Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Primary Topics of Theology

11 Primary topics of theology

David Q. Santos

Theology is most simply described as the study of God. In this circumstance theology should be further defined by adding that it is Christian or Evangelical theology being examined. There are multiple approaches to Christian theology which include systematic, Biblical, dogmatic, and historical theology among others. The Moody Handbook of Theology defines theology by writing,

“The term theology is derived from the Greek theos, meaning “God,” and logos, meaning “word” or “discourse”; hence, “discourse about God.” The word systematic comes from the Greek verb sunistano, which means “to stand together” or “to organize”; hence, systematic theology emphasizes the systematization of theology.”[1]

It may appear at first glance that the Bible believing theologian would only emphasize Biblical theology. But when these two methods are examined similarities are found and a need to have both methods used becomes apparent. Also, both of these methods do focus on the Bible. The Moody Handbook makes this point writing, “There are both similarities and differences between biblical and systematic theology. Both are rooted in the analysis of Scripture, although systematic theology also seeks truth from sources outside the Bible.”[2] Both methods analyze Scripture but the systematic method specifically allows for the examination of outside sources and also relies on the exegetical work of the Biblical approach. Eric Millard describes this relationship writing,

When we inquire regarding the relationship of systematic theology to other doctrinal endeavors, we find a particularly close relationship between systematic theology and biblical theology. The systematic theologian is dependent on the work and insights of the laborers in the exegetical vineyard.[3]
In fact many theologians have found the need of a systematic theological method. Hodge is one such theologian. Hodge argued for the necessity of systematic theology using several fine points. Speaking of the systematic method he wrote that, “A much higher kind of knowledge is thus obtained, than by the mere accumulation of isolated facts.”[4] He further explained by writing, “[God] gives us in the Bible the truths which, properly understood and arranged, constitute the science of theology.”[5] It is clear that Christians can benefit from the arranging of Biblical knowledge into a system where Bible knowledge is grouped into doctrinal classifications. Over history, eleven of these classifications have come to be the key or primary topics of theology. This work will give a basic description of each of these topics.

Theology Proper: The first topic of systematic theology is known as “theology proper.” Theology proper seeks to define the doctrines of God apart from Christology, and Pneumatology. Chafer defines theology proper as “A consideration of the facts concerning God—Father, Son, and Spirit, apart from their works.”[6] Enns further defines this topic writing;

Theology proper is a category of study within systematic theology; it denotes the study of the nature and existence of God. To distinguish the study of God specifically (in contrast to the study of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, the church, etc.), the term proper is used to distinguish the study of God from theology in general.[7]

Emphasis of this topic of theology is placed on the various attributes of God. It includes that He is the only God (Isa. 43:10), that He is triune in nature (1 John 5:7), aseity (Ps 90:2), among many other attributes.

Christology: simply is “the doctrine respecting the Lord Jesus Christ.”[8] These doctrines define for the believer the person and nature of Jesus Christ. These doctrines include His Preexistence; (Col. 1:16; Heb 1:2), incarnation; (John 1:14 the word became flesh), and the deity of Christ as shown by His superiority and preexistence to Abraham (John 8:58). This is further shown by the acknowledgment that He is the image of the Father (John 14:9).

Pneumatology: is “the scientific treatment of any or all facts related to spirit.”[9] The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity and therefore is deity. A study of the Holy Spirit would not be complete without a clear examination of His deity and His existence within the Holy Trinity. Enns wrote that “The deity of the Holy Spirit is inextricably bound up with the doctrine of the Trinity. A denial of one is a denial of the other. Conversely, belief in the Trinity necessitates a belief in the deity of the Holy Spirit.”[10] Chafer summarized some of the key doctrines of the Holy Spirit and passages that support these doctrines writing;

The Spirit is eternal (Heb. 9:14). He is omnipresent, since He is said to dwell in every believer (1 Cor. 6:19). He is omniscient. He it is who searcheth all things, even the deep things of God (1 Cor. 2:10). He is one of supreme majesty, for to vex Him, to do despite to Him, or to blaspheme Him, is sin in its most serious form. He giveth life (John 6:63). He inspires the Scriptures (2 Tim. 3:16); He teaches (John 16:13); He regenerates (John 3:6); He is the Spirit of “truth,” of “grace,” and He is holy, being especially honored with that descriptive title.[11]

Bibliology: is the study of doctrines related to Scripture. The Bible authenticates itself as the special revelation of God that is given to men as His divinely inspired message to man (2 Tim 3:16-17). As God’s inspired message it is without error. Ryrie explains God’s revelation writing “the revelation in the Bible is not only inclusive yet partial; it is also accurate (John 17:17), progressive (Heb. 1:1), and purposeful (2 Tim. 3:15–17).”[12] Scripture provides the context for salvation and for living a Godly life.

Angelology: is the study of angels. This study includes an examination of the origin (Gen. 1:31), number (Heb. 12:22; Rev. 5:11), and nature of angels. Angelology can include the study of fallen angels or demons while some separate this study from that of angelology. This study looks at the classifications of angels (Is. 6:2, 6; Gen 3:24). This is a critical study to understand spiritual warfare.

Anthropology: is one of the most important studies found in systematic theology. It is the study of man. Systematic theology seeks to organize all important topics of theology, therefore it must include a detailed analysis of man; after all, man is a primary emphasis of the Bible. Chafer wrote that “Systematic Theology incorporates logically every other science, so Anthropology incorporates all that enters into man’s being—that which is material and that which is immaterial, and, were it wise so to extend it, various disciplines which are important branches of science would be included, among these much of biology and more of psychology. Because of the intricacies of the latter and its likeness to the realm of spirit existence, that which enters into psychology naturally receives the greater emphasis.”[13] The study of the doctrines of man includes the origin of man or his creation (Gen. 2:19) in the image of God (Gen. 1:27; 9:6). This study also includes man’s fall, his ability, freewill, and sin nature.

Hamartiology: is the study of the doctrines of sin and is commonly tied to anthropology. The study of sin can only be done by examination of Scripture since sin is not living up to the standards of the God of the Bible. Much of the Bible is devoted to this point. For example; Romans 3:23 states that the all have sinned and not reached the glory of God and the consequence for that sin is death (Rom. 6:23) and that sin can be recognized because of law (Rom. 7:7).

Soteriology: is the study of the doctrines of salvation. Hodge gives a thorough definition writing that soteriology includes “the purpose or plan of God in reference to the salvation of man; the person and work of the Redeemer; the application of the redemption of Christ to the people of God, in their regeneration, justification, and sanctification; and the means of grace.”[14] These doctrines are tied directly to those of Christology. A study of soteriology reveals much about the nature of God. It shows that He is righteous and must judge sin while He also chose to provide grace to His creation. God could not just look away from sin and pretend it did not exist; therefore, He sent His Son (John 3:16) to be a propitiation or appeasement for the sin (Rom. 3:25; Heb 2:17; 1 John 2:2, 4:10).

Israelology: is a relatively new development is systematic theology and seeks to study the doctrines of Israel. These doctrines were previously included in the study of ecclesiology. This study defines the origin and importance of Israel in the past, present and future (Gen. 12:1-3; Rom. 11:25).

Ecclesiology: is a study of the doctrines of the church. These studies seek to define the church as well as explain its origin, purpose (past, present, and future), and distinctions from Israel. The church is made up of all believers in Jesus Christ from His death until the rapture of the church. Until then, the church is to act as the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:27) at which time the church will be married to the bridegroom as the bride of Christ (Rev. 21:9) and will sit on a throne along with Jesus (Rev. 3:21). The church is a unique organism found only in this dispensation, which is a parenthetical time period which does not advance Israel’s prophetic plan.

Eschatology: is the study of the last things or the end times. This topic studies the doctrines of prophecy as they relate to the end times. Much of eschatology is tied to Israelology as well as ecclesiology. This theological topic “has its roots in the Biblical covenants”[15] as can be expected since much of end times prophecy revolves around Israel. Israel has made several covenants with God (Gen 12:1-3; 13:14-18; 15:1-21; 2 Sam. 7:12-16) which promises Israel a land, a people, and a descendent from king David to continue on the throne ruling over Israel for eternity. These covenants were made with the God who fulfills promises and Israel can be assured that He will keep these promises. And when Israel received her full blessing the entire world will be blessed (Rom. 11:15).

