD and the dispersion to the 4 corners of the globe and He allowed the holocaust. Now He is in the process of allowing Israel to become surrounded by enemies sworn to destroy them and isolated. Even our government seems to be abandoning them.
Iran is being allowed to develop a nuclear weapon. The Muslim fanatics are pushing to have this bomb dropped on Tel Aviv, they feel this will usher in the return of the 12 Imam, their version of the Muslim messiah.
(Zech 12:2-5 [ESV])
“Behold, I am about to make Jerusalem a cup of staggering to all the surrounding peoples. The siege of Jerusalem will also be against Judah. 3 On that day I will make Jerusalem a heavy stone for all the peoples. All who lift it will surely hurt themselves. And all the nations of the earth will gather against it. 4 On that day, declares the LORD, I will strike every horse with panic, and its rider with madness. But for the sake of the house of Judah I will keep my eyes open, when I strike every horse of the peoples with blindness. 5 Then the clans of Judah shall say to themselves, ‘The inhabitants of Jerusalem have strength through the LORD of hosts, their God.’
9. So is there any good news here?

Rejoice, you nations, concerning His people, for He will avenge the blood of His servants. He will take vengeance on His adversaries, He will purify His land and His people.

Zech. 12:10-12“And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn. 11 On that day the mourning in Jerusalem will be as great as the mourning for Hadad-rimmon in the plain of Megiddo. 12 The land shall mourn, each familyby itself

The Jewish people will come back to the Lord, there will be peace in the Middle East, and throughout the world and the Jews will join the Christians as witnesses for Jesus Christ.

ESVN……………..….ESV Study Bible Notes

MSBN……………….MacArthur NASB Study   Notes

NIVSN……………….NIV Study Notes.

JVM ………………….J Vernon McGee’s Commentary

BN ……………………Barnes Notes

WBC………….…….Wycliffe Bible Commentary

CN ……….…………..Constables Notes

IC……………….…….Ironside Commentary

NET…………….…….Net Bible Study Notes.

JFB……………………Jamieson Fausset  Brown Commentary

VWS………………….Vincent Word Studies

CMM………………..Commentary on Matthew and Mark

BDB……………..….Barclay’s Daily Study Bible (NT)

Darby……………….John Darby’s Synopsis of the OT and NT

Johnson……………Johnson’s Notes on the New Testament

NTCMM…………..The New Testament Commentary:  Matthew and Mark.

EHS………………….Expositions of the Holy Scriptures

CPP…………………The Complete Pulpit Commentary

SBC…………………..Sermon Bible Commentary

K&D…………………Keil and Deilitzsch Commentary on the OT

EBC……………….…Expositors Bible Commentary

CBSC……………….Cambridge Bible for Schools and College

GC……………………Guzik Commentary

RD…………………..Robert  Deffinbaugh

NSB …………………The Nelson Study Bible

MHC…………………Matthew Henry Commentary

CSTTB………Chuck Smith Through The Bible

LESB…………….Life Essentials Study Bible.



 “Fair Use “ Notice – Title 17 U.S.C. section 107

The above post may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. It is being made available in an effort to advance the understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, social justice, for the purpose of historical debate, and to advance the understanding of Christian conservative issues.  It is believed that this constitutes a ”fair use” of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the Copyright Law. In accordance with the title 17 U.S. C. section 107, the material in this post is shown without profit to those who have expressed an interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.



August 30, 2014

“A Faith That Works” # 9

Filed under: Bible,Theology — augustinehippo1 @ 8:25 pm

Sermon by Reverend Rusty Lyon. August 17th, 2014James 3:13-18 (NIV)

13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14  But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15  Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16  For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. 17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18  Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.

I. In our attempts to be wise or give advice……

A. Wisdom isn’t merely  intellectual___: v.13

     Wisdom, if you have it, is packaged in the context ……

      1. A   good    life   :

      2. Good deeds  done in humility  :

B. Do an assessment  of what’s happening in your  heart    : v. 14

     But there are at least two ways that our wisdom is poisoning and rendering useless:   


     1. By harboring bitter and envy  :

     2. By advancing selfish  ambition :

C. It’s important to recognize where that dark side comes from: v.15

     1. It is earthly and un-spiritual :

1 Corinthians 2:14 (NIV)

14 The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand
them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. 

    2. It is  demonic  :

II. The kind of wisdom that persuades people and makes and impact….

 A. Pure : free from contamination 

 B. Peace    –  loving : extend peace when communicating with others.

 C. Considerate : gentle

 D. Submissive : reasonable

 E.  Full of mercy :

 F.  Full of good fruit :

 G. Impartial : unwavering

 H. Sincere : without hypocrisy

* So what does this mean for our lives today?



G.K. Chesterton: Darwinism is ‘An attack upon thought itself’



Image from
G.K. Chesterton
G.K. Chesterton
G.K. (Gilbert Keith) Chesterton (1874–1936) was a prolific British writer, whose poetry, fiction, books and essays argued for a Christian1 worldview in the early 20thcentury, long before the term ‘worldview’ was coined. He did this not only in traditional apologetics works (though some, like Heretics and Orthodoxy, may be categorized as such), but in everything, as he saw the potential for everything to be for or against Christ (cf. Matthew 12:30). Many of his works addressing social and moral issues are still relevant today, as he was able to foresee the effects of many of the destructive influences of his day. His works were very influential on the thought of Christian apologist and author C.S. Lewis (1898–1963).

The worship of science

As early as 1920, G.K. Chesterton argued against what he saw to be the worship of science (now sometimes called ‘scientism’), which already was being invoked in education and ethics.2 He also observed nearly a century ago that Darwinist scientists were more and more turning their science into a philosophy.3 These scientists were forbidden by their own belief system from believing in miracles,regardless of where the evidence led. This led inevitably to scientists making bizarre claims as to what natural processes alone could accomplish. ‘Things that the old science at least would frankly have rejected as miracles are hourly being asserted by the new science.’4
Chesterton conceded that these materialists were completely logical and reasonable in their belief system, but that it was a very small internal consistency which denied even the possibility of miracles; their belief system explained everything by natural events, which can be logical enough (bearing in mind that there is a difference between logical consistency and truth), but because that was the central tenet of their ideology, they could not admit even one miracle. He argued that the orthodox Christian was freer than the materialist because Christians could believe in both natural and supernatural causes for events; Christianity can explain both physical laws and miracles. As Chesterton wrote:
As an explanation of the world, materialism has a sort of insane simplicity. It has just the quality of the madman’s argument; we have at once the sense of it covering everything and the sense of it leaving everything out.—Chesterton

‘The believers in miracles accept them (rightly or wrongly) because they have evidence for them. The disbelievers in miracles deny them (rightly or wrongly) because they have a doctrine against them.’5

This, he argues, makes for ‘a sort of insane simplicity’ to the materialist worldview:

‘As an explanation of the world, materialism has a sort of insane simplicity. It has just the quality of the madman’s argument; we have at once the sense of it covering everything and the sense of it leaving everything out. … He understands everything, and everything does not seem worth understanding. His cosmos may be complete in every rivet and cog-wheel, but still his cosmos is smaller than our world.’6

‘That modern intelligence which destroys itself’

Image from
G.K. Chesterton
G.K. Chesterton
Chesterton’s statements about evolution as a scientific theory are sometimes ambiguous and might even be taken as supportive of atheistic evolutionary stance; for instance, he states that even if biological evolution were true, it would not mean that Christianity was false, because God is outside of time and could do things any way He wanted7 (obviously, not a view that CMI would endorse; e.g. see 10 dangers of theistic evolution). However, other writings contain quite clear anti-evolution statements, especially when the implications of Darwinism are applied to philosophy. (One might also note that Chesterton’s anti-evolutionary statements are much more consistent with the rest of his thought and writing; and one can hardly expect such a large body of non-inspired writing to be entirely consistent or accurate!) He said of evolution so applied that it ‘is a good example of that modern intelligence which, if it destroys anything, destroys itself.’7
One of Chesterton’s main complaints against Darwinism is that it was advanced as a fact long before it was even a well-established hypothesis (which some of Darwin’s eminent scientific contemporaries also pointed out, e.g. German museum director, Dr Johann Blasius). Chesterton argued that it would have been more productive to discover ‘what is actually known about the variation of species and what can only plausibly be guessed and what is quite random guesswork’, but ‘the Darwinians advanced it with so sweeping and hasty an intolerance that it is no longer a question of one scientific theory being advanced against another scientific theory. … It is treated as an answer; and a final and infallible answer.’8
He noted that even the most ardent evolutionists seemed hesitant in defending Darwinism in his day:
‘Huxley said, in his later years, that Darwin’s suggestion had never been shown to be inconsistent with any new discovery; and anybody acquainted with the atmosphere will be struck by the singular note of negation in that. When Huxley began to write, he certainly expected that, by the end of his life, Darwin’s suggestion would have been confirmed by a crowd of positive discoveries. Now nobody talks of it at present as a settled scientific law. Even the critic who complained of my own remark called Darwinism a “hypothesis”, and admitted that it had been “profoundly modified”. And he added the very singular and significant phrase: that the Darwinian hypotheses was still “that most sound at bottom.” If anyone does not hear the negative note in that, I think he does not know the sound of human voice.’9
‘If an ignorant man went about saying that the earth was flat, the scientific man would promptly and confidently answer, “Oh, nonsense; of course it’s round.” He might even condescend to give the real reasons, which I believe are quite different from the current ones. But when the private citizen rushes wild-eyed down the streets of Heliopolis, Neb., calling out “Have you heard the news? Darwin’s wrong!” the scientific man does not say, “Oh, nonsense, of course he’s right.” He says tremulously, “Not entirely wrong; surely not entirely wrong”; and we can draw our conclusions.’10

Anti-evolution arguments

Image from
G.K. Chesterton
G.K. Chesterton
Chesterton argued that ‘nobody need know any more than the mere rudiments of the biological controversy in order to know that, touching twenty incidental problems, [evolution] is in some ways a very unsatisfactory answer.’8 Several of Chesterton’s arguments against evolution sound very much like modern creationist arguments:

‘I do not know the true reason for a bat not having feathers; I only know that Darwin gave a false reason for its having wings. And the more the Darwinians explain, the more certain I become that Darwinism was wrong. All their explanations ignore the fact that Darwinism supposes an animal feature to appear first, not merely in an incomplete stage, but in an almost imperceptible stage. The member of a sort of mouse family, destined to found the bat family, could only have differed from his brother mice by some minute trace of membrane; and why should that enable him to escape out of a natural massacre of mice? Or even if we suppose it did serve some other purpose, it could only be by a coincidence; and this is to imagine a million coincidences accounting for every creature. A special providence watching over a bat would be a far more realistic notion than such a run of luck as that.’11,12

Chesterton also questioned the usefulness of partially formed structures in animals; a wing that enables flight is undoubtedly an advantage to a creature, but a half-formed wing is of no use. ‘Yet Darwinism pre-supposes that numberless generations could survive before one generation could fly.’13
He also accuses the evolutionists of not having enough evidence in the fossil record for their claims:
‘I do not demand anything, in the sense of complaining anything [sic] or the absence of anything. I am quite comfortable in a completely mysterious cosmos. I am not reviling the rocks or cursing the eternal hills for not containing these things. I am only saying that these are the things they would have to contain to make me believe something that somebody else wants me to believe. These traces are not things that the Anti-Darwinian demands. They are things that the Darwinian requires. The Darwinian requires them in order to convince his opponent of Darwinism; his opponent may be right or wrong, but he cannot be expected to accept the mere absence of them as proof of Darwinism. If the evidences in support of the theory are unfortunately hidden, why then, we do not know whether they were in support of the theory. If the proofs of natural selection are lost,14 why then, there are no proofs of natural selection; and there is an end of it.
And I would respectfully ask these critics what would be thought of a theological or miraculous argument which thus based itself on the very gaps in its own evidence.’13
If the evidences in support of the theory [of Darwinism] are unfortunately hidden, why then, we do not know whether they were in support of the theory.—Chesterton on the ‘missing links’.

Chesterton on evolutionary philosophy

As dubious as the scientific claims of evolution seemed to Chesterton, the philosophic implications of Darwinism were to him the more dangerous threat. The first problem evolutionists have is that of how to relate to other creatures. Evolutionists may be very cruel to other animals; after all, under the doctrine of ‘survival of the fittest’, even the most gratuitous and painful actions can justified as helping natural selection along. Or on the opposite end of the spectrum (which is vastly more common today), an evolutionist may elevate animals to the status of humans, like those who wish to give human rights to apes, on the basis that we are all related, so humans are not entitled to any special status.
Chesterton ably pointed out the follies of such Darwinian reality compared to the sane morality revealed in Scripture:
‘Darwinism can be used to back up two mad moralities, but it cannot be used to back up a single sane one. The kinship and competition of all living creatures can be used as a reason for being insanely cruel or insanely sentimental; but not for a healthy love of animals … That you and a tiger are one may be a reason for being tender to a tiger. Or it may be a reason for being cruel as the tiger. It is one way to train the tiger to imitate you, it is a shorter way to imitate the tiger. But in neither case does evolution tell you how to treat a tiger reasonably, that is, to admire his stripes while avoiding his claws.
‘If you want to treat a tiger reasonably, you must go back to the garden of Eden. For the obstinate reminder continues to recur: only the supernaturalist has taken a sane view of Nature. The essence of all pantheism, evolutionism and modern cosmic religion is really in this proposition: that Nature is our mother. Unfortunately, if you regard Nature as a mother, you discover that she is a stepmother. The main point of Christianity was this: that Nature is not our mother: Nature is our sister. We can be proud of her beauty, since we have the same father; but she has no authority over us; we have to admire, but not to imitate.’15
Not only have evolutionists failed to answer the relatively simple questions that Chesterton put forward, creationists have more arguments than ever against the increasingly contrived pro-evolutionary stance.
The more dangerous implication of evolutionism is how it permits us to treat our fellow man. Chesterton saw the possibility that the more powerful could use evolutionary arguments to exploit the disadvantaged—we have not seen his fanciful predictions of people bred exactly for their intended professions,16 but the evolutionary philosophy did produce eugenics in America and to an even more extreme degree in Germany. There, ‘unfit’ individuals were forcibly sterilized, and in the case of the Nazi death camps, exterminated for the sake of what was seen to be the ideal for the human race. While few today would advocate such tactics, evolutionary philosophy has substantially devalued the human life, as can be witnessed by the millions of abortions which take place every year in America alone, especially if the baby has Down’s Syndrome or some deformity—most of these handicapped children never had a chance to take their first breath. And there are evolutionists like Eric Pianka and John Reid who wouldn’t mind a drastic reduction in the human population to ‘save the planet’.
Chesterton was able to see how the ideas in his day might affect thought in the future, and argued against what he saw the consequences of such flawed ideas to be. It is revealing that in nearly a century since he penned his arguments against evolution and Darwinism, those same arguments are as relevant today as they were in the early 20th century. Darwinism was open to serious attack then, and with the vast gain in scientific information, not only have evolutionists failed to answer the relatively simple questions that Chesterton put forward, creationists have more arguments than ever against the increasingly contrived pro-evolutionary stance, which has resorted to teaching falsehoods to gain converts.

Staunch defender

Chesterton also successfully debated some of the leading anti-Christians of his day, such as George Bernard Shaw, H.G. Wells, Bertrand Russell and Clarence Darrow.17 Against Darrow, he was much more successful than William Jennings Bryan, winning the audience vote about 2–1. One report stated:
‘At the conclusion of the debate everybody was asked to express his opinion as to the victor and slips of paper were passed around for that purpose. The award went directly to Chesterton. Darrow in comparison, seemed heavy, uninspired, slow of mind, while G.K.C. was joyous, sparkling and witty …. quite the Chesterton one had come to expect from his books. The affair was like a race between a lumbering sailing vessel and a modern steamer. Mrs. Frances Taylor Patterson also heard the Chesterton–Darrow debate, but went to the meeting with some misgivings because she was a trifle afraid that Chesterton’s “gifts might seem somewhat literary in comparison with the trained scientific mind and rapier tongue of the famous trial lawyer. Instead, the trained scientific mind, the clear thinking, the lightning quickness in getting a point and hurling back an answer, turned out to belong to Chesterton. I have never heard Mr. Darrow alone, but taken relatively, when that relativity is to Chesterton, he appears positively muddle-headed.”
I was favorably impressed by, warmly attached to, G.K. Chesterton. I enjoyed my debates with him, and found him a man of culture and fine sensibilities.—Famous atheistic lawyer Clarence Darrow, who decisively lost a debate with him.
‘ … As Chesterton summed it up, he felt as if Darrow had been arguing all afternoon with his fundamentalist aunt, and the latter kept sparring with a dummy of his own mental making. When something went wrong with the microphone, Darrow sat back until it could be fixed. Whereupon G.K.C. jumped up and carried on in his natural voice, “Science you see is not infallible!” Whatever brilliance Darrow had in his own right, it was completely eclipsed. For all the luster that he shed, he might have been a remote star at high noon drowned by the bright incandescent light of the sun. Chesterton had the audience with him from the start, and when it was over, everyone just sat there, not wishing to leave.
Ostensibly the defender of science against Mr. Chesterton, [Darrow] obviously knew much less about science than Mr. Chesterton did; when he essayed to answer his opponent on the views of Eddington and Jeans, it was patent that he did not have the remotest conception of what the new physics was all about.’18
Yet these opponents greatly respected him and considered him a friend. This would be like Richard Dawkins expressing warm friendship towards Henry Morris at a much later time. For example, Shaw said:

‘The world is not thankful enough for Chesterton.’

And Darrow wrote:

‘I was favorably impressed by, warmly attached to, G.K. Chesterton. I enjoyed my debates with him, and found him a man of culture and fine sensibilities.’


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  1. Chesterton was a Roman Catholic, but most of his works defend generic Christianity as defined by the ancient Apostle’s Creed, accepted by most Christian denominations. Return to text.
  2. Ahlquist, D., Common Sense 101: Lessons from G.K. Chesterton, p. 117, Ignatius Press, San Francisco, 2006. Return to text.
  3. Chesterton, G.K. ‘The religious aim of education’ in The Spice of Life, and Other Essays, 1965. Online text: Return to text.
  4. Chesterton, Orthodoxy, ch. 8, ‘The romance of orthodoxy’, 1908. Return to text.
  5. Chesterton, Orthodoxy, ch. 9, ‘Authority and the Adventurer’. Return to text.
  6. Chesterton, Orthodoxy, ch. 2, ‘The maniac’. Return to text.
  7. Chesterton, Orthodoxy, ch. 3, ‘The suicide of thought’. Return to text.
  8. Chesterton, As I was saying, chapter 32 ‘About Darwinism’, 1936. Return to text.
  9. Chesterton, ‘Doubts about Darwinism’, The Illustrated London News, 17 July 1920. Return to text.
  10. Chesterton, ‘The evolution of slaves’, in Fancies Versus Fads, 1923. Return to text.
  11. Chesterton, ‘On Darwinism and mystery’, Illustrated London News, 21 August 1920. Return to text.
  12. Indeed, the recent book Genetic Entropy and the Mystery of the Genome by Dr John Sanford, inventor of the gene gun, provides quantitative support for this. Sanford demonstrates that most mutations are too small to be affected by natural selection (i.e. are neutral), so most selective effects would be swamped by genetic drift and chance happenings, just as Chesterton realized intuitively. Return to text.
  13. Chesterton, ‘Is Darwinism dead?’, in Fancies versus fads, 1923. Return to text.
  14. Chesterton’s context here appears to refer to missing fossil evidence, i.e. proof that natural selection has changed one type of creature into a completely different one. He does not appear to be saying that there is no proof of natural selection itself, which creationists generally agree is a commonsense proposition but a culling, rather than a creative mechanism. Return to text.
  15. Chesterton, Orthodoxy, ch. 7, ‘The eternal revolution’. Return to text.
  16. See Chesterton, ‘The empire of the insect’ in What’s wrong with the world, 1910. Return to text.
  17. Dale Ahlquist, Who is this guy and why haven’t I heard of him? American Chesterton to text.
  18. Cited in ‘Chesterton v Darrow debate’, American Chesterton Society, 2000. Return to text.

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August 28, 2014

Worldviews in Conflict

Filed under: Bible,Creationism,Theology — augustinehippo1 @ 8:07 am
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Two worldviews in conflict

Evolution is absolutely opposed to the Bible

The chart below shows the direct conflict between evolution and the Bible in all these relevant areas. Only one system can be correct. When people try to harmonize these two worldviews, usually the Bible’s teaching is modified to fit evolution/long ages.
Whichever worldview foundation a people or nation chooses will have a dramatic influence on the future direction of that people.
The educational system in the West has progressively replaced the biblical foundation with belief in evolution as ‘truth’. This system trains the leaders—teachers, judges, media operators, politicians, etc. These leaders then set the social agenda, which gradually becomes written into law (e.g. the Roe v. Wade decision of the U.S. Supreme Court, legalising abortion on demand).

It is not difficult to see the results. God is being removed from public life. Man

now determines what is right and wrong, and laws are written by whoever possesses the most political power. No longer do we look to the Bible as the basis for establishing law—instead, we now base our laws on man’s desires and opinions.

Sadly, many mainline churches, parachurch organizations, seminaries, and Bible schools have also accepted the evolutionary foundation and teach it as ‘truth’.
The November 1997 Barna Report states that ‘Christianity seems to be losing influence in people’s lives rather than gaining impact. In fact, Christians have had an alarming lack of impact on the national culture as a direct outgrowth of their faith.’
If Christians use the same foundation as the world, can they expect to produce godly results?
Think of the implications of the contradictions in the chart.
Our Christian leaders who would have us accept evolution, or the equally unbiblical ‘long ages’ story, are really also telling us that God didn’t quite get the order of creation right in Genesis either.
As a matter of fact, if those leaders are right, God got the whole thing backwards. He didn’t just miss one point, He messed up on every point.
When God says He created the earth before the sun, birds before reptiles, whales before land animals, man before death, and that He destroyed the whole earth with a flood, did He really mean what He said or are we dependent on the wisdom of Christian leaders who trust the word of men (scientists/teachers) to tell us what God really meant?
Once we take that first step of rationalising/manipulating God’s Word, where do we stop?
Since God is perfect, as He states in His Word, He knows exactly how He created the earth and He is capable of communicating that to us. If we cannot trust God to tell us how He created the world, or if He cannot tell us in such a way that we will understand, how can we trust Him to communicate other important principles?

If God said one should labour for six days (Exodus 20:9–11), does that mean one should work for billions of years? Yet in the very same passage He says He made everything in six days, with evening and morning, just as ordinary days have. If God didn’t get that right, what else can we trust? Clearly, in Exodus 20:11, God says that He created the universe and all that is in it in six days. Then, in verse 13, God says, ‘Thou shalt not kill.’ The Hebrew word ratsach means murder, not killing in general. Murder is intentionally taking an innocent human life, and so covers abortion, suicide, infanticide and so-called ‘mercy killing’.

If the six days of Exodus 20 can be stretched into billions of years, then the precedent has been set to allow the moral absolutes of the Bible to be stretched in any direction man desires.
For instance, one could reason that since God is merciful, then assisting a person to kill themselves to end unbearable pain could be claimed not to be murder, but fulfilling God’s command to be merciful. Not to assist such a person could be argued to be very uncaring (sin). In this case, ‘Dr Death’ (the well-known suicide facilitator, Jack Kevorkian) would be a godly man.
Pro-abortionists could also justify their claim that abortion is acceptable because the child is unwanted, and so the mother is saving the child from the future pain of rejection.
Infanticide would also be perfectly acceptable if the child caused the parents too much pain. Spouses can cause each other unbearable pain, as can judges and police officers who limit people’s freedom. After all, we are just trying to eliminate pain and be merciful. So the next step might be to eliminate anyone who gets in one’s way. For example, the Jewish people caused Hitler pain because they were not politically correct.
This progression is not fiction. Other societies have already carried it out (Russia, China, Rwanda, etc.). Our Western society has already traveled a long way down this road. The major roadblock slowing this progress in America is the fact that it was founded on biblical absolutes, which still linger in the back of most people’s thinking.
Once you begin rationalizing away the literal meaning of God’s Word, the options are limitless. If we say the Bible is not ‘scientific’, and that it deals only with ‘why’ and not ‘how’ God did things, can we be sure Christ was born of a virgin? Or that He literally rose from the dead? After all, these are also ‘scientifically impossible’ events.
If we can’t trust any of these crucial matters in Genesis, how can we trust God to get it right about salvation?
But, in fact, the God of the Bible is very articulate and precise. He says exactly what He means and means exactly what He says. Throughout the Bible, God is very specific. He tells us exactly what to do to be saved. He told Israel exactly what they needed to do to receive His blessings. He told Moses exactly how to build the tabernacle. He told Noah exactly how to build the Ark. And in Genesis 1, He tells us exactly what He means as well. As a society or as individuals, we ignore or modify God’s Word at our peril.

Evolution vs the Bible


  1. There is no God (atheism); or, if a god exists, he/she/it left no trace of any creative activity
  2. The present is the key to the past
  3. We are here by chance


  1. Random mutation with natural selection
  2. Life appeared and gradually diversified
  3. No global flood covered the earth

Order of Appearance:
(also for ‘progressive creation’)

  1. Matter always existed or just appeared
  2. Sun/stars existed before Earth
  3. Sun is Earth’s first light
  4. First life = marine organisms
  5. Reptiles pre-date birds
  6. Land mammals predate whales
  7. Disease/death precede man


  1. No life after death
  2. Our present life is all there is
  3. Man is the highest authority
  4. Self-fulfillment is the highest priority of man

Logical Consequence:

  1. God is reduced to a creation of man
  2. God is removed from public life
  3. Man determines right and wrong
  4. Civil laws written by the group with most (political) power


  1. In the beginning, God created
  2. Revelation (God’s Word) is the key to the past
  3. We were created by God


  1. Intelligent design
  2. Universe/life created in six ordinary days approximately 6,000 years ago
  3. Noah’s flood covered the entire earth

Order of Appearance:

  1. God created matter
  2. Earth created before sun/stars
  3. Light created before sun
  4. First life = land plants
  5. Birds pre-date land reptiles
  6. Whales pre-date land mammals
  7. Disease/death result from man’s sin

Bible Teaches:

  1. Man’s spirit will live forever
  2. God wants us to live with Him forever
  3. God is the highest authority
  4. Love of God, and obedience to His Word is the highest priority of man

Logical Consequence:

  1. God is the all-powerful Creator
  2. God is honoured in public life
  3. God determines right and wrong
  4. Civil laws based on God’s law

Dan Manthei, B.S. works in his own family business. His personal mission—to direct as much energy as possible to fulfilling the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20).
Creation Ministries International  Dear Augustine: You are welcome to post CMI articles
on the mentioned website, as long as you agree not to change any of the content
and reference and the relevant authors, as you have indicated.Kind regards,  Annalouise Bekker  Administration

Creation Ministries International (Australia)


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August 26, 2014

What is a Pastor?

Filed under: Bible,Church History,Church News,Theology — augustinehippo1 @ 9:02 pm

by  Kyle Butt, M.A.
When most religious people think of the word “pastor” they have in mind the primary leader of a congregation, or of a certain section of a congregation. They may think about the “youth pastor” who organizes trips, devotionals, and encourages involvement among the teenage youth group. Or they may bring to mind the “senior pastor” who is responsible for most of the preaching that is done at the congregation, or the associate pastor who does much of the hospital visiting. Whatever your idea of a pastor is, there is an excellent question to ask yourself: “Is the Bible’s description of a pastor the same as my idea of what a pastor is?” Let’s explore what the Bible has to say about pastors.  


