The Language Enrichment Program now available

For the benefit of everyone who reads here, I am letting you know that my book, The Language Enrichment Program is now available through Amazon. It may be purchased as a 350-page printed paperback book 8 by 10 inches in page size ($19.99), or may be purchased as a Kindle book ($9.99).

Several very careful readers of this Real Bible Study site have noticed that I mentioned this book from time to time and asked how to get a copy for themselves or their children. I have not been able to share this resource until today. But now it is available to everyone worldwide through Amazon. You can search for it by the title, The Language Enrichment Program, or by my name as the author, Jerome H. Smith.

Who needs this resource?

  • Anyone who needs or wants to improve his or her reading ability or reading comprehension.
  • Anyone who needs to improve his or her knowledge of English, especially those for whom English is their second language.
  • Parents who have children or students who need to improve their grades in academic subjects.
  • Parents whose students are struggling to meet standards in order to advance to the next grade level.
  • Parents who homeschool their child or children. This self-instructional resource would make a very helpful resource to further boost the academic achievement and motivation of your student. This program also prepares anyone who uses it to study advanced material with much greater success.

Here is the text of my informal announcement of this resource that I wrote today with the link to where to get it:

The Language Enrichment Program by Jerome H. Smith is now available for purchase from Amazon in the Kindle and also printed book format.

Any person of any age who needs or wants to improve reading ability should make use of this book.

Need reading help for your child, for your student, or yourself? Get this book and use it. This book works!

Read the full description at the Amazon link.

Don’t miss this opportunity to help yourself or your child to get ahead. Even if you don’t need help yourself, share this information with anyone who does.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/198317730X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1529519058&sr=8-1&keywords=The+Language+Enrichment+Program

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The Biblical View of Incarnation, Part 2

THE PURPOSE OF INCARNATION [THE SALVATION OF THE MANY]: BIBLICAL AND APOLOGETICAL DEFENSE OF THE INCARNATION OF CHRIST

by Vijay Chandra

The Bible teaches that the reason that the Son came into the world was to save sinners (1Timothy 1:15). The salvation of souls was the reason the Father sent the Son into the world (John 3:16, 17). The giving of the only Son clearly embraces both incarnation AND vicarious death; it is the entire mission of the Son that is in view. Paul writes, “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief” (1 Timothy 1:15).

 

If a man had never sinned there would have been no reason for the Son to assume a human nature. The coming of Christ is always proposed in Scripture as a mission of salvation or as something connected to man’s deliverance. In the proto-evangel of Genesis 3:15 immediately after the fall, a promise is made to send a Savior who will crush the head of the serpent. Jesus’ mission of salvation is prominent in the birth narratives (Matthew 1:21, 25, Luke 1:31, 54, 67-70, John 1:12, 29, 36). It is the central message in our Lord’s first teaching in the synagogue (Luke 4:16-21); His one stated purpose in coming to earth (Matthew 9:13, 20:28)—to give His life a ransom for many. By typology, it is presented in the Old Testament as the very foundation of redemption [the word means ‘to buy back with a price’ (Genesis 4:4, Exodus 12:13, Leviticus 16:6-28)]. The prophets teach that the only path to salvation and victory for God’s people is the Messiah’s sacrificial death (Isaiah 53:1-12, Daniel 9:24, 25, 26). The epistles present Christ’s redemptive work as the foundation and axis of everything in the believer’s deliverance (Romans 3:21-28, 4:22, 23, 24, 25; 5:1, 2, Hebrews 2:14, 1 Timothy 1:15).

 

Although Jesus’ role as King and prophet is also emphasized in the Scriptures (Acts 3:22, Psalm 2:6, Luke 1:33), these aspects of His mediatorial work cannot be separated from His priestly work—His vicarious atonement. Christ does establish a kingdom as the God-man. He is the exalted king. The mediatorial kingdom, however, is a kingdom of grace. He directly governs His people by His Spirit and law-word. This governance, however, flows from His redemptive work. He was exalted at the resurrection as a reward for His redemptive obedience (Matthew 18:18 ff., Romans 1:4, Revelation 5:2-10). The Great Commission, the sending of His Holy Spirit and the spread of the gospel into all the world could only take place after the Savior’s suffering, death and resurrection. As a king, Jesus defends His people against the world, the flesh, and the devil. He rules the nations with a rod of iron (Revelation 2:27) for the sake of the church and the people (Ephesians 1:22).

 

The Mediator is also the prophet. Truth and Knowledge of the Father come directly from Him (John 1:17-18, 6:63, 7:17, 8:12, 14, 19, Hebrews 1:2). In Him, “are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:3). However, saving truth and a true knowledge of God cannot be separated from His redemptive work.