Work Cited
Chafer, Lewis Sperry, Systematic Theology, Originally Published: Dallas, Tex. : Dallas Seminary Press, 1947-1948. (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1993).
Cone. Christopher, Prolegomena; Introductory Notes on Bible Study & Theological Method, (Ft. Worth, Tyndale Theological Press, 2007).
Enns, Paul P., The Moody Handbook of Theology (Chicago, Ill.: Moody Press, 1997, c1989).
Erickson, Millard J., Christian Theology, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House, 1998).
Hodge, Charles, Systematic Theology, Originally Published 1872. (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997).
Ryrie, Charles Caldwell, Basic Theology : A Popular Systemic Guide to Understanding Biblical Truth (Chicago, Ill.: Moody Press, 1999).
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[1]Paul P. Enns, The Moody Handbook of Theology (Chicago, Ill.: Moody Press, 1997, c1989), 147.
[2]Ibid, 22.
[3]Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House, 1998), 25.
[4]Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology, Originally Published 1872. (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997), 1:2.
[5]Ibid, 1:3.
[6]Lewis Sperry Chafer, Systematic Theology, Originally Published: Dallas, Tex. : Dallas Seminary Press, 1947-1948. (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1993), 1:15.
[7]Enns, The Moody Handbook, 148.
[8]Chafer, Systematic Theology, 5:3.
[9]Chafer, Systematic Theology, 6:3.
[10]Enns, The Moody Handbook, 249.
[11]Chafer, Systematic Theology, 1:401.
[12]Charles Caldwell Ryrie, Basic Theology : A Popular Systemic Guide to Understanding Biblical Truth (Chicago, Ill.: Moody Press, 1999), 73.
[13]Chafer, Systematic Theology, 2:126.
[14]Hodge, Systematic Theology, 1:32.
[15] Christopher Cone, Prolegomena; Introductory Notes on Bible Study & Theological Method, (Ft. Worth, Tyndale Theological Press, 2007), 223.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Seven Churches of Revelation: Laodicea Part 8 of 8

The Seven Churches of Revelation

David Q. Santos

7. Laodicea: The Lukewarm Church
Revelation 3:14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
Laodicea was 45 miles southeast of Philadelphia and 90 miles east of Ephesus. It was a wealthy city with thriving banks, a textile industry, and a medical school. The city was also known for its sparse water supply. All of these characteristics are played upon in Christ’s message to the church.[1] It was founded by Antiochus II in the middle of the third century BC and named after his wife Laodice. This church is overshadowed by its nature of being lukewarm. They have knowledge and understanding of the things of God and yet they have no real zeal for God. But on the other hand they do not have any hatred of God either. The concept behind the name Laodicea is that the people rule. In fact this letter is written to the “church of the Laodiceans” rather than to the church in the city. This city was nearly indefensible but kept in tact by making deals with the world around it. Walvoord wrote, “The indifference embodied in the term ‘lukewarm’ in this passage seems to extend to their conviction respecting the central doctrines of the Christian faith, such as the necessity of the new birth and the need for a dramatic change in life and perspective required of a true Christian.”[2]

This lukewarm church foreshadows a church age that is lukewarm. There are many churches today that are leaving the faith and forgetting about true solid biblical doctrine that define Christianity. This time period will be the final stage in church history. As church history comes to an end the true believers of the faith will be removed and the 70th week of Daniel will begin. After church history God’s judgment will be poured out on a world that has rejected Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Those that remain faithful to the faith and to His name will be found part of the one true church.

Work Cited:
Courson, Jon. Jon Courson’s Application Commentary: New Testament. Nashville. Thomas Nelson Publishing. 2003.
Nelson’s NKJV Study Bible. Thomas Nelson Publishers. Nashville TN. 1997.
Ryrie, Charles, Caldwell. Basic Theology: A Popular Systematic Guide to Understanding Biblical Truth. Chicago IL. Moody Press. 1999.
Ryrie, Charles Caldwell. The Ryrie Study Bible. Chicago, Moody Press. 1978.
Showers, Renald Dr. Maranatha: Our Lord, Come! The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, Inc. Bellmawr, NJ. 1995.
Strong’s Bible Dictionary. The Online Bible Millennium Edition Version 1.2. Winterbourne Ontario, Canada. 1999.
Scofield C.I. Rev. D.D. Scofield Reference Bible-Reproduction of 1917. Greenville, SC. Stonehaven Press.
Townsend, Jeffrey L. The Rapture in Revelation 3:10. Dallas Texas. Bibliotheca Sacra. July-Sept 1980.
Wallace, Roy Dr. Studies from Revelation. Shreveport, Louisiana. Lin Wel Publishing. 2002.
Walvoord, John F. The Rapture Question. Grand Rapids MI. Zondervan Publishing House. 1979.
Walvoord, John F. The Revelation of Jesus Christ: A Commentary By John F. Walvoord. Chicago. Moody Press. 1966.
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[1] Nelson’s NKJV Study Bible. Pg 2170.
[2] Walvoord, John F. The Revelation of Jesus Christ: A Commentary By John F. Walvoord. Pg 95.

The Seven Churches of Revelation: Philadelphia Part 7 of 8

The Seven Churches of Revelation

David Q. Santos
6. Philadelphia: The Revived Church
Revelation 3:7-13 And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth; I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name. Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee. Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
The word Philadelphia means brotherly love.[1] It was a small city located about 40 miles southeast of Sardis. Its location, vineyards, and wine production made it wealthy and commercially important.[2] This faithful church is commended for their perseverance in faith, keeping the word of Christ, and honoring His name. This is the only church other than Smyrna that is not given any criticism.

This church represents the church age that came out of the post reformation era from about 1800 AD to present. While there were many dead denominations some held to the faith and believed in the word of God. In particular Baptists and Methodists of this time period chose to take a literal approach to the Bible even though many institutions were leaning towards liberalism.

Few passages demonstrate the nature, purpose, and reality of the rapture better than Revelation 3:10. This passage is a promise to the Church to keep them out of the time period of temptation. Ryrie wrote, “The promise is based on keeping the word of His patience, a reference to all believers (see similar Johannine designations in John 8:51; 14:23-24; and 1 John 2:3). It was made to all the churches, not just the one in Philadelphia in the first century (not Rev. 3:13 and the similar close to each of the letters to these representative churches).”[3] The exegesis of this passage demonstrates that the Church will be externally kept out of this time. This is of course the blessed hope of the Bride of Christ. Walvoord wrote of this verse, “Pretribulationists have rightly regarded this passage as coinciding with the concept that Christ is coming for the church before the tribulation and will take the church out of the world and hence remove the church before this period of human history described as the Great Tribulation.”[4] This view is the product of pure exegetical and theological interpretation. This verse supports the view of the Church being taken out of the tribulation rather than being protected through and in the tribulation as some would argue. The two key phrases as to the timing of the rapture are “keep thee from,” and “the hour of temptation.” It is vital to the pretribulational rapture position to demonstrate that the “keeping” of the Church will be external from the tribulation rather than internal or through it.
“keep thee from”
The word “keep” (tereo) means “to attend to carefully, take care of, to guard, one in the state in which he is, to observe, to reserve: to undergo something.”[5] This promise is in direct contrast to the passages illustrating martyrdom during the tribulation (Revelation 6:9-10; 7:9, 13, 14; 13:15; 14:13; 16:6; 18:24; and 20:4)[6]. This contrast does not allow for the Church going through the tribulation. “The preposition ejk is the focal point of the debate over whether Revelation 3:10 promises internal or external preservation from the hour of testing.”[7] That is; will the Church be protected in the tribulation or will it be removed from that time. The word εκ “from” is rendered primarily as “of,” “from,” or “out of” in the Authorized Version. Strong’s defines the word as “out of, from, by, away from.”[8] This word by itself can have the meaning of being taken away from in either an internal or external scenes. However, when the entire promise is taken in its context coupled with exegesis of the following verse it becomes clear that the Church is preserved away from the tribulation.
“the hour of temptation”
In this revelation Jesus promised to keep the church saints from the hour of temptation or testing that would determine, demonstrate, or expose the kind of people being tested.[9] Christ based this promise on the fact that the Church saints had already passed their test. In light of that, it appears that because they had already passed their test, Christ promised that He would not put them into the period that, as will be demonstrated later, will have the purpose of testing a very different group of people.[10]

The church of Brotherly love is the church age that will be raptured or removed from the earth according to this promise. Of course there will be other churches in existence when this event takes place, since all four of the last four churches of revelation remain in existence until the coming of Christ. Those that will be removed to be with Jesus out of the tribulation are those individuals that are true believers in Jesus Christ.

