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Introduction to Personal Bible Study - Videos (2007)

4 short introductory video studies First recorded in 2007, posted to GodTube in 2010  These short videos were made nearly 14 years ago. ...

Monday, April 26, 2021

Quick Housekeeping Note and a Blog Stat Summary

 The hits on this blog have surpassed the 70,000 mark. In the grand scheme of things, perhaps not an overwhelming number. But for a little man with a particular theological bent, it's well appreciated. 

Traffic dropped off after China clamped down on internet traffic in Hong Kong, but we still average 100-300 hits per day here. Just for reference, we had 244 hits yesterday and we're averaging 168 hits/day in April. Not turning the world upside down but much appreciated, again.  

The all-time top location hitting the page, even with the clamp down, is Hong Kong with nearly 31K visits. China comes in at number 5 with just under 4K visits. During the height of the protests in Hong Kong, when visits to the blog were very heavy, I posted this encouragement:

Our Brothers and Sisters in China and Hong Kong: Suffering and Reward

Another curious stat are the peak visits from Israel. This could be a function of VPN software routing through Israel, but they seem to come in bunches. It's a curious stat, but Israel is second to Hong Kong at over 13.7K visits. The USA comes in at third with just over 8K. Indonesia is similar the numbers for China (both around 3.8K visits each).

The Top Ten most visited individual studies (separate from simple visits to the main page) are thus:

  1. The Most Misquoted Verse in Scripture (2 Cor 5:8)
  2. Why Was Timothy Circumcised in Acts 16?
  3. The Monkees, the Messiah, & Me
  4. Are We Preaching the Right Gospel?
  5. Is the Masoretic Text Corrupted? (Quick Take)
  6. David Hocking, Gentiles, and the Acts 15 Council at Jerusalem
  7. Comparing the Different Listings of the Twelve Tribes
  8. Basics for Understanding the Bible
  9. Introduction to Personal Bible Study - Videos (2007)
  10. The Parable of the Sheep and the Goats - Part 1

I put a lot of time into my series on "Walking in the Spirit" and my "Walk Worthy" series. But I guess the people want what the people want! LOL!

SO... as we move along in 2021, PLEASE NOTE this change from GOOGLE:

the email subscription service will be discontinued in July 2021.
After July 2021, your feed will still continue to work, but the automated emails to your subscribers will no longer be supported.

If you find any value in these posts, please bookmark. I post an average of about 5 times a month.

Cheers and Godspeed!


Thursday, April 22, 2021

Quick Reminder About Death and Mortality and Resurrection

If I assembled a room full of people (Christians, Muslims, Animists, Atheists, Agnostics, Mets fans, you name it), there is one thing we can agree on... in one way or another, our bodies are mortal. We are all going to die.

That is the central problem of mankind, death

Rom 5:12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned.

Ezek 18:20a The one who sins is the one who will die.

In Christianity, we understand from Paul that "the wages of sin is death" (Rom 6:23). This might freak out some Christians, but when someone is told that he cannot pay his sin debt, that someone is wrong. You can pay your sin debt. Die. Not "die" simply in terms of "passing away" but "die" in terms of really dying. Going back to the dust. Exercising your mortality. Ceasing to be.

God has already been reconciled to humans. He is not holding their sins against them. However, people must individually be reconciled to God. We don't preach judgment, we preach reconciliation.

Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
-2 Corinthians 5:18-9

God is a God of justice. In the end, all will "surely die" (as God warned Adam and Eve in the garden) if they refuse the free gift of "life through his name" (John 20:30-31). For the believer, the scriptures tell us in Isaiah 53 and in 1 Peter 2 "by His stripes we are healed." He took the temporal stripes of our punishment and suffered death. But whereas our punishment and death would be the final result of our sin, He rose again to conquer both sin and death!

God's free gift is "life" through Christ (Rom 6:23; John 20:30-31). When we place our faith in Christ, we are passed from death, unto life (John 5:24).