Because of man’s fall into sin, men are dead

  • Spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1, 2, 3, 4, 5), including Muslims, Hindus, etc.
  • Men cannot repent of their sin (Jeremiah 13:23, 2 Peter 2:13, 14, 22).
  • Cannot please God (Rom.8:6-8), do not seek Jehovah (Psalm 14:2, 3) and are under the power of Satan (2 Corinthians 4:3, 4, 2 Timothy 2:26), men dwell in darkness (John 1:45, 3:19-29) and are spiritually deaf and blind (Isaiah 6:9, 10) and are totally unable to understand or receive spiritual truth (John 3:3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 6:44, 45, 47). Christ’s redemptive work achieved the foundation or ground of salvation and its application to the sinner. That is why faith and repentance are gifts from God (John 3:3-8, 6:44,45, Ephesians 2:8, Philippians 1:29, 2 Peter 1:2). It is only because of our Lord’s life, death, and resurrection that men can have their eyes and ears opened by the Holy Spirit and can be enabled to embrace the person and the work of Christ. The Mediator came into the world to free us (Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Sikh’s Atheists, etc.) from the guilt and penalty of sin, to place us in His own family and to present us spotless before God (Ephesians 5:27). Men have only one hope and that is Christ Jesus.

Why was incarnation necessary for God to save people (His people who believed). There are some reasons.

  1. For God to justify sinners–i.e., save a vast multitude of men guilty of breaking the moral law who are therefore under curse, a sentence of eternal death (the whole world is under the death sentence), the penalty of their sins must be paid in full and a perfect righteousness imputed to their account. God cannot simply overlook sin and forgive it in an arbitrary manner because of His own nature and character – God is righteous (Genesis 18:25, Exodus 23:7, 34:7, Deuteronomy 32:4, Psalm 89:14, Zephaniah 3:5, Romans 9:14, 1 John 1:5). God is holy (Exodus 15:11, Leviticus 11:44, Isaiah 6:3. God hates sin (Psalm 5:4, 5, 6), condemns all sinners to death and hell (Genesis 2:17, Deuteronomy 27:36, Ezekiel 18:20, Romans 1:18, 32, 6:23, James 1:15, Revelation 20:14, 15) and cannot have fellowship with anyone guilty of sin (Hebrews 1:13; Psalm 5:4, 5, Isaiah 59:1, 2). Therefore Paul says (Romans 3:23, 24, 25, 26) that it was necessary that Christ should be offered as an atoning sacrifice for sin in order that God might be just while justifying the sinner. In other words, God had to forgive sinners in a manner that maintained His own justice. God’s infinite holiness, justice or righteousness of necessity demands the infliction of punishment on the sinner himself or on an appropriate substitute— Jesus.
  2. In order for this substitute to eliminate the guilt and penalty of sin and provide a perfect righteousness for a vast multitude of people, he must be both fully God and fully man. Jesus had to be a man because it was man who as guilty of sin and deserving of punishment. The penalty for sin was death and the suffering of the body and soul. The Son had to assume a true human nature, without sin, yet liable to the infirmity and sufferings after the fall in order to suffer and die as a man (John 12:27, Acts 3:18, Hebrews 2:14, 9:22). The Bible teaches that the blood of bulls and goats cannot atone for sin (Hindus offer animals as a sacrifice to atone for their sins, they offer chickens, goats, etc.). The offering of clean animals, ‘without spot’ (Numbers 19:2, 28:3, 9, 29:17, 26 etc.) and ‘without blemish’ (Exodus 12:5, 29:1), Leviticus 1:3) typified the moral perfection of Jesus Christ. Christians are redeemed with the precious blood of Christ as a lamb without blemish and without spot (1 Peter 1:19, Hebrews 7:25, 26, 27, 9:14). Further, as Christ is a Mediator between God and man he ought to be between both and, like Jacob’s ladder, join heaven and earth by a participation of the nature of both. There is only one Mediator—it is only the Son of God who can reconcile men to God—not Mohammed, none of the thousands of Hindu gods or goddesses or any kind of rituals or good works. These self-righteous efforts will not reconcile men to God but only Christ Jesus the Son of God.

 

The Messiah also had to be God. A mere man could not render a sacrifice of infinite value from God, that could atone for millions of people from every tribe, nation, and tongue (Revelation 5:9). A mere man could not have withstood the assaults of Satan, the constant temptations and the immense suffering and agony that Jesus endured. A mere man could not intercede or mediate between God and man. Who, but the Lord of glory, the God-man could endure the unmitigated wrath of God that millions deserved in a space of a few hours? Who but God’s only begotten Son could now intercede simultaneously for millions of believers twenty-four hours a day (Colossians 1:19, 20). There is no other name under the heaven by which men can be saved (Acts 4:12). Animals, prophets, gurus and mighty angels cannot save. ONLY JESUS CHRIST, WHO IS BOTH GOD AND MAN IN ONE PERSON, MEETS ALL THE EXIGENCIES ARISING OUT OF GOD’S NATURE AND MEN’S PREDICAMENT.

 

We must look to Christ of the Bible alone if we are to be saved from sin. We must believe that He is both God and man in one person (Isaiah 9:6). He is a child born in time as man, but also a Son who is the Father of eternity. The offspring of David according to the flesh, but Jehovah our righteousness according to the Spirit (Jeremiah 23:6), a son to be born of a virgin, but whose name would be Emmanuel (Isaiah 7:14). The Angel of the Covenant sent by God for the work of salvation, but the same one, the Lord who comes into the temple (Malachi 3:1).

 

Trust Him and you will have eternal life.

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The Biblical View of Incarnation, Part One

by Vijay Chandra

Introduction.