Work Cited:
Courson, Jon. Jon Courson’s Application Commentary: New Testament. Nashville. Thomas Nelson Publishing. 2003.
Nelson’s NKJV Study Bible. Thomas Nelson Publishers. Nashville TN. 1997.
Ryrie, Charles, Caldwell. Basic Theology: A Popular Systematic Guide to Understanding Biblical Truth. Chicago IL. Moody Press. 1999.
Ryrie, Charles Caldwell. The Ryrie Study Bible. Chicago, Moody Press. 1978.
Showers, Renald Dr. Maranatha: Our Lord, Come! The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, Inc. Bellmawr, NJ. 1995.
Strong’s Bible Dictionary. The Online Bible Millennium Edition Version 1.2. Winterbourne Ontario, Canada. 1999.
Scofield C.I. Rev. D.D. Scofield Reference Bible-Reproduction of 1917. Greenville, SC. Stonehaven Press.
Townsend, Jeffrey L. The Rapture in Revelation 3:10. Dallas Texas. Bibliotheca Sacra. July-Sept 1980.
Wallace, Roy Dr. Studies from Revelation. Shreveport, Louisiana. Lin Wel Publishing. 2002.
Walvoord, John F. The Rapture Question. Grand Rapids MI. Zondervan Publishing House. 1979.
Walvoord, John F. The Revelation of Jesus Christ: A Commentary By John F. Walvoord. Chicago. Moody Press. 1966.
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[1] Wallace, Roy Dr. Studies from Revelation. Pg 38.
[2] Nelson’s NKJV Study Bible. Pg 2170.
[3] Ryrie, Charles, Caldwell. Basic Theology: A Popular Systematic Guide to Understanding Biblical Truth. Pg 562.
[4] Walvoord, John F. The Rapture Question. Pg 255.
[5] Strong’s Bible Dictionary. #5083 tereo
[6] Townsend, Jeffrey L. The Rapture in Revelation 3:10. Pg 253.
[7] Townsend, Jeffrey L. The Rapture in Revelation 3:10. Pg 253.
[8] Strong’s Bible Dictionary. #1537 ek
[9] Showers, Renald Dr. Maranatha: Our Lord, Come! Pg 211.
[10] Showers, Renald Dr. Maranatha: Our Lord, Come! Pg 212.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Seven Churches of Revelation: Sardis Part 6 of 8

The Seven Churches of Revelation

David Q. Santos
5. Sardis: The Dead Church
Revelation 3:1 And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee. Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
The name Sardis means “remnant”[1] “escaping ones” or those who came out of.”[2] It is the capital of ancient Lydia and is located about 30 miles south of Thyatira.[3] The imperial cult was strong in this city[4] including the worship of the Roman Caesar and of Artemis, goddess of fertility.[5] Sardis is an important and wealthy city located on the commercial trade route running east and west through Lydia.[6] Courson wrote, “Built on a one thousand-foot bluff, Sardis was an extremely wealthy city that seemed invincible-until the year 549 BC when Cyrus, conqueror of the city of Babylon, also conquered Sardis.”[7]

This church is credited with the fact that some had kept the faith in a city that was full of pagan customs. This church is told to be watchful for Christ and to strengthen the things that still exist but that are about to disappear from their faith. This church had a name that was recognized. People knew their past and that they had been faithfully watching for the return of Christ while living for Him. They had once held all of the truths that were taught by Jesus, the apostles, and the Holy Scriptures. But since they will not watch, Christ says that He will come upon them as a theif in the night. Jesus had exhorted believers to be waiting and watching for His return and those that were not watching would be overtaken by Him.

This church represents or foreshadows the post reformation period. Revival had happened. The Lord had raised up many men of God and restored some truth to the Church. But the restoration of the church was not complete. We see this by Christ’s statement that “I have not found thy works perfect before God.” Wallace points out, “This shows that the reformation was not a return to the apostolic church. However, it did recover some of the doctrines. It recovered the doctrine of the total depravity of man. It recovered the doctrine of justification by faith.”[8] Just as the city of Sardis fell because of arrogance and by simply not watching so also this age in church history, the denominational age could also fail to watch for Christ. Most of the old line denominations simply do not expect the imminent return of Christ as they have retained their position of Amillennialism from the Roman Church that they knew they must leave. Many of the old denominations have rejected the Bible as their full authority. Some would claim that they are reformed and still reforming. The problem is that they are reforming with philosophies of the world; allowing for the pulpit to be filled by women or even to go so far as allow homosexuals to fill the pulpit. Those churches are in danger of Christ coming upon them as a thief.

Work Cited:
Courson, Jon. Jon Courson’s Application Commentary: New Testament. Nashville. Thomas Nelson Publishing. 2003.
Nelson’s NKJV Study Bible. Thomas Nelson Publishers. Nashville TN. 1997.
Ryrie, Charles, Caldwell. Basic Theology: A Popular Systematic Guide to Understanding Biblical Truth. Chicago IL. Moody Press. 1999.
Ryrie, Charles Caldwell. The Ryrie Study Bible. Chicago, Moody Press. 1978.
Showers, Renald Dr. Maranatha: Our Lord, Come! The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, Inc. Bellmawr, NJ. 1995.
Strong’s Bible Dictionary. The Online Bible Millennium Edition Version 1.2. Winterbourne Ontario, Canada. 1999.
Scofield C.I. Rev. D.D. Scofield Reference Bible-Reproduction of 1917. Greenville, SC. Stonehaven Press.
Townsend, Jeffrey L. The Rapture in Revelation 3:10. Dallas Texas. Bibliotheca Sacra. July-Sept 1980.
Wallace, Roy Dr. Studies from Revelation. Shreveport, Louisiana. Lin Wel Publishing. 2002.
Walvoord, John F. The Rapture Question. Grand Rapids MI. Zondervan Publishing House. 1979.
Walvoord, John F. The Revelation of Jesus Christ: A Commentary By John F. Walvoord. Chicago. Moody Press. 1966.
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[1] Courson, Jon. Jon Courson’s Application Commentary: New Testament. Pg 1680.
[2] Wallace, Roy Dr. Studies from Revelation. Pg 37.
[3] Nelson’s NKJV Study Bible. Pg 2169.
[4] Ryrie, Charles Caldwell. The Ryrie Study Bible.
[5] Nelson’s NKJV Study Bible. Pg 2169.
[6] Walvoord, John F. The Revelation of Jesus Christ: A Commentary By John F. Walvoord. Pg 78.
[7] Courson, Jon. Jon Courson’s Application Commentary: New Testament. Pg 1680.
[8] Wallace, Roy Dr. Studies from Revelation. Pg 37.

The Seven Churches of Revelation: Thyatira: Part 5 of 8

The Seven Churches of Revelation

David Q. Santos

4. Thyatira: The Corrupt Church
Revelation 2:18-29 And unto the angel of the church in Thyatira write; These things saith the Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass; I know thy works, and charity, and service, and faith, and thy patience, and thy works; and the last to be more than the first. Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not. Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works. But unto you I say, and unto the rest in Thyatira, as many as have not this doctrine, and which have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak; I will put upon you none other burden. But that which ye have already hold fast till I come. And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father. And I will give him the morning star. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.
Thyatira is a city “noted for its numerous trade guilds and for its wool and dyeing industry (see Acts 16:14). It was about 35 miles SE of Pergamum.”[1] Thyatira’s church may have been founded by a woman, Lydia. The account of Paul’s meeting with Lydia is recorded in Acts chapter 16. Since there is no evangelic outreach recorded in the Bible it can be presumed that Lydia may have returned to her home town and started a church. The name Thyatira is made up of two words that imply “continual sacrifice.”

The church at Thyatira was commended for its works of charity, service, faith, and patience. Thyatira performed these good works from their founding and did even more as time went on. But, even though they were fervent in their works of good deeds they still found themselves with several problems that Jesus points out.

The corrective text in this passage is the longest found in the seven letters to the seven churches. This church is allowing a woman whom they call Jezebel to lead them astray and cause then to commit fornication and to eat things sacrificed to idols. These two things were forbidden in Acts 15. Jezebel claimed to be a prophetess and was teaching doctrine contrary to the authority of the teachings and Christ and the apostles.

The name Jezebel may or may not be her real name. This name may very well be a nick name for her; remembering back to the Old Testament figure of Jezebel from 1 Kings. One commentator wrote, “Whether Jezebel is an actual name or a nickname, this woman’s wicked actions parallel Queen Jezebel’s in 1 Kings 16:2; 2 Kings 9. Sexual immorality and things sacrificed to idols link the activities of Jezebel to the sins [found in this church].” [2] Queen Jezebel was the wife of Ahab who was the worst king of Israel at least up to that point. 1 Kings 16:29-31 gives the account of the beginning of his rule, his marriage to Jezebel and his fall to idols. It says, “And in the thirty and eighth year of Asa king of Judah began Ahab the son of Omri to reign over Israel: and Ahab the son of Omri reigned over Israel in Samaria twenty and two years. And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the LORD above all that were before him. And it came to pass, as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he took to wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Zidonians, and went and served Baal, and worshipped him.” Jezebel brought in prophets of Baal and worked to lead many into Babylonian pagan worship that even included the worship of the “Queen of Heaven” which can be seen in Jeremiah 7:18; 44:17, 18, 19, 25.