 The term “pastor” is found in Ephesians 4:11: “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers.” It is translated from the Greek word poimen, which means “a shepherd” or a person who herds sheep (Danker, et. al., 2000 p. 684). It is used to describe actual shepherds in the birth story of Jesus in Luke 2:8. But it has an expanded meaning that includes the idea of spiritual shepherds who oversee a flock of “sheep” or Christians, as it is used in Ephesians 4:11. The apostle Peter elaborated on this idea of spiritual shepherding when he wrote: “The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder…. Shepherd the flock of God which is among you serving as overseers…and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.” In Acts 20, we read that Paul “sent to Ephesus and called for the elders of the church” (20:17). While giving them instructions, he said, “Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, toshepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood” (20:28). From these references we understand that the term shepherd is used to describe a spiritual overseer of the Lord’s Church. The word “pastor” is simply the Latin translation of the word “shepherd.” Thus, we can see that the term “pastor” originated from the biblical discussion of spiritual leaders in the early Christian church.
It is interesting to note, however, that there is a specific group of leaders that are instructed to “shepherd” or “pastor” the flock of God. From 1 Peter 5 and Acts 20, we learn that the “elders” of the church were the ones instructed to “shepherd” or “oversee” the flock. If that is the case, what does the Bible say about elders? Thankfully, we have been given some very clear references to the spiritual office of “elders.” In Titus 1:3, the apostle Paul explained to Titus, “For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you.” The word translated “elders” comes from the Greek word presbuteros. While it is true that this word sometimes is used simply to describe those who are older as compared to those who are younger, it is also the case that it is often used to describe a spiritual office held by those who shepherded the church. This is established by the fact that Titus was instructed to “appoint elders in every city,” and Paul provided a detailed list of qualifications for those “elders” that included much more than one’s age. Thus we can know that a pastor (shepherd) was the same as an “elder” and this office was that of a spiritual overseer of a local church (in every city).
What might come as a surprise to some is that the term “bishop” is also linked to the terms “elder” and “shepherd” (or pastor). In 1 Timothy 3:1-7, Paul gives a list of qualifications similar to the one found in Titus, but he begins the list by stating, “A bishop must be blameless, the husband of one wife…” (3:2). The term “bishop” comes from the Greek word episkopos which means “overseer” (Danker, et. al., p. 299). Recall that in Acts 20:28, Paul called the elders from the church in Ephesus and explained that they were to take heed “to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers.” The term translated “overseers” is from the Greek word episkopos. When we refer back to Titus, we see that Paul instructed Titus to appoint elders, and then after giving some of the qualifications, stated, “For a bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God” (Titus 1:7). Here again the Bible uses the terms to speak of the same office. Thus, the elders, or shepherds (or pastors) were the bishops (or overseers) of the church. We do not find that these are separate offices in the church, but words that all describe the same leaders, simply giving subtle descriptions of what they do as the spiritual leaders, such as shepherd or oversee the flock.
If it is the case that the New Testament uses the terms “elders,” “shepherds,” “pastors,” “overseers,” and “bishops” to speak of the same spiritual office, what does that mean for the Lord’s church today? First, it would indicate that anyone who is a “pastor” or “bishop” should have the qualifications for those offices that are listed in Titus and 1 Timothy. Those lists present straightforward personality traits and life situations that all who “qualify” as pastors or bishops must maintain in order to spiritually oversee the church of the Lord. Without going into an extended discussion of each item on the lists, we can see why an “elder” or “bishop” must not be “greedy for money” if he is to lead the Lord’s church. Furthermore, we can understand why an overseer must not be addicted to alcohol or be violent.
It is true that people can appoint anyone they want as their “spiritual leaders” and call them whatever they like. By that I mean, could a religious group appoint teenage alcoholics who love to fight and are greedy and covetous to be their spiritual overseers, and use the terms “elders” or “pastors” to describe them? Certainly they could. But that would not make them pastors in the way the New Testament describes a pastor. Notice that in Acts 20:28, Paul told the Ephesian elders that the Holy Spirit had made those men elders. How does that happen today? Since we know that all Scripture is inspired by God (2 Timothy 3:16-17), and the Bible writers such as Peter and Paul were inspired when they penned the books of the New Testament (2 Peter 3:16; 1 Thessalonians 2:13), then we can conclude that in order for pastors to be appointed today “by the Holy Spirit” they must meet the qualifications found in the New Testament. Just because a group of people refers to someone as a bishop or pastor does not mean that person actually meets the qualifications of a bishop or pastor as found in the New Testament.
A close look at the qualifications for pastors (bishops, elders, overseers, shepherds) reveals that many people who are called pastors or bishops would not qualify as such under the New Testament. For instance, Paul told Timothy that “a bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife” (1 Timothy 3:2). He instructed Titus that a man could be appointed as an elder (or bishop) if he was “blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children” (1:6). Notice that one of the first qualifications mentioned in order for a person to be a spiritual overseer of the Lord’s church is that he is married to one woman. Would this apply to many who are called pastors or bishops today?
When it becomes clear that many who are called pastors, elders, or bishops in certain religious groups do not meet the qualifications that are inspired by the Holy Spirit, an attempt is often made to “bend” the qualifications. For instance, we are often told that it is not necessary for a pastor to be the husband of one wife; it would be fine if he were not married. We are told that “the qualifications” are not so strict as to exclude unmarried men or even women from the office. There is an obvious problem with such reasoning. Which of the qualifications can be omitted? Would those religious groups argue that it would be acceptable to have a greedy bishop, or an alcoholic elder, or a violent pastor? You see, once humans begin to amend the list of qualifications to their own liking, it is no longer the Holy Spirit’s qualification list being used to appoint bishops and elders, but an uninspired, humanly devised (or revised) list.
A study of the term pastor as it is used in the New Testament helps us arrive at another interesting biblical concept. In each of the references to the office of pastors (bishops, overseers, elders, shepherds) we see that the New Testament consistently refers to a plurality of these spiritual leaders in each church. In Titus 1, Paul told the young preacher to “appoint elders (plural) in every city.” Peter wrote, “The elders (plural) who are among you I exhort” (1 Peter 5:1). In Acts 20 we see that Paul “sent to Ephesus and called for the elders (plural) of the church” (20:17). Acts 14:23 explains that Paul and Barnabas “appointed elders (plural) in every church.” The idea of a single spiritual leader overseeing a church or congregation of the Lord’s people is found nowhere in the New Testament. As J.W. McGarvey noted: “There is no proposition in reference to the organization of the primitive churches upon which scholars and critics are more perfectly agreed than that every fully organized church had a plurality of Elders” (1950, p. 66).
If we compare the biblical idea of a pastor to that found in many religious groups today we discover that the Bible and those groups present opposing ideas. The biblical picture of a pastor is that of a spiritual leader who meets specific qualifications and who works in conjunction with other pastors who meet the same qualifications to shepherd the church of God of which they jointly have been appointed as overseers. Does your view of a pastor correspond with the view found in the Bible? Does the religious group that you associate with have a biblical arrangement for its spiritual leadership? If it does not, wouldn’t it be wise to begin your search today for a congregation of the Lord’s church that does have pastors who have been appointed by the Holy Spirit to overseer the flock?


Danker, Frederick William, William Arndt, and F.W. Gingrich, (2000), Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago. Press).
McGarvey, J.W. (1950), The Eldership (Murfreesboro, TN: Dehoff Publications).


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Created or Evolved

Filed under: Bible,Creationism — augustinehippo1 @ 8:30 pm


Where do we come from? Find your answer to the vital creation vs evolution question


Biston betularia

The peppered moth (Biston betularia, in its light and dark forms) is often paraded as evidence for evolution, whereas it actually isn’t. See: The moth files. Minor variation within a species of moth does nothing to explain the origin of the moth or how (for example) a worm could change into a fish. For readers wanting to dig deeper still, see the many articles accessible from Q&A: Natural selection.

Photos by Olaf Leillinger,


Published: 25 June 2013 (GMT+10)

Are you created or evolved?

Since Charles Darwin first published his Origin of Species in 1859, the idea that everything just evolved by itself over millions and billions of years has come to dominate our public media and educational institutions. Evolution is often spoken of as ‘fact’.

So it surprises many that there are an increasing number of voices speaking out against evolution. They say we are not evolved, butcreated. It’s even more of a surprise to discover many of those voices are from leading scientists across a range of disciplines. Not only are they pointing out the flaws in evolutionary theory, but they’re also showing that the evidence around us fits with the Bible’s account of the past, not evolution.

What is this evidence for creation that these scientists are pointing to? There’s lots. Here’s just a taste.

The design of living things

If we look at even just one aspect of our bodies, such as the dexterity of our hand, wrist and fingers, it speaks of design, and therefore, a Designer. Robotics engineers are still striving to copy that dexterity!1 And our movements are controlled by our brains—no mean feat! The immense complexity of the human brain, its creativity and power of abstract reasoning, with capacities vastly beyond that required for sheer survival, is perhaps the most obvious evidence for intelligent creation.2

New jaw-dropping discoveries of the cell’s hitherto-unrealized complexity are continuing to be made.

At the time that Charles Darwin published his Origin of Species, a cell was considered a simple ‘blob of protoplasm’—a basic building block of life. But with the development of technology allowing us to study living things at a molecular level, it’s now realized that a single cell is enormously complex. And new jaw-dropping discoveries of its hitherto-unrealized complexity are continuing to be made. E.g. the cell has a ‘switchboard system’ to coordinate the multiplicity of biochemical events happening within.3

And much more! E.g. it’s humorous now to look back on the prediction, by a scientist (J.B.S. Haldane) who believed that, because of evolution, no-one would ever find a wheel in nature.4 He was wrong, as this video clip (duration 1 minute, 26 seconds) of the world’s smallest rotary motor, the incredible ATP synthase enzyme present in all living things, shows:5

And there are linear motors, too, including the kinesin protein that ‘walks’ as it transports essential components to where they are needed in the cell, as this video (duration 1 minute, 11 seconds) shows:6

Note that every ‘step’ the kinesin protein takes requires one ATP molecule for energy—i.e. ATP which is generated by the rotary ATP synthase motor shown in the previous video clip. The eukaryotic cell needs both of these highly complex motors to be present and fully functional—and much more besides. No wonder the Psalmist wrote …

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. (Psalm 139:14)

… and the Apostle Paul said:

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. (Romans 1:20)

Indeed, there’s no excuse! Especially as modern science continues to reveal the irreducible complexity in life’s biochemistry. This video clip (duration 2 minutes, 16 seconds) spectacularly demonstrates one essential aspect of this:7

Note that this whole system (DNA, RNA and fully functional enzyme machinery) must be present in any living cell. To get enzymes you need RNA, to get RNA you need DNA, to get DNA you need enzymes … get the picture? No one has any idea how such a sophisticated set of nanomachines could have made themselves without intelligent design. This had to be designed by a super-intelligence. This is one characteristic of the Creator of all described in the Bible: omniscient / all knowing.

What would Charles Darwin have made of all this new information available today? Even in his day, the sight of a peacock feather was enough to make him sick (!), as this one-minute video clip relates:8

We’re going downhill so fast that geneticists wonder why we haven’t become extinct at least 10 times over!

For readers interested in a swag of further articles on how nature points undeniably to a Designer, see:

Q&A: Design features

Perhaps you might also know someone who would benefit from being given this short letter demonstrating how we inherently recognize design when we see it:

Letter to an atheist: A birdbox and a tree

Too-rapid genetic decay

Bad news, folks. We’re accumulating copying mistakes (mutations) in our genes at a rate of approximately 60–100 per person per generation. Here’s a video clip (duration 2 minutes 29 seconds) extract from a presentation on this topic by internationally-renowned geneticist Dr John Sanford (one of many PhD scientists who believe the Bible)9, inventor of the gene gun:10

We’re going downhill so fast in fact that geneticists wonder why we haven’t become extinct 100 times over! But their bewilderment is because they make the mistake of believing the world is older than the 6,000 or so years the Bible indicates.

Also, many wrongly think that mutations can be the ‘engine’ of evolution, i.e. that they can generate the sort of ‘uphill’ transformations necessary to validate the microbes-to-man idea. But the truth is very different. In the following video clip (duration 1 minute, 52 seconds), the response of the ‘champion’ of evolution in the west, biologist Richard Dawkins, when challenged on this issue is very revealing:11

(Should you encounter some of the many Skeptics who have tried to question the veracity of the above film clip, you can show they are wrong with this analysis of the video timeline: Was Dawkins stumped? Frog-to-a-Prince critics refuted again.)

Note that time, far from being the ‘hero’ of evolution,12 actually makes matters worse for evolutionary theory. Here are two easy-to-read articles for readers interested in following this up further:

Supernovas demonstrate by their presence that the mooted billions-of-years age of the universe is nonsense.

Time—no friend of evolution

The evolution train’s a-comin’ (Sorry, a-goin’—in the wrong direction)

And here’s a swag of further articles for readers keen to dig deeper on this topic, which clearly shows the genetic evidence points to the truth of biblical creation:

Q&A: Mutations

Incidentally, while on the subject of genetics, in this video clip (duration 1 minute, 5 seconds), CMI’s Dr Jonathan Sarfati explains why our DNA similarity with apes points to a common designer and not evolution:13

For readers with a strong further interest in genetics, see:

Q&A: Genetics

The fossil ‘record’

Instead of representing millions-of-years of evolution and extinction, the fossil ‘record’ is actually better interpreted as being a legacy of the global Flood (Genesis 6–9), and events since. This one-minute video highlights the challenge that stasis and ‘living fossils’ present to evolutionary theory, while those observed characteristics are right in line with what the Bible says:14

And there’s plenty of evidence of rapid burial, just as you’d expect from the catastrophically violent worldwide Flood described in the Bible. E.g. this one-minute video shows some fossils buried across multiple sedimentary layers:15

The pattern of worldwide catastrophic erosion, movement and burial in a watery cataclysm is plainly evident for those with eyes to see, as these easy-to-read articles explain:

Do rivers erode through mountains?—Water gaps are strong evidence for the Genesis Flood

Noah’s long-distance travelers—Quartzite boulders speak powerfully of the global Flood

It’s plain to see

Seeing the pattern


ape to man


By the way, the widely-held belief that the fossil record ‘proves’ that humans evolved from apes is sadly misplaced. One of the world’s foremost evolutionary paleoanthropologists, Professor Bernard Wood, forthrightly highlights the deceptiveness in portraying transitional images of ape-to-man (such as the one displayed on the right) as follows:

“There is a popular image of human evolution that you’ll find all over the place, from the backs of cereal packets to advertisements for expensive scientific equipment. On the left of the picture there’s an ape—stocky, jutting jaw, hunched in the knuckle-walking position. On the right, a man—graceful, high forehead, striding purposefully into the future. Between the two is a succession of figures that become ever more like humans, as the shoulders start to pull back, the torso slims down, the arms retract, the legs extend, the cranium expands and the chin recedes. Our progress from ape to human looks so smooth, so tidy. It’s such a beguiling image that even the experts are loath to let it go. But it is an illusion.16

An illusion! And Professor Wood has subsequently also said:

“The origin of our own genus remains frustratingly unclear.”17

But one might reasonably ask, “Hasn’t there already been lots of discoveries of transitional ape-men fossils, since Darwin wrote his Origin?” The following video clip (duration: 45 seconds) gives an example of what has happened to them, since they were initially heralded as ‘transitional forms’:18

For readers who’d like to explore the whole claimed ‘ape-men’ issue further, see the many articles accessible from:

Q&A: Anthropology and Ape-men

For readers who’d like to dig even deeper into the fossil record [Unintended pun!—Ed.], there’s a plethora of further articles accessible from:

Q&A: Geology

Q&A: Fossils


The 600-year-old tomb of Bishop Bell at Carlisle Cathedral, UK, has brass engravings of what appear to be sauropod dinosaurs. They appear to be engaged in a fight with their necks (as is also typical of giraffe behaviour) or perhaps courting displays, also familiar within the animal kingdom. Whoever engraved them all those centuries ago clearly wasn’t copying from the Encyclopædia Brittanica! Rather, people at that time knew what such dinosaurs looked like because those creatures were alive at the time, and were as familiar to people as the other creatures engraved on Bishop Bell’s tomb, e.g. fish, dogs, pigs and birds.

Photos by Philip Bell (left) and Mark Harwood (right).

There’s lots of evidence of dinosaurs having lived alongside people after the Flood (e.g. at Carlisle Cathedral shown above).19 And of rapid burial of dinosaurs during the Flood.20 And of red blood cells and hemoglobin in dinosaur remains, indicating the millions-of-years extinction ideas must be wrong, but right in line with the Bible’s timeline, as the following video (duration 43 seconds) shows:21

You can get an idea of the astonishment of the scientists involved in the discovery by viewing the following one-minute video:

Actually, following the 1990s discovery of the red blood cells and hemoglobin (for more detail on that find see Sensational dinosaur blood report!), even more dramatic discoveries have included:

  • In 2005, flexible ligaments and blood vessels. See Dinosaur soft-tissue find—a stunning rebuttal of ‘millions of years’
  • In 2009, the fragile proteins elastin and laminin, and further confirmation of the presence of collagen (an important protein in bone). The protein evidence was inescapably building up against long-age ideas, adding to the 2003 finding of osteocalcin in dinosaur bone. If the dinosaur fossils really were tens of millions of years old as claimed, none of these proteins should have been present. See Dinosaur soft tissue and protein—even more confirmation!
  • In 2012, bone cells (osteocytes), the proteins actin and tubulin, and even DNA! Under measured rates of decomposition, these proteins, and especially DNA, could not have lasted for the presumed 65 million years since dinosaur extinction. This is dramatic support for the Bible’s timeline, with its maximum age of the earth of 6,000 years. See DNA and bone cells found in dinosaur bone
  • In 2012, radiocarbon in dinosaur bones. But carbon-14 decays so quickly that if the remains were even 100,000 years old, none should be detectable! See Radiocarbon in dino bones—international conference censored

And note the way many dinosaurs have been fossilized in a ‘death throes’ posture, pointing to death-by-drowning, as this one-minute video shows:22

Want more? There’s lots more reading accessible via:

Q&A: Dinosaurs


This thought-provoking photo from p. 105 of The Young Earth is testament to rapid burial in the Flood. This fish was covered over so quickly it didn’t even have time to finish swallowing its lunch! (No room for millions-of-years.) And it’s not just vertebrates that are so exquisitely preserved, contrary to the misleading slow-and-gradual fossilisation ideas taught in textbooks. There have now been hundreds of jellyfish fossils discovered, magnificently preserved, thus Charles Darwin’s prediction made in his Origin of Species that no jellyfish fossils would ever be found has been proven to be utterly wrong. See:Hundreds of jellyfish fossils! The fossil evidence found worldwide, even in the highest mountain ranges, speaks of the truth of the global Flood of Noah’s time. For readers interested in following up our many articles about that watery cataclysm see Q&A: Noah’s Flood.
The        finding of pliable blood vessels, blood cells and proteins in dinosaur bone     is consistent with an age of thousands of years for the fossils, not the 65+     million years claimed by the paleontologists. For more see Dino soft tissue     find—a stunning rebuttal of ‘millions of years’

From Tyrannosaurus rex bones: Flexible blood vessels (left) and what look like red blood cells in blood vessels (right)! The discovery of pliable blood vessels, blood cells and proteins in dinosaur bone is consistent with an age of thousands of years for the fossils, not the 65+ million years claimed by the paleontologists. Unfortunately, when evidence such as this is found, researchers tend not to trust their own eyes—instead of questioning the millions-of-years paradigm they’ll often throw doubt upon their own evidence! E.g. researcher Dr Mary Schweitzer famously recalls: “It was exactly like looking at a slice of modern bone. But, of course, I couldn’t believe it. I said to the lab technician: ‘The bones, after all, are 65 million years old. How could blood cells survive that long?’” For more see Dino soft tissue find—a stunning rebuttal of ‘millions of years’.

Images: Dr Mary Schweitzer, Science 307(5717):1952, 25 March 2005.

(supplementary material)


Stars and planets

There’s plenty of facts about our universe that defy naturalistic explanation, but speak instead of the truth of Psalm 19:1, “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” E.g. the retrograde motion of some of the planets of our solar system,23 and the structure evident in the universe.24 Here’s three easy-to-read articles with further evidence in line with the Bible’s account of origins:

Young Saturn

In the middle of the action

Astronomical evidence for a young(er) earth and universe

There’s lots more about the starry skies that points to the Bible’s timeline of creation. E.g. supernovas demonstrate by their presence that the mooted billions-of-years age of the universe is nonsense, but are right in line with the Bible’s 6,000-year age of the universe, as this video clip (duration: 45 seconds) explains:25

For those who want to explore further, there’s plenty more reading material accessible via:

Q&A: Astronomy and Astrophysics


Enhanced colour image of geysers spraying water vapour far into space

Enhanced colour image of geysers on Saturn’s moon Enceladus spraying water vapour far into space. This and other evidence of ‘surprising’ geological activity sent back by NASA’s Cassini probe highlights the fact that our solar system cannot possibly be billions of years old—but instead in line with the Bible’s account of recent creation. For more on this, see Enceladus: Saturn’s sprightly moon looks young.

Credit: NASA / JPL / Space Science Institute



If the appendix can be removed from our body, does that mean it’s an evolutionary ‘leftover’? Absolutely not! See Appendix shrieks creation (at least 18 times!). Readers wanting to explore this topic further can access a great many interesting articles via Q&A: Vestigial organs.

Credit: Wikimedia commons/ U.S. Navy: Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Eric C. Tretter


Conclusion: We’re created, not evolved!

Given the above, some readers might now be wondering, “Why then do many people not realize there’s all this evidence for biblical creation and the Flood?” One factor is that many people don’t realize the difference between experimental science, which relies on eyewitness observations (which happens to be in line with the Bible’s injunction to “Let every matter be established on the testimony of two or more witnesses”), and claims about evolution in the past, which does not. This video clip (duration: 1 minute, 6 seconds) explains why the creation/evolution debate is about history, which cannot be observed, repeated, and tested:26

Now, all of this is not of mere academic interest, but has ramifications for everyone’s future. We’ve seen here that the evidence strongly points to the truth of the Bible’s historical account about Creation and the Flood. This video clip27 (duration 45 seconds) explains that Jesus Christ—our Creator, Lord and Saviour—spoke of that Flood, in context of the judgment to come …

So, the scientific evidence leads us to the fact that we are created, not evolved. Living things point to design. Geology confirms the biblical Flood. Genetics reveals that our world is decaying, and needs to be renewed. The good news is that the Creator will one day do just that. He cares about each of us and has a plan for our lives.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”28

(John 3:16) Korionov

Got more questions?

Got more questions? You can see our full suite of Q&A pages here: Creation answers (frequently asked questions).
In the unlikely event that you still have a question that wasn’t addressed on our Q&A pages, you can ask us here at Creation Ministries International (CMI) directly. However, you must have first endeavoured to have thoroughly searched our site, including using the search window (top right, which appears on every article page of our website). If after that you haven’t found an answer to your question in the over 8,000 articles and videos on this website, you may submit a theologicalor scientific question to CMI. We may then consider publishing your question and our answer as a feedback article, for the benefit of all readers, featuring it for four days on our website front page—you can see the many past examples of that here: Feedback archive. This of course helps to continuously boost and strengthen the information on our website.
Thusis not a ‘static’ website but dynamic, constantly expanding with freshdaily front page feature articles and multimedia content.

Our logo: explained

The logo of Creation Ministries International symbolizes the literal reality of a Genesis creation day: alternate periods of light and dark on a rotating earth. A real evening and morning, just as the text makes clear. See Q&A: Genesis

Further video viewing


Related Articles

Further Reading


  1. Catchpoole, D., Fingertip controlCreation 31(2):31, 2009. Return to text.
  2. Paturi, J., The human body: God s masterpieceCreation 2(4):54, 1998. Return to text.
  3. Cell switchboardCreation 25(1):7, 2003. Return to text.
  4. Sarfati, J., Design in living organisms (motors: ATP synthase)Journal of Creation 12(1):3–5, 1998. Return to text.
  5. Return to text.
  6. Return to text.
  7. Return to text.
  8. Return to text.
  9. For more, see: Scientists alive today who accept the biblical account of creation Return to text.
  10. Return to text.
  11. Return to text.
  12. Catchpoole, D., Time is the heroCreation 34(3):6, 2012. Return to text.
  13. Return to text.
  14. Return to text.
  15. Return to text.
  16. Wood, B., “Who are we?” New Scientist 176(2366):44–47, 26 October 2002. Return to text.
  17. Wood, B., Did early Homo migrate “out of” or “in to” Africa?, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 2011; published ahead of print 15 June 2011, doi:10.1073/pnas.1107724108. Return to text.
  18. Return to text.
  19. Also see: Catchpoole, D., Angkor saw a stegosaur?Creation 29(4):56, 2007. Return to text.
  20. Walker, T., Dinosaur herd buried in Noah’s Flood in Inner Mongolia, China, 14 April 2009. Return to text.
  21. Return to text.
  22. Return to text.
  23. Sarfati, J., Venus: cauldron of fireCreation 23(3):30–34, 2001. Return to text.
  24. Rigg, A., Galaxy games: grown-up galaxies in a young universeCreation 27(1):18–21, 2004. Return to text.
  25. Return to text.
  26. Return to text.
  27. Return to text.
  28. For more explanation of this, see: Good News! Return to text
  30. .Creation Ministries International  Dear Augustine: You are welcome to post CMI articles
    on the mentioned website, as long as you agree not to change any of the content
    and reference and the relevant authors, as you have indicated.
  31. Kind regards,  Annalouise Bekker  Administration

    Creation Ministries International (Australia)

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August 24, 2014

The Night is Nearly Over.

Filed under: Bible,Theology — augustinehippo1 @ 3:57 pm
Romans 13:12-14 (HCSB) 12 The night is nearly over, and the daylight is near, so let us discard the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us walk
with decency, as in the daylight: not in carousing and drunkenness; not in sexual impurity and promiscuity; not in quarreling and jealousy.
14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no plans to satisfy the fleshly desires.
1. What do night and day have to do with us?
The contrast between night and day, light and darkness is not only a familiar Biblical theme but is found in the Dead Sea scrolls as well. The people of God know there is a distinct line between evil and righteousness. Yet reminders are constantly necessary. Wycliffe Bible Commentary 


And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God. John 3:19-21 (KJV)
The Christian is now viewed as a moral dinosaur, holding to rigid concepts of right and wrong. The modern skeptic views morality as relative. Nothing can absolutely be called wrong, it’s up to the individual to decide. The idea of a moral code imposed upon humanity from a transcendent law giver is laughable to the post modern thinker. The mantra of today istrust your feelings”.
“Between two evils, I always pick the one I never tried before.”— Mae West 
If I can rationalize away my sin by calling it something else, an alternate lifestyle instead of sodomy, women’s reproductive rights instead
of the murder of the innocent unborn, it’s an affair instead of fornication, vital information instead of gossip, income redistribution instead of theft, then I don’t have to feel guilty.
The whole profession of psychiatry is based on trying to remove feelings of guilt. The head of the largest psychiatric hospital in London
stated that 70% of his patients could walk out of the hospital if it were not for repressed quilt.
“Right is right even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong even if everyone is doing it. “ St. Augustine of Hippo
2. What is Paul asking us to do?
There is something we need to do, an action we need to take.
Discard, put on armor, put on Christ.
Therefore, let us lay aside for ourselves the works of darkness and let us clothe ourselves with the weapons of light.  After Paul exhorts the readers to behave decently, as in the day, he lists specific activities that are to be avoided. These are carousings or revelries, and drunkenness, unlawful sexual activities and sensual indulgences, strife and jealousy. Finally, victory demands that the believer act. He is to clothe himself with the Lord Jesus Christ. He is to stop making provision (forethought) for the flesh to arouse desires for that which God has forbidden. Wycliffe Bible Commentary 
We must know what we believe, know why we believe it and then have the confidence to never deviate or compromise with the unbelieving worldview.  There is no neutral position. You are Christians and you need to live as Christians.
Augustine believed that reason can never be religiously neutral. Reason is not one independent approach to the truth while faith is another. Reason is a function of the whole person and is affected by the orientation of your heart, your passion, and your faith. As he puts it, “Faith seeks, understanding finds; whence the prophet says, ‘Unless ye believe, ye shall not understand.’”
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Gal 2:20 (NIV)
Everything starts with your belief. Your worldview is based on one simple fact.
In the beginning, God………………this is our starting point.
3. OK now I have my worldview straight, now what?
“The deeds you do may be the only sermon some persons will hear today”St. Francis of Assisi
Our actions are totally dependent on our mind.
Do not be conformed to this present world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may test and approve  what is  the will of God– what is good and well-pleasing and perfect. Rom. 12:2
We have a responsibility to act according to the two commandments that Jesus left us with.
Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. Matt 22:37-40 (KJV)
Avoid the Harmful
Proverbs 23:20-21 (HCSB) 20 Don’t associate with those who drink too much wine or with those who gorge themselves on meat. 21 For the drunkard and the glutton will become poor, and grogginess will clothe them in rags.
4. But how can I keep myself free from the influence of the world and still be an effective influence on the unsaved world.
 In the dark ages, monks lived in monasteries, in total isolation from the world, so that they may remain unpolluted from the world around them.
This is one reason it was called the “dark ages”. The light was hidden away. The people who should have been influencing society, being the “salt of the earth”, were afraid to mix with sinners.
To those whom you gave me out of the world ………but they are still in the world John 17:11,16 (NIV)
We must interact with people around us, but that doesn’t mean we have to participate in their activities.
I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves. Matt 10:16 (NIV)
While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and “sinners” came and ate with him and his disciples. 11 When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and ‘sinners’?” 12 On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Matt 9:10-13 (NIV)
5. How does this work?
It’s basically a series of moment by moment decisions. When the other people are gossiping, you make the choice to subtly change the subject. When the other guys in the office are all gathered staring at some chick who walks by, you decide to take one look and get back to work, avoiding all the gawking and inappropriate comments. Maybe you decide to act as though your wife was standing there next to you. Would she approve of your behavior? At the after work gathering, you have your one beer and then drink coke the rest of the night, instead of drinking yourself into a stupor like some of the others. When the cashier at Raley’s gives you 10$ too much change, or forgets to charge you for that case of Pepsi under your shopping cart, you bring it to his attention.
“Attack the evil that is within yourself, rather than attacking the evil that is in others.”Confucius
“Sanctify yourself and you will sanctify society.”St. Francis of Assisi
Adopt the Beneficial
Daniel 1:8-16 (HCSB) 8 Daniel determined that he would not defile himself with the king’s food or with the wine he drank. So he asked permission from the chief official not to defile himself. 9 God had granted Daniel favor and compassion from the chief official, 10 yet he said to Daniel, “My lord the king assigned your food and drink. I’m afraid of what would happen if he saw your faces looking thinner than those of the other young men your age. You would endanger my life with the king.” 11 So Daniel said to the guard whom the chief official had assigned to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, 12 “Please test your servants for 10 days. Let us be given vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 Then examine our appearance and the appearance of the young men who are eating the king’s food, and deal with your servants based on what you see.” 14 He agreed with them about this and tested them for 10 days. 15 At the end of 10 days they looked better and healthier than all the young men who were eating the king’s food. 16 So the guard continued to remove their food and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables.