When we speak of Christianity (or the true gospel!) we must not only examine and understand what Jesus did but also who he was and is. He is not just a prophet or good man. But who is he? For, just as a trust or belief in the historical events in our Lord’s life (e.g, the virgin birth, His sinless life, His sacrificial death, His resurrection and ascension to God’s right hand) are necessary for salvation, so is belief in the person of Christ. The Lord Jesus emphasized the central importance of His own person when He asked the disciples, “Who do men say that I, the Son of man am?”(Matthew 16:13). The question continues to divide men throughout history. The different answers to Jesus’ question are what separate the saved from the lost (apart from Christ men are lost), the sheep from the goats, the orthodox from the heterodox. Given the importance of who Christ is for an understanding of the gospel and our own salvation, we will turn our attention to the doctrine of incarnation (not reincarnation as Hindus believe).

 

How does the Bible define the mediator, the redeemer of God’s elect [people]? How did the Savior come to dwell among sinful creatures [humans]? Why is the remedial definition of the hypostatic union of the two natures in one person so important for understanding the gospel? While the doctrine of Christ is one of the most difficult and perplexing teachings in all of the Scriptures, it also the most rewarding. There is nothing better in life or death than to know, love and serve Jesus Christ. Jesus is the only Savior and Lord (John 14:6).

THE MANNER OF THE INCARNATION: THE VIRGIN CONCEPTION AND BIRTH.

The virgin birth is an essential belief of the Christian faith that gives us some very important information regarding the mission and the nature of Christ. The doctrine of the virgin birth is based on two gospel accounts (Matthew 1:18-25 and Luke 1:26-38); is found in the prophecy of Isaiah 7:14 and is seen in Paul’s epistles (Romans 1:3, Galatians 4:4, Philippians 2:7).

 

The birth narratives emphasize the following teaching:

A. The virgin birth is presented in Scripture as a great miracle or sign. “The Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel”(Isaiah 7:14). Although there are accounts in scripture of births that are result of supernatural intervention [i.e., of God miraculously enabling women who were infertile and /or past the age of childbearing to conceive and give birth to sons, e.g. Sarah (Genesis 17:17-19, Genesis 21: 1-8); Hannah (1 Samuel 1:5-11); the wife of Manoah (Judges 13:2-24); and Elizabeth (Luke 1:7, 13-25, 57), the conception and birth of Jesus is totally unique. The conception of Jesus did not even involve a human father. The salvation of sinners is to be supremely supernatural. Redemption can only be accomplished through the God-man. The supernatural virgin birth of Christ was an announcement to the Jews and the whole world that this child was like no other child. He was not simply a man of God or a prophet or a leader but God of very God. God Himself, the second person of the Trinity had come to earth to redeem people throughout the whole world. Many modernist biblical scholars and many non-Christian scholars reject the virgin birth of Christ and some modernist scholars argue that the underlying Hebrew word simply designates an “unmarried woman” or a “young maiden.” The “Christian” liberal interpretation of the incarnation must be rejected for the following reasons:

  • While an argument can be made that ‘almah’ does not necessarily refer to a virgin but simply an unmarried young woman, further revelation in the New Testament has settled the question once and for all. Mary was a virgin when the child was conceived and the baby was born. Modernist scholars are imposing their unbelieving naturalistic presuppositions upon the text of scripture and so are many Islamic and Hindu scholars. The virgin birth is a fact of God’s word that cannot be denied without also denying everything we need to know and trust to be saved. Pagans and atheists make very poor interpreters of the Bible.
  • If Mary was not a virgin (as Modernists assert) then the conception and birth of Jesus could not have been a sign. In ancient as well as modern times, if a woman had committed fornication and became pregnant, neither the Jews nor anyone else would have regarded the event as significant at all.
  • If Mary had not become pregnant by the power of the Holy Spirit then Joseph, a godly man, should have put her away. Unfaithfulness on the part of a betrothed woman could be punished with death (Deuteronomy 22:23). Because the Jews were under Roman law on the matter of adultery, divorce was Joseph’s only option. Note, however, that God communicated the truth to Joseph that the child was conceived by the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:20). Joseph responded to this revelation by taking Mary as his wife (Matthew 1:24). It is typical of the Modernist, Hindus, and Muslims who just as the enemies of God long ago chose, choose to side with the Pharisees who accused the sinless Son of God of being a bastard (John 8:41). Their judgment will be just.

B. Mary was enabled or caused to conceive the Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit (Luke 1:35). The Holy Spirit came to Mary and worked the conception by His almighty power. Because the Messiah had to be divine it took a special divine action to accomplish the incarnation. How this exactly occurred (i.e., the scientific details) we are not told. We can surmise, however, that the human nature of Jesus came directly from Mary while the second person of the Trinity was united to the human nature at the very moment of conception. Theologians refer to this moment as the assumption. God the Son took upon (or assumed for) himself a true human body and a rational soul. When speaking of the action of the Holy Spirit in the conception of Jesus, Luke uses terminology that calls to mind the special Shekinah presence of God— “the power of the highest will overshadow you” (Exodus 40:34-38).

C. The narratives which speak of the virgin conception and birth of Jesus give the unborn child titles of essential divinity.