There is an important account that explains the wickedness of queen Jezebel found in chapter 21 of 1 Kings. In this account the king covets a vineyard owned by a man named Naboth. Jezebel hires men to accuse Naboth of blasphemy in order to have him killed so that the king could have the vineyard. Jezebel gained this land by a false inquisition; causing the Lord to condemn Ahab.

Prophetically this church represents the church age of 590-1517 AD. Walvoord wrote, “The message to the assembly in Thyatira seems to foreshadow that period of church history known as the Middle Ages preceding the Protestant Reformation. In that period the church became corrupt as it sought to combine Christianity with pagan philosophy and heathen religious rites so that much of the ritual of the church of that period is directly traceable to comparable ceremonies in heathen religions. During this period also there began that exaltation of Mary the mother of our Lord which has tended to exalt her to the plane of a female deity … The prominence of a woman prophetess in the church at Thyatira anticipates the prominence of this unscriptural exaltation of Mary.”[3]

The dark ages of the church is dominated with idol worship and the eating of things sacrificed to idols. The concept of the continual sacrifice was incorporated into the church which clearly departs from the doctrine of the “sufficiency” of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. And as Wallace notes, “[Just] as [Queen] Jezebel killed Naboth and persecuted God’s prophets, so the Roman Church instituted the Inquisition during this period.”[4]

The dark ages have ended and some of the practices of those ages have ceased. Ye, this church, that will exist until the coming of Christ continues to walk in fornication. Continual sacrifice and the exaltation of Mary are still dominate views of Roman Catholicism. Stern warnings have been given to this church. The individuals within that church that have not defiled themselves with these false doctrines are told that they will not have any other burden except to hold fast until He returns.

Work Cited:
Courson, Jon. Jon Courson’s Application Commentary: New Testament. Nashville. Thomas Nelson Publishing. 2003.
Nelson’s NKJV Study Bible. Thomas Nelson Publishers. Nashville TN. 1997.
Ryrie, Charles, Caldwell. Basic Theology: A Popular Systematic Guide to Understanding Biblical Truth. Chicago IL. Moody Press. 1999.
Ryrie, Charles Caldwell. The Ryrie Study Bible. Chicago, Moody Press. 1978.
Showers, Renald Dr. Maranatha: Our Lord, Come! The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, Inc. Bellmawr, NJ. 1995.
Strong’s Bible Dictionary. The Online Bible Millennium Edition Version 1.2. Winterbourne Ontario, Canada. 1999.
Scofield C.I. Rev. D.D. Scofield Reference Bible-Reproduction of 1917. Greenville, SC. Stonehaven Press.
Townsend, Jeffrey L. The Rapture in Revelation 3:10. Dallas Texas. Bibliotheca Sacra. July-Sept 1980.
Wallace, Roy Dr. Studies from Revelation. Shreveport, Louisiana. Lin Wel Publishing. 2002.
Walvoord, John F. The Rapture Question. Grand Rapids MI. Zondervan Publishing House. 1979.
Walvoord, John F. The Revelation of Jesus Christ: A Commentary By John F. Walvoord. Chicago. Moody Press. 1966.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
[1] Ryrie, Charles Caldwell. The Ryrie Study Bible. Pg 1898.
[2] Nelson’s NKJV Study Bible. Pg 2168.
[3] Walvoord, John F. The Revelation of Jesus Christ: A Commentary By John F. Walvoord. Pg 75.
[4] Wallace, Roy Dr. Studies from Revelation. Pg 34.
 
 

The Seven Churches of Revelation: Pergamos Part 4 of 8

The Seven Churches of Revelation
David Q. Santos

3. Pergamos: The Corrupt Church

Revelation2:12-17 And to the angel of the church in Pergamos write; These things saith he which hath the sharp sword with two edges; I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is: and thou holdest fast my name, and hast not denied my faith, even in those days wherein Antipas was my faithful martyr, who was slain among you, where Satan dwelleth. But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. So hast thou also them that hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate. Repent; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will fight against them with the sword of my mouth. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.
The name Pergamos means objectionable marriage.[1] The church at Pergamos was located in what was the ancient capital of the province of Asia. It was located about 50 miles north of Smyrna.[2] The commendation given by Christ was that they had not denied His name even in the face of martyrdom. While this church was holding fast to the name of Jesus they were also compromising in multiple ways. They had fallen prey to the doctrine of Balaam. Balaam was the Old Testament prophet who was hired by Balak, the king of Moab to curse Israel in Numbers chapters 22-24. Balaam could not curse Israel but he explained to Balak how to make Israel curse them selves. Women of Moab went to the camp of Israel and committed sexual immorality which led to idolatry. In this manner, Israel was cursed. Walvoord explains, “Undoubtedly intermarriage with the heathen and spiritual compromise were real issues in Pergamos where civic life and religious life were so entwined. It would be most difficult for Christians in this city to have any kind of social contact with the outside world without becoming involved with the worship of idols or in the matter of intermarriage with non-Christians… Intermarriage with the heathen was also a real problem. Social relations with the heathen world would lead in some instances to partaking of the heathen feasts which in turn led to heathen immorality which was a part of idolatrous worship. Apparently there were some in the Pergamos church who held that Christians had liberty in this matter.”[3] This is of course not what the Bible teaches. 2 Corinthians 6:14 teaches that the believer should not marry a non believer.

Prophetically, this church represents the time period after Roman persecution was ended but was “married” to the world. In 312 AD Constantine issued the edict of tolerance, which made Christianity the official religion of Rome. While becoming the state religion may have seemed like a blessing to many who had seen and felt the pain of persecution it was really the marriage of the church to the world. The church was now “unequally yoked” to the world and compromise became the theme for this period. Historians now recognize that Constantine was only using the church for political gain. One author noted, “According to history, however, what really happened was that, substantially out numbered, Constantine noticed, that Christians were not enlisting in anyone’s army. Realizing that if he converted to Christianity, he would have access to a potential infusion of new troops, he became a Christian. And the Christians responded by siding with him.”[4] With the church and state acting as one it would become impossible to “maintain a clear distinction between the church and the world and to preserve the purity of biblical doctrine… the history of the three centuries which followed [the Council of Nicea in AD 325] is a record of increasing corruption of the church, departure from biblical doctrine, and an attempt to combine Christian theology with pagan philosophy. As a result the church soon lost its hope of the early return of Christ, and biblical simplicity was replaced by a complicated church organization which substituted human creeds and worship of Mary… for true biblical doctrine.”[5] The church had fallen into a state of corruption and idolatry; the same sins that Israel had succumbed to in the Old Testament.

Work Cited:
Courson, Jon. Jon Courson’s Application Commentary: New Testament. Nashville. Thomas Nelson Publishing. 2003.
Nelson’s NKJV Study Bible. Thomas Nelson Publishers. Nashville TN. 1997.
Ryrie, Charles, Caldwell. Basic Theology: A Popular Systematic Guide to Understanding Biblical Truth. Chicago IL. Moody Press. 1999.
Ryrie, Charles Caldwell. The Ryrie Study Bible. Chicago, Moody Press. 1978.
Showers, Renald Dr. Maranatha: Our Lord, Come! The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, Inc. Bellmawr, NJ. 1995.
Strong’s Bible Dictionary. The Online Bible Millennium Edition Version 1.2. Winterbourne Ontario, Canada. 1999.
Scofield C.I. Rev. D.D. Scofield Reference Bible-Reproduction of 1917. Greenville, SC. Stonehaven Press.
Townsend, Jeffrey L. The Rapture in Revelation 3:10. Dallas Texas. Bibliotheca Sacra. July-Sept 1980.
Wallace, Roy Dr. Studies from Revelation. Shreveport, Louisiana. Lin Wel Publishing. 2002.
Walvoord, John F. The Rapture Question. Grand Rapids MI. Zondervan Publishing House. 1979.
Walvoord, John F. The Revelation of Jesus Christ: A Commentary By John F. Walvoord. Chicago. Moody Press. 1966.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
[1] Courson, Jon. Jon Couson’s Application Commentary: New Testament. 1673.
[2] Nelson’s NKJV Study Bible. Pg 2168.
[3] Walvoord, John F. The Revelation of Jesus Christ: A Commentary By John F. Walvoord. Pg 68.
[4] Courson, Jon. Jon Couson’s Application Commentary: New Testament. Pg 1673.
[5] Walvoord, John F. The Revelation of Jesus Christ: A Commentary By John F. Walvoord. Pg 69.