When one owes a debt and pays it, he doesn't get a free gift. He simply paid the debt. If there is a gift it must be received. This is the essence of Christianity. God offers a free gift of immortal and incorruptible life in resurrection.! This is a true gift.

This gift cannot be earned (lest it cease to be a gift) or lost (lest it cease to be free).

Of course, to be freed of the obligation of never-ending death and to have that obligation obliterated so an alternative can be offered, a substitutionary death must be presented to pay the debt of never-ending death. That is where Christ's death, burial (lack of decay) and resurrection (undoing of death) come in. He died for our sins (in our place) so we are no longer obligated to "cease to be." We can be "hid in him" and live again (undo physical death).

Rom 4:25 He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.

1 Cor 15:3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures...

1 Cor 6:14 By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also.

God is not in the torture business. You may pay your sin debt through mortality and death or you may choose to seek the free grace of God through Christ Jesus (resurrection life).

Of course, choosing death does not mean that you won't have to face your sin. Who you are (soul) is known to God and he may restore a mortal body to display his just decision to allow you to die by having you face your sins and face your choice to choose never-ending death over the free gift of life, but I will leave that in His hands. To be honest, I can see it both ways. I honestly am not sure how that will play out for the unbeliever. Fortunately, because of Christ alone, I'll never have to experience it. One thing I am sure of for those who reject the gift of resurrection life: they will perish.

Faith is an individual matter. The choice is therefore laid out for the individual: you can either choose to seek the free gift of immortal and incorruptible life in a celestial body that will know no sickness or death or you may choose to die. No church, no pastor, no catechism will answer for you or can make your decision for you. It is your choice.

The Elements of Death Removed from Those Who Receive the Free Gift
    • The sting of death (1 Cor 15:55)
    • The victory of death (1 Cor 15:55)

It is never said of an unbeliever in scripture that he "sleeps" at his death, but this is how believers are to view death. We do not feel the "sting" of death. It is though we make our bed in death (Psalm 139) and await awakening in resurrection.

For one to receive this gift he must understand that he needs to be freed from the condemnation of death and from "the law of sin and death" (Rom 8:1-2). Do you understand that you have sinned and that the wages of your sin will be death? One needs not only understand that, he must seek the remedy. And the only remedy to the law of sin and death is the substitutionary death of the Christ and his conquering of the grave by his not decaying and rising again!

Death is the enemy Christ came to destroy.

1 Cor 15:26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death.

Romans 6:9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.

Rev 21:4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death

Death is "the last enemy." Death is how the history of man begins and the destruction of that curse is how it will end. The introduction of the Greek mythology of a fiery torture chamber robs Christ's death of its glory. His death should be valued as the substitute for our death. He (a) did not decay in the grave and (b) he rose from the dead. It is death that hangs over the world. We need to tell people they can be freed from the penalty of death and freed from the power of sin that requires death.

So WHEN this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, THEN shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”

Paul teaches that it is the goodness of God that leads us to turn from sin and turn to him in faith (Rom 2). Contemplate the wonderful goodness of God found in the free gift of eternal life won by the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ! Christian rejoice in it, and pray others find salvation and the free gift of life in it!

He's coming!

Monday, April 19, 2021

Alternate Understanding of Ephesians 2:1 "Dead in sin?"

Allow me to offer an alternative understanding of Eph 2:1. Here is how it is rendered in the NKJV (and most English translations):

And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins

We know in Christ we are "dead to sin" (present tense)

God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

-Romans 6:2 

That we understand. In Christ we are DEAD to sin. Let's look at some similar verses in regard to how this idea is translated.

Let's take a look at this last one in full.

Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.

We being "dead" is the state of the Christian to his flesh NOW. The admonition is to recognize this death (and the eventual physical death of the flesh, the curse) so we can seek to live free from its wants, desires, lusts (including religious traditions and religious pride). The expanded Rom 6:11 puts it succinctly.