  1. He is called, “ the Son of the Highest” (or Most High, Luke 1:32); “the Holy One” (Luke 1:35); “the Son of God” (Luke 1:35), who is to be called “Emmanuel,” i.e. God with us (Matthew 1:23). Although the expression “Son of God” is sometimes used in Scripture as a messianic title (e.g. Luke 4:4; Acts 9:20,22), it often does not simply refer to a title of office but of nature (Matthew 11:27, 14:28-33, 16:16; 21:33-46, 22:41-42, 26:63). The name “Emmanuel” which literally means “God with us” is a doctrinally descriptive appellation. To be with Jesus is to be with God. The expression “Holy One” is often interpreted as a reference to our Lord’s sinlessness or moral perfection. The phrase, however, may only mean in this context that Jesus is separated or set apart. From the moment of conception, the Son of God was set apart for special service. The gospel narratives exclude all adoptionist conceptions of Christology for they teach that the human nature of our Lord never existed for a single moment without the divine. From the moment of conception, Mary was a God-bearer.
  2. The manner of the incarnation as well as the incarnation itself teaches us that the second person of the Trinity’s coming into the world and assuming a human nature was a voluntary condescension, a submitting in humiliation on the part of the Son. This point is taught most clearly in Philippians 2:5-8. In the midst of some practical exhortations where Paul is emphasizing Christian unity, love, and humility, the apostle turns his attention to the incarnation as the supreme example of humility and self-renunciation. Although the passage is difficult and sometimes ambiguous in English translation, this teaching is of great importance. Note the following observations:

a. Paul asserts that Christ is truly God and continues to be God. “When the apostle says that Jesus was ‘in form of God’ he does not mean that the Son was like God or only appeared as God but that He had the specific character of God. Our Lord had everything (nature, attributes, essence, character) that makes God God. In Classical Greek and the Greek of Paul’s day, ‘a thing cannot be said to be in the morphe [form] of another unless it possesses the essential qualities of that other’. Paul could not have chosen any other words which would more explicitly or more directly assert the deity of Jesus Christ— He who is in the form of God is God.” The verb used by Paul in this sentence is unusual. It “denotes that both the previous existence of Christ and His continued existence was ‘in form of God. ’”

b. Paul teaches that the incarnation which brought the Son into the state of humiliation was a conscious choice on the part of Christ, “Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made himself of no reputation” —(Philippians 2:5-7). Jesus was free as God to maintain His state of supreme glory in the throne room of God surrounded by myriads of worshipping angels. But for our sake, He did not regard the state of supreme glory as a valuable possession that must be retained at all cost. On the contrary, because of His love, grace, and mercy toward His sheep, He entered into the state of humiliation, a state of servitude, suffering, and anguish.

c. Paul teaches that in the incarnation our Lord emptied Himself. The apostle wrote ‘Christ Jesus, who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal to God, but did empty Himself, the form of a servant having taken, in the likeness of men having been made, and in fashion having been found as a man, humbled Himself’ (Philippians 2:5-8, Young’s Literal Translation of the Bible). The central question of interpreters of this section of Scriptures is: ‘Of what did our Lord empty Himself’?

 

When answering this question two things need to be kept in mind.

  1. First, the broad context of Scripture and the systematic theology derived from this analogy of faith must be considered when defining the kenosis or emptying of Christ. If Bible teaches (as it indeed does!—Exodus 3:14; Psalm 102:26-28, Isaiah 41:4, 48:12, Malachi 3:6, Romans 1:23, Hebrews 1:11,12, James 1:17) that He cannot grow or diminish in His Being or attributes, then the second person of the Trinity cannot set aside or empty Himself of any of His attributes. He would have to deny himself and cease to be God to do so, which is impossible. Further, the divine attributes are not characteristics that are separate and distinct from the divine essence so that God can set them aside as one might remove a pin from a pincushion and still have the pincushion. Rather, the divine essence is expressed precisely in the sum total of His attributes. To hold that God the Son actually emptied himself in his state of humiliation of even divine characteristics is tantamount to saying that he who enfleshed himself in the incarnation, while perhaps more than man, is now not quite God either. Anyone who asserts that Christ set aside all or even some of His divine attributes even temporarily has gone beyond the pale of CHRISTIAN theology.
  2. Second, the verb ‘emptied’ is defined by the immediate context. The Son emptied Himself not by subtraction (i.e., not by divesting Himself any divine attributes such as omniscience or omnipresence) but by addition. Richard Malick, Jr., writes “Two ideas modify the verb ‘made himself nothing’. They are taking the very nature of a servant and being made in human likeness. These statements explain both how this took place and what it means. Paradoxically, being ‘made nothing’ means adding humanity to deity rather than subtracting deity from his person. How, then, did Christ empty Himself? He assumed a human nature by taking the form of a servant. Jesus came not to be served but to serve. He was not revealing Himself on earth in glorious or glorified human form, but the humble form of a servant. The expression ‘form of a servant’ denotes more than just the ‘form of man’, it depicts servitude and subjection, unattractiveness and lack of distinction, which were essential characteristics of the humanity which Christ adopted” (Robert I. Raymond. A New Systematic Theology of the Christian Faith. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Pub. 1998).
  3. God the Son concealed the divine glory under the veil of the flesh and as it were laid it aside, not putting off what he was, but by assuming what he was not. From the supreme position of glory our Lord voluntary humbled Himself and became the suffering servant, a man of sorrows (Isaiah 53:3), despised by His own people (Psalm 22:6, John 1:11; Isaiah 53:3) obedient to the death of the cross (Philippians 2:8).