The Seven Churches of Revelation: Smyrna Part 3 of 8

The Seven Churches of Revelation

David Q. Santos

2. Smyrna: The Persecuted Church

Revelation 2:8-11 And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive; I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan. Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.
The church at Smyrna was a heavily persecuted church. It was a “seaport city about 35 miles north of Ephesus (called Izmir today). It was a center of the imperial cult of Rome.”[1] Smyrna is commended for suffering gracefully. This is the first church to not receive any criticism. They are instructed to be faithful even until death if need by. Prophetically, this church represents the times of the persecution of the church by the Roman Empire. This time period really got underway sometime after the rise of Caesar Nero which took place in 64 AD until 313 AD. The church during this time period would undergo ten waves of persecution directed by ten Roman Emperors. As Dr. Wallace wrote, “Christ labels Satan as being responsible for the suffering of these saints. He uses the little term ‘tribulation for ten days.’ There were ten periods of persecution under different Roman Emperors.”[2] These Emperors were:

Ten Roman Emperors who Persecuted the Church[3]
1. Nero 64-68 AD: Paul beheaded
2. Domitian 95-96: John exiled
3. Trajan 104-117: Ignatius burned at the stake
4. Marcus Aurelius 161-180: Polycarp martyred
5. Serverus 200-211
6. Maximus 235-237
7. Decius 250-253
8. Valerian 257-260
9. Arurlain 270-275
10. Diocletian 303-313: The worst emperor

Work Cited:
Courson, Jon. Jon Courson’s Application Commentary: New Testament. Nashville. Thomas Nelson Publishing. 2003.
Nelson’s NKJV Study Bible. Thomas Nelson Publishers. Nashville TN. 1997.
Ryrie, Charles, Caldwell. Basic Theology: A Popular Systematic Guide to Understanding Biblical Truth. Chicago IL. Moody Press. 1999.
Ryrie, Charles Caldwell. The Ryrie Study Bible. Chicago, Moody Press. 1978.
Showers, Renald Dr. Maranatha: Our Lord, Come! The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, Inc. Bellmawr, NJ. 1995.
Strong’s Bible Dictionary. The Online Bible Millennium Edition Version 1.2. Winterbourne Ontario, Canada. 1999.
Scofield C.I. Rev. D.D. Scofield Reference Bible-Reproduction of 1917. Greenville, SC. Stonehaven Press.
Townsend, Jeffrey L. The Rapture in Revelation 3:10. Dallas Texas. Bibliotheca Sacra. July-Sept 1980.
Wallace, Roy Dr. Studies from Revelation. Shreveport, Louisiana. Lin Wel Publishing. 2002.
Walvoord, John F. The Rapture Question. Grand Rapids MI. Zondervan Publishing House. 1979.
Walvoord, John F. The Revelation of Jesus Christ: A Commentary By John F. Walvoord. Chicago. Moody Press. 1966.

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[1] Ryrie, Charles Caldwell. The Ryrie Study Bible. Pg 1897.
[2] Wallace, Roy Dr. Studies from Revelation. Pg 22.
[3] Wallace, Roy Dr. Studies from Revelation. Pg 22.

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Seven Churches of Revelation: Ephesus Part 2 of 8

The Seven Churches of Revelation

David Q. Santos

1. Ephesus: The Loveless Church

Revelation 1:1-7 Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks; I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hst found them liars: And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent. But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.
The church at Ephesus had several things going good for it. It had been founded by the Apostle Paul (Acts 18:19). Acts 20:29-31 records that as Paul was departing from Ephesus he have the believers stern warning about savage wolves that would come into the church. The book of Revelation reveals that this local church took these warnings seriously. This church did reject all forms of evil. They tested and founded the false teachers and rejected them. But through that they lost their love for Christ. But they were told that if they repented and did their first work they could receive the promise of the tree of life. The first works is important. Any believer is in danger of loosing their first love. But repenting and doing those things that first drew the believer to Christ is the way to be restored. The first love is those things that God gifted the believer to do. Using the gifts that God has given to the believer will bring joy to the believer and will help to build the church and the kingdom of God. Dr. Wallace points out that this church is representative of the Apostolic Age[1] which would be from 64 AD to 100 AD. During this age activity of being a follower of Christ replaced true worship of the Lord of Lords.

Work Cited:
Courson, Jon. Jon Courson’s Application Commentary: New Testament. Nashville. Thomas Nelson Publishing. 2003.
Nelson’s NKJV Study Bible. Thomas Nelson Publishers. Nashville TN. 1997.
Ryrie, Charles, Caldwell. Basic Theology: A Popular Systematic Guide to Understanding Biblical Truth. Chicago IL. Moody Press. 1999.
Ryrie, Charles Caldwell. The Ryrie Study Bible. Chicago, Moody Press. 1978.
Showers, Renald Dr. Maranatha: Our Lord, Come! The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, Inc. Bellmawr, NJ. 1995.
Strong’s Bible Dictionary. The Online Bible Millennium Edition Version 1.2. Winterbourne Ontario, Canada. 1999.
Scofield C.I. Rev. D.D. Scofield Reference Bible-Reproduction of 1917. Greenville, SC. Stonehaven Press.
Townsend, Jeffrey L. The Rapture in Revelation 3:10. Dallas Texas. Bibliotheca Sacra. July-Sept 1980.
Wallace, Roy Dr. Studies from Revelation. Shreveport, Louisiana. Lin Wel Publishing. 2002.
Walvoord, John F. The Rapture Question. Grand Rapids MI. Zondervan Publishing House. 1979.
Walvoord, John F. The Revelation of Jesus Christ: A Commentary By John F. Walvoord. Chicago. Moody Press. 1966.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
[1] Wallace, Roy Dr. Studies from Revelation. Pg 18.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The Seven Churches of Revelation: Introduction Part 1 of 8

The Seven Churches of Revelation
Introduction: Part 1 of 8
David Q. Santos

Revelation 1:4 John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne;
In chapter one verse nineteen, John the Apostle is given the command to “write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter.” This verse gives the key to understanding the book. John first wrote about that which he had seen, the resurrected glorified Jesus Christ. Secondly, he wrote about the things which are. The “things which are” spans chapters two and three which are the churches, and chapters 4-22 cover the things which shall be here after or after the churches.

In general, each church is given a commendation, a criticism, instruction, and a promise in addition to being a type or foreshadow of a segment of the church age. There are two churches that do not receive any criticism, Smyrna and Philadelphia. It is interesting to note that these are the only two of the seven cities that are still in existence today. There is only one church that does not receive any commendation, Sardis.

The Seven Churches of the Apocalypse

Ephesus 2:1-7
Commendation: Rejects evil, perseveres, has patience
Criticism: Love for Christ no longer fervent
Instruction: Do the works you did at first
Promise: The tree of life

Smyrna 2:8-11
Commendation: Gracefully bears suffering
Criticism: None
Instruction: Be faithful until death
Promise: The crown of life

Pergamos 2:12-17
Commendation: Keeps the faith of Christ
Criticism: Tolerates immorality, idolatry, and heresies
Instruction: Repent
Promise: Hidden manna and a stone with a new name

Thyatira 2:18-29
Commendation: Love, service, faith, patience are greater than at first
Criticism: Tolerates cult of idolatry and immorality
Instruction: Judgment coming; keep the faith
Promise: Rule over nations and receive morning star

Sardis 3:1-6
Commendation: Some have kept the faith
Criticism: A dead church
Instruction: Repent, strengthen what remains
Promise: Faithful honored and clothed in white

Philadelphia 3:7-13
Commendation: Perseveres in the faith, keeps the word of Christ, honors His name
Criticism: None
Instruction: Keep the faith
Promise: A place in God’s presence a new name, and the New Jerusalem

Laodicea 3:14-22
Commendation: None
Criticism: Indifferent
Instruction: Be zealous and repent
Promise: Share Christ’s throne

Chapters two and three, the letters to the seven churches are two of the most important of this prophetic book. Many scholars have seen a four fold message in these two chapters. C. I. Scofield wrote,

The messages to the seven churches have a fourfold application: (1) Local, to the churches actually addressed; (2) admonitory, to all churches in all time as tests by which they may discern their true spiritual state in the sight of God; (3) personal, in the exhortations to him “that hath an ear,” and in the promises “to him that overcometh” (4) prophetic, as disclosing seven phases of spiritual history of the church frame, say A.D. 96 to the end. It is incredible that in a prophecy covering the church period there should be no such foreview. These messages must contain that foreview if it is in the book at all, for no church is mentioned after [chapter] 3… These messages do present an exact foreview of spiritual history of the church, and in this precise order.[1]

This fourfold application of the messages to the seven churches makes the study of these two chapters very important and relevant to modern students and scholars. First, there was a message given to the churches in the first century. In studying the good and the bad from these early churches it is easy to see their characteristics, both good and bad, in today’s churches and apply the appropriate correction. These church descriptions could be like a mirror to every congregation showing their spiritual state and giving advice on how to fix any problems that may exist and giving credit to the positive characteristics of the modern church. It is also easy to apply the correction of the churches to individuals.