Likewise reckon [consider] ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Let's now try the opposite and try to apply the KJV rendering in Ephesians 2 to our understanding in Romans 6 (etc.) and see where that gets us:

For in that He died, He died IN SIN once (bad translation of Rom 6:10)
Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed IN SIN (bad translation of Rom 6:11)

That makes no sense (it's blasphemy in the first example and terrible in the second). Christ died "unto sin" (not "in sin") and we are to consider ourselves dead "to sin." So, we cannot go back to those verses and apply the KJV in Ephesians rendering.

Let's now jump back to Ephesians 2 and look at these verses in light of the understanding of our death unto sin as it is correctly translated in our bulleted examples above. We also note (without going into detail for the sake of space) that "were" should be rendered "being" from the Greek (ontas, present participle). The KJV translates the same word (ontas) "being" in Col 2:13, so it's not crazy.

And you hath he quickened, who being dead to trespasses and sins

-Ephesian 2:1 (corrected)  

Let us also correct Ephesians 2:5

Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved) - KJV
Even when we being dead to sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved) - Corrected

There is no "en" in the Greek nor a word for "when" used in the KJV. The context in the passage is the exalted hope (greater than the land, greater than the Kingdom, greater than the New Jerusalem) of sitting "in heavenly places." We see the "rich in mercy" (2:4) and "exceeding riches" (2:7) of this current hope which was hidden from "before the foundation of the world" (Eph 1:4) and revealed by Paul.

Ephesians 2:6

 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus

The hope of Paradise restored. The hope of the land from the Nile to the Euphrates. The hope of the restoration of the Kingdom to Israel. The hope of the New Jerusalem which comes down to earth... all these pertain to earthly blessings and covenants. In Eph 2 we are on the exalted ground of blessings far above the heavens where Christ sits.

The passage is teaching that SINCE we are (now) DEAD TO SIN, we should walk according to the new nature. Because we were saved by grace through faith, we should walk in the good works God has prepared for us (Eph 2:8-10).

We are to consider ourselves dead now. The importance is found in our hope. We live in light of our lives, hidden in Christ in God, waiting to be revealed in us, because WE ARE DEAD TO SIN.

For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. 
-Col 3:3

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.
-Romans 8:18-19

These truths underlie our series on "Walking in the Spirit" and "Walking Worthy."

We differentiate our life now (considering our flesh to be dead) and the life to come in resurrection. When the Lord contrasts death and life in John, it is in light of the resurrection.

For as the Father raiseth up the dead, and quickeneth them; even so the Son quickeneth whom he will... He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.

-John 5:21-25 

In sum: We walk in bodies of death today. As believers we are to consider our flesh DEAD and "walk in the newness of life" (Rom 6:4) today. We no longer walk according to the flesh (the old nature), but according to the spirit (the new nature) today. Die to the old, live in the new, That is context of the death and life spoken of in Ephesians 2.

Ephesians 2:1 and 2:5 are emphasizing this point, not our state of death before we believed.

Likewise reckon [consider] ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.

A quick plug for the Far Above All translation. Here is how Ephesians 2:1-5 is rendered there:

Including you who are dead to transgressions and sins, in which you once walked, according to the age of this world, according to the ruler of the authority of the air, of the spirit which is now active in the sons of disobedience, among whom we all also once had our mode of life, in the desires of our flesh, doing the will of the flesh, and of the mind, and we were children of wrath by nature, as the rest are too, but God, being rich in mercy, on account of his great love with which he loved us, made us, being dead to transgressions, alive together with Christ – you have been saved by grace

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Quick Thoughts on the Apocrypha

I thought I'd provide just some quick points in regard to the Apocrypha as it pops up now ang again. Primarily it is used in defense of praying for the dead (or praying to the dead). Readers of this blog, and listeners to the podcast, know that I believe the dead are dead until resurrection. But be that as it may, I'll try to gently give some framing to this question.