6. What was Daniel’s situation?

  When the Babylonian empire led by King Nebuchadnezzar conquered the nation of Judah, they carried off to Babylon the best of the Jews to work for the King. Daniel was a young man, possibly a teenager when this happened in his life. In Jewish culture there were very strict rules as far as eating certain foods, but now he was in a different culture and was faced with the decision of following what he felt was right or what his captures required him to do.

 7. How did Daniel resist the pressure to conform without being seen as rebelling against authority?
Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. Romans 13:1-2 (NASB)
We as Christian are always subject to the laws of the land, and should as much as conscience permits obey.
He suggested a positive alternative. He offered a test. Most people are practical and are looking for something that works. The trick is to not become defensive and obstructionist unless you have to. When possible be creative and non threatening.
Instead of legalizing gay marriage, we offer civil unions. Instead of burning down abortion clinics we push to expand adoption and make it more accessible. Instead of race riots, we peacefully march for civil rights. Instead of armed rebellion we register to vote people who share our politics. Instead of complaining about the government, we put down the remote and educate ourselves about candidates so we can elect candidates with values instead of those with $800 haircuts.
If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Romans 12:18 (NASB)
“Peace if possible, truth at all costs.”Martin Luther
8. What happens when our best efforts fail, and we have to choose between obeying an evil ungodly authority or obeying God?
This indeed happened to Daniel’s friends.
Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the golden image that I have set up? 15 ……. But if you do not worship, you will immediately be cast into the midst of a furnace of blazing fire; and what god is there who can deliver you out of my hands?” 16  Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego replied to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to give you an answer concerning this matter. 17  If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. 18  But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” Dan 3:14-18 (NASB)
 At this point we must be prepared to pay the price for our resistance. If that “Occupy Wall Street” crowd knew they were going to have to pay with their lives for their advocacy, that place would clear out in 5 minutes.


Christians have been paying the price for over 2000 yrs.


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August 23, 2014

Hebrews Chapter 7

Filed under: Bible,Hebrews,Theology — augustinehippo1 @ 12:25 pm


1  For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, who met Abraham as he was returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, 2  to whom also Abraham apportioned a tenth part of all the spoils, was first of all, by the translation of his name, king of righteousness, and then also king of Salem, which is king of peace. 3  Without father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, he remains a priest perpetually. 4  Now observe how great this man was to whom Abraham, the patriarch, gave a tenth of the choicest spoils. 5  And those indeed of the sons of Levi who receive the priest’s office have commandment in the Law to collect a tenth from the people, that is, from their brethren, although these are descended from Abraham. 6  But the one whose genealogy is not traced from them collected a tenth from Abraham and blessed the one who had the promises.

17 After Abram returned from defeating Kedorlaomer and the kings who were with him, the king of Sodom went out to meet Abram in the Valley of Shaveh (known as the King’s Valley). 18 Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. (Now he was the priest of the Most High God.) 19 He blessed Abram, saying, “Blessed be Abram by the Most High God, Creator of heaven and earth. 20 Worthy of praise is the Most High God, who delivered your enemies into your hand.” Abram gave Melchizedek a tenth of everything. 21 Then the king of Sodom said to Abram, “Give me the people and take the possessions for yourself.” 22 But Abram replied to the king of Sodom, “I raise my hand to the Lord, the Most High God, Creator of heaven and earth, and vow 23 that I will take nothing belonging to you, not even a thread or the strap of a sandal. That way you can never say, ‘It is I who made Abram rich.’ 24 I will take nothing except compensation for what the young men have eaten. As for the share of the men who went with me – Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre – let them take their share” (Genesis 14:17-24)

1 A psalm of David. Here is the Lord’s proclamation to my lord:
“Sit down at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool!”
2 The Lord extends your dominion from Zion. Rule in the midst of your enemies!
3 Your people willingly follow you when you go into battle. On the holy hills at sunrise the dew of your youth belongs to you.
4 The Lord makes this promise on oath and will not revoke it: “You are an eternal priest after the pattern of Melchizedek.”
5 O sovereign Lord, at your right hand he strikes down kings in the day he unleashes his anger.
6 He executes judgment against the nations; he fills the valleys with corpses;
he shatters their heads over the vast battlefield.
7 From the stream along the road he drinks; then he lifts up his head (Psalm 110:1-7).

1. Why is the writer again returning to the subject of Melchizedek?

Let’s remember the purpose of the letter. The Hebrew Christians were coming under persecution and there was a temptation to go back to the Mosaic Law, the sacrificial system and the traditions which were acceptable to the religious leaders. The writer is laying out the case for the superiority of “The Way” over what was now obsolete.

which-way (1).jpg

THEME: Christ our High Priest after the order of Melchizedek
The rest of the Epistle to the Hebrews deals with the subject of the living Christ who is at this moment at God’s right hand. It is a subject that is really neglected in the church today. We talk a great deal about the death and resurrection of Christ—and that is wonderful—but my friend, we need to go on to a living Christ who is at God’s right hand and who has a ministry there for us. Now the reality of that ministry to us is what is going to test our spiritual life. Here is a barometer or Geiger counter which you can put down on your life: How is the truth of this chapter of Hebrews going to affect your spiritual life? The writer to the Hebrews is going to make a comparison and contrast of the priesthood of Melchizedek and the priesthood of Aaron. JVM

The great resource of Christians when tempted to apostatize is our high priest, Jesus Christ. The writer therefore spent considerable time and space expounding His high priesthood to enable his readers to benefit from their resource. This section of the book continues to glorify Jesus Christ so the readers would appreciate Him sufficiently and not turn from Him. “Here begins the longest single expository passage in the epistle. Its very length suggests its importance. Its theme is the core theme of Hebrews. The real resource of the readership, in the midst of their pressures, is the high priesthood of Christ. They must realize the greatness of that priesthood, its superiority to the Levitical institutions, and the perfect access they have to it on the basis of Christ’s death.” “In Hebrews 7, the writer argued that Christ’s priesthood, like Melchizedek’s, is superior in its order. In Hebrews 8, the emphasis is on Christ’s better covenant; in Hebrews 9, it is His better sanctuary; and Hebrews 10 concludes the section by arguing for Christ’s better sacrifice.” “For the Jews of his day, it would have been axiomatic that there was no priesthood other than the Aaronic. We are now shown that the Law itself proves that there is a higher priesthood than that.” CN
So the writer of the book of Hebrews, in the seventh chapter, is going to point out that this priest, Melchisedec, was of a higher order of priesthood than was the Aaronic order of priesthood established under the law. And that even after the Aaronic order had been established, a thousand years later…in fact, there is a thousand years’ time difference between the two mentions of Melchisedec in the Old Testament. Abraham lived about 2000 B.C. when he met Melchisedec, a thousand years later. You see, we read of it in the same Bible and it’s only a few books back, but it is a thousand years back. Suddenly this comes forth, “God has sworn and will not repent, ‘Thou art a priest forever, (talking of the Messiah), after the Order of Melchisedec,'” not after the order of Aaron, after the order of Melchisedec. So that gives you a little background.
One further note before we get into the text itself. One day as Jesus was disputing with the Pharisees, they were challenging Him concerning His claims as Messiah and the Son of God. They said, “We are the sons of Abraham.” Jesus said, “If you were the sons of Abraham, you would have acknowledged me, because Abraham rejoiced to see my day, and he saw it.” And they looked at him and they said, “What are You trying to tell us? Abraham saw You. You are not even fifty years old.” And Jesus responded, “Before Abraham was, I am.” And they took up stones to kill Him” (John 8:56-59).
Now this statement, “Abraham rejoiced to see my day and saw it.” When did Abraham see Jesus? Many Bible scholars, and myself included, many Bible scholars believe that Melchisedec was, in reality, one of what they call the Christophanies of the Old Testament, the appearance of Jesus in the Old Testament to Abraham. And that He was actually Melchisedec who came out to meet Abraham who received tithes from him and who blessed him. It is interesting that Melchisedec gave to Abraham bread and wine, the symbols of communion, the body and blood of our Lord. CSTTB
2. What is the significance of the statementWithout father, without mother, without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but made like the Son of God, he remains a priest perpetually”?
Some have suggested that Melchizedek was a preincarnate, temporary appearance of the eternal Son of God. As this passage indicates, however, Melchizedek was not in fact the Son of God but someone resembling the Son of God (lit., “having been made like the Son of God”); he was an ordinary human being who was “king of Salem” (v. 1). He is without father or mother or genealogy probably means simply that this information is not given anywhere in Scripture (in contrast to the Levitical priests, whose genealogies are recorded). The next phrase should probably be understood in the same way—that is, Melchizedek had neither beginning of days nor end of life recorded in Scripture; he suddenly appeared in Genesis 14 and then disappeared. As far as the OT narrative is concerned, it shows no end to his priesthood, so in that sense he continues a priest forever. Thus Hebrews seems to view Melchizedek as an ordinary man, who was a “type” or foreshadowing of Christ. In this way, Melchizedek is comparable to the eternal high priesthood of the righteous Son of God, who is truly the king of righteousness and who brings true peace. ESVN
heb11.jpgAt this point therefore we should perhaps consider how the levitical priesthood contrasts with Melchizedek’s priesthood, so as to bring out the significance of this. Mechizedek’s priesthood was;
1) ‘Without father, without mother, without genealogy.’ The Melchizedekian priesthood was not expressed as being dependent on descent. The exact opposite was the case for a levitical priest. When his name was put forward to be a priest he was asked, ‘Who is your father, who is your mother, what is your descent? Produce your genealogy.’ For Scripture stated that the father of a levitical priest must be proved to be of the house of Aaron, of the tribe of Levi. His mother must be established as a true Israelite, and also pure (see Lev_21:7), and by the time of Jesus the priestly families were excessively rigid against unsatisfactory marriages by priests for this very reason. Prospective wives’ backgrounds had to be thoroughly examined.
In fact full genealogies had to be produced for every prospective priest. Their genealogy had to be traced and demonstrated, otherwise they could not be priests (Ezr_2:62-63; Neh_7:63-65). They were very much tied to earthly descent.
2) ‘Having neither beginning of days.’ Furthermore no time limits were placed on the Melchizedekian priesthood. In contrast every levitical priest had a ‘beginning of days’, a time when he commenced his priesthood. Probably Levitical priests, like the Levites, “began their days” as priests/Levites at the age of twenty-five, when they were permitted to wait on their brethren (Num_8:24 and compare 1Ch_23:27-28). Then at the age of thirty they began their regular priestly/levitical duties (Num_4:3; Num_4:23; Num_4:30; Num_4:35; Num_4:39; Num_4:43; Num_4:47).
3) Nor end of life.’ No ending is predicated for the Melchizedekian priesthood. In contrast, assuming that the levitical priests were like the Levites, then at the age of fifty their priestly “life” ended. “From the age of fifty years they shall cease waiting on the service, and shall serve no more” (Num_8:25). As far as the priesthood was concerned their lives thus probably ended at fifty. So this priesthood was time-limited, and not a continual succession.
(This was also actually in contrast with the High Priesthood (often spoken of in terms of ‘the Priest’) which commenced on appointment and finished at death. Once a High Priest, always a High Priest. But even for him the beginning and ending of each High Priesthood was emphasised. His death was seen as the end of an era). Thus the wording of this verse has the levitical priesthood in mind as being in contrast to that of Melchizedek. As priest Melchizedek was in contrast to all this. He was a figure without an earthly identification priestwise. His descent was not important. He was simply there. He came on to the scene mysteriously and he went equally mysteriously. As spoken of in Scripture he had no known beginning and he had no known ending. He was not connected with any known genealogy, and thus not limited to any tribe. His priesthood went with his kingship. It was simply recognised. And yet in Scripture he was clearly greater than Abraham, God’s chosen one. It was the basis of a unique type of priesthood.
david.jpgHad he not been spoken of in Scripture, Jews would have frowned on all this. To Jews such genealogical information as is mentioned here was considered vital for a priest. It established his credentials. How else could a person be seen as being of a God-ordained priesthood? they would have argued. Thus this priesthood by their standards seemed to be lacking credentials. And yet they could not refute the fact that it was acknowledged by God and by Scripture, and therefore could not be denied. Thus the priesthood of anyone connected with it must also be recognised by God. And that is directly the writer’s point. Melchizedek was a true priest, yet not a levitical priest, and not limited like levitical priests were. He appeared as from God and as authorised by God, and as accepted by Abraham, no limits were put on his priesthood, and his priesthood continued on through the line of David until it reappeared in Psa_110:4. Here was an accepted and genuine priesthood, a royal priesthood, that was acknowledged by God apparently from the beginning and yet was not levitical, and had no known restrictions with regard to its beginning or ending. It was unique, being ever there in the background, and was passed on to David when he became King in Jerusalem. And it was later, in the Psalms, spoken of as continuing in existence in the house of David, to finally flower in the coming of the Messiah. So as we have seen the requirements for his priesthood are all in direct contrast with the levitical priests. In their case their father and mother had to be known and had to be strictly acceptable. Their case was rigidly scrutinised. If there was any doubt they could not be accepted. The father must be a priest of true descent, the mother an established Israelite. Their genealogy had to be traced, otherwise they could not be priests (Ezr_2:62-63; Neh_7:63-65). And they had both ‘a beginning of days’ and ‘an end of life’. None of this was true of him or expected of him. He stood above it all.
‘But made like to the Son of God, he abides a priest continually.’ And this is the final point. That as far as Scripture usage is concerned he was actually in Scripture ‘made like to the Son of God’, to Jesus Christ, in the way that his priesthood is presented and appears as unlimited, and as going on and on. He stands out, and was intended to stand out, as an example of eternal priesthood. His priesthood was pictured in the same way as that of the Son of God really is. No beginning or end is pointed to. It was seen as unceasing, not limited by time rules. It stretched from at least the time of Abraham to the time of the Psalmist, and then was to go onwards in the Davidic representative (not be it noted in Melchizedek himself), and on to the great day of God’s triumph, and therefore it was seen as being permanent and everlasting. Here then, he says, is the picture revealed in Scripture by Melchizedek, the picture of an unceasing, continuing, eternal priesthood, not connected with Aaron, and in fact superior to that of Aaron. And that is why, he explains, we cannot doubt his greatness. It is necessary here, however, to emphasise that it is Melchizedek who is said to have been ‘made like to’ the Son of God, and not vice versa. He illustrates what the Son of God is like with regard to priesthood. He was there as an illustration on earth, as ‘a type’, as preparatory to the eternal Son of God revealing Himself. He was, preparatory and secondary. For in Heb_1:1-3, where the essence of the Son of God is declared in all His eternal power and glory, Jesus also is depicted as being without beginning and without end in a much deeper sense. He is seen as appointed heir of all things and proceeds to create the world. He has no beginning. And then He proceeds to sitting at God’s right hand having accomplished His purposes. He has no ending.
So Melchizedek in his small way is portrayed precisely like this, as an illustration of this and as being ‘made’ for this very purpose. His sudden appearance in Scripture, says the writer, was not accidental. It was in order to illustrate the eternal High Priest, Who was already invisible in Heaven, and to demonstrate that there was such a priesthood, even before levitical priesthood was introduced. Indeed we should carefully note another fact and that is that as far as Scripture is concerned Melchizedek was not only a unique priest but was a priest who preceded all other earthly priesthood. In Genesis, where all things began, there is no other priesthood mentioned than that of Melchizedek. As far as Genesis was concerned he was ‘the priest’. He did not appear as another priest, he was the only mentioned priest of God, a figure of the eternal priesthood. He was thus the prime example of such priesthood long predating Moses. And, says the writer, his appearance in Scripture and his mention here is precisely because he was ‘made like to the Son of God’ as far as priesthood is concerned. That is why he is introduced and comes on the scene. For in the end this passage is not about Melchizedek but is demonstrating the unique Priesthood of the Son of God (Heb_7:11-28), which preceded, was superior to, and outlasted, the levitical priesthood.PPC
7  But without any dispute the lesser is blessed by the greater. 8  In this case mortal men receive tithes, but in that case one receives them, of whom it is witnessed that he lives on. 9  And, so to speak, through Abraham even Levi, who received tithes, paid tithes, 10  for he was still in the loins of his father when Melchizedek met him.

3. Why is it important that Melchizedek be shown as superior to Abraham?

Melchizedek was great because Abraham gave him a tithe. In the Greek text the word patriarch is emphatic. The greatness of Abraham, the one who possessed the promises of God (v. 6), underscores the even greater rank of Melchizedek, the priest of righteousness. NSB

The superior person (Melchizedek) blessed the inferior(Abraham), thus the Melchizedek priesthood is superior to Abraham and all his descendants (implicitly including the Levitical priesthood).ESVN

The Jews looked to Abraham as the father of their nation, and religion.

Matthew 3:9 (KJV)
9  And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.  

John 8:39-41 (HCSB)
39  “Our father is Abraham!” they replied. “If you were Abraham’s children,” Jesus told them, “you would do what Abraham did. 40  But now you are trying to kill Me, a man who has told you the truth that I heard from God. Abraham did not do this! 41  You’re doing what your father does.” “We weren’t born of sexual immorality,” they said. “We have one Father—God.”

Acts 7:2 (KJV)
2  And he said, Men, brethren, and fathers, hearken; The God of glory appeared unto our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he dwelt in Charran,

4. How would the superiority to Abraham relate to the Levitical priesthood?

The sons of Levi, who received tithes from their brethren, died, but Melchizedek, who received tithes from Abraham, lived on. Melchizedek was immortal as far as the specific revelation of Scripture states. In contrast, Moses wrote that Abraham, Levi, and the Aaronic priests died.
In a sense even Levi himself paid tithes to Melchizedek since he was still in the loins of Abraham when Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek. In the ancient Near Eastern view of things, people regarded a descendant as in one sense participating in the actions of his ancestors (Gen. 25:23; Mal. 1:2-3; Rom. 9:11-13). This is true to reality in certain respects (cf. Rom. 5:12-21; 1 Cor. 15:22), though we are responsible for our own actions too (Ezek. 18:20). Levi, the head of the priestly tribe in Israel, had not yet begun his independent existence, but he was involved in everything that Abraham did. CN


11  Now if perfection was through the Levitical priesthood (for on the basis of it the people received the Law), what further need was there for another priest to arise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be designated according to the order of Aaron? 12  For when the priesthood is changed, of necessity there takes place a change of law also. 13  For the one concerning whom these things are spoken belongs to another tribe, from which no one has officiated at the altar.

5. How was the Levitical priesthood insufficient to bring perfection to the Jew?

The writer will continue to develop this argument for the next few chapters.

In Hebrews, several reasons are presented for why the Mosaic law could not bring people to perfection (vv. 18–19; 9:9; 10:1; cf. the work of Jesus in 10:14; 11:40; 12:23). Here, the fact that there existed a priestly order of Melchizedek (Ps. 110:4) shows that the Levitical priesthood (and its high priesthood reserved for the Aaronic line; see Ex. 28:1; 29:1–46) was insufficient to the task.change in the law. The establishment of a better priesthood (Christ’s) shows Christians that there also has been a change from the Mosaic law, since that law required a succession of priests, all descended from Levi (Heb. 7:18–19). Thus, Jesus’ role as a non-Levitical high priest is strong evidence that the Mosaic covenant (the “old covenant”) is no longer in effect. ESVN

the law.jpgIf the Levitical priesthood had been able to bring people to perfection, then a superior priest from the order of Melchizedek would not have been needed (Ps. 110:4). If the priests under the Law of Moses could offer permanent reconciliation between God and His people, there would be no need for a coming Messiah, One who would restore the Israelites to their relationship with God.
If the Melchizedek priesthood removed the Levitical priesthood, then the Mosaic Law is also removed. In short, the believer is not under the Law but instead relies on the righteousness of Christ (Rom. 6:14; Gal. 3:24, 25). Any system of religion that tries to be under the law cannot have Christ because Christ does not minister the law. It’s either Christ or the law but not both. NSB

Throughout Hebrews, the term refers to complete reconciliation with God and unhindered access to God—salvation. The Levitical system and its priesthood could not save anyone from their sins. MSBN

14  For it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah, a tribe with reference to which Moses spoke nothing concerning priests. 15  And this is clearer still, if another priest arises according to the likeness of Melchizedek, 16  who has become such not on the basis of a law of physical requirement, but according to the power of an indestructible life. 17  For it is attested of Him, “YOU ARE A PRIEST FOREVER ACCORDING TO THE ORDER OF MELCHIZEDEK.” 18  For, on the one hand, there is a setting aside of a former commandment because of its weakness and uselessness 19  (for the Law made nothing perfect), and on the other hand there is a bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God.

6. How does the tribe of Judah figure into this and how can anything not under the law be a good thing?

In the book of Hebrews, he has brought out that we have a great high priest, even Jesus Christ, the righteous. The Jew would immediately challenge, “How could Jesus be a great high priest when He comes from the tribe of Judah?” Nothing is said in the law concerning the priesthood from the tribe of Judah. So here he pulls out this 110th Psalm, “For God has sworn and will not repent, ‘Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchisedec.'” And so he answers the argument of the Jew, who would declare there is no way Jesus could be a high priest coming from the tribe of Judah. He answers that argument quite thoroughly with his prophetic Psalm 110.
It is far more evident because the prophecy in Psalm 110, that there has to arise another priest after the order of Melchisedec.
“Thou art a priest forever.” So the law could make nothing perfect. It could only bear witness of a better covenant, established on better promises.
The law has been disannulled, commandments disannulled, because of the priesthood being changed.
The Bible says, “By the works of the law shall no flesh be justified in the sight of God” (Romans 3:20). The Bible teaches us that the law was never intended to make a man righteous. The purpose of the law was to reveal man’s sin and his utter sinfulness. It is by the law that I have a knowledge of sin, for God has declared His righteous standard and I realize that I have fallen short of God’s righteous standard.
So, the law revealing my failure, points the finger of guilt at me and the law then condemns me to death and to the curse. “For it is written, ‘Cursed is every one who continues not in the whole law that is to do the things that are written therein'” (Galatians 3:10). The law makes no one righteous, but it does put us all under the curse, for it reveals to us our sins and it makes us much more guilty, or at least conscious of our guilt. Now, this is the problem in the time of Jesus, was their interpretating of the law. And I think that that is probably a problem that exists all through the history of man, the interpreting of the law.
swallow.jpgNow in Jesus’ day, they were interpreting the law as a physical, material thing rather than seeing it as a spiritual thing, and interpreting it in a literal, physical way. They were becoming very smug and self-righteous because they followed the law to the letter. For instance, Jesus said, “You strain at a gnat and you swallow a camel.”
Now, over in that land there are lots of gnats, pesky little things flying around your eyes all the time, and just bugging you. And as you were out doing your morning jogging, sometimes these little gnats would fly in your mouth. Now, according to the law you can’t eat any meat unless it has been killed in a kosher fashion, thoroughly bled. So you’d see these Pharisees out there with their fingers down their throat straining to get rid of that gnat, because they didn’t want to do anything that would violate the law. So they strained at a gnat.
The law said, “Thou shalt not bear a burden on the Sabbath day.” What constitutes bearing a burden? So they had to go down the list of the various burdens that a man might bear on the Sabbath day. You have a glass eye? That is carrying something on the Sabbath day, and you’ve got to take it out on the Sabbath day. Go around with one eye. Have false teeth? Sabbath day, you’re carrying a burden. Get rid of the false teeth. Wooden leg? Not on the Sabbath, man.
So they sought to interpret the law, making it a heavy, physical yoke that no man can bear. But in reality, becoming very self-righteous because I keep the law, whereas, in reality, they were violating the spirit of the law every day. God intended the law as spiritual. Their carnal interpretation was wrong. CSTTB

20  And inasmuch as it was not without an oath 21  (for they indeed became priests without an oath, but He with an oath through the One who said to Him, “THE LORD HAS SWORN AND WILL NOT CHANGE HIS MIND, ‘YOU ARE A PRIEST FOREVER‘”); 22  so much the more also Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant. 23  The former priests, on the one hand, existed in greater numbers because they were prevented by death from continuing, 24  but Jesus, on the other hand, because He continues forever, holds His priesthood permanently. 25  Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. 26  For it was fitting for us to have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens; 27  who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. 28  For the Law appoints men as high priests who are weak, but the word of the oath, which came after the Law, appoints a Son, made perfect forever.  

7. A better covenant?

The new, better covenant based on Jesus’ eternal high priesthood comes with God’s oath and with Jesus as the guarantor, and thus it is superior to the Mosaic covenant ESVN

Because God promised on oath to install Messiah permanently as our priest, the writer could say that Jesus is the guarantee of a better covenant. Since the old priesthood was the heart of the Old Covenant, and God terminated both of them, a new priesthood must accompany the New Covenant that is superior to the Old Covenant. Since the new Priest has come, so must the New Covenant have come (cf. Luke 22:20).
And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.
This is the first mention in the epistle of the word “covenant” that will play a major role in the writer’s argument to follow.
“Hebrews develops the theme of the new covenant more fully than any other NT writer, the epistle accounting for just over half the occurrences of diatheke [“covenant] in the NT.”
The writer used this word (Gr. diatheke) 17 times, far more than it occurs in any other New Testament book. He preferred this word to the more common syntheke (“covenant”) evidently because syntheke suggests an agreement made on relatively equal terms. Diatheke has the idea of a more absolute will, such as a last will and testament. CN

8. How is the personhood of Jesus superior to the Levitical priesthood.
Christ’s divine and holy character is yet another proof of the superiority of His priesthood. In His relationship to God, Christ is “holy” (piety without any pollution; Mt 3:17; 17:5; Mk 1:24; Lk 4:24; Ac 2:27; 13:35). In His relationship to man, He is “innocent” (without evil or malice; Jn 8:46). In relationship to Himself, He is “undefiled” (free from contamination; 1Pe 1:19) and “separated from sinners” (He had no sin nature which would be the source of any act of sin; cf. “without sin” in 4:15).. exalted above the heavens.
1844+Santuary.jpgWhenever the Levitical High-Priest sinned, he was required to offer sacrifices for himself (Lv 4:3). Whenever the people sinned, he also had to offer a sacrifice for them (Lv 4:13). These occasions could be daily. Then, annually, on the Day of Atonement, he had to again offer sacrifices for himself and for the people (Lv 16:6, 11, 15). Christ had no sin and needed no sacrifice for Himself. And only one sacrifice (by Him) was needed—one time only, for all men, for all time. once for all. A key emphasis in Hebrews. The sacrificial work of Christ never needed to be repeated, unlike the OT priestly sacrifices.  MSBN

first for his own sins. Christ’s priesthood is superior because he has no personal sins for which sacrifice had to be made (see Lev 9:8 and  note ). once for all. A key phrase in Hebrews (see 9:12 , 26 and note on  9:12 ; 10:2 , 10 ). offered himself. Levitical priests offered up only animals; our high priest offered himself, the perfect substitute for us. NIVSN

ESVN……………..….ESV Study Bible Notes
MSBN……………….MacArthur NASB Study   Notes
NIVSN……………….NIV Study Notes.
JVM ………………….J Vernon McGee’s Commentary
BN ……………………Barnes Notes
WBC………….…….Wycliffe Bible Commentary
CN ……….…………..Constables Notes
IC……………….…….Ironside Commentary
NET…………….…….Net Bible Study Notes.
JFB……………………Jamieson Fausset  Brown Commentary
VWS………………….Vincent Word Studies
CMM………………..Commentary on Matthew and Mark
BDB……………..….Barclay’s Daily Study Bible (NT)
Darby……………….John Darby’s Synopsis of the OT and NT
Johnson……………Johnson’s Notes on the New Testament
NTCMM…………..The New Testament Commentary:  Matthew and Mark.
EHS………………….Expositions of the Holy Scriptures
CPP…………………The Complete Pulpit Commentary
SBC…………………..Sermon Bible Commentary
K&D…………………Keil and Deilitzsch Commentary on the OT
EBC……………….…Expositors Bible Commentary
CBSC……………….Cambridge Bible for Schools and College
GC……………………Guzik Commentary
RD…………………..Robert  Deffinbaugh
NSB …………………The Nelson Study Bible
MHC…………………Matthew Henry Commentary
CSTTB………Chuck Smith Through The Bible
LESB…………….Life Essentials Study Bible.
PPC………………..Peter Pett’s Commentarty


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August 22, 2014

Soren Kierkegaard and the Supremacy of Faith

Filed under: Bible,Church History,Theology — augustinehippo1 @ 3:48 pm

Written by Tim Garrett

Kierkegaard—The Radical Reformer

One of the most difficult barriers to evangelism today is the difficulty in defining what it is to be a Christian. Some consider attendance in a Christian church to be sorensufficient, while a vast number of people simply associate “Christian” with being a good, moral person. And in a country such as the U.S., there are even those who assume American citizenship is an adequate basis for being a Christian. This is what happens when people reject the Bible for its understanding of divine truth.