 

The best way to understand the biblical concept of kenosis is to distinguish between the existence of the divine nature in the person of the Mediator and the manifestation of this existence. Christ was fully God with all the attributes of God. However, in humbling Himself and becoming a servant he voluntarily restricted the exhibition of the attributes which He had.

 

Christ is the Mediator (1 Timothy 2:5), the Savior of the world (John 4:42); he is God of gods and every knee will bow to Him (Philippians 2:10). Believe on Him and you will have eternal life (John 5:24; Acts 16:30, 31). No other religion promises ‘eternal life.’ Only Christ Jesus does.

 

 

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Daily Bible Nugget #485, Hebrews 12:14 Part 8

The Nugget:

Heb 12:14  Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: (KJV)

Heb 12:14 Try earnestly to live at peace with every one, and to attain to that purity without which no one will see the Lord. (TCNT)

My Comment:

The Twentieth Century New Testament gives “purity” as the translation of the underlying Greek word that the King James Version translates as “holiness.”

Matthew 5:8, one of the “beatitudes,” records that Jesus said “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.” The writer of Hebrews may have had this text in mind when he spoke of “holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.”

Jesus stated this truth positively, whereas the writer of Hebrews stated it negatively. This illuminates an interesting principle of Bible study: when reading a text that presents a positive truth, consider re-framing the truth as a negative statement. So, when Jesus says “blessed are the pure in heart,” think: what if a person is not pure in heart? Then follow with “for they shall see God,” and clearly those who are not pure in heart shall not see God, which is just what Hebrews 12:14 states.

Note also that what Jesus said is stated as a cause/effect relationship:  “Blessed are the pure in heart” is the cause; “for they shall see God” is the effect or result. Watch for this kind of statement; it is found all through the Bible. I have listed all the cause/effect verses that I have found in an extensive note about Bible study at Psalm 9:10, a verse which is a very striking and instructive example, in The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, in Nelson’s Cross Reference Guide to the Bible, and most completely in The Ultimate Cross Reference Treasury.

I have been illustrating how to apply in a practical way the truth about holiness expressed in Hebrews 12:14 by explaining and applying the words of the great Gospel hymn, “Take Time to Be Holy.”

The third and final stanza of this hymn reads:

Take time to be holy.
Let Him be thy guide;
And run not before Him,
Whatever betide.

In joy or in sorrow,
Still follow thy Lord
And, looking to Jesus,
Still trust in His Word.

How may we “Let Him be [our] Guide”? The words of the hymn that follow explain just how to do that:

(1) “run not before Him” –don’t go off on your own tangent without seeking and following His guidance. Sarah made that serious mistake when she, impatient and not waiting on the Lord to fulfill His promise of a child to Abraham by her, directed Abraham to have a child by her handmaid Hagar, and we are still suffering from the consequences of that bad decision very much even today. So, no matter what befalls you, “whatever betide,” don’t repeat the mistake Sarah made! Study the subject of Divine Guidance in the Bible by looking up the cross references given for such a verse as Psalm 32:8. Consult my extensive notes about Divine Guidance as they are given at 1 Kings 12:7 and 1 Kings 12:10; 1 Kings 13:9 and 1 Kings 13:18 in The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge, or Nelson’s Cross Reference Guide to the Bible, or The Ultimate Cross Reference Treasury. These notes are also posted here in the October, 2017 archives. I wrote a full article titled “Divine Guidance” on October 27, 2017. This is a most important study. Be sure to look there to study this subject more fully! Link: http://www.realbiblestudy.com/?p=2453

(2) “In joy or in sorrow, Still follow thy Lord” –No matter what you face in life, remain faithful and follow the Lord. In Bible doctrine this is known as the “perseverance of the saints.” That means we stay faithful to Christ, no matter what comes our way. Those who truly continue to believe on Christ and in Christ continue to persevere. See Philippians 2:12, 13, and many other related passages, including Hebrews 10:38, 39.

(3) “And, looking to Jesus, Still trust in His Word” –“Looking to Jesus” includes continuing to hear His voice (John 10:27, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me”). And where do we hear His voice? Only in the Bible. We must continue to not only read but actually study His Word to be grounded securely in our faith (Colossians 1:23; Colossians 2:7).

This completes my informal exposition of Hebrews 12:14 by means of explaining the words of the hymn, “Take Time to Be Holy.” I trust you have gained new insight into what is involved in pursuing holiness, “without which no man shall see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14).

It has taken some time for me to write this entire series in eight parts. I know my wife will be glad to have her favorite hymnbook back so she can play the hymns she likes on her piano once again!