I'll start by suggesting you do not get caught up in this debate. It tends to lead to endless appeals to authority. As for me (one who grew up with the Apocrypha in my Bible - it's also in the 1611 KJV), just reading the texts suggest it is not inspired. But that is hardly a factual basis for anything (just a personal confirmation). A few early reformers included it in their translations, but they were sure to mark the Apocrypha as "uninspired" (as Tyndale did). 

We'll look quickly at direct and indirect thoughts I have about the books.

Let's start with just one verse from the apocryphal book of 2 Maccabees for reference and to highlight how specific practices in the books conflict with the witness of scripture.

And because he considered that they who had fallen asleep with godliness, had great grace laid up for them. It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins. -2 Macc 12:45-46

In regard to appeals to "authorities" such as "the early church fathers," as Luther argued at Leipzig, it matters not how many "authorities" approved of anything or not. They varied on the truth and means of redemption and handled scripture carelessly. And they did not agree on the Apocrypha in any case. Their opinions did not fully prevail on the matter (more on that later). 

Older doesn't equal truer. The epistles were written to combat grave heresy among believers. In the Acts Age, Paul warned the Ephesians that "grievous wolves would come in" after he left, "not sparing the flock." In 2 Corinthians 11, Paul warns of "Satna's ministers." In Colossians and Philippians he warns of those who would deprive believers of rewards by false teachings. In his final epistle (the close of the canon), Paul wrote that "all in Asia" had abandoned him. All this in the first century. What do I care what anyone after Paul had to say? They are no more inspired than I am.

And even among Catholics, they do not practice Lent (for example) in its oldest form. The rules changed drastically over the years and they currently practice a fairly recent version. Vatican II and the new catechism contradict previous Popes and Councils. Almost endless contradictions among the Popes (and there was period in which there were two Popes, each condemning the other, yet all are on the official list of succession).

Let's look at the claim of canonicity.

  • The Apocrypha wasn't canonized by the Catholic Church until AD1546, the Council of Trent.
  • The Apocrypha is in Greek and is not accepted as part of the Hebrew/Jewish Canon. It first appeared in the Greek Septuagint among Hellenistic Jews.
  • There isn't even agreement as to which apocryphal books should be considered canon. The RCC accepts only 12 of the 15 (in one form or another, 7 titles are listed as independent books).

Even the name given the 12 by the Catholic Church speak of their late inclusion.

Deuterocanonical (AD 1684) - "Later" or "Second" Canon

The list varied west to east, "church father" to "church father." Clement of Alexandria recognized II Esdras (not recognized by Trent). Origen inserted II Esdras on his list. No agreement. "Older" lists rejected at Trent. Augustine wanted it all included and sought to crush opposition.

Jerome at first refused to include any books of the Apocrypha in his translation (tells you what he thought of them as part of the canon). Then he, reluctantly, added Judith, Tobit, and the extensions to Esther and Daniel. The other apocryphal books in the Vulgate were added after Jerome's death

The lauding of the Apocrypha, in my experience, is often coupled with attacks on dispensationalism.  Dispensationalism (in its most basic form) rescues the gospel from those who try to find it in words never meant for them. I understand why they want the Apocrypha and why they hate dispensationalism: they want to deny the finished work of Christ and our liberty in him. And unless you are headed to Jerusalem for Pentecost, you're a dispensationalist whether you like it or not. Even in the light of the Apocrypha, dispensationalism (the right division of the word of truth) keeps us safe.

"Dispensation" is a biblical word. It means a "stewardship." We may define it differently, but to one degree or another, unless you're an Orthodox Jew, you're a dispensationalist. And, to be honest, even the Orthodox Jew is too. He just doesn't know it. How many times did Abraham go to the temple to offer a sacrifice on a feast day? Never. Why? Dispensations. But we've covered that in more detail elsewhere.

