The Bible Project – Word Study: Chara – “Joy”
The Bible Project – Public Reading of Scripture
Joey Dear – Death, Adam and Eve, and Ephesians 2:1 (Part 1)
In Proposition 124, George Peters states:
“This Kingdom is delayed several thousand years, to raise up a nation or people capable of sustaining it.”
Peters notes this period of delay as the “period of the Gentiles” from the words of Jesus in Luke 21:24, “And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” It should be clear that if Jerusalem is being trodden down, that means it has not yet been established as the center of the future promised Theocratic Kingdom. A delay is currently in place as God continues to bring into the fold a chosen people from all nations as promised long ago to Abraham.
The most notable observation Peters presents in Proposition 124 is the following:
“This view of the Kingdom sustains the doctrine of an intermediate state, in which, whatever the condition of the saints, they are waiting for the period of redemption, waiting for the crown and promised inheritance. (See Delitzsch, Sys. of Bib. Psyc., pp. 496, 498, 527-8). This idea of the intermediate state is, however, not peculiar to our system, but belongs to various others. (Comp. Prop. 136.)”
This observation is a fascinating and important statement. Now I am not sure the totality of Peters view on what happens when we die; however, he does mention the existence of an intermediate state to include the righteous waiting for the period of redemption and their promised inheritance. If one is still waiting for something, that means they have not yet received that for which they are waiting. When it comes to matters of the intermediate state, what Peters is stating is in keeping with the words of Jesus in John 14:3, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” The time of receiving of the bride (the righteous) to the bridegroom (Jesus) has not yet taken place. Thus the purpose of the intermediate state.
Regardless of whether one affirms in the intermediate state the dead are consciously waiting or whether their breath of life returns to God and the body returns to dust with no conscious element to this state, what must be affirmed is the reward, namely being with the bridegroom and the fullness of redemption, is yet future. The righteous in the intermediate state are awaiting the promise of the resurrection and the Second Advent, the coming again noted by Jesus in John 14:3. The reason for the intermediate state is rooted in the delay of the coming of the Kingdom noted by Peters in this proposition. Thus, the bride and the bridegroom are not yet together as that event takes place when the bridegroom returns for his bride.
Let’s just say I am pleased to see Peters make note of this important point. It makes me more than a bit curious as to his larger belief system on this subject and what exactly he will discuss in Prop. 136. I admit I did take a quick peek.
By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks. (Heb. 11:4)
Few biblical stories are more intriguing and saddening than that of Cain and Abel—the Bible’s first scene of death, martyrdom, and sibling rivalry. The book of Hebrews mentions Abel twice, in 11:4 and in 12:24. For now, we will focus on the first of these two references, though the second is both profound and edifying. In Hebrews 11:4, we are given the first instance of an Old Testament hero of faith. Abel is the first “witness” to testify to the better things that God promised to the saints of old and has now fulfilled in these “last days” (v. 3) in Christ. It is important to remember that in the book of Hebrews, God has not simply spoken to the Old Testament saints, He has also spoken through them. Thus, revelation of the better things to come in Christ was something of which the Old Testament believers were not only recipients of, they were also participants in—participants in the drama of redemption that would climax in the person and work of Christ.
To continue reading Eric Watkins’ article, click here.
I love the story of the rich man and Lazarus, but not for the same reason that many others do. It is a story that we can all easily picture. We see a fat rich man, clothed in a purple robe, feasting all the time in his big house, while just outside his door a beggar waits and starves. Then they both die, and things change drastically. The former beggar is now welcomed into a very comfortable place. But the former rich man is burning in agony.
The rich man and Lazarus is the last in a string of stories Jesus told in response to the Pharisees criticism of the riffraff that Jesus was associating with.1 We can read those stories in Luke 15-16.
- a shepherd leaves his 99 sheep in the wilderness and searches for the one that he lost,
- a woman ransacks her house looking for a coin that she had lost,
- a prodigal son returns, and is welcomed by his father, but not by his older brother,
- an employee is about to be fired, so he makes sure that he has plenty of friends to take care of him when that happens.