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Daily Bible Nugget #484, Hebrews 12:14 Part 7

The Nugget:

Heb 12:14  Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: (KJV)

Heb 12:14 Try to live at peace with everyone! Live a clean life. If you don’t, you will never see the Lord. (CEV)

My Comment:

I have been using the words of the hymn “Take Time to Be Holy” to help explain what it means to be holy and how to be holy. I have begun to explain the second stanza,

Take time to be holy.
The world rushes on;
Spend much time in secret
With Jesus alone.

By looking to Jesus,
Like Him thou shalt be;
Thy friends in thy conduct
His likeness shall see.

What does it mean, “By looking to Jesus”?

There is much in the Bible that sheds more light on what it means to look to Jesus. A study of Hebrews 12:2 and its cross references will lead you to what the rest of the Bible says:

Heb 12:2  Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. 

Looking. or, Looking away from (these witnesses). Gr. aphoraō (S# G872, only here), to consider attentively (Strong). Looking away translates aphorōntes from aphoraō, compounded of apo, from, and horaō, to view with undivided attention; thus to look away from all distractions and problems with eyes fixed on Jesus. Cf. Heb 10:32 showing the reason for their persecution and the need to keep their eyes fixed on Jesus (LNT, fn z). T1369, *Heb 12:3, +*Heb 9:28; Heb 11:26, 27; Heb 13:8, Num 21:8, 9, Job 19:26, *Psa 17:15; Psa 34:5; Psa 123:2; Psa 130:6, *Isa 8:17; *Isa 31:1; *+Isa 45:22, *Mic 7:7, *Zec 12:10, Mat 10:24, *Joh 1:29; *Joh 1:36; *Joh 3:14; *Joh 3:15; *Joh 6:40; *Joh 6:65; *Joh 8:56; Joh 10:4; Joh 13:14; Joh 19:5, Rom 8:34, 1Cor 13:12, 2Cor 3:18; *2Cor 4:18, Php 2:23; *Php 3:13; *Php 3:20, +*2Tim 4:8, **Titus 2:13, *1Jn 1:1, 2, 3, *Jude 1:21.

If we truly look exclusively (John 14:6; Acts 4:12) to Jesus for our salvation, and continue doing so on a daily basis, then His likeness will be seen in us by others.

One of the clearest and most striking verses in the Bible about this is 2 Corinthians 3:18,

2Co 3:18  But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

Notice the expression “are changed.” Literally translated, this text reads “are transformed.” The Holy Spirit transforms the life and character of each person who truly believes on the Lord Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit produces in each believer the “fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22, 23, 24, 25).

The Bible explains itself to a far greater degree than most Bible readers are aware. Studying the cross references for a word or theme in the Bible will lead to many other related verses you might not ever think of on your own. Here are the cross references for 2 Corinthians 3:18, “are changed.”

are changed. or, transformed. Gr. metamorphoomai (S# G3339). 2Cor 5:17, Psa 85:13, %+*Jer 2:5, Ezek 36:26, Mat 17:2 g (transfigured). Mar 9:2 g. *Joh 17:17, Rom 5:5; *+Rom 8:29; Rom 12:2 g (transformed). Rom 13:14, +*1Cor 6:11; 1Cor 15:49, Gal 6:15, Eph 4:22, 23, 24; Eph 5:8, Col 3:10, +*1Th 2:13, Tit 3:5, **2Pe 1:4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, *+1Jn 3:2; *+1Jn 3:6.

Posted in Daily Bible Nuggets, Doctrinal Discussions, How to Study the Bible, Practical Application Bible Studies, Principles of Christian Living | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Which Bible is best for Bible study?

My valued Facebook friend, with whom I rarely can agree, lately stated on Facebook,

“For those who care I’m beginning to see the KJV is more for me and closer to the originals (that we know of).

Here is my comment on that thread:

On this point, I must say that I fully agree with you about the value of the King James Version after my many years of scholarly study on this issue.
 
I have studied the works of Bruce Metzger and other scholars like D. Carson (who wrote an excellent short book on exegetical fallacies) and many more besides in my Logos Bible software library. I do not at all concur with their arguments and findings about what is the best original text to follow for the Greek New Testament.
 
A major reason involves the rather logical question about how modern scholarship (so-called) can justify or even trace the genealogy of the manuscript tradition they select to find or support the readings they propose. The short answer is they can’t and they don’t. Very recent research on this issue has demonstrated that when an older manuscript (which is still extant) has been copied and we have the copy that was made from it too, the tendency of scribes is to shorten the text not lengthen it.
 
This is a most interesting finding.
 
As a retired English teacher I find that the language of the King James version is superior to that employed in modern translations from a literary point of view. I know of other scholars who agree with me.
 
The King James Version preserves many more of the figures of speech present in the original Hebrew in particular but also in the original Greek than most modern English versions and translations do.
 
This is most important when you want to actually study the Bible, not merely read it.
 
Figures of speech are used for emphasis and clarity. Most modern translations, for example, miss the word “know” or “knew” in Genesis 4:1 and elsewhere in the Old Testament. Some translations translate the meaning of the figure rather than trying to reproduce it in English. This helps the reader understand the meaning but blocks the reader from recognizing the figure when used elsewhere where it is rendered differently, so the reader misses the connection.