I end with this list from the site https://watch.pairsite.com/apocrypha.html, should you care to read further:

  • They are not, and have never been, in the Jewish canon.
  • Josephus explicitly excluded them from his list.
  • Philo (20 B.C.-50 A.D.) neither mentions or quotes them.
  • They were never quoted or alluded to by Jesus Christ or any of the apostles. The sermons in the Book of Acts, which outline Jewish history, do not included apocryphal events.
  • Jewish scholars meeting at the Council of Jabneh did not recognize them.
  • Most Church Fathers in fact rejected them.
  • None of the Apocrypha claim inspiration or divine authority.
  • Many of the Apocryphal books contain historical, geographical, and chronological errors.
  • Many of the Apocryphal books teach heresy, contrary to the Word of God.
  • Their literary style is legendary and fantasy. Some stories are grotesque and demonic.
  • They lack the power and distinctive elements of the Word of God.

I'm not interested in a debate on this topic (for various reasons outlined above). I am well-convinced the Apocrypha has no standing with scripture (although valuable for Greek word studies and historical purposes). If you chase this rabbit, you will find ten thousand different lists and opinions. 

Finally, we've noted in our entries and dealings with the Gospel of John, that is has everything one need to have life in His name. It relies, in no way, on any teaching of the Apocrypha and John 11 (the raising of Lazarus) is in direct contradiction to the verse from 2 Maccabees (no matter how you want to slice it).  

Friday, April 16, 2021

Should Christians Defy Government and Go to Church?

I recently watched a video (here) which is essentially a "pastor" yelling at us for not "going to church." He includes in his yelling an accusation that those who don't "go to church" are "taking a break" from our Christianity. I recommend you watch it if you want to consider his argument.

The overall context is when we are to obey the powers that be.

Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. 4 For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. 5 Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing. 7 Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.

-Romans 13:1-7 

The powers that be are two-fold: they are both controlled by wicked principalities and powers and ordained by God. I think scripture supports both concepts. And we do wrestle, in a spiritual sense, against these principalities and powers. When push comes to shove, we are to obey God rather than men (no disagreement there), but we need to be sure we're actually following God and not our traditions or the mandates of another age.

That said, the pastor makes a mistake using Matthew 10. He conveniently skips over the context of the Lord's instructions and jumps to verse 15 (Matt 10:15). In that chapter, the Lord sends out the 12 to preach the Kingdom to Israel alone. That's not a great place to try and find direct application to this age. Even if we wanted to use Matt 10 as a pattern, it has nothing to do with meeting in a building. In fact, the passage is specific to meeting in homes.

These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: 6 but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7 And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. 8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give. 9 Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, 10 nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat. 11 And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, enquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go thence.

Now, is that what this pastor is preaching? The Kingdom is at hand? To Jews only? In Israel alone? Is he healing the sick and raising the dead? Is he asking for no money? Does he carry no money?

Matthew is wholly on Jewish (Israel) ground. It concerns the earthly Kingdom and the promises to Israel. The Lord sends out those who were promised to "sit on 12 thrones judging the 12 tribes." (Matt 19:28) That is their unique calling. They are Apostles to the Circumcision.

Note when he jumps in at verse 15, he has to ignore what is said immediately before that:

And when ye come into an house, salute it. 13 And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you. 14 And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. 15 Verily I say unto you, 15 It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.

There is nowhere we can find, "you must meet in a building." I hate to say it, but these pastors are not living hand to mouth either.

"Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat"

His income is dependent on people supporting, not only him, but his building too. We are free to have buildings, but it's not mandated. In fact, the expense of the building is a hindrance. I don't need his building to meet with other believers and the passage he chose speaks of "houses." And they went out to spread a message to people who needed to hear it. He's not accomplishing that sitting in a building.

I'm not going to a building at the moment. That doesn't mean I'm "taking a break" from my Christianity. Quite the opposite. I used the time at home to start a podcast. I've joined two international Bible studies. He can take his building and its bills and sit there by himself if he wants. I don't need it to validate my Christianity.