Jesus got to the point of these stories when he told those Pharisees “You like to appear righteous in public, but God knows your hearts.”2 The parable of the rich man and Lazarus highlights the fact that some people think their eternal destiny is safe because they are currently doing ok. But God is looking for people who know they need him. He is looking for people who repent of their sins and trust in his gospel of grace.
But even though we all mostly get that point, the incidentals of the rich man and Lazarus story seem to side-track many of us. We start out with a clear view of rich Pharisees, but wind up with scary pictures of flaming torment in the afterlife. Our reading of the parable tends to get us off target to its original purpose.
To continue reading Jefferson Vann’s article, click here.
Our family stands out.
We can’t go to a grocery store without someone stopping and asking us questions about each of our children. For starters, we have identical twin daughters with bright blonde hair and piercing blue eyes. Like typical four year olds, they are feisty and sweet with a touch of sass. The amount of commentary we receive on them alone is enough to write a whole other blogpost, but to add to the excitement we also have a son who doesn’t look anything like us at all.
You see, our son joined our family through the blessing of adoption. He is a beautiful, strong black boy. He is smart and kind and loves to laugh loudly at his sisters. Put that combo together in a grocery store and we’re magnets for conversation starters. Some people stare. Some people are kind. But our diverse family draws attention in a homogenous world in which we tend to surround ourselves with people who think, look and act like us.
One day while standing in the checkout line, a well-intended fellow believer approached our family and commended us on the pro-life stance we took by adopting. I smiled and said, “Yes, we are pro-life, but our son’s birth mom is the true hero; she’s the one who should be commended for her pro-life choice. We really are the lucky beneficiaries of her brave love.”
To continue reading Brittany Salmon’s article, click here.
“It is a marvel that any man escapes ruin, the dangers which beset even the best being many and terrible.” –W.S. Plumer
Have you noticed 90% of news stories necessitate a person being ruined? Occasionally the ruin is not a result of a bone-headed decision or immoral choice. But more often than not, it is because sin has caught up with someone. And if you and I are being honest we’d have to admit that our absence from the front page isn’t for lack of opportunity but rather because of grace.
Psalm 38 is a painful Psalm. David is the guy on the front page whose life is ruined because of a personal transgression. And his whole world is coming apart. His relationship with God feels strained, his friends are keeping him at a distance, and his enemies are using this as an opportunity to pounce. The worst part is that David isn’t an innocent victim, he’s a guilty sinner. His conscience is not on his side.
Thankfully, I have not had an experience which totally fits King David’s scenario. I have said and done things which are dumb and/or sinful. I have had to endure consequences of my mistakes, but I do not believe I have experienced fully what David is going through in Psalm 38, at least not to this depth. And I hope I never do.
To continue reading Mike Leake’s article, click here.
The Old Testament makes up about 75% of the content in the 66 books of Scripture. While it is thrilling to study, it is also tricky in places. In recent times, there has been a renewed interest in studying and teaching it. God’s people have sought to dust off some of the less-discovered, but highly valuable corners of the earlier books. In doing so, there is the joy of discovering passages which point to Christ. At the same time, it is possible to see him where he is not.
In yesterday’s post, a few benefits and cautions were proposed when it comes to seeking Jesus in the Old Testament. Here are five additional cautions to the “Christ-in-every-passage” approach to studying and teaching the Old Testament:
5. The “Christ-in-every-passage” approach to the Old Testament violates the meaning of Luke 24:27.
Luke 24:27 says, “Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.” Christocentricians often take this to mean that Christ demonstrated that he can be found in every Old Testament text. This gives justification to the christocentric hermeneutic.
To continue reading Eric Davis’ article, click here.
When I was a kid, I greatly looked forward to Easter. But not because I anticipated celebrating the day that my Savior demonstrated that his penal substitutionary atoning sacrifice was sufficient to redeem the Father’s elect. Instead, I looked forward to the egg hunts. We had a large yard which provided for an entertaining search for those evasive eggs. Some were out in the open, requiring little effort to find. Others were deeply cached, exceeding this eight-year old’s P.I. skills. Finding the eggs was always rewarding.