 However, this predicament is not unique to the 21st century. In the mid-nineteenth century, one of the great defenders of Christianity confronted this very problem in his native Denmark. Disturbed by the culture’s definition of Christianity, Sören Kierkegaard dedicated his life to a defense of Christianity that was truly a way of life rather than simply the acceptance of a church creed. Kierkegaard was especially disturbed that the Danish church had accepted its definition of Christianity from the famous German philosopher G. W. F. Hegel. For Hegel, rationality was the supreme virtue, and Christianity was the ultimate religion because the doctrine of the Trinity was in accordance with his own understanding of logic: God the Father and Jesus Christ are identical since each is God, and yet they are different from one another since they are distinct individuals. This apparent “difference” is then reconciled by the fact that God has made Himself known through the Holy Spirit’s birthing of the church. Hegel found this definition of the Trinity to be the mirror image of his own understanding of logic, in which opposites are to be synthesized in order to come to a fuller understanding of reality.

hegel Hegel’s reference to Christianity as the ultimate religion led many to assume that he was a strong advocate of Christianity. However, for Hegel, “reality” was only what could be experienced in the here and now. He rejected any suggestion that there was an afterlife or otherworldly existence. And while he referred to Christianity as the ultimate religion, he also declared that religion was subordinate to his own philosophy. Because Christianity is based on faith, Hegel taught that to be rational we must go beyond religion and turn to Hegel’s own philosophy if we are to understand ultimate reality.

 It was Kierkegaard’s self-appointed task to confront Hegel’s thinking and to present the supremacy of the Christian faith to the Danish people. His brilliant apologetic effort was so ridiculed, however, that for years after his death Danish parents admonished their children “don’t be a Sören” in order to warn them about foolish behavior. In order to understand why, it will be necessary first to examine Kierkegaard’s life and strategy, after which we will discuss his well-known works.

Kierkegaard and His Pseudonyms

Few people today know the story of Morris Childs. Childs, who as a young man was a high ranking official in the American communist party, became an informantportfolio-childs-morris002 (1) for the FBI against communism in the early fifties. Because of his background, Childs moved easily among communist leaders, both in the United States and abroad, for nearly thirty years. And yet, due to the highly secretive nature of his mission, very few of his fellow American citizens realized that Morris Childs was a true patriot. Instead, he was considered by many to be a communist, a traitor. Far from being a traitor, Childs had risked his life in order to pass on highly sensitive information to his American spy-masters.

 Like Childs in the political realm, Sören Kierkegaard has been misunderstood by many of his fellow Christians. Partly due to the influence of Francis Schaeffer, who blamed Kierkegaard for the modern trend toward irrationalism, there are those who assume that Kierkegaard was a secularist. However, part of the genius of Kierkegaard was his desire to present the truth of Christianity from the perspective of a non-Christian. Consequently, many of his books were written under various pseudonyms.

 When reading Kierkegaard under one of these pseudonyms, you can never assume that everything Kierkegaard is writing is his own belief. Instead, he typically introduces himself to the reader as a non-believer who, for whatever reason, is interested in religious questions. It was Kierkegaard’s belief that the most important religious and ethical questions could not be communicated directly. He therefore developed a method famously known as “indirect communication” in which he hoped to establish common ground with the non-believer. By not introducing himself as a Christian, he sought an audience for the gospel that he would not have gained otherwise.

 Another aspect of Kierkegaard’s life that must be taken into account is his tragic relationship with a young woman named Regina Olsen. regina-olsenKierkegaard deeply loved Regina, and for a short period of time they were engaged to be married. But Kierkegaard forced himself to break off the engagement. And the fact that they never married was, for Kierkegaard, the true proof of his love for her. Much of his motivation for the break-up was based on the melancholy nature he had received from his father. Kierkegaard’s father, Michael, had cursed God as a young boy due to his miserable working conditions and was haunted all his life by the suspicion that he had committed the unpardonable sin against the Holy Ghost. Not only did Kierkegaard hope to spare Regina from his own depression, he also attempted to demonstrate in his writings that his rejection of Regina was motivated by love, just as God’s love for us was revealed through His rejection of His own beloved Son.

Kierkegaard on the Incarnation

The Weigh-Down Workshop, a weight loss program developed by Gwen Shamblin, is based on the admirable thesis that those who would like to lose weight should replace their excessive hunger for food with hunger for God. But recently it became evident that Shamblin’s Christian beliefs are unorthodox. According to Shamblin, the doctrine of the Trinity is a “man-made” formula that arose in a polytheistic society in order to “make sure no one mistakenly believed that Christians worshipped several gods.” Shamblin is under the mistaken belief that trinitarian teaching suggests that Jesus and God are the same person, when in fact the biblical teaching is that Jesus (the Son) and God (the Father) are distinctive persons, identical in their divine essence.

 In one of Kierkegaard’s more famous works, The Philosophical Fragments, it is suggested that the doctrine of the Incarnation is indeed the ultimate paradox: How can it make sense that God became man? But Kierkegaard wrote this work under the pseudonym of Johannes Climacus. Johannes Climacus does not claim to be a Christian, but he is at odds with the philosophy of Hegel, who sees faith as a stepping-stone to the ultimacy of reason. Climacus is intent on demonstrating that, if Hegel is right, then Christianity is completely wrong. But, if Hegel is wrong, then it is possible to understand that doctrines such as the Incarnation reveal the logical superiority of Christian faith.

 Climacus begins by asking if the truth can be learned. He therefore questions what kind of teacher would be capable of bringing the truth to human beings who do not know the truth. Since all people are created by God, it must have been God who made it possible for human beings to know the truth. But since people don’t know the truth, then only a divine being could teach human beings the truth. And what is it that prevents people from knowing the truth? It is sin. And since the teacher must bring people out of this sinful condition in order for them to understand truth, this teacher should also be seen as a savior, a deliverer. But, to be a savior for humans, this divine being must also become human as well, which is illogical to those who have not received the truth. All this is to suggest, however, that the Christian doctrine of the Incarnation is perfectly consistent for the person of faith.

 Yet, since Climacus is writing in response to the philosophy of Hegel, he points out that God becoming a man is absurd, a paradox beyond human comprehension. For this reason many readers assume that Kierkegaard himself thought that the Incarnation was absurd, when in fact he was emphasizing that mere human reason was insufficient to be a Christian. For Kierkegaard, biblical faith takes us beyond what human reason can possibly conceive.

Kierkegaard on Abraham

Mohammed Ali was one of the greatest fighters of all time. After he began calling himself “The Greatest,” that title quickly became associated with Ali. We often debate about the greatness of athletes and politicians, but rarely in our pluralistic society do we present our position on the greatness of religious figures. And yet that is exactly what Kierkegaard did in his work, Fear and Trembling, written under the pseudonym of Johannes de Silentio. Johannes is fascinated by Abraham and desires to understand how anyone could be as great as Abraham.

abraham-and-isaac-on-mt-moriahJohannes is intrigued by a seeming paradox: How is it that Abraham is routinely recognized to be one of the greatest figures in all of Scripture, the father of faith, and yet at the same time we must admit that he was a split-second away from murdering his own son? If anyone were to emulate Abraham in modern times, we would do our best to prevent such a heinous act. Yet, at the same time preachers routinely preach on the greatness of Abraham. Johannes concludes that what made Abraham so amazing was his belief that he would receive Isaac back in this life, rather than just in the life everlasting. Still, this leads to the conclusion that Abraham was willing to kill Isaac. How, then, can we exalt Abraham as a great man?

 Johannes proceeds to examine the purpose behind Abraham’s action. This is where, once again, Kierkegaard is intent on skewering the philosophy of Hegel. According to Hegel, the individual was to subordinate his own desires for the broader good of the institutions of family, civil society, and the state. Consequently, it would have been Hegel’s position that Abraham’s actions were both ludicrous and evil since they did not conform with the ethical standards of a civilized people. As a result, Johannes forces us to ask whether the philosophy of Hegel or the teaching of Scripture is to take priority.

 Johannes’ own unique answer is that, in order to understand Abraham’s relationship to God, there must be what he calls the “teleological suspension of the ethical.” Teleology is the idea that everything has a purpose. For Hegel, the ultimate purpose of ethics was for the members of a state to share the same moral virtue, under which circumstances a nation can be joined together with a common bond. But for Johannes, the individual takes priority over the state. Abraham’s actions were guided by a higher purpose than simply conforming to the ethical norms of society. His faith enabled him to obey God to the point of becoming a murderer, while believing that God would raise his beloved son from the dead. Who then is greater? Hegel, or Abraham? Human reason gives one answer, but Christian faith another.

Kierkegaard and Truth

“What is truth?” The famous question of Pilate to Jesus has become even more pertinent today, as truth has become more a matter of pragmatic concerns rather than having any correlation with reality. Biblical Christianity is grounded on the truths of God’s Word, and the loss of truth in a postmodern society has had a devastating effect on the influence of the gospel. Thus, on first glance it can be disturbing that Kierkegaard claimed that all truth is subjectivity. To conclude this article, I want to explore exactly what he means by this phrase.

 We must be very careful when reading someone as elusive as Kierkegaard. Once again, it is Johannes Climacus who is the spokesman for the claim that all truth is subjectivity. Climacus is again attacking the philosophy of Hegel, who claimed that it was possible for human beings to possess absolute knowledge through bible-truth carefully analyzing human existence. Climacus questions how it is possible to have absolute certainty in this life, especially when we consider the wide variance between philosophers since ancient times. More importantly, the claim of absolute knowledge seems to mean that, for the Christian, knowing is more important than believing. Since faith, as in the case of Abraham, often times requires patience and endurance before reaching its fulfillment, there is a qualitative difference between faith and knowledge. According to Climacus, only God can have absolute knowledge. This is important to consider when pondering the assertion that all truth is subjective, for Climacus is making a major distinction between the human realm and the divine realm.

 One of Kierkegaard’s major emphases in his writings was that the Christian life is more than simply believing in orthodox doctrine. He himself was passionate about his relationship with Christ, and was disgusted by the apathetic attitude of many church-goers. Consequently, when Climacus claims that all truth is subjectivity he is claiming that human beings must appropriate the truth of whatever they believe if it is truly to take hold of their lives. There can be no such thing as a passive, disinterested Christian. Neither should the Christian confuse knowledge, which can never be complete in this life, with the life of faith. The Christian must make a leap of faith, in the sense that faith always involves risk. Climacus therefore hoped to contrast the willingness to believe and live out the truths of Christianity against the acceptance of philosophical systems that did not require any personal commitment. This, for Climacus, is the difference between subjective and objective truth.

As we have seen, it is very easy to construe Kierkegaard as a non-Christian if we do not take into consideration his strategy of indirect communication. Hopefully this brief introduction to Kierkegaard’s thought will stimulate many to a fuller appreciation for this important Christian thinker.


© 2000 Probe Ministries

About the Author

Tim Garrett is a former research associate with Probe Ministries. He has a B.A. in religion from George Fox University and an M.A. in the philosophy of religion from Denver Seminary. He served as a youth pastor for several years while in seminary.


Probe Ministries This document is the sole property of Probe Ministries. It may not be altered or edited in any way. Permission is granted to use in digital or printed form so long as it is circulated without charge, and in its entirety. This document may not be repackaged in any form for sale or resale. All reproductions of this document must contain the copyright notice (i.e., Copyright 2011 Probe Ministries) and this Copyright/Limitations notice.


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August 21, 2014

Ancient Biblical Texts

Filed under: Church History,Theology — augustinehippo1 @ 8:22 pm

Question: “What is the Majority Text?”

majority.jpgAnswer: The Majority Text, also known as the Byzantine and Ecclesiastical Text, is a method of determining the original reading of a Scripture by discovering what reading occurs in a majority of the manuscripts. As the Greek New Testament was copied hundreds of times over 1500 years, the scribes, as careful as they were, occasionally made mistakes. The vast majority of these mistakes are in misspellings, or in whether “the” or a preposition occurs. It is important to remember, though, that no doctrine of the Christian faith is put into doubt by these textual questions. The testimony of the thousands of manuscripts over 1500 years is entirely consistent on all the key issues of the Christian faith.

It is vital, though, that our Bibles are as accurate as possible. The accuracy of the manuscripts plays a large role in determining the accuracy of the translation. While the presence of a the is not usually vital to the meaning of a verse, there are times when it can be. This is where the science of “textual criticism” comes in. The goal of textual criticism is to examine all of the available manuscripts, and by comparison and contrast, to determine what the original text truly was.

The Majority Text method within textual criticism could be called the “democratic” method. Essentially, each Greek manuscript has one vote, all the variants are voted on by all the manuscripts, and whichever variant has the most votes wins. At first glance, the Majority Text method would seem to be the most likely to result in the correct original reading. The problem is that the Majority Text method does not take into account two very important factors: (1) The age of the manuscripts, and (2) the location of the manuscripts.

(1) The age of the manuscripts.The more times a manuscript is copied, the more likely it is that errors will occur. A first-generation copy——one that was copied directly from the original——is very likely to be closer to the original than a tenth-generation copy (a copy that was copied from a copy, from a copy . . . from the original). Manuscripts from the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th centuries should be far closer to the originals than manuscripts from the 12th, 13th, and 14th centuries. The problem is that the majority of the manuscripts are from the 12th, 13th, and 14th centuries. To illustrate, let’s say there is a man named James Smith. Let’s say you are attempting to discover James Smith’s middle name. Who would be a better source, James Smith’s one thousand great-great-great-great-great-grandchildren, or James Smith’s son? Of course it would be James Smith’s son. Similarly, a 2nd- or 3rd-generation copy of the New Testament is far more likely to be correct than a 12th- or 13th-generation copy.

(2) The location of the manuscripts.The vast majority of Christians through the centuries have lived in western and eastern Europe. For cultural, theological, and political reasons, the western and eastern churches split. The western church became the Roman Catholic Church while the eastern church become the Orthodox Church. A few centuries after the start of Christianity, the western church began using Latin as its primary language. The eastern church continued using Greek as its primary language for another thousand years (and in some places, even to today). Textual critics have discovered that the manuscripts discovered in one part of the world tend to be very similar to other manuscripts from that part of the world, likely due to originating from the same source. Since the eastern church continued using Greek as its primary language for 1000+ years longer than the western church, there are significantly more Greek manuscripts that were discovered in eastern Europe than in western Europe. And, these eastern Greek manuscripts (the Byzantine manuscripts) are all very similar to each other. When the Majority Text is applied, this results in the eastern manuscripts having far greater weight than the western manuscripts. However, if the thousands of Latin manuscripts from the western church were thrown into the Majority Text “equation,” the results of the voting would be far more balanced, and would actually tilt away from the eastern / Byzantine reading.

Perhaps another illustration will help. Let’s say that there are two copies of a document, document A and document B, with minor differences between them due to copying mistakes. Document A is copied 100 times, while Document B is copied three times. If you used the Majority Text method, the Document A copies would have 100 votes, while the Document B copies would only have 3 votes. The Document A copies would win every vote. However, since Document A and Document B are both first-generation copies of another document, Document A and Document B and their “descendants” should be given equal weight in determining the most likely original reading.

The principles of age and location, then, result in “the majority rules” not being the best method in textual criticism. What, then, is the best method? The best method would seem to be taking into account all factors: majority, age, location, difficulty of the reading, and which variant best explains the origin of the other variants. This method is known as the “Eclectic Text” or “Critical Text.” Other than the King James Version and New King James Version, all of the modern English translations are based on the Eclectic Text. Most assume that the King James Version and New King James Version are based on the Majority Text. This is not correct.

The King James Version and New King James Version are based on the Textus Receptus. The Textus Receptus is very similar to the Majority Text, but there are in fact hundreds of differences between the Majority Text and the Textus Receptus. The Textus Receptus was compiled and edited by Erasmus in the 16th century. Erasmus used several Greek manuscripts, which were eastern / Byzantine in nature. This explains why the Textus Receptus is very similar to the Majority Text. However, Erasmus by no means had access to all of the Greek manuscripts, so there was no way he could develop a true Majority Text. The Textus Receptus is based on a very limited number of manuscripts, all of them eastern, and all of them dating to around the 12th century. As a result, compared to the Electic Text and the Majority Text, the Textus Receptus is far less likely to have the most accurate reading.

To summarize, the Majority Text is a method within textual criticism that uses the “majority rules” to determine which variant is most likely to be original. While the Majority Text method does result in the most likely original reading in most instances, it should not be employed universally or exclusively. There are many other important factors in determining which variant is most likely to be original.

Question: “What is the Textus Receptus?”

textus receptus.jpgAnswer: The Textus Receptus (Latin for “Received Text”) is a Greek New Testament that provided the textual base for the vernacular translations of the Reformation Period. It was a printed text, not a hand-copied manuscript, created in the 15th century to fill the need for a textually accurate Greek New Testament. As the Christian message was carried abroad, the books of the New Testament were not only taken along, but also translated into the languages of the people to whom the message was given. In the transmission of the text, copies were made, mostly by Christians who were not trained in the art of the task; therefore, not too much attention was given to the correctness of the copies. As the number of copies in the different languages proliferated, it became apparent that many differences and discrepancies were found in the various versions. Eventually, it became obvious that there was a need for someone to bring textual criticism into play.

Needless to say, the invention of the printing press with movable type in the mid-fifteenth century revolutionized the world of literature. The first Bible to be printed in 1456 was the Latin Vulgate. This was also known by the Gutenberg Bible. Bible scholars at that time were little concerned about the Greek text of the New Testament; the Latin Vulgate was their Bible.

Then in the late fifteenth century, the Greek language—unknown for hundreds of years—was recovered in the West, the geographical area of the Latin Church. With the rediscovery of Greek and its inception as the language of the people, the Latin Vulgate translation was subjected to a critical examination in comparison with the Greek original. Scholars discovered numerous mistranslations or outright errors in the Vulgate. This provided a reason for printing the New Testament in its original language, Greek.

erasmus.jpgErasmus, a 15th-century Dutch theologian, working at great speed in order to beat to press another Greek New Testament being prepared in Spain, gathered together what hand-copied Greek manuscripts he could locate. He found five or six, the majority of which were dated in the twelfth century. Working with all the speed he could, Erasmus did not even transcribe the manuscripts; he merely made notes on the manuscripts themselves and sent them to the printers. The entire New Testament was printed in about six to eight months and published in 1516. It became a best seller, despite its errors, and the first printing was soon gone. A second edition was published in 1519 with some of the errors having been corrected.

Erasmus published two other editions in 1527 and 1535. Stung by criticism that his work contained numerous textual errors, he incorporated readings from the Greek New Testament published in Spain in later editions of his work. Erasmus’ Greek text became the standard in the field, and other editors and printers continued the work after his death in 1536. In 1633, another edition was published. In the publisher’s preface, in Latin, we find these words: “Textum ergo habes, nun cab omnibus receptum,” which can be translated as “the [reader] now has the text that is received by all.” From that publisher’s notation have come the words “Received Text.” The Textus Receptus became the dominant Greek text of the New Testament for the following two hundred and fifty years. It was not until the publication of the Westcott and Hort Greek New Testament in 1881 that the Textus Receptus lost its position.

The reason for its losing its prominent position as a basis of biblical textual interpretation was the inception of textual criticism. Influential scholars paved the way for the acceptance of a critical text. The work of Westcott and Hort brought about the final dethronement of the Textus Receptus and the establishment of the principle of a critical text. However, the Textus Receptus is not a “bad” or misleading text, either theologically or practically. Technically, however, it is far from the original text. Yet three centuries were to pass before scholars had won the struggle to replace this hastily assembled text with a text which gave evidence to being closer to the New Testament Autographs.

Many consider the King James Version of the Bible to be the crown of English Bibles. Even at the beginning of the seventeenth century, the Greek text used in preparing the KJV was the Textus Receptus. Both Luther and Tyndale translated the Scriptures into their vernacular languages using the same basic Greek text. Luther used the second edition of the Erasmus New Testament, and Tyndale utilized the third edition.

Regardless of one’s position on the Textus Receptus, it is evident that it had great influence on preserving God’s inspired Word through many centuries. Textual criticism of the Scriptures is so evidently important that all scholars and students of the Word of God need to utilize its principles in order to fulfill the biblical mandate, “Study to show yourselves approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth’ (2 Timothy 2:15).

Question: “What are Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus?”

Answer:Our knowledge of the original text of the Bible comes from ancient hand-written manuscripts. The Old Testament was written in Hebrew, and the New Testament was written in Greek. No one has the original articles, but thousands of ancient copies have been discovered. Since these copies are hand-written, there are variations in spelling, word order, and sentence structure among them. Even though those variations do cause some confusion about the biblical text, most of the manuscript readings are in agreement. Out of about 500 pages in the Greek New Testament, the manuscript variations represent only about half of a page.

sinatitcus.jpgThe majority of ancient manuscripts contain only small portions of the biblical text, like a book or a portion of a book. Among these manuscripts there are papyrus fragments, which are the remains of the most ancient scrolls, and typically represent only a few pages of text. These papyrus fragments have all been discovered during modern archaeological digs. Another group of manuscripts is the Uncials, which use all capital letters and are written on parchment or vellum, which is a smoother writing surface than papyrus, and allows for curved letters. The Uncial manuscripts were written between the 3rd and 8th centuries and were often bound as pages in a book, or codex, rather than a scroll. A few of these ancient codices have survived intact, giving us a solid view of the Bible used by the ancient church.

Two of the oldest complete (or nearly complete) manuscripts are the Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus. They are both written on parchment, and have a large number of corrections written over the original text.

Codex Sinaiticus, also known as “Aleph” (the Hebrew letter א), was found by Count Tischendorf in 1859 at the Monastery of St Catherine on Mount Sinai. Portions of the manuscript were found in the monastery dump, and a larger portion was presented to Tischendorf by one of the monks. It is a large codex, with 400 pages (or leaves) comprising about half of the Old Testament in the Septuagint version and the full New Testament. It has been dated to the second half of the 4th century and has been highly valued by Bible scholars in their efforts to reconstruct the original biblical text. Sinaiticus has heavily influenced the translation work of modern Bible versions. Though it is considered by some scholars to represent an original form of the text, it is also recognized as the most heavily corrected early New Testament manuscript.

Codex Vaticanus, also known as “B,” was found in the Vatican library. It is comprised of 759 leaves and has almost all of the Old and New Testaments. It is not known when it arrived at the Vatican, but it was included in a catalog listing in 1475, and it is dated to the middle of the 4th century. Vaticanus was first used as a source document by Erasmus in his work on the “Textus Receptus.” Because he viewed the text of Vaticanus to be erratic, he seldom followed it when it differed from other Greek texts.

There are varying theories on how these ancient texts should be viewed by modern scholars. On one hand, some believe that the most ancient reading should be followed, as it is closest in time to the original. On the other hand, some believe that the majority should rule. Since there are thousands of ancient manuscripts, they believe we should give precedence to the reading that is represented by the most documents. One issue that is sometimes raised against the majority viewpoint is that many of those documents were written very late (9th-15th century). The answer to this is that many of the early papyrus fragments support the majority reading. Additionally, the question has been raised, “If Vaticanus and Sinaiticus represent the original reading of the text, why are there so few manuscripts that follow their lead?” If they were valued by the early church, you would expect to find many copies made from them, covering a wide period of history. What we actually find is a few early manuscripts which agree with them, but then a disappearance of that text type as we progress through history.

There is much to be learned from examining these and other ancient texts, and they should continue to be highly valued by scholars. While there may be differences in opinion as to how they are to be used, one thing is certain—even with their textual variations, they show us that God has preserved His Word through the ages. We may debate the particular wording in a few passages, but the fact remains that over 90 percent of the New Testament text is unanimously supported by all the ancient manuscripts. In those passages where the proper reading is disputed, there is no major doctrinal change, and we can rest assured that we have the accurate, revealed words of God passed down to us.

Question: “What is the Critical Text?”

Answer:The Critical Text is a Greek text of the New Testament that draws from a group of ancient Greek manuscripts and their variants in an attempt to preserve the most accurate wording possible. Other Greek texts besides the Critical Text used for producing English Bibles are the Majority Text and the Textus Receptus.

Until the late 1800s, the Textus Receptus, or the “received text,” was the foremost Greek text from which the New Testament was derived. (The King James Version and New King James Version are based on the Textus Receptus.) In 1881 two prominent scholars, Brooke Foss Westcott and Fenton J. A. Hort, printed their New Testament in Greek, later known as the Critical Text. Dismissing the Textus Receptus as an inferior text rife with errors, Westcott and Hort compiled a new Greek text, with special focus on two fourth-century manuscripts, the Codex Vaticanus and the Codex Sinaiticus.

westcott.jpgAs a result of Westcott and Hort’s work, their Critical Text became the standard Greek text used for modern interpretation and translation for nearly two generations. The Critical Text was the one chiefly used for the English Revised Version and the later American Standard Version. Today, the updated and revised Critical Text is the Greek manuscript basis for the New International Version, the New American Standard Bible, the English Standard Version, and virtually every other modern English translation of the Bible.

Though the Critical Text was not without its faults, it has been accepted, on the whole, as being the most accurate in duplicating the original text of the New Testament. Modern biblical scholars have adjusted and adapted Westcott and Hort’s theories of translation, which can be summarized by nine critical rules of biblical interpretation, including the following:

• The reading is less likely to be original if it shows a disposition to smooth away difficulties.

• Readings are approved or rejected by reason of the quality, and not the number of supporting witnesses.

• The preferred reading best explains the existence of other readings.

• The preferred reading makes the best sense; that is, it best conforms to the grammar and is most congruous with the purport of the rest of the sentence and of the larger context.

With the discovery of new manuscript evidence, the Critical Text has been revised many times. Currently, the Nestle-Aland text (now in its twenty-eighth edition) is the critical text in common use, along with the Greek New Testament published by the United Bible Societies (UBS).

In summary, the Critical Text is an effort to discover the wording of the original Greek manuscripts of the New Testament by comparing/contrasting all of the existing manuscripts and using logic and reason to determine the most likely original readings. While no human effort will ever produce an absolutely perfect copy of the original Greek manuscripts of the New Testament, the Critical Text is very likely extremely close to what the New Testament authors wrote.

Question: “What is the Septuagint?”

septuagint.jpgAnswer: The Septuagint (also known as the LXX) is a translation of the Hebrew Bible into the Greek language. The name “Septuagint” comes from the Latin word for seventy. The tradition is that 70 (or 72) Jewish scholars were the translators behind the Septuagint. The Septuagint was translated in the third and second centuries B.C. in Alexandria, Egypt. As Israel was under the authority of Greece for several centuries, the Greek language became more and more common. By the 2nd and 1st centuries B.C., most people in Israel spoke Greek as their primary language. That is why the effort was made to translate the Hebrew Bible into Greek – so that those who did not understand Hebrew could have the Scriptures in a language they could understand. The Septuagint represents the first major effort at translating a significant religious text from one language into another.