Modern Bible translations do have better and older manuscript witnesses to the text of the Greek New Testament than were available to the King James translators. But in many instances, the King James translators were better in their judgment about the choice of underlying text to translate.
 
All translations and versions of the Bible are helpful and should be consulted for the additional insights they provide. But I think it is good to have a more literal translation from which to start your study. For me, that is the King James Version. For greater understandability, I use the CEV (Contemporary English Version) and the NLT (New Living Translation). For the most accurate rendering of the nuances of the Greek text of the New Testament, I use the Lavender’s New Testament.

Posted in Bible Historicity and Validity | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Just Whose Land is It Anyway?

The Nugget:

Deu 32:43  Rejoice, O ye nations, with his people: for he will avenge the blood of his servants, and will render vengeance to his adversaries, and will be merciful unto his land, and to his people. (KJV)

Deu 32:43 Tell the heavens to celebrate and all gods to bow down to the LORD, because he will take revenge on those hateful enemies who killed his people. He will forgive the sins of Israel and purify their land. (CEV)

My Comment:

Another person posted a comment on the Facebook discussion thread that my immediately preceding post addresses. In actuality, I have usually spent more time reading the arguments against what I believe than I have spent reading the sources that support what I believe. I learned to do that when I participated in high school and college debate teams and tournaments. I also have the most recent modern scholarship about the Bible that is available in my over 12,000 volume Logos Bible software library. I have a print library about the Bible that is almost that large and there is not much overlap or duplication between my two libraries.

The Challenge:

Here is the comment:

Jerome Smith, If you have studied scripture for numerous years, you should well know that it is majorly anonymous and the tales in the OT are stories lifted from prior religious sources and set to a Jewish backdrop. This in order to lift an encumbered nation to the status of its surrounding enemies. If you do NOT know this, all of your study is “Bigly”…(Bigly is a Trump-ism…LOL) under researched. Any scholar not given over to Christian funded support of their research will gladly inform anyone that asks of this, or these fact(s). The bible cannot carry the day on issues concerning “land”, “who owns it”, “who it is deeded to”, “manifest destiny”, etc. It is NOT a legally binding will or document, and should not be treated as such. Thanks.

My Response:

I have studied these matters long enough to know better than to believe the falsehoods you suggest above. If what you say above represents what you believe about the Bible, then it is clear to me that you have been deriving your information from what I call “poisoned wells” of information.

Now many years ago I read a book by Irwin H. Linton titled A Lawyer Examines the Bible. I wish this book were still available. It is timeless in the sense that the evidence it marshals in support of the historicity and accuracy of the Bible is irrefutable.
 
Mr. Linton was a lawyer who presented and argued cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. In his book, he comments that in all his experience he had never met an unbeliever who rejected the claims of the Bible who had ever read so much as a single classical work of apologetics devoted to its scholarly defense.
 
An interesting point he made that I shall never forget is that an old argument if valid is not diminished in its conclusive force because of the passage of time.
 
His book draws upon the classic writers who defended the truth of the Bible. I have, over many years, collected many of these long out-of-print books, and have been reading them carefully.
 
More recently, with the advent of more modern technology, I have found that many of these books are now available for free download from Google Books, which sure is a handy way to access these resources.
 
Some resources Linton names which I have liked include:
(1) Evidences of Christianity by Charles P. McIlvaine
(2) Leslie’s Short and Easy Method with the Deists by Charles Leslie (includes a remarkable discussion of historicity)
(3) Horae Paulinae by William Paley (who presents an argument that has never been refuted)

Posted in Apologetics--Christian, Bible Historicity and Validity, Politics and the Bible | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Israel today–terrorist state or Bible prophecy fulfilled?

One of my valued Facebook friends wrote that he is a Christian, and that by being a Christian, he states “I am part of Israel (the true Israel) because of my faith in and by the grace of Jesus!!”

He further states, “Now, this terrorist state calling itself Israel does not represent me or the God I serve, let’s get that straight!! They are a murderous evil entity disguising itself as an angel of light (to many, anyway). All who support these murderers are supporting the evil they claim to reject. One of my Lord’s greatest commandments to us is to ‘Love good and hate evil.'”

My Response:

Since I have studied the Bible very carefully for many years (since 1953), I have good and solid reasons to believe that you are mistaken about what our stance toward present-day Israel should be.
 
Bible prophecy tells us that Israel would return to its promised land in unbelief. That is exactly what we see now. They do not believe in our Lord Jesus Christ. They are, as Paul writes, “enemies of the Gospel” (Romans 11:28),
 
Romans 11:28
28  As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes.
King James Version
 
Zep 2:1  Gather yourselves together, yea, gather together, O nation not desired; 
 
From my book, The Ultimate Cross Reference Treasury (2016) on Zephaniah 2:1,
 
 
desired. or, desirous. or, longing. FS24C, +2Ki 18:21, i.e. not desirable. or better, incapable of shame. A reference to Israel’s initial restoration to Palestine without a Messianic longing before the Great Tribulation mentioned in Zep 2:2, This seems to confirm that Israel returns to its land initially in unbelief. Gen 31:30, Deut 9:24, Job 14:15, **Psa 83:1, 2, 3, 4, 5.  Psa 84:3, Isa 26:8, 9, Ezek 36:7, *Zec 7:7, +**Acts 3:19, 20, 21.
 