The fourth application of chapters 2 and 3 of Revelation is that each church addressed represents a period or age within the church age. The first three churches, Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, did not continue on past their initial age. All of the final four churches have continued on into the present and will exist until the time of Christ’s return. The prophetic ages that are represented in the church age can be summarized in the following manner;

The church of Ephesus represents the apostolic times.
The church of Smyrna represents the period of great persecution.
The church of Pergamos represents that time when the church was united with the world.
The church of Thyatira would represent that period of church history when the church would enter the dark ages.
The church of Sardis represents that period of time during the Reformation when Protestantism had its beginning and Luther came out of and protested against the Catholic Church
The church of Philadelphia represents that period of time we refer to as “the revived church.”
The church of Laodicia would represent that period of time of the apostate church-the lukewarm church.[2]
Some have argued that the view that these seven churches represent seven ages in church history should not be accepted citing that it is to close to taking a historicist view of the book of Revelation. However it has been argued by scholars like John Walvoord that this view is in complete agreement with the futurist view. He wrote, “There does seem to be a remarkable progression in the messages. It would seem almost incredible that such a progression should be a pure accident, and the order of the messages to the churches seems to be divinely selected to give prophetically the main movement of the church history… The prophetic interpretation of the messages to the seven churches, to be sure, should not be pressed beyond bounds, as it is a deduction from the content, not from the explicit statement of the passage. It is fully keeping with the futurist point of view father than the historic.”[3]

Work Cited: (Whole Series)

Courson, Jon. Jon Courson’s Application Commentary: New Testament. Nashville. Thomas Nelson Publishing. 2003.
Nelson’s NKJV Study Bible. Thomas Nelson Publishers. Nashville TN. 1997.
Ryrie, Charles, Caldwell. Basic Theology: A Popular Systematic Guide to Understanding Biblical Truth. Chicago IL. Moody Press. 1999.
Ryrie, Charles Caldwell. The Ryrie Study Bible. Chicago, Moody Press. 1978.
Showers, Renald Dr. Maranatha: Our Lord, Come! The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, Inc. Bellmawr, NJ. 1995.
Strong’s Bible Dictionary. The Online Bible Millennium Edition Version 1.2. Winterbourne Ontario, Canada. 1999.
Scofield C.I. Rev. D.D. Scofield Reference Bible-Reproduction of 1917. Greenville, SC. Stonehaven Press.
Townsend, Jeffrey L. The Rapture in Revelation 3:10. Dallas Texas. Bibliotheca Sacra. July-Sept 1980.
Wallace, Roy Dr. Studies from Revelation. Shreveport, Louisiana. Lin Wel Publishing. 2002.
Walvoord, John F. The Rapture Question. Grand Rapids MI. Zondervan Publishing House. 1979.
Walvoord, John F. The Revelation of Jesus Christ: A Commentary By John F. Walvoord. Chicago. Moody Press. 1966.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
[1] Scofield C.I. Rev. D.D. Scofield Reference Bible-Reproduction of 1917. Pg 1331-1332.
[2] Wallace, Roy Dr. Studies from Revelation. Pg 18-19.
[3] Walvoord, John F. The Revelation of Jesus Christ: A Commentary By John F. Walvoord. Pg 52.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Deity of Jesus in the Gospel of John In Contrast to Mormon Theology

The Deity of Jesus in the Gospel of John
In Contrast to Mormon Theology
David Q. Santos

There are many groups today that refuse to accept the Biblical fact that Jesus Christ is more than the Son of God; He IS God in the flesh. Refusing to accept that Jesus is Deity is often a characteristic of a cult. Ironically, these cults use the name of Jesus to give themselves credibility but without the belief that Jesus is God there is no saving power in that religion. This article is an apologetic argument for the deity of Jesus based on the Gospel of John with an emphasis on what Mormon theology teaches on the subject.

John 20:31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

John explained clearly what his purpose was for writing this Gospel account in chapter 20 verse 31 (John 20:31). John’s Gospel described seven of thirty five miracles that are recorded in the four accounts. John gave special consideration to these seven in order that people might come to believe that Jesus was the Christ and the Son of God. By that belief he intended to develop faith that would bring life to some.

Jesus performed many miracles during His ministry to illustrate that He was the true messiah. John, in his Gospel account chose to only record seven of these signs to prove that Jesus’ power stemmed from God the Father.

Jesus’ Seven “Signs” in the Gospel of John

Miracle Reference
Changing Water into Wine at the Wedding in Cana John 2:1-11
Healing an official’s son in Capernaum John 4:46-54
Healing an invalid at the Pool of Bethesda in Jerusalem John 5:1-18
Feeding the 5,000 near the Sea of Galilee John 6:1-14
Walking on Water John 6:15-21
Healing the blind man in Jerusalem John 9:1-7
Raising Lazarus from the dead in Bethany John 11:1-45

This unique gospel account was written primarily as an apologetic document. The seven signs that are included in this account are intended to prove Jesus is the Messiah. But this account has a powerful and important perspective and theme. That theme is the deity of Jesus.

In the Book of John there are seven “I AM” statements. These statements declare the deity of Jesus. They do this in two ways. First they overtly declare through symbolism His deity. But the “I AM” is the critical part of these phrases. I AM is the name of deity. In Greek it is egō eimi (ἐγώ εἰμί) which could be translated as the self existent one.

This phrase is used in the Septuagint version of the Old Testament when God reveals His name to Moses to identify who was sending Moses.

Exodus 3:14 καὶ εἶπεν ὁ θεὸς πρὸς Μωυσῆν Ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ ὤν, καὶ εἶπεν Οὕτως ἐρεῖς τοῖς υἱοῖς Ισραηλ Ὁ ὢν ἀπέσταλκέν με πρὸς ὑμᾶς. (kai eipen o yeov prov mwushn egw eimi o wn kai eipen outwv ereiv toiv uioiv israhl o wn apestalken me prov umav)

Exodus 3:14 And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.
 Jesus’ Seven “I AM’s” in the Gospel of John
I AM phrase: Reference:
I am the Bread of Life 6:35
I am the Light of the World 8:12
I am the Gate for the Sheep 10:7, 9
I am the Good Shepherd 10:11, 14
I am the Resurrection and the Life 11:25
I am the Way and the Truth and the Life 14:6
I am the True Vine 15:1, 5
The Nelson NKJV Study Bible writes of the theology of the gospel of John;

The Gospel of John is a persuasive argument for the deity of Jesus. It concentrates on presenting Jesus as the Word, that is, God (John 1:1) who became a man (John 1:14). Thus John meticulously records the statements and describes the miracles of Jesus that can only be attributed to God Himself.

Jesus called Himself the bread of life (John 6:35, 41, 48, 51), the light of the world (John 8:12, 9:5), the door for the sheep (John 10:7, 9), the good shepherd (John 10:11, 14), the resurrection and the life (John 11:25), the way, the truth, the life (14:6), and the true vine (John 15:1, 5). Each of these statements begins with the words, “I am,” recalling God’s revelation of His name, “I AM,” to Moses (see Ex. 3:14). Jesus did not say He gave bread; He said He is the Bread which gives life. He did not say He would teach the way, the truth, and the life; instead He said He is the Way, because He is the Truth and the Life. These are Jesus’ clear claims to deity: He was not a mere man.

Then there are the signs of Jesus’ deity. Miracles in the Gospel of John are called “signs” because they point to Jesus’ divine nature. John records seven such signs: changing water into wine (John 2:1-11), healing an official’s son (John 4:46-54), healing a lame man (John 5:1-9), multiplying bread and fish (John 6:1-14), walking on water (John 6:15-21), healing a blind man (John 9:1-7), and raising Lazarus (John 11:38-41). These miracles show that Jesus is God, He possesses power over nature. Other indications of Jesus’ deity include the testimonies of John the Baptist (John 1:32-34), Nathanael (John 1:49), the blind man (John 9:35-38), Martha (John 11:27), and Thomas (John 20:28)-not to mention Jesus’ own words (John 5:19-26).