It is interesting to note that many of the New Testament quotes from the Hebrew Bible are taken from the Septuagint. As faithful as the Septuagint translators strived to be in accurately rendering the Hebrew text into Greek, some translational differences arose. In comparing the New Testament quotations of the Hebrew Bible, it is clear that the Septuagint was often used. This is the result of the fact that by the late 1st century B.C., and especially the 1st century A.D. – the Septuagint had “replaced” the Hebrew Bible as the Scriptures most people used. Since most people spoke and read Greek as their primary language, and the Greek authorities strongly encouraged the use of Greek, the Septuagint became much more common than the Hebrew Old Testament. The fact that the Apostles and New Testament authors felt comfortable, under the direction of the Holy Spirit, in using the Septuagint should give us assurance that a translation of the original languages of the Bible is still the authoritative Word of God.

Question: “What is the Masoretic Text?”

Answer:The Hebrew text of the Old Testament is called the Masoretic Text because in its present form it is based upon the Masora—the Hebrew, textual tradition of the Jewish scholars known as the Masoretes (or Masorites). The Masoretes were rabbis who made it their special work to correct the faults that had crept into the text of the Old Testament during the Babylonian captivity, and to prevent, for the future, its being corrupted by any alteration. They first separated the apocryphal from the canonical books, and divided the latter into twenty-two books, being the number of letters in the Hebrew alphabet. Then they divided each book into sections and verses.

Although the existing copies of the Masoretic Text date back only to the tenth century, two other important textual evidences bolster the confidence of textual critics that it is accurate. The first is the successive discoveries of manuscripts at Qumran by the Dead Sea since 1947. These revealed portions of manuscripts several centuries older than any previously known. The second is the comparison of the Masoretic text to the Greek translation called the Septuagint (or LXX), which was written around 200-150 B.C. The oldest existing manuscripts date back to the fourth century A.D. Both the Septuagint and the Dead Sea Scrolls reveal an amazing consistency with the Masoretic Text, assuring us that God was indeed divinely and sovereignly protecting His Word through thousands of years of copying and translating.

There is a great difference of opinion as to when the Masoretic Text was written, but it was probably accomplished in the 10th -11th century. Several editions existed, varying considerably, but the received and authoritative text is that of Jacob ben-chayim ibn Adonijah, who carefully sifted and arranged the previous works on the subject. It was published in 1524. Copyright Policy: While all of the material on the website is under copyright protection, the only purpose of our copyright is to make sure people copy it right. As long as you always clearly reference and/or link to as the source of the material, you have our permission to copy, print, and distribute our material.

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Center of Everything

Filed under: Bible,Colossians,Theology,Uncategorized — augustinehippo1 @ 2:30 pm


Why Beliefs Matter
Colossians 1
Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother,
[2] To the saints and faithful brothers in Christ at Colossae:
Grace to you and peace from God our Father.
1. Paul says he is an apostle. Exactly what is an apostle?
ἀπόστολοςapostolos (ap-os’-tol-os) n.
1. a delegate
2. (specially) an ambassador of the Gospel
3. (officially) a commissioner of Christ, “apostle” (with miraculous powers)
KJV: apostle, messenger, he that is sent
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ,…. The apostle puts his name to this epistle, by which he was known in the Gentile world, as he usually does in all his epistles; and styles himself “an apostle”, as he was, having seen Christ in person, and received his commission, doctrine, and qualifications immediately from him, with a power of doing miracles to confirm the truth of his mission.
Apostle. This term conveys the ideas of mission, authorization, and responsibility. And its NT meaning probably is to be derived from the Hebrew word shālah, “to send.”The substantive shāliah, a virtual equivalent of the NT word “apostle,” is not uncommon in rabbinical writings. It was primarily a legal term, signifying authorized representation. As in the modern law of agency, the one sent was held to be equivalent to the sender himself. To dishonor the king’s ambassador was to dishonor the king himself.  Apostle of Jesus Christ, those directly commissioned as apostles by the risen Lord (cf. 1 Cor 9:1; 15:8-10). Thus Paul exercised the function of an apostle by the will of God.Wycliffe Bible Commentary,
[3] We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, [4] since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, [5] because of the hope laid up for you in heaven. Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, [6] which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing—as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth, [7] just as you learned it from Epaphras our beloved fellow servant. He is a faithful minister of Christ on your behalf [8] and has made known to us your love in the Spirit.
2. What exactly is the gospel?
1 Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, 2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you— unless you believed in vain. 3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, 5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. 8 Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.1 Cor 15:1-8
Paul was very specific in that the Gospel is totally a product of grace and nothing can be added to it, it must not be watered down, or expanded upon, or corrupted by man’s philosophy. The belief in the crucified and risen Christ, His payment of my sin debt and new spiritual life, opens the door to regeneration.
6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7  not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. 10 For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. Gal 1:6-10 (ESV)
[9] And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, [10] so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. [11] May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, [12] giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. [13] He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, [14] in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
3. From a practical sense how does our belief in the gospel manifest itself?
Keys words and phrases: Filled with knowledge, spiritual wisdom, walking worthy, pleasing God, bearing fruit, good work, increasing in knowledge of God, strengthened, patience, joy, qualified, inheritance, saints, light, delivered, transferred, redemption, forgiveness.
The power of the gospel performs a supernatural transformation re-creation event on a par with the creation of the world. In some sense it is a greater miracle in that this planet is only matter and a person has a spiritual component which must be regenerated, and brought back to life.
He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,Titus 3:5 (ESV)
Who Christ is.
           [15] He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. [16] For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. [17] And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. [18] And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. [19] For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, [20] and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.
4. How is Jesus the image of God?
We have no ability to see or even comprehend God. God is spirit, we are matter which is just energy converted into stuff: E=MC2. We are and live in a four dimensional universe, created specifically for us to live in. God is multidimensional and exists outside of this dimension. He has allowed the Son to interact with us so that we can get a picture of what God is like.
And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape John 5:37 (KJV)
I and my Father are one. John 10:30 (KJV)
Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? He that hath seen me hath seen the Father; John 14:9 (KJV)
He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, Heb 1:3 (ESV)
5. Firstborn of creation?  You mean God created the Son along with everything else?
  NO!   Firstborn of all creation.It would be wrong to think in physical terms here, as if Paul were asserting that the Son had a physical origin or was somehow created (the classic Arian heresy) rather than existing eternally as the Son, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, in the Godhead. What Paul had in mind was the rights and privileges of a firstborn son, especially the son of a monarch who would inherit ruling sovereignty. This is how the expression is used of David: “I will make him the firstborn, the highest of the kings of the earth”(Ps. 89:27).ESV Study Notes
Firstborn πρωτότοκος  (prōtotokos) was interpreted by the Arians to mean “first of a kind,” i.e., Christ was the first creature. The word can have this meaning (cf. Rom 8:29); but such a reading is not consistent with Paul’s theme, which here stresses a Messianic priority and primacyWycliffe Bible Commentary,
Preeminence over the creation is the idea Paul was advancing.
6. “and in him all things hold together” What all thing? Do you mean everything?
One of the key words in the Colossians passage above (“…and in Christ all things hold together“) is the Greek word sunistemiwhich means “to stand-together,” “to be compacted together,” “to cohere,” “to be constituted with.” This passage can be applied to the structure of the atom, for example. The nucleus of every atom is held together by what physicists call “weak” and“strong” forces. [Physicists today are familiar with four basic forces in the natural world: gravity, and electrical forces, plus a "strong," and a "weak" nuclear force. The first two forces decrease in strength inversely with the square of the distance between two objects, the latter two forces act only at very short ranges]. The nucleus of the atom contains positively-charged and neutral particles–to use a very simplistic model. Mutual electrostatic repulsion between the like-positive protons would drive the nucleus apart if it were not for the“strong force” which binds the nucleus together. There is thus an active force imposed on the universe, which actively holds the very atoms of the material world together moment by moment, day by day, century by century. Similarly accelerated electrons circling the nucleus should quickly radiate all their energy away and fall into the nucleus unless there exists an invisible energy source to counteract this.  Lambert Dolphin, Physicist
7. All things were created for Him? I thought this was all about me?                     
No actually it’s all about Him. We are allowed to participate in what belongs to him. This is just not about providing you with a fire insurance policy, so you can sit on a cloud and play your harp.
Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.1 Cor 2:9 (KJV)
All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth.  Matt 28:18 (ASV)
There is a purpose to all of this.
Making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ 10 as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.  Eph 1:9-10 (ESV)
What Christ has Done?
[21] And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, [22] he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, [23] if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister.
8. What is the reconciliation thing about?
For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we arereconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.Romans 5:10-11 (ESV)
In Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.  2 Cor 5:19 (ESV)
Reconciliation: The Japanese fighter plane, the Zero was manufactured by Mitsubishi. Today Mitsubishis are a top selling car in the U.S. along with hundreds of brands of Japanese products. It’s as though WWII never happened. Our two countries are reconciled.
Our estrangement from God has been fixed.                                                                         
Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned………………..
For if, because of one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ. 18 Therefore, as one trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all men. 19 For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous. Romans 5:12,17-19 (ESV)
[24] Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, [25] of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, [26] the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. [27] To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. [28] Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. [29] For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.
9. How was the mystery hidden for ages?
The entire concept of gentiles coming into relationship with the God of Abraham was unthinkable to the Jewish mind. What about the Mosaic Law and the sacrifices and the Temple.
And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “In you shall all the nations be blessed.” 9 So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith. Gal 3:8-9 (ESV)
There were scriptures in the OT which referenced gentile salvation, but they were pretty much ignored and explained away by the rabbis. There are things in the bible we do not fully understand until after they happen. Their meaning and understanding is hidden. The book of Daniel ends with God telling Daniel to seal up the words, because they will not be understood until the end times. That is why it is important to continue to study the scriptures, because new information is constantly being revealed with reference to our present world.

ESVN……………..….ESV Study Bible Notes

MSBN……………….MacArthur NASB Study   Notes

NIVSN……………….NIV Study Notes.

JVM ………………….J Vernon McGee’s Commentary

BN ……………………Barnes Notes

WBC………….…….Wycliffe Bible Commentary

CN ……….…………..Constables Notes

IC……………….…….Ironside Commentary

NET…………….…….Net Bible Study Notes.

JFB……………………Jamieson Fausset  Brown Commentary

VWS………………….Vincent Word Studies

CMM………………..Commentary on Matthew and Mark

BDB……………..….Barclay’s Daily Study Bible (NT)

Darby……………….John Darby’s Synopsis of the OT and NT

Johnson……………Johnson’s Notes on the New Testament

NTCMM…………..The New Testament Commentary:  Matthew and Mark.

EHS………………….Expositions of the Holy Scriptures

CPP…………………The Complete Pulpit Commentary

SBC…………………..Sermon Bible Commentary

K&D…………………Keil and Deilitzsch Commentary on the OT

EBC……………….…Expositors Bible Commentary

CBSC……………….Cambridge Bible for Schools and College

GC……………………Guzik Commentary

RD…………………..Robert  Deffinbaugh

NSB …………………The Nelson Study Bible

MHC…………………Matthew Henry Commentary

CSTTB………Chuck Smith Through The Bible

LESB…………….Life Essentials Study Bible.



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August 17, 2014

Hebrews Chapter 6

Filed under: Bible,Hebrews,Theology — augustinehippo1 @ 8:42 pm

1  Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, 2  and of instruction about washings, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. 3  And this we will do if God permits.

1. What is this issue of laying again a foundation ?

elementary doctrine of Christ. Cf. “basic principles” (5:12). Three paired examples of doctrine are given: (1) Christian conversion through repentance (i.e., turning away) from works that cannot save asolid.jpegnd through faith in God and not on dead works, see (2)washings (plural of Gk. baptismos), where the plural may refer to teaching about the differences between Jewish purification rites and Christian baptism, and laying on of hands, which could refer to an initiatory rite at the time of baptism or to other hand-laying practices during prayers for healing and during commissioning of individuals for ministry and (3) the believers’ future hope of resurrection and the eternal judgment upon all people. ESVN

The writer proposed that his readers leave elementary teaching concerning the Messiah in the past. They did not need to learn that again, presumably by catechetical instruction. They did not need further instruction about abandoning confidence in works for salvation (either as part of the Levitical rituals or just as legalism) and turning to God in faith. This too was foundational truth they did not need to learn again.

They did not need further instruction in four other subjects either. “Washings” evidently refers to the doctrine of spiritual cleansing. The Greek word translated “washings” is baptismos that refers to Jewish ceremonial washings whenever it occurs in the New Testament (Mark 7:4, 8; Heb. 9:10). A different Greek word (baptisma) describes Christian baptism. This means the writer here referred not to baptism but to spiritual cleansing.

The “laying on of hands” in Judaism was part of the sacrificial ritual (Lev. 1:4; 3:2; 4:4; 8:14; 16:21; et al.) and commissioning for public office (Num. 27:18, 23; Deut. 34:9; cf. Acts 6:6; 13:3). In the early church the imparting of the Holy Spirit sometimes accompanied this practice (Acts 8:17-18; 19:6; cf. v. 4, 2:4; 10:29).

The Old Testament taught the resurrection of the dead (Isa. 26:19; Dan. 12:2) and eternal judgment (Gen. 18:25; Isa. 33:22).

The writer presented the six foundational teachings in verses 1 and 2 in three pairs: (1) repentance from dead works, and faith toward God (v. 1), (2) instruction about washings, and laying on of hands (v. 2a), and (3) instruction about the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment (v. 2b).

The structure of this sentence in Greek suggests that the last two pairs explain the first pair. Laying the foundation of repentance and faith consists of instruction regarding washings, sortilege (laying on hands), resurrection, and judgment. The first pair points God-ward, the second man-ward, and the third forward into the future.

Each of these teachings was foundational in Judaism as well as in Christianity. Most of the original readers would have come to believe these truths even before they became Christians. They are very basic. CN

4  For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, 5  and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6  and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt.7  For land that has drunk the rain that often falls on it, and produces a crop useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God. 8  But if it bears thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near to being cursed, and its end is to be burned.

2. So is the writer teaching that believers can fall away and never be redeemed again?


In reality he is teaching the exact opposite. The flow of logic to his argument follows that people who have been exposed to all the truth and blessing of the atonement of Jesus Christ’s provided by his crucifixion, death. and resurrection, if they still refuse the drawing of God to be regenerated, spiritually born again, then there is nothing more that that can be done to overcome their resistance. The gospel is the “whole enchilada”. “there ain’t no more”

6:4 enlightened. They had received instruction in biblical truth which was accompanied by intellectual perception. Understanding the gospel is not the equivalent of regeneration. In Jn 1:9 it is clear that enlightening is not the equivalent of salvation.  

John 1:9 (HCSB)  The true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.


tasted of the heavenly gift. Tasting in the figurative sense in the NT refers to consciously experiencing something (cf. 2:9). The experience might be momentary or continuing. Christ’s “tasting” of death (2:9) was obviously momentary and not continuing or permanent.

Hebrews 2:9 (NASB) But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.


All men experience the goodness of God, but that does not mean they are all saved (cf. Mt 5:45; Ac 17:25).

Matthew 5:45 (NASB)  so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.


Acts 17:25 (NASB) nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things;


Many Jews, during the Lord’s earthly ministry experienced the blessings from heaven He brought—in healings and deliverance from demons, as well as eating the food He created miraculously (Jn 6). Whether the gift refers to Christ (cf. Jn 6:51; 2Co 9:15) or to the Holy Spirit (cf. Ac 2:38; 1Pe 1:12), experiencing either one was not the equivalent of salvation (cf. Jn 16:8; Ac 7:51).

partakers of the Holy Spirit. Even though the concept of partaking is used in 3:1; 3:14; and 12:8 of a relationship which believers have, the context must be the final determining factor. This context in vv. 4–6 seems to preclude a reference to true believers. It could be a reference to their participation, as noted above, in the miraculous ministry of Jesus who was empowered by the Spirit, or in the convicting ministry of the Holy Spirit (Jn 16:8) which obviously can be resisted without experiencing salvation (cf. Ac 7:51).

Acts 7:51 (NASB) “You men who are stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears are always resisting the Holy Spirit; you are doing just as your fathers did.


6:5 tasted. See note on v. 4. This has an amazing correspondence to what was described in 2:1–4 .

Hebrews 2:1-4 (NASB1  For this reason we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it. 2  For if the word spoken through angels proved unalterable, and every transgression and disobedience received a just penalty, 3  how will we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard, 4  God also testifying with them, both by signs and wonders and by various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit according to His own will.  

Like Simon Magus (Ac 8:9–24), these Hebrews had not yet been regenerated in spite of all they had heard and seen (cf. Mt 13:3–9; Jn 6:60–66). They were repeating the sins of those who died in the wilderness after seeing the miracles performed through Moses and Aaron and hearing the voice of God at Sinai.

6:6 fallen away. This Gr. term occurs only here in the NT. In the LXX, it was used to translate terms for severe unfaithfulness and apostasy (cf. Eze 14:13; 18:24; 20:27). It is equivalent to the apostasy in 3:12. The seriousness of this unfaithfulness is seen in the severe description of rejection within this verse: they re-crucify Christ and treat Him contemptuously. Those who sinned against Christ in such a way had no hope of restoration or forgiveness (cf. 2:2, 3; 10:26, 27; 12:25). The reason is that they had rejected Him with full knowledge and conscious experience (as described in the features of vv. 5, 6). With full revelation they rejected the truth, concluding the opposite of the truth about Christ, and thus had no hope of being saved. They can never have more knowledge than they had when they rejected it. They have concluded that Jesus should have been crucified, and they stand with his enemies. There is no possibility of these verses referring to losing salvation. Many Scripture passages make unmistakably clear that salvation is eternal (cf. Jn 10:27–29; Ro 8:35, 37, 38, 39; Php 1:6; 1Pe 1:4, 5). Those who want to make this verse mean that believers can lose salvation will have to admit that it would then also say that one could never get it back again.

John 10:27-30 (NASB) “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28  and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. 29  “My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.


eternal-security.jpgRomans 8:35-39 (NASB)  Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?……………… 37  But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. 38  For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39  nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  


Philippians 1:6 (NASB) For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.

1 Peter 1:4-5 (NASB) to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5  who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.


6:7, 8 Here are illustrations showing that those who hear the gospel message and respond in faith are blessed; those who hear and reject it are cursed (cf. Mt 13:18–23).

6:8 worthless. See the use of the term in Ro 1:28 (“depraved”); 2Co 13:5 (“fail the test”); and 2Ti 3:8 (“rejected”). MSBN

I believe that those described in verses 4 and 5 are those who have come very close to faith, but who have never embraced the gospel personally for salvation. The most forceful example of this “close, but no cigar” unbeliever would be Judas, a man who heard the gospel from our Lord, who experienced God’s power, but who never really believed in Jesus for salvation. It would seem that the kind of person who is described above is one who has heard the gospel, who has witnessed and perhaps even experienced its power, but who has not come to faith, and who after experiencing the gospel “up close and personal,” has rejected it. I see these unbelievers as those who exercise a significant level of authority and influence in the church. I see these folks as being the source of much of the pressure and temptation to revert back to the law-works of unbelieving Judaism.

These would-be teachers are those who seem to have grasped the gospel and to have been exposed to it to the degree that they have witnessed (and perhaps experienced) some of its power. But they, like Judas, never crossed the line of faith in Jesus. They chose to remain in the shadows of the Old Testament concerning Messiah, rather than to fully embrace Jesus as the Messiah. They preferred the old rituals and rules to the freedom of the New Covenant. They seemed to prefer a strictly Jewish system rather than the church, composed of Jewish and Gentile believers in Jesus. And, in my estimation, they sought to persuade others to think and act in a similar manner.RD

Most argue, however, that although these people may have participated fully in the Christian covenantal community (where they experienced enlightened instruction in the Word of God, where they saw public repentance occur, and where the Holy Spirit was at work in powerful ways), when such people do “fall away” it is clear that they are not true Christians because they have not made a true, saving response to the gospel, resulting in genuine faith, love, and perseverance (vv. 9–12). Significantly, they are like land that received much rain but bore no good fruit, only “thorns and thistles” (v. 8). They may have participated outwardly in the Christian community and they even may have shared in the blessings of Christian fellowship; but, like the seed that fell on rocky ground in the parable of the sower, “they have no root” (Mark 4:17) and they “fall away” when faced with persecution. ESVN


Matthew 13:18-23 (NASB)

sower.jpg18  “Hear then the parable of the sower. 19  “When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is the one on whom seed was sown beside the road. 20  “The one on whom seed was sown on the rocky places, this is the man who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; 21  yet he has no firm root in himself, but is only temporary, and when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he falls away. 22  “And the one on whom seed was sown among the thorns, this is the man who hears the word, and the worry of the world and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. 23  “And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the man who hears the word and understands it; who indeed bears fruit and brings forth, some a hundredfold, some sixty, and some thirty.”


Matthew 13:30 (NASB)

30  ~’Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn.”‘”

9  Though we speak in this way, yet in your case, beloved, we feel sure of better things—things that belong to salvation. 10  For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for his name in serving the saints, as you still do.


3. Is the writer still talking to the same people?

beloved. This term shows a change of audience and a change from a message of warning to a message of encouragement. That the address is to believers is further confirmed by the expression of confidence that “better things” could be said of them (as compared to those who were being warned in the preceding verses). The “things that accompany salvation” are their works which verify their salvation. The very statement implies that the things described in 5:11–6:5 do not accompany salvation but are indicative of unbelief and apostasy. though we are speaking in this way. Though it had been necessary to speak about judgment in the preceding verses, the writer assures the “beloved,” those who are believers, that he is confident of their salvation.

work and … love. See 1Th 1:3, 4. toward His name. Throughout this epistle “name” has the Hebraic sense of the authority, character, and attributes of the Son of God (1:4) or of God the Father. saints. All true Christians are saints, or “holy ones”. MSBN

1 Timothy 1:4-5 (NASB)

nor to pay attention to myths and endless genealogies, which give rise to mere speculation rather than furthering the administration of God which is by faith. 5  But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.


However, the writer assure his readers that in spite of the way he has spoken he expects better things of them than to produce thorns and thistles because they are barren land. He is persuaded of those better things, things which go along with and accompany salvation. He looks for fruit and faithfulness, and the blessing of God on them. And he does so because he believes that he has seen genuine fruit in their lives.

‘Beloved.’ He is not just speaking cold doctrine. His heart it reaching out to them.


‘Accompany salvation.’ The word “accompany” signifies “conjoined with”, or inseparable from, that which has a sure connection with “salvation”. The things that accompany salvation are a true faith in Christ, a commitment to His service, and a life of love lived out in the Holy Spirit.

For, he assures them, he is certain that God will not forget what they have done in His name. He is not unrighteous. And therefore there is no danger that He will overlook their work, and their ministry to the saints, to His people, and the love that they show for His name in continual ministry to His people even to the present time. He cannot believe that it is not genuine.

We are reminded here especially of the words, ‘inasmuch as you have done it to the least of these My brothers, you have done it to Me’ (Mat_25:40). God sees what people do for those who are His, and takes regard of it. Even a cup of cold water given in Christ’s name to a disciple will not lose its reward (Mar_9:41). PC

11  And we desire each one of you to show the same earnestness to have the full assurance of hope until the end, 12  so that you may not be sluggish, but imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

4. So is it their works that gives them assurance or assurance that motivates their works?

Hope is important. Probably no movement has ever gripped the hearts of people if it did not give them hope.”

Earlier the writer had described his readers as being sluggish (lit. lazy, 5:11). Now he urged them to be diligent and to stop being lazy. The same Greek word (nothroi) occurs in both places. He wanted them to remain faithful to God while waiting patiently for Him to fulfill His promises to them regarding their future inheritance.

“The theme of imitation recurs in 13:7, and in both instances faith is seen as steadfast persistence that pursues the divine promise . . .”

perseverance.jpgSome commentators have used this verse to support the unbiblical idea that believers should look to their good works as evidence of their election and as the basis for their assurance of salvation. This verse is not saying that. The Greek word plerophoria always means “fullness” in the passive sense, not “fulfilling.” The writer meant that we need to be diligent regarding something we have already obtained, not to obtain something, namely, assurance. CN

The purpose of the warning (vv. 4–8), indeed of the whole letter, is to encourage earnest perseverance until the end. This demands hope, which is closely allied with faith, and enduring patience. imitators of those who … inherit the promises. Abraham is the immediate example in; other examples are found in ch. 11. ESVN

“Work and labour of love” won’t save you, but if you are saved, this is why you are rewarded. This is where good works come in. Although they have nothing to do with your salvation, they certainly do have a very important part in a believer’s life.

We need that “full assurance of hope unto the end.” JVM


13  For when God made a promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself, 14  saying, “Surely I will bless you and multiply you.” 15  And thus Abraham, having patiently waited, obtained the promise. 16  For people swear by something greater than themselves, and in all their disputes an oath is final for confirmation. 17  So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, 18  so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. 19  We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, 20  where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.

5. What specific promise did God make to Abraham?

The promise of many descendants was made with an oath to emphasize its unchanging character (see Ge 22:16-18 ). Ordinarily the swearing of an oath belongs to our fallen human situation, in which a person’s word is not always trustworthy. God’s swearing of an oath was a condescension to human frailty, thus making his word, which in itself is absolutely trustworthy, doubly dependable. NIVSN

Genesis 22:16-18 (NKJV)

abe.jpg16  and said: “By Myself I have sworn, says the LORD, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son– 17  blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. 18  In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.”

As if he had said, And it appears that this is the way to partake of mercies promised, because Abraham was obliged to exercise faith and long-suffering before he obtained the accomplishment of the promise made to him. The promise here referred to, is that which God made to Abraham after he had laid Isaac on the altar, Gen_22:16-17. For on no other occasion did God confirm any promise to Abraham with an oath. To Abraham — Whose spiritual as well as natural seed you believing Hebrews are, and therefore shall partake of the same promises and blessings which were ensured to him. Because he could swear by no greater person, he sware by himself — By his own sacred and divine name; saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee — And all believers in thee; and multiplying I will multiply thee — Both thy natural and thy spiritual seed. The apostle quotes only the first words of the oath; but his reasoning is founded on the whole; and particularly on the promise, (Gen_22:18,) And in thy seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed. They shall be blessed by having their faith counted to them for righteousness, through thy seed, Christ. And so after he had patiently endured — Μακροθυμησας, after he had waited, or suffered long: he waited about thirty years before Isaac was born, after he was promised; he obtained the promise — Here, by a usual figure of speech, the promise is put for the thing promised. “In the birth of Isaac, Abraham obtained the beginning of the accomplishment of God’s promise concerning his numerous natural progeny. Moreover, as the birth of Isaac was brought about supernaturally by the divine power, it was both a proof and a pledge of the accomplishment of the promise concerning the birth of his numerous spiritual seed. Wherefore, in the birth of Isaac, Abraham may truly be said to have obtained the accomplishment of the promise concerning his numerous spiritual seed likewise. In any other sense, Abraham did not obtain the accomplishment of that promise.” JBC

6. What is the significance of the “oath” in this example with Abraham?

God’s Word does not need any confirmation from someone else. It is reliable because God Himself is faithful. People confirm their promises by appealing to someone greater (especially to God) as witness. Since no one is greater than God, He can only provide an oath from Himself. By doing so He is willingly (v. 17) accommodating Himself to human beings who desire the confirmation because of the characteristic unreliability of human promises.

two unchangeable things. These are God’s promise and His oath. The Gr. term behind “unchangeable” was used of a legal will, which was unchangeable by anyone but the maker of the will. taken refuge. In the LXX, the Gr. word is used for the cities of refuge God provided for those who sought protection from avengers for an accidental killing. Hope is one of the themes of Hebrews. It is also the product of OT studies (Ro 15:4). Hope for the fulfillment of God’s salvation promises is the “anchor of the soul” (v. 19) keeping the believer secure during the times of trouble and turmoil. MSBN


Kinkade - Rock of Salvation 1944X1472.jpgWhen a person wants to end an argument, one way to do so is to appeal to a higher authority with an oath. For example, some people do this by saying, “I am telling the truth so help me God.” Even God used an oath to guarantee His promise to bless Abraham greatly (Gen. 22:16; cf. Exod. 32:13; Isa. 45:23; Jer. 22:5; 49:13). God swearing by Himself signifies that He binds His word to His character. Thus God gave Abraham double assurance that He would indeed deliver what He had promised. He gave him the assurance of the promise of the God who does not lie and the assurance that God specially guaranteed that particular promise. The two unchangeable things are God’s promise and His oath. God’s strong promise to Abraham then can be a great encouragement to us now because God has also promised us future blessings. Specifically, He has promised us the possibility of receiving rewards when we see Him if we persevere faithfully now (cf. 2 Tim. 2:12).