If we are not careful, we can approach studying and preaching the Old Testament as an Easter egg hunt. We set out on a hunt to find Christ cached deep in the thick weeds of Old Testament texts. The desire is likely good; to behold some angle of the glory of Christ. However, it behooves us to be sure that we have not placed our own Easter eggs for our clever finding.
I do not think it is permissible to ask of the Old Testament, “How is Christ in every passage?” It’s a hermeneutical presupposition which moves interpreters to approach every Old Testament text assuming, “Christ is somewhere in this verse. It’s up to me to find him.” In that sense, readers approach each text as a christological Easter egg hunt: “just as that precious, evasive Easter egg is present, but hidden, so is Christ in each passage. If I am clever enough; persistent enough, I can find him.” Thus, the statement can, if inadvertently, teach interpreters that the highest goal of a text is to find Christ in it. This should not be the end of interpretation.
Although the “Christ-in-every-passage” (christocentric hermeneutic) approach to the Old Testament has a few positives, it has more negatives, and therefore, should be jettisoned.
To continue reading Eric Davis’ article, click here.
Repenting means exchanging our idols for God. Before it’s a change in behavior, it must be a change in worship. How different that is from how we often think of repentance.
Too often we treat repentance as a call to clean up our lives. We do good to make up for the bad. We try to even the scale, or even push it back to the positive side. Sometimes we talk about repentance as if it were a really serious, religious New Year’s resolution:
“I’m not going to blow up at my kids anymore.”
“I’m not going to look at pornography ever again.”
“I’m never going to cheat on my hours at work.”
“I’m going to stop talking about my boss behind his back.”
But even if we clean up our behavior in one area or another, our hearts can still be devoted to our idols. The Pharisees illustrate this problem. They were the best-behaved people in Palestine, the kind of people you would have wanted for a neighbor. They never let their kids throw their bikes in your yard. They didn’t throw raucous parties and leave cigarette butts in your flowerbed. They always picked up after their dogs. They were upstanding people. But Jesus called them white-washed tombs: clean on the outside, corrupt on the inside (Matt. 23:27). The point is that it’s not just bad people who are idolaters. Good, moral, even religious people are idolaters too. Repentance isn’t the same thing as moral resolve.
To continue reading Michael Lawrence’s article, click here.
The issue of justification has had a lasting influence on the Christian understanding of the topic of salvation and its relationship to eternal security. Biblical scholars have developed numerous stances on this theological understanding often resulting in a situation which has left many believers pondering the precise application of justification in their Christian walk. Perhaps the best known debate over this topic was that between Martin Luther and the Roman Catholic Church and encapsulated in Luther’s statement “this is the true meaning of Christianity, that we are justified by faith in Christ, not by the works of the Law.” It was this understanding of justification which launched the Protestant Reformation and a return to the New Testament understanding of the relationship of faith and works.
The exegetical foundation reinstituted by Martin Luther guides most theologians today in their search for a more comprehensive understanding of this immeasurable theological issue. A proper understanding of the meaning, roots and application of justification by faith is obligatory in order to properly live out a vibrant and fruitful Christian life in equilibrium with the expectation of eternal security. Justification is the underpinning upon which the believer in Christ can have assurance in the forgiveness of sin and everlasting reception by a sovereign God.
Justification can be defined as “the judicial act of God by which, on account of Christ, to whom the sinner is united by faith, he declares that sinner to be no longer exposed to the penalty of the law, but to be restored.” Further exposition on the root meaning of this term can be determined through an understanding of the Greek word for justification used in the New Testament. The judicial and legal terminology that is appropriated to dikaiōma is evident from the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament. Strong notes that dikaiōma “uniformly, or with only a single exception, signifies, not to make righteous, but to declare just, or free from guilt and exposure to punishment.” In a similar stratum of interpretation, theologian George Stevens denotes that “justification is certainly in Paul an actus forensis, a decree of exemption from penalty and of acceptance into God’s favor.” Continue reading “Michael Boling – Justification”