The primary theme of this gospel account is the deity of Jesus. John begins his account by describing Jesus as the Word. He wrote in chapter 1 verses 1-5,

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” (KJV)

The Nelson Study Bible says of these verses,

“John 1:1 is probably the strongest passage in the New Testament for declaring the deity of Jesus Christ. Because of this many who deny this biblical doctrine, especially cultists, have attempted to undercut it by arguing that this passage only teaches that Jesus is “a god” and so not fully Deity. This confused position falls on at least two grounds. Such a view is polytheistic, the belief in more than one god. Second, it betrays a misunderstanding of Greek grammar. Verse 1 of the first chapter of John reads, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” The last portion of 1:1 is the major point of contention. It reads in the Greek theos en ho logos, or literally, “the Word was God.” God, or theos, occurs in this verse without the Greek article statement to be translated “the Word was a god.” The best understanding for the translation, however, as recognized by Greek scholars, is that since theos is a predicate and precedes the noun logos and the verb, it is natural for it to occur here without the article. Greek scholars are agreed that the verse should be translated as it regularly is in modern and ancient translations, clearly affirming that Jesus is indeed God.

The denial of the deity of Jesus has led many groups to fall away from truth and fall into heretical doctrine. John 1:1 begins the debate of deity. The Bible Knowledge commentary argues that this verse is teaching that Jesus is God in the flesh. It says, “As far back as man can think, in the beginning… the Word was existing. The term “Word” is the common Greek word logos, which meant “speaking, a message, or words.” Logos was widely used in Greek philosophical teaching as well as in Jewish wisdom literature and philosophy. John chose this term because it was familiar to his readers, but he invested it with his own meaning, which becomes evident in the prologue.”

“The Word was the God in a special relationship of eternal fellowship in the Trinity. The word “with” translates the Greek pros, which here suggests “in company with” (cf. the same use of pros in 1:2, 1 Thes. 3:4, 1 John 1:2). John then added that the Word was God. Jehovah’s Witnesses translate this clause, “The Word was a god.” This is incorrect and logically is polytheism. Others have translated it “the Word was divine,” but this is ambiguous and could lead to a faulty view of Jesus. If the verse is correctly understood, it helps clarify the doctrine of the Trinity. The Word is eternal; the Word is in relationship to God (the father); and the Word is God.”

The view held by Jehovah’s Witnesses that John 1:1 says “a god” has led to a polytheistic view. Of course polytheism not only contradicts this verse but many others as well such as Isaiah 43:10 which states that there are no other gods past present or future.

Isaiah 43:10 Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.

Of course there are other scriptures that can be used to identify Jesus’ deity and refute the Jehovah’s Witness view. All seven of the “I AM” statements are Jesus’ own testimony that He is God incarnate. A very powerful verse is found in John chapter 8. During a heated debate with the Pharisees Jesus ends the debate by saying in verse 58, “Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.” The “I am” statement in this verse is the egō eimi (Ἐγώ εἰμι) from the seven “I AM” statements. Charles Ryrie wrote of this verse in the Ryrie study Bible, “The ‘I AM’ denotes absolute eternal existence, not simply existence prior to Abraham. It is a claim to be Yahweh of the Old Testament. That the Jews understood the significance of this claim is clear from their reaction in verse 59 to the supposed blasphemy.” This time the Jewish leaders understood that Jesus was claiming to be God, so they took up stones to stone Him for blasphemy (see Leviticus 24:16).

It is also plausible to make a case of Jesus’ deity based on his acceptance of worship which was always rejected by spirit beings such as angels and reserved only for the one and only Living God of Heaven. A great example of this is found in Revelation 19:10 which says, “And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” This account shows John the Apostle attempting to worship an angel but is told not to. Yet in contrast Jesus does accept worship throughout the New Testament. An example of Jesus receiving worship is found in John chapter 9 verses 35-38. It reads, “Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when he had found him, he said unto him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God? He answered and said, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him? And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee. And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him.”

Faulty theology and incorrect hermeneutics come from the denial of Jesus as deity. Another group that claim to be followers of Jesus, view Him as part of the “god-head”, but reject the premise that Jesus is God incarnate is the Mormon church. Their denial of this scriptural fact has led this group to misunderstand scripture and Jesus Himself. In the book “Gospel Principles” which is a book published by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints many of these faulty principals are easily identified. This book describes Jesus as the first born of spiritual children of God; brothers to every person born and brother of Lucifer. It says,

God is not only our ruler and creator; he is also our Heavenly Father. “All men and women are … literally the sons and daughters of Deity… Man, as a spirit, was begotten and born of heavenly parents, and reared to maturity in the eternal mansions of the Father, prior to coming upon the earth in a temporal [physical] body’ (Joseph F. Smith, The Origin of Man, Improvement Era, Nov. 1909, pp. 78,80).”

It goes on to say, “Every person who was ever born on earth was our spirit brother or sister in heaven. The first spirit born to our heavenly parents was Jesus Christ (see D&C 93:21), so he is literally our elder brother (see Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 26).

This heretical teaching continues by saying, “When the plan for our salvation was presented to us in the spirit world, we were so happy that we shouted for joy (see Job 38:7). We understood that we would have to leave our heavenly home for a time. We would not live in the presence of our heavenly parents. While we were away from them, all of us would sin and some of us would lose our way. Our Heavenly Father knew and loved each one of us. He knew we would need help, so he planned a way to help us.”

“We needed a Savior to pay for our sins and teach us how to return to our heavenly Father. Our Father said, ‘Whom shall I send?’ (Abraham 3:27). Two of our brothers offered to help. Our oldest brother Jesus Christ, who was then called Jehovah, said ‘Here am I, send me’ (Abraham 3:27).

“Satan, Who was called Lucifer, also came, saying, ‘Behold here am I, send me, I will be thy son, and I will redeem all mankind, that one soul shall not be lost, and surely I will do it; wherefore give me thine honor’ (Moses 4:1).

The premise that these teachings are based on is faulty and contradicts divinely inspired scripture. Mormons are teaching that Jesus is only a spirit being; like any other man or even the same as Satan. To say that Jesus is only a spirit being; the same as man or Satan is to preach another Jesus, and is heresy. This type of misunderstanding of scripture comes from a lack of proper exegesis and study of the original language. Because of this poor exegesis the Mormon Church had the need to adopt extra-biblical material (which they call another gospel) to support their theology. In the book of Galatians Paul adamantly exhorts the Galatians not to accept any “other gospel” that anyone preaches; even if it was an angel or Paul don’t accept it. Galatians 1:8-9 says, “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.”

The inability to discern that when Jesus says that He is the “I AM” He is proclaiming to be egw eimi, the Self Existent One, Yahweh will always lead to heretical teachings. Jesus told the Pharisees that He was God, in existence before Abraham, not just the first born of spiritual babies in a world of people trying to become their own gods. In the book of Colossians Paul warns about being led astray or spoiled by the philosophies and deceit of men. In addition, God is very clear how He feels about the idea of “other gods.” He does not want us to even mention their names out of our mouths. That would seem to prohibit man’s exaltation to god status as taught by Mormon doctrine.

Colossians 2:8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

Exodus 23:13 And in all things that I have said unto you be circumspect: and make no mention of the name of other gods, neither let it be heard out of thy mouth.
A study to the word “begotten” may prove useful in this discussion, since this word is often misused by those who deny Jesus’ character of deity by saying that this word means that Jesus is a created being. There are four words that are translated as “begotten” in the New Testaement. They are monogenes (μονογενής), gennao (γεννάω), anagennao (ἀναγεννάω), and prototokos (πρωτοτόκος).

The last form of begotten on this list is prototokos which is used only one time in the New Testament. That incident is found in Revelation 1:5 and speaks of Jesus being the “first begotten of the dead.” This form of “begotten” is literally first born. But this term is not used of Jesus’ incarnation as a man but rather being the first born of the resurrection.

Anagennao is also only used one time in the New Testament. It is found in 1 Peter 1:3. This word speaks of being born again and can speak of changing one’s mind or can be interpreted as producing again.

The next two words are used more frequently and are more closely related to the issue of Jesus’ deity. The word “monogenes” is used six times in the New Testament. Four of those instances are found in the book of John. As a matter of fact this is the only word used in the book of John. This word deserves close examination since it is the term John used to denote the “only begotten Son of God.” This word is used in scripture only of Jesus. Even the writer of Hebrews took note of this word; also using it when speaking of Jesus as the Son of God. This is a very unique word that one could strongly argue refers to Jesus as the only one of His kind. It certainly does not say that Jesus is the created of God.