The figure that closes verse 18 is an Old Testament one. In our times of temptation to apostatize we can flee to the promises of God. We can take hold of them as a fearful person in Israel could flee to the altar of burnt offerings, take hold of its horns, and be safe from his assailants. The cities of refuge also provided safety for the Israelites (Num. 35:9-15; Josh. 20). We have a better refuge than the Israelites did in Judaism.

“In Hebrews, the word ‘hope’ never describes a subjective attitude (i.e., ‘our hope,’ or ‘hopefulness’) but always denotes the objective content of hope, consisting of present and future salvation . . .” CN

ESVN……………..….ESV Study Bible Notes
MSBN……………….MacArthur NASB Study   Notes
NIVSN……………….NIV Study Notes.
JVM ………………….J Vernon McGee’s Commentary
BN ……………………Barnes Notes
WBC………….………Wycliffe Bible Commentary
CN ……….…………..Constables Notes
IC……………….…….Ironside Commentary
NET…………….…….Net Bible Study Notes.
JFB……………………Jamieson Fausset  Brown Commentary
VWS………………….Vincent Word Studies
CMM………………..Commentary on Matthew and Mark
BDB……………..….Barclay’s Daily Study Bible (NT)
Darby……………….John Darby’s Synopsis of the OT and NT
Johnson……………..Johnson’s Notes on the New Testament
NTCMM……………..The New Testament Commentary:  Matthew and Mark.
EHS………………….Expositions of the Holy Scriptures
CPP…………………The Complete Pulpit Commentary
SBC…………………..Sermon Bible Commentary
K&D…………………Keil and Deilitzsch Commentary on the OT
EBC……………….…Expositors Bible Commentary
CBSC…………………Cambridge Bible for Schools and College
GC……………………Guzik Commentary
RD………………….  .Robert  Deffinbaugh
NSB …………………The Nelson Study Bible
MHC…………………Matthew Henry Commentary
CSTTB……………….Chuck Smith Through The Bible
LESB………………….Life Essentials Study Bible.
PC………………………Pett’s Commentary
JBC…………………….Joseph Benson Commentary
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What is the Jewish Talmud?

Filed under: Uncategorized — augustinehippo1 @ 6:14 pm
by Alden Bass



“Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition? For God commanded, saying, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.’ But you say, ‘Whoever says to his father or mother, “Whatever profit you might have received from me is a gift to God”—’then he need not honor his father or mother.’ Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition. Hypocritejesus-rebukes-phariseess! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: ‘These people draw near to me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me, teaching as doctrine the traditions of men’ (Matthew 15:3-9).

 In interpreting the Law of Moses, the Pharisees overstepped their bounds by inserting the traditions of their fathers in place of God’s holy law, and were summarily condemned by the Lord for their actions. Though Jesus preached against this Pharisaical traditionalism throughout His earthly ministry, the Judaism practiced today is based almost exclusively upon it. What Jesus called the “traditions of men” is now known as “rabbinicalism,” and is grounded firmly in the extrabiblical writings of the Talmud.

 The Jews believe that two laws were given to Moses—the written and the oral. Both were given to Moses by God at Sinai: the written was engraved on stone tablets, and penned by Moses shortly before his death (Deuteronomy 31:9-13), while the oral was revealed in the conversation between God and the great Lawgiver on the mountain. This second body of law was passed from Moses to Joshua, from Joshua to the Israelite elders, and then from generation to generation as the ages passed. Each generation of teachers “expanded” on this law, which eventually became quite extensive, and added much unnecessary legislation to God’s already adequate laws. It was this orally transmitted law that was advanced and defended by many of talmud-e1320970766497the Pharisees of Jesus’ day (Matthew 15:1-2), and then used in their attempts to restrict Him from certain activities on the Sabbath (Mark 3:1-6). The Jews found justification for the oral law in Exodus 20:1 (“And God spoke all these words…”), although this interpretation of the passage is contrived at best.

 After the destruction of Jerusalem and the Bar-Kokhba rebellion in the first century A.D., the rabbis who were familiar with the oral law were few in number, and it was feared that there would not be enough Jews left to pass on the great traditions. To remedy this potential problem, Rabbi Judah the Prince set out to organize and record the oral law into a formal body of written law in A.D. 166 (Telushkin, 1991). The oral law, now called the Mishna, was methodically organized. Formerly, if a question arose about the Sabbath, a search would be made in all five books of the Torah (the first five books of the Old Testament), and scattered references would be collected. This was time-consuming and impractical during the time when books were rare, and so Rabbi Judah organized and grouped all related passages into topical sections, along with the interpretations, opinions, and precedents that characterized the oral traditions. Thus the Mishnah, the codified oral law, consists of 63 “tractates” relating to every aspect of Jewish life.

 To illustrate the differences in the two types of law, contrast these passages from the Torah and the Mishna. The Torah declares: Ye shall kindle no fire throughout your habitations upon the Sabbath day.” This was practiced in a literal fashion for centuries (with the Jews probably sitting around in the cold and dark from Friday night until Saturday evening), until the scribes and Pharisees came along with their new interpretation. These learned men declared that it was acceptable to have lights on the Sabbath, so long as they were kindled before the Sabbath began, and not touched until after the Sabbath ended. This interpretation led to all sorts of little regulations to guard people from accidentally touching the lamp on the Sabbath. One of these was the Mishna regulation one shall not read by the lamplight—the reason being, if one were reading by the lamp, one might be tempted to adjust the light, and thereby violate the original commandment (see Browne, 1933, pp. 181ff.).

 As the Jewish teachers continued to study and debate the fine points of the Mishna, a body of scholarly commentary grew, which subsequently was called the Gemara. This commentary was combined with the Mishna, and referred to as the Talmud. There are two works that fall under this appellation, labeled by their place of origin: the Babylonian Talmud, and the Jerusalem Talmud. The latter is less intact, and was completed c. A.D. 350, while the former and more respected of the two was completed c. A.D. 550. Today, only one manuscript survives: the Munish manuscript of 1342. These books are of tremendous size, comprising about 6,000 pages in today’s modern print. Alfred Edersheim, noted Jewish scholar, defined the Talmud in this way:

 If we imagine something combining law reports, a Rabbinical “Hansard,” and notes of a theological debating club—all thoroughly Oriental, full of digressions,rabbis-talmud anecdotes, quaint sayings, fancies, legends, and too often of what, from its profanity, superstition, and even obscenity, could scarcely be quoted, we may form some general idea of what the Talmud is (1972, p. 103).

 The Talmud is intended to do more than simply restate the law; the material is meant to connect the laws to everyday life, and to give practical instruction. The Talmud presents the opinions of the scholars, and presents their debates over each topic, no matter how mundane or inane. Its purpose was to complement the Torah, but it came to supplement(if not displace) it. Note the tediousness and absurdity of the following rabbinic debate:

 Rabbah [a Babylonian scholar] said [that one should not read by the lamplight] even if it be placed [far out of reach, say] the height from the ground of two men, or two stories, or even on top of ten houses, one above the other.

[That is] “one may not read.” But it does not say two may not read together, [for then one can guard the other against snuffing the wick]. Against this supposition, however, there is a tradition that “neither one nor two together” [may read].

Said Rabbi Elazar: “There is no contradiction here. The Mishna allows [two people to read together] so long as they read the same subject. But the tradition [forbids it only if] they are reading different subjects…” (Browne, 1933, pp. 182-183, emp. in orig.).

 And so it goes, on and on…

Such Socratic, rambling dialogue is common in the Talmud, and many examples could be cited. Strong and McClintock remarked:

 Abounding, moreover, in fantastic trifles and Rabbinical reveries, it must appear almost incredible that any sane man could exhibit such acumen and such ardor in the invention of those unintelligible comments, in those nice scrupulosities, and those ludicrous chimeras which the rabbins have solemnly published to the world… (1970, 10:168).

 Underlying the Talmud is the assumption of the perfection of the Mishna, giving this book of human origin a sanctity almost equal to that of the Bible (Douglas, 1991, p. 808). This became necessary for the survival of Judaism after the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, since much of the Old Law revolved around the Temple. After the House of God was destroyed and the Jews scattered, Judaism essentially had to be rewritten. Observe in this excerpt the great respect given to the traditions, compared to the law in the Talmud:

 The spirit of the Talmudic process is expressed in a tale in tractate Baba Meziah.Rabbi Eliezer, a proponent of unchanging tradition—“a well-lined cistern that doesnt lose a drop,” as his teacher characterized him—was engaged in a legal disputation with his colleagues. “He brought all the reasons in the world,” but the majority would not accept his view. Said Rabbi Eliezer, “If the law is as I hold it to be, let this tree prove it,” and the tree uprooted itself a hundred amma, but they said, “Proof cannot be brought from a tree.” Rabbi Eliezer persisted, saying, “Let these waters determine it,” and the waters began to flow backwards, but his colleagues responded that waters cannot determine the law. Once again Rabbi Eliezer tried, asking the walls of the study house to support him. They began to phariseestotter, whereupon the spokesman for the majority, Rabbi Joshua, admonished them, “when rabbis are engaged in legal discussion what right have ye to interfere!” So the walls did not fall in respect for Rabbi Joshua, nor did they return to their upright position, in respect for Rabbi Eliezer-and “they remain thus to this day!” But Rabbi Eliezer would not surrender and cried out: “Let Heaven decide.” A voice was heard from Heaven saying: “Why do ye dispute with Rabbi Eliezer; the law is always as he says it to be.” Whereupon Rabbi Joshua arose and proclaimed, quoting Scripture, “It is not in Heaven!” Rabbi Jeremiah explained, “The Law was given at Sinai and we no longer give heed to heavenly voices, for in that Law it is stated: ‘One follows the majority.’ ” God’s truth, divine law, is not determined by miracles or heavenly voices, but by the collegium of rabbis, men learned in the law, committed to the law and expert in its application to the life of the pious community (“The Talmud,” 2003).

 Despite the tedious legalese illustrated above, the Talmud does offer pieces of wisdom and learning. “Be thou the cursed, not he who curses.” “The soldiers fight, and the kings are called the heroes.” “The passions are not all evil, for were it not for them, no one would build a house, marry a wife, beget children, or do any work.” One third of the book consists of “clever fables and quaint legends and amusing proverbs” like those mentioned above, and is the essential source for all Jewish culture.

 Today, Jews accept the Talmud in many different ways. An old joke says that if you put ten Jews in a room together you’ll get eleven different opinions on it. The Orthodox Jews basically accept the Talmud as authoritative, while the more liberal Reformed Jews reject most of the legislation. Conservatives fall somewhere in between. Nonetheless, it is accepted by all Jews as an important body of tradition and lore.

 The Christian can learn a great lesson from this discussion about the dangers of adding to God’s Word. In the case of the Jews, what began as small footnotes to the Word became a body of literature all its own—a body that now possess as much authority in some minds as the written law of God. While there is always a place for scholarly examination and reference in personal Bible study, we must be careful never to accept “as doctrine the commandments of men.”

[The Talmud can be found on-line at]


Edersheim, Alfred (1972), The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans).

Browne, Lewis (1933), Stranger than Fiction (New York: Macmillan).

Douglas, J.D., ed. (1991), New 20th-Century Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge (Grand Rapids: Baker).

“The Talmud” (2003), Jewish Virtual Library [On-line], URL:

Telushkin, Joseph (1991), Talmud/Mishna/Gemara [Reprinted at Jewish Virtual Library], [On-line], URL:

M’Clintock, John and James Strong (1970), Cyclopædia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature (Grand Rapids: Baker).

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August 16, 2014

Our Lord is great, vast in power

Filed under: Bible,Theology,Uncategorized — augustinehippo1 @ 12:00 pm

For His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen since the creation of the world, being understood through what He has made. Romans 1:20

As we look at the world around and we observe the wonders such as the Grand Canyon, we are faced with the question, “how did all this come into being”? Is the secular materialism worldview, (stuff created itself), or the theistic worldview (somebody created the stuff ) the most believable explanation.

According to the Universal Law of Cause and Effect, everything that exists in the material world must have a cause, the cause cannot be part of the effect, and the cause must be greater than the effect. Christians would propose that God best fits the description of the Cause of the universe and the world around us.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Heb 11:1

Things sucplatoh as the Grand Canyon, the incredibly complex information in DNA, and the supernatural structure of the bible are evidences that God has left for us. If we use our intellect properly, we must come to the conclusion that God is the uncaused infinitely powerful Cause of Creation.

As Plato believed and taught, “Follow the evidence wherever it leads.”

I would suggest this week we take a look at the evidence.


Oh, Lord God! You Yourself made the heavens and earth by Your great power and with Your outstretched arm. Nothing is too difficult for You!  Jeremiah 32:17

5 Joshua told the people, “Consecrate yourselves, because the Lord will do wonders among you tomorrow.” 6 Then he said to the priests,“Take the ark of the covenant and go on ahead of the people.” So they carried the ark of the covenant and went ahead of them. 7 The Lord spoke to Joshua: “Today I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, so they will know that I will be with you just as I was with Moses. 8 Command the priests carrying the ark of the covenant: When you reach the edge of the waters, stand in the Jordan.” 9 Then Joshua told the Israelites, “Come closer and listen to the words of the Lord your God.” 10 He said: “You will know that the living God is among you and that He will certainly dispossess before you the Canaanites, Hittites, Hivites, Perizzites, Girgashites, Amorites, and Jebusites 11 when the ark of the covenant of the Lord of all the earth goes ahead of you into the Jordan. 12 Now choose 12 men from the tribes of Israel, one man for each tribe. 13 When the feet of the priests who carry the ark of the Lord, the Lord of all the earth, come to rest in the israelites crossing jordan river - Joshua.ashxJordan’s waters, its waters will be cut off. The water flowing downstream will stand up ⌊in⌋ a mass.” 14 When the people broke camp to cross the Jordan, the priests carried the ark of the covenant ahead of the people. 15 Now the Jordan overflows its banks throughout the harvest season. But as soon as the priests carrying the ark reached the Jordan, their feet touched the water at its edge 16 and the water flowing downstream stood still, rising up ⌊in⌋ a mass that extended as far as Adam, a city next to Zarethan. The water flowing downstream into the Sea of the Arabah (the Dead Sea) was completely cut off, and the people crossed opposite Jericho.17 The priests carrying the ark of the Lord’s covenant stood firmly on dry ground in the middle of the Jordan, while all Israel crossed on dry ground until the entire nation had finished crossing the Jordan. Josh 3:5-17

1. Consecrate yourselves.

Compare the Lord’s instructions through Moses at Mount Sinai. Sanctifying, or “separating,” oneself included washing one’s clothes and temporarily abstaining from sexual relations. ESV

The people’s self-consecration consisted of their turning their hearts to God and getting their attitudes and actions right with Him.

In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the Wilderness of Judea  and saying,“Repent, because the kingdom of heaven has come near!” Matt 3:1-2

God had previously promised to do wonders when they would enter the land. Undoubtedly the people had been looking forward to seeing these miracles in view of what their parents had told them and what some of them remembered about the plagues in Egypt. CN

2. The Ark of the Covenant

Within the Holy of Holies, shielded from the eye of the common man, was one piece of furniture comprising two parts: the Ark of the Covenant and the atonement cover (or “mercy seat”) on top of it. The ark was a chest made of acacia wood, overlaid with pure gold inside and out. It was 3 feet, 9 inches long and 2 feet, 3 inches wide and high. God commanded Moses to put in the ark three items: a golden pot of manna, Aaron’s staff that had budded, and the two stone tablets on which the Ten Commandments were written. We will discuss these three objects in further detail below.

The atonements dwelling place in the tabernacle. It was His throne, flanked by angels.

The Ark with a metaphor for Christ. Made of wood, representing humanity, and covered with gold representing God. The blood spread on the mercy seat, representing the blood shed for us. The stone tablets inside the chest showing that Christ fulfilled the law, and the staff that budded from a dead piece of wood representing eternal life in Christ.

3. Exalt you in the eyes of Israel

Earlier as Moses second in command Joshua had achieved a level of authority, but a higher token of the divine favor was now to be publicly bestowed on him, and evidence given in the same unmistakable manner that his mission and authority were from God as was that of Moses —JFB

It was important that God show that Joshua was the new commander of Israel and that they follow Joshua as they did Moses.

4. You will know.

It was very crucial, because of the opposition they would soon be confronting in the Canaanites, that God was with them.

joshuaNo man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you.Josh 1:5 (NASB)

It was vital that the people understood this.

5. 12 Men

Probably one man from each of the 12 tribes. All would be witnesses to their tribes of the miracle that was about to happen.

6. Water’s will be cut off.

Evidently the pushing back of the waters of the Jordan was to be a sign to the Israelites that God would push back the Canaanites. The title “the Lord of all the earth” occurs here first in Scripture indicating Yahweh’s absolute sovereignty over this planet. Because He was “the Lord of all the earth” He could give Canaan to the Israelites.

The Israelites crossed the Jordan when the river was at its widest, deepest, and swiftest, in late April or early May. As the snow on Mt. Hermon melts and the rainy season ends, the Jordan rises to a depth of 10-12 feet and floods to a width of 300-360 feet at this point today. Normally it is only 150-180 feet wide here The town of Adam stood about 18 miles north of Jericho near where the Jabbok River empties into the Jordan Valley. CN

To understand the scene described we must imagine the band of priests with the ark on their shoulders, standing on the depressed edge of the river, while the mass of the people were at a mile’s distance. Suddenly the whole bed of the river was dried up; a spectacle the more extraordinary in that it took place in the time of harvest, corresponding to our April or May — when “the Jordan overfloweth all its banks.” The original words may be more properly rendered “fills all its banks.” Its channel, snow-fed from Lebanon, was at its greatest height — brimful; a translation which gives the only true description of the state of Jordan in harvest as observed by modern travelers. The river about Jericho is, in ordinary appearance, about fifty or sixty yards in breadth. But as seen in harvest, it is twice as broad; and in ancient times, when the hills on the right and left were much more drenched with rain and snow than since the forests have disappeared, the river must, from a greater accession of water, have been broader still than at harvest-time in the present day.—JFB

7. Their feet touched the water at its edge.

Notice they stepped first and then the water receded, they did not wait for the water to stop and then step into the river bed. Many times we wait for God to clear out all opposition, before we move ahead, when God is telling us to go now and He will make a way.

The obstacle is the path.  ~Zen Proverb

8. Stood firmly on dry ground

It’s important for us to understand that they were standing on dry land. This makes it perfectly clear that God performed a supernatural event. If this were just some weird coincident of nature they would be sloshing around in several inches of mud.

From a spiritual perspective we have to know what we believe, know why we believe it and always be prepared to defend our faith.

Watch, standfast in the faith, be brave, be strong. 1 Cor 16:13

Always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you. 1 Peter 3:15

I found it necessary to write and exhort you to contend for the faith that was delivered to the saints once for all. Jude 1:3

After the entire nation had finished crossing the Jordan, the Lord spoke to Joshua: 2 “Choose 12 men from the people, one man for each tribe, 3 and command them: Take 12 stones from this place in the middle of the Jordan where the priests are standing, carry them with you, and set them down at the place where you spend the night.” Josh 4:1-3

9. 12 Stones

The purposes of the memorial stones were the same as the purposes of the miracle at the Red Sea. They joshua_4manifested the power of Yahweh to all people, and they caused God’s people to fear Him. “Fear the Lord” is the most common expression calling for faith in God in the Old Testament.

The word “remember” is used 830 times in the bible. I wonder why?

We forget and our children grow up ignorant of the supernatural workings of God.

20 Then Joshua set up in Gilgal the 12 stones they had taken from the Jordan, 21 and he said to the Israelites,“In the future, when your children ask their fathers, ‘What is the meaning of these stones?’ 22 you should tell your children,‘Israel crossed the Jordan on dry ground.’ 23 For the Lord your God dried up the waters of the Jordan before you until you had crossed over, just as the Lord your God did to the Red Sea, which He dried up before us until we had crossed over. 24 This is so that all the people of the earth may know that the Lord’s hand is mighty, and so that you may always fear the Lord your God.” Josh 4:19-24

10. Your children

It is a good custom to memorialize God’s great acts for us so that we will remember them and so that our children will learn that God is powerful and faithful. Baptism is one such memorial for the Christian, and the Lord’s Supper is another.

“This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” Luke 22:19

11. All the people of the earth may know.

We have a responsibility to explain to the unsaved world who God is and what He has provided for them, both now and in the future.

“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”— 1 Cor 2:9 (ESV)

ESVN……………..….ESV Study Bible Notes

MSBN……………….MacArthur NASB Study   Notes

NIVSN……………….NIV Study Notes.

JVM ………………….J Vernon McGee’s Commentary

BN ……………………Barnes Notes

WBC………….…….Wycliffe Bible Commentary

CN ……….…………..Constables Notes

IC……………….…….Ironside Commentary

NET…………….…….Net Bible Study Notes.

JFB……………………Jamieson Fausset  Brown Commentary

VWS………………….Vincent Word Studies

CMM………………..Commentary on Matthew and Mark

BDB……………..….Barclay’s Daily Study Bible (NT)

Darby……………….John Darby’s Synopsis of the OT and NT

Johnson……………Johnson’s Notes on the New Testament

NTCMM…………..The New Testament Commentary:  Matthew and Mark.

EHS………………….Expositions of the Holy Scriptures

CPP…………………The Complete Pulpit Commentary

SBC…………………..Sermon Bible Commentary

K&D…………………Keil and Deilitzsch Commentary on the OT

EBC……………….…Expositors Bible Commentary

CBSC……………….Cambridge Bible for Schools and College

GC……………………Guzik Commentary

RD…………………..Robert  Deffinbaugh

NSB …………………The Nelson Study Bible

MHC…………………Matthew Henry Commentary

CSTTB………Chuck Smith Through The Bible

LESB…………….Life Essentials Study Bible.