The return of Christ is declared to be dependent in some degree upon the timing of Israel’s national repentance (Acts 3:18-21),
 
Act 3:18  But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled. 
Act 3:19  Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; 
Act 3:20  And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: 
Act 3:21  Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.
 
God’s promises to national Israel have not been abrogated (Romans 11:29),
 
Rom 11:29  For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. (KJV)
Rom 11:29  For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable. (ESV)
 
Malachi 3:6  For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.
 
Leviticus 26:42
42  Then will I remember my covenant with Jacob, and also my covenant with Isaac, and also my covenant with Abraham will I remember; and I will remember the land.
King James Version
 
Therefore, in the light of what the Bible teaches, we need to pray for the peace of Jerusalem (Psalm 122:6),
 
Psalm 122:6  Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.
 
Remember that God’s promise still stands:
 
Gen 12:3  And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.
 
Be very careful not to place yourself on the wrong side of this promise!

Posted in Bible Promises, Bible Prophecy, Bible Study Tools, Doctrinal Discussions, Politics and the Bible | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Daily Bible Nugget #483, Hebrews 12:14 Part 6

The Nugget:

Heb 12:14  Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:

This is a most important verse, and the subject of holiness is a most important subject. I have been using the words of the hymn “Take Time to Be Holy” as a springboard to help explain Hebrews 12:14 and the subject of holiness. Now I will begin with the second stanza of the hymn:

“Take time to be holy,
The world rushes on;
Spend much time in secret
With Jesus alone.”

Take time to be holy, The world rushes on

It is still true, even today, long after this hymn was first written, that “The world rushes on.”

The world has no real interest in the things of God or in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. The Bible has much to say about this. Let me share just a few verses:

Joh_15:18  If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.

1Jn_3:13  Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.

1Jn 2:15  Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 

1Jn 2:16  For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 

1Jn 2:17  And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. 

Spiritual things in the life of every true Christian must take priority over worldly things. Spiritual things include Bible reading and Bible study, prayer, sharing our faith with others, winning others to true faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. There are things John writes about in his first letter that may not seem spiritual on the surface, but they are utterly important:

1Jn 3:17  But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? 

1Jn 3:18  My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. 

1Jn 3:19  And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him. (KJV)

In a more modern English translation this reads:

1Jn 3:17 If we have all we need and see one of our own people in need, we must have pity on that person, or else we cannot say we love God.

1Jn 3:18 Children, you show love for others by truly helping them, and not merely by talking about it.

1Jn 3:19 When we love others, we know that we belong to the truth, and we feel at ease in the presence of God. (CEV) 

Jesus spoke of the negative effect the world can have on each of us:

Luk 8:11  Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. 

Luk 8:12  Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. 

Luk 8:13  They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away. 

Luk 8:14  And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection. 

Luk 8:15  But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience. 

Spend much time in secret With Jesus alone.

Spending time in prayer is one of the main ways to spend time in secret with Jesus alone. The other way is to let Jesus speak to you by spending much time reading the New Testament, the only source we have that gives His words, what He has spoken, directly. Of course, the whole Bible is important, and He can speak to us through the rest of God’s Word as well. Recall that Jesus asked the question, “Have ye not read?” in a manner that we know He expects us, too, to have read the Bible, including the Old Testament.

Mat_12:3  But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him;

Mat_12:5  Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless?

Mat_19:4  And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,

Mat_22:31  But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying,

Mar_12:10  And have ye not read this scripture; The stone which the builders rejected is become the head of the corner:

Mar_12:26  And as touching the dead, that they rise: have ye not read in the book of Moses, how in the bush God spake unto him, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?

Luk_6:3  And Jesus answering them said, Have ye not read so much as this, what David did, when himself was an hungred, and they which were with him;

7 verses found, 7 matches

 

 

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National Day of Prayer

All of us, especially those who have an interest in the Bible, need to be thankful that we have a National Day of Prayer.

The National Day of Prayer has considerable history behind it. I won’t discuss that in depth here. But I will say that it is good to pray every day.

Following what the Bible teaches (1 Timothy 2:1, 2, 3, 4), we surely must keep our President and the many others that “are in authority” regularly in our prayers.

I remember when I was attending Cass Technical High School in the 1950s that we students who were active in the VCY Club (Voice of Christian Youth) had prayer twice a week after school in the principal’s office as we sat around the conference table to pray. That was an encouragement to my spiritual life as a teenager to have such close fellowship with other Christian students at school.

During my teaching career I recall that students were encouraged “to meet me at the pole,” an expression that referred to students meeting outside of school before the school day to gather around the flag pole for a time of prayer. I was never privileged myself to participate in this activity, but I am thankful for the students who met for prayer.

Now that I am retired from teaching, I am very thankful to be in touch with some of my former students. I still keep them all by name in prayer nearly every day. I think we should uphold the teachers and administrators as well as the students in prayer regularly. God really does enjoy hearing from us (Proverbs 15:8). Has He heard from you lately?

Posted in Christian Living, Education Issues, Politics and the Bible | Tagged | Leave a comment