The most prominent verse that contains this word is John 3:16 which says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” The bible knowledge commentary says of this verse;

God’s love was expressed in the giving of His most priceless gift-His unique Son (cf. Romans 8:3, 32). The Greek word translated one and only, referring to the Son is monogene, which means “only begotten” or “only borne-one. It is also used in John 1:14, 18, 3:18; and 1 John 4:9.
The word “gennao” is used in the New Testament seven times. It is a word that is closely related to family or offspring. If the writer of John had wanted to illustrate that Jesus was the first born of many offspring he would have use this word in relation to the “Son of God.” We also have the benefit of having both gennao and monogenes used by a writer in the same letter. The book of Hebrew uses both words as does the first epistle of John. The usage of both words in 1st John is especially useful in this discussion.

1 John 4:9 uses the word monogenes. When John uses this word he uses it to refer to Jesus as the Son of God. This word is made up of two root words and when scrutinized the mystery is quickly dispersed. It is made up of monos and ginomai . Monos is translated as only or alone. Ginomai is a prolongation and middle voice form of a primary verb that is most often translated as “be” or “come to pass.” So it is easy to argue that the most literal translation of the word monogenes is “come to pass alone” which would imply that Jesus is the only one of His kind; God incarnate.

1 John 4:9 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten (monogenes) Son into the world, that we might live through him.
John’s other usages of the word gennao do not apply directly to the nature or origin of Jesus. Rather John uses this word to speak of believers being begotten or born of God. Believers are born into the family of God.

1 John 5:1 Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten (gennao) of him.
1 John 5:18 We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not; but he that is begotten (gennao) of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not.

In his book, “Systematic Theology” Wayne Grudem explains the difficulty of translating and interpreting these words thorough history. He wrote;

The controversy over the term ‘only begotten’ was unnecessary because it was based on a misunderstanding of the meaning of the Greek word monogenes (used of Jesus in John 1:14, 18, 3:16, 18, and 1 John 4:9). For many years it was thought to be derived from two Greek terms: mono, meaning ‘only,’ and gennao, meaning ‘beget’ or ‘bear.’ Even the received version of the Nicene Creed understands it that way, since the explanatory phrases ‘begotten of the Father before all worlds’ and “begotten, not made’ both used the verb gennao to explain monogenes. But linguistic study in the twentieth century has shown that the second half of the word is not closely related to the verb gennao (beget, bear), but rather to the term genos (class, king). Thus the word means rather the ‘one-of-a-king’ Son or the ‘unique’ Son.
The fact that the word does not mean ‘the only son that someone has begotten’ can be confirmed by noticing its use in Hebrews 11:17, where Isaac is called Abraham’s mongenes-but certainly Isaac was not the only son Abraham had begotten, for he had also begotten Ishmael. The term there means rather that Isaac was Bgraham’s ‘unique’ son, that there was none other like him.”
An un-debatable proof of the deity of Jesus is found in John chapter 1. When John the Baptist tells the religious leaders that he is the “voice of one crying in the wilderness...” he was referencing Isaiah 40:1ff. That passage contains the Phrase “prepare ye the way of the LORD...” the word translated LORD is the Hebrew name for God, YHWH. Since John was preparing the way of Jesus, then the only conclusion is that Jesus must be YHWH. This is beyond debate or refute. Jesus is God by direct statement and it is as reliable as the algebraic transitive property, if a = b, and b = c, then a = c. If God is YHWH and Jesus is YHWH then Jesus is God.

John 1:23 He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.

It is clear that Jesus did in fact claim deity for Himself. But the question is, how did He prove it? Josh McDowell, author and apologist has written many books supporting the Christian faith. In his book “The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict” McDowell writes that “Jesus has three basic credentials: (1) The impact of His life, through His miracles and teachings upon history; (2) Fulfilled prophecy in His life, and (3) His resurrection. The resurrection of Jesus Christ and Christianity stand or fall together.” McDowell point to Jesus’ physical resurrection as the key piece of evidence of Jesus’ Messiah-ship and deity. He wrote, “Since Jesus Himself pointed to the physical nature of His resurrection body as evidence that He had risen from the dead, and since by implication this proved His claim to be God incarnate, the assertion by critics that His body was merely immaterial undermines the deity of Christ”

McDowell continues on this point by writing, “Jesus not only predicted His resurrection but also emphasized that His rising from the dead would be the “sign” to authenticate His claims to be the Messiah (John 2).

John 2:18-22 Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things? Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? But he spake of the temple of his body. When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said.

Jesus was asked to give a sign or proof of His authority as Messiah and God incarnate. The sign Jesus predicted was His death and resurrection of His physical body.

In the book of Exodus chapter 19 the Hebrew people come to Mount Sinai and receive God’s commandments. As part of this account God speaks to the entire congregation from the midst of a cloud. Even this minimal exposure to the Glory of God was enough to convince the Israelites that they did not want to be in the presence of God’s Glory. They said that they would submit to all of God’s commandments as long as Moses continued to speak for them and bring them God’s words without them having any real contact with God. In the book of Revelation the Apostle John fell at the feet of Jesus when he saw the full glory of God as revealed in the resurrected and glorified Jesus. Often times in the Old Testament the image from Revelation chapter 1 is also seen when God is revealing Himself to a person (see Ezekiel 1:26-28, Isaiah 6). But when God became flesh His Glory was veiled in that flesh, making it possible for men to be in the presence of God with out falling down at His feet. Man was once again able to commune with God, just as Adam did.

Hebrews 10:19-21 Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And having an high priest over the house of God;
Matthew Poole wrote of this verse, “Through the veil, that is to say, his flesh: the inner veil, that separated the holiest of all from the holy place, was a type of the flesh of Christ, veiling his Deity; through the breaking and rending of which by death, he opens the way to the throne of grace in the holy of holiest in heaven, and so made God accessible to believers there, Hebrews 9:12; compare Matthew 27:51.”

It was through the resurrection that Jesus authenticated Himself as Messiah. It was also through this act that He revealed Himself as God in the flesh. And most importantly to a believer in Jesus, He provided a way for man to access God’s holiness even though he is still full of sin. Jesus did not present Himself as a sacrifice for a perfect man. Rather, He presented Himself a perfect sacrifice for sinners that He chose to save.

Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Jesus did unveil His deity. He did show His power and identity on various occasions. One of the most amazing events where Jesus unveiled His power is found in John 18:2-6. It says, “And Judas also, which betrayed him, knew the place: for Jesus often times resorted thither with his disciples. Judas then, having received a band of men and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, cometh thither with lanterns and torches and weapons. Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye? They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith unto them, I am he. And Judas also, which betrayed him, stood with them. As soon then as he had said unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground.”

In this account Judas brings solders to apprehend Jesus. When Jesus says I AM in verse 5 he uses the phrase egō eimi (ἐγώ εἰμί) again. At the sound of the name of deity the solders fall back to the ground. This event is recorded to show that Jesus was in control of all of the events that took place in His life as a man. He died only because He chose to.

Philippians 2:10-11 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
But unlike any other “religious leaders” that were only men Jesus did not stay in the grave. He arose, appeared too many, and ascended into heaven promising to return. Upon that return, every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. The best blessings will come for those that repent of their sins and believe in Jesus as Lord now. As for the rest they will see Jesus for who He really is when He returns. At that time every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.

Romans 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

WORK CITED

Easton Revised Bible Dictionary. The Online Bible Millennium Edition Version 1.2. Winterbourne Ontario, Canada. 2001.

Gospel Principles. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Salt Lake City, UT. 1978.

Grant, Michael. Herod the Great. American Heritage Press. New York, NY. 1971.

Grudem, Wayne. Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine. Grand Rapids Michigan. Zondervan. 2000.

McDowell, Josh. The New Evidence That Demands a Verdict. Nashville, Tennessee. Thomas Nelson, Inc. 1999.

Nelson’s NKJV Study Bible. Thomas Nelson Publishers. Nashville TN. 1997.

Poole, Mathew. Mathew Poole’s Commentary of the Bible Rev 2:27. The Online Bible Millennium Edition, version 1.2. Winterbourne Ontario, Canada. 2001.

Ryrie, Charles Caldwell. The Ryrie Study Bible. Chicago, Moody Press. 1978.

Smith Revised Bible Dictionary. Prophet I. The Name. The Online Bible Millennium Edition Version 1.2. Winterbourne Ontario, Canada. 1999.

Strong’s Bible Dictionary. The Online Bible Millennium Edition Version 1.2. Winterbourne Ontario, Canada. 1999.

Walvoord, John F. and Roy B. Zuck. The Bible Knowledge Commentary, An Exposition of Scriptures by Dallas Seminary Faculty, New Testament. Colorado Springs, Colorado. Cook Communications Ministries, 2004.

The Rapture and the Olivet Discourse

To my class studying with me. We have been studying the rapture along with other prophecy. Here are two articles on the Olivet Discou...