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August 14, 2014

Hebrews Chapter 5

Filed under: Bible,Hebrews,Theology — augustinehippo1 @ 6:21 pm

1  For every high priest taken from among men is appointed for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins.
1. What was the purpose of the priest and how does that differ from a prophet?
high-priest.jpgThis verse gives us the definition of a priest. He must be taken from among men, which means he must be a man. He must be a representative, you see. He represents man, but he represents man to God. He is ordained for man in things pertaining to God. Because he goes before God, he must be acceptable to God. That is the suggestion in “is ordained for men in things … to God.” In verse 4 we are told specifically that no man takes this honor unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron. He must be ordained of God. Therefore a priest is: (1) taken from among men; (2) ordained for men (on behalf of men); and (3) goes to God for men.
We can now draw a distinction between a priest and a prophet. A priest goes from man to God; he represents man before God. A prophet comes from God to man with a message from God. Therefore the Old Testament priest did not tell men what God had to say—that was the ministry of the prophet. The priest’s ministry was to represent man before God. “That he may offer both gifts and sacrifices.” Notice that the priest may offer both gifts and sacrifices. JVM  
To qualify for the high priesthood in Israel one had to be a man. He also had to stand between God and people as their representative before Him. His services included presenting gifts (offerings) of worship and sacrifices for sin.
“Although it would be natural to distinguish between dora, ‘gifts’ (i.e., peace and cereal offerings), and thysiai, ‘sacrifices’ (i.e., the sin and trespass offerings), in later statements in the OT all sacrifices pertain to the procuring of atonement and the removal of sin (cf. Ezek 45:15-17). The bloody offerings for the Day of Atonement are in the foreground of the discussion of the sacrificial ministry of the Levitical high priest here and elsewhere in Hebrews. CN
2  He can have compassion on those who are ignorant and going astray, since he himself is also subject to weakness. 3  Because of this he is required as for the people, so also for himself, to offer sacrifices for sins.
2. Why is it vital for the priest to have compassion for and identity with the weaknesses of those he represents before God.
have compassion on This verb occurs only here in the NT. It carries the idea of maintaining a controlled but gentle attitude in the treatment of those who are spiritually ignorant and wayward. Impatience, loathing, and indignation have no part in priestly ministry. Such moderation and gentleness comes from realizing one’s own human frailty. The priest would be reminded of his own sinful humanity every time he offered sacrifices for his own sins (v. 3). MSBN
The word μετριοπαθειν, here used, signifies to feel compassion in proportion to the misery of others. The apostle’s words imply that a high-priest, who is not touched with a feeling of the weaknesses and miseries of others, is unfit to officiate for them, because he will be apt to neglect them in his ministrations, or be thought by the people in danger of so doing. On the ignorant — Who, not being properly instructed in divine things, are involved in error with respect to them; and on them that are out of the way — Of truth and duty, of wisdom, holiness, and happiness; or who, through their ignorance or any other cause, fall into sin: so that all sins and sinners are here comprehended. For that he himself is compassed with infirmity — So that under a consciousness thereof, he will officiate for them with the greater kindness and assiduity, knowing that he needs the compassion which he shows to others. And by reason hereof — Because he himself is a sinner; he ought, as for the people, so also for himself, (see the margin,) to offer for sins — That, being pardoned himself, and in a state of reconciliation and peace with God, he may offer for others with more acceptance. We are not to infer from this that Christ had any sins of his own to offer for, or that he offered any sacrifice for himself, it being repeatedly affirmed by the apostles that he was absolutely free from all sin. BC
4  And no man takes this honor to himself, but he who is called by God, just as Aaron was. 5  So also Christ did not glorify Himself to become High Priest, but it was He who said to Him: “You are My Son, Today I have begotten You.”
3. How did one become a High Priest?
moses-gives-aaron-the-priesthood-full.jpgAaron, the first high priest, was called of God to this office. He did not seek it nor did he merit it. He was appointed by God. The fate of those who sought to serve in this office apart from God’s appointing is sufficiently illustrated by Korah  WBC
Numbers 16:31-33 (NKJV)
31  Now it came to pass, as he finished speaking all these words, that the ground split apart under them, 32  and the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, with their households and all the men with Korah, with all their goods. 33  So they and all those with them went down alive into the pit; the earth closed over them, and they perished from among the assembly.
Finally, a man could attain the high priesthood only by divine appointment.
“The essential nature of a high priest is that he should be chosen by God to act for his fellows in offering sacrifices related to the removal of sin.”
Only those whom God chose served in this office. These people were primarily Aaron and his successors. This ceased to be true after Israel lost her sovereignty as a nation, beginning with the Babylonian captivity. Then the high priesthood became a political appointment. However the writer was speaking of Israel as a sovereign nation. Disaster befell those individuals who took it upon themselves to perform high priestly duties without divine authorization (Korah, Num. 16; Saul, 1 Sam. 13:8-14; Uzziah, 2 Chron. 26:16-21). The writer stressed the essential humility of the high priest who stood in his privileged position only by divine appointment. He was not stressing the dignity of his office or the grandeur of his call to his office. CN
And no man takes this honor to himself, but he who is called by God, just as Aaron was: Of course, the High Priest was taken from the community of God’s people; but was not chosen by God’s people, but appointed by God for His people.  But it was important to state that no man takes this honor to himself.  The office of high priest was nothing to aspire to or campaign for.  It was given by right of birth, it was chosen by God.  It was an honor no man could take to himself.
Nadab-and-Abihu.jpgi. The true priesthood, and the high priest, came from a specific line of descent.  Every priest came from Jacob, Abraham’s grandson, whose name was changed to Israel.  Every priest came from Levi, one of Israel’s thirteen sons.  God set the tribe of Levi apart as a tribe committed to His service and as representatives of the whole nation (Exo_13:2; Num_3:40-41).  Gershon, Kohath and Merari were Levi’s three sons; each of these family lines had their own duties.  The family of Gershon had care of the tabernacle’s screen (veil), fence, and curtains (Num_3:25-26).  The family of Kohath will this family had care of the tabernacle’s furnishings, such as the lampstand, altar of incense, and the ark of the covenant (Num_3:31-32).  The family of Merari had care of the boards and pillars of the tabernacle and the fence (Num_3:36-37).  These families were not properly priests, though they were Levites.  The priesthood itself came through Aaron, the brother of Moses, of the family of Kohath.  Aaron’s family and their descendants made up the priests and the high priest, those able to serve in the tabernacle itself and to offer sacrifice to God.  The high priest was generally the eldest son of Aaron, except if they disqualified themselves like Nadab and Abihu (Lev_10:1-3) or according to the regulations of Leviticus 21.  In this sense, the priesthood was not popularly elected, but chosen by God, not appointed by man.
ii. There are some dreadful instances where men presumed to act as priests who were not priests, such as Korah (Numbers 16), Saul (1 Samuel 13) and Uzziah (2Ch_26:16).
iii. We can also not take the honor of being our own priest.  It is great arrogance to think we can approach God on our own, without a priest; but it is great superstition to think we need any other priest other than Jesus Christ Himself.  God has provided a mediator, a priest, and we must avail ourselves of the priest God has provided.
iv. “A sinner can undertake to manage nothing towards God immediately, or by himself, but with a mediating priest, who must know God’s mind and perform it . . . The common sense of mankind about it since the fall doth evidence it; no nation being without a religion, a temple, a place of worship, or a priest.” (Poole) GC
6  As He also says in another place: “You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek”; 7  who, in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears to Him who was able to save Him from death, and was heard because of His godly fear, 8  though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.
melchizedek4. What is the Order of Melchizedek?
Question: Genesis 14: 18-20 talks of “Melchizedek king of Salem – a priest for God most High”.  In Hebrews Jesus is called our high priest after the “order of Melchizedek”.  But where did Melchizedek come from (other than Salem) and where did he go?  
He didn’t come from the priestly tribe of Levi as it did not exist at the time of Abraham.  
For some the identity of Melchizedek is fodder for all kinds of speculation and mystery. Was Melchizedek a real flesh and blood historical person, an angelic messenger, a visit from the  pre-incarnate Christ (Christophany) (1),  or possibly something else. Some have theorized that he was in fact Shem, one of Noah’s 3 sons who lived until the time of Abram. Hebrew tradition tells us it was Shem, Noah’s Son that was still alive at the time of Abraham and would certainly make him be the oldest man alive qualifying him as a candidate for the order of Melchizedek.(2) Rev. Wayne Jackson argues the grammar of the various verses referring to Melchizedek preclude him being the pre-incarnate Christ (3).
The mystery of Melchizedek has been used by cults like the Mormons to justify their strange unbiblical form of priesthood. The Roman Catholics have used poor Melchizedek to justify their office of priest and as foundational to their view of the Eucharist. New age cults and weird groups interested in spiritual growth and enlightenment try to validate themselves by Melchizedek. We have people all over the internet claiming they are reincarnate Melchizedeks or operating within his priesthood.
timthumb (1)I think it is important to stick to what the bible actually say about this man and leave the speculation to the people who sit up at night wearing tin foil hats waiting for the next message from extraterrestrial  aliens.
Genesis 14:18-20 (KJV)   And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. 19  And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: 20  And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.
Psalm 110:4 (KJV)  The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.
Lets look at what some commentators say about Melchizedek
14:18 Melchizedek king of Salem. The lack of biographical and genealogical particulars for this ruler, whose name meant “righteous king” and who was a king-priest over ancient Jerusalem, allowed for later revelation to use him as a type of Christ (cf. Ps 110:4; Heb 7:17, 21). His superior status in Abram’s day is witnessed 1) by the king of Sodom, the first to meet Abram returning in victory, deferring to Melchizedek before continuing with his request (vv. 17, 21) and 2) by Abram, without demur, both accepting a blessing from and also giving a tithe to this priest-king (vv. 19, 20). Cf. Heb 7:1, 2. priest of God Most High. The use of El Elyon (Sovereign Lord) for God’s name indicated that Melchizedek, who used this title two times (vv. 18, 19), worshiped, served, and represented no Canaanite deity, but the same one whom Abram also called Yahweh El Elyon (v. 22). That this was so is confirmed by the added description, “Possessor of heaven and earth,” being used by both Abram and Melchizedek (vv. 19, 22). MacArthur, John: MacArthur Study Bible NASB.
14:18 Melchizedek means “My King Is Righteous.” Melchizedek was a contemporary of Abram who worshiped the living God. king of Salem: Salem is an older, shorter name for Jerusalem. The word is based on the root from which we get the word shalom, “peace.” bread and wine: While these were staples of everyday life in ancient times, their use here had a different purpose—to celebrate God’s deliverance of Abram and his troops. the priest of God Most High: The term for God used here expresses God’s power over the nations. The great surprise about Melchizedek is that he appears from nowhere, without mention of parents or background, without any introduction of ties to the Lord. This mysterious quality of Melchizedek allows the writer of Hebrews to compare him with another priest, the Lord Jesus Christ (see Heb. 5–9; see also Ps. 110:4).
14:19 And he blessed him: Melchizedek is the first to bless Abram; thus he comes under the special provision of God’s promise of blessing (see 12:3). Blessed be Abram: The words of the blessing are in two lines of poetry, making them more memorable as well as adding a sense of power and effectiveness. The phrase, God Most High is used in both lines of the blessing, for special emphasis. Possessor may also mean “Creator” (see Prov. 8:22).
14:20 blessed be God Most High: When we bless God, we acknowledge Him as the source of all our blessings (see Ps. 103:1, 2). Melchizedek declared the true nature of Abram’s victory—God delivered him. Here is the first mention of the tithe in the Bible (see Deut. 14:22). Abram’s gift indicates that he considered Melchizedek a true priest of the living God; in giving this gift Abram was giving to the Lord.
14:21 Abram seems to have ignored the king of Sodom (see v. 17) until he had worshiped with the king of Salem. Now he hears the demands of this king, who asked for his people but not for his goods. Radmacher, Earl D. ; Allen, Ronald Barclay ; House, H. Wayne: The Nelson Study Bible
Melchizedek (which means “king of righteousness”; see Heb. 7:2) generously provides a meal for the returning victors. Salem is possibly a shortened version of “Jerusalem” (see Ps. 76:2) and is related to shalom, the Hebrew word for “peace” (see Heb. 7:2). He was priest of God Most High. Although very little is known about Melchizedek, he provides an interesting example of a priest-king linked to Jerusalem. There appears to have been an expectation that later kings of Jerusalem should resemble him (see Ps. 110:4). The book of Hebrews presents Jesus Christ, from the royal line of David, as belonging to the “order of Melchizedek” and therefore superior to the Levitical priests (Heb. 5:5–10; 6:20–7:17). “God Most High” in Hebrew is ’El ‘Elyon. ’El is the common Semitic term for “God.” To this is added the attribute ‘Elyon, meaning “Most High.” Elsewhere in Genesis other attributes are added to ’El (e.g., in Gen. 16:13 “God of seeing” translates ’El Ro’i; in 17:1 “God Almighty” translates ’El Shadday; in 21:33 “Everlasting God” translates ’El ‘Olam). These different names highlight different aspects of God’s nature.
Gen. 14:19–20 Melchizedek’s blessing attributes Abram’s victory to the power of God. By giving Melchizedek a tenth of everything (i.e., a tithe), Abram affirms the truthfulness of Melchizedek’s words. Possessor of heaven and earth. Although God has created the whole earth to be his temple, Genesis reveals that God’s ownership of the earth is rejected by those who do not obey him. In light of this, Melchizedek’s acknowledgment of God’s authority over the earth is noteworthy.
Gen. 14:21 In marked contrast to Melchizedek’s blessing, the king of Sodom’s remarks are surly and small-minded: he expresses no gratitude. He “dishonors” Abram, and this is ominous in the light of 12:3 (“I will curse”). ESV Study Bible Notes
“Melchizedek” was probably a title rather than a proper name. It means “King of Righteousness.” Compare Adonizedek (“Lord of Righteousness”) in Josh. 10:1, 3. However theophoric names were common in the ancient Near East, so his name may have meant “My king is Sedeq” or “Milku is righteous,” Sedeq and Milku presumably being the names of gods., p. 316.
The names of both the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah (v. 2) are compounds of a Hebrew word translated “evil” (cf. 13:13).
bread and wine.jpgBread and wine were the royal food and drink of the day. Many writers have commented on their typical significance, though there is no basis for connecting them directly with the elements used in the Lord’s Supper. Many ancient Near Easterners used bread and wine in making covenants. Melchizedek, the first priest mentioned in the Bible, evidently gave a royal banquet in Abram’s honor. In view of their characters and geographical proximity, Abram and Melchizedek may have been friends before this meeting. Melchizedek may have been Abram’s king to whom the patriarch was paying an expected obligation.
14:19 The God Melchizedek worshipped as a priest was the true God known to him as El Elyon, the possessor of heaven and earth. This title reveals the sovereign power of God. Melchizedek and Abram regarded Abram’s recent victory in battle as due to the blessing of El Elyon.
14:20 People practiced tithing as an act of worship commonly in the ancient Near East at this time (cf. 28:22). It was also a common tax. This is still true in some modern countries. For example, in England part of every person’s taxes goes to maintain the Church of England. Some residents regard this part of their tax as their contribution to the church or their tithe. However since Melchizedek gave Abram a priestly blessing, it is likely that Abram reciprocated by giving Melchizedek a gift with priestly connotations.  Dr. Thomas L. Constable
So what do we really know about Melchizedek ? I think Rev. James Admiraal summarizes all we know and makes it clear that we must not go further than scriptures allows.
Melchizedek: A Type of Christ
by Rev. James Admiraal

He has become a high priest forever, in the order of Melchizedek.
—Hebrews 6:20
When you scan the world scene, it is interesting to note how different people rise to prominence, make their mark, and then disappear again from view. Some rise to renown gradually, like stars in the evening sky, which grow brighter and brighter as the darkness gradually overtakes the light. However, there are also persons who appear on the scene more like comets, which appear out of nowhere, streak brilliantly through the sky, and then disappear from view, never to be seen again.
There is a biblical person who reminds us of such a comet—suddenly appearing on the scene of the Old Testament world, and just as suddenly disappearing again. His name was Melchizedek, a man who must rank as one of the most mysterious of all Bible characters.
In fact, his life and deeds do not figure much in biblical history. Rather, he is significant for only one main reason: he was a type of another man, who is, without question, the most significant person in the Bible and all history—yes, who is the greatest person in the universe, our Lord Jesus Christ.
Melchizedek and Abram
Melchizedek is mentioned in three places in the Bible—in Genesis 14, Psalm 110, and in Hebrews 5, 6, and 7.
The first reference to Melchizedek, in Genesis 14, is set in the time of Abram. Abram had just rescued his nephew Lot, who had been captured by a coalition army of four kings led by Kedorlaomer, who had invaded Canaan. Lot and his family had moved near the city of Sodom. The foreign coalition had defeated the kings of Sodom and Gomorrah and their allies, and in the process Lot and his family were seized and carried off as captives.
This led Abram to gather a force of his own servants, who chased the army of Kedorlaomer and was able, with the help of God, to rout them and rescue his nephew Lot.
It was on the way back from this victory that Abram was met by two kings. One was the king of Sodom, who was obviously elated that Abram had defeated the army of Kedorlaomer. He wanted to thank Abram by offering him the spoils of Sodom which Abram had recaptured. It is important to note that Abram refused to take (or keep) anything for himself from this evil king. He wanted no one to think that he had gained his riches from the king of Sodom but instead wanted to give all glory to God for his success and riches.
However, at the same time, Abram was met by another king, whose name was Melchizedek.
Genesis 14:18–20 says: “Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. He was priest of God Most High, and he blessed Abram, saying: ‘Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth. And blessed be God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand.’ Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.”
This reference to Melchizedek, though brief, provides some very significant information about him.
One is simply that Melchizedek was an actual, historical person. Because of his uniqueness, and the statement about him in Hebrews 7:3 that he was “without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end life,” some Bible students think that Melchizedek was perhaps an angel appearing in human form. Others have suggested that perhaps he was Christ, in a pre-incarnate human form. But Melchizedek is clearly identified as an earthly king. He is called “king of Salem.” Salem was the original name for the city later called “Jerusalem.” Salem is a name meaning “peace.” Hence, Melchizedek ruled over what later became the capital of Israel and its central place of worship.
Also important to note is the meaning of his name. Melchizedek is a combination of two Hebrew words which together mean: “king of righteousness.”
However, Melchizedek was not only a king, but Genesis 14:18 also states, “He was priest of God Most High.” So, he also held the office of priest. This was not uncommon among kings at this time in history. That he was the priest of “God Most High,” suggests he had some knowledge of the true God, later identified by Abram as “the LORD, God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth” (vs. 22).
So, who was Melchizedek? He was not a pagan Canaanite king. Neither was he from the godly line of Abraham, who was to be the father of God’s Old Testament people, the Jews. He was indeed a unique individual—a king-priest who suddenly appears on the pages of Scripture, who was used by God to bless Abram, and would serve as a type of the Messianic king-priest to come.
Hence, what is also important to note is what Melchizedek did when he met Abram and how Abram responded to this king. The Genesis account says that Melchizedek blessed Abram, saying: “Blessed be Abram by God Most High, Creator of heaven and earth, and blessed be God Most High, who delivered your enemies into your hand.”
And what was Abram’s response? We read: “Then Abram gave him a tenth of everything.” Abram somehow understood that he owed Melchizedek this gift from the spoils he had taken, an act that was later to have special symbolic significance, according to Hebrews.
From the above, we come to see that even though the reference to Melchizedek in Genesis 14 is very brief, it contains some crucial facts and truths.
Melchizedek in Psalm 110
After Genesis 14, we do not read of Melchizedek again for a thousand years. The next reference to him in Scripture is found in Psalm 110, a Psalm of David. This Psalm is one of the most-quoted Psalms in the New Testament. The reason it is quoted so frequently is because it speaks prophetically of the Messiah to come, Jesus Christ. In fact, Jesus Himself quoted this Psalm to show that the Messiah as David’s Son was at the same time David’s Lord, that is, one much greater than David—a divine Messiah.
Psalm 110 speaks clearly of the ascension of Christ, as well as His sitting at God’s right hand and reigning in power over His enemies. The Messiah is the almighty King.
But the Psalm also speaks of Him as a priest. And in doing so, David, inspired by the Spirit, mentions Melchizedek. He writes in Psalm 110:4, “The LORD has sworn and will not change his mind: ‘You are a Priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.’”
Suddenly, we have a reference here to an “order of Melchizedek,” that is, a priestly line that is not descended from the tribe of Levi and the family of Aaron. It is the line or order to which the coming Messiah would belong.
Melchizedek as a Type of Christ
The book of Hebrews is the last to refer to Melchizedek. Hebrews is a book that points to Christ as the exalted King-Priest. It shows Him as the one who has fulfilled the priestly functions and the tabernacle and temple ceremonies of the Old Testament.
Therefore, in Hebrews 5, 6, and 7, the author of Hebrews makes a special point of showing how Jesus Christ is the superior High Priest, far greater than all the priests and high-priests of the old dispensation. One way in which these chapters extol Christ is by referring to Melchizedek and what is said about him both in Genesis 14 and Psalm 110. Indeed, in each of these chapters, it is mentioned that Christ, God’s Son, is “a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.”
How was Christ like Melchizedek, or how was Melchizedek a type of Christ? Several truths are brought out in Hebrews.
First, Jesus Christ was both a king and a priest—as Melchizedek was. Christ, in fact, even held a third office, that of prophet.
Second, the meaning of the name Melchizedek (king of righteousness) applies perfectly to Christ and to Him alone. Melchizedek as a human being was far from righteous in himself. But as Scripture repeatedly emphasizes, our Savior is the perfectly righteous King who is just and true in all His being and reign.
Third, as king of Salem, Melchizedek bore a title meaning “king of peace.” He pointed ahead to that Prince of Peace, who has brought true and lasting peace on earth—the peace of reconciliation between sinners and God.
Fourth, Melchizedek was a priest of the Most High God. We do not know exactly how he functioned in that capacity. But we do know that the ultimate priest of the Most High God was His own divine Son, whom God sent into the world to offer the final, perfect sacrifice for sin by His death.
Fifth, Christ is an eternal priest who lives forever. Hebrews 7:3 makes the puzzling statement about Melchizedek that he was “without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life.” This must not be understood literally. As noted above, Melchizedek was not an angelic or divine being. He was a human being who had a beginning and ending to his life. What the author of Hebrews means is that there is no record of Melchizedek’s parents or genealogy, or even his birth and death. He appears and disappears like a comet on the pages of Scripture. He seems like an eternal figure.
But Christ, of whose human life we do have a record in Scripture and of whom we know his parents and genealogy and his birth and death, is the truly eternal High Priest. He was from eternity, and He lives forever as our High Priest and Intercessor with the Father.
Sixth, we should also note how Christ as “a priest in the order of Melchizedek” is superior to all the priests who served God’s people in the Old Testament. Those priests all came from the tribe of Levi and the family of Aaron. Before that, they were also descendants of Abraham.
In Hebrews 7, the author makes the argument that, when Abram offered tithes to Melchizedek, he indicated thereby that Melchizedek was greater than he. And so, all the priests of the Old Testament who were descended from Abraham are far lower than He who is the priest “in the order of Melchizedek.”
Christ is the great High Priest. He is the King to whom all must pay tribute. He is the One before whom every knee must bow. He alone is worthy to receive our gifts and our service. Indeed, He owns all of our lives.
And in turn, those who believe in and belong to this King-Priest will receive His blessing. As Melchizedek pronounced blessing on Abram, so all who belong to God’s redeemed, covenant people will receive the blessing of the great King and High Priest, Jesus Christ, of whom Melchizedek was only a type. (4)
5. Vehement cries and tears?
When He had offered up prayers and supplications, with vehement cries and tears:
The agony of Jesus in the Garden of Gesthemane (Mat_26:36-39, Luk_22:44) proves He knows what it is like to struggle with the difficulty of obedience, yet He obeyed perfectly.
JesusInGethsemane.jpega. This answers the question, “How can this glorious, enthroned Jesus know what I am going through down here?”  He knows; obedience did not always come easy for Jesus.
b. The word for supplications is hiketeria.  This ancient Greek word essentially means “an olive branch wrapped in wool,” because that is was someone in Greek culture would hold and wave to express their desperate prayer and desire.  Significantly, this supplication of Jesus took place in a garden of olives – and he supplied the “wool,” being the Lamb of God!
c. And was heard because of His godly fear: If Jesus asked that the cup be taken away from Him (Luk_22:42), and the cup was not taken away, how can it be said that He was heard?  Because His prayer was not to escape His Father’s will, but to accept it – and that prayer was definitely heard.
d. He learned obedience by the things which He suffered: How could Jesus (who never stopped being God) learn anything?  Then again, how does God, enthroned in heaven experience obedience, except by casting off the glory of the throne and humbling Himself as Jesus did?
i. Jesus did not pass from disobedience to obedience.  He learned obedience by actually obeying.  Jesus did not learn how to obey; He learned what is involved in obedience.
e. He learned obedience by things which He suffered: Suffering was used to teach Jesus.  If suffering was fit to teach the Son of God, we must never despise it as a tool of instruction in our lives. GC
9  And having been perfected, He became the author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him, 10  called by God as High Priest “according to the order of Melchizedek,” 11  of whom we have much to say, and hard to explain, since you have become dull of hearing.
6. Why was it vital that Jesus live a perfect life?
During his childhood, Jesus was not lacking in any godly character quality, but he was lacking in the full experience of having lived a perfect human life, obeying the Father in everything, without sin. The lifelong perfect obedience of Jesus provides the basis for eternal salvation and for the ultimate “perfection” of those who respond in faith and obedience. order of Melchizedek.  ESVN
Christ did not need to suffer in order to conquer or correct any disobedience. In His deity (as the Son of God), He understood obedience completely. As the incarnate Lord, He humbled Himself to learn. He learned obedience for the same reasons He bore temptation: to confirm His humanity and experience its sufferings to the fullest. Christ’s obedience was also necessary so that He could fulfill all righteousness (Mt 3:13-15) and thus prove to be the perfect sacrifice to take the place of sinners (1Pe 3:18). He was the perfectly righteous One, whose righteousness would be imputed to sinners (cf. Ro 3:24–26). MSBN
Matthew 3:13-15 (NKJV)
13  Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. 14  And John tried to prevent Him, saying, “I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?” 15  But Jesus answered and said to him, “Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he allowed Him.
1 Peter 3:18 (NKJV)
18  For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit,
Romans 3:24-26 (NKJV)
jesus dies.jpg
24  being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25  whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, 26  to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
7. Why is there such difficulty explaining the atonement?
The vicarious sacrificial death on the cross to pay the sin debt of all who would believe is so profound and of such depth of consequence that it requires spiritual maturity to even get a glimpse of its magnitude. A lifetime of  study, teaching and Christian experience cannot grasp the concept of the Creator God of the Universe becoming a human and allowing himself to be mocked and nailed to a cross by evil men as the propitiation for their sins.
12  For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. 13  For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. 14  But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.  
8. Why such a stern rebuke?
Ear trouble, today, is the big problem of believers. Christ as a priest after the order of Melchizedek is a difficult subject, and the writer is going to deal with it forthrightly. To understand the subject requires sharp spiritual perception. It requires folk to be spiritually alert and to have a knowledge of the Word of God and to be close to it. The Hebrew believers who are being addressed here had a low SQ, not an IQ, but an SQ—spiritual quotient. It was hard to teach them because it was difficult to make them understand. They were babies, as many of the saints are today, and they want baby talk even from the preacher. They don’t want to hear anything that is difficult to understand. This is the reason some preachers are getting by with murder in the pulpit—they murder the Word of God. They absolutely kill it and substitute something from their own viewpoint, and the congregations like that kind of baby talk.
“Ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God.” Some of them want a D.D. degree, but they don’t even know their ABCs. “First principles” is from the Greek word stoicheion (from which we get our English word atom, by the way), meaning “primary elements”—the ABCs of the Christian life. They ought to be teachers and mature saints, but instead they are still little babies needing someone to burp them.
To these Hebrew believers the writer says, “You are such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. You are not of age; you are not full grown; you haven’t reached maturation.” Now a baby cannot eat meat, but an adult can enjoy milk. I will admit that a lot of saints today sit and listen to baby talk from the pulpit. It is tragic indeed that they have to endure this, but they do. JVM
The Hebrews’ spiritual lethargy and slow response to gospel teaching prevented additional teaching at this time. This is a reminder that failure to appropriate the truth of the gospel produces stagnation in spiritual advancement and the inability to understand or assimilate additional teaching (cf. Jn 16:12). Such a situation exists also among the Gentiles who have received revelatory truth (natural or general revelation) from God in the creation (Ro 1:18–20). Rejection of that revelation results in a process of hardening (Ro 1:21–32). The Hebrews had not only received the same general revelation, they had also received special revelation consisting of the OT Scriptures (Ro 9:4), the Messiah Himself (Ro 9:5), and the teaching of the apostles (2:3, 4). Until the Hebrews obeyed the revelation they had received and obtained eternal salvation (v. 8), additional teaching about the Messiah’s Melchizedekan priesthood would be of no profit to them.
9. Yeah but don’t teachers have to go to seminary and be college educated?
Every believer is to be a teacher. If these Hebrews had really obeyed the gospel of Christ, they would have been passing that message on to others. The Jews were instructed in the law and prided themselves because they taught the law, but they had not really understood or appropriated its truths to themselves.

Every Christian becomes capable of instructing others when he or she learns the elementary truths of the faith. This is true whether one has the gift of teaching (i.e., the ability to communicate with unusual clarity and effectiveness) or not. However when we fail to pass on what we know we begin to lose what we know. Eventually we may need to relearn the most basic teachings of Scripture. When we stop growing, we start shrinking. We do not just stay the same.
“Christians who have really progressed in the faith ought to be able to instruct ”CN
You ought to be able to instruct others. He does not mean to say, evidently, that they ought all to become public teachers, or preachers of the gospel, but that they ought to be able to explain to others the truths of the Christian religion. As parents, they ought to be able to explain them to their children; as neighbours, to their neighbours; or as friends, to those who were inquiring the way to life. BN



5:12, 13 milk. Knowledge without obedience does not advance a person. In fact, by rejecting saving faith, the Hebrews were regressing in their understanding concerning the Messiah. They had long enough been exposed to the gospel to be teaching it to others, but were babies, too infantile and unskilled to comprehend, let alone teach, the truth of God. MSBN
A contrast between milk and solid food.
And you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
a. And you have come to need milk: Milk corresponds to the first principles of Heb_6:12.  Solid food is the “meatier” material such as understanding the connection between Jesus and Melchizedek.  It isn’t that milk is bad; but these Christians should have added solid food to their diet.  Peter reminds us all as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby (1Pe_2:2).
b. In the original language, the sense of for he is a babe is for he has become a babe.  There is nothing more delightful than a true babe in Jesus.  But there is nothing more irritating and depressing than someone who should be mature but who has become a babe!
i. Have you become a babe?  Perhaps your Christian life is unstable.  Babies are handed from one person to another; babes are tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine (Eph_4:14-16).
ii. Have you become a babe?  Perhaps you are divisive in your Christian life.  Babies each have their own crib that they stick to; babes have their particular denomination or church that they think of as “my church.”
iii. Have you become a babe?  Perhaps you are star-struck by Christian celebrities of one kind or another.  Babies are focused on one particular person (mommy); babes glory in men (I am of Paul, I am of Apollos).
iv. Have you become a babe?  Perhaps you are spiritually asleep.  Babies need a lot of sleep; babes spend much time spiritually asleep.
v. Have you become a babe?  Perhaps you are fussy and cranky with others.  Babies can be cranky; babes will fuss over any little thing.
c. Is unskilled in the word of righteousness: Those who have become babes reveal themselves because they are unskilled in the word of righteousness.  We don’t expect brand new Christians to be skilled in the word of righteousness, but those who have been Christians for a time should be.
d. Who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil: Our senses are exercised (trained by practice and habit) to discern both good and evil (doctrinally, not morally).  How are our senses exercised?  Plainly, by reason of use.  When we decide to use discernment, we mature.
i. These Christians demonstrated immaturity by both their lack of discernment between good and evil and in their contemplation of giving up with Jesus.  The mature Christian is marked by their discernment and by their unshakable commitment to Jesus Christ.
ii. The ability to discern is a critical measure of spiritual maturity.  Babies will put anything in their mouths!  Babes are weak in discernment, and will accept any kind of spiritual food.
e. Have their senses exercised: It can be said that all five human senses have their spiritual counterparts.
i. We have a spiritual sense of taste: If indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious (1Pe_2:3).  Taste and see that the LORD is good! (Psa_34:8)
ii. We have a spiritual sense of hearing: Hear and your soul shall live (Isa_55:3).  He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches (Rev_2:7).
iii. We have a spiritual sense of sight: Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law (Psa_119:18).  The eyes of your understanding (heart) being enlightened (Eph_1:18).
iv. We have a spiritual sense of smell: He shall be of quick scent in the fear of the LORD (Isa_11:3, RV margin).  I am full, having received from . . . you, a sweet-smelling aroma (Php_4:18).
v. We have a spiritual sense of touch or feeling: Because your heart was tender, and you humbled yourself before the LORD (2Ki_22:19).  The hardening of their heart; who being past feeling, have given themselves over to licentiousness (Eph_4:18-19). GC
ESVN……………..….ESV Study Bible Notes
MSBN……………….MacArthur NASB Study   Notes
NIVSN……………….NIV Study Notes.
JVM ………………….J Vernon McGee’s Commentary
BN ……………………Barnes Notes
WBC………….…….Wycliffe Bible Commentary
CN ……….…………..Constables Notes
IC……………….…….Ironside Commentary
NET…………….…….Net Bible Study Notes.
JFB……………………Jamieson Fausset  Brown Commentary
VWS………………….Vincent Word Studies
CMM………………..Commentary on Matthew and Mark
BDB……………..….Barclay’s Daily Study Bible (NT)
Darby……………….John Darby’s Synopsis of the OT and NT
Johnson……………Johnson’s Notes on the New Testament
NTCMM…………..The New Testament Commentary:  Matthew and Mark.
EHS………………….Expositions of the Holy Scriptures
CPP…………………The Complete Pulpit Commentary
SBC…………………..Sermon Bible Commentary
K&D…………………Keil and Deilitzsch Commentary on the OT
EBC……………….…Expositors Bible Commentary
CBSC……………….Cambridge Bible for Schools and College
GC……………………Guzik Commentary
RD…………………..Robert  Deffinbaugh
NSB …………………The Nelson Study Bible
MHC…………………Matthew Henry Commentary
CSTTB………………….Chuck Smith Through The Bible
LESB……………………Life Essentials Study Bible.
BC……………………..Benson’s Commentary
Rev. James Admiral is a retired pastor in the URCNA. He served most recently as pastor of Cornerstone URC in Hudsonville, MI. He also served for several years on the board of Reformed Fellowship
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August 13, 2014


Filed under: Uncategorized — augustinehippo1 @ 11:00 pm

See Why We choose Him

29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Here is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! ………..