Yes, there are MANY things about the plandemic we need to recognize, but not paying the water bill and mortgage on this guy's building is not one of them. If that's his Christianity, he has issues. If he wants to preach the message of Matthew 10... good luck

Listen to "The Church Is Not Israel and Israel Is Not the Church, Day Trip To Romans 9" on Spreaker.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

To Israel Pertain the Covenants (Not to the Body)

We need to be careful with the word "covenant." We must correctly apply it. Israel are the people of the covenants (plural). Grace is not a covenant and there is no covenant connected to the current age (Heb 8: 6-13).

Israel has a future connected to the earth, the land, the kingdom, the priesthood, and the covenants. To Israel pertain the covenants (Rom 9:3-5). They have a earthly hope after the cross ("the hope of Israel," [Acts 22:20] "To this hope our twelve tribes, earnestly serving God night and day, hope to attain," [Acts 26:7] etc.) connected to the land. The hope of the present age is the "far above the heavens... in heavenly places" (Eph 1:3; Eph 2:6; etc.). We do not have an earthly hope which is why we should shun earthly ordinances connected to the earth, the land, the covenants, the kingdom, the priesthood, etc.

The Lord's earthly ministry as King (Son of David) was to Israel alone (Matt 15:24) and he forbade his disciples to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom (not what we preach today) to anyone but to Jews. They were not to preach the Kingdom among the Gentiles or Samaritans (Matt 10: 5-7).

In the good news to the world in the Gospel of John, the Lord speaks to a Samaritan woman, but you will notice the disciples are not with him (John 4:27). As with the Canaanite Gentile woman in Matthew 15, he is still her Lord and God. But as the Gentile woman must take her place as a "little dog" who eats the scraps that fall from the children's/Master's table (Matt 15:26-28), so must the Samaritan woman recognize that "Salvation is of the Jews." The Jews were related, but distinct from the Samaritans in terms of the "promises made to the fathers" (Rom 15:8).

You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews.

Note the pronouns. YOU (Samaritans), WE (Jews).

We see something similar in Luke 17 which sort of ties these ideas together. The Lord hears the cries of the lepers. Unlike the Canaanite Gentile woman who incorrectly referred to him as "Son of David" and was ignored (Matt 15:21-24) until she recognized him only as Lord (Matt 15:25), the lepers call on him as "Master." Note that Lord refers to the leper in Luke 17 as a "foreigner"

And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan. So Jesus answered and said, “Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine? Were there not any found who returned to give glory to God except this foreigner (stranger)?” (Greek: allogenḗs)

Same Greek word used in the Septuagint in Numbers:

A memorial to the children of Israel that no stranger might draw nigh, who is not of the seed of Aaron, to offer incense before the Lord; so he shall not be as Core and as they that conspired with him, as the Lord spoke to him by the hand of Moses. (Num 17:5)

We must distinguish the things for Israel connected to her promises in the land and the kingdom (promised since the foundation of the world) from the blessings and hope of the current present age (promised from before the foundation of the world). We distinguish between those hopes connected to the earth with the hope in the far above the heavens. 

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

The God of Pronouns (Names of God Revisited)

For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousnessof God in Him

-2 Cor 5:21 

There is a current rend in Christendom to use the Anglicized version of the Hebrew name of the Lord. We have looked at the use of "Yeshua" in other posts and on my podcast. For this short study, I want to revisit the topic as I am seeing and hearing this movement more often.

We have noted that what we call the New Testament (this name being problematic on its own) has been given to us by the Holy Spirit in the Greek language. Therefore, no matter what the Savior may or may not have been called while in the flesh by some in Israel, the Holy Spirit has preserved his name for us as (Anglicized) "Iēsoûs." This is where we eventually get the name "Jesus."

It must also be noted that while his earthly name is Iēsoûs in the Greek texts and Yeshua in Hebrew, his followers, while he ministered directly among them, did not use his name. They called him "Teacher" and "Master" and "Lord." 

We've also noted that there are other people in scripture called "Yeshua" (Joshua) in the Hebrew (Old Testament) canon and "Iēsoûs" (Jesus) in the Greek (New Testament) canon. The name is not unique to the Lord. We see the name used of others. The only unique name I see is "Immanuel."

There are also words in both canons which have multiple applications. The name of God in Hebrew (Anglicized), "Elohim" is used of the true God and also of false gods. Likewise, the Greek word for God, "theós," (θεόςis used of both the God of  the universe and of pagan gods.

So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription: ‘To the unknown god (θεός).’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. The God (θεός) who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man... 
- Acts 17:22-24

Pronouns are used in both canons of scripture. And, as in English, the pronoun is understood in its context. The Holy Spirit has no qualms about using pronouns. The Anglicized Greek word (autóstranslated "him," "his," "himself," "her", "they," "their," etc. is used over 1000x in Luke alone. It is used of many different people (including both of the Lord and of Satan) in the texts. 

Both the great and glorious and holy God of all creation is called "father" in scripture. Satan (and others) are also referred to as a "father" (John 8:44). 

In Psalm 82, scripture (Yahweh, the Father) refers to men as "'ĕlôhı̂ym" (אֱלֹהִים). But we know from context the object and difference. 'ĕlôhı̂ym is also used of false gods (Deut 32:17; etc.). Context, is the difference.

God (אֱלֹהִים, 'ĕlôhı̂ym) standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among the gods (אֱלֹהִים, 'ĕlôhı̂ym)... I have said, Ye are gods (אֱלֹהִים, 'ĕlôhı̂ym); and all of you are children of the most High. But ye shall die like men... 
- Ps 82:1, 6-7a

Let's revisit our opening verse in its context.
Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (autós). 
-2 Cor 5:20-21

Verse 20 gives us the context for verse 21, bit the word itself, autós, is just as inspired when used of Christ, the Father, Satan, or anyone else. 

Finally, we turn to two of the greatest evangelistic verses of the present age.

For God so loved the world that He gave His (autós) only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him (autósshould not perish but have everlasting life. 
-John 3:16

The common word is applied there and we use the similarly common pronouns in the English as we witness. Similarly, we see the common word translated "I" or "me" (egṓ) used in another powerful verse.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me (egṓ), hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.
-John 5:24 

 When we speak of the powerful "name" of the Lord, we must remember there are two aspects of that name. It is not the name itself, it is the authority of that name. Many of the cults use "Jesus" and Paul warns us of "another Jesus." So, the name (Greek or Hebrew) on its own carries no power unless spoken or believed on in truth.

Let's look at 2 Cor 11:4.

For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus (Greek: Iēsoûs) , whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him
-Authorized King James version
For if a darshan shows up and preaches another Moshiach, another "Yehoshua" (“Yeshua”) (Greek: Iēsoûs) other than the one in our drashot, or if you receive a different "Ruach Hakodesh" from the One you received or a different Besuras HaGeulah from the one regarding which you were mekabel, you put up with that well enough.
-Orthodox Jewish Bible

When someone comes to you telling about another Yeshua (Greek: Iēsoûs) whom we didn’t tell you about, you’re willing to put up with it. When you receive a spirit that is different from the Spirit you received earlier, you’re also willing to put up with that.
-Names of God Bible

For if someone comes and tells you about some other Yeshua (Greek: Iēsoûs) than the one we told you about, or if you receive a spirit different from the one you received or accept some so-called “good news” different from the Good News you already accepted, you bear with him well enough!
-Complete Jewish Bible

For if someone comes and proclaims another Yeshua (Greek: Iēsoûs) whom we did not proclaim, or if you receive a different spirit that you did not receive, or a different “good news” that you did not accept, you put up with that well enough!
-Tree of Life Version

As we've noted in a number of posts and on my podcast, the true God of scripture is interested in you knowing him as your Lord. He is not impressed with our linguistic calisthenics.  There are literally billions who name the name of "Jesus" who do not know him. It will matter not which name they use upon death if they do not place their faith in the final and finished work of our Great God and Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ (Greek: kyrios Iēsoûs Christos).

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