35 Again the next day, John was standing with two of his disciples. 36 When he saw whoJesus passing by, he said, “Look! The Lamb of God!” 37 The two disciples heard him say this and followed Jesus. 38 When Jesus turned and noticed them following Him, He asked them, “What are you looking for?” They said to Him, “Rabbi” (which means “Teacher”), “where are You staying?”39 “Come and you’ll see,” He replied. So they went and saw where He was staying, and they stayed with Him that day. It was about 10 in the morning. John 1: 29, 35-39

1. Who is Jesus?

a. He was a man who lived in Israel about 2000 years ago.

95 to 99% of sceptical and non-sceptical scholars do not doubt Jesus walked the earth. If you are going to deny the life of Jesus then you will have to throw out everyone in history, because Jesus is the most documented person in antiquity.

In “The Historical Jesus – Ancient Evidence for the Life of Christ” (1996) by Gary R. Habermas, the leading scholar on the resurrection, we can summarize what the earliest sources have said (pages 225, 250-253). Tiberius Caesar who died four years after Jesus only has 9 sources of him whereas Jesus has 45 sources within 150 years of their deaths.

“We have examined 45 ancient sources for the life of Jesus, which includes 19 early creedal, four archaeological, 17 non-Christian, and five non-New Testament Christian sources. From this data we have enumerated 129 reported facts concerning the life, person, teaching, death, and resurrection of Jesus, plus the disciples’ earliest message.”

b. We have biblinerocal as well as secular references to his existence.

Reporting on Emperor Nero’s decision to blame the Christians for the fire that had destroyed Rome in A.D. 64, the Roman historian Tacitus wrote:

Nero fastened the guilt . . . on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of . . . Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome. . . .

““Now around this time lived Jesus, a wise man. For he was a worker of amazing deeds and was a teacher of people who gladly accept the truth. He won over both many Jews and many Greeks. Pilate, when he heard him accused by the leading men among us, condemned him to the cross, (but) those who had first loved him did not cease (doing so). To this day the tribe of Christians named after him has not disappeared” Josephus (37-101AD)

c. He was a religious leader. He was called Rabbi. He taught in the synagogue and the temple. And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them. John 8:2 (KJV)

d. He did not come to bring peace.  Do you suppose that I came to grant peace on earth? I tell you, no, but rather division; Luke 12:51 (NASB)

Do not expect to advocate for Christ and not evoke opposition.

e. He claimed to be a King

And Pilate asked him, Art thou the King of the Jews? And he answering said unto him, Thou sayest it. Mark 15:2 (KJV)

f. He claimed to be the messiah.  The woman *said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming ( He who is called Christ); when that One comes, He will declare all things to us.” 26 Jesus *said to her, ” I who speak to you am He. John 4:25-26 (NASB)
g. He is the 2nd person of the trinity.  I and my Father are one. John 10:30 (KJV)
h. He claimed to have existed before His birth in Judea.

 Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” JohnI am 8:58 (NKJV)

 And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you. Ex 3:14 (KJV)

i. He claimed to have been in Heaven with the Father

And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was. John 17:5 (KJV)

j. He performed miracles.

And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. 44 And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: John 11:43-44 (KJV)

k. He claimed to be God.

Then said they all, Art thou then the Son of God? And he said unto them, Ye say that I am. 71 And they said, What need we any further witness? for we ourselves have heard of his own mouth. Luke 22:70-71 (KJV)

l. He was crucified on a Roman Cross as a substitutionary sacrifice for the sins of the world and rose from the dead on the third day.

Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. 6 After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; 7 then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; 8 and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also. 1 Cor 15:3-8 (NASB)


k. His followers believed, at the cost of their lives, that He was who He said He was.

  • Matthew – killed by stabbing as ordered by King Hircanus
  • James, son of Alphaeous – crucified
  • James, brother of Jesus – thrown down from a height, stoned and then beaten to death at the hands of Ananias (circa AD 66)
  • John – tortured by boiling oil, exiled to Patmos in AD 95
  • Mark – burned during Roman emperor Trajan’s reign
  • Peter – crucified upside-down by the gardens of Nero on the Vatican hill circa AD 64
  • Andrew – crucified on an “X” shaped cross by Aegeas, governor of the Edessenes, around AD 80
  • Philip – stoned and crucified in Hierapolis, Phrygia
  • Simon – crucified in Egypt under Trajan’s reignlion
  • Thomas – death by spear thrust in Calamina, India
  • Thaddaeous – killed by arrows
  • James, son of Zebedee – killed by sword in AD 44 by order of King Herod Agrippa I of Judea
  • Bartholomew – beaten, flayed alive, crucified upside down, then beheaded 11

2. How do we know the bible is reliable?

Manuscript Evidence for the New Testament:

          More than 24,000 partial and complete manuscript copies of the New Testament  exist, the oldest of which date to within 25 years of the writing of the last Book of the Bible. Those copies have an enviable record of agreement among themselves, having 40 disputed lines, as compared to 764 disputed lines in the 643 copies of the Iliad of Homer.      

There are also some 86,000 quotations from the early church fathers and several thousand Lectionaries (church-service books containing Scripture quotations used in the early centuries of Christianity). Bottom line: the New Testament has an overwhelming amount of evidence supporting its reliability.bible1

 Statistically, the New Testament is 99.5% textually pure. That means that there is only 1/2 of 1% of of all the copies that do not agree with each other perfectly.  But, if you take that 1/2 of 1% and examine it, you find that the majority of the “problems” are nothing more than spelling errors and very minor word alterations. For example, instead of saying Jesus, a variation might be “Jesus Christ.”  So the actual amount of textual variation of any concern is extremely low. Therefore, we can say that we have a remarkably accurate compilation of the original documents. 

 By far the most remarkable attestation for both the prophetic power and the accuracy of transmission of the Bible occurred in 1947, with the finding in Qumran of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Those documents, which actually date as far back as 600 BC in some cases, agree word-for-word with modern Hebrew manuscripts with very few exceptions.

The writings of Plato, the earliest copies were written 1200 years after he lived and we have 7 copies. Yet nobody doubts that he existed.

3. The Jews understood the concept of “The Lamb of God”, but what does that mean in our culture.

 The head of the largest psychiatric hospital in the UK stated that 70% of all mental illness is caused from repressed guilt.
 Sigmund Freud can blame my mental dysfunction on my mother not showing me enough affection or how I hoarded my poops when I was a baby. Maybe freudit’s the fault of society that I become an axe murderer or video games or global warming or too much sugar. When you get right down to it, it’s me and we all know it. I am responsible for the evil that I do.

Every person has a conscience and we all know we stand guilty.

For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, 15 in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them, 16 on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus. Romans 2:14-16 (NASB)

Movie star, billionaires, the rich the poor the famous and the unknown all are looking for a way of escaping their sin, whether they admit it or not.

Jesus declares us innocent; He can give us a “get out of jail free card”.  The few that find him get the greatest gift that can be imagined, a way to live a guilt free life and more.

4. What are you looking for? Isn’t that the big question?

People in our society are looking for the same things they did 2000 yrs. ago.

Purpose and meaning.

Security and safety.

Happiness and contentment.                 

World peace.

“Thoughts are the shadows of our feelings – always darker, emptier and simpeople-37497_640pler.”Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

Things are entirely what they appear to be and behind them… there is nothing.  ~Jean Paul Sartre,   Basically he is saying “this is all there is, there ain’t no more.”

Richard Dawkins, “The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference.

Darwinist George Gaylord Simpson: “Man is the result of a purposeless and natural process that did not have him in mind.

Darwin himself wrote that, “At some future period, the civilized races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world.

Maybe if we murder everybody but the master race, we will be happy. Oh wait we already tried that. Never mind.

Alice came to a fork in the road.  “Which road do I take?” she asked.
“Where do you want to go?” responded the Cheshire
“I don’t know,” Alice answered.
“Then,” said the cat, “it doesn’t matter.”

The world doesn’t know where they want to go. They need to be pointed in the correct direction by those who know where they are going.

Converse; Don’t Boss

40 Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, was one of the two who heard John and followed Him. 41 He first found his own brother Simon and told him, “We have found the Messiah!” (which means “Anointed One”), 42 and he brought Simon to Jesus. When Jesus saw him, He said, “You are Simon, son of John. You will be called Cephas” (which means “Rock”). 43 The next day He decided to leave for Galilee. Jesus found Philip and told him, “Follow Me!” 44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the hometown of Andrew and Peter. 45 Philip found Nathanael and told him, “We have found the One Moses wrote about in the Law (and so did the prophets ): Jesus the son of Joseph, from Nazareth!” 46 “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Nathanael asked him. “Come and see,” Philip answered. John 1:40-46

5. What causes people to follow Jesus?

 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day. John 6:44 (NASB)

For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. Romans 8:29-30 (NIV)

6. So if people reject the gospel, have you wasted your time?

So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, Isaiah 55:11 (NKJV)

a. Sometimes what appears to be a rejection may not actually be so. Some people who initially reject the gospel begin to think about what they have heard and may eventually at a certain time will realize their need.

b. Sometimes it may take several different exposures to the truth before one can understand. How many times have we read the instructions and then have to re read them two more times before we get how that project is supposed to go together and what it is supposed to look like?

 I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow. It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow. 1 Cor 3:6-7 (NLT)

c. In order for the justice of God to be manifested, and the guilty have no excuse, God has allowed all people to become exposed to the evidence of His existence and his revelation.

Creation For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. Romans 1:20 (NIV)

The gospel is a two edged sword. It offers life to those who accept it, and it also gives judgment and death to those who reject it.

God sent prophet after prophet to the nation of Israel with warnings. 

“Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! Deut 30:19 (NLT)

Answer Questions

49 “Rabbi,” Nathanael replied, “You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” 50 Jesus responded to him, “Do you believe only because I told you I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than this.” 51 Then He said, “I assure you: You will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” John 1:49-51

7. One of the rules in salesmanship is “never spend the customer’s money for them”, never assume a customer will or will not buy your product. How would this apply to evangelism?

a. Everyone is a potential sale. Never assume somebody cannot turn to God.

Anthony Flew, one of the world’s most outspoken advocates of atheism, who had written many books attacking the belief in God. Shocks the world of atheism by writing his new book: “There Is a God: How the World’s Most dna 2Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind,” published in 2007, at the age of 81.  After studying new advances in DNA he realized that Darwinian evolution could never account for the complexity and information in the DNA code. It must come from an intelligent mind, it could not happen by random chance.

8. What is our responsibility in this presenting the truth of God to others?

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Tim 2:15 (KJV)

Have you done your homework? Have you made the time to come to bible studies? Have you memorized enough scriptures to be able to show a person who wants to know Christ, how to get there?

and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: 1 Peter 3:15 (KJV)


Are you in a position to give a coherent explanation as to what you believe and why you believe it? The unbelieving world is intelligent and prepared to make you look foolish if you expect to depend on the old standard witnessing techniques of the past.

The post modern worldview of this present generation has no Christian context, everything is relative, there are no moral absolutes and 2+2 can equal 5 if they feel like it should.

This worldview is logically bankrupt and provides no answers to life’s 3 great questions. Where did I come from, what is my purpose for being here, and what is going to happen to me? They are desperately searching and the hunger for spirituality is increasing. We just have to be ready to lead them to the truth.

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. John 14:6 (KJV)

 ESVN……………..….ESV Study Bible Notes

MSBN……………….MacArthur NASB Study   Notes

NIVSN……………….NIV Study Notes.

JVM ………………….J Vernon McGee’s Commentary

BN ……………………Barnes Notes

WBC………….…….Wycliffe Bible Commentary

CN ……….…………..Constables Notes

IC……………….…….Ironside Commentary

NET…………….…….Net Bible Study Notes.

JFB……………………Jamieson Fausset  Brown Commentary

VWS………………….Vincent Word Studies

CMM………………..Commentary on Matthew and Mark

BDB……………..….Barclay’s Daily Study Bible (NT)

Darby……………….John Darby’s Synopsis of the OT and NT

Johnson……………Johnson’s Notes on the New Testament

NTCMM…………..The New Testament Commentary:  Matthew and Mark.

EHS………………….Expositions of the Holy Scriptures

CPP…………………The Complete Pulpit Commentary

SBC…………………..Sermon Bible Commentary

K&D…………………Keil and Deilitzsch Commentary on the OT

EBC……………….…Expositors Bible Commentary

CBSC……………….Cambridge Bible for Schools and College

GC……………………Guzik Commentary

RD…………………..Robert  Deffinbaugh

NSB …………………The Nelson Study Bible

MHC…………………Matthew Henry Commentary

CSTTB………Chuck Smith Through The Bible

LESB…………….Life Essentials Study Bible.


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August 12, 2014

What’s not in the bible?

Filed under: Bible,Theology — augustinehippo1 @ 8:00 pm

question ladyQuestion: “What are the most common things people think are in the Bible that are not actually in the Bible?”

Answer: In Psalm 119:16, David promises God, “I shall delight in Your statues; I shall not forget Your word.” In Deuteronomy 11:18-19, God exhorts the Israelites, “You shall therefore impress these words of mine on your heart and on your soul; and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall teach them to your sons, talking of them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road and when you lie down and when you rise up.” As believers, we know we are to study the Bible, memorize it, and obey it. But does the Bible say what we think it says? The truth is, there are several phrases that sound like they come from the Bible, but do not.

God helps those who help themselves.
The earliest recording of this saying is actually from Aesop’s fable “Hercules and the Waggoner.” A man’s wagon got stuck in a muddy road, and he prayed for Hercules to help. Hercules appeared and said, “Get up and put your shoulder to the wheel.” The moral given was “The gods help them that help themselves.” Aesop was a Greek writer who lived from 620 to 564 BC, but obviously did not contribute to the Bible. As a biblical truism, the proverb has mixed results. We can do nothing to help when it comes to salvation; salvation is through Christ alone. In the work of sanctification—becoming more spiritually mature—we are to join in the work. 1 Peter 1:14-15 says, “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior.”

Cleanliness is next to godliness.
scrubDespite the strict rules given to the Israelites about uncleanness as a metaphor for sinfulness and ceremonial washing required by the priests (see: Exodus, Leviticus), this phrase is not in the Bible. It originated as an ancient Babylonian and Hebrew proverb, but became very popular during the Victorian era after being revived by Sir Francis Bacon and John Wesley. Is the proverb true beyond the metaphor? A new study shows that people are generally fairer and more generous when in a clean-smelling environment. But Jesus also exhorts us to worry more about the sin in our hearts than the dirt on our hands (Matthew 7:18-23).

In the last days, you will not be able to know the seasons except by the changing of the leaves.
Even a thorough Google search will not reveal the origin of this saying, but it is not found in the Bible. Matthew 24:32-33 uses the budding of leaves heralding the coming of summer as a metaphor for the signs that Christ will return. But nowhere does the Bible mention that seasons will be so altered that only the changing leaves will identify them.

Hate the sin, love the sinner.
Although this is a biblical-sounding admonition, it is not directly from the Bible. It’s a quote from Mahatma Gandhi. As a guideline, it’s valid. We are to hate sin—even our own. And we are to show love to all others. Gandhi’s quote is coming under fire in the world as more and more people define themselves by their sin and resent the guidelines God has given us in His Word.

Money is the root of all evil.
This is a common misconception with an easy fix. 1 Timothy 6:10 actually says, “For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil…” Money is not good or bad, and being judaswealthy is not a sin; Job was wealthy and described as a man who was “blameless, upright, fearing God and turning away from evil” (Job 1:1). Loving money, which in the Greek is “avarice” and infers an emotional affection, is the root of all sorts of evil as the desire to accumulate wealth is placed above God and others.

This too shall pass.
This is actually a misinterpretation of a line from “The Lament of Doer,” an Old English poem. Doer has been replaced as his lord’s poet, and calls to mind several other Germanic mythological figures who went through troubled times. Each refrain ends with, “that passed away, so may this.” Several verses in the Bible remind us that our lives and, indeed, heaven and earth will pass away (Matthew 24:35). But while we can find comfort knowing that our earthly sorrows are temporary, we’re still called to rejoice in our trials, knowing that they will lead to endurance and sanctification (James 1:2-4).

The lion shall lay down with the lamb.
Although Jesus is both the Lion of Judah and the Lamb of God (Revelation 5), this phrase does not appear in the Bible. Isaiah 11:6 says, “And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, and the leopard will lie down with the young goat, and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little boy will lead them.” Similarly, Isaiah 65:25 reads, “The wolf and the lamb will graze together and the lion will eat straw like an ox…” The sentiment reads true, however—hunter and prey will be reconciled and live in peace in the eternal kingdom.

lion and lambGod left us the Bible as a written testimony of His Word. His truth is found in the Bible. Some sayings are simple rewordings of biblical truth, but others are dangerous heresy. Despite how clever or even edifying a quote may be, if it isn’t in the Bible, we have no guarantee that it is the Word of God. And the only way we’ll know is if we read the Bible. Copyright Policy: While all of the material on the website is under copyright protection, the only purpose of our copyright is to make sure people copy it right. As long as you always clearly reference and/or link to as the source of the material, you have our permission to copy, print, and distribute our material.


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In Him Was Life

Filed under: Bible,Theology — augustinehippo1 @ 12:11 pm

In Him was life

God has Power over life.


We might ask, what is life? Is it just a series of biological and electrical stimulus and responses? Is life as the Epicureans believe just a quest to obtain the most pleasure? The

existentialist tells us life is an absurd joke. Atheist Darwinian biologist Richard Dawkins, author of The God Delusion states life is just a series of random accidents, “no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind pitiless indifference.”

Is there a metaphysical component of life that transcends our material existence?


Why do billions see design in the creation and look forward to some form of afterlife. Is this just wishful thinking? It seems to be universal.

No snowflake ever falls in the wrong place.  ~Zen

“Because God has made us for Himself, our hearts are restless until they rest in Him.” St. Augustine of Hippo

Does life have purpose? If it does have purpose that would suggest that there is a plan and if there is a plan then there must be a Planner.

The Christian worldview presupposes a Master Planner and a Master Plan.


Jesus spoke to this issue.  Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Matt 6:10
As we look around us at the diversity of life from the smallest insect to the Great Barrier Reef, the largest organism in the world, what does this tell us about the creator?
God values life. God is pro life.


I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Choose life.  Deut 30:19
I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance. John 10:10
Background Passage: Acts 5:12-42
Lesson Passages:  Acts 5:17-24, 29-34, 38-42

Then the high priest took action. He and all his colleagues, those who belonged to the party of the Sadducees, were filled with jealousy. 18 So they arrested the apostles and put them in the city jail. 19 But an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail during the night, brought them out, and said, 20 “Go and stand in the temple complex, and tell the people all about this life.” 21 In obedience to this, they entered the temple complex at daybreak and began to teach. When the high priest and those who were with him arrived, they convened the Sanhedrin—the full Senate of the sons of Israel and sent orders to the jail to have them brought. 22 But when the temple police got there, they did not find them in the jail, so they returned and reported, 23 “We found the jail securely locked, with the guards standing in front of the doors, but when we opened them, we found no one inside!” 24 As the commander of the temple police and the chief priests heard these things, they were baffled about them, as to what could come of this. Acts 5:17-24 (HCSB)

The party of the Sadducees, comparable to many liberal churches of our time. The Sadducean party was generally the party of the wealthy aristocrats. Sadducees believed that all human affairs result from human freedom. The fact that the Sadducees did not believe in God’s intervention in history could have given the impression that they denied fate and saw everything under human control. The Sadducees denied the doctrine of the resurrection. The Sadducees did not believe in angels or anything of a supernatural nature. The Sadducees pictured God and humans as independent and distant, both in this life and the next.

Rewards for righteousness were in this life, and hence they were keen on wealth and influence as evidence of divine blessing.
Does this sound familiar?
Joel Osteen: Your Best Life Now
John Shelby Spong, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Newark:The Virtual Atheism of John Shelby Spong

“Theism, as a way of defining God, is dead. So most theological God-talk is today meaningless. A new way to speak of God must be found.”

“Since God can no longer be conceived in theistic terms, it becomes nonsensical to seek to understand Jesus as the incarnation of the theistic deity. So the Christology of the ages is bankrupt.”

“The biblical story of the perfect and finished creation from which human beings fell into sin is pre-Darwinian mythology and post-Darwinian nonsense.”


“There is no external, objective, revealed standard writ in scripture or on tablets of stone that will govern our ethical behavior for all time.”

“I am amazed that given the knowledge revolution of the last 600 years, anyone could still regard the Bible as the dictated word of God, inerrant and eternal …”

This is not some cult, this is a mainline protestant denomination. This kind of thinking is allowing pro abortion, pro gay marriage, homosexual pastors into “the church”, and denies the scriptures, the miracles of Christ, and the deity of Christ Himself.

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in Me, even if he dies, will live. 26 Everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die—ever. Do you believe this?” John 11:25-26 (HCSB)
1. Tell the people the whole message of this Life.

The gospel. Jesus Christ came into this world to provide abundant and eternal life to spiritually dead people.

The apostles were supernaturally released during the night and were encouraged to continue witnessing to the people about the way of life and salvation. This Life. An unusual designation of the Christian message.—WBC
The thought that Peter and John had been supernaturally released from jail was total nonsense to the “religious” leader. They didn’t believe in angels or God intervening in the affairs of men.
2. The chief priests heard these things, they were baffled about them.

This is the same sort of thing that happened at the resurrection of Christ. The stone wasn’t rolled away to let Jesus out; He was out before the stone was rolled away. The stone was moved to let those on the outside come in. The same thing happened here. The doors did not need to be opened to let the apostles get out. They were out long before the doors were unlocked. JVM
Luke’s account of the temple police’s bewilderment is really quite amusing. This whole scene calls to mind scenes from old Keystone Cops movies. The people readily accepted the miracles that the apostles were performing, but their leaders seem to have been completely surprised by this miracle. The major concern of the leaders was the public reaction when what had happened became known. They appear again to have been more concerned about their own reputation and security than about the facts of the case. CN


When confronted by the truth of God, there are only two options. You can bend the knee and acknowledge his authority over all or you can hide your head in the sand.

And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. John 3:19 (KJV)

29 But Peter and the apostles replied, “We must obey God rather than men. 30 The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you had murdered by hanging Him on a tree. 31 God exalted this man to His right hand as ruler and Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. 32 We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him.”
33 When they heard this, they were enraged and wanted to kill them. 34 A Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law who was respected by all the people, stood up in the Sanhedrin and ordered the men to be taken outside for a little while. Acts 5:29-34 (HCSB)
3. “We must obey God rather than men”.
Paul tells us in Romans 13 that we have an obligation to obey the rulers because all human government is divinely ordained.
Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. 2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Romans 13:1-3
How do we reconcile this contradiction? When our rulers are clearly in conflict with God, then it is our responsibility to resist and be prepared to pay the price for that resistance.
God my rescue us or may allow us to be martyred, it all depends on His plan.
Wycliffe, Tyndale, Hus, Luther, Washington, Gandhi, King : all men who laid their lives on the line for what they believed.

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied to the king, “Nebuchadnezzar, we don’t need to give you an answer to this question. 17 If the God we serve exists, then He can rescue us from the furnace of blazing fire, and He can rescue us from the power of you, the king. 18 But even if He does not rescue us, we want you as king to know that we will not serve your gods or worship the gold statue you set up.” Dan 3:16-18

We must never forget that God holds our lives in the palm of His hand and nothing can happen to us unless He allows it.
4. Whom you had murdered……
In our politically correct “tolerant”society truth is the new “hate speech”. God calls us to boldly proclaim our faith and not be afraid to call right right and wrong wrong. Moral and ethical relativism is a cancer on civilization. This bears repeating:
“Right is right even if no one is doing it; wrong is wrong even if everyone is doing it.” Augustine
2+2 hates 5
5.  A Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law…..

Gamaliel’s advocacy of moderation is the main point and reason for Luke’s record of the apostles’ second appearance before the Sanhedrin. Whereas the Sadducees “rose up” against the apostles, Gamaliel “rose up” against the Sadducees. He proved to be God’s instrument for preserving the apostles, and perhaps all the early Christians in Jerusalem, at this time.

The Pharisees were the minority party in the Sanhedrin, though there were more than 6,000 of them in Israel at this time. They were, notwithstanding, far more influential with the masses than the Sadducees were. The Pharisees looked for a personal Messiah. They believed in the resurrection of the dead and the existence and activity of angels and demons. They tried to live a simple life in contrast to the Sadducees ’luxurious” living. The name “Pharisee” evidently comes from the Aramaic verb peras, meaning “to separate.” They considered themselves to be separated to holiness and dedicated entirely to God. Most of the scribes, the Bible expositors of that day, were Pharisees. Consequently the Sadducees listened to the Pharisees and especially to Gamaliel.
“In short, theologically the Christian Jews had a lot more in common with the Pharisees than they did with the Sadducees.”

Gamaliel was the leader of the more liberal school of Hillel, one of the two most influential parties within Pharisaism. He had been a protégé of Hillel, who may have been Gamaliel’s grandfather. Saul of Tarsus was one of his own promising young disciples. People called him Rabban Gamaliel. Rabban (lit. “our teacher”) was a title of higher honor than rabbi (lit. “my teacher”). Gamaliel was the most respected Pharisee of his day. The Mishnah, a collection of commentaries on the oral laws of Israel published toward the end of the second century A.D., contains the following statement about him.

“Since Rabban Gamaliel the elder died there has been no more reverence for the law; and purity and abstinence died out at the same time.”

Gamaliel was able to direct the Sanhedrin as he did through his personal influence, not because he had any superior official authority within that body. CN

And now, I tell you, stay away from these men and leave them alone. For if this plan or this work is of men, it will be overthrown; 39 but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You may even be found fighting against God.” So they were persuaded by him. 40 After they called in the apostles and had them flogged, they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus and released them. 41 Then they went out from the presence of the Sanhedrin, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to be dishonored on behalf of the Name. 42 Every day in the temple complex, and in various homes, they continued teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah. Acts 5:38-42 (HCSB)
6. Stay away from these men and leave them alone…..
Gamaliel’s point was that if God was not behind the apostles their efforts would prove futile in time. Obviously Gamaliel believed this was the case or he would have become a Christian. He offered the theoretical option that if the apostles were of God the Sanhedrin would find itself in the terrible position of fighting against God. Obviously Gamaliel believed in the sovereignty of God. He advised his brethren to wait and see. He did not believe that the apostles presented as serious a threat to the leaders of Judaism as the Sadducees believed they did. Saul of Tarsus took a different view of how the Jews should respond to the growing threat of Christianity. He executed many Christians, but that was after the number and influence of the Christians had increased dramatically.

Gamaliel’s counsel helps us understand how objective unbelieving Jews were viewing the apostles’ claims at this time. There had been others beside the apostles who had insisted that their leaders were great men. Yet their claims had eventually proved false. Many of the Jews, whom Gamaliel represented, likewise viewed the apostles’ preaching as well-meaning but mistaken. Jesus was no more special than Theudas or Judas of Galilee had been. Other than their ideas about Jesus being the Messiah, the apostles held views that did not challenge fundamental Pharisaic theology. However the disciples, like Jesus, rejected the authority of oral tradition over Scripture. CN

7. And had them flogged, they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus.

This time the Sanhedrin enforced their command by scourging the apostles. The text does not say whether it was with the maximum of 39 stripes prescribed by Jewish law or with fewer stripes. The lashing consisted of striking the victim’s bare skin with a tripled strip of calf’s hide. The victim received two blows to the back, then one to the chest. Thus each cycle had to be divisible by three, which explains the maximum limit of 39—one less than the 40 prescribed in Deut. 25:3. ESV Notes


So how did that work for the Sanhedrin?

They continued teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah.
1 Why do the nations rebel and the peoples plot in vain? 2 The kings of the earth take their stand, and the rulers conspire together against the Lord and His Anointed One: 3 “Let us tear off their chains and free ourselves from their restraints.” 4 The One enthroned in heaven laughs; the Lord ridicules them. Psalms 2:1-4 (HCSB)
If I say,“I won’t mention Him or speak any longer in His name,”His message becomes a fire burning in my heart, shut up in my bones. I become tired of holding it in, and I cannot prevail.   Jer 20:9
ESVN……………..….ESV Study Bible Notes
MSBN……………….MacArthur NASB Study   Notes
NIVSN……………….NIV Study Notes.
JVM ………………….J Vernon McGee’s Commentary
BN ……………………Barnes Notes
WBC………….…….Wycliffe Bible Commentary
CN ……….…………..Constables Notes
IC……………….…….Ironside Commentary
NET…………….…….Net Bible Study Notes.
JFB……………………Jamieson Fausset  Brown Commentary
VWS………………….Vincent Word Studies
CMM………………..Commentary on Matthew and Mark
BDB……………..….Barclay’s Daily Study Bible